Skip to content

Doing It Wrong

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

I have had quite a few people ask me "how did you come up with the sub layouts?" So, I started thinking about the train of thoughts that is passing by here at the moment. My first experimentation into 'subs pointed the wrong way,' was the Sub Cannon stuff I did with Peppers.

Thought actually they were pointed in the right direction, the setup had one set firing into the back of the next time delayed set. While it worked well, and rear rejection was clearly achieved, cumbersome steering that was realized by adding more or less level to them, so power was wasted if I reduced side coverage. But way before that, all the work I was doing with the MicroWedge designs over a decade ago kept pointing at the assets of physical placements and the importance of versatility. Physical placements, distances and the reducing the sheer physical size of the combined sound sources continue to be a significant challenge in all loudspeaker enclosure/array designs.

For this year's Coachella we did something very similar to the Slotfire setup where it relies on two sub sources 1/3 of a wavelength spaced. But once all the subs were stacked up, what we ended up with is a big wall of subs with a small gap in the middle separating the non delayed versus the delayed. Some delayed 18's were right next to non delayed 18's while others were 12 or more feet away.

Yet we are using a time delay of just 3 ms. The theoretical design is based on two point sources but the whole sub wall thing, while functional, has trouble getting out of it's own way. What we need is two nice clean point sources. But how do you do that with six double 18 boxes that are nearly two feet high and four feet wide?

From yet another angle there was the MicroSub project designed to use the coolness of actually being able to physically configure the boxes themselves to achieve desired results.

Yes subs are very close to omni directional at low low frequencies and since low frequency wave lengths are long, it may seem that these configuration variations would have little or no effect on the output and coverage. But the reality is that there are significant audible differences and once I actually stacked these things up I found the assets of the configurations are even more pronounced than anticipated. The actual direction a sub is pointing does not matter much till you start getting above 60 0r 80 hz. While the 'on axis' focal point and distance between multiple sub sources rapidly gains importance as the frequency is raised.

**** Mini Offshoot Sound Nerd Speak ****

For example. The MicroSubs are 26" wide and 13" high and hold a single 15" speaker. If you stack two directly on top of each other on the floor like 'The Up Up' configuration,

the source dimensions are about 26" high by 15" wide plus ports so about 26"x24".

That would give us a side view pattern of something like:

As you can see we have we have reduced the vertical coverage, which optimizes for musicians a bit farther away and blows through the legs of closer artists when used as a sidefill.

Now slide the top MicroSub back till it drops into the 'Laid Back' configuration

and we now get something more like this

Where there is an up tilt giving us a nearer focus. Here the nearer artist is in the focus while the sound will tend to go over the heads of musicians father away. Plus, this is with just two MicroSubs. The stacked responses are of course achievable with conventional low profile subs but the additional option to utilize the angled configs with the MicroSubs is unique and can be very effective in tackling a wide variety of applications.

**** End Mini Offshoot Sound Nerd Speak ****

Ok, back to Vortex and Slotfire.


So taking what I learned from Sub Cannon's, MicroWedge, MicroSub lets next add in add in the cool enclosure designs like the dV-Sub where multiple speakers are pointed at each other to result in a powerful output from a small area.

And then it grew on me to combine it all and gain control over steering by creating a smaller and more manageable sound source dimensions and completely disregard the direction the sub speakers actually point. At that point all the ideas started flooding in as with so many restraints of design removed.

Here is the Slotfire, notice the two 18" wide 'slot' sources that offer distinct control.

And though the Vortex occupies an 8 ft by 8 ft by 5.5 ft high space, it offers a relatively small point source-ish output relative to conventional setups.

Oh, and this was the gig where we learned that the Vortex works best in open space and does not like to be near a wall. The Slotfires though, prefer a wall and shoot too much rear energy in open space. The V Fire:

is the no wall or hollow stage version of the Slotfire but does not quite sound as good.

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

So as I mentioned, I adore the new adventure feeling of opening the bus door to a brand new world. And some days you just got to grit your teeth and bear it. Dammit, where in the heck is the parking lot? Is that a gig through yonder forest?

The luxuries for a touring roadie crew are endless, but at least we get our own are to hang out in and relax.

I did it, I finally broke down and labeled my console.

