Wednesday, August 26. 2009
Here is another first for me. We use only mics from one company and every mic on Blink's stage is Audix. Typically, I try and stay away from single vendor setups purely for the reason that I like to have freedom to use the best tool for the job rather than select from a small tool box. That said, when I came on board to this gig, Blink was already in rehearsals and was mic 'ed and dialed in. Though Steve Walsh so graciously said I could change anything I want, rather than heavy foot my way around, I started out by doing what I am supposed to do. I listened first to the setup to see how it sounded. And to be perfectly honest, it sounded excellent. Except for one minor issue and one minor addition, I was perfectly happy to roll with the all Audix mic layout. Well, almost all Audix, there actually is one alien mic and direct inputs and such
Curious about the mic list? And just to keep it interesting, this should be enough info for an audio human with some experience to decipher.
K K S SB S2 H R F O O 8 R CB B B G G G G V V
91 D6 I5 I5 MD 1244 1244 MD MD 1244 1244 palmer 1244 avalon avalon palmer palmer palmer palmer om7 om7
The new exciting thing for me is that I really like the Micro D's and M1244a's. I have never used either before enough to form an opinion but they sound quite good. Less 'clinical' than the Beta 98's I usually use and a much nicer warm low mid that really brings the toms out on top with less EQ. Plus the M1244a's are an 'all in one' small format mic which means they do not have that dorky external supply that the Beta 98's and Micro D's have.
As far as the changes I made? Well, Travis is an amazing drummer and really smashes the kit hard. Originally there were SX1's on the HH and cymbals, but it was not to happy with the level and were crunching a bit. Swapping to the 1244's solved it and looks cool to. No mic stands anywhere near that kit, small mics, underhead cymbal mic'ing. Oh, it is a sexy setup.
As far as the addition, well, we all know that you can never have enough cowbell, so even though I love to keep my inputs lean, 20 for Blink, I bit the bullet and let the input # creep to the lofty 21 inputs we are at now.
Meet Robert who handles Mark's bass rig, notice the 'Ocho.' And ya already know Steve who rocks the monitor rig
And the pics keep piling up so may as well thin out the stockpile a bit.
And to end things on a scary note, guess what! I lost some of my things! I know, you are surprised and awed that it took this long for my belonging to stage an escape. But the story gets worse. I not only left my pointy hat that was made in Nepal out of alpaca wool, bit I also left a shirt that was a personal gift that says "I'm hung like a ...." well, you know the rest of the story if you have been joining my adventures for a while. Anyway, after the initial shock faded I decided to see if I could hunt them down.
Now check this out, I mentally retraced my steps back to the only logical place they could have escaped me and low and behold, after a phone call and a chat, I found a lead But one can never be sure. How am I to know that it was nit just any pointy hat and shirt that were what was found? Could it be the wrong ones? Thankfully I was able to persuade Kara from the hotel into helping me positively identify them by sending me a pic. Thank you Kara and Jennifer!
Sunday, August 23. 2009
Any of y'all who have followed my bloggery adventures for a while and I have not bored away, you may recall my FOH techs Nick the Fly and Happi-Lee. Nick started Peppers with me and I like to have out during the design phase early on. Then Lee joined on with his amazing and precise skill set that really locked the PA into an amazing level of consistency. For this Blink tour, Nick once again got me started up but I could not get Lee. Instead I have the fabulous honor to be working with none other than Jim Lockyer, new tour nickname yet to be determined.
I can not stress enough the importance of having a high quality PA tech. Especially for my spacey forgetful self. I heavily rely on my techs for consistency and attention detail as I want to walk into a setup as close to identical as humanly possible everyday. My goal is to purely focus on any venue to venue issue but the system and everything else must be in its proper place.
Now typically I am a calm and easy going individual but when there are issues that involve gross negligence, or complete disregard, I can really ramp up into a frenzy that I highly recommend everyone avoid. So imagine my surprise when I arrived at the sound board to fired up the system and noticed this
I know, it is hard to look at and sorry for putting you through it, but it was too big of an issue to let slide. Yes, the zig zaggy pad edge is missing its outer strip. Frozen in time I felt a full melt down rush over me. JIM, what the fuck kind of ship are you running here? I thought you were pro! You came highly recommended. Sigh, I thought you were my friend :(
Not only was the strip not in its proper position, it was actually sitting on the console for the last few shows. But since I mix in the dark and rarely look there, I had not noticed.
