Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So... How'd It Sound?

I promise the purpose of this blog isn't to gush about Dave Rat but I've been reading his blog like a novel this week and it's been super fun to watch how a large scale tour progressed (in reverse).  I've also seen that a lot of the things that I do are also done on very large shows, just with a little more complexity.  Parallel evolution of ideas, neat.

Apart from the mind blowing-ness of Dave's thoughts on subwoofer arrays there was one thing in particular that caught in my consciousness and has been rolling around in there while I've been prepping for this weekend's services.

How often have you finished mixing a gig and had an interested party come up and ask you, "So, how did it sound?"  Probably quite a lot as it would seem logical to most people that the sound guy should know how the show sounded.  I'll stop rambling and get to the quote.

I am often asked , like nearly every show, the questions "How was the show?" and "How did it sound?" Seemingly innocuous enough but I find the queries surprisingly difficult to answer. My gut reaction is to respond by describing the the nuances of the issues I faced at that show. Yet, I realize that my perspective is so totally skewed and what is an issue to me is often irrelevant in the big picture. Plus, having to choose and balance between what feels to be self critical and self complimentary is an awkward position I prefer not navigate. More importantly though, as I am the person holding the status of 'man of sound, I feel remiss in being a part of biasing, deflating or elevating another persons opinion of the event. My roadie purpose is to present the music that the band creates. It is the adventure for the humans attending the show is to form an opinion of the experience to carry with them and share with others.
                                                                    - Dave Rat

Amen brother, amen.  It still doesn't leave me in any kind of a better place to answer the question.  What I find myself doing is this.  If there were no major glitches on my part I'll respond by saying, "Everything was smooth on my end."  Or if there were a couple passages that seemed particular moving to me or those around me I might mention them.  

But it's a real problem to try and answer a question for which I may be literally the only one in the room not fit to answer.  I spend most of the show (or service) concentrating on tonality and balance and almost none of it paying attention to musicality, emotion or the words. 

So there it is, a real brain teaser.  How do you answer?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Setting Relative Levels

It's not every single day you're going to get two posts out of me but I just read about a way of setting up the basic elements of a mix that's a little different than I usually do it.  It was written about mixing in the studio and using reference material to set relative levels.  You can read the original here but I'll give you the quick run down.

Go ahead and line check all your inputs, then instead of setting up the drums mix, adding in bass and working your way up the chain till you get to lead vox, work backwards from there.  If you start with the lead vox and then match the snare in volume to it, then you can balance the kick to the snare and add the bass on top of that.  Guitars and other stuff should be pretty easy to slot in at that point.

Think about it.  How may times have you based a mix on that first input, the kick drum, and found yourself way louder than you need to be and crushing your audience by the time you finally pile on the vocals and guitar solos.  If you start with the most important thing first, then work your way down in terms of importance instead of numerically up the input list you should wind up with a very balanced mix that fits the material and the room.

Dynamic Mics for Drum Overheads?

I don't know if this is a pro audio tip or a trip down memory lane.  Both I guess.  About fifteen years ago I was out mixing for some bar band and the drummer was bugging me about an overhead mic.  We were in a bar that was maybe just a little bit bigger than my dining room table, maybe.  I eventually gave up on trying to convince him that the crowd would hear his new twin china boys just fine and dug out my last free mic, a Shure 57.  I stuck it up there and pretended to tune it up during sound check and then promptly forgot all about it.

Years later I was doing a spot of last minute recording for a band before they left for LA.  We had one night between dinner and whenever we finished to get half a dozen tracks down so they'd have a demo to take with them.  I didn't want to set up a lot of inputs because I only had eight tracks to work with, so it was just kick and a 57 overhead, guitars and vocals, done.  It actually came out pretty good, I heard the drum kit in a whole new way, more like what it actually sounded like in the room.

From then on I was a lot more open to the idea of overheads in small rooms.  I eventually worked my way up to using condenser mics and relying on them not just for cymbal sounds but also for the crack of the top heads and then I'd fill in the presence of the snare and toms with the close mics.  Turns out I had stumbled on to the way that the big boys do it.

So there it is, from placebo mic to sloppy shortcut with a dash of happy accident and you have the decade-long evolution of my drum micing skills.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscars 2012

I didn't watch the Oscars this year, but since the whole world is a-buzz about how bad it sounded I thought I'd slip in this link about a guy who posed as the event sound guy on Twitter and just had an awesome time of it.

Wired Article

If you've got any good dish about what the heck was going on that night, be a dear and post up a link won't you?

Monitor and FOH EQ

This post is a request from my lighting guy Steve.  He's a freelance lighting guy in the Western New York area and also one of the house engineers at a club in Rochester, NY.

Steve wanted to know if I had any links to articles about ringing out monitors and EQing front of house.  There's a million of em out there but I thought I'd add my own to the pile.  Let's start off with monitor world.

Ringing out monitors is generally kind of a utilitarian thing, you're mostly just trying to fight feedback and if it winds up also sounding good to the performers then you have achieved jedi status.  What's needed here is the ability to identify the frequency causing the feedback and notch it out on the graphs.  The best way is to have someone on stage with a mic in their face because some of the sound from the wedges actually reflects off their face and back into the mic.  They can also help out with frequency identification and let you know if things start to sound unnatural.  They can also do stupid things like cup the mic if you're expecting the type of primates musicians who do that sort of thing and head them off at the pass.  My favored solution to artists who insist on doing this because their idols do it on MTV is to let them know politely but firmly that they can either cup the mic or have vocals in the monitors.  It doesn't work but it's fun to watch them squirm.

Until you get so you're really a crack shot at ringing out though, you should probably just arrive early and try to work on it when nobody else is around to be annoyed by the repeated squealing.  Start with flat graphs and open up all the vocal mics on stage.  If it's a really volatile stage you can EQ the mics about like you would for a show.  Then just start turning up till things squeal.  An RTA is kind of a crutch but a useful tool when you're learning what each frequency sounds like.  Notch and turn up, repeat.

When you've got it fairly bullet proof go up on stage yourself and talk on the mics to see if you can excite any further feedback.  Wave the mic around, point it right at a wedge like some singer is sure to do later in the evening, cup the mic, all that stuff.  You're likely to get a few more notches.

If you get to a point where you're using more than half of the sliders on your graphs you should probably stop, flatten them, move the wedges around and start over.  If you EQ too much you're removing so much level from the program that nobody on stage is going to be able to hear anything.  So look for wedges that are making reflections off of things, pairs that are both pointed at the same spot, etc.  It also probably isn't necessary to push each slider on the graph all the way to the bottom.  Experiment a little to find out how much it takes to kill the squeal and then take out just a little more.

The last thing to consider is gain structure.  If you have to EQ pretty drastically then you'll be removing quite a bit of level from your monitor mixes.  If you start out by rolling off all the lows below 100Hz or 120Hz then you can go ahead and turn up the post gain on the EQ, this will keep the gain structure happier in your console rather than raising the gain there and getting hiss.  It'll be quieter and also make sure that you  don't "run out of knob" on the aux sends.  Once you've finished notching, turn up that EQ post gain a little more and you should be in good shape.

For front of house it's a common practice to find out what EQ needs to be done to make up for the room.  The room is a huge player in how your system sounds.  A great sounding system in one room can sound like garbage in another.  That kind of EQ, to fight ringing in the house, or to take care of some aesthetic issues is often done in the lousdpeaker management department.  That way guest engineers can't get into trouble as easily.  Then it's nice to have a pair of 31 band EQs on hand to shape the sound for each particular performer.  Since your corrective EQ is already in the box, you can start out with these flat.

Tweaking for ringing in the house can be accomplished just like you would with the wedges on stage.  Although in the house you're more likely to get very low resonances, below 250 Hz from things like kick and low tom mics, or very high ones from guitars or singers waving vocal mics around.  Once you're ring proof, take a walk around your crowd area and see what you think.  Is there a build up of mids in the center?  Are the highs dying off in the back?  Those might be things that you want to try and fix by moving speakers around but you can't always do that so apply some corrective EQ.

Lastly, you'll want to sculpt the sound to enhance what you'll be mixing that night.  An easy way is to get some play back going and compare the sound in your headphones to what you're hearing in the room.  Match the material to what you'll be seeing on stage later.  Don't set up for Van Halen if Bjork is coming in.  If you get good at this you can really help yourself out later on.

If you've got the room and your cans (headphones) sounding pretty close.  You can line check your band in the cans without blasting away in the house.  You need to have a pretty good understanding of your gain structure but with a little practice you'll know about where stuff needs to sit.  If a guitar mic sounds good in the cans, then when you push it up in the house you shouldn't have much work to do in achieving you final mix.  This can really save your butt if you're stuck in a festival style event and either don't have the time or aren't allowed to check your band in the house.