So this Branson guy from Virgin decides to toss a party for 30,000 or so of he best friends, for free. Multiple stages, Blink, Weezer, Jet and lots of other cool bands

And what better way to make an entrance than to sky dive out of a helicopter onto the roof of the main stage at Blossom Amphitheater? None better! A bottle of Champagne

And away we rock. Can I say that this guy rules! And speaking of guys that rule, I am so happy to be touring once again with Craig Overbay! So great to hang with so many friends.

Dave Rat


Big Tools

Jones Beach. I remember the first time I ever did a show here was Lollapalooza 1992, the first of two shows went on with out a hitch but for the second show our little friend Hurricane Andrew decided to drop by for a visit and lay a category 5 wind and rainstorm on top of all the wires, speakers, lights and humans. Talk about torrential downpour! I have some old video of it somewhere that have been meaning to post. Pretty intense seeing the lights and PA swinging and mashing into each other. Big chunks of gear blowing over into foot deep puddles flowing in a cascading waterfall off the stage while sideways rain blows away tents and any attempt to protect the not so thirsty gear.

So I have settled into two subwoofer designs and hope to be able to flow one or the other into the rest of the tour gigs. The Vortex or Orgasmatron setup gives me a bit more control over coverage and allows me to disperse low end over a very wide area. Also the Vortex gives me excellent rejection on stage and directly behind the subs. Our other setup which I guess I will call the Slotfire Cannon. It is similar to the Sub Cannons I used to fire to the sides of the arena's on Peppers tour but they take up less depth, are more efficient and offer a bit better control. Being four feet deep and about 14 feet wide, the Slotfire should be able to drop into most sheds fairly easily. The has quite good control over widening coverage but offers very little cancellation behind the arrays. So for venues that have a wall behind the subs, the Slotfire is a good way to go. Conversely the Vortex work best if there is open space behind them.

Perhaps you noticed we spun the Vortex (Orgasmatrons) 45 degrees? Ahh for this gig it gave us better sighlines, so therfore better placement downstage and a bit more control. So here is the basics of the Slotfire setup as done morning of the show;

The theory on the Slotfire is to space two acoustic centers at 1/3 of a wavelength of the desired center frequency. For this I chose 45hz due to the sub design and program material I am sending, so about 8.5 feet or so. Then if I delay the outside acoustic source by 3.6 to 7.2, I gain a tremendous amount of control to steer the low end to the outside. Zero time delay gives me a figure 8 pattern, which I do not need as I want to steer outward and reduce power alley. Here are some simple predictions for one side

A 3.6 ms delay is 1/6 wavelength at 45 hz so if you apply that to the outside subs and add that to the 1/3 wavelength physical spacing, we get that 1/2 wavelength virtual spacing that gives nice cancellation towards the stage and steers low frequencies outward

And as we increase delay further it steers more outward.

So super simply I can control how wide the coverage is while reducing power alley, just by adding delay.

The trick though to get this all to work efficiently is to create two nice LF point sources with the subs. Ahhh, and that is where the super cool part comes. Because to get an 8.5 spacing of acoustic centers with 4 foot wide boxes means the stacks would only be 6" apart. Basically one big wall with some time delay mushing it up, which is lame and boooring! So what I did was to point the subs at each other with 12" spacing. Now I have two very clean 12" wide acoustic centers to work with. And wow! This setup kicks butt!

The sound of this setup is really solid and powerful, more so than the Vortex. But, keep in mind, the Vortex offers more control. If I setup the Slotfire in an arena, poor Steve and everyone else behind the subs would be completely obliterated. Never forget that the key is using the right tool for the right job.

Haa! I got to be the guinea pig for the flying drum riser test drive!

I think this was Montreal

May as well start introducing the awesome Rat crew out here putting up with my antics. Meet Jim, also known as Ice, not sure why but hey, nicknames rule. He is my FOH tech and the one who directly gets my world dialed in. I do put a lot responsibility on my tech, and really appreciate him keeping it together. Oh, Nick the Fly was out here but he went back to home world and was the front end guy that helped me get my wacky designs all dialed in.

This is Robert, he rocks the stage wire world

Scott Sugden (top left) came out for a few days to hang with us and Roz (working with Scott) is our laser room measuring K1 system design guru now that Nick is gone.

Manny is out here too promoting corn chips mainly but I think he does some PA setting up as well.

Re ran the orgasmatrons at Jones Beach. Good news is Mark Hoppus went inside during the show. Bad news is he tripped over the strap that holds them together and fell inside with his bass on mid show. Fortunately he did the party roll and landed on his back and seemed ok.

Hello Me

Jessica is our wonderful production assist and awesome to work with.