How am I supposed to mix the god damn show if I am limited in my padded roaming room? Can I mix like that? No I can't, no wonder the last two shows sucked ass. This absolutely unacceptable! Aaaargh! I am out of here. I can not work under these conditions but fortunately our head of tour security, Tony the Tiger, captured me as I was running off and convinced me to give Jim another chance.
He assured me it wont happen again and that he will do all posssible to be spot on from now on.. I was relieved to see his dedication renewed and I snapped this photo of Jim tuning the sound system the following day, notice the RTA mic with the orange spiral tape.
Here we can see Jim line checking:
So, far since "The Pad Event" he has held things together very well. Lets just hope that he keeps his wits about and priorities straight. And in case he forgets:
#1) No Lights! No board lights, no rack lights and computer screens must be facing away from me or off during the show.
#2) Carpet and pad setup properly.
#3) Wine glass never empty and make sure I drink plenty of water.
#4) The mixing Stick must be readily accessible at all times.
#5) Make sure most of the PA works and sounds halfway decent most of the time.
For those of you unfamiliar with the mixing stick:
Ok, now that I got that off my chest, enough with the serious stuff.
Hey, can you guess where in the truck the KUDO boxes were after the rainy gig?
I really am enjoying this tour and I really feel loved
And it's is fun! Ha!
**** Sound Nerd Speak ****
Finally, as a side note, Notice the modified Slotfire setup we are calling V Fire?
Basically, same theory as Slotfire, but closing the backs up puts a lot less sound under hollow stages. Slotfire does sound a bit better and offers a smaller point source as the V opening needs to be larger to work properly. But, sealing up the back really help. So wall or solid behind, we use Slot, Hollow or open behind, we use V. We even used a combo wit on slot and one V per side when the inside stacks were in front of the hollow stage and the outsides were against concrete.
**** End Sound Nerd Speak ****
Next up, well dunno yet but it will be some ramblings about something or other.
Wednesday, August 19. 2009
Now that we have some time under our belts and settled into a good rhythm, I can lay off the nerdery a bit and deal with info sharing at a more leisurely pace. The Ogasmatron (Vortex) and Slotfire setups are fairly easy to replicate and the need for my hands on aspects are greatly diminished. Back into our second to last arena today and the Orgasmatrons are truly refreshing. So how about a little house cleaning of the photos that are collecting in my post folder?
Daniel (Ocho Diablo) rocks the suction machine. Meet Chris Holmes (Ocho Wino) our Bus-Ocho protools wizard that handles the samples and such, like the "west coast shit" during the drum solo.
Tom stands near the flame thrower
Jumping back to audio, here is the centerfill dV-Dosc hang with front and rear motors for a near straight down shot. I avoid stage stacked fill speakers and fully rely on everything flown for coverage. These pretty much see a full mix identical to the mains.
So we headed to Council Bluffs for an outdoor field show. Last of a five gig sprint. Talk about a wonderful mix of fun and misery, wow. So, though I am sure you have heard the news by now, yes, we were at the epicenter of Fly War 2009.
Though this does not do justice to the plentiful fly covered strips dangling everywhere, Jessica celebrates them
Oh, scenes like this were everywhere. On everything. But hey, the good news is at least the dining area was inside a room. The bad news is that so was the most awe inspiring gathering of flies imaginable. Everywhere on everything. At least we could try and clear them out except the only water source was a sink that meant a hose ran out the door to the outside fly area where the caterers battled out a space to cook So we wont be closing that door. Clearly the flies had a well thought out plan.
But our catering is a force to be reckoned with that strikes fear into all that cross their path. Be advised, this next photo is not for the faint hearted so look at your own risk.
That's right, prepare for battle but first we must arm the troops. Meet 'The Claimer' a ruthless weapon that travels at high speeds crushing its victims mercilessly.
It was long and bloody battle, and though no war is truly won, we were able to retake our dining area and in the aftermath there was plenty of room for celebration.
how about a wander into punter world? Bl-ink
Hey, I was gonna wear that, darn it!
Now that's what friends are for. The one gal was actually eating the funnel cake and watching the show.
Yes, I know, just another picture we all see every day out of our office window but can you spot anything out of the ordinary?
