Friday, December 19, 2014

Electro-Voice ETX Powered Loudspeakers

Today, I was reading "Professional Sound" magazine and saw an ad for the newer Electro-Voice ETX Powered Loudspeakers. EV has designed and packed in everything but the kitchen sink inside the ETX cabinets.

The full range ETX speakers have a 2000 watts class D power amp inside while the ETX subwoofers have an 1800 watt class D power amp inside.

Models available include:

ETX 10", 2-way, Full range
ETX 12", 2-way, Full range
ETX 15", 2-way, Full range
ETX 15", 3-way, Full range
ETX 15" Subwoofer
ETX 18" Subwoofer


















These speakers and subs would definitely work for me!

For more information about the new EV ETX series speakers, please go to the EV website here:
http://www.electrovoice.com/etx/

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What Artist or Band Would You Like To Mix Sound For?

Tonight I was reading about the tour profile of Canadian artist Sarah McLachlan. In the article, the tour technicians were saying how it felt like working with a big family during the tour. These seasoned technicians all said that it was their favourite gig to come home to. The techs all loved working with such an awesome group of very talented musicians. Those are great reviews coming from the guys who put together the shows each night!
Here is a link to the article on Prosoundweb.com:
http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/print/tour_profile_laws_of_illusion

Sarah McLachlan live in concert during Laws Of Illusions Tour














After reading the article I got thinking about which artists I would love to mix sound for if given the opportunity. Here is my list in no particular order:

- Sarah McLachlan
- Jann Arden
- Rik Emmett
- Bruce Cockburn
- Lawrence Gowan
- Colin James
- Randy Bachman
- Barenaked Ladies
- See Spot Run
- Manteca (jazz band)
- Holly Cole Trio
- Blue Rodeo
- Susan Aglukark
- Great Big Sea

Now, you will read my list and notice that I picked All Canadian artists and bands. I truly love Canadian music and most I have seen in concert before. My list is a reflection of the kind of music that I enjoy listening to. I would love to have the opportunity to get behind the console and mix all these wonderful artists. If not mixing the show, then the chance to work on the sound crew getting the systems setup for the shows.

A message to the touring techs on these shows. Would you be able to offer me this opportunity on a show? If so, please contact me directly to discuss the details. I would appreciate the future opportunities! Here is my card. Cheers!!!





Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Yamaha MC Series Mixing Consoles - The First Mixer I Learned How to Use

Back in the mid 80s, I was a stage technician in our high school drama club. I can still remember seeing the brand new Yamaha MC1204 Mixing Console installed in the sound/lighting booth. Back then, that mixer would have cost thousands of dollars to purchase!

Now fast forward to 2014 and take note of the following online classified ad for the 16 channel version of the Yamaha MC series console. The seller has had the console serviced and cleaned and it is in excellent condition for its age. Asking $375.00 to buy it.

Even though digital mixers have taken over the concert sound landscape, there are still uses for the classic analog mixing consoles. I wish I could just buy this console considering how inexpensive the price is at $375.00. I would like to purchase the console and enjoy its great, analog sounds!

Check out the pic below:



Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Enduring Legacy of SSL

Recently, I watched the first episode of a documentary about the famous recording studio, Le Studio located in Morin Heights, Quebec. From watching the video I learned that Le Studio had one of the first SSL recording consoles installed in the studio. The SSL console was used to record a number of great artists most notably the band RUSH. The SSL consoles are magic and it is claimed that SSL consoles have recorded more platinum albums than any other console. There have been so many great albums recorded with them throughout the years on the SSL consoles.

Taken from the blog page for Universal Audio, is an article called "The Enduring Legacy of SSL" describing the history and importance of the SSL brand of recording consoles in music history. Please click on the link below to read the article. Enjoy!

http://www.uaudio.com/blog/the-enduring-legacy-of-ssl/
















Saturday, October 25, 2014

LE STUDIO - TEMPLE OF SOUND - Episode One

Just found a really interesting video all about the famous recording studio "Le Studio" in Morin Heights, Quebec. Most fans of Rush know that this is the studio where the album "Moving Pictures" was recorded.
The video is only part one of the series starting back at the beginning of its existence. Enjoy!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Steve Winwood plays an acoustic version of Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home".

