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Day 250 - Jan 28 - Tampa

Today we are in Tampa doing another rock show. The warm weather is not so warm but light years better than the various forms of freezing we have been engulfed in over the past few weeks. So I was thinking, why not do something different? How about .....

**** Special "Dear Ratty" Segment ****

Just for a change, how about something new? Welcome to Dear Ratty where I will do my best to unravel the curiosities that present themselves inside the minds of those that post their ponders and thoughts.


Steve writes-

Keep up the excellent blog work dave, if you were looking for any suggestions as to future topics to cover may i put forward a request to document/look at the racks and effects used on various channels throughout the rock show?

Many thanks,


Thank you Steve!

OK, here you go. I covered the comp and gate connections and usage early on in the blog and if you take a look at tour Blog Day 12 you will find the mic chart. An easy way to skip around the blog days is here -

As far as a look at the racks, you are in luck because I do not play the silly 'secret' game with my settings and gear.and what better way for me to document my settings than putting them somewhere where I am sure not to lose them.

I currently use a total of two effect units during the show. First and foremost is an old Lexicon PCM 60. It was not a premier unit in its day and still is nothing special. Just a simple and easy to use digital reverb unit with buttons on the front. It has 4 room sizes, 4 reverb times and a plate/room selector plus low and high roll off buttons. I use bigger and longer reverb times for the slow songs/parts and shorter tighter or no reverb at all for the faster music. Snare, toms and John's vocal are the primary channels I use it on. Oh, plus I have found that when you overdrive the unit and turn off the reverb it makes an excellent distortion box that I use on AK's vox when they play "Search and Destroy."

The other effects unit I use is a not as outdated Eventide H3500. Primarily it stays as a subtle Reverb/Flanger on AK's vocal. During songs like Sir Psycho and Higher Ground, I use it to to the vocal echo's and I re-dial it up as the guitar panner for a couple of cues in Blood Sugar Sex Magic.

As far as board channels, well, how about pictures of the console EQ's with enough clarity that you can see exactly the gain and EQ settings?

And for those curious about my compressor settings, the Drawmer up top is just a scream protector for Flea and JF's vox channels. Then the BSS quads from left to right, top to bottom do stereo vox, stereo guitar, bass, kick snare, toms, metal things and acoustic guitar totaling 12 comps.

Finally, since I am showing all, here is a look at the system EQ's. The Meyer CP-10's account for room to room variations

and the BSS 960's are what I use to get the rig to fit the sonic footprint I seek. Though the two do get a bit overlapped as the tour progresses.

And there you have it, all the settings you need to get damn close. Now all you need is a giant V-Dosc rig, a killer rock band and some arena's.

-- Ratty

Posted by Weallo

Hi Dave,
this is so interesting, thank you for posting so many informations! It's always important to remember that a show is not only 4 guys playing music, and that they are so many people working for making it possible.
You suggest us to post some questions if any... well, these are mine:
How long does it take for the roadies to build the stage and organise all the systems, and vice-versa how long does it take after the show to dismount the material and put it in the trucks?
How long does it take for the repetitions (balances, lights-adjustments...). This is done in the morning or the afternoon before the show?
How do you hold account of the crowd and the audience during the repetions... 'cause they are not there yet! Is there any differences in terms of sound, balances.. between the repetitions and the show itself?
Did you have any bad surprises when you arrive in a place, like some things too small which does not fit well with your material, or any things else?
Well... I stop asking you questions, I've gave you enough "home work" ;o)
Take care,
Carole la_kagol

Hello Carole,

Oh,you want the time line for building a rock show? Well, that is something I can do!

8:30 am Call time and breakfast for busses 1 and 3 containing production, lights and rigger roadies arrives at gig

9:00 am Riggers chalk the floor to mark where the motors get hung

9:30 am Call time for busses 4 and 5 containing Video, Sound and Versa Tube roadies

10:00 am Start dumping the trucks

12:30 pm Lunch is served for roadies to wander to as time permits

2:00 ish begin focusing lights and tuning video

3:00 pm pm End lunch

4:00 pm Peppers crew line check

5:00 pm Support act sound check starts, Dinner starts

6:00 pm End support sound check and try and get all thing wrapped up for doors.

6:30 Doors open, start house music

7:30 Support act on stage, Dinner ends

8:15 Set change

8:45 Peppers

11:00 pm End of show curfew and load out begins.

1:30 am Typical time that trucks are loaded

2:00 am Bus drivers are picked up from the hotel

2:30 am On the road to the next city, bye bye!

As far as "bad surprises," well, that is just normal. Every day brings new surprises, some are more fun than others.

