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Hey, Lets go Over There!

Ok, it has been 5 1/2 years since I started a blog on Chili Peppers tour in '06.  Had no idea where it would go or really even that anyone would read it.  To be perfectly honest, I did it to remember.  To remember the adventures of travel and to captures snapshots of the details that hopefully would be spontaneous enough that at some future date I could look back and feel a how it felt.  I wanted to document the experiments with sound so there was a feeling of progress in my life rather than an endless stream of unfinished projects.

Well, who woulda knew the added dynamics, interactions and adventures it would bring.  So fun, so cool and to meet so many people all over.

Anyway, I am going to bring this blog to an end, or at least let it rest.  I am not one much for repetition, I love excitement, change and motion. And to put it more simply, it is a real pain in the ass to blog this way.  I actually have been writing the posts in Dreamweaver, crushing the pics down in Firefox, uploading pics, then embedding links, then saving and finally copying the HTML code into the blog, posting, testing and done.  

So it has been that inconvenience rather than the lack of things to post that has grinded the blog to a crawl

Still in the learning curve, and hoping the wordpress world will bump it up a notch toward smoother and the new Dave Rat blog address is:

http://www.daverat.blogspot.com

Heavy Gear

Heavy Gear

So getting ready to tour with Soundgarden and the gear left on trucks today. I cool K1 rig and lots of toys. Jamie and the rest of the shop Rats have spent the last week or so building up the ,complex kluge of gear for the run and it should be cool. Here is snap of the FOH racks as I will start the tour. I have some fun new things going on with subs that I am hoping will pan out as planned. A newer cleaner setup to replace the vortex, though not quite as sexy looking plus some new control features I am pretty psyched about. I am planning on setting up sideways again with the console controlled by my right hand as I face forward towards the band. In front and off to the right will be the racks shown below. The goal is to have a wide open space between the band and I with no gear between while being able to clearly see the RTA, system EQ's and the rack gear. Stepping back will allow a full scan of everything going on with the system.

The Dorroughs meters are new and I am hoping the average versus peak simultaneous metering will do a good job of giving a clear visual on how well the subgroup compression technique I use is working. For more info on that, check out the youtube video I did on the subject.

Cool cool, excited to get out and about have some fun getting this rig dialled in for some epic gigs with a super cool heavy band!

-Dave Rat

Here We Go

Here comes summer sunshine and time to jump back in to making the world a louder place to live in. Red Hot Chili Peppers have a new album coming out at the end of August directly followed by a world tour schedule that keeps rolling through 2013. Bye bye home. well, not really as Peppers tend to travel a 3 week on, 2 week off pattern so I wont totally disconnect from the world I currently live in. Plus with my daughters now 15, I am planning to have them take turns coming out to visit on and get in some travels and adventures. Oh, and the first gig is in Hong Kong, never been so its always cool to go to a new city.

But before all that kicks in, I will be out for all of July mixing Soundgarden for a one month North America run. It just all comes at once. Unfortunately I could not take the upcoming Blink 182 tour as it overlaps both Soundgarden and Peppers, but at least two of the three bands I mix have schedules that fit well enough.

Whenever I head out on the road for a major full production tour, I try and formulate some sort of useful or memorable adventure to attach to the travels. On Rage Against the Machine tour in 1996, I decided I would learn HTML and build a web site, back when it was not a point and click process. Unfortunately "Way Back Machine" did not capture the images of the old Rat Site but here is a link to the archive.

And if you are not familiar with Way Back Machine, it archives the internet so you can see web sites as they were, way back when.

Google beta site 1998

Enron from start to collapse

The very first Twitter Web Page

I find it both interesting and useful. I use it to look up old specification on audio gear that is no longer made and with a bit of digging there is all kinds of seemingly long lost info that is still around.

Speaking of way back, way back in April Rat Sound provided the gear for our 11th Coachella Festival and our 5th year supporting Stagecoach Festival, except this time there were three weekends instead of two and a the Big 4 show with Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth kept us in the desert for three weekends with 7 semi trucks of gear.

Oh, so back to useful and memorable, one tour I learned to weld and had a 200 amp welder shipped to my hotel and made an electric gocart, another tour I learned to scuba dive during a week off in Bali, but mainly I try and focus on the fact that I have a giant sound system at me disposal and try and figure out some sort of new or improved way of presenting large scale audio.

