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Day 343a - As I Wander

**** Ponderings ****

Great sound is just an opinion. As a sound engineer, it is very important not to forget that. Opinions are fluid and need no basis in fact or logic and with music, technically perfect often equates to boring, as the music world quickly discovered when drum machines were invented. There are humanoids that love and bask in the endless quest of capturing perfect recordings of classical music and connoisseur themselves into frenzy focusing on every detail. I have met and listened to a few of these "oh you have to hear this!" audiofoolery setups and sat there and closed my eyes and not once did I go "Holy shit! for a second there I thought an orchestra snuck in hear and started rocking out while I had my eyes closed." But what I did hear is something that was their opinion of amazing sound. And after all the hype and build up about how great it is, I find my focus riveted to finding the flaws, (but hey, I am a sound engineer, that's what I am supposed to do, right? Then I think, hmmm, what if I happened upon that same sound system in a pawn shop? I may go "Holy shit, it almost sounds as if an orchestra just snuck in here and and started rocking! How much for that stereo system?"

**** End Ponderings ****

So Coachella is has much to see and while in a wander. I found bikes, but nowhere did they go.

While I do enjoy a good bike ride and I am often quite happy to go nowhere, combining those two concepts at a music festival seems a bit less than attractive. These were not normal bikes though, well, actually they were normal bikes but they did something cool. See the little motor to the belt? Ever had your cell phone go dead at a three day festival? Here is a way for you to pedal that power back into the phone, very cool and part of an energy awareness exhibit. So we wander on and in no particular order have look at some of what I see'd and did. Bjork played and had some cool keyboard sequencer thing that he moved little things around and sound came out that no one could figure out what it was.

I mixed Chuck Dukouski's band CD Sextet in the Gobi tent

So I got to mix the largest and smallest stages and is was cool to mix on at a Rat Trap System which I have not done forever. Say hey to Ian who came to visit and Chuck.

I got to meet DJ Shadow


Catering did not suck

We all know the importance of driving a sexy ride and when your cruising such sweet vehicle as my rickety Rat cart clearly was, irresistibility is just one of the perks.

The Peppers crew hotel was far from sucking as well.

Stability is formed by the third point in a triangle. Like on a bicycle, you go to park and trying to balance it on two wheels and poom, over it goes but if you put down the .......

kickstand, it makes it all better, badabing. And finally for today's installment, DJ's use headphones to do their deal and to get a nice clear powerful sound. Well, we also know that bigger is better, check out these headphones!

For you techies out there, that is four 18" speakers, four 15" speakers, four 10" speakers, two 2" horns - per side stereo tri amp with subs on an aux send. Turn that up and I bet it would make your heart tremble. I think we may have a new entrant into the **** Ingenious and Practical Sound System Design Award **** contest.

Ok, off to do things that humans do.

Dave Rat


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Ashley on :

That bike/phone charger idea is fantastic! Yay for Coachella!

andrew on :

On prosoundweb recently there was a discussion about "texas headphones' - AKA a pair of speakers usually used for the drummer instead of headphones. And one sound co revealed that for a DJ rig they were asked to put 3 l-acoustics DVDOSC speakers PER SIDE, no more than 3 metres apart; for DJ monitoring only. The audience system was something else ! Hmm.... someone's going deaf !

Tom Merklinger on :

I emailed this to Dave but I thought I'd put it here too, just in case. And so other people can see it too. I think the crazy sequencer you spoke of, where the player moved objects around and sound came out, may have been a "ReacTable." Actually, it definitely was, because it's on the main ReacTable webpage that Bjork used it. How was Bjork? I was at Gogol Bordello the entire time. Did you see Eugene Hutz (the singer from Gogol Bordello) and the backup dancer-singer girl jump on the drum on top of the audience?? Three of my friends were holding that drum back (I prefer to be back a bit and not quite so thick into the fray). Ta ta for now

Matt Uecker on :

Wow, Dave. Good thing that bike had shocks on it...looks like it came in handy. ;) Keep us rockin' Matt

Thomas on :

Hey Dave, great Impressions from Coachella. And so we now know for certain that the right car can even let us sound techs have a whole lot of rocknroll-sexappeal :-) The DJ-Monitors are impressive. I wonder, if the Turntable-Pickup can still run smoothly on the vinyl while the four 18" and four 15" Speakers give the DJ his "Groove". How do you guys manage that? Not as "sick" but nevertheless impressing are those monitors: - 2 Mini-Line-Arrays with a Double-12"-hornloaded Bass in about 4 feet Distance to the DJs ear. I hope you survived movin' so far? Best wishes, Thomas

Mikey B on :

The amount of extra's RAT gave for this gig, must have been really nice. I like the FOH rack shot for the mainstage. 2 identical insert rack setups, way cool. Always nice to see Midas everywhere, especially in the brite sun. You can always see a knob... Can't always see a screen. Festmastery at its finest!!

Liz on :

Could you have anymore different kinds of food on your plate? haha

Kord Martin on :

Hey Dave, I was at Coachella and man I had a wonderful time. Sadly I was only able to catch a few bands (Interpol, Chili Peps, Arcade Fire, Rage, and a few others) but what I did get to witness was something spectacular... and then I saw Rage! Night of my life! I ask: Who mixed Rage that night? I knew prior to my arrival at Coachella that Rat Sound would be providing the systems, so it was my wild dream to actually meet Dave Rat himself... but that didn't happen! How I could have gone about facilitating that I have no idea. As an aspiring young sound engineer looking to live a dream, I am quite the fan of yours. I have some pictures for you: Interpol and the dual-hung PA... I don't know how you did it but you got the dual-hang there and it was MAGIC! Here are a couple of grainy shots of FOH just before the Chili peps hit the stage... I don't see you anywhere.

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