I hope that helps and feel free to chime in one and all.  Let us know what tricks you use.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Guest Post: Evan - Jr Sound Guy

If you'd like to contribute to the page just drop me a line, write an article, ask a question, share a link, almost anything.

This was written by Evan, a volunteer at the church I work at and coincidentally the "kid" mentioned in  this post.  He's got his marshmallow in a lot of different camp fires but lately I've had the chance to make a few smores with him around the pro audio one.  With no further delay, here's Evan.

I made the best decision of my life when I was three.  I was a short blond kid with blue eyes and happened to wander into the sound booth of the chapel at my church.  I was instantly hooked.  I would ask about the knobs and lights.  I'd push buttons and get the reward of loud feedback.  It was a great beginning.   I would always hang out around the sound guys throughout my child hood into my tween years.  I finally got a shot at doing some stuff by turning light switches on and off for the children's ministry and moved up to the little 8 channel Mackie.  I finally worked in the chapel and am now in charge of media for the children's ministry at age 15 because of my habit of wandering.
    I'm still learning so much.  Over the years I've learned what's been necessary to learning and aspiring to become a sound guy.  The first thing i learned is to never say that you know it all.  There is so much to learn about mixing and rigging.  You need to keep your mind open and your heart into it.  It can be so much fun or a huge pain in the ass but it's all worth it in the end.  I've also found that friends are the best sources for moving along in your journey.  I've met and befriended so many people that are well equipped in the sound engineering world.  They can be knowledgeable in many different areas so I try not to just get all my information from one person.  I even follow them around and help them out to just learn and see what they do.  There is so much to say about wanting to become a great sound engineer but everyone has their own way of doing it. 

Again, it's always important to keep your thoughts open to new ideas and not stick with one plan.  Sometimes you need to experiment and just flat out set stuff on fire.  That's how i learned how not to set up amps.  You apparently never just use a solid piece of steel for a blown fuse because the fuse was blown for a reason.  I would have never known if I didn't experiment.  All in all just ask people what they do and keep an open mind about different ideas.  Experiment with your knowledge and feel free to ask and wonder.  It doesn't do you any good if you're stuck and are stubborn and think you can do something on your own, that causes more explosions and even death.  Don't be afraid to ask.  My final though is that sound guys like their bass loud and everyone else just to stuff it.

Well said young jedi, well said.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Uncle Jon Wants YOU

I gave a little bit of thought to how much information I intend to give out here.  I suppose I could be all paranoid about letting all my good sound guy secrets go but that's not really my philosophy.  Any time someone engages me about my favorite subject I tend to give them a lesson on whatever topic came up whether they want it or not.  I'm not at all shy about sharing.

Why would I want to just give away all my hard earned knowledge?   Why would I want to share information that my competition could use to get the jump on me in a highly competitive market?  Here's why:

I want people that mix audio to be better at it.  I want the percentage of good sounding gigs that I go to to be higher than about 10%.  I want people to think we're all Gandalf or Batman or MacGuyver and we make the world a little more enjoyable every time we set out to turn some knobs. I want people to generate some good will toward sound guys.

Additionally, I want them to be NICE about it.  If there's one thing I'm even more sick of than poorly thought out systems run by unqualified personnel it's this prevailing opinion that all sound guys are dicks and to be considered the enemy of musicians everywhere.  Every gig I work it seems like I have to put more effort into putting the artists at ease and making them believe that I'm on their side than I do setting up and running my system.  It's such a rare occurrence that I can meet a band, state that I would like to work together to make them comfortable, sound good, and insure that everyone has a good night and they take my word for it.
//end rant

Something few people realize is what a serious term the word engineer is.  In Germany if you have a piece of sheepskin that says you studied engineering on it you get to put that in front of your name on your business cards just like doctors do.  In fact, pro audio is the only occupation in the world where you can call yourself an engineer without actually having a piece of parchment to back it up.  The term audio engineer started back when audio engineers were the guys at GE and RCA who wore lab coats and horn rimmed glasses and knew what was going on inside all the tubes and transistors that their gear was made from.  Now days any slob who can turn on a Mackie and murder some fledgling band's set or fire up Garage Band in their parent's basement wants to log in to Vista Print and order some business cards with a Shure 55 (Elvis mic) and call themselves an engineer.

I think it's OK to call yourself an audio engineer without a diploma but it would be nice if there was some differentiation between people who know about the mysterious ways that electrons course through our equipment and someone who is basically using the same skill set required to operate a microwave.  If you're an engineer you don't just look at a problem and come up with a solution that more or less satisfies the conditions.  You look deep into your store of knowledge on the way your gear works and try to come up with the best, most elegant solution you can and then refine that even more.  (I get goose bumps just thinking about it).

