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Day 184 - Nov 23 - Thanksgiving in Germany

I don't recall the first time I was overseas on Thanksgiving but I do remember being caught off guard when I realized that the holiday is not celebrated on other continents. I like Thanksgiving and Halloween as they both have an open membership to enjoy without the strings attached feeling that the various religious holiday's do. They are festive without the "hey, lets celebrate some long since dead humans kicking some other long since dead humans' ass" angle. I also remember being quite shocked to find out the Christmas celebrators in Australia and South America enjoy the opposite of a white Christmas as the holiday occurs a few days from the start of summer. Not a lot of pine trees in Australia and you would have to build snowmen out of sand if you want one. The more I think about it, it just seems so strange to have one of a global religion's top billed holiday's so geographically oriented in it's presentation.

All Roadies, regardless of where they are from, also like Thanksgiving a lot. There is a high probability that their fondness for the holiday is somehow related to the food part. This was easily demonstrated, as you can see in the picture below, when all the tour roadies voluntarily gathered at the gig on a day off.

In any other circumstance, heading to the gig on an off-day is considered 'gig-hugging.' When I went to the Roundhouse both two days early and the day before, though tough to admit, I was gig-hugging.

**** Gig Hugger's Anonymous Meeting ****

Me - "Hello my name is Dave Rat and I am a gig-hugger"

Everyone - "Hello Dave"

Me - "Well, I first started gig-hugging when ..."

Roadie in the back interrupts "Hey, your not a gig-hugger, you're an imposter, I have seen you showing up after the trucks dump and even sometimes leave before the band.. "

Me "Uh, oh! Run away!"

**** End Gig Hugger's Anonymous Meeting ****

After the fabulous meal, oh, Upbeat Catering is traveling with us again as they did on the other European tours, hurray for good food and our friends are back. So after the meal we went to do what all roadies do in Hamburg, off to the Reeperbahn of course. The Reeperbahn is a quite famous part of Hamburg, at least amongst roadies and not only does it have the best bars in the city but it is a huge ego booster as well. Women everywhere, very friendly women everywhere and boy, I must have been looking good, Scott too! Because at least a dozen attractive girls and another six pack of not-so-hotties all invited Scott and I upstairs, separately of course. What is upstairs, I wonder? Why are they all dressed like skiers? Why is her hand rubbing my leg? These are all questions that will have remain puzzles of the universe as Scott and I already have plans to do some beer drinking, sorry ladies. Mental note; wear my "I 'heart' Paris shirt, blue jeans and red shoes more often.

And beer drink we did till the likes of 4AM plus and a roadie stagger to a nutritious meal

Left me waking next day a smidgen off of chipper. I am convinced that the donner kabob was spiked with  glue leaving my mouth glued shut in the morning. Scott confirmed that he too woke parched but mentioned that it may have been the beers that caused it.

Back in Germany and cool places and people and all to love about what they call The Fatherland. And german father dude clearly runs the place because there is little doubt that the toilet paper the lady of the country had nothing to do with the toilet paper's design. The little things that change from country to country that get forgotten the day you leave and catch you off guard each time you come. Metric width I can understand but who's idea was it to put high abrasion sandpaper on a roll by the toilet? I guess it is kind of funny, maybe there are little camera in every German bathroom and someday there will be a feature length movie based on shocked faces of foreigners experiencing the sandy surprise.

The very thirsty,

Dave Rat

Day 183 - Nov 22 - The Roundhouse

Today is a new day! And do you want to know what is special about this 'day of new'? Well, today is a day where every single thing I get to use for the rock show is new, Oh Joy! Not new like 'brand new,' new like it came from the rental shop and I get to start from dead scratch building all the audio settings. One of the questions I get asked often by people at shows is "Do you really know what everyone of those knobs do?" Well, actually I don't because there are a few in the middle that I am convinced do not do anything useful but for the most part, "yes, I do."