May as well toss some show shots in the mix

After the gig, we Blink fans all hang out waiting for the band.

Not really related but some say Pigeons are like flying rats, so I figured I would toss some props out to our flighty friend here.

Okey dokey artichokey. See ya soon for more brain twisting adventures soon.

Dave Rat

More Homework

More Homework

So just as I did for the Coachella sub setup, I set a few goals and restrictions to see where that would take me with the design. And just as I did with Coachella, I have the honor of being able to run the designs by Scott Sugden from L'Acoustics who has the skills, experience and software to sort through the options. I really do feel fortunate to be able to not only try and figure out cool solutions but also to have the support people and sharp humans that can help me implement these things on a fairly large scale.

Lets start off by clarifying a simple rule of thumb regarding configuring speakers.

The wider you stack speakers horizontally, the narrower the coverage is horizontally. The higher you stack speakers vertically, the narrower the coverage is vertically. This is counter intuitive at first as it is tempting to stack speakers wider and wider to cover a wide room. When using horns and with mid and higher frequencies that can be easily controlled in their directivity, stacking wider for wider coverage can work well. But the rule of thumb is based on multiple speakers reproducing the same signal with their coverage patterns overlapping.

With sub woofers, overlapping coverage patterns are all but unavoidable, so the rule of thumb works well, especially with larger arrays.

OK, so the premises I am following are:

1) Horizontal sub arrays reduce horizontal coverage and create a power alley in the room center reducing coverage to the sides. - I need to keep the sub arrays compact horizontally.

2) Vertical sub arrays tend to reduce vertical coverage. A flown vertical sub array further messes up vertical coverage due to the reflection effect. I will try to keep the subs on the ground.

3) A stacked vertical sub array is a bit more forgiving in its vertical coverage than a flown array. Yet more concerning is that the tall ground stack in an arena will usually block sight lines unless it is behind the band, and we surely do not want the band in front of the low end I am going to dumping on the audience. Keep the sub array compact vertically.

4) A stage center horizontally ground stacked sub array blasts the front row of humans and tends to arch over backwards onto the band. Even with a cardioid sub array placed stage center, my experience is that, having the singer just a few feet from the primary subs generating enough lows for an arena creates an inevitable mess. Avoid putting lots of subs stage center.

5) The setup must be easy, repeatable and be able to cover the venues without the time consuming tedium of meddling with multiple interacting delay times every day. I want two or three clean presets that I select from. Maybe a 180 degree coverage, a 220 degree and a 270 degree. Create a sub setup that allows changing coverage without re stacking.

6) Finally, as with any useful idea, the less negative side effects, the better. So the sub array ideally should not reduce venue capacity, block sight lines, push out the barricade, look ugly, or cause any issues for backline, lights, video or any other department. Plus it would be really cool if it was easy and fast to setup.

Hmmm, that really tilts toward putting subs on the floor and off to the sides as the best of the options without diving into an some esoteric 3 dimensional flown sub arrangement that would change the rules a bit. In order to reduce the power alley effect, creating a sub woofer setup where each side has a bit of reduced coverage in the room center should help.

Anyway, based on those parameters and keeping in mind the quality of the overall show as whole, the most finessefull solution seemed to be to refine the sub cannon design for added control and improved coverage. Reducing the quantity of forward facing subs towards the stage middle would be good as well.

Here is the Peppers sub configuration drawing for the 2006 -2007 tour

And a picture of it

I will also need to account for the fact that I will be using the L'Acoustics SB28's rather than the Rat subs I had on Peppers tour. I love the Rat subs and with the new Rat Super Sub, the added power is awesome. But Rat Sound has the privilege of being one of only two vendors with a K1 system in North America during this pilot phase of the K1 system release so both Rat and L'Acoustics really are focused on keeping it all intact as a complete system so we can really learn the rig and share what we experience with the manufacturer. That is not to say that it can not be augmented, but for the primary system it is all about a matched L'Acoustics rig.

So I am going to walk the line between off the shelf L'Acoustics with a bit of optimization based on my past experience and setups.

Picture time. This is pretty much the way I start projects. First establish a rough goal based on fulfilling the need or solving a flaw to what is existing. Next start drawing pictures and try and cover all possible permutations regardless of whether they are feasible or not. I then sort through the pictures and weed out the weak ones, hopefully settling in on a small range while weighing the assets and issues. Finally refine, redraw, build and test the winners out.