Move along folks, nothing to see here.
Got ink? Blink ink? Like signed and came back an hour later fresh ink?
Ocho Diablo getting ready dial in the Travis' drum world, it's a tough gig but it has to be done.
Interesting strategy with, I would assume, a relatively low probability of success.
But when travis spotted her and dove off the stage screaming "Yes Yes" I was proven wrong. Oh wait, maybe not.
And so ends another rough day at the office.
Friday, August 14. 2009
**** Sound Nerd Speak ****
Double hung V-Dosc versus Single hung K1?
A little over three years ago I took two full sound systems on Red Hot Chili Peppers tour, hung them side by side and divided vocals and instruments between the two systems.
Though double sound systems that have been done in theater for years, the goal there is to minimize phase issue caused by two mics in close proximity. Someone figured out that if you combine the mics electrically, there are comb filtering issues with sounds that enter both mics. But by giving each mic it's own speaker, those issue were greatly reduced as the acoustic summation of time shifted signals from the same source is way less problematic than the electrical summation of those same signals. But that is not what I was addressing with the double hung system.
Also, there have been many engineers, myself included, that have added on some extra speaker boxes to a system and pushed vocals through them as a way to increase vocal clarity, or reduce stress on the primary sound system. For that matter, we as sound engineers have been bringing in separate subwoofer on an aux systems for years to send a few instruments to in order to improve low end energy and control. I even went so far as tour with tweeters on an aux send as well, to reduce the complexity of the signal sent to them and improve clarity.
The constant quest for more power and clarity is an endless battle. And with each hurdle jumped, the systems sound better and either get louder or smaller. So following that path, my goal was to present a level of clarity and control that was audibly superior to other systems touring on that level and then and present it to a majority of the audience Seek a different PA type? Buy some magical whiz bang gadget? Add more boxes?
I could have looked for a different PA but I am pretty sure I have already mixed on every major large scale system that planet earth had to offer and I like V-Dosc the best, not only for sound quality but for system to system consistency as well as world wide availability.
As far as whiz bang gadget, well, my firm belief is that the speaker systems we use is by far, huge leaps and bounds and massive amounts so giant that all pales in comparison, the weakest link in the sound quality chain. Mics are a distant second. Try doing a listening test between a $50 Mackie, a $50,000 Yamaha $200K Midas. Yes, there is a difference and if you do sound for a living, you hopefully may actually hear that they do not sound the same if you have a fairly hi-fi listening device. Try using a Marshall stack as your listening monitor and hmmm, maybe the boards don't sound different at all. Now go the stereo store and punch all those buttons listening to all the different speakers and any knucklehead off the street can hear they are vastly different. Find two speakers made by two different manufactures and put them side by side. Now turn them up and hear how they sound near maximum volume, then see if you can find a sound engineer that can't hear the difference between the sound of the two and then don't hire them.
So it comes down to more? But I could not add more as I was already at the maximum weight capacity of my preferred system, V-Dosc. They hang 16 deep max or, as most tours carry, 15 deep plus 3 dV-Dosc. Furthermore, even if I could hang more boxes forming a longer array, sight lines are often an issue for sold out arena gigs. Until line arrays took the sound industry by storm in the late 90's, side by side systems with similar coverage were not a feasible option for large scale gigs, as those older systems were physically too wide.
Yes, more but not for volume but rather for clarity. When intentional distortion is not desired, speakers sound 'less good' when driven too hard. Speakers, as they reach mechanical limitations, become less linear. The more complex the signal presented to the speaker, the more difficulty it has reproducing that signal accurately. By using two identical sound systems, with identical coverage patterns set side by side I could divide the instruments between the two and increase clarity and headroom while simultaneously getting around many of the mechanical system limitations.
And it worked. It worked really well. So well in fact that the though of touring without it is kind of a bummer but then came K1. The brand new system is inherently clearer and louder than V-Dosc by no small margin. So what do I do? There is not enough K1 around or budget for that matter, to double up K1, but I could easily double up V-Dosc again. Double V-Dosc though is twice the truck space, twice the motor points and considerably more expensive than single hung K1.
