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Important Things and Stuff

Well it has been a while since I posted, not for lack of desire but rather lack of focus. Like the stock market or surfable waves, so goes inspirations and distractions. Anyway here's what I got. I did three low tech scruffy youtube videos, this time talking about optimizing mic polarity for monitors and front of house for live shows.

Part 1 covers setting kick polarity as well as the rest of the drum kit to align with the drum fill and increase volume and reduce feedback.

Covers setting polarity of bass mics, DI's and in ear monitors to line up with the monitor wedge system polarity. Also a bit about the effects of delay caused by digital console on in ear setups.

Covering polarity of main PA versus monitors, conventional and cardioid sub and polarity of polar patterns

And now for some less techie stuff, check out this bike. Ooooh! Anyone know who makes these things?

My little pooch Bones is doing well, super pal and jogging partner that I clocked at 20 miles per hour, boy can he run!

Here are what I consider to be my super cool mixing essentials. I brought this in to the Roxy to mix some Chris Cornell solo shows.

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

The secret to the Lexicon PCM60 sound is the analog front end. Basically you can get a nice reverb sound from these but they really light up when you hit them hard and clip the input. What happens is that the clipping adds a bit of distortion to the signal that then gets fed into the reverb causing a rich thicker sound when used on drums. So even though there is only 4 room sizes, 4 reverb time and 2 types, that added dynamic of adding the input crunch, adds a whole new dimension of sounds. Oh, and also, the input distortion is so rich that I actually use the PCM60 as a distortion effect on vocals with the reverb mix knob dialled to direct. And it is the best vocal distortion effect I have found.

The DPR404 is just simple, compact and a very usable compressor unit. The key to a good comp? The meters actually look like what you hear it doing.

The H3500 is awesome because you can around the presets and saved memories in a snap. I just memorize my program #s and punch them in on the keypad. None of this "button hold down crap" to change parameters either, just spin the wheel. Great for vocal thickening, autopanner, long delays, and pretty much all I need for everything vocal (except distortion).

The Denon D2000 headphones are my now go to winner of the Mighty Headphone Quest I blogged about and I don't leave home without them.

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

Oh, and speaking of super cool, my 14 year old daughters are pure awesome! As you can see their exuberance that I dragged them into Home Depot, they are my pals, part time roommates and best friends all rolled into two.

Hey, so you fire up your PA and much to your dismay you find one of your cone speakers has developed a rip. Aaargh! Need to make it through a gig? Or maybe it was just a wayward screwdriver, either way, here is the glue ya want to fix it. Available at most auto parts stores, this is nearly identical to the glue used when the speaker was assembled. If you can, patch from the back to minimize ugliness. It dries pliable and super strong and very quickly.

MicroSubs are doing great! Pearl Jam and Limp Bizkit both are using them on current tours as drum subs and we are getting rave reviews. Here you can see one of the engineering models with the Rat Cover we made.

I took this a few months back when I mixed Soundgarden at the Showbox in Seattle. I hate saying this but 'you should have been there!' It was goosebump awesome! There are some pretty good youtube videos of the show floating around that are worth checking out.

And speaking of exciting, here is a pic of the inner sanctum of Red Hot Chili Peppers rehearsals. They are rocking an all MicroWedge 12 setup and all the wedges are being run in passive mode! I cant tell ya much but I can tell ya that I am super excited about what I have heard and can not wait till tour.

And speaking of MicroWedges, here is Chris Cornell's stage setup for the Roxy shows. These were also run in passive mode. Oh, so easy! A Lab Gruppen 6400 runs 2 mixes no processor and a MicroWedge in Passive mode will beat most biamped and fully processed wedges out there, I did not even use 1/3 octave EQ's as the channel EQ was more than enough to get them louder than needed.

So I am at E3, the big Gaming convention doing some mixing and what do I see? Hey, a Rat Trap 5 caster plate! Relabeled and being used for a non Rat Trap 5 application. IU thought about doing the "hey that's mine" but decided that we have enough spares and I really did not want to lug it around all day. Consider it a gift AVP.

So what have I been doing these last fem months other than the above? Well, surfing of course with the C-Street 7 am crew that is actually now the 7:30 am crew. Which lately, due to the fact that the wave height to human size ratio has been a bit low, I think the surf observation crew, may be more appropriate.

Another tough surf day.

Oh, we finally have MicroWedge tripod stands available that fit both the MicroWedge 12 and MicroWedge 15. Here is the series of prototypes starting with the Radian version on the left and the final version with reversible plate on the right. If ya need these, give the Rat Shop a shout and talk to John Karr.

I am saddened to say that those of you following the Free the Tree movement of 10's and 10's of people,!/pages/Free-the-Tree/309695452220?ref=ts

that the tree is finally free, though not in the manner we hoped or expected. Capital punishment for it's crimes has been handed down. No trial, no appeal.

Finally, if you own a sound company or any type of rental company for that matter, I am sure you run into the "should we buy the gear? Subhire it? Is Lease better than getting a loan? How will this effect our income? Our cashflow? How long to recoupe? and so on. So, I created a simple Rent versus Purchase calculator. Just plug in the purchase price and how much it would cost to subhire the gear, how many rental week you predict it will work and a few other numbers and it should ghelp a bit with the decision. It is in Excel and there is a link to download it below though at some point I hope to post a functioning web version.