Just to give you an idea of some of a few of the 20 or so layouts I went through, here are some really rough stage right sketch's that did not make the cut for this tour.

The Fan. This would have the rear three at zero time and a delay added to the front three. I never ran projections as it was too big for what I am working on here.


The Focus. With all the work on the design of the EAW MicroSub, I have been diving into and using mechanical coupling arrangements, this is a triple sub setup seemed interesting. The delayed center can be timed to steer the coverage a bit. Never tested it and it seemed to be too limited in control.

Two behind three. This is a 12 x 12 foot and cumbersome. But perhaps you can see where I am headed with attempting to have control over the forward fire, diagonal fire and side fire while offering some cancellation on the stage and behind the subs where the monitor position and techs will be.

The Quad. The size is getting better and with subs pointing forward and to the right combined with delays it could offer some control. I really want power delivered about 45 degrees to the right of center. That tends to be the longest shot in an arena as well as a place where people will not be really be too close to the subs due to sight lines.

The Circle. Similar, and though you often hear that subs are omni directional, it does not take a rocket scientist to walk around the back of a subwoofer and hear that they are a bit louder and more direct sounding in front. This sub circle could have all subs facing inward or in several differing directions.


The Split. The next one actually is pretty good and fits in an 8 by 8 foot area. I could time delay it it for a 0 degree, 45 degree or 90 degree focal point. A bit light though, I was hoping to get 12 SB28's per side and to match the stage height so I am looking at 3 per stack. Meaning this is a 9 sub array. The sub on the right would add power to the side while offering some cancellation on stage. The sub up top in the drawing adds power forward and cancellation behind. the interaction between the top and right subs should cause some cancellations to the upper left power alley area and lower right 135 degree off axis area. By messing with levels a bit, the coverage could be altered a bit. Plus the distances are hovering around that magic 1/4 wavelength of 60 hz range which is useful for cardioid sub configurations.

Oh, and let me not forget the most important part. The Carpet.

How can we possibly do a rock show without a nice fuzzy carpet to stand on!

Next up, more subwoofery stuff, some simple cool measurement tools and running it old school style.

Dave Rat

Big Bottom

Hmmm, wondering if the L-Acoustics K1 Coachella system be referred to in the male or the female context. What do ya think? I can think of some big reasons it could go either way. Though I am tending towards pushing the feminine angle and so with that said, how about we take a good look at her bottom end?

**** Begin Un Censored Sound Nerd Speak ****

RATED Triple N (Must be an advanced nerd to read)

Quite a bit of thought was put into the subwoofer setup for Coachella Main Stage. I had the honor to work with Scott Sugden from L'Acoustics on the subwoofer design and it was really fun. The first thing we did was outline the goals to be achieved:

1) The design must be appropriate looks and location wise. By that I am referring to avoiding an awkward sub setup like one that pushes the barricade out too far or those super tall sub stacks that block video screens and look terrible. The goal is for speakers to be heard, not seen and if it is seen, it should look clean and fit into the look of the stage.

2) The design must be repeatable. I wanted to avoid a 'custom Coachella setup' that relies on taking advantage of unique aspects of the event or placement locations. The goal was to design a sub configuration that could be dropped into any field show and archive impressive results.

3) The design must be scalable. This is pretty simple to hit, but important none the less.

4) The design must be simple to implement. I wanted to avoid a setup that requires taking a bunch of complex time consuming measurements and extensive onsite testing that requires blasting subs for an extended time frame. We want simple, easy and very little room for error.

5) The design must have flexible dispersion/coverage capabilities. One of the coolest aspects of the sub cannon setup I used on Peppers tour was that I could easily widen the sub coverage pattern by increasing the level of the side firing boxes. If the arena sold farther around the sides, I could easily increase the coverage to well beyond 180 degrees. For the Peppers field setup with sub cannons, I could widen and narrow the coverage. We wanted to retain that flexibility while improving other aspects.

6) The design must not involve destructive sound. By that I mean that I did not want any boxes that are used to cancel out sound. Out of polarity rear firing speakers used create cardioid patterns are an un acceptable solution. I also wanted to avoid that whole beam steering thing where a whole bunch of graduated delay times are used to electronically focus. One or two delays I am fine with, but beyond that, too scary and my experience with electronic beam steering is it is one of those 'two steps forward and one step back' scenarios where side effects of db loss and complex coverage patterns negate many of the advantages.

