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Day 5 - Barcelona - Assimilation

Long day. Gear is in and mostly up and running, a few patches and gremlins left to deal with but it is getting close.


Two PA systems! Dual left and dual right clusters for the mains plus dual side hangs as well. Typically, two sound systems covering the same area is a bad idea. Multiple sound sources in close proximity reproducing the same signal creates comb filtering (bad stuff). One of the big advantages of using a line array system, in the first place, is not having multiple horizontal sources in close proximity and practically eliminating that issue. But I do not have to worry about that, I wont have comb filter issues.

End SoundNerdSpeak

The concept is that there will be two sound systems and each will reproduce different instruments. There is an "outer" and an "inner" system with both covering the same acoustic space. I am currently running about eight feet between the clusters on each side. Additionally, the distance between the clusters will allow me to alter the acoustic source of any instrument or vocal by sliding it from one system to the other. The idea of sliding acoustic source came to me while watching Green Day at Staples Center.

The lights looked awesome, new angles, new looks for every song. The video was clear and looks kept changing and video came from various screens. The pyro jumped from new places each time with impact and surprise and the sound was excellent and song after song, that great sound pounded from the exact same unseen location behind the scrim. I started thinking that all the other crafts have developed motion, surprise, changing source location yet “sound” is still tethered to the 40 year old "stereo" paradigm. Why don’t our speakers move? Why not have the sound come from closer to the band for intimate acoustic songs and explode to bigger, wider speakers for powerful songs?

It is kind of depressing. I live in a world of sound and while all the other show production entities bask in the excitement of diversity, I am relegated to pump what ever I wish through the exact same portals. I have no depth; I can only emulate depth through the use of effects that simulate depth that I jam through my fixed points of sound.

What if sound sources moved during the show? Lights do. Video walls do. Why not sound? While they focus on impact, beauty and intensity; Sound remains trapped in the Grail quest of acoustic perfection in crap acoustics environments.To make matters worse, 'sound' has done a good job of evolving into the budgetary black sheep of the tour production family but it’s only due own our own lack of creativity and presentation.

Video humans make show reels to demonstrate their skills and sell their concepts. Lighting humans make mock ups and beautiful 3D cad drawings to show their ideas and ‘looks.’ Sound, well hmmm, how many speakers do we need to cover the room? Only to have them cut down for budget reasons, rigging weights or truck space. How absurd is it that in an industry built on selling music that sound is so low on the totem pole. How absurd is it that so few rock shows truly sound amazing?

Ok, end of rant, time for bed.

Dave Rat



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Arejay (drummer for Halestorm) on :

Thats a brilliant idea of using 2 systems. I have a question tho, did u overcome the comb filter by simply spreading the 2 systems over 8 ft. apart, or did u use any other type of frequency responses to solve this problem? arj

Dave Rat on :

Spreading the system far apart and pointing them in diferent directions will solve comb filtering but defeats the whole purpose of the dual system. By insuring that the same signal is never sent to both systems, combfiltering is completely elliminated and allows the systems to be placed right next to each other without any issues.

Antonio Fonseca on :

Hi I think that is's really great what you do for a living, but also showing us what you do and how you do. Thank you for that. But what I wanted was something else... I try to get every artist's amp settings, so can i can exepriment myself and see what soundy really fits ME. I play piano, guitar and bass, but I'm searching for the TONE. Can you get me (and everybodyelse) two pics of the amp settings/knobs (flea and john)? If you do, let me know. If not, well I understand. Kind regards Antonio

Brian Smith on :

So we are basically looking at an Aux fed sub system idea expanded to the whole system? I need to get out to one of these shows...

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