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October 30th 2007 - Rolling Along

Well, how about an update on the way of world of being home. I went for a visit to say hello to the Foo Fighters and crew at their rehearsal prepping for the Europe tour. They are one of the greatest bands all the way around. They rock, they are all super cool people, they have fun and their music is awesome, all good.

They have a pretty cool tour setup planned out and if you have not seen Foo Fighters live, I highly recommend you do. Next stop for me is AFI. I am trying not to tour and steering clear of mixing shows as best I can to stay focused on other things but when the call comes in to cover a gig, and it is just three shows and not far away, well, I could not help but say yes. Rat has been supply sound gear to AFI for several years now and this was my first real chance to meet and get to know them a bit better and it was all good.

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

Next stop in my travels is EAW for some more design work on the new MicroWedge.

Every single detail is addressed and I absolutely love it, it is a dream come true as I have always envisioned the way that the product should be and finally I am surrounded by an infrastructure that not only "gets it" but also has the capability of implementing it. The reflectivity and hardness and texture of the external coating, the exact round over radius of every edge, the shape, feel and depth of the handle. The center of gravity, grill material, mounting and coating. The switch placement, fly hardware, feet material, shape, logo design and dimensions. Oh, and the sound aspects are even more detailed. Tune, test, refine, repeat. Even after dialing in the optimum coax component frame, come and driver, it was time to address the speaker dome (dust cap), material and shape and cone coatings, glue thickness, the internal damping material type, thickness and mounting. Tune, test, refine, repeat. Exciting stuff and all the while I refer back to stable reference points so I do not get lost in the sonic direction headed. And I carry my notes and refer back to the overall concept of the Micro Series. Non-processor dependant designs that naturally sound good without electronic enhancement. Electronic processing then can be added to further optimize the designs. Though the Micro's do have passive crossovers in them, in both old and new Micro's, the biamp switch completely removes the passive crossover from the circuit and allows direct connection from the amp to the drivers.

Oh, and as I have been asked to many times here in bloggery world, I have been approached about maybe teaching a seminar on sound subjects. Actually I have been approached several times from various entities and when things settle down a bit more for me I plan on speaking at a few colleges that and sound schools, but most recently was one that is a bit more open format. So let me ask you all this, if I was to teach a sound seminar, is there anyone that would be interested in coming to a sound seminar and if so, what topics or concepts would you be interested in?

**** End Sound Nerd Speak ****

What else? Well, there was an article on sound humans blogging http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/newbay/prosound_200709/index.php?startpage=0

If you are a subscriber to PLSN or FOH Magazine you can now vote for the awards. http://www.parnelliawards.com/vote.php

Though the whole concept of awards shows does not sit too well with me. I always get this feeling that the same insiders just gather round to pat each other on the back once a year. Oh boy look! The same people won 10 years in a row again! Hurray! Yet I also know that when do actually vote, I often find that I am not that familiar with the various categories and contenders and there is a temptation to vote for the one I have heard of, hence and most likely the reason that the outcomes are typically less than exciting. All that said, I do like the exceptions to the rule and in a way, it makes it all the more enjoyable when an outsider to the "good ol' boys" takes the prize.

Anyway, I will be headed out to Florida for LDI. You know that saying, "what comes around, goes around?" Well, back 2005 I wrote an article for FOH Magazine http://www.daverat.com/ldi.htm and the trimmed version is up online at http://fohonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=443&Itemid=1. As the twists of the world would have it, EAW is going to be one of the stages at SoundHenge also know as ET Live. Oh jees. Not only did ET Live they quote my article to promote the event (yes, they did ask first) as fate would have it, guess who they asked to mix on their stage this year? Most importantly, check out my hair cut in the quote photo.

http://www.ldishow.com/LDI07/public/Content.aspx?ID=739

Clearly that of a seasoned professional businessman I am trying so hard to present.

So if any of y'all are there in Orlando, come say hello.

To leave you with a smile, here is a picture of my little Sammy holding her cat Holly wearing her Rat Sound pet shirt.

Rock on! and till next time in a week or so.

Dave Rat

Hellooooo!!

Bloggery Update

I know it has been a while and as much as posting has been a goal on my mind, the sheer process of rebuilding my post-tour life has been fully encompassing. That is not to say that I do not get to venture out and going down south a few hours to say hello to Muse crew was super cool.