7) The system must be able to convert to conventional sub woofer setup without moving speakers. There will be over 30 engineers mixing on the system at these festivals and we need a setup that will make everyone happy, so it needs to be able to switch to a normal-ish sub setup, should any engineer so desire.

8) The subwoofer coverage of the event must be impressive. The big challenge with subwoofers is that you are fighting two main issues. First is that the wider the subwoofer setup is, the narrower the coverage is. Secondly, the reduced horizontal coverage issue can be addressed by stacking the subs into two tall vertical arrays BUT, those vertical arrays cause these huge V shaped cancellation nodes. If you have mixed on a system with vertical subwoofer arrays, I am sure you have noticed those huge holes just to either side of power alley where there is practically no sub lows. To me, that is an unacceptable ramification.

9) The design must utilize the L-Acoustics SB28 sub woofers. Hey, they are part of our new K1 system and we are keeping the whole deal together and matched up and these subs are awesome!

10) The design should minimize low end bleed onto the stage. On a show this size where we are pumping low end over long distances, it is critical that we can deliver the needed energy deep into the audience with out overpowering our musical friends on stage just a few yards away from the subs.

So as the ideas bounced back and forth, it began to evolve in what seems in retrospect to be the obvious path. Lets combine the SB28's cardioid configurations with a version of the sub cannon configuration.

Before I go on, it is important to note that the L-Acoustics cardioid sub setup does not implement out of phase sound to cancel the rear propagation. Rather, it the rear firing sub is set at zero time delay and the front fire subs 'wait' for the sound of the rear sub to wrap around and then augment that sound. That means that in front of the cardioid array, all 4 boxes are in correct time. But as you walk around behind the boxes, the is a time error increases. This causes an effective cancellation behind the boxes while in front of the boxes it is all in time and good, hence 'cardioid.' Basically it is the same concept as the sub cannons except it requires less physical depth.

So the first thing we did was run some analysis on the arena and field sub cannon setups as well as numerous other interesting and cool sub layouts that Scott has implanted and pondered. What we ended up with is a 6 cluster setup. The primary cardioid sub cluster consist of 6 forward facing and 2 rear facing SB28's set at what we will refer to as 'zero time delay.' The next set of clusters had acoustic centers located 1/3 of a 40 hz wavelength to the outside of that. These outside clusters are the 'cannons' and are laid back in time by 1/6th of a wavelength at 40 hz, such that they augment the sub energy radiated 33 degrees off axis and create a cancellation on stage. These outside clusters consisted of 4 SB28's forward with 2 rear facing.

Finally, there are two small 2 box cardioid clusters just to the left and right of center. These serve two purposes. They act as center fill subs to even out the low end hole that created by being off axis to the main subs and also they act allow us to widen power alley and create an extremely smooth subwoofer coverage.

So maybe that sounds complex or maybe not but either way, the result is simple. Turn up the outside clusters and the coverage expands wider, turn them down and it becomes narrower. Turn up the center sub cluster and the power alley effect is reduced, turn them down and power alley increases. All this was achieved with only two very time delay settings and well thought out but simple stacking locations.

Ha! Well hopefully that got your mind spinning!

**** End Un Censored Sound Nerd Speak ****

While were are diving into all kinds of cool and exiting stuff, check out the MicroWedge 12 Case design. What do ya think? A one human operation to open and close the case.

Plus storage inside for cables, tripod mounts and MicroLegs means the case is fully self contained with all you need after the amp.

Here is the bottom storage, there is another compartment up top as well.


I am not through yet, much more to come, like a whole series of arm reach self photos with cool Rat crew and the rock stars of the sound nerdery world. And lastly but not leastly, I would like to mention a new drink that a few of the sound crew has come up with. Vodka straight shots followed quickly with a Vodka straight chaser. Gotta be quick though and hit the chaser before the burn of the shot sets in and be sure to use two different kinds of vodka. Ha! Just kiding or maybe not.

Dave Rat feeling a little mini road fun that I so miss and so happy to be hanging with 'my people.'.

Life Unboring Itself

Coachella is massive and magical. For sure by now if you follow world of musical news, you have heard at least two things about Coachella 2009. "Paul McCartney played a legendary two and half hour show and the sound was shut off after the Cure went ten minutes over curfew. And surely too, each of these two event descriptions were peppered with some form of journalistic opinions. The heart wrenching moment of Paul's song dedication to his wife on the anniversary of her passing and of The Cure continuing to rock some of their biggest hits to tens of thousands while drenched in a time stopping sonic silence. So being that the there is so much to tell of this weekend's desert adventure, it seems so most logically right to describe it in the wrong direction and start from the end.