Rental vs Lease-Purchase_blog

Rock on and till sooner or later,

Dave Rat


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Kelly on :

Dave, first the Soundgarden gig sounds like it was great - but that same night I was at Coachella listening to the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen and Dead Weather! They were fantastic! Thanks for sharing the glimpse into the Chili world. I'm going to have my son, Kyle, watch these videos. He needs an idea for his next Science Fair project. He got first place at the State level this year with a radio receiver he made and took data that showed the effects of weather conditions on radio-waves. Maybe he needs to incorporate some sound data into the project this year. Any ideas? I'm glad I can still read your blogs. You were the only reason I was still on MySpace.

Riccardo on :

ehi dave, i'm an italian chili peppers fan and i'm waiting for the the next cd and tour..... i'm a bass player and i really appreciate your photo and comments about thei equipment....can you tell me something about flea's equipment? i've recognized the g&k amps and head, and the fender bass ( precision or jazz?), but i've som doubts about the pedalboard.....i see the q tron (plus?) and 3 other pedals, different from the old board ( boss odb3, mxr microamp, big muff pi and the q tron) the image i see a boss pedal (an equalizer?), a moog (wich one) and a green one that i don't recognize.... thank you very much

Dave Rat on :

Hello Riccardo, Hmmm, I am not really that familiar with their practice setup and they change things around a lot as well. Also, I try and stay out of the band gear side of things and just stick with the sound side.

Luciano on :

Hey Dave. Check this bikes in Argentina. ( Greetings from here.

Dave Rat on :

Very cool! I want a bike with a cool little engine!

daniel on :

not sure if i agree with your kick mic polarity example for 2 mics.. you seem to think that the 2 mics should always be the same polarity as each other.. Well how come 90% of the time if I have a 91 and a 52, or a senn 901 and senn 902 it sounds better if I flip the polarity of one of them? sometimes it sounds better if I leave them the same.. but most of the time one flipped sounds better to me.. and by better I mean more low frequency addition without having to boost it on the EQ. you have way more experience than I do at all this so I like to hear what you have to say about all this stuff..

Dave Rat on :

Well, one of the cool things about doing sound is that there is plenty of room for artixtic freedom and if you get a sound that you seek, then all good. As far as reversing aone kick mic there are several things to consider. First, if both mics are pin 2 hot and your cabling is correctly wired, both in the same polarity should give max summation. That said, placement choices and differentials between the two drum heads can cause ceryain frequencies and resonances to stand out when polarity is reversed on one mic. But beware of volume dependent non linearities as well as an increase in the amount of cancellations between the two mics. These cancellations can often seem or be desirable as they may reduce some midrange, and cancel some low mids. Since the outter mic will usually have more low end, using the inner mic polarity reversed cancels out a lot of the sound except that low end offering a deeper sounding combination. The issue is that you also gain a phasey sound in the mids. Also, by polarityu reversing you now have a kick sound that changes fairly drasically when the balance between the mic volumes is altered. Rather than polarity reversing one mic, I find a better solution is to high pass one mic or the other and the eq the low mid a bit. I find the overall sound is cleaner and more distinct than trying to cancel out those frequencies.

Scott Humphries on :

Hey Dave, I loved your video on system EQing and wanted to hear your opinion on what makes a great reference track. For me personally ive found this track to be a great reference point. (Excuse the shoddy youtube quality) ive found that tracks that are more electronically produced allow me to think of the response more sonically. I then may follow that up with some vocal testing with my lead vocals mic. To me this is a great combination when relying solely on your ear's. Im only a young engineer so im trying to find what works best for me and justifying it to the best of my abilities! Thanks!!!!

Dave Rat on :

I look for three things in a test track. 1) Full range of frequencies 2) Similarity or relevance to the artist I am mixing 3) Familiarity, I need to know what the track should sound like and have heard it on multiple systems so I know its deficiencies and characteristic.

Hyphen Lu on :

Hi! Mr.Dave I was browsing rhcp videos on youtube, and I found you at the 0"42 of the video!

doug on :

Hey Dave, Thought you might appreciate my DIY headphone splitter: Love the blog, it has been a huge inspiration for mine. PS- Thinking about putting a Rat sticker on my laptop, I imagine that would make it somewhat unique on the East Coast :)

Matt Stephens - on :

I struggle with the buy vs. don't buy vs. rent situation with every capitol purchase. I very much appreciate that you left a download link for the Excel file, that saves me the time of having to recreating it! I noticed you put the important details like property tax into the equation - THAT is a killer here in Maryland, my yearly contribution to the state is due this month. I'm sure California tax rates on property are higher than MD, so I shouldn't complain. Nice work on a very diversified blog - sound stuff for the audio types, band tidbits for the masses, and accounting for the company owners.

Daniel on :

Hey, Great Youtube videos on the phase issue. Ive never really mixed monitors but this will come in very useful if I do. Will be subscribing! Thanks, Dan

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