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Running Large

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

So it did not take long and all the attention paid to the Vortex setup has give rise to yet another naming possibility

I guess the next step is finding volunteers to test for proper function.

Welcome to my new office. Nice high ceilings, roomy, I even brought my chair from the Rat office so I could feel at home.

I realize the decorations leave something to be desired, but that will have to wait, nerd things first. Deciding what gear to bring on tour can be quite a challenge. Should I make the digital jump? Should I push for a $200,000 XL8 console? What is the newest latest and greatest? What are the budget, truck space and venue space constraints? Where o where shall that budget be spent and how do I justify the the expenses, at least to myself if no one else. My theory for getting the gear I want is simple and very effective. "Give me the tools I need to do my job and I will guarantee a quality result."

So what do I do when I could have just about anything I want? Well, first of all I get the what I truly believe to be the best large scale PA on earth right now. Next, I grab a nice big pile of old outdated clunky gear. Not the 'old' where they are getting expensive, but rather the 'old' where anyone can collect the stuff up by scanning eBay . I am running large! I am pretty sure that all of the gear I touch, there is only one piece newer than 15 years or so old.

Up top left is my Drawmer 1960 stereo tube comp I use on vocal subgroups, the meters don't read quite right so you never know if you are left right matched and it is perfect.

Next are 2 BSS DPR 404 quad comps that cover the rest of my subgroup compression. Stereo guitars, bass, Kick/Snare, stereo toms and metal things. I love those comps, I hate their elder brother, the DPR 402 though. Where the 404 is smooth and easy, the 402 are hard and useless to me.

The Aphex units are just for show and backups in case the 1960 dies

A couple Klark DN510's stereo gates and DN 514 do all my gating. Pair of kick mics, pair of snare mics, 2nd snare, 2 toms and spare. All good, I have tried many gates but keep coming back the 514's. I would just use 2 quads but the stereo units allow me to trigger both kick gates off of one kick mic. Same with snare top and bottom.

Next down is a CD burner that is fairly new but I do not count that as it is not in the signal path of the rock show.

Top right is the only real exception to the 'old and not getting expensive' theme. The PCM is my flat out favorite reverb. Rat owns 6 or so of them and it is pretty much all I use. In fact it literally on this tour is all I use. One reverb unit does vocals, toms and snare.

Being a guy that loves frill and uselessness in the audio mix, plus the desire to get all ego'd out on the sounds, I felt it necessary to actually use a second effect unit. I know, you are thinking two effects for an arena tour? Why so many? Some things I just cant explain, furthermore I am very embarrassed to say that the second effect is actually brand new. Yikes! But hey, this TC Helicon Voice Doubler works very nicely at adding a subtle but enjoyable thickness to the vocals.

Next in line is my trusty Eventide H3500. I brought it, thought I may need it but it is just filling rack space and acting as a spare.

Next is the broken DAT player that the door wont open on.

The next three units are dedicated to subwoofer processing. Since I personally refuse to scroll through any menus while I mix , even when I do use the 3500, I memorize the programs and punch them in directly. But for subs, I want some control. I want t low pass that allows me to shave off the top and just have the sub lows, so I use the BSS FDS 310 for that.

I also like to be able shave off the bottom to de-boomify the subs, so I use the high pass filters in the KT DN410. One side of the 410 allows me to EQ all the subs and the second side is just on the Rat Super Subs.

The Symetrix 501 compressor allows me tighten up the lows a bit. Since I use only subgroup compressors, the subwoofer sends from the kick, toms and bass are able to sneak out un compressed. The 501 solves that issue if I so desire.

I insert the EQ - x-over - comp chain on the subwoofer aux

In the lower rack is a pair of Meyer CP 10's. One is inserted on the entire PA left/right and I use to tune the room. The second is a KUDO modifier EQ that we use to fine tune the KUDO to sound as close to the K1 as possible.

The top BSS graphic is in series with the top CP10 and gives me a quick grab EQ that I use during the show. I have 250 and 2.5 K knobs pulled so I can Braille my way to the frequencies. Cause you know that I am a sound guy, not a lighting guy. Therefore I try to keep light to a minimum in my area and run in the darkness. The next BSS does a whole lot of nothing.

Moving over there is the archaic DBX RTA-1. I doubt there are many left surviving but I love it. It is truly the only RTA that actually looks like what I am hearing. All these new fangled laptop analyzer are quirky and jumpy. Plus, with a few flips to some setting, they can pretty much look any way you want them to. Which always leaves me with doubts and the fears of 'oh wait, the blah blah' is set wrong. This DBX thing is a no brainer, set gain, set decay to one of 4 choices and done. Simple pure easy confidence is what I seek, I want to glance and see a visual that has a strong correlation to what I am hearing, all that excess accuracy capabilities is useless to me during the show.

Next down is a pair of XTA 448's that I don't mess with but they control press feeds and Sub Vortex/Rat Super processing and sub delay times. We used the XTA for Vortex delays rather than the LA-8's because it was faster for testing. We may drop the XTA on Vortex after we settle into the shed's.

And then there is a Shure PSM 600 transmitter that allows me to go wireless with my headphones. I still primarily rely on the RTA, my ears and comparative reference points to tune the sound system. The wireless headphones allows me to tune the sound system to sound like the sound in the headphones while wandering around in the venue.

The Lab Gruppen power amp supplies juice to a pair of EAW MicroWedge 12's I run in passive mode as local listen wedges.

And finally, the clear com power supply.

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

And here is the full setup


You can never have enough bear spray at the sound board!

Dave Rat