So, for these tours, so far, I have four things on my plate:

1) I have a new sub setup that appears to be an improvement over the Vortex/Orgasmatron configuration

2) I have worked out a sub woofer processing method that should reduce if not eliminate the two primary nulls realized from two spaced sub sources. I did some youtube vids on subs setups and I look forward to testing the new processing.

3) As the sound world clamours deeper into the layered menus of digital control, the amount of information involved with mixing is growing exponentially while the amount of useful information we have access to becomes buried and diluted. Maybe it is all my punk rock anti follow the flow tendencies or perhaps I just want a simple clean controllable environment to mix in. Either way, I am excited about adding big giant VU meters to my setup. http://www.dorrough.com/ There is more to this than just a having a big meters as these provide some valuable insight into the sound being reproduced directly in line with my mixing strategy.

4) And more down that line, I had a great time mixing Paul Van Dyk in the Sahara Tent at Coachella this year. Two inputs, both Left and Right. I made a point of running the audio in a direct super clean path and used some Tonelux Mic pre's, EQ's and went directly into the amps from there. The sound quality difference over the more complex audio path from the normal setup was audible and preferable So, I am going to do some work on cleaning up and reducing the complexity of the audio path to get a cleaner sound to the speakers.

Ok, that's it for now, except one more thing. I officially declare the recession over. Just as it took a year for the realities of the recession to penetrate deeply enough into the depths of our economy for all to agree that it actually existed, the recovery will be denied by those late in the healing process until long after positive momentum is firmly entrenched and and driving the powerful core economic direction in a positive direction. Unfortunately the late healers involve employment figures and housing prices, so bemoan if you wish but the reality is that now, right now is the time that point that 5 years from now you will look back and go "man, I should have blah blah blah'ed back then because the people that did are on top of the world."

Ok, that's it for now, I will try and get some regular pattern for blogging again now that I am getting back into touring mode. In the mean time to fill the spaces between the blog posts that actually require me to sit down at a computer, I will continue doing updates and such via twitter and Facebook as well as posting links to stuff on daverat.com. Cool cool and see ya'all soon!

Dave Rat

Old Bloggery Post

Ok, time to start firing up the rusty bloggery engine as the tour season begins to ramp up. And diving in, look what I found! An old blog entry I forgot to post from back in December. So here it is as it was and will try and do some catch up as well as share some more hopefully interesting or useful pics and info soon.

**** Old Bloggery Post ****

Been pretty busy with time spongey adventures. Mainly business stuff which does not come natural to me. Its a state of mind that tends to be fully impressive with overlays of inter related projects so I have been doing a lot more mini posts on Facebook and Twitter as they are higher on the instant gratification scale.

Oh, looks like Jon Monson and I will be heading to Arizona in January for Tour Link http://tourlinkconference.com/ We have been meaning to go for a few years and with Rat Sound got nominated for an award, that tilted the scales.

The AES speaking gigs seemed to go well, yet I still feel a bit stumbly with public speaking I do enjoy it and my inevitable absent mindedness keeps it fun and challenging. It was very cool that so many people showed up and thank you! Anyway, if you are interested in seeing the slides I showed and/or hearing the audio, here is a link. AES sells the audio portion for $18 and you need to scroll about 3/4 down to find it

10AES-SE02 Friday Lunchtime Keynote - Dave Rat Audio

And if you would like to see pictures I showed, here is a slide show that goes along with the audio

Slide Show to match AES Keynote Audio http://daverat.com/aesframe.html

Also I had the honor of being asked to sit on two panels as well

10AES-L06 Subwoofer Directionality

10AES-L08 Fill Speakers in Live Sound Reinforcement Systems

They are also available for download as well. AES was good fun and especially to see all my audio friends.

Subwoofer Adventures

After doing the subwoofer panel I started pondering the disparities between sub prediction software and the realities of sub woofer setups. Once I was able to form some clear descriptions I put together some youtube videos so if you are a fan of the intricacies of the bottom end, you may want to take a look. My Youtube channel is

http://www.youtube.com/user/www73171?feature=mhum

I will try and do one or two more one the subject soon going into more depth on larger setups and offer some more tips on getting better results.