First order of business, communicate to my FOH assist for the day, who's name is Rabbit, how I want all the gear patched and configured. As you all may well have guessed, I am not much one for the standard configurations. Next, I spend a good chunk of time 'zero-ing' everything out to a starting point followed by a good solid hour or more of knob turning. Not only do I know what every knob does, I have actually have memorized how I want them all set.

As an added bonus, I am in a new venue (for me) with a new PA type that I have neither mixed on nor seen in person before called a 'Butterfly System'. Several weeks ago when I found this out, I could hardly contain my excitement and wrote the following email addressed to our leader roadie Bill, the production manger:

"Oh boy, Oh boy!!! I get to use a new PA. Nothing cheers me up like switching to new rig I have never used with a band that does not sound check in a far away place under much scrutiny! Heck, maybe we should get the band to join in the new gear fun and ask John and Flea if they want new guitar and bass rigs for the gig? Oh and we can switch AK to a new type of mic while we are at it and when was the last time you got a new computer? I hear Linux is great, maybe we can all switch to new laptops for the gig and we can all have good times trying to get work done on our new toys!!

As far as those cardioid stumble bumps with an 18" forward and 15" facing the wrong way, I consider them annoying at best. If they work twice as well as company XXX's attempts and 10 times better than embarrassment that company XXXX calls a cardioid sub, I will just be mildly bummed. I am sure they get loud but so does a jack hammer. Nothing like a pile non-linear one-note-wonders to make my day!

OK, kidding aside, I can deal with the gear, just make sure there are some real subs in there on an aux, 8 dual 18"ers minimum and when I get there I guess I will have some fun and see what that PA is really made of.

All good, real dual 18" subs on an aux = happy rat.

Dave Rat"

As you can see, I was quite excited. I X'ed out the manufacturers names because I did not want one of their competitors to get over-excited and take my comments out of context. Bill of course responded with the all around feel bad response of "Dave, you can have what ever you want for gear, no problem, just let me know." Unfortunately, the only gear I really want is on it's way to Hamburg so I will just have to bring my pirate sword and see if I can maneuver this sound ship through the treacherous round waters.

**** Special Award Celebration ****

I hereby by the powers vested in me award London the "Put rock bands in less than optimum acoustic environment" award. This award was earned by London for it's exceptional and dedicated work done by embracing both Earl's Court and the Roundhouse as musical venues.

Though round sound is not the optimum, the small intimacy of the gig more than made up for it and what makes for a great rock show is a combination of many things. Especially memorable was the super cool ending jam!


Dave Rat

Day 182 - Nov 21 - TV and Stuff

Day 182 - Nov 21 - TV and Stuff

First thing in the morning everyone headed over to the BBC. One thing that is really important about doing TV stuff is to maximize the amount of time that you spend waiting around. Actually this show was pretty tightly run and had a just a short eight hours of time slop plus another two spare hours just in case. The combination of extra helpings of spare time and the fact that my importance was minimal there, with Andrew onboard covering the recorded audio portion, my adventure for the day took me elsewhere and over to tomorrow's gig at the Roundhouse. Anyone want to take a guess at what shape the Roundhouse is?

This recently refurbished historic venue was home to shows by many rock greats like The Doors, Hendrix and the fateful gig where some punter threw Frank Zappa off the stage pretty much breaking the Zappa for a while. Very cool, how excited am I to be back in London doing the acoustical equivalent of the baby sister of Earl's Court? Round House, round, hmmmm? Sound bounces a-round in the merry-go-round of sound. If my mental calculations combined with years of experience serve me correctly, curved surfaced are really good at taking all the sound that hits them and focusing it into a central area. As I learned from Earl's Court, London does have a fondness for embracing acoustical nightmares as rock venues, so there is a good chance that this will be right on track.

Speaking of tracks, take a guess about what the 'Roundhouse' was built for originally. Did you ever have a 'Thomas the Tank Engine' train set? Ever wonder how trains turned around? Well, for the non-locomotively inclined, they used to, maybe still do, build round buildings with a rotating floor that the train would drive into and be spun to travel out on any one of the numerous tracks. These train-engine-spin-buildings were called roundhouses and later could be retrofitted to double as a legendary rock venue.