Arms in the air eyebrows raised in bewilder, I look at MC, the sound engineer from The Cure and one of the best audio engineers I know. And while his band continues to play, in my normal speaking voice raised above non existent sound I apologize. There was no other option. With the polo field equivalent of house lights on, the band continues to play song and another and another in the surreal time stoppingly endless state we are trapped. "What happened?" Yet the answer we already know, it is the "why" that is still unfolding. Police on the radio's demanding a stop to sound from the massive stage, a promoter trapped in the middle between threats of cancelled future festivals and a crowd of multi thousands and a band playing harder than ever oblivious to the un deniable absence of 350,000 watt PA system pumping their tunes into hungry ears.

"Oh tragic" says the articles, debacle and mishap tossed around as if some huge error was made.

What really did happen? Did the promoter ruthlessly shut of the sound? Was there some behind the scenes conspiracy? Did the band accidentally play past some deadline unaware? Did someone forget to inform someone else or was a mind changed mid stream? Or perhaps, just perhaps, The Cure in their punk rock playfulness, decided to test the limits with a smile just because they can. Just to un bore the masses from their own lives by giving those that wish to say, like me, something to talk about. Mystique, stories and press exploding from the event lifting the notoriety to new levels beyond the quite impressive performance itself.

But as far the putz who threw the bottle at the sound board, come on, don't be so shallow as to miss the enjoyable complexities of the bigger picture, you missed the gear but it was close and hey, you could have hurt someone!

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

Though in the music world, the incredible performances by too many bands to name will keep blogs and articles buzzing, there was something even more significant that occurred at this Coachella, at least from a sound nerdery perspective. I know what you are thinking and yes, it is true. The Coachella Main Stage saw the the unveiling of the largest L-Acoustics K1 system ever assembled. In my honest and true opinion, I now feel it is confirmed that this PA is truly the newest, latest, greatest and best sounding large scale sound system in existence. Never before have I heard such an overwhelmingly positive response. Not only from the world class engineers we had the honor to work with but from the promoter and humans in general. I am tempted to try and describe it further but it feels too awkward and since hearing is believing I will stop and leave the opinions to others to create.

I know I have been sluggish at blogging and I will try to get back to the enjoyable patterns I miss and left behind. You see, behind the silence and bloggery smiles, I have been immersed in taking on the most challenging financial project of my life. You know when you watch Texas hold'em poker and they get to the end of the game and there is that "all-in" bet? Well, for Rat Sound to get this K1 system, it was kind of an all-in plus all the futures of all-in's for a while to come like an all-in of all all-in's. And hey, I do my fair share of stupid stuff and the best I can tell I can be so good enough at messing things up that I have it covered for a few other people as well, but then there are things that are clear and there is no doubt in my mind and I know must be done right. Purchasing the K1 system was one of those things. When Jon Rat came to me and told me about it coming out, I was skeptical, when Jon arranged a trip to France to hear it, I was skeptical, when I heard it and what it can do I knew there was no alternative. This is the best and we must have it. The fact that the planet earth was in the largest economic down turn since the great depression was just an annoyance. A really big scary and challenging annoyance. And in a nut shell, that is where my mind has been, in a nut shell.

Anyway, you are looking 8 K1 subs, 15 K1's and 3 dV-Dosc per side in the main hangs and 8 K1's plus 3 dV-Dosc per side in the side hangs. On the ground are 32 SB 28's set up as cardioid subs with some Sub Cannon timing (you can't see the 4 subs in the middle). I hope to get into more detail at some point as the setup is super cool with new and refined concepts. The only issue we ran into was that the K1 has such a clean and wide coverage, the side hangs were too wide. I am confident the KUDO would have been a better choice but we used them all in the Mojave tent. Anyway, I hope to dive into all that in the coming weeks.

Oooooh, look at the size of that thing! The whole 'banana' term that is used to refer to line arrays is going to need to be re though. That is one big hang at nearly 40 feet in length

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

Okey Dokey. Sleep and stuff and mental preparation for Stage Coach festival next weekend! Ha, I am so happy to be doing gigs. And speaking of gigs, I took a short little tour in the UK and Europe in May.