Hanging with MC, Muse sound engineer. He mixes a great sound and he is doing some cool stuff. He, like myself, had some issues with diving into digital boards and and after testing the best of the best, went back to analog. Unlike me, he has a much more complex show to mix so he set up a midi controller footswitch tied into the console with all the song names and scene changes on it and can step through settings, not unlike a digital board.

One of the scenes:

And of course some Rat swag for all. Paul, their production manager made the best choice right off the bat!

Oh, and Muse is great music, a great show and all good.

**** Other Stuff of interest ****

This is a 1976 picture of a 20,000 watt home stereo sent to me by Craig O. Oh my, hit the link if you want to read more:

http://www.scrounge.org/speak/burwen/index.html

And check out this Saturday Night Live clip

http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/#mea=166786 from when Foo Fighters were on SNL. So honored and how cool is it that Dave Grohl rocks the Rat Sweatshirt, and the video clip is really funny.

The playing catch up with a smile,

Dave Rat

 

 

Oct 4th Day 499 - Breathing Fresh Air

**** Dormant Roadie Babble ****

So sorting through some pics and since Leeds was the last show I was pretty pre occupied with wrapping up odds and ends so not a lot of photos. I did find these. The magnetic attraction fire does seem to go quite well with music. Add in some food and it somehow highlights the human-ness of it all.

Oh and found this from Glasgow I think. Wow, this is one heck of a facility! "Man and woman make baby in shower." And even the slippery floor warning, so be careful.

So I am hanging out and a critter cruises by in the night in the back yard. The combination of curiosity and hunter instinct sets in and so I decide to trap whatever it is and wake up to find this little guy.

Cute little baby possum and very stinky as well. Well, I don't mind 'em running around so I did what any considerate person would do, I let him go in my neighbors yard.

Been getting a bunch o requests to take a look round the home I occupy so here are a few. I while back I bought some old recording studio sound baffles and combined them with some excess shirts from past tours and gigs I have done. This would be in the dining room. That purple shirt with the satan on it says Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Pearl Jam." Imagine if that tour happened now how big it would be!!

My home office.

And as we head to the Rat Shop I find Ben de-prepping the Peppers FOH console as it re enters the rental inventory. All those wires were in the back of my board, yikes!

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

Dynamic vs. Compressed.

So a while back I was pondering mixing live shows, as I strangely so often do, and I started analyze the varying aspects of dynamics in live reverberant fields. Is there something more legitimate than personal preference that would add credibility to using compression? The studio humans and mastering labs use a tom of it, but comparatively us live engineers use fairly little. I know it works well to control the variations in the band's playing and helps with smoothing the sound but there is yet another advantage of compression that is not so readily apparent.

On the surface it is quite obvious that compression can be used on bass to reduce the differential between the louder and softer notes resulting in a more consistent sound. Same with vocals and I put comps on guitars as well. I even take it further and run kick and snare into a subgroup that has a bit of compression on it to keep the two locked in a bit more volume-wise to each other.

So what got me started again on this train of thought was not long ago I was listening to a super punchy horn loaded rig. Boom, crack, boom, crack, as the drums jump out at me and they do sound cool. But I also know from experience that the reverb decay time from the loud 'on top' super punchy sounds blurs the intelligibility of everything else. If an uncompressed snare is 10 db 'on-top' of the mix, then the correspondingly loud roar of the room-reverb-decay-level from that snare would hurt overall intelligibility long after the original snare hit has been heard and ended. Conversely, that means that if the instruments are all compressed to a fairly narrow volume range, they then would stay at an even level consistently above the room reverberation rather than the loud sounds setting off room reverberations louder than the following softer sounds.

What I am getting at here is that controlling the differential between the loudest and softest sounds not only improves intelligibility by reducing volume inconsistencies, it is also helpful in dealing with reverberant room acoustics. The sacrifice? Well, you loose some of that slam- hit eye-blinking impact. But hey, the upside is your mix will sound a bit more like an album, the audience will be able to hear the various instruments and vocals better especially in reverberant rooms, and you will be able to get more overall volume from the PA with less clip lights flashing.

If you like the Sound Nerd Speak section, try this link to see them all!

http://www.ratsound.com/cblog/categories/1-Sound-Nerd-Speak

**** End Sound Nerd Speak ****

Dave Rat