-- Ratty


Hello Dave,

I wish I knew more about your world besides the love I have for the band. So how does one learn about the Dave Rat way? How long does it take to learn what you know? It seems exciting..your job:)

Hello Lisa,

Well, it has pretty much taken me my whole life to learn what I know but I guess that applies to all humans and critters. As far as learning to do sound and entering the touring world, there are several options. The most sane being to attend a school like Full Sail in Florida and then heading out into the real world. I know that starting out by doing sound on a cruise ship is not an uncommon second step in that path or getting an intern post ion at a sound company, though tough to achieve, is a good path. This job is exciting and fun and rough and miserable and long and dreamy and everything else at times and it was a long and difficult road to get to where I am now.

-- Ratty

Lazy Clutz

Did Gnarls Barkley come out in a wizard of oz costume yet??? Seems like your having the time of your life on the road!! And Japan . . . WOW . .. If I was you right now I would be collecting snowglobes from all the major cities .. . My snowglobe collection only includes London, NY, Italy,China and Florida . .. If I was you my collection would be complete!!!

Lets see, I have seen Austin Powers, and School Girls

As far as collecting snow globes! Oh my, what would I do with them all! I would not have any room for my clothes by the end of each tour leg! You get those globes and I will collect photos and memories and then share them with ya!

-- Ratty

Green Devil Productions

Hey RAT man all the techno and roadie stuff you talk about in this blog has shown me what area of audio I want to get into after I finish my degree at the art institute. I love the whole process of pulling off a show like yours it just the greatest thing to see all the elements of a show come together. I saw your show in vancouver on september 14, 06 and it blew me away. It was cool to then learn about the blog from one of your crew guys in the FOH box it's really a cool insight into the untold world of the guys behind the scenes. keep up the good work.

Cool cool! and thank you Mr Devil for the props!


Posted by Matt


The sound in c-ville was amazing. Good looking out on the smaller (I guess that's what you call it on a stadium tour) venue. Much better than DC (at least you got to hand with Ian and the guys). Love the blogs, keep it up.

Thank you Matt! Though I did like the more compact sound of the Charlottesville venue, I though the DC crowd more than made up for the slightly less desirable acoustic space. Both gigs were all good.

-- Ratty

Posted by u2squirrel
alien spacecraft
I always thought those up and down versa tubes, had something to do with aliens or magic. ooh ahh to learn something everyday. take care on the tour, fight the burn of burnout, and twirl the globe with rat style.


Since Lampi and Video roadies are for the most part aliens and most likely that is who made those glowing things, I would have to say that your initial impression was dead on.

-- Ratty

Posted by weene
I am commenting
I only do usually inside of my own head
but shall put to page today
because I CAN

Really enjoyed today's nerd speak - us concert goers (well , me) do take for granted all the light stuff & videos and really don't ponder too much on how it all goes together - and comes apart and then goes together again in the next town.
I will ponder more in the future.

How is the welding coming along?

my bloke keeps threatening to learn to weld (once went so far as buying a book on it) I am in fear of coming home from work one day and finding the car welded to the garage door...

Well, you tell your bloke that welding and fire and sparks and melting things and tremendous heat involved with welding is incredibly sexy and just in case he does weld the car to the garage door, make sure he has some sort of saw to cut them back apart. No man has a good enough excuse to deny themselves welding at least once in life. As far as my welding, I am offline for a bit till my welder and I are reunited. Next build things purchase for me is a Plasma Cutter!!! Ooooooh!

-- Ratty

User Name: eneko

RATM,RHCP,past and present at coachella!!!

Keep on rockin' for a free world!!!

Hello Eneko!

Well it looks like a bit of the old days are back though this time around I will just stick with the Peppers as far as mixing goes. Though I must admit that years ago mixing Rage and Peppers back to back as headliners of the Free Tibet and Mount Fuji shows was an honor and a thrill.

-- Ratty

User Name: Mike B

I want to give you my complements on a wonderful show in Charlottesville, VA. I was sitting on the upper deck, about a third of the way up on in the back corner, and it sounded fantastic (aside from one ear being pointed at the array and the other at the wall, of course :-) ).

So a question for you: I'm not a very good judge of SPL levels yet, so I was wondering roughly what level you target shows to be at? Do you target different levels at different arenas? What goes into figuring out how loud to go?

Hello Mike,

Very cool, that makes me happy. It is tough stuff getting adequate sound up high and to sides especially. As far as the volume levels I hit, I usually try and stay around 103 "A " weighted plus or minus a few db as the average show volume. That usually equates to about 112 to 115 "C" weighted. Somewhere way back in blog world here I did describe the volume progression I shoot for, but I have no idea what day it was.

-- Ratty


User Name: Graham

I love the "Roadies In The Midst" posts, and would love to see guest posts from some of the other roadie humans!

You have introduced this rich cast of supporting characters and I would love to hear more of them and their stories!

You know, I would like to see guest posts as well and hear more stories from them too! I have tried a bit but each of us roadies has our own adventure and focus and it seems that I have become he self appointed roadie ambassador. Though you may want to check out the Rat Sound Message board that is mainly technical stuff but also does have some non-tech stories and posts from other roadies.