The finally getting out and about again,

Dave Rat

Day 379 - June 6th - Giant Bubbles

First order of business today is a bit of back repair and the promoter has arranged so graciously an acupuncture/acupressure specialist to swing by my room and fix me up. While I am waiting, I head over to the mini bar drawer and find a coffee which both impresses and depresses me. Japan's creativity and creations are amazing and some of the things they come up with boggle the mind. So there is a coffee cup and a mini filter and little filter holder and cream and sugar and a stir stick and a top all in a neat little package.

Dump in hot water and poof, a perfect cup of drip coffee. While this is interesting and somewhat useful, it also highlights the reality that a many Japanese products are beyond belief wasteful in their packaging to the point where the amount of trash created often outweighs the consumable product itself, do you remember the plastic bottles full of ice when I was here before? Which in my opinion cancels out the cool factor. True beauty in design occurs when a harmonious balance between function, aesthetics and efficiency is reached while minimizing any negative impact that resides in the surrounding world from both manufacture and post consumption.

The massage /acupressure does a great job of lining me back up and reducing the ouch factor and it is time to head to the gig and a good sized gig it is. The moment I walk in through the revolving doors the instant air pressure surge hits me. "Ah, an air filled dome." It is one of those venues where they have a soft flexible roof and giant blower fans some where that pumps in enough air to keep the roof up, sort of like a giant version of those air filled things kids jump around in at the fair. All doors the are revolving and the trucks enter through multi-stage air locks to unload and it gives me a headache if I go in and out of the pressurized room too many times.

The air supported ceilings are surprisingly strong and as you can see in the picture below, you can hang lights and stuff from the flexible roof. Our touring production is too heavy for it though so we have everything supported by the stage we had brought in for us. Occasionally while touring I have come across and air filled arena where we have hung the sound system from the floating roof and it is really strange to see the chain motors running and the gear not lifting till the roof sufficiently sags to to hold the load. And then when audience leaves at the end of the show, the PA drops down a bit due to the air pressure dropping/escaping.

The double hung mains and 15 deep side hangs with 3dV-Dosc under all clusters plus 6 dV-Dosc in top of the side hangs and for center cluster totaling a whopping 90 V-dosc and 36 dV-Dosc not including delay clusters and that is one bad ass PA!

Down below is a modified sub cannon setup with 4 side stacks using a 2 foot spacing and an 8 sub center cluster.

Here is a graphic of the sub layout that roadie Lee put together, Lee rocks!!

Having this much clean sound power is really fun. Hello Homare, Tukiji and Raymond and thank you for the awesome fish market adventure and coming over to my office for a rock show adventure! Sashimi and Soju for all!

Speaking of rock show, hey look, there it is!

Now that was fun!

Dave Rat

Day 318 - April 6th - The World's Biggest Island

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

Due to the far awayness and the timeline of travel, we have left behind the Rat PA system in the US and I will be working on regionally hired sound systems in Australia and Japan. The stuff we carry with us we have paradoxically named the "global gear" which consists sound wise of the band's backline gear, the monitor system, my front of house console and outboard gear, the Pro Tools recording rig and two large tigers. As far as the main PA system is concerned, we do our best to mirror image it as best we can. The success rate of getting identical gear varies from country to country but for the most part, we can get pretty close with the main difference usually being that we can only get the Rat Subs from the Rat Shop. I will miss them dearly but the V-Dosc SB 218 subs can get pretty close with some audio massaging. So here is the sub cannon setup built with SB 218 triple stacked rather than the double stacked Rat Subs.

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

For all y'all that have yet to do earthly traveling down under or to the UK and also happen not to live in those regions, you may not be familiar with the black gooey substances with a strong savory odor known as Marmite in England and Vegimite for the Aussies. Though the two are a bit different and there are several other versions available like Bromite, they all carry the common trait of being an emotionally and passionately dividing line of opinion. Talk about a love hate/hate thing, this stuff is one of the top contenders of acquired taste or immediate revulsion depending on your culinary adventurousness and childhood exposure. Personally I hate the stuff. Or at least that is what I used to say before I started thinking. "Hmmm, so many people love this stuff, it smells like crap and tastes even worse but wow, the people that love it truly love it and it seems to make them so happy." So one day many years ago I set aside my closed minded bias and asked an English friend to make me up a Marmite toast and gave it a shot with big eyes and curiosity and you know what? It was good! Spread super thin on hot buttered toast, I understood and added one more thing to my life that makes me happy.

It is not for everyone but once you get it, yumm! Oh wait, look! Some magical face has mystically appeared on my Vegimite toast and I was going to sell it on Ebay but alas, I could not help but eat it up.

