Sunday, August 24, 2014

Building New Toys

So Peppers tour has ended and  walking into the production office after the last show at Isle of Wight I could not resist taking a photo. Three years of on and off travels and another chapter comes to a bittersweet end. I will miss seeing all my friends on world adventures till next time and oh the thought of being home for a while is very very wonderful.

It is a shame those set lists did not go to fans but some things ya just got to let go. It has been a while since I have blogged.  Partially due to recovery from my bike crash, partially due to focusing on dedicating time to finishing Peppers tour, partially from immersing in the business side of Rat Sound and also because I have been working on some new speaker designs and concepts.

As far as bike crash recovery, I am mostly back up to speed with only the odd lump from my broken collar bone, a slight bit of shoulder rotator motion loss and most oddly, I seem to have an altered sense of smell. Some things I just can not smell at all and other things I am quite sensitive to. My sense of taste seems fine though. Ha, maybe light losing sight improves hearing, maybe losing smell will help hearing too.  Lucky me.

Here is a blog post I started a while back and never posted:

Comb filtering is a description of the cancellations created when a signal is re-summed with a time shifted version of itself.  The 're-summing' can be electronic or acoustic.  

If you wish to eliminate comb filtering you need to either reduce the number of source such that only one source can be heard at the listening positions. not allow time shifted versions of the same signal to sum electronically or alter the signals so they are sufficiently dissimilar.

In real world reinforcement applications, comb filtering typically is not solved, it is mitigated. Where it gets interesting is that the humanly configuration of our bodies and location of our ears is such that undesirable effects of comb filtering occurring in the horizontal domain is actually minimized when the sound sources are sufficiently far apart from each other and we are located somewhere between those sources which is why we prefer stereo instead of mono home stereos even when the sound radiated from both speakers is identical or similar.

I personally strive to minimize sending the exact same signal to multiple horizontally spaced speaker arrays. I want the guitar mic sent to the left PA stack to be a different signal than the guitar signal sent to the right.  I want them both to sound good, but not to be identical.  Same with bass, and as many other instruments as possible. This reduces comb filtering and minimizes creating power alley.

And for some newer stuff, last week I did a Dave Rat Seminar for Disney sound technicians. Super cool and I felt quite proud that I have shoveled enough knowledge into my sandbox that I am asked to interact with such a highly respected organization.

Doing the Dave Rat Seminars has helped me clarify some basic fundamental concepts. One of those concepts is:

"One of the driving reasons that humans gather in groups is to experience lasting memories."

We attend rock shows, sporting events, houses of worship, theme parks or political rally's in order to create a memory for ourselves and for others.Those memories are created by connecting the people that have something to say with the people whom desire to listen, watch or interact. The more of our senses immersed in the experience, the more powerful the memory. 

As sound reinforcement professionals, our specialty is the audio spectrum and to work with the visual, and other specialists to create the most powerful connections we can. If we keep our grand purpose in focus we greatly increase the probability of a desirable outcome. 

Sooo, on another note

As far as projects, I am currently working on designing what I believe to be the best sounding, loudest, clearest and most versatile stage monitor ever created. With the assistance of (in no particular order) Mario DiCola, Eighteen Sound, Jefferey Cox, Powersoft, EAW and the key people at Rat Sound, we are creating a stage monitor so clear and powerful, using only the most premium components, that no other stage monitor even comes close to its capabilities.

oooh, powersoft visit

Taking everything learned from building the Rat Sound dual 15"/10"/2" L-Wedge and everything learned from designing the EAW MicroWedge series of monitors and creating a stage monitor that is about the same size as the leading high power wedges and exceeds the capabilities of the L-Wedge and MicroWedge combined. I would very much like to share more as we have a working prototype that literally makes the top wedges currently available sound like they are broken when put side by side. Soon Rat will have 4 pairs of wedges with power that we will put out with some key clients and I will give more details.

Here is a photo of Mario, this is not the wedge but rather an early stage of component testing. 

Working with Mario and Eighteen sound has given us access to fine tuning every aspect of the custom loudspeaker design from voice coil material, voice coil length, cone type, weight, magnet type, strength and material and more. I wanted components for this wedge that have never before existed. Here is a laser testing parameters of one of the custom components.

My long standing relationship with EAW is the foundation for the cabinet construction, testing, specs and processor settings. The developing relationship with Powersoft will optimize the amplification and aspects while us at Rat have developed the actual design look, features and capabilities.

Can't have a new design without napkin drawings

Another project I am excited about is I am building a super compact portable sound system that is 8 inputs, 8 processing channels, 8 outputs at 50 watts per channel and the whole ting fits in a suitcase. I intend on using this as a demo system for future seminars to show the differences between mono, stereo and multi-source audio reproduction as well as use it to test some concepts I hope to apply on a larger scale for future arena tours.

As you can see, the small cabinets have mini pole mounts so you can build erector set type structures.

And now for the serious stuff:

Proof that beer and sound go together

That Leonardo guy was a sharp cookie

Oh, Another project was building a head mounted iPhone steady cam for Josh. I love power projects where you just make something useful from stuff laying around the garage

And finally, a video from Thailand at a little zoo on the beach of little otter with something to say.