I just got done with a fantastic first season with MBI Winds, a new independent hornline that competed in WGI’s Winds class. Our goal was to create an outlet for horn players of all instruments and all ages. We set out to show how hornline culture is cool 😎 And it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

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I wanted to buy a USB audio interface to use at home when working on the backing track for MBI Winds. Our winds group uses a multi-speaker setup (currently 3 channels) that I wanted to be able to easily replicate at home without pulling out 2x 100-pound speakers and a 32 channel mixer 😅

So many choices!

I started by looking at interfaces on Amazon, starting with the hugely popular Scarlett and the Behringer 4-channel units. I asked around at work because lots of folks like to use USB audio interfaces for podcast mics, or simply to get rid of headphone noise induced by their computer’s main board. After asking my list went from 2 to 6 units.

Then I found myself on Sweetwater looking at their expansive list of USB audio interfaces (over 200 😲).

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It’s now officially cheaper to subscribe to renewable energy through Northern States Power, a.k.a. Xcel Energy–Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. It’s not by much – only $2 on a recent $200 bill, but it puts to bed the argument that renewables aren’t cheaper. Let’s take a closer look.

We have two electric vehicles and aren’t (yet) subscribed to a EV charging plan. This is mostly because Xcel wants you to buy or rent their hardware and I wanted a particular type of charger. So we use more electricity than our neighbors, which according to Xcel use around 600kWh/month. We’re also subscribed 100% to renewables (solar and wind).

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Top of the show! We’re nearing the end of the WGI season. And whether you’re into drum corps, marching band, color guard, or drumline, a full run of the show at the end of rehearsal is the capstone of the day. It’s where the members and staff get to see the work they put in, reflected back in a complete run of the program.

Is there something you can do at home, to keep things fresh in-between rehearsals? Practicing your parts is mandatory, but a lot of what we do is simply mental. Remembering counts, where you’re going, relationships to others on the field or floor, movements and how they line up with the music.

There’s a different type of homework you can do using your mind. You don’t need to get your horn out of the case or find room to spin. It’s called a mental run-through and it can be useful for days off or even as prep as you’re riding the bus to a contest.

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It’s been a minute! Actually it’s been almost a year 😓 Remember how I said I saved $300 on a G500? I’ve reduced that savings by half by purchasing another 1/24 scale Tetra X3. Am I a glutton for punishment? Probably. I really wanted to love this rig, but there were some disappointments I couldn’t get past. PandaHobby did listen to all of the feedback and shortly after the X3 was released they acknowledged the problems with the suspension and ESC and shipped a fix to anyone that requested it. However, the suspension components they sent to me didn’t completely fix the issues of the shocks binding up. Then the stock servo broke and it sat on a shelf for the better part of a year 😥

Version 2

I hadn’t been paying much attention during that time and recently noticed there’s now a V2 of the same model. I thought that I already had all of the things that brought it to Version 2 spec, but there’s actually a lot more.
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