Hmmm, I wonder what is in here, this smells delicious as well

Show tomorrow!!

Dave Rat

Day 297 - March 16 - Fly to Japan

There are several non-human things with which my life, as I have chosen it, I consistently depend. My laptop, my cell phone, my car (not so much lately) and to some degree, my camera. Avoiding losing these things provides a constant and often humorous challenge and yes, I do lose my car in just about every parking lot. Additionally, since my world of motion is so inter-woven with these items, it brings me great pleasure to assure that the ones with which I chose to interact are optimized for my particular desires. So with that argument built up as a self justification, I set out out and purchased the new sexy Blackberry 8800. Ooooh! Smaller, built in GPS, plays videos and holds a micro SD card so I can send pics from my camera. I may even figure out a way to blog from it now that I can get my camera pics into it. Excited about my new acquisition, I show Dave Lee who immediately invokes a durability test

It is an on going roadie joke that when anyone gets something new and fragile that we try and politely "take a look" followed by pretending to bite, step on, twist, disassemble and in any way possible, cause dismay to the owner. Dave Lee did very well, pay back is a bitch and I deserved every second.

So we are at the airport terminal and take a shuttle to the lounge that is like a mile away in trailer that requires the shuttle bus to traverse several runways. Fortunately for the plane riders, a wise man has placed this useful notice assisting a safer journey for all.

To the plane and yumm! Read this menu,

wow, does that not sound delicious or at least interesting? Well, being the adventurous eater I am, I am all good with giving it a shot. I under estimated the potential. Oh my, and then I remember that I have already learned this last and perhaps every time I fly to Japan.

I love sushi, I love clean simple healthy foods. I do not love slimy gelatinous and rubbery items of unknown origin. I do not love fish goo, and though the pic does not represent it's full glory, I do not understand why such great lengths of complication would be taken to transform what was at one point, perfectly good food into complex fish flavored jelly.

Simple clean healthy foods, how hard can it be?

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

The realization that I have been ignoring my fellow and fellowess sound nerds struck me and brought a sad feeling to my heart so I pondered a bit and came up with this to share.

One of the big issues with subwoofer arrays is that they provide significant sound in front of the stage and considerably reduced sound levels off to the sides. Early in the blog days I describe the method we use on this Pepper's tour to increase side sub coverage and made up the name "Sub Cannons" for them. Well, not ever tour or show has the flexibility to build the stage as part of the sub woofer array sooo.....

Here is a simple method of increasing that horizontal dispersion of sub woofer coverage utilizing the side firing sub cannon method with all the subs are stacked in a straight line. This setup is useful both indoors and out and allows you to easily alter the amount of low frequency energy you provide off axis to the people on the sides. The main subs on send 1 are facing forward and have zero time offset. The side firing subs are pointed outwards at 90 degrees and delayed incrementally such that their acoustic focus is 90 degrees off axis. The delay times listed on the drawing are based on a 2 foot deep subwoofer and a 1 foot spacing between the subs.

In order to envision how the setup works, think of the main subs including the first (non spaced) side firing sub as one system which I have circled in red. Think of the spaced side facing subs as a second system. The main subs form the typical forward facing sub array that is quite common and tends to lack adequate side coverage. The fact that the zero time delay sub on the end is pointed sideways is of little or no consequence. Now think of the the +3 feet delayed subs as waiting for the sound from the subs behind it before it radiates it's sound. Then the +6 feet delayed sub waits for the sound of the combined zero delay and +3 delayed subs before it radiates and finally, the +9 delayed sub waits before radiating as well.

This incremental addition increases the volume for the listeners off to the sides while having a relatively minimal effect on the listeners in front. The setup works quite well and is easily adapted to various venue types. If you increase the side firing sub spacing, increase the delay times accordingly. The delay time in feet of each increment is (cabinet depth in feet) + (spacing in feet). So, if your subs are 2 1/2 feet deep and you space them 18", then you would use 4 feet of delay per increment.

You can alter the ratio of the quantities of forward firing to side firing subs as well as the quantity of side firing spaced stacks to achieve different coverage's and volume levels as well. The real beauty of the setup is that it does not require any complex measurements, it transfers well from venue to venue, you can keep all your settings intact as long as you keep your spacing's on the side firing subs the same and if the sides of the venue need more sub you just turn up sub send #2.

Cool cool, if ya give it try, don't forget to let me know what ya think and how it works for you.

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

The not afraid to nerd it up,

Dave Rat