Found this little gem on YouTube today. This is Steve Winwood playing an acoustic version of Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home." I love it when an artist strips down their own song to its basic form. Just an acoustic guitar, voice, and two microphones to capture the magic! You can even hear the odd crackling of the wood in the fireplace! Awesome! Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Subs On The Auxiliary Send

In the current September/October 2014 issue of Canadian Musician magazine is a great article about the process of mixing sub feeds from the aux sends. This method of mixing subwoofer outputs is becoming common among sound technicians alike.

Click on this link to take you to the article in the online digital edition of CM magazine:

http://issuu.com/cmonline/docs/sp_cm_septoct14/60













Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Last Record Store - Cheeky Monkey Documentary

Here in Sarnia, Ontario we have only one real record store to buy music, movies and stuff at. It is called "Cheeky Monkey Music Store" located in downtown Sarnia, ON.

Local musician and filmmaker Dwayne Cloes has put together a really excellent documentary about the Cheeky Monkey Record Store owned and operated by husband and wife team of Roland and Mary Anne Peloza. Roland and Mary Anne are great supporters or our wonderful local music scene in Sarnia/Lambton. They sell all the products of local band and artists in their store and on their web site.

We love Cheeky Monkey Music Store and we wish many more years of great business in the community!

Now check out the documentary feature here:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Always Double-Check Your Work When Installing Audio Equipment

Today, I saw a post on the A/V Nightmares Facebook group page.
Here is the picture that was posted. 

Can you spot the problems with this audio rack installation? Take a closer look.....



Did you see the problems with this installation?

1. The dbx EQ is mounted upside down meaning that all the frequencies are upside down and backwards. If you pull down to cut a frequency, you would actually be boosting the frequencies causing more problems.

2. Both the Peavey and dbx EQs are mounted with only two rack screws each. It is always better to mount each piece of rack gear with the maximum amount of rack screws to make everything completely secure.

3. The Peavey EQ appears to be mounted crooked in the rack. This is the result of using the wrong holes in the rack rail to mount the gear.

All these problems are simple fixes for a person installing the gear. It is better to double-check your work to make sure you have not made any mistakes. Take pride in your work and it will show in your results!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Reality Check Diagram of the Costs of a PA System

Found a great diagram that showcases the costs of PA system from the various viewpoints of each person involved with the production. (ie: the FOH mixer, the accountant, the artist, etc.)

Here is the diagram for everyone to enjoy!























Here is another version of the same diagram:


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Mackie 32-8 Bus Mixing Console

Back in 1995, I used to work as the Head Theatre Technician at Victoria Playhouse - Petrolia, Ontario Canada. During my time at the VPP, the theatre made a purchase of the Mackie 32-8 Mixing Console. This console was the only one with 32 channels that would fit into the small control room space. I really enjoyed working with the Mackie 32-8 bus console. These days, many of them are for sale online because, everyone  is going to digital mixers.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Tips On How To Generate Funds To Purchase A Sound System

My work as a sound technician has mostly revolved around bands with their own sound gear and in-house sound systems in performance venues. Occasionally, I have rented gear from my local music store for some gigs however, I have always wanted to purchase my own sound rig.

My biggest obstacle has always been lack of funds. I work a full time day job to support my family but, there is never much leftover for purchases like sound equipment. I need to find a way to generate supplemental funds to allow me to start purchasing sound equipment for my system.

My wish is to purchase the required gear for a 16 channel system to allow for live mixing of the standard 4 piece rock band. Along with enough loudspeaker coverage for a crowd up to 500. My system needs to be portable enough so that I can transport it with my van and set it up by myself.


