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It's About Time

Hours fill up faster than new ones can appear and I scribble little hieroglyphic notes of future events I wish to remember in places I hope not to forget. This is either the best time of my life or just another meandering plugging away in some pipe dream direction. I guess both are true and unlike the thrill of exhilarating adventures, at least the' right now' I live in wont have the hangover that follows overload fun excursions.

Challenge is the foundation of motivation. The knife that divides the complacent from the relentless. My sour reactions of being caught off guard catalyze into that desire smile of harnessing the energy to overcome the annoying. To try and stop time is to become lifeless. Growth or deterioration take your pick. Stagnation is celebration turned rancid. On some levels I could not be happier as my dreams unfold and my stumbles remind me that I am as disoriented, lost and confused as I have always been. It is amazing how chaos is just one phone ring away from from bliss. Yet in the slightly bigger picture, everything remains amazing. I hop out of bed for a while each day and try to remember to eat before my vision blurs and I wander about my night thought balancing life between shoring up the sand-castle walls against relentless waves and adding drip towers to the delicate city within. Speaking of shoring up walls, occasionally a rethink is in order and an open mind realizes that a new direction is better so back down away the walls need to go. Say bye bye wall!

And since we are at the beach building castles, let's have a Halloween party! Meet my niece Jessy, don't be scared, she is not a real lion:

And a few more of the various family and friend critters. Food attracts critters.

**** Sound Joke of the Day ****

Kevin Glendening sent me this:

What do you call a dog barking at the bottom of a swimming pool?

A Sub woofer.

Ha ha!!! If you found that funny, please instantly elevate yourself to super sound nerd status.

**** End Sound Joke of the Day ****

Easily the most sobering aspect of being home is the reality that behind the veil of the shiny lights, rock shows and music that makes us smile in our headphones. The music business is a ruthless cut throat industry peppered with wolves in sheep's clothing, poisonous ego's and finger pointing incompetence teetering on back room money deals and good 'ol boys patting each other on the back. Put another way, no real shocker here as the music business is just like churches, corporations, governments and just about any other organized human endeavor. Oh those silly humans, what do ya do about it? Cry? Ha ha! No way! Going to muscle it up, hang tight with the ones I trust and build up those sand castle walls with a smile fully knowing that it is just a matter of time before they are washed away someday, anyway.

Clearing my thoughts for more enjoyable train of though, let's go visit Gwen! A success story with a smile and 'way back when' I remember the day she pulls a cassette copy of the new and first No Doubt album out of her purse with an ear to ear smile. "We got signed and here is rough mixes of our album!" The excitement and a get to hear a quick listen. I just love how you never know what will happen next.

And next up.... Story and recommended reading of the day is do a Google search for "Steve Jobs Commencement Speech Harvard."

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

Do you Have the Time?

Ok, here is something that seems to perplex or be a bit of confusion with some of us sound nerds. There seems to be a bit of confusion floating around regarding whether sound signals travel faster in in snake cables or fiber optic cables and where the true and relevant sources of time lag lay in an audio system.

The sound signals travel at differing speeds depending on whether it is in the form of electricity, in the form of sound waves in air or passing through various commonly used bits of audio gear. To make things simple, I will just approximate a bit.

In 1.2 milliseconds of time:

#1 In air, sound will travel about 16 inches.

#2 Under water sound travel near 5 times faster and would cruise about 70 inches.

#3 In 1.2 milliseconds sound will just barely make it from the input XLR to the output XLR of a Yamaha PM5D digital console and you can make it a bit more than half way through a Digico D5 because it takes 2 milliseconds for a signal to escape a D5 once you put it in.

#3 Perhaps surprisingly though, your audio signal will travel about 650,000 feet (124 miles) down a regular copper mic cable or snake because in copper electric signals travel about 2/3's the speed of light.

#4 Even faster, your audio will travel about a million feet (186 miles) down fiber optic cable but it can take over 630 micro seconds which is over 1/2 of the 1.2 milliseconds to convert from analog to digital for light at each end so you would not quite make it out of a fiber cable even an inch long but if you already started with a digital signal, figure the conversion to only takes about 10 microseconds from electric digital to light.

