Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dave Rat Porta-Blog Driven or be Driven

Rock in Rio mix came in hot and solid. I stalled back at the hotel and skipped the 7:30 am lobby call near 18 tour-bus-less hours before the 1am show time. Sharp, fresh and clear versus loads of time to sort things perfectly., its a bit of a quandary as both sides have their challenges. Having my console and Jim FOH teching out here gave me the confidence to know I can do the rig tuning during set change and hit the opening song dialed.
The double hung Vertec added another fun level of complexity to mixing as well. I truly enjoy keeping things interesting. The only real issue I had was the Vertec did not sound quite like the my expectations. Softer and squishier, the low end punch was diminished and though I usually high pass most of it out of the flown rig anyways, what flown low end I was seeking, wasn't there.
I had Jim double check that all was in order, no system EQ on the vendor end and using all factory presets. It was not till I woke this morning that the cause dawned upon me. When have I heard this before? What is the variable? What could be slipping under the web of assumptions of a rig well tested?
I had a much smaller Vertec rig two shows ago and it really pushed well, I even kept my system EQ intact and laid into a spare graph so I had a starting point. Wait, aha, of course, this massive equipment outlay, the giant stage, pulled me out of 3 hours of hazy sleep. I think I know, I will bet that it's cable length! The low end punch is the first thing to go, squishy is exactly what 70 volt systems sound like as they are the extremes of long thin wires. Its pretty common to see large gigs where cables just keep getting extended and without the ability to A/B compare, vendors rarely notice or realize the issue.
As a vendor, the comparative reference is tough, but as an engineer, it's clear. Yet as an engineer it's tough to quantify the vendor perspectives and challenges that create these dynamics. And I know that back home at Rat, though we strive for short cable lengths, there are events where concessions are made.
All that said, at least I got a good grab at trying to compensate when I played my two songs to tune rig during set change and now that I have a solid theory on it, I look forward to doing a real world test fairly soon and see if I can distinctly recreate the scenario and gain more confidence that theory is correct. Fun, a project!
Cool cool, delay off today in Rio with a 1:30 am flight home to a whole different reality. My heart hurts to see me daughters as I begin to let myself feel again.
Oh, and tour surf trip #4 Rio was yet another success! And a bit about the pics above:
May I never forget the absoulute best night sand tumbling, MC, so great to see you and I miss the textabuse! How do they make eggs that don't need refrigeration over here? Chickens 2.0? Does Apple make chickens now? And finally, ok, I have an idea, gonna start beach hut and will name it.....
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


  1. Dave,
    Love your 'alternative' take on the Peppers tour experience. For instance, I harken back to when you were left pretty much abandoned (though with a well-appointed hotel room) in Tokyo.
    Anyhow, I imagine you don't read them, but I wonder if you might address the assertions that Josh's guitar often can't be heard in the mix this tour? Same as on the album? This has been mentioned on several forums, including the Peppers' own. What gives? Direction from HQ? Is his input-level less that Fru's?

    I will admire and appreciate an answer. After 21 years, you should be Golden.

    Cheers from Iceland (where we'll never get a Peppers gig).


  2. Dave, what are the 2 songs you check to every gig? Is it something surprising like female vocal with a jazz piano or is it something similar to what you're mixing ie punk/metal?

  3. Ah, hanging with MC again, I see! :)

  4. Missing the blogs, hope more about the eu stuff is coming soon. I read somewhere about a beer bomb causing problems!

  5. eggs never did need refrigeration. At least everywhere in the world except the US.