What's more, you should also operate by a fairly strict set of rules and also know when and how to break them to make it happen.  I love telling newbies something and following up with, "That's the way you should always, always always do this... except when you don't!"  You should fight and fight to always do things the right way while keeping a sharp eye out for that time that you can't. And then calmly and purposefully break the rules to make things work.  All while not forgetting to demonstrate to the client that you have their best interests at heart and are going the extra mile at all times for their pleasure, comfort, and dollars.

So that's what I wish for my Brethren of the Knob and Fader.  Get after it boys.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Old Gear

I've spent the last couple days trying to prize some secrets out of some old, obsolete, nearly dead gear.  My system at work was originally driven by three boxes from White Engineering.  Digital loudspeaker control but obsolete when they were installed and they had a tendency to act up or shut down at inopportune times.  So after the second one died in the middle of a concert we got them replaced with a 4x20 from Ashly.

When the first one died it was replaced with a 2x6 BSS unit and the other two kept chugging away.  When the second one died and we did the transplant we copied over the setting from the BSS and also were lucky enough to find a hand written transcript of the crossover and EQ settings for the rest of the rig.  One problem, no delay times.  We set the under balcony fills with measurements taken in the room but as for delay on the main hang, nada.

So the last two days, a volunteer and I have been trying to get the three old boxes to power up and talk to the cranky old laptop that has the software on it.  The boxes have to actually talk to the laptop, there don't appear to be any saved files anywhere.  And let me not fail to mention the joys of ransacking the entire sprawling complex for serial cables!  Anyway, we gave it up for a lost cause and decided just to wait until work can buy me Smaart for my lappy and we'll start from scratch.

The point is, there's nothing cooler than old gear that you can figure out and get to work.  Often times it can be an edge for you, something nobody else has that you can work a little magic with, am I right or am I right studio guys?  But there's nothing sadder than old gear that's floating somewhere between door stop and living breathing audio magic box.  It powers up, it appears to pass signal, but I can't get it to do anything or change any of the parameters.  How frustrating.

Not that I have any idea what I'd do with three obsolete, randomly malfunctioning 2 x 8 drive units but it's the principle of the thing.  How many times have you seen a wheezy old box with a bad screen and two missing buttons that could make such beautiful sounds if you could only figure out how to talk to it.  I guess I need to work on being a smarter sort of primate so I can tinker around successfully with the innards of things and bring them back to life.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Studio Compression

I have my first contribution from my friend Brandon who plays guitar in the band LiFT and also does a bit of fooling around with recording.  Being that most live sound engineers also have to be recording engineers these days, as well as lighting and a bunch of other stuff, resources like this are a huge asset.

Michael Brauer is a studio cat with an impressive discography and a treasure trove of articles in the Q&A section of his website.  While a lot of this stuff is applicable only in the studio and would be either lost in a live environment or inconvenient to implement, having a good understanding of dynamic processing is essential for anyone working in an audio environment.

I for one, can't wait to get to reading this:

MHB Productins Q&A

Thanks Brandon!

Today Was Going To RAWK!

So I had a kid coming in today to mess around and try and learn some stuff.  So I thought about what we'd work on and I landed on something that I've been wanting to do for some time now.  I had kind of hit a block with my mixing and decided it was time to shake up the gain structure a little and see if I couldn't eke some more clarity out of my console.  Having read about some implementations of techniques that I had stumbled upon on smaller mixers back in the day, I decided we ought to try it.

So I thought it out.  The kid showed up.  I explained it in the production office.  We went to the console and I explained it again.  He asked questions and we dug deeper. We went back to the office and drew diagrams and watched videos on the subject on line.  We went back to the console and started to dive in.

And we got totally roadblocked because I already have so many requirements on the mix that I just couldn't free up any more facilities to implement the idea.  (Moving all compression to the groups if any of you advanced users were wondering, and no I don't feel like describing the conditions that prevented me from doing so.)  So instead of re-exploring a setup that would let me push into more compression or open up the mix without touching the outboard...  we went to lunch.

We came back with a vengeance though and by changing the crossover settings managed to squeeze a few more dBs and a lot more full sounding bass out of our poor beleaguered subs.  (A trio of dual twelves that we pretend are single eighteens by way of flogging them with a sub-harmonic synth and... wait for it... a second sub-harmonic synth)  So now it sounds a lot less like a bass (fish) and more like bass (groove).  It wasn't a huge change but the drums sound a lot more present and the bass player's five string turned into a real eyeball rattler.