#5 You could probably put every piece of analog gear you have ever owned or own in series and run a hundred miles of mic cable and still have some extra time left over because most analog gear has almost on time lag..

So, where is time lost and how important is it? Mainly after it leaves the speakers is the big issue and secondly, before it hits the mic. From there it flies through analog gear so fast that it can be considered instantaneous for most purposes. It gets a bit more confusing with digital gear because the sound signal makes little 'pit stops' whenever it encounters a a 'digital to analog' or 'analog to digital' conversion. Also, unlike analog gear, once the signal is inside a piece of digital gear, the signal can slide behind in time further as you add processing to the signal, unless the manufacturer has implemented compensating delays that lock the delay time at the max processing time.

What does this mean, well, for the most part, the time delays we are talking about are so short that they can be discarded as irrelevant but... if you electrically are recombining signals, it is critical that they are not shifted in time unless you desire a phase shifter effect.

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

OK, enough for now and soon some more.

Dave Rat

Month Two Home

Month Two Home

Immersed in pondering I I wonder where have I felt this sensation before? The trigger this time is surfing. Or more specifically, the territorial nature of surfers guarding their surf spot. I grew up in LA and for quite a few years lived very close to the beach. Yet at best I am crappy surfer that spends most of my time and all of my energy just paddling out past the waves and then chasing them back in after avoiding the ones that look like doom cometh. I am not one much for being chilly except in the Peppers sense and until the very recent now, I never made a true effort to truly grasp the whole pattern and strategy of timing, preparedness and mental state optimization necessary to improve my surfing skills and truly embrace the art. Though now it has clicked and getting up at 6:30 am to be wet by 7 in 55 degree water for two hours of alternating exertion and waiting has become something I look forward to. So back to my pondering, it dawns on me that the pattern of possessiveness of surf spots is reminiscent of trying to change lanes on the freeway while driving. The hot surf spot is the fast lane with cars cruising past and the beginner or alien surfer is a "lane changer" that is moving slow or stuck behind a truck or just wanting in to the fast moving herd. Guardedly, no car wants to open the space to let you in, as your mere presence slows the fast lane down and ruins the spot. Yet after you do manage to merge and if you do drive at a solid speed, it wont take long before all is forgotten and you become one of the locals not wanting to let those slow lane cars come clog the cruise. Why of course!, is that not that the way humans naturally act and respond when they have access to something that is both desirable and in limited supply. And my resentment fades as it all makes sense. Do my time, learn my skills, walk softly till welcomed and enjoy the process. Otherwise I would just be one of those idiots with road rage or surf rage as the case may be.

Anyway, currently I am immune, as I have hooked up with a group of long boarding old timers that have welcomed me in. They surf there every day, "C Street" they call it and they have their spot and their time and no one hassles me as I hang tight with a cool gang of locals.

Hey, check out Gene at in the middle picture, who introduced me to all.

Ok, audio nerdy tidbit of the day, Jon Rat sent me this web site which is full of cool calculators for all kinds of figuring.

Oh and this one is cool to and came from Greg Cameron, my long time friend and former drummer os SWA and several other bands "back in the day"

You can put these on your iPod or MP3 player and test it's frequncy response with Smaart or an RTA or whatever test software you audio humans use.

Speaking of pals, check out another good friend Derek Van Ord also known as DVO who an awesome monitor engineer and does Ben Harper and many other cool bands

He got roped into doing camera blocking for a french TV show on a Ben Harper gig, you can just feel how much joy he radiates in being on stage!

Finally for this segment, though they are long since burned their course, the California fires had their impact. I live a bit away from them but not far enough away to have an erie sky and thick smoke smell wrap itself around our lives.

while piles of ash find their way to settle everywhere

Next stop, Halloween, and until then, big eyes and smiles 'cause it is way more fun than complaining.

Dave Rat

PS, I am headed out to LDI to mix on for EAW for ET Live, if you are there, come say hello!