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Day 6 – Barcelona – The Finishing Touch

8am, heading over to the market down the street, buy some fresh fruit, the market is awesome, everything you could want, every type of fruit, many I have never seen before, cheeses, fish, meat, chicken heads, all the necessities.

Today everyone will finish with setting up their gear, looming (taping cables together in convenient groupings), labeling, adapting and so on. It is really about making sure it all can go up fast and come down even faster.

**** Issue of the Day - Rotating PA clusters ****



In order to keep the chain motor count down, we went with 2 motors per PA cluster rather than 3. That means we only need sixteen sound motors rather than 24. With 3 motors we can use a delta plate that allows us to rotate the pa a bit after it is flown, with two the heavy speaker cables drooping from the sides tends to spin the clusters and even a few inches of variation in the rigging points can screw things up both sonically and aesthetically. Lee, the Rat Sound crew chief, came up with the idea of using “bridging poles.” Metal tubes that would connect to the rear of the clusters and keep them aligned, after a bit of trial and error, all good!


Our lead rigger is Fletch. His gig is to get all the points up. That means that humans climb way up in the ceiling, drop ropes, pull up chains and attach the chains to steel ropes wrapped around beams. Many of the points need to be in very precise locations, especially sound. Even a few inches off can screw things up. To adjust the location of the point, various lengths of wire rope are used to triangulate the drop. Translation = mathematical quagmire.



**** Highlight of the Day - Hey! It Works! ****



 Dave Rat

Day 5 - Barcelona - Assimilation

Long day. Gear is in and mostly up and running, a few patches and gremlins left to deal with but it is getting close.


Two PA systems! Dual left and dual right clusters for the mains plus dual side hangs as well. Typically, two sound systems covering the same area is a bad idea. Multiple sound sources in close proximity reproducing the same signal creates comb filtering (bad stuff). One of the big advantages of using a line array system, in the first place, is not having multiple horizontal sources in close proximity and practically eliminating that issue. But I do not have to worry about that, I wont have comb filter issues.

End SoundNerdSpeak

The concept is that there will be two sound systems and each will reproduce different instruments. There is an "outer" and an "inner" system with both covering the same acoustic space. I am currently running about eight feet between the clusters on each side. Additionally, the distance between the clusters will allow me to alter the acoustic source of any instrument or vocal by sliding it from one system to the other. The idea of sliding acoustic source came to me while watching Green Day at Staples Center.

The lights looked awesome, new angles, new looks for every song. The video was clear and looks kept changing and video came from various screens. The pyro jumped from new places each time with impact and surprise and the sound was excellent and song after song, that great sound pounded from the exact same unseen location behind the scrim. I started thinking that all the other crafts have developed motion, surprise, changing source location yet “sound” is still tethered to the 40 year old "stereo" paradigm. Why don’t our speakers move? Why not have the sound come from closer to the band for intimate acoustic songs and explode to bigger, wider speakers for powerful songs?

It is kind of depressing. I live in a world of sound and while all the other show production entities bask in the excitement of diversity, I am relegated to pump what ever I wish through the exact same portals. I have no depth; I can only emulate depth through the use of effects that simulate depth that I jam through my fixed points of sound.

What if sound sources moved during the show? Lights do. Video walls do. Why not sound? While they focus on impact, beauty and intensity; Sound remains trapped in the Grail quest of acoustic perfection in crap acoustics environments.To make matters worse, 'sound' has done a good job of evolving into the budgetary black sheep of the tour production family but it’s only due own our own lack of creativity and presentation.

Video humans make show reels to demonstrate their skills and sell their concepts. Lighting humans make mock ups and beautiful 3D cad drawings to show their ideas and ‘looks.’ Sound, well hmmm, how many speakers do we need to cover the room? Only to have them cut down for budget reasons, rigging weights or truck space. How absurd is it that in an industry built on selling music that sound is so low on the totem pole. How absurd is it that so few rock shows truly sound amazing?

Ok, end of rant, time for bed.

Dave Rat