After waiting as long as I could in hopes of hearing the new sound system, I finally had to move on to the next adventure and off to BBC to meet up with the rest of the crew, hey, check out this car:

We don't have those at home. And a 45 minute cab ride that consisted of about a thousand zigzag turns across the traffic filled city

landing me about 5 minutes shy of perfect timing:

Have you ever looked upwards in a TV studio? Holly crap, ceck out at all that stuff up there!

Look, They put lights on those scissory things that you see with a boxing glove on them in cartoons!

I have been getting requests for more info on roadie Daniel's mysterious monitor world so I will take on that project soon in the form of attempting my first interview. Not sure when, but soon. In the mean time, he can be seen here wielding his sword.

Behind him you can see Manny has been lost to the black side of the berry as he is going through the early stages of crackberry addiction. And as our work day comes to a close, look what I found:

The not overly excited about tomorrow,

Dave Rat

Day 181 - Nov 20 - Abbey Road Studios

Maybe most recognizable thing about this place is the crosswalk out front where four amazing musicians created history by walking across the street and putting the photo on their album cover. A less known fact, that may interest you, is that there was another band that walked across that same street and also used it for their album cover but this other band did it many years earlier and was fully clothed rather than just wearing socks on their cocks and was known as the Beatles.

I am not sure whether I am thrilled or bored. On one hand I am sitting inside the legendary Abbey Road studios where so many timeless recordings were created that I wont even begin to mention them. On the other hand, I am having a clear deja-vu of why I took up live sound rather than the recording world and the slow motion tedium of watching molasses drip would be a bump up from sitting here in a recording studio. I am just a crazy live audio guy, like a fish out of water, sitting in one of the earth's most legendary studios surrounded by a bunch of amazing recording humans with the some of the best toys on the planet.

Hey, lets go take a wander but first let me warn you, some of what you are about to see may cause anxiety in and is the equivalent of hard core pornography to audiophiles. The first thing that jumps out as unusual is either roadie Manny has taken the small pill and shrunk to Alice in Wonderland size or that is one huge Plasma TV. It says something about 103" inches on the back.

And turing to our left is a pile of what looks to be speakers pushed off to the side. I believe they are Bowers & Wilkins 800 series. Did he said they were only $ 20,000 or so a pair including the power amp?. Notice the little fluffy white ears on the speaker on the left that someone has stuffed in to stop it from rattling.

As we keep heading around the studio I carefully circumvent a hazardous rubbish pile of mics. For you microphone buffs, they are just a heap of AKG C12's, some U49's U89's, U87's and pile of other assorted near perfect condition original release "valve" mics. I figure another $ 100,000 in hardware is just laying around.

The studio's control room has another piece of historic audio in the form of a tiny Neve console. I guesstimate that it is about 72 channels wide and I will bet it costs many many tens of dollars.

**** Highlight of the Day ****

Lampi Scott and I persuaded a personal tour of the Abbey Road mic collection from Lester who has been there since 1970! What we got to see made the utility mics in the studio look a bit boring. Wow! For you shoe loving ladies out there, this was the equivalent of touring an archive of the footwear worn by every legendary Hollywood actress over the past 60 years. "And these were the shoes that Marilyn Monroe wore when she met President Kennedy and over here the shoes Lana Turner wore when her daughter allegedly murdered Johnny Stompanato, see the blood spot." Each mic is a work of art as these are the best of the best ever created and hundreds and hundreds of them. I was pulling them off of shelves, each had a history and story, amazing! Plus Scott video taped the whole adventure and I even attempted a few Ali G style stabs at humor by repeatedly asking which of the mics were best for recording underwater. Thank you Lester!

But that was earlier and this is now and now I sit on a comfy couch two naps into the day. Andrew Scheps is the man who heads this world up from the recording side while roadie Daniel and Manny have their hands full with a complete monitor setup. I get the privilege of getting to sit and watch what to me is the equivalent eight hours of moving the rhododendrons around the house after redecorating. My presence is that of "just in case" and a a bit of consulting-ish words that never materialize.

**** End Highlight of the Day ****

**** Begin Sound Nerd Speak ****

Gating Drums - Tip of the Day

If you have the spare inputs available, "Y" the drums that you want to gate into two channels each. Then insert gates on one set and not on the other. Assign one VCA to the gated drum channels and another VCA to the non-gated channels. Now you have full control over whether your drums are fully gated, non-gated or anywhere in between with the slide of the VCA's.

This is handy thing if your band plays soft songs that don't fire all the gates but you want tight gates for the loud songs. Also, by setting a 50/50 mix of gated and non-gated, it acts like and expander with soft hits extra soft and loud hits that jump out.

On a side note, do you remember way back on Day 125/126 when I got distracted into rock show thermodynamics? Well, soon afterwards I polished those thoughts up a bit and sent them into a magazine for a column I write called "Rat Tales" and they just published it in the November issue.

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

For the final adventure of the studio day, Peter takes Scott and I for a quick look at Studio 2, the room that the Beatles actually recorded in, for a listen to the acoustics and a cool memory.

Everyone there was wonderful to meet and watch work. What I will remember most is the way that there was a certain awe and appreciation that radiated from the sound people employed there. There workplace is a museum of infinite audio significance, and they know it and love it.

The still missing the excitement and heart pounding thrill of a live show,

Dave Rat

Day 180 - Nov 19- London Hotel

Hotel Frogger 3rd time staying here this year, like a home away from home. Painless flight and I am quite adept at sleeping on planes. The only real excitement was when the pilot somehow felt that announcing the "we will be landing in twenty minutes" warning about ten minutes before touchdown, was a good idea. That sent all the flight attendants scurrying around really fast muttering things like "forget the headphones, get the passengers seated or we will have to abort the landing." While disgruntled passengers standing in line for the restroom reluctantly got herded back to their seats. Also I had the pleasure of sitting near an especially over zealous flight attendant that kept barking something about shutting off our cell phones while the engines were running, so in the back of my mind I reconstruct the series of events leading up to the 'no cell phone on' rule.


**** Big Important Meeting with Brilliant Airline Decision Makers****

"OK, I have called this meeting to discuss how we are going to deal with the proliferation of cell phones and electronics on airplanes. As you all know, if a cell phone is on, a plane could get lost or fall out of the sky. Also I am sure you are all aware that while taxiing around the runway after landing, cell phones could potentially mess with something but we are not sure what that is. Any ideas on how we can deal with this life threatening issue?

Arm raises

Yes, you in the back...

"How about we use the tried and true method called the Honor System? We could ask people to turn off their cell phones and then try and catch them with them on. That way anyone holding a phone would sometimes get caught and we could be rude to them."

Excellent idea, that will work perfectly, let's make that our policy!

Another arm raises.

Yes, you over there.

"What if a passenger forgets and leaves the phone on in their bag?"

Hmmm, I don't think that will happen, that is a stupid point. Security, can you escort that man out, I think he is planning on smuggling lip balm onto an airplane."

Meeting adjourned.

**** End Big Important Meeting with Brilliant Airline Decision Makers****

During the break, as I always do, I spent some time up at the Rat Shop, lets go take a look

That is Sarah, roadie in training putting up with the grueling day to day of working at Rat headquarters. She started as an intern with us, did the audio equivalent of boot camp by doing Warped tour as a main stage 3rd and most recently was the winner of the Rat Sound Raffle sending her and a pal to Aruba for a holiday. Plus she looks really cool driving the Rat forklift!

**** Ebay Update ****

Also during break, the responsibility of acquiring FOH theme decorations was a major concern. Sadly, finding Tiki items in November proved a challenge beyond the scope of my capabilities. Disheartened and crushed I drug myself up from the depths of apathy and had to think clearly. "If not Tiki, then what? Underwater? Hmmm, the scuba outfits may prove cumbersome. Mexican? Oh, that would be great, we could set up a tequila bar and have pinatas and invite Grier to run a taco stand, maybe get a horse. But horses go poo a lot and we would have to get a mighty big road case made for it. Hmmm. Roadies are kind of like pirates, crusing around the world looking for booty, maybe I could just drop by the local Pirate Store and see what they have. I guess I will give that a shot."

Hmmm, I wonder if this is the right place

"Excuse me, my name is Dave Rat and I want to redecorate Front of House with a Pirate Theme, would you perhaps have any pirate stuff around here for sale?"

And magical people I did meet, I love the pirate store and the piratesses were wonderful. They assisted me in my quest and if you are ever in need of piratey items check out and

Ohhh, I want a cannon!

Maybe for the US leg as I don't have a suitcase big enough to fit that. Instead I will just sing.

Yo ho, yo ho a pirate's life for me.
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We extort, we pilfer, we filch, and sack,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
Maraud and embezzle, and even highjack,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We kindle and char, inflame and ignite,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
We burn up the city, we're really a fright,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
We're rascals, scoundrels, villains, and knaves,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
We're devils and black sheep, really bad eggs,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We're beggars and blighters, never-do-well cads,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.

The sailing off of to distant lands,

Dave Rat

Day 177 178- Nov 16 & 17 - Bye Bye Home

Today I get to jet far far away. You know the feeling of anticipation, stomach butterflies and excitement that makes time fly and adds momentum to your life? Just the thoughts of far away journeys, leaving it all behind and the curiosity about what will happen in distant lands can make the doldrums of life vanish. Well, I don't feel any of that, at least not yet. What is on my mind is "Oh boy, the sheer thrill of hauling 3/4 of a million pounds of gear through gray cold wet trudging European winter." Though the tour does culminate in the amazing and beautiful city of Stockholm, full of life and beauty, it is currently basking in darkness.We will be arriving there within two weeks of the winter solstice, the festive naturally occurring shortest day in the northern hemisphere. The day of depression that every major religion has plugged in a holiday to inspire clustering humans to celebrate. What this means to us roadies is that we will be in Stockholm when there is about five hours of daylight and the sun rises sometime after 9AM and sets before 3. Well at least it will be freezing cold. I should probably bring a jacket.

Now that I think about it, though, I love Sweden. Vikings are kind of like furry pirates with horns on their hats! Did you know that in Sweden they dug a big old viking boat out of the mud in bay and put it in a museum? The whole17th century ship is huge and is in near perfect condition. I guess some 'king guy' wanted the biggest boat ever, had it built spending way too much money and then they paddle it out into the harbor and it sinks. Too big, oopsy daisy. Imagine that, some dumb ass guy wanting to build the biggest toy he possibly can. Oh, and that reminds me, pretty soon I get to go play with the big huge sound system, hurray!!

Here is a booty shot of that big boat called the 'Vasa'

And here is the dreaded start to a Euro morning I have ahead

And the misery of a past Euro eve

And a giant spider in Bilbao Spain, where we are not going this time

The determined to enjoy the adventure,

Dave Rat

Day 176 - Nov 15 - Home

eBay Auction Alert!!!!!, just in. there are issues with the Tiki decorational theme! Last minute changes still unraveling, will update you as soon as we know more.

**** Random Pondering ****

In my life, my experience has been that if I desire to achieve something and I stay focused on it, that inevitably over time, it will come to be. Though I do not always remember to do so myself, this concept somehow makes natural sense in a logical way, to me.

