This month, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite DIY adventures, all of which started as quick fixes for musical problems. Here are four hacks that turned out much better than expected.
Weight Is Enough
By adding adhesive wheel weights, I’ve given the plasticky keys on my Akai Miniak a satisfying snap and heft. To reach the inside of the black keys, I unscrewed the keyboard and popped out the springs with needle-nose pliers.
Make Your Case
Surplus-store bags add character on the cheap. I use a yellow CD wallet to protect my Korg Kaossilator, a Casio electronic sax bag for my shakuhachi, a Wii Fit bag (Price: 40 cents!) for my Arturia KeyStep, and a beer koozie for my MidiPlus Miniengine.
Click to Mono
The mono checkbox in your computer’s Accessibility panel offers a quick way to check the mono compatibility of your mixes. For example, using this trick while reviewing sounds I had designed for an iPhone game, I discovered that a stereo enhancer I’d used made the sound almost disappear in mono.
In my home studio, a thick, glass coffee table top makes the ideal top shelf for my Ultimate Support Deltex keyboard stand, revealing the controls on the lower tier. When playing out, I replace the glass top with the metal tray of a music stand.