So here I am now, three weeks or so into touring a single hung K1 system. I had 60 V-Dosc last tour and now I have 24 K1 and I must say that I made the right call. This system is as loud, if not louder, I don't even fly the K1 subs in most places due to trim height issues and the clarity rivals or beats the double hung V-Dosc. Setup time is so much faster with a quicker rigging system and less gear. That said, there were a few things about the double hung that still stand above. First is the ability to alter the source location of the instruments. It was really nice and surprisingly audible to hear instruments and vocals coming from separate sources. Different than clarity, it gave a bit more freedom in level. I could turn things down farther in the mix and still have them clearly discernable. Secondly, when I really push the K1, I can hear it begin to blur a bit, though less so than the V-Dosc, with the double hung V-Dosc I could push and blur one system while still having the vocals super clear in the other other system. That freedom from level based interaction is very desirable. Next step? Maybe double hung K1 some day, but for now, I feel I am far enough ahead of the game that I am perfectly happy.
**** End Sound Nerd Speak ****
You want to meet more of the tour humans? First up today, Robert Rat stage pa teching the shit out the K1 rig.
'The Show Must Go On' Adam is the fearless tour leader!
Touring with catering rules! Touring with great catering is the difference between happiness and misery. You can run a crew ragged with multiple shows and longs drives, just make sure they have a safe place to get whatever sleep they can and feed them well and magically most anything is endurable with a smile. Oh, keeping the busses stocked with plenty of alcohol doesn't hurt either. Meet Ali!
And Nate and Billy. Too bad these guys have such a bad attitude and are no fun to hang with.
Our other two caterers, Jeremy and other Nate you will meet as soon I I remember to snap a pic. Another important life support friendly essential is showers. Yes, we are scruffy roadie types but a quick shower every few weeks really does cheer the spirit. That is why a it was so exciting to saunter into this shangrila of a paradise vintage crew room.
Though he looks vicious and scary, don't be afeard, Pete and the Fall Out Boy band and crew are super cool.
Now here is a brilliant concept, how about we attach a tractor to front of house mix area just in case it becomes a good idea to drag the sound and light roadies around the venue during the show.
And it is dinner time and then guess what! I am going to check out Blink 182 tonight as we hit the middle of a 5 in a row show sprint.
Tuesday, August 11. 2009
Jones Beach. I remember the first time I ever did a show here was Lollapalooza 1992, the first of two shows went on with out a hitch but for the second show our little friend Hurricane Andrew decided to drop by for a visit and lay a category 5 wind and rainstorm on top of all the wires, speakers, lights and humans. Talk about torrential downpour! I have some old video of it somewhere that have been meaning to post. Pretty intense seeing the lights and PA swinging and mashing into each other. Big chunks of gear blowing over into foot deep puddles flowing in a cascading waterfall off the stage while sideways rain blows away tents and any attempt to protect the not so thirsty gear.
So I have settled into two subwoofer designs and hope to be able to flow one or the other into the rest of the tour gigs. The Vortex or Orgasmatron setup gives me a bit more control over coverage and allows me to disperse low end over a very wide area. Also the Vortex gives me excellent rejection on stage and directly behind the subs. Our other setup which I guess I will call the Slotfire Cannon. It is similar to the Sub Cannons I used to fire to the sides of the arena's on Peppers tour but they take up less depth, are more efficient and offer a bit better control. Being four feet deep and about 14 feet wide, the Slotfire should be able to drop into most sheds fairly easily. The has quite good control over widening coverage but offers very little cancellation behind the arrays. So for venues that have a wall behind the subs, the Slotfire is a good way to go. Conversely the Vortex work best if there is open space behind them.
Perhaps you noticed we spun the Vortex (Orgasmatrons) 45 degrees? Ahh for this gig it gave us better sighlines, so therfore better placement downstage and a bit more control. So here is the basics of the Slotfire setup as done morning of the show;
The theory on the Slotfire is to space two acoustic centers at 1/3 of a wavelength of the desired center frequency. For this I chose 45hz due to the sub design and program material I am sending, so about 8.5 feet or so. Then if I delay the outside acoustic source by 3.6 to 7.2, I gain a tremendous amount of control to steer the low end to the outside. Zero time delay gives me a figure 8 pattern, which I do not need as I want to steer outward and reduce power alley. Here are some simple predictions for one side
A 3.6 ms delay is 1/6 wavelength at 45 hz so if you apply that to the outside subs and add that to the 1/3 wavelength physical spacing, we get that 1/2 wavelength virtual spacing that gives nice cancellation towards the stage and steers low frequencies outward
And as we increase delay further it steers more outward.