This morning I awoke pondering, slightly more clearly than before, that the world is filled with entities and organizations everywhere that offer or sell this exact concept in so many forms. Some offer a hand in guidance, while others choose to describe the methods so individuals can achieve their desired outcomes and yet others take on the form of powerful organizations that have hi-jacked it, branded it and and use fear to extort money from their believers. Regardless, the story remains the same. Pure, heartfelt focus on a direction or achievement will bring results over time, that is a given, in my opinion, like a natural law, like gravity. And just like with sound systems, anyone that claims that their way is the only way, is leading you their way not your way

People often ask me what type of sound system they should buy, even my dad, and invariably I give the wrong answer. Somehow the concept of "right" has crawled into the perceptions of sound when actually sound systems only come in forms of more and less desirable to each individual. Buy your sound systems just as you would buy your art. Buy something that you find aesthetically pleasing, buy something that fills the desired space. Spend according to your budget and desired quality, buy what makes you happy. The music that you choose to immerse your mind and the hardware chosen to reproduce it are as diverse as the clothes we choose to wear. Clothes is a good analogy. Most people are fine with the threads they purchase from a large chain store and add in a small bit of individuality with a mix and match. Others derive pleasure from seeking out the uncommon. Neither is better or worse and great music collection will be stunning through all, as beauty shines through. So when I said "wrong answer" I guess what I meant was that I do not give the answer that they want to hear.

Where as when it comes to putting systems big huge complicated rock shows, it is so much easier. Rather than being faced with tailoring sound to the complexities and demands of a perfectly unique individual, I am in the fairly straight forward position of pleasing the average. I can focus on the essentials rather than the idiosyncrasies and I shoot as high as I can at the clear 'window of sonic acceptability.'

Oh, do I sound like I miss road?

**** End Random Pondering ****

Adventure highlight.

If you are ever in Rio de Janeiro, I highly recommend jumping off of this cliff, with a hang glider of course and a local Brazilian in tandem helps too!

And when you land and look back up, wow!

The love to fly,

Dave Rat

Day 175 - Nov 14 - Home

Peppers did a secret show yesterday at the Roxy and seeing them do a club gig is always fun but this was especially rocked!

**** Living Room Reinforcement System ****

Today is 'meet my stereo' day. For the tech heads that like the specs, it is comprised of a 15" on the LF, 12" on the LF, 6" mid plus dual 3" mids, a 2" compression driver highs and a super tweeter for the ultr-highs. The frequency response is from 25 hz to an unbelievable 45Khz and every component has been hand selected to perfectly align and meld into a coherent and unified sonic presentation system. Whether you immersed in the articulation of the delicate high fidelity glistening and cascading toward your ears or drawn in and mesmerized by the connected fluidity of the rolling hypnotic lower registers, one thing is for sure, the sound you here will be unlike any other you've heard before, so let's start with stage left:

Radiating the lows is an unusual triangular shaped single 12" cabinet most likely about four decades old, made of thin laminated wood with a brown wrinkle finish. None of those features improve the sound but I like the way it looks and it has warm husky tone to it. When I purchased it and inquired about it's history I was told that it originally came with an old movie projector. It was really the only cool thing they had at the yard sale up the street, but for for five dollars I figured what the heck. So, I guess would make me the Decorator

Just above, please feast your eyes upon two small side by side 3" speakers originally from Bose system. I personally modified them by spray painting the outside black over the previous owners choice of white spray paint. They were designed to be full range but I put a radio shack capacitor on the back that makes it approximate a midrange. It and 9 of it's twin brothers were purchased at an auction from another much larger sound company that has since faded from it's hey day of admiration to a niche of insignificance. They were in a tub in my garage for a few years before I used them so I am the Utilitarian.

The little shiny speaker on top is a Pioneer ET-703 and is, in my opinion, one of the most incredible tweeters ever made. With a near flat frequency response out to 45K and a 1 1/4" beryllium diaphragm, it has the capability of high frequencies more than double what they say we can hear to. It originated as a demo unit maybe 15 years ago that I ended up buying or maybe they forgot I had it. It is the only thing in the system that actually was built to sound great and I have it because I am the Audiophile (hmmm, which type?)

The silver thing balanced on the pole is an old Shure 55 mic. It does nothing but I like the way it looks more than I like listening to Elvis who used to sing into a mic like it. I guess you could refer to me now as the Show Off but in some stretch of the term.

Moving left to stage right the lows on this side are handled by a single 15" speaker mounted in a wooden floor standing enclosure. I discovered it in an alley while bike riding with my daughters a few years back and drove over later in the day as the image lingered. Surprisingly the only issue with it was a torn grill and some bad wiring. Especially interesting is the coaxially mounted 6" speaker. I wired this up with some bits I had laying in my electronics box to be a mid range, though it was originally the mid/high speaker. I figure it was born in the 50's. It has a name on the speaker that I could spend time looking up but I don't need to know anything more than it seems happy in my home. Since it's big for home speaker, it is the Thrill Seeker in me that likes it.

The heavy thing plopped on top with four copper plumbing pipes holding it up is called a Jim Lansing 375 signature series by Ampex 2" compression driver. Jim was a brilliant speaker designer and this is one of his most legendary creations. Though she was meant to be mounted on a horn and was originally designed as part of a battleship siren, I enjoy her just as she is. Her creator's middle initial is B and went on later to start his own company using his initials JBL, a company you may be familiar with. She came into my life while on tour, I found her lost and lonely and saved her from a life discarded. She is not especially outwardly pretty but there was something about her that has inspired me to keep her in my life all these years. Perhaps Jimmette's presence is my Vintage side showing?

If you look carefully, you will discern a little black oval below Jimmette. That is a very precise sonic redirector unit that began it's life as leather cup coaster given to me by the Offspring and it has a little scull on it. Other than the fact that it falls down occasionally, it helps bounce Jimmette's sound in the general direction of the listener kind of. Sometimes I switch it out for the nearby wooden Babushka doll purchased in Prague, to change the dispersion pattern to circular.

Sweeping a bit back toward center I introduce you to the driving forces behind the sub sonic's of this motley crew. The black boxy thing is Jimmette's great great great cousin and plays the part of a self powered JBL sub woofer and adds the warm rolling vibrations to the sound presented. It was bestowed upon me as a thank you gift after I arranged a ticket to Coachella for someone's daughter.

The remainder of the speakers are supplied their pumping power by a BGW Model 85 rack mount power amp. In the 'live world' we used to use them as headphone amps, though it tended to fry the headphones. BGW was known for building some of the most robust amps ever made before being eaten by another company and fading into nostalgia. This fairly clean beauty set me back $ 50 at an auction last year of yet another sound company sold off as modern times has done to so many. With it's industrial heritage and blood line The 85 carries enough credibility make me the Professional.

Last and most likely least, dressed in red for show is an 80 gig MP3 player loaded with an eclectic mix of music that spans decades of diversity. It will play for days and someday I hope to hear everything in there. MP3's sound like crap, all of them but who cares that it is the first major step backwards in audio quality and it is the most successful format. I find them unlistenable at the standard 128K rip rates in headphones but miraculously they sound fine in my living room. In order to get the best of the mediocre, I found myself forking $ 350 over to Costco which is a very cool company by the way, you could say they are an anti-Wal Mart in their business practices. Why not an iPod you ask? LOL! That is a story for another day.

My stereo has no EQ, no special effects (well maybe inside of the red thing, but no reason to go in there), no dolby, no 5.1, no loudness button, no remote control and no matter what you do, you can never get the left and right sides remotely close to sounding the same. It was never planned out, just an ongoing evolution of clustering stories wired together with cut up AC extension cords and anything else I find around the house. Each item makes it's own donation to the sound with which I have no quarrel with, leaving me nothing but the sound of the music and a decision of how loud I want it emanating from my Lo-Fi unbalanced mess.

Gee, I wonder if I need some of those $ 450 wooden knob? Maybe that will fix the sound and make me happy

The already happy,

Dave Rat

P.S. If you were wondering where the turntable is, I keep it in my bedroom next to the scratched records.