There was one small change pertaining to the groups and compression that made a nice difference.  Having a desk with twelve aux mixes and having ten of them taken up with monitor mixes and one for the subs, left me with only one to feed effects with.  I picked delay because I want more granular control over which singer is echoing at any given moment.  For drum and vocal reverbs I went with sending the channels direct to the two mix and also busing them to a group which feeds the processors.  In the case of the drums I added a compressor to the group chain, lifted the straight-to-L/R routing and assigned the group to L/R instead.  It brought out the attack of the toms a little, made the metal sparkle a little more, and the bottom snare mic is a thing of beauty.  I've never been so happy with a snare sound.

Toss in a little electrical housekeeping and a really nice rehearsal and it was a pretty good day.  But I'm worn.  My wife had to wake me up to go to bed, at which point I became more a wake than I have ever been in my life and had to write this stuff to take the edge off.  Hope it was educational.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Monitoring at the Mix

I went through a little discussion with another guy who mixes where I work about monitoring at the mix position.  While it's quite common for a monitor engineer to have a listen wedge or his own IEM so he can hear exactly what the artist is hearing, it's not as common for front of house.

The reason is that it's pretty easy to simulate the artist's experience.  Joe Q Frontman is standing 2 feet from a wedge on stage, so the monitor guy stands 2 feet from a wedge by his mixer and they're both hearing pretty close to the same thing.  It's a little more difficult to re-create the sound of a large PA in a booth.

That's the problem, as usual the mix position is crammed in about the least effective place it could possibly be.  Not only does this guy have to mix pushed up against the back wall, but also encased in a small thatched hut with a couple tiny windows for him to peer out of.  He's looking for a way to check the balance of things out in the room.

Let me interrupt here to say that despite being far from ideal, this is actually one of the better booths I've ever tried to mix from.  To my thinking it shouldn't be that difficult to play some music and walk back and forth from the booth to the room until you understand how things sound comparatively.  Or have someone baby sit the mix during a service and do the same thing with the actual program material.

Or, we could throw a decent pair of cans in there (for the layman: cans is a term for headphones that dates back to the days of telegraph operators when the old school headphones looked like cans of tuna on either side of the head).  While the cans aren't going to sound exactly like what's going on in the room, neither is a wedge, and cans are a lot more discrete way to check on things than blasting away with a speaker in an enclosed space.  Another thing to consider is cuing up playback material.  It's one thing to get that next track ready in the cans, etc...

One last thing to think about.  One of the major frustrations that sound guys have is slapping on the cans and having things sound nothing like what's going on in the room.  So here's the trick.  Play something back that you know well and EQ the room to sound as close as possible to that.  Then when you line check your performers, use the headphones extensively.  Then when you bring up your mix, you should hear something that more or less approximates what you just tuned up in the cans.  The better job you do tuning the room, the closer it is.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thinking About Subs

I've been thinking about subs a lot lately.  One thing that's lacking from many systems is good, clean, loud bass.  Almost always you're dealing with something that leaves much to be desired.  A huge power alley from a conventional stack.  Room boundary effects.  Stage resonance.  Crappy drivers.  Bad gain structure.  And mostly nobody notices or cares.  In all the things I've been reading though, it seems that if you take your time and come up with really great bass, your mix up above can be held back quite a bit and still seem powerful and engaging.

One of the ideas I tried after reading about some of the stuff Dave Rat has been doing, and also about the flown sub array on the last Metallica tour is finding a way to make the field out in the house as even as possible by trying some unconventional positions.

I recently mixed a band in the restaurant at a race track that had them shoved in a corner of the dining room across from the bar, divided by a walkway.  Dance floor right in front of the band, walkway, relaxed seating over by the bar.  Typical set up would be a sub and a top on each side of the band and off you go.  Stage volume does a lot, the monitor mixes add to the soup and with a little push from FOH you're done.

Not this time though.  When we were loading in I directed my guy to drop both subs at stage right, well away from the corner.  I got a strange look from him and from the lighting guy as well.  The idea was to have all the bass emanate from a single point, no power alley, and no boundary effect from the walls in the corner.