I went out for the third year in a row to speak at Citrus College to Japanese sound students. This year they came to the Rat Shop

Back in october I got to do a cool show for Matador Record's 21st anniversary with some amazing bands. I came in as the FOH assist and mixed Guided by Voices and a few others. Here is the band list:

and here are a few pics:

**** End Old Bloggery Post ****

Selective Listening

Hey, if you are thinking of heading to AES in San Francisco, I am the lunch time keynote speaker on Friday Nov 5th

http://www.aes.org/events/129/specialevents/?ID=2535

Also I will be on two panels as well:

Fill Speakers in Live Reinforcement where will be discussing aspects of the additional non-main system loudspeakers, placement and such

http://www.aes.org/events/129/livesoundseminars/?ID=2522

And Subwoofer Directionality which should be interesting as that has been something I have been doing quite a bit of messing around with in real world large scale applications

http://www.aes.org/events/129/livesoundseminars/?ID=2519

Here is the full calendar:

http://www.aes.org/events/129/calendar/calendar.cfm

As I think of them, I have been Tweeting SoundTips and have compiled the latest since blog post:

**** Sound ips ****

1) Carry a fml-fml-ml xlr Y & if talkback turned on is forgotten, Y TB mic into lead vox snake line for check & you'll be heard!

2) If you are a FOH eng, work out a hand signal line check plan with backline techs so you don't rely on a talkback mic. Easy, fast & efficient

3) For EQ'ing a system, I 1st set analyzer mic near me to calibrate my ears to what I see, I then move it to audience ear level

4) For dynamic bands, "Y" the drums to both gated and non gated inputs with a VCA for each. Now u can easily slide between open and gated sounds

5) When mixing, listen think, adjust, don't fiddle! Imagine a camera on u & u will be made to justify every knob and fader change

6) Creep some reverb into pre-show music before your band to create the illusion that your show comes up extra clean and tight.

7) In highly reverberant venues using more compression reduces the decay from louder peaks from stepping on the rest of the mix

8) Technology is important and useful but never ever forget that the final judge of the quality of your work is the human ear

9) If you are ever thinking a rock show is too loud, try going to some top fuel drag races or an air show and be humbled.

10) Why mix from a riser? Oh ya, so u can hear what the audience doesn't. I mix from the ground or 1' max whenever possible.

11) When using 2 kick mics, high pass the vent mic with the internal mic full range for a tight sound, do the reverse for a loose sound

12) If sending effects post fader, don't assign the efx return ch to same VCA as the send ch or the efx return level will be magnified 2:1 

13) Never use overeasy/softknee limiters for system protection, all they do is ruin the sound before letting speakers blow anyway.

14) Never mix from 2/3s back in a room with solid back wall. 2/3s is exactly 1/2 way. Sound travels 2/3ds to you, 1/3 to the wall and 1/3 back to you.

15) Mixing is like driving a car, turn off interior lights keep eyes on the road & glance, don't stare at the speedo and gauges

16) I mix with no light so I pull the 2.5K and 250 knobs off my 1/3oct EQ so I can EQ by feel, very 3rd knob is 1/2 or double freq

17) Never tape the grill of Shure SM57 back on by taping around the mic, the gap between grill and body is a sound port & it'll kill lows

18) In the time sound passes thru a digi console with 2.5ms latency sound travels 250miles in copper wire READ http://bit.ly/9OoJEm #FB

19) Condenser mics have lower mass diaphragms than dynamic mics, are more sensitive to detail, wind & feedback and 'faster'

20) Ever wonder why flown PA sounds better? The steeper angle of incidence allows sound to penetrate the human heat thermal layer and reduces sound blockage by the human heads in front of you

Soundgarden did a gig at a mock CBGB's built on Paramount Studios back lot.

Hanging with Donnie from Ncompass at the bar, It's crazy how the life size club photo's on the wall look in pics. This is us in front of a flat photo.

A combo of real stuff and the wall pictures form the CBGB's production office.

Louise and Robert have lots of old CBGB's stuff and worked there for years.

An old console from the club

CBGB's mix position with Justin

Getting ready to sound check Soundgarden

Sideways mix

May as well dive into the mic'ing I used. This is Chris' rig with 57 on one amp, and a Royer 122 and 57 panned stereo on the other

Same setup for Kim with the panning reversed.

For Ben I ran a Beta98 and and a DI

98 on the toms and HH, all clamps, no stands

98's on the toms and a mic I really like that is beat to crap, an AKG C5600 on underhead.

I am not to picky and like to use a mish mash of mics, I had a U89 so I put it on ride.

Audix D6 in the hole and Beta91 inside

Two MicroWedge 15's and 2 MicroWedge 15's for Matt's drumfill

MicroWedge 12's for frontline wedges

The Show

And went to Muse with my daughter Maddie. Check out MC's mix position! All good, low racks, mixes from the floor and all about being able to see everything with full control. All he need to do is loose the lights. Ha! MC you rock!

All the amps for 1/2 the PA. One rack per side, all the fly cables drop into the top, awesome setup and if it was an L' Acoustics rig, it would be 1/2 the size.

360 degree D&B J Rig

And some gratuitous band pics

OK, ever mix on a 5D? Ever glance to the side and see trails? Ever notice that dose not happen on most other boards or at least not as much? Yamaha, please, please soften the flash rate so your consoles are not so darn annoying!

So I usually try and offer some sort of life observation in my posts to counterbalance audio nerdery and the world of rock, so I'll give it a shot. A happy change in my recent life has been boycotting the corporate news machine. I realized it while in Europe with Blink and it dawned on me that there is a total disconnect between the world I live in and the worlds as presented by the corporations whose survival depends on parasiting human nature's infatuation with train wrecks, car crashes, dire futures and disregard for reality. In the course of trying to be responsible and aware, I was dedicating a portion of each day to staying on top of happenings of the world. While finding that simultaneously their negativity feels like being hooked on a fisherman's line and being methodically towed into the useless illusion.

It's a quandary. On one hand I discovered the world I live in and love by following music with disregard. On the other, things have grown to a point where if I do not embrace the bigger picture, stagnation will set in and those with whom my life is interlocked will pay the price of me not carrying my weight and unraveling my piece of the puzzle. Everything in in life is either growing or dying and since extended periods of motionless is either dead or never alive, to change, grow and thrive is to be alive. While to grow with too much veracity is to become a mindless predator. Balance. Life balance. Personal happiness, family, friends and the enjoyment of the adventures of exploring new ground, new heights.

So how do I be a part of guiding my Rat family upward without embracing the cactus and yet still being aware enough to avoid the pot holes? Hmmm, don't know but am going to start with remembering that controlled exposure is wise, whether I am dealing with the warmth of a campfire, abrupt velocity changes or pretending I am a businessman.

And pondering back to some useful news, this 2001 satire was about the most accurate thing in memory:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/bush-our-long-national-nightmare-of-peace-and-pros,464/

And just as the ship was swirled into a whirlpool of greed and violence, the dread I felt back then has now been replaced by positive momentum. This year was better and next looks to be better yet. I smile at the gun shy still grasping life preservers rather than swimming to shore to build a new boat. Timid is boring, smiles are magnetic and pessimists get the outcome they deserve.

Dave Rat

Momentum

Home from six weeks away and this time rather than acclimate I am enjoying maintaining the pace. Bring it on, hit the ground running with morning jogs, surfing anything remotely resembling waves and full steam ahead in work world. I finally have wrapped my head around embracing the business side of things by reframing it from a chore to a challenge.

Oh, I just got asked by Jonathan Novick to be a noon time Keynote speaker at AES in San Francisco on friday November 5th as well as to be on a panel with Tom Young discussing fill speakers for live concerts. I have been pondering what to speak about putting together an outline and am thinking I will start with a bit about the allure and challenges of the road life. I want to also cover understanding some fundamental differences between live and recording worlds hopefully from a fresh angle followed by some technical of the live sound challenges that would be beneficial to overcome. Finally talking about how the brilliant AES audio minds could help push live audio to the next level.

Since it is important that I am on track with covering aspects that wants to heard, I though I would ask. If you you are going to be attending AES and have subjects or suggestions you feel would be interesting that may fit, send me message or post a comment and I will try and cover it. Plus this will hopefully give me a better understanding of the direction to take it.

