Slaughter Productions 

Music Machine

redesigning home furniture and technology 

The Music Machine – Digital recording studio built into an antique piano! 


            The Music Machine is an incredible addition to any living room, den, apartment, or studio.  It has become the focal point of my sitting room and gets more attention from visitors than anything else in my home.  Essentially it is a full digital recording studio built into a beautiful piano cabinet.  It was originally based on a Mac Mini, but now has an Intel 17" iMac at it's heart with a Lexicon Omega audio interface that is set up with 2 instrument inputs, one built-in studio-quality microphone, and an additional microphone jack.  The piano keys have been replaced by a Studiologic 88 key MIDI controller which acts as piano, drum machine, and music interface.  The Music Machine is capable of multi-track recording and playback, music editing and sampling, demo production, karaoke, and is a full computer able to do anything a regular mac can do including DVD playback, web surfing, word processing, etc.  There is a memory card reader built in to the front for inserting media as well as a 4-port USB 2.0 hub to plug in an external hard drive or an ipod.  Musicians can sit down, record a single track, multiple tracks or a whole song, plug in their ipod and take it home or burn it right to a demo CD! 


Beautiful Spencer and Murdoch wood piano cabinet

                This piano was made around 1930 and had bird-cage type tuning.  The piano “guts” have been removed making the case much lighter and custom wood inserts were made to house the electronic components.  A matching drawer resides below the piano keys for keyboard and mouse featuring a fold-down front panel.  A brass input panel is on the left side of the cabinet with 2 instrument inputs and an additional microphone input.  A guitar hanger is also attached to the left side. 

iMac 17" Intel Core Duo 2.6 ghz, 2 gb ram, 160 gb hd, superdrive DV+/-RW, Bluetooth, WiFi

            Running OS 10.5, this all-is-one computer is the brains behind the music machine.  Included is iLife with Garage Band software which is what makes The Music Machine into a full digital recording studio.  See apple website for full specs and details. 

Lexicon Omega Desktop Recording Studio Hardware Interface

                Lexicon has taken a whole-system approach to desktop recording. Omega Studio is an integrated computer recording system that includes the Omega 8x4x2 USB I/O mixer, ProTracks Plus 32-track recording software for PC, Bias Deck 3.5 SE for Mac and Pantheon world-class Lexicon reverb plug-in. Omega Studio contains all of the components necessary to transform your computer into a professional 24-bit recording studio.

The Omega I/O mixer provides 8 inputs which are assignable in pairs to any of 4 simultaneous record channels featuring ultra-transparent, high-resolution analog to digital converters to capture your performance with pristine 24-bit quality. Two of the inputs feature extremely low-noise dbx® mic-preamps with 48 volt phantom power and TRS insert points. Four TRS active balanced line inputs accept up to +22dBu signals to allow interfacing to either unbalanced or professional high-output level balanced equipment. Included is an S/PDIF input combined with an additional DAC for zero-latency, direct monitoring of the S/PDIF source to allow simultaneous tracking of analog and digital sources. A high-impedance instrument input is conveniently accessible on the front panel. The Omega I/O mixer provides a peak indicator for each analog input as well as an assignable bar graph meter for signal level monitoring. By monitoring the signal at the A/D converters, it avoids the problems with software-only level monitoring that can miss clipping and ruin your track. The Omega I/O mixer also includes a fully opto-isolated MIDI input to ensure that there is no annoying ground loop hum or MIDI talk-through noise common with many I/O boxes and sound cards. MIDI output has rock-solid synchronization to USB frame rate to support applications requiring critical sync.

Studiologic by Fatar TMK88 88 Key MIDI Controller

                The Studiologic TMK-88 is a professional MIDI keyboard controller for serious musicians and music software users.  Boasting full size keys with semi-weighted piano action, this is an 88-note MIDI keyboard-controller that weighs in at a mere 13 lbs. Its lightweight and highly durable design makes it perfect for studio or stage. The keyboard action is light, but nicely weighted giving it an expressiveness that must be played to be appreciated. It is the perfect hands-on control for your sound modules and studio virtual instruments. The TMK-88 is velocity sensitive with a mod wheel, one MIDI output, program change and bank select.

Klipsch Promedia Ultra 2.0 Personal Audio System Speakers.

            These high-quality speakers can crank out your itunes, your recorded music, karaoke, or DVDs and are slotted into the upper portion of the cabinet.

MXL 2006 Cardioid Microphone built-in with adjustable mount

                Following in the footsteps of the highly successful MXL 2001 the 2006 is a Large Diaphragm, Gold Sputtered true “Class A” Condenser Microphone. Super fast slew rate FET amplifier design with an extremely low-noise floor. A sweet, silky sounding microphone that is perfect for vocal and instrument recording into digital and analog devices. Comes with Hi-Isolation shock mount and rugged, deluxe carrying case.  Freq Response 30Hz – 20 kHz, Polar Pattern Cardioid, Max SPL for .5% THD: 130 dB, Sensitivity: 15 MV/pa, Output impedance 200 ohyms, Equivalent noise: 14 db, Weight 470gm, Dimensions: 55mm x 190mm, Power Requirement: 48V phantom power.

Other Features: 

Apple iSight firewire camera

Apple keyboard

Griffin PowerMate USB Volume Control

Edirol UM-1SX USB-MIDI interface providing an open MIDI In/Out port for your digital drums or other MIDI instruments.

Built-in powered 4-port USB hub and memory card reader

Additional small shelves available for storage, additional internal USB port open

Disclosures:  The music machine was assembled from off-the-shelf components and is subject to interface quirks from these components.  Although I built this, I have not played with all aspects of the hardware or software interfaces and am not an expert in it’s use.  All original documentation is included as well as warranties on the components.  There is no warranty on the woodwork and no guarantee that all components are 100% compatible with each other.  The buyer is responsible for learning all of the functions of the machine - I will include basic operating instructions as well as original manuals. 

I have difficulty selecting the instrument inputs to be recognized by garageband on occasion, but recording works well.  Second microphone and guitar not included but are available separately.



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