This isn't a very advanced setup as far as subs go so it's pretty easy for anyone to try out.  In a lot of situations you can move both tops to the same side to make coverage a little easier.  You get slightly better sight lines in a lot of cases but you do sacrifice a stereo image.  In doing so though, you can get a lot cleaner image at all points in the listening area because the areas of interference between the two cabinets are minimized.  Not to mention you get some gain by having the boxes right on top of one another.

So what did I get with my subs stacked on one side. A happy crowd, a happy band, and happy venue managers.  Walking across the dance floor the bass was smooth and even.  None of the usual complaints of too much or too little bass depending on whether someone was standing in the power alley or not.   The band liked it because they could feel the presence of the drums no matter where they were as opposed to having the same kind of comb filter effect you get on the dance floor side.  And out in the house, the bass tapered off evenly right to the back of the room.  Listeners could select how much thump they wanted by how close they sat.

Also thinking about subs for larger venues I've been reading a lot of stuff Dave Rat has written, in particular this article about his setup at Coachella a couple years ago.  In fact, his blog should be required reading for anyone in the biz.  His philosophy is to be smart and stay mellow, who couldn't benefit from that I ask you.  So go read that stuff.  Twice.

LED Lighting from Prism

I had the good fortune recently to have a rep from Prism Projection stop by work with some top of the line units suitable for theatre and film work.  He also happened to be a good friend from my college days so it was additionally pleasant to avoid all the hard sell stuff in favor of remember the time we... kind of stuff.

Their Reveal Studio unit is roughly the size and shape of a 10" fresnel, is designed to compete with a 2k HMI, has color mixing and only draws a couple hundred watts.  It's real specialty is finely tuned white light aimed at the film and TV industry, but it also does a heck of a job as a color mixing stage wash. 

The other unit we played with was the Reveal Profile.  Think of it as a direct LED replacement for a Source Four.   By swapping out a lens it goes from 14° to 36° and the field is dead flat.  The color mixing is pretty incredible, there was a lot of thought put in to both of these lights.  

One of the things that really struck me about LED technology is the lamp life.  Our head of maintenance popped in at one point and one of his questions was about lamp replacement.  With 50,000 hours before quality begins to significantly degrade, you're pretty much looking at investing in new lights by the time these have started to going down hill. That is, if you're not retired and it's your kids looking for new lights.  Part of the reason they get so much out of them is a little sensor inside that continuously monitors and adjusts output.  So not only are the lights correcting for aging components, they're compensating for variations in room temperature and line voltage.  You tell it to be a color, and it's that color.  Guaranteed.

The only down side is that just one of these units can run you $4000.  While swapping out sixty or so aging Source Fours for a couple dozen Profiles is enough to make you drool, trying to convince the bean counters to shell out $100k is going to be a bit of a reach.  

Keep in mind that this is the best of the best though.  These units are showing up on the sets of stuff you watch on TV every day and the best eyes in the business have been impressed by them.  Getting them in my venue is going to be a long uphill endeavor, if it happens at all.  What the visit did serve to do though was to get my mind completely off trying to press some cheap DJ LED stuff into service just to get started on having color mixing fixtures.  While I'm sorting out how to get my hands on the creme de la creme, I'm at least going to be looking a little higher than American DJ for something to hang in the space right away.  Here's a couple pics of some cues we tossed up, using the Studio for a down/back and the Profile from about 80' away on the balcony rail.  Things are a little saturated on the iPod camera but you get the idea, it was drool-inducing eye candy.

First Post

For anyone who's read my other blogs I've been absent for quite a while. For a long time it was very therapeutic to write about child rearing and work nearly every day and sometimes more across two or three other blogs, but I finally ran out of stuff to say.

Now I'm in the position of educating a dozen or more people on the art and science of sound and light. I aim to eventually turn out a series of papers that are concise lessons on a particular topic. The problem is that it's a good deal of work to condense even a simple topic into a small, well written, easily digested paper and more often than not I fail to even start out.

With a blog I can sit down and casually throw some ideas around, get some feedback, hear some similar stories, be corrected if need be and come back to it later when formulating a final draft. I realize that the blogisphere is a good place to set yourself up for a smack down, but I feel like it's an opportunity to hear from some folks who are better educated than myself and hopefully improve my knowledge in the process.

So if you're inclined, here's a place to look in on the thoughts of a sound and lighting guy who's out there making it work, day after day. I try to keep current on all the latest developments but my philosophy is very much about making things work with what you have. There are plenty of cats who know all the model numbers of all the latest stuff, but I'd much rather be a guy who can mix the daylights out of a Mackie or a Midas as the situation arises. Feel free to contribute.