And while we are rocking social networking for the betterment and fun of all involved, it took me a while to find but I stumbled on an angle with twitter that seems to be going well. The random twitter updates without some substance never felt quite right to me so I started intermixing "Sound Tips." What I found was that not only was I getting a positive response but also it acts as a simple 'thought storage space' to hold concepts I feel worth remembering. So here is a consolidation of the Sound Tips so far and if you want further expansion on the concepts, there are some great response threads on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/?ref=mb&sk=messages#!/1drat

**** Sound ips ****

1) Spaced apart subs create a power alley. Use this instead of stacked behind for drumfill to get less lows washing the stage

2) Be sure to actually listen to your reference RTA or smaart mic before trusting it. A lot of those mics distort at higher volumes

3) Find the room resonance and kill it. Typically 200 hz for 2k cap dropping to 125 hz for 20000 cap

4) Ears want to hear a smooth response over time, disregard short term peaks, use 10 seconds averaging minimum on Smaart/RTA

5) For line checks in headphones PFL the L&R, turn all channels on/up to hear post fader actual relative levels rather than solo

6) The closer u mic the more instrument u get & the less background noise. Downside? Extra low end but lows are easy to EQ out!

7) Point the guitar rig on stage slightly outward or upward so it does not blast you at FOH a few inches makes a big difference

8) If you have hum and you can't fix or no time, try polarity reversing some channels like backing vox to force cancel it out

9) The whole 'phantom from foh OR mons is silly. Phantom from both is all good and gives redundancy and won't hurt anything

10) Why use boomy mics on boomy instruments? Try small dia condensers for clear sound, Use boomy Lg dia mics on thin instruments

11) Sound Tip: Engineers that mix with blasting kick are like 'learning to drive drivers.' Gas it on green & slam breaks on reds. Pro's r balanced.

**** End Sound ips ****

Oh, also I have been trying to centralize all the info on http://www.daverat.com which streams my blog, twitter, Rat Forum and has links to many of the articles I have written.

Ok, here are some more pics

Mark Hoppus, Blink 182

Monster Magnet

Paris from the Eiffel Tower

The Arch!

Mel, Robert, Daniel and I hanging in Vienna. Daniel took us on an awesome tour of the city, thank you!

Ahh the ramp push

Uh oh!

Travis

Travis says hello to Daniel

Pretty Sure this was Vienna and I think we have all felt this at one point or another

Cool cool, and off to rock some homework with one of my shorties,

Dave Rat

Indelible Ink

I love my pockets empty except for a cell phone and the omnipotent brightly colored ID tag dangling from my belt loops. The sensation of pure freedom. A single page road map defines my 'must do' events for the day. So grounded and clear the world becomes. The biggest challenge is to try not to lose any physical object that pretends it is important. But what is expended to drop into this reality of unsustainable wanderlust? This world of tour, pure motion of a bus rolling 60 while home slowly rotates with the spin of the earth. Where to plop myself down mentally and at what balance determines happiness or misery. To stay fully immersed in the world of home while my body jumps through all the extra hoops enduring mishaps and chewing through time in order to drag home a paycheck and some stories? Or chose the perception that everyday is beautiful in every way, regardless of how miserable it may appear. There are no problems, just an endless stream of puzzles to solve as each day a brand new city is delivered to feet. When I first quit my job at Hughes Aircraft to rent out small PA systems with a van, I leaped from that cliff into the ethereal structure less world. I remember taking off my wristwatch and crashing it into the ground as I swore off being chained to concept of time. I remember sitting in Mark Mahoney's tattoo studio as I asked him to keep enlarging the photo copy of the rat intended for my forearm. Bigger, bigger, bigger, I wanted the tail of my first tattoo to be visible even when I wear a long sleeve shirt. I wanted to make sure I would never be able to work for anyone offended by it. I wanted it to remind me to be adventurous, curious and to have the endurance to succeed regardless of the obstacles. I wanted it to remind me never to forget that barriers and strings are only as strong as I allow them to be. I realized I am guided by the failsafe wrench-thrower built into my mind. As if a part of me already knows where I am headed and happiness is only felt when the right decisions are made. Wrong turns down paths un-righted cant help but turn sour into depression, anxiety, anger, frustration and finally destructive wrench-throwing irrational actions that break the pattern and hopefully end up forcing a me to change directions.

Well alrighty now how about a bit of soundnerdery fun?

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

Ok, I have written about grasping a consist ant reference points with headphones, an analyzer and physical settings. I did a video and wrote about my take on what EQ's what in a sound system. Here's something pretty simple that is another piece of the 'get a sound system to sound good' adventure.

There are various ways to EQ a sound system. Voice mic, pink noise, familiar cd, tone sweep, pulse and EQ on the fly. Over the years I have put much thought into the concepts of perception of sound versus tonal balance. Part of the method I use to EQ a system is keeping an eye on tonal balance over time. The tonal balance of a show is constantly changing. Having a readout such as an RTA or spectrograph gives a series of visual snap shot or shots with a history. What is often overlooked and tends to be more relevant is the overall tonal balance averaged of the course of a longer time periods. Our ears are forgiving and enjoy the short time frame tonal diversity yet if certain frequencies are dominate over a longer time frame, it can be undesirable. With short period time averaging of a few seconds or less we see these lines moving around but it is difficult to accurately see the trend of which frequencies are persistently too loud. By using a longer averaging time of 10 seconds or longer, you can tame the readout so it gives a stable read out more similar to what we see when using pink noise. Now with this stable line it becomes much easier to EQ the system with music as a source. Taking this further, if you do some long period averages with your test CD and save the curve when you have a desirable system tuning, you can then display this curve over the live band's real time long term average and keep yourself tonally in check over the course of the show.

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

And may as well share some snapshots.

Finding the show times of the various bands requires a bit of research.

Iron Maiden, gotta love the old school big rock!

So I have decided to try something new for this tour and mix sideways. Mix with my left, band in front and free hand for a drink in the right. Hey drink is far from the board and clear view of the system analyzer, racks and band. All good!

Found a friend!

I must admit, like the Ting Tings

Our mighty drummer

And meet Triggerfinger, rocking show, super cool and one of those groups of people you just instantly like and can hang with.

Alright. just finished Germany show 2, festival three on a K1 rig and the off to Hamburg.

The ever confused,

Dave Rat

Another Terrible Day at the Office

Two hours of sleep and then a bus ride to Pukkelpop in Belgium on the Ocho with Blink. Yes, we are actually on production bus #2 but the core Blink crew refuses to ride on anything but a bus with a #8. Oh and I forgot but I did grab a few shots of the Soundgarden Vic show.

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

So prepping for Blink we soundies get word of an all new ground support drum riser with two spinning axis, being built. Hmmm, end over end flips of a spinning disk, this should make for some interesting cable runs. We have no idea how many flips or spins, just that it is going to need audio and AC power and if the we lose audio during the drum solo with a spinning drummer doing a solo, well, to say the least, that would be really bad.

The plan as presented by the creators of the contraption was "just run audio wireless." Hmmm, where would that put me? Run wireless drum mics the entire show? Yuck. Run hardwired and switch to wireless for the drum solo? Yuck.  And what kind of wireless?  We need full 48 volt phantom power for half the mics up there. Start swapping out mics? Oh my, this is bit of a mind knot. Figure out a hardwire solution? But what if it does not work? We wont even get to see the riser till three days before I leave for Soundgarden so we can not count on implementing a hardwired solution.

After a bit of pondering and a call to Showrig who was building the contraption, they agreed to have some extra holes drilled, and I think I have a way to route the cable. Thank you Justin! for the updates and taking care of getting things worked out. Then a custom snake and spare snake, 20 ch mult to tinned bare ends was ordered plus a box with terminal strips and a mult. This would allow the cable to be threaded through openings of unknown dimension and attached without soldering. For the next several weeks Steve Walsh and I brain stormed and waited for the various pieces to arrive.

So here she is in all of her 4000 pounds of glory. It was all about getting the audio working with minimal complexity and high reliability with a big pile of unknowns and little time for errors as the whole shebang shipped to Europe 6 days after we get our hands on it.