So super simply I can control how wide the coverage is while reducing power alley, just by adding delay.
The trick though to get this all to work efficiently is to create two nice LF point sources with the subs. Ahhh, and that is where the super cool part comes. Because to get an 8.5 spacing of acoustic centers with 4 foot wide boxes means the stacks would only be 6" apart. Basically one big wall with some time delay mushing it up, which is lame and boooring! So what I did was to point the subs at each other with 12" spacing. Now I have two very clean 12" wide acoustic centers to work with. And wow! This setup kicks butt!
The sound of this setup is really solid and powerful, more so than the Vortex. But, keep in mind, the Vortex offers more control. If I setup the Slotfire in an arena, poor Steve and everyone else behind the subs would be completely obliterated. Never forget that the key is using the right tool for the right job.
Haa! I got to be the guinea pig for the flying drum riser test drive!
I think this was Montreal
May as well start introducing the awesome Rat crew out here putting up with my antics. Meet Jim, also known as Ice, not sure why but hey, nicknames rule. He is my FOH tech and the one who directly gets my world dialed in. I do put a lot responsibility on my tech, and really appreciate him keeping it together. Oh, Nick the Fly was out here but he went back to home world and was the front end guy that helped me get my wacky designs all dialed in.
This is Robert, he rocks the stage wire world
Scott Sugden (top left) came out for a few days to hang with us and Roz (working with Scott) is our laser room measuring K1 system design guru now that Nick is gone.
Manny is out here too promoting corn chips mainly but I think he does some PA setting up as well.
Re ran the orgasmatrons at Jones Beach. Good news is Mark Hoppus went inside during the show. Bad news is he tripped over the strap that holds them together and fell inside with his bass on mid show. Fortunately he did the party roll and landed on his back and seemed ok.
Jessica is our wonderful production assist and awesome to work with.
May as well toss some show shots in the mix
After the gig, we Blink fans all hang out waiting for the band.
Not really related but some say Pigeons are like flying rats, so I figured I would toss some props out to our flighty friend here.
Okey dokey artichokey. See ya soon for more brain twisting adventures soon.
Sunday, August 9. 2009
Toronto and back in a shed again. Well, last night in Montreal was quite amazing, packed house of pure exuberance. Truly a fun show that finished off a pretty rough day. Long bus rides, border crossing into Canada and we lost a roller. So there we are parked with whizzing traffic roadside in the dark wee hours. Two busses dividing up the delirious human cargo of the third. Passports, blankets and pillows staggering through the gravel. Losing four hours on the front end of load in makes for a push to get the show up and the show must go up and go up safely. Other than one of the crew from the dead bus forgetting his shoes on the broken bus, it went well enough.
Getting in the familiar groove. Each day I remove more console labels, and have been mixing in full darkness for the last several shows. It takes me a few shows to learn the setup and this is my first tour on an XL4 console, so I embarrassingly had to light and label, I have been giving refining my mix strategy for this tour.
I am looking for an almost 'cartoony' sound, not sloppy, just a bit saturated. A little too much of this and then a little too much of that. And vocals, lots of strong clean distinct vocals more on top than usual. Every word spoken between songs is as much the show as the songs, I really want clear defined and 'understand every word' intelligibly. All leading up to a lot too much of everything for Travis' no holds barred flying spinning drum solo, at which point I get to unleash the full power of this K1 system. Fun stuff!
Also, unlike Peppers tour, real estate for the mix position is not an issue so we have sprawled out into messy little mini city.
Our support acts keep changing throughout the tour but Panic at the Disco was around for bit and will be back
Fall Out Boy hangs with us for a while
and Chester French
And Hey, may as well feature a roadie of the day. Meet Daniel, also sometimes known as Satan. If you let your guard down you may as well lay down cause its all over if he catches it. Oh, and he is the awesome drum tech that gets Travis' world running smooth
Finally, what is really important with any production is making things happen. Inevitably, there are going to be last minute changes and requests coming from the top. We as are professionals, of course we do all in our power to make these things happen. For example, when the band requested a specific song for walk out music and that they also are able to hear it on stage, well the orders get rushed to front of house so we can make that happen.
