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February Insanity

LSP is on a little break right now because of all the craziness happening at our state capitol.

Ladies Rock Camp was last weekend and was amazing! I got to do sound for 3 amazing bands during lunch break as well as at the showcase on Sunday night at the Brink Lounge.

Photos were taken and will be posted once things settle down a little bit.

Also I just invested in a coupe of new stage monitors as well as some more photography equipment.

One of my photos was published on-line with Edge publications, an LGBT news site. One of my photo journalistic shots from the protests here in Madison made the cut. A special thanks to my buddy Joe for giving me that opportunity!

Alright off to protest in the name of all things democratic!

Quick & Dirty- This is a thrown together flyer for Bonobo Secret Handshake for their upcoming gig. The band sent me a basic idea for the flyer and I just simplified it a little bit. Black & White flyers like this one work well for making copies on colored paper.

I often times go to FedExKinkos grab a stack of each color and make a bunch of flyers on the cheap. Using black and white on the colored paper is a heck of a lot less expensive than printing out full color posters.

D.I. boxes. The world does not make enough of these. Okay, maybe they do. There are about a million and one variations of them.

I don’t endorse any one brand of D.I. boxes. Usually if I need to buy one I grab whatever may be in my price range at the time. I’ve used cheapo $25 ones and I’ve used $50-100 ones. As long as it works and does the job it doesn’t really matter to me.

A word of advice would to invest in one that can supply phantom power. Some DI boxes don’t have that ability because they are passive. So even if you have the phantom power on from the sound board, it may not work with the D.I. you have your channel plugged into. (something called a ground lift would also be wise to have…it gets rid of that nasty hum sound)

This would most likely be the case for acoustic guitars or other various stringed instruments with outboard pick-ups attached.

D.I. boxes can really save your ass if you end up not having enough channel inputs. There are many D.I. boxes that have multiple inputs so if you have someone with a keyboard and someone with an iPod or a drum loop station you can run them both through the same D.I. This saves you some grief of having to tell the band they are SOL because they used up all your available channels.

The down side to running more than one line through a D.I. is you only have one volume level available for both lines. This means the keys and the drum loop have to be at the same volume if they are on at the same time. That also means the monitor mix for both would have to be the same as well.

A tip is to input two instruments that aren’t on during the same time or in the same song so you can properly mix each line. If only we were that lucky all the time…

Over the holiday weekend I’ll spend my downtime posting my favorite pieces of gear that I’ve used. Most of it is run of the mill, but very useful.

Tools of the trade that most sound engineers need or have a personal preference for.

When I run sound I think about practicality and not too much about biggest, baddest, latest, and greatest. I like using gear that I can rely on to get the job done and sounding good.

I’m not one for rigging up 3 mics for a snare drum. I leave that to the arena rockers with boards that have endless channels on them. Once in awhile I run into bands like that who play a club, but they soon realize it’s overkill.

Any who… pretty much anyone who has dabbled in music has seen the Shure SM57. It’s been around forever and a day. It’s great because it’s durable, it’s cheap, and you can use it for a ton of applications.

Most often I’ll throw one on a top snare, a guitar cab, and vocals. Yes, I said vocals. Especially female vocals. I’ve never been a fan of the SM58..the vocal mic Shure produced after the 57. I think it sucks at cutting through a mix, especially with female voices. Having a little more of those high mids helps a lot. My only issue with using the 57 for vocals is sssss sibilance. You know…that snnnnakey SSSS SSSound. So I roll of the highs and throw a windscreen on. Voila!

The 57 also gives a sort of vintage-y sound on vocals that is a little more raw and a bit gritty if you will. If I could get away with it I would use 57s for vocals all around, but not everyone is going for that sound.

I’ve been drooling over this board since it has been released. The 16.4.2 would work for the majority of sound gigs I get, but would love the 24 channel version of this board as well. Having more channels means the ability to work bigger shows. Bigger shows means more cash in the pocket.

Having this board also lets you get rid of all outboard gear minus a crossover. No more having to haul around a rack full of effects, compressors, and EQ’s.

I have a feeling I’ll be spending my summer saving to gear up. My current Spirit board would become a monitor board most likely or something to use for teaching live sound workshops.

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