All Things New

Posted November 1, 2011 by jermtech
Categories: Uncategorized

I was honored to be part of a live cd recording project from my home church in Kokomo, Indiana this past weekend. Oakbrook’s “All Things New” is a project that was the idea of a congregation member who wanted a tool to give to friends and coworkers to demonstrate to them what a different kind of church could look and sound like. The finished CD’s are going to be invitations to come to the church. Cool idea!

The set list was as follows:

  1. All Things New (Oakbrook original)
  2. Glory To God Forever
  3. Jesus Reigns (Oakbrook original)
  4. Our God
  5. Worthy (Oakbrook original)
  6. Revelation Song
  7. Your Name (Oakbrook original)
  8. O This God
  9. You Are God
  10. Holy
  11. Our Everything (Oakbrook original)
  12. How He Loves
  13. Resurrection People (Oakbrook original)
  14. All Things New (reprise)

Here’s a few pics of the night:


FULL REVIEW: Fidelity Duals In Ear Monitors

Posted June 12, 2011 by jermtech
Categories: Uncategorized

As promised, here is a full length review for my new Fidelity “Ears”. First, a little background on your reviewer. I’ve been a professional level musician for well over 20 years, playing bass guitar as my primary instrument, but I also play electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, drums, and sing. I’ve also been trained in pro audio and recording engineering, where I earned my living for 8 of the last 10 years.

I recently moved to the Nashville Tennessee market, and began serving at a church which uses an Aviom monitoring system. The universal fit monitors that are offered for those musicians don’t have their own Ears are Shures (SE315 / SCL3 / E3 single driver types). Those buds just did not provide the performance that I required. They weren’t very loud – and if you tried to turn up the bass EQ or turn up the master volume with the Aviom mixer, then the Shure buds would distort. Since I’m going to be using this setup at least twice per month for the forseeable future, I thought it would be a wise investment to get my own custom mold IEM’s.

I should also mention that I have used a lot of other universal fit earbuds, such as Shure E4’s, Westone UM-2’s, M-Audio IE-30’s, and many types of “iPod-style buds” such as $40 Sonys, Dr. Dre’s, Skull Candys, Bose, and of course the dreaded Apple originals. But I’ve never owned a set of custom molds before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

I decided to go with the Fidelity brand mainly because of the price-to-performance ratio. Fidelity used to be associated with the “Livewires” brand name, but due to irreconcilable differences, the Nashville distributor disassociated themselves from the Livewires folks and continued with the Fidelity name. Fidelity lists their direct prices on their website, and I opted for the dual-driver version, which Fidelity just calls, “Duals”. The cost is $259 (not including sales tax or shipping).

Because I live in the Nashville area, near the Fidelity offices in Mt. Juliet, TN, I was able to stop by their location and get my ear molds done for no extra charge. (If you do not live in the Nashville area, you would need to make an appointment with an Audiologist to get your molds done.) The process takes just a few minutes. They cover your ear drum and then inject a spray foam in your ears. After it hardens, they pull it out and ship it to the manufacturer.

They told me it would take about 3 weeks to get them back. It actually took 4 weeks to get them. (Many people I talked to who own them had to wait even longer to recieve them.) They arrived with an included Pelican case, and serial number identification.


My first impressions were very positive. I noticed immediately that they had a great isolation seal, that they were LOUD, and that they had great bass extension – all things I was really looking for. Since getting them, I’ve used them to watch movies, listen to iPods, and rehearse music on my laptop. But I didn’t get the opportunity to use them live on stage until this morning, June 12th.

Again, the first things I noticed when I plugged them into the Aviom system this morning were that they were LOUD, and that my bass sounded like a BASS! When the drummer played the Kick drum for the first time, I’m sure I had a huge smile on my face because I felt that I could really FEEL the bass in it. And this is with the Aviom EQ flat and the Master level at 12 O’Clock (the center position)!

Our rehearsal starts at 6:30am and we play pretty much straight through til 8:30 including a full run through. Then we have two services at 9 and 11am. After all the time with them in, I can honestly say I feel no discomfort with them. I never had to pull them out or adjust them or worry about the fit or anything. They fit perfectly, and they sounded wonderful.

The overall tone of them does have a signature. This is subjective (because it’s hard to measure their frequency response when it’s so closed in to your own head), but I would say there is a slight presence boost in the upper mids. It is not extreme, and were I singing vocals or playing acousti guitar, I would probably really appreciate that boost. But this tone signature did not bother me, nor did I change the EQ on my Aviom – I was just really so much happier with the sound today than I had been with the old Shures I probably had a permanent smile on my face this morning.

I am really, really happy with my purchase. I don’t think I could have done any better for the price.

So what did I leave out? Did you guys have any questions I didn’t cover?

Preliminary Thoughts: My New Fidelity IEMs

Posted May 28, 2011 by jermtech
Categories: Uncategorized

A full review will be coming later, but these are my initial thoughts after about 1/2 hour of listening with my new Fidelity IEMs:

  • The isolation is wonderful. Why, I can’t even hear my kids arguing with these in!
  • They have a lot more sensitivity than I’m used to. (ie: they are much LOUDER than any of my other buds).
  • The low frequency extension is awesome – I’m not used to actually hearing those frequencies from buds!
  • I love the little Pelican case that comes with them. It should provide good protection for my new investment. There’s also an attached, laminated, “luggage tag” style ID card which lists my name and serial numbers for both the left and right ear pieces.
  • The full mold fit might take a little getting used to, in terms of comfort. These are my first custom molds, so I feel the pressure around my whole ear. I wouldn’t say they’re painful – I’m just really aware of the full fit pressure. You probably get used to it.
  • I wonder if I should have opted for the longer cord…

a full review will come later.

Motown Homages (Throwback Songs)

Posted April 20, 2011 by jermtech
Categories: Uncategorized

I love the old Motown Detroit-era sound. Apparently, so do a lot of artists because they keep dipping into that sound again and again. Here is my list of songs that appear to be obvious homages to the Motown sound.

Note: To make sure these were true homages, they couldn’t be actual covers, and they had to be recorded after 1972 (when Motown Detroit closed its doors). I also excluded any obvious parodies (The California Raisins) or original songs from period movies (like Dreamgirls, That Thing you Do, etc.)


  • Money Grabber, Fitz & The Tantrums (2011)
  • Rumour Has It, Adele (2011)
  • The Song Otherwise Known as Forget You, Cee-Lo Green (2010)
  • I Learned The Hard Way, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (2010)
  • Summer Days, Sheryl Crow (2010)
  • Dog Days Are Over, Florence & The Machine (2008)
  • Then The Morning Comes, SmashMouth (1999)
  • Give Me One Reason, Tracy Chapman (1996)
  • Waterfalls, TLC (1995)
  • The Motown Song, Rod Stewart (1991)
  • Good Thing, FYC (1989)
  • Two Hearts, Phil Collins (1988 – produced by Lamon Dozier!)
  • Roll With It, Steve Winwood (1988)
  • I Can Dream About You, Dan Hartman (1984)
  • Uptown Girl, Billy Joel (1983)
  • Tell Her About It, Billy Joel (1983)
  • Maneater, Hall & Oats (1982)
  • Giving Him Something He Can Feel, Aretha Franklin (1976) and En Vogue (1991)

Good Musicianship is a Bygone Thing?

Posted March 4, 2011 by jermtech
Categories: Uncategorized

On the Dan Patrick show just moments ago:

DP: If I brought in other musicians – pianists and keyboard players – to have a “Piano-Off” – who would make you the most nervous?

John Legend: Well, I think most real pianists would make me nervous.

DP: Just in pop music. If Elton John and Billy Joel came in…

John Legend: Yeah, yeah – they’re better than me. Stevie Wonder. All the older guys are better. But I don’t know that there are very many newer artists that play the piano that are great pianists. I think that might be a bygone thing.

In other words, John Legend, you are saying that fame and money and slick production are more important than woodshedding and becoming a good muso in today’s music business?

Somewhere, Allen Iverson is shaking his head and saying, “Practice? We talking about practice?”

Year of the Bass?

Posted March 1, 2011 by jermtech
Categories: Uncategorized

Could 2011 be the year the bass breaks out of the shadowy background and comes front and center? It’s sure getting some good exposure the last few weeks. First, Esperanza Spalding was given the Grammy for Best New Artist (over some unknown dude named Justin Beiber), and then off-the-beaten-path American Idol contestant Casey Abrams breaks out with some superb performances in the Hollywood and Vegas weeks.

Tal Wilkenfeld has also had quite an astounding year (solo album doing well, and high visibility touring with Jeff Beck).

Bring It On!

Craig’s List Job Listing Hassles

Posted February 8, 2011 by jermtech
Categories: Uncategorized

I’ve been on a serious job search for several months now. In addition to the standard job sites (careerbuilder,, etc.) and the job listing aggregate sites (like – I’ve also been applying to a lot of jobs I see listed on My wife recently landed an awesome job that she first learned about on Craig’s List, so I’m hoping it works out for me, too. Craig’s List is a little bit of a wild frontier – there are large and small company listings on there – and many are anonymous.

But once in a while you run into something that’s not so cool. Here are some tactics I’ve recently run into from dubious posters. Hopefully this info will be educational for other job seekers.

TACTIC #1: The Phishing Scam
I replied to an ad for a Retail Graphic Designer which mentioned a major brand by name. My reply included a cover letter, resume, link to my online portfolio, and personal contact information. This is the reply I received:

Thank you for showing interest in this position. I am a placement specialist for Resource Information Services. We are hired by small and  large  companies  to place them with qualified applicants in your area.

Our client forwarded us your response from the ad for this position. After reviewing this, we are interested in moving forward with you to gain further information about you regarding this position. Our client is a little short on time, as the position is currently vacant. We want to move forward as soon as possible. Please complete our simple questionnaire through our secure portal as preparation for a personal interview with the company. Once you have submitted this, we will be in touch within 3-5 days. Please note that we may contact you via phone after your initial information is received. The questionnaire takes less than 5 minutes.

The secure portal is here:
(copy and paste this into your browser)

Your Personal Application ID is*: ****** (actual code removed)

*Application codes are only good for 24 hours.

Best Regards,

Jill Heaney
Armandina Gifford
Resource Information Services

Now, a couple of things about this reply. First, the sender was from a hotmail account. (Red Flag #1). Second, the company name sounded phishy – like overly generic – so I did a google search for “Research Information Services” and got the expected result – a bunch of non-related results. (Red Flag #2). When I clicked on the link (I felt relatively safe doing this since I use a Mac with the Firefox browser), it took me to a very generic page with no company header (Red Flag #3), but a login screen asking for the login code. When I put the code in, it took me to an application form for me to put in all my personal information (Red Flag #4 – if you recall, I had already sent them this information in my initial email). I closed out my browser at this pont and did not fill out the form. Bottom line – DON’T GIVE THESE FOLKS YOUR PERSONAL INFO.

Tactic #2: The Bait And Switch

I applied to another Graphic Design job, whose listing included the following description:

your role will consist of the following three components assembly (working with existing templates), marketing (creating promotional marketing material) and coordination (working with our third party printer to ensure jobs are completed on time, on budget and to the required specifications).
The ideal applicant will have the following:
1-3 years experience in graphic design
Portfolio of 5-10 pieces representing their skill and creativity
Strong working knowledge of design related applications (Adobe Creative Suite and Dreamweaver)
Able to bring ideas from concept to creation
Good Sense of colour
Very high attention to detail
Ability to manage a variety of projects simultaneously

The next day I got the following response:

I appreciate you responding to us and taking the time to submit your resume. Just in case the job ad wasnt clear, the duties of this opening are the following:

– Applicants will be screening telephone calls and sorting messages when applicable.
– Applicants will be scheduling the company group meetings, and running errands for the company for things such as buying materials and making bank deposits (you will be supplied a company vehicle for the duration of business hours).
– As you are running errands, you will also be supplied use of 1 of our company credit cards for all business purchases.

You seem more than qualified for our available position and more so than the additional 21 applicants we accepted resumes from. I am interested in taking the next stage with you. However, before I am able to schedule a final interview, my company will require that you obtain an up to date (past 20 days) credit score. We have begun doing this because regrettably we have had a number of bad incidents with past employees taking benefit of having access to our company credit cards.

Both the Human Resources division and myself prefer that applicants utilize our recommended web site to obtain your score as this site offers the check at no cost for the score (unlike other sites). I also found that this websites scores constantly report back the most factual and accurate information, also they are one of the most consistent trusted sources on line.

Once you submit the desired information, the site will offer to you your unobjective score. Then, you are asked to e-mail me the requested credit score, a telephone number that you can be reached, and your availability schedule to make plans for an interview. I ask you to not e-mail me the entire readout, as it has confidential information. If you keep a lower than expected credit score, it will never stop you from obtaining a position with us. I had a reasonably poor score when I started working here and I never had an issue. If you dont want to complete an up to date credit score, regrettably the company will require that I move forward to the 2nd choice.

Personally, I wish to fulfill this vacancy with a new friendly face and I am looking forward to your quick reply.

Have a terrific Tuesday.
Staffing Assistant
GRP Management

GRP’s website shows that they are a typical recruiting service. When you click on their available openings, no Graphic Design position is listed. It seems this whole scheme is intended to get you to go to their special website to get your credit report (I did not do this). That site is probably filled with all kinds of malware, ads, or other runarounds.

TACTIC #3: More Phishing

After applying to an ad for a designer, I received the following:

Thanks for your response to our job posting on Craigslist. Our corporation is a fresh corporation in expansion and we are seeking to create an driven and devoted group. We are especially interested in your submission. Our human resources supervisor requires that all resumes be submitted through the most well-liked on-line career network for uniformity and cleaner tracking. This is a no cost service to all applicants.

Please upload your resume Here.

We anticipate taking a look at your resume and discussing your prospective employment with our corporation. Please email me and let me know as soon as your resume is submitted.

Staffing Assistant
Merchant Media Inc

It is just a different way of asking for your personal information.

So Job Seekers please beware out there! While Craigs List can be an awesome direct link to employers, it can also be filled with spammers, phishing scams, and bait-and-switch recuirtment tactics.