Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happiness and Fun Toys

So its been a while since I have blogged, been busy with some cool projects that I am having fun with. Oh, and hey, Kim and I got married and it is truly awesome! Who woulda knew? I like to take the important things slow and do them right. We have not had the party yet but will let ya know when we do.

**** warning extended sound nerdery ahead ****

Ok, so on another note about things that make me happy, the new wedge design I have been working on is coming along.and ready for some road testing

This is no ordinary stage monitor. In designing them I combined the cool stuff I learned from building the Rat L-Wedge, the MicroWedge and the double hung pa into a single product.

Which was that sonic advantages in clarity and volume can be gained with a 3-way triamped wedge design With conventional high quality biamped wedges, it is fairly easy to get an adequate level when testing the vocals by themselves but after kick, snare, bass and guitar are added, the vocal can become less clear and difficult to get on top of the mix. By using a triamped design that has separate LF speakers for the lows and the 10"/2" for the vocal region, much of the IM distortion issue is reduced, plus the vocals come from a small area in the center of the enclosure.

The MicroWedge series addresses those same IM distortion issues in a different way.  Rather than separating the the signal by frequency ranges, the compact size allows multiple mixes to be in close proximity. For high volume and demanding situations, a pair of MicroWedges can be set to reproduce vocals and an additional MicroWedge or two can be dedicated to reproducing instruments.  This totally eliminates issues of instruments blurring the vocals while adding the advantage of having the instruments radiate from a different monitor completely, further enhancing intelligibility.

With the double hung PA concept I was able to implement and demonstrate that having instruments and vocals coming from separate sources is not only an advantage for stage monitors but can be applied on a grand scale. Also, since I could move any instrument to either the outer or inner PA in real time, I became very aware of the important advantages gained in using separately located sources. With monitors, I would find out after the show if separate sourcing worked, with the double hung main system, I was in the listening position personally (along with 20,000 of my best friends) and could hear the immediate and direct effect.

The SuperWedge Series


Combining all the advantages and pushing things even further resulted in the SDW22 and several similar offshoot designs. The SDW22 is a dual 12" with a 10"/2" coaxial mid high component.All four loudspeakers are separately powered, have high grade neodymium magnets and 4" voice coils. Yes, a 4' voice coil 10" with a 4" voicecoil beryllium compression driver coaxially mounted. I believe this is the first of its kind. Each 12" is separately chambered, ported to the floor and the monitor is about the same weight and size as the premium dual 12" two way wedges currently on the market. Additionally, what really makes it unique is that the SDW22 has the ability to operate in multiple different modes.

  • Mode 1 - Full Range Triamp. In this mode it is purely a single input high fidelity wedge that gets really loud, basically a modern hot rodded version of the L-Wedge
  • Mode 2 - Full Range Vocal Optimized. This mode rolls off the upper frequencies of one of the 12"s reducing the low mid buildup caused by both 12"s reproducing the 100hz to 200hz range while also extending the low frequency response.
  • Mode 3 - Full Range plus Guitar. One thing that PA speakers never do well is reproduce a guitar sound . This setting uses the one 12" and the 10"/2" as a full range triamp monitor and a separate input on the amplifier powers the second 12". Rather than mic the guitar cabinet, using a Palmer or similar DI box to capture the guitar sound after the amp and send it to the second 12", not only allows the guitar signal to be reproduced bypassing the microphone, but also reproduces the guitar from a separate dedicated speaker. Plus, for even more discerning musicians, one of the 12"s can be physically removed, replaced with a Celestion 12 and powered from a guitar tube amp. This means the guitar player actually gets his or her exact sound coming from a the wedge.
  • Mode 4 - Vocals plus Bass.  The same concept as Mode 2 except with the 10"2" operated full range like a high power MicroWedge 10 and both 12"s are dedicated to a separate bass guitar signal.
  • Mode 5 - Subs on an Aux. The 12'/10"/2" operates full range and the second 12" is driven as a sub on an aux.  A pair of SDW22s on a drummer in stereo plus subs on an aux for a powerful and versatile drumfill
  • Mode 6 - Dual 12" subs on an aux. The SDS22 is powered by a Powersoft X4 amplifier capable of 1600 watts per speaker x 4.or 6400 watts per wedge and can be used as a high power sidefill with or without a separate subwoofer. Full Range to the 10"/2" and 12's on a separate subwoofer send
  • Mode 7 - Multi-way multi-source. Full range to the 10"/2" and bass guitar to one 12" and guitar to the other 12"
  • Mode 8 - Dual Biamp. Full range to one 12" and the 2" plus full range to the other 12" and the 10". This is for applications where extended frequency response and power handling is needed from the secondary send.
  • Mode 9 - Conventional Biamp. If the sound of a dual 12"/2" is preferred for the specific application, the 10" can be bypassed and the SDW22 can be operated as a conventional dual 12"/2" wedge. That said, try finding anyone else making a dual 12"/2" wedge with all 4" voice coils and a full sized, 2" throat beryllium compression driver.
So far the reactions have been ranging from, "that's crazy, why would you need that?" to "Oh shit, that is the best idea I have ever heard, why hasn't anyone done this before?" These wedges are not for the faint hearted or easy to please, these are designed to deal with the top level, most discerning, most temperamental, most demanding and most deaf of the artists and applications where the highest of fidelity, maximum volume or utmost in versatility is required

The next stage for this adventure is to put powered pairs of these out on the road with select musicians and engineers. I will try and stay on top of posting progress reports and if these look like a solution you have been seeking for your application, give me a shout.

Next up in the audio adventure, the SDS30, a high power sub that is the size of one but replaces 3 dual 18 boxes....