The two arms lift, the disc flips end over end and spins at the same time. Since  and audio failure is a show stopper, it's all about redundancy so after some looking around, decided on the cool Sennheiser SKB2000 plug in wireless transmitters. Full 48 volt phantom, lots o channels and they come in little leather pouches that can clip to the cymbal legs. Unfortunately we needed a minimum of 10 and finding 10 of these matched rarities is both really tough and/or really expensive. So we decided to buy them. Oh, and hey, we will be selling most of them as well as the matching receivers after the tour next month so let Daniella know if you are interested. Basically they just plug onto any mic and make it wireless.  http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/home_en.nsf/root/professional_wireless-microphone-systems_plug-on-transmitter_2000-series_021738

Locking in the wireless backup took a pile of weight off. We now had at least something that had a good chance of working assuming we did not get drop outs when the metal riser flips and we don't get crushed by interference in Europe. The AC power backup was easy, just bolt down a UPS unit on the riser and pull power during the solo and let the run off the battery backup for the 6 minute adventure. Here are the 10 wireless transmitters hitting a set of snake tails into the mult of the stage box.

The other parallel mult of the stage box hits a snake and power cable that feeds through the center hole. Turns out we were barely able to fit the 20 channel mult cable after all. It was less than a 1/32 of an inch to spare.

This is the cable drum that Showrig added to the riser for us with a plexiglas bottom. Since the riser splits in half, so does the cable drum. The cable then feeds through a small trough on the left. Note that the drum does not spin and is attached to the outer ring that only flips.

The rotator post which does spin, holds the cable such that it coils and un coils itself.

After traveling down the non spinning trough, the cable enters the axle past the spinning disk and exits the end. The twist caused by flipping can be manually paged by our SSE monitor tech, Perttu. Oh, and I forgot to mention, the riser also drives downstage, turns to one side, backs up and turns again before driving back home again. The final choreography has three spins a few partial rotations and a single flip over. The tour is only 15 shows so we are pretty confident we wont have to change the cable out.

Meanwhile, we also have the 10 wireless redundant channels as a backup in the event the cable gets caught and chewed. The only weak link is that a chewed cable will most likely short out the mic lines but fortunately if we had to, we could risk Perttu's life and have him dash up and pull the hardwire mult except during the flips and spins to save the finally of the solo. And there you have it. I am sure there are plenty of youtube videos getting posted so do a search if you want to see the actual machine in action.

So now we have two shows under our belt.  Both the wired and wireless lines are solid and the wireless does not sound as good but is good enough to get me through if need be.  I have the wired drums on one VCA and the wireless on another VCA. I can slide between the two sets seamlessly.  I actually started bypassing the gates on the wireless toms and snares and adding them in when Travis plays softer parts. And on to other adventures....

It has been a while but we are closer to done on the NL4 Sniffers, here is a shot of the final production first run. Soon soon.

Oh, and while I am nerding it up, here is one for my analog brethren. Here is a significant and almost always overlooked issue I constantly see on Midas and other consoles. Can you spot the issue?

Notice the st aux 7&8 knob lower right. All knobs are turned all the way down bit it has been put on such that it points exactly at infinity while the other three are swept to below infinity. While this ma seem innocuous, it is common, especially when dialling up matrixes and such to set the knobs pointing at "0." Except when the the knob is incorrectly placed on the shaft, it will send at a lower volume level than it should due to not being rotated far enough yet visually looking correct. Now take the cumulative effect of this occurring on an aux send, to a group to left and right and then to a matrix and you can get very audible imbalances. The correct knob placement is for it to point below infinity when turned down all the way.

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

Oh, check this out, Nick Taylor made my day. Imagine getting a message asking me if I would like to go for a surf in the North Sea while I am in Scotland.

Instant YES! So he pics me up at the gig, loans me a suit and board and off we go to some chilly water and waves.

How big? Well, Ronnie Kimball and I have perfected a wave measurement system. The great neutralizer between the whole measure the back of the wave, front of the wave, exaggerations or whatever. All waves are 2-3 ft.and if they are bigger, 2-3 +, and smaller is 2-3 -. Done. So these waves? Well, they were 2-3 +. Oh, and the water is never 'cold,' only some days are just more 'refreshing' than others.

A quick walk through a small 500 year old village

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Footdee filled with miniature houses

And then back to the gig for another terrible day at the world office.

Dave Rat

PS, If I am ever on tour near you and you want to come take me surfing, I am in!