Thursday, August 6. 2009
Comcast Center, formally Tweeter Center, formally Great Woods in Boston but actually is 25 miles away from Boston in Mansfield Mass.
The thin crust of an eggshell that had formed around my nearly two years at home has been sufficiently shattered for me to begin to see tour world clearly. You would think that well over two decades since my first tour, I would have a nice warm familiar groove to settle into. Hey, isn't touring like riding a bike? Once you do it, you know forever. Perhaps, but with so many complexities and patterns I have carved into over the years, which one will I be? As I re-enter tour life, which of my past tour patterns will envelop me and which pattern do I strive to embrace? Regardless of my intentions though, the unique dynamics of each band, travel rhythm, fellow crew friends and my life stability levels all whirl-spin together and at some point I find out where I land. It at that point which I can truly decide which direction to head.
And here I am starting with two extremes and working my way to the middle. Deep dives into technical ponderings in between reckless indulgence in the freedom from the mundane responsible of the everyday land locked life I lived just few weeks ago, all magnified by the gaping holes left where the things I miss reside.
Finishing up the design phase of adapting the sound system to sheds and finding a stable tour pattern. Must drink less because if I continue at this lushy pace I will start losing everything thing, like cameras, friends or my own humanly self. Oh, and also I need to work on finding this tour's hobby or adventure. Speaking of tour hobby, this is the exact venue that donated the seat to the electric go-cart I made on the 2003 Peppers tour!
And so, nothing truly is perfect but some things are way better than others and now that we have the sub Vortex system all dialed in, at least we are done doing arenas so I get to start all over. Would not want to get bored and running with 'typical' is soooo booooring.. Lets take a dive into the pleasure of coming up with a brand new shed design. Fortunately, the design of the various amphitheaters (sheds) varies so drastically, that nailing down a repeatable setup is going to be a challenge indeed. My strategy is to come up with three setups to select from and pick the optimum for each venue. The Vortex is choice #1 and surprisingly we were able to run with it in Milwaukee
How well do the Vortex actually work? On the down side, when you light up an entire arena with low end and really cover the sides well, the sound of the subs is naturally going to be a more 'roomy' over all sound. But that is a price I have to pay for getting a more consistent sub sound in the room.
Also, we are doing really well at getting a smooth sub level in front of the stage, but at the diagonals where the sub Vortex stacks are focused toward the deep part of the arena, there is substantial output, especially during the drum solo. So the sub output is hotter than I would like in those areas. That said, it is much more consist ant than any other ground stacked sub setups I have used. Oh, plus they look cool and I can alter the coverage a bit with delay times and levels.
One of the goals with the sub setup was to be able 'fill and not kill.' As in fill the arena and not kill Steve, Doug, Robert and Chris, the backline techs. Steve Walsh drives at the other end of the audio snake during the show and literally five feet away from the back of the subs. Chris is even closer. I will rock some pics of all the tour humans at some point but first I have to remember all the names.
Anyway, take a peak at the alternate shed setup
And the design notes:
And no matter how large you roll, someone somewhere just has to one up ya!
Sunday, August 2. 2009
**** Sound Nerd Speak ****
So it did not take long and all the attention paid to the Vortex setup has give rise to yet another naming possibility
I guess the next step is finding volunteers to test for proper function.
Welcome to my new office. Nice high ceilings, roomy, I even brought my chair from the Rat office so I could feel at home.
I realize the decorations leave something to be desired, but that will have to wait, nerd things first. Deciding what gear to bring on tour can be quite a challenge. Should I make the digital jump? Should I push for a $200,000 XL8 console? What is the newest latest and greatest? What are the budget, truck space and venue space constraints? Where o where shall that budget be spent and how do I justify the the expenses, at least to myself if no one else. My theory for getting the gear I want is simple and very effective. "Give me the tools I need to do my job and I will guarantee a quality result."
So what do I do when I could have just about anything I want? Well, first of all I get the what I truly believe to be the best large scale PA on earth right now. Next, I grab a nice big pile of old outdated clunky gear. Not the 'old' where they are getting expensive, but rather the 'old' where anyone can collect the stuff up by scanning eBay . I am running large! I am pretty sure that all of the gear I touch, there is only one piece newer than 15 years or so old.
Up top left is my Drawmer 1960 stereo tube comp I use on vocal subgroups, the meters don't read quite right so you never know if you are left right matched and it is perfect.
Next are 2 BSS DPR 404 quad comps that cover the rest of my subgroup compression. Stereo guitars, bass, Kick/Snare, stereo toms and metal things. I love those comps, I hate their elder brother, the DPR 402 though. Where the 404 is smooth and easy, the 402 are hard and useless to me.
The Aphex units are just for show and backups in case the 1960 dies
A couple Klark DN510's stereo gates and DN 514 do all my gating. Pair of kick mics, pair of snare mics, 2nd snare, 2 toms and spare. All good, I have tried many gates but keep coming back the 514's. I would just use 2 quads but the stereo units allow me to trigger both kick gates off of one kick mic. Same with snare top and bottom.
Next down is a CD burner that is fairly new but I do not count that as it is not in the signal path of the rock show.
Top right is the only real exception to the 'old and not getting expensive' theme. The PCM is my flat out favorite reverb. Rat owns 6 or so of them and it is pretty much all I use. In fact it literally on this tour is all I use. One reverb unit does vocals, toms and snare.
Being a guy that loves frill and uselessness in the audio mix, plus the desire to get all ego'd out on the sounds, I felt it necessary to actually use a second effect unit. I know, you are thinking two effects for an arena tour? Why so many? Some things I just cant explain, furthermore I am very embarrassed to say that the second effect is actually brand new. Yikes! But hey, this TC Helicon Voice Doubler works very nicely at adding a subtle but enjoyable thickness to the vocals.
Next in line is my trusty Eventide H3500. I brought it, thought I may need it but it is just filling rack space and acting as a spare.
Next is the broken DAT player that the door wont open on.
The next three units are dedicated to subwoofer processing. Since I personally refuse to scroll through any menus while I mix , even when I do use the 3500, I memorize the programs and punch them in directly. But for subs, I want some control. I want t low pass that allows me to shave off the top and just have the sub lows, so I use the BSS FDS 310 for that.
I also like to be able shave off the bottom to de-boomify the subs, so I use the high pass filters in the KT DN410. One side of the 410 allows me to EQ all the subs and the second side is just on the Rat Super Subs.
The Symetrix 501 compressor allows me tighten up the lows a bit. Since I use only subgroup compressors, the subwoofer sends from the kick, toms and bass are able to sneak out un compressed. The 501 solves that issue if I so desire.
I insert the EQ - x-over - comp chain on the subwoofer aux
In the lower rack is a pair of Meyer CP 10's. One is inserted on the entire PA left/right and I use to tune the room. The second is a KUDO modifier EQ that we use to fine tune the KUDO to sound as close to the K1 as possible.
The top BSS graphic is in series with the top CP10 and gives me a quick grab EQ that I use during the show. I have 250 and 2.5 K knobs pulled so I can Braille my way to the frequencies. Cause you know that I am a sound guy, not a lighting guy. Therefore I try to keep light to a minimum in my area and run in the darkness. The next BSS does a whole lot of nothing.
Moving over there is the archaic DBX RTA-1. I doubt there are many left surviving but I love it. It is truly the only RTA that actually looks like what I am hearing. All these new fangled laptop analyzer are quirky and jumpy. Plus, with a few flips to some setting, they can pretty much look any way you want them to. Which always leaves me with doubts and the fears of 'oh wait, the blah blah' is set wrong. This DBX thing is a no brainer, set gain, set decay to one of 4 choices and done. Simple pure easy confidence is what I seek, I want to glance and see a visual that has a strong correlation to what I am hearing, all that excess accuracy capabilities is useless to me during the show.
Next down is a pair of XTA 448's that I don't mess with but they control press feeds and Sub Vortex/Rat Super processing and sub delay times. We used the XTA for Vortex delays rather than the LA-8's because it was faster for testing. We may drop the XTA on Vortex after we settle into the shed's.
And then there is a Shure PSM 600 transmitter that allows me to go wireless with my headphones. I still primarily rely on the RTA, my ears and comparative reference points to tune the sound system. The wireless headphones allows me to tune the sound system to sound like the sound in the headphones while wandering around in the venue.
The Lab Gruppen power amp supplies juice to a pair of EAW MicroWedge 12's I run in passive mode as local listen wedges.
And finally, the clear com power supply.
**** End Sound Nerd Speak ****
And here is the full setup
You can never have enough bear spray at the sound board!
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