20170509 Spotify Review

I've been loving having access to the extended catalogue that Spotify offers. But I'd also been feeling somewhat ripped off as the music sounded life-less. What I was hearing was bass-pumping of a really bad compressor and smashed transients. It took me a while to get my head around that this was due to the normalisation feature of the player pushing the levels into a (shit) limiter.

Ian over at production advice explains this far better than I can. In short, Spotify have implemented a rather crappy non-musical limiter in their player to deal with inter-sample peaks. I think this is probably a sensible move on their part, but I wish they would put some effort into making the limiter a bit more transparent. Even better would be to introduce a "hi-fi" option in the decoder which drops the level by 1dB. This would also make the inter-sample peaks not matter.

Now that I've worked this out I'm actually enjoying listening to Spotify. I've just got to get used to the level of some tracks being louder than others.

20170409 Don’t buy a SKB R1400 Mixer Case for a Behringer X32 Producer

Behringer X32 Producer mounted in SKB R1400 case
Behringer X32 Producer mounted in SKB R1400 case

I’ve just recently purchased a Behringer X32 Producer to be the centrepiece of my mobile audio set-up. But as with anything that travels on the road, a good case is always worth the investment. I’ve been a long-time fan of SKB Cases, I own about 16 other SKB cases which are fantastic for carrying rack gear, mics and other stuff. These cases protect the gear well and have just enough flexibility to take some knocks (and reduce impacts). I love them!

On Going Repairs

I’ve finally fixed the haze machine

The curse of owning gear is that the more you have, the more often something will be broken. Keeping up with maintenance and repairs is vital, unfortunately this hazer has been sitting around dead for a far too long. I’ve just managed to get the haze machine going again. The hardest part was finding the time needed to dedicate to it’s repair. I’m very glad to have it back in action. Lighting just doesn’t look the same without a little haze.

20151220 Martinborough Christmas Carols

This was a massive challenge of an event as there was no sound check. We had to wing it and make the most of what we could.

The big lesson learnt here was not to use condensers as a way to pick up a choir. This would be perfectly fine in a recording situation but it is next to useless in a live outdoor situation. Luckily we had a bunch of AKG D5’s in front of the choir so we could pull those up to make them audible. The sound wasn’t the best as there was some distance, but there was just enough gain before feedback to be useful.

Next time, we’ll have a more cunning array of mics prepared.

full analogue output rack

20150614 Full Analogue Output Stage

Over the years, the trusty dBx Driverack has been used for the output section of the PA system. This is an awesome piece of equipment, but it comes at a latency cost. This is not necessarily a bit concern, but since we are focusing on old-skool values and putting together an analog system it has been replaced.

The output is now just like we did 20 years ago. An EQ and a cross-over. I’m not satisfied with the BBE on the main output so it will probably be used as an effects loop or on a sub-group. The Driverack will still be used as a sub-harmonic synth and compressor for kick and bass.

Stay tuned for some A:B comparisons between pure analogue and digital in the future.

For now, true zero-latency has been achieved.