Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dave Rat Porta-Blog Dec 29 2011

Well alright, I guess I've been mostly offline for a while. I took a bit of a social network and thought sharing break to acclimate and get my head around the realities of this 18 to 24 month jaunt
Touring is a quandary for me and also like many things, I am really good at figuring out the exact same thing, over and over again. I love the travel and unfolding adventures yet I struggle with being trapped in a schedule written for me. I find it exhilarating to mix sound for the shows while the other 22 hours a day can be a challenging to fill with a level of usefulness that is remotely inspiring. The easy path is to dumb down reckless and robotically follow the itinerary. The magic goal is to find something passionately attractive enugh that does nt involve swimming upstream the whole time.
Anyway, I am finally feeling stable and clear enough into this tour adventure to start unraveling a few projects in the large scale audio realm.
First, I would like to make some headway on getting a grasp on the real world sonic effects of speaker cable length on a large scale sound systems. We know shorter speaker cables are better but how audible is excess length? How long is too long?
To tackle this, Rat Sound will be flying the main PA amp racks powering the K1 system this tour. This will allow us to reduce the main speaker cable lengths from the 150 feet I had in Europe to 50 feet. I expect to hear a noticeable improvement in dynamics. I have not fully sorted it all yet but hope to do some A/B comparative testing at some point as well where I add back in extra length to one side.
The second project is similar but will be a comparison between running analog signal the now 500' from FOH to the flown amps and then converting to digital via the L-Acoustics LA-8 internal A/D's. Versus converting the console outputs to digital at FOH, running digital signal the 500' and using the AES inputs on the LA-8s.
Since the LA-8 amps auto switch from AES to analog when AES is lost, the comparison should be fairly simple by just killing the AES outs.
In the meantime, I am mid plane flight to St. Barths for a gig in the tropical laps of luxury. Not my style and though these types of gigs are nearly always cumbersome at best for the us hired helpers, I do hope to get some surfing in. Oh, plus having low expectations allows the oppertunity for pleasant surprises to occur. I will send pics.
I have not forgotten about posting more info on my current sub setup, I will get to it soon


  1. No New Years with the Peppers at The Private Party?

  2. Thanks for the update. Looking forward to reading the results of your experiment.

  3. you know all of that engineering geek speak ALWAYS gets me! You had me at "world sonic effects of speaker cable length"!

    I hope you have an awesome time at St. Barths, Mr. Rat. See you soon!

  4. Speaker cable length has an effect on the high cutoff frequency of it. The longest, the nearer the cutoff frequency to 20 kHz.

    But the cable must be really bad quality to start showing that. Anyway, I'll love to read your experiment results!

  5. My guess is that, generally, the difference between 500' of analogue vs digital line level signal will be far more audible than reducing speaker cable by 100'. Looking forward to your results as always.

  6. Thanks for the sharing the good informations and your experience as well :)