-- Ratty

User Name: Janine

User Homepage:

Just keep on keeping on Dave, with the blog & with the tour.

I don't know if you've ever managed to look at my site & blog and it's fine if you haven't :) but just in case you have I wanted to share that this week I have been told that I am officially in remission.... so I am officially one happy bunny :)

Thank you for helping keep me entertained in the dark days because I love reading your about your adventures.

Janine x

Yes Janine, I did check out your page! And super big smiles and congratulations and happiness in my heart sent to you! Thank you for your comments and and I though I do not respond often, I do read every comment.

-- Ratty

Posted by transari

Always entertaining Dave
I enjoyed today's nerd sound speak. I always wondered about the load of those screens....thanks for filling us in on the secret behind the Raff.

Good pics today too Dave. It's nice too see you all breaking bread together and working as one to move the show forward! This show is filled with many experts of various fields that come together and work as a team for one common goal and the result is MAGICAL! Thank you for all of your hard work and say thank you to everyone else who tries their best each day to bring forth the best show they can.

No worries about blogging back comments! I mean really Dave it's all you can do to keep up with your SOCKS lately. hehehe LOL! We luv ya and don't expect you to comment back. Just keep being the best sound eng you can be!

Take care and safe travels!

Thank you Trace and great to meet you and your hubby at the gig!!!

OK, that is enough Dear Ratty for now but I have some more I will get to soon. Dinner time for me

-- Ratty


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Mike on :

You have a stereo channel in the middle of your board! That's amazing! Do you ever feel limited with eqing both sides the same? I love your posts and, while I seem to be doing more monitors lately, I hope to get to try out some of your tips and tricks soon. Looking forward to the monitor world post. Mike

shiko on :

that was a cool post. i have some sound nerd quastions... 1)why do u hi pass ur 91 and d6 so high?to make room for the bass in the subs? 2)do u revres the phase on heads and rides becouse u "under head" em? 3)u seem to do alot of cutting in the low mid section on the eq's why dont u do it in the xta? p.s - very cool trick with the streo ch for oh. take care and have fun shay.

shiko on :

another thing why do u revrse the phase on bouth kick mics?? thnx again shay

Dave Rat on :

1) In these big rooms with so many subs, getting a handle on the low end is tough. I use the 91 for the kick low end and the D6 is more for low mid so it is chopped off higher. With each band I make a decision of whether the kick or bass will provide the lowes notes, with Peppers, it is the bass. Dont be fooled though, with 44 dual 18's, that kick has has plenty of sub lows. 2) Yep, I polarity rev the underheads just as I do kicks and snare bottom. It may not make a difference sound wise but I start with a theoritcally correct setup and then alter to get the sound I seek. The underheads just sit in theoretically correct reversed. 3) I do not like any hidden system EQ that I can not see. Since all V-Dosc processors sound very close to the same, I do not worry about whatever the factory is doing with their settings. But... I want every single alteration to the factory settings clearly visible and at my fingertips because I always like to know exactly where I am at EQ wise.

shiko on :

thnx for the quick answers. u have such a grate blog. keep on going. shay

marco (yespa) on :

a question for "dear ratty segment" what was the differences between the fender jazz and the modulus? i was in milan in may (fender) and in november (modulus) and my preference goes without doubt to modulus. thanks.

Dave Rat on :

The Modulus is cleaner, brighter and extends down to lower frequencies. The Fender basses were warmer sounding with lots of low mid. The tigh clean sound of the Modulus is much better for hearing for Flea's fast style. The Fender's just turned to mush in the bigger venues. In smaller rooms, they both have their assetts but the Modulus is a lot less work for me to get dialed in and more consistant bass to bass.

Justin Slazas on :

Dave, As a fellow engineer, I am very happy to see you offer up your tips and tricks to the curious. I have had the pleasure to work with some of the tops in the industry. The one thing I noticed that they all have in common, is a love to teach. I love to learn and this blog is no exception. I will confess that on a late sleepless night, in china on a corporate gig, while surfing away on the web, I ran into your blog and have been hooked ever since. So here is my chance to ask a couple questions. When you start tuning for the room, do you smaart or do you throw on one of your favorite tunes? What tunes do you like to tune to? What bands are you jamming on your Ipod right now? What is your go to program for the current Peppers Vdosc rig. And last but not least, just in case I run into you on a gig some where down the road, what is your farvorite drink? Thanks for all the great insight, I will post more technical questions later on. Regards, Justin

Cousin Caroline on :

Hi Dave-It was great to see you while you were in Tampa!! Love to Madeline and Samantha. Cousin Caroline

Adrien Baldwin on :

Hey Dave, I'm only 16 but I keep up on your blog because i find it very entertaining and awe-inspiring. My future goal is actually to either go into live sound or studio production. Question: Are there any schools that you would recommend that produce top-notch engineers? That would be amazing if my dream would come true :) Thanks! And keep posting pictures! they give my brain a rest when i read your sound nerd speak! Keep up the good work!

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