Digital mixers and powered speakers quickly becoming the norm for most professional shows however, analog gear is still a viable option for basic shows like I work. There is so much great analog gear available for sale now that it is possible to piece together an awesome rig for a reasonable price. Personally, I learned sound mixing on analog but, I would like to try and incorporate both analog and digital technology into my proposed sound rig.

When I work sound gigs for bands and at venues with house systems, I make some good cash money for my efforts. Only problem is that I work infrequently and those monies made usually end up paying for living expenses after I work the gig. I need to find a way to start putting away the money I make from a gig and using it to eventually purchase the sound gear I want.


Here is where I am asking for help. I would like to know if there is anyone out there that would be able to give me pointers on how I could start the process of generating funds to buy sound gear without going broke at home. I would also like some help with ways to market myself better as an individual, freelance sound technician. I figure the only way I am going to make the extra money outside my day job is to work as many gigs as possible on the weekends and in my free time.

If you are reading this entry in my blog and you have any ideas of suggestions for me then, please contact me via email.
rgbehro@hotmail.com


Thanks for your time.
Cheers!
Ron

Thursday, September 4, 2014

WANTED: Component CD Recorder

Looking for a component type, CD recorder for a small sound system setup. Would like to find a decent unit in good working order including remote control. Some of the brand names I like are: Tascam, TEAC, Yamaha, Sony, JVC, and Denon.

Here are some examples of the type of CD recorder I am looking for:






If you have a CD recorder like this for sale, please contact me by email at: rgbehro@hotmail.com

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Presentation of the Yamaha DXR Active Loudspeakers Series

One of my musician friends recently purchased the Yamaha DXR15 active loudspeakers and Yamaha DXS15 active subwoofers for his compact PA system. Nothing but rave reviews about these speakers and subs from my friend.

I just found a great video from the Yamaha corporation which pertains to the DXR/DXS series of loudspeakers. Click below to watch the presentation video.

Canadian Musician Free Downloads Page

Canadian Musician magazine has a FREE Downloads page that features the best articles from past issues of the magazine. Each download is a collection of articles devoted to individual pieces of the musical puzzle.
Tips for recording, indie music, bassists, guitarists, keyboardists, songwriters, woodwind players, brass players, percussionists, vocalists, digital music, the music business, live sound and advice for audio professionals.

Click here for the Free downloads page and then click on the particular subject link to download those featured articles.


You can also read the current and back issues of the magazine online in digital form. Click on the link to select CM Online and then select the issue you wish to view.

Happy Reading!!!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Festival Of Good Things - Sarnia, ON. - Sat. August 30th









Coming up this weekend, Sat, Aug 30, 2014 is the "Festival Of Good Things" in Sarnia, Ontario Canada. This is an annual day-long celebration for Sarnia and Lambton County. There daytime festivities which are free and evening, ticketed concerts at a cost of $40.00 for all that bands.

The fun starts on Friday, Aug. 29th the evening before with a kick-off party to the main event on Saturday. The fun starts at 6pm at Sarnia Bay Marina.

Featured on the Friday evening is the Refined Fuel Brewing Co. and The Awesome Foundation.
- With live music from:
- Kennedy Cult
- In The End We Dance
- Horseless Headman


On Saturday, August 30th there will be FREE entertainment during the daytime featuring the following bands:
- Woodshed Orchestra
- Kashka
- Small Town Get Up
- Lit'l Chicago
- Serf Kanata
- The Silence Of Ivory
- The Woodlands

The evening entertainment is a $40.00 ticketed concert featuring the following artists:
- Gord Downie, The Sadies and The Conquering Sun
- with special guests:
- Library Voices
- Molly Thomason
- Craig Cardiff

Good Wine (And Beer) will be available from a number of guest brewers:
- Refined Fuel Brewing Co.
- Beau's All Natural Brewing Co.
- Railway City Brewing Co.
- Mill Street Brewery
- Alton Farms Estate Winery

For all the details of the Festival of Good Things, please check out the web site here:
http://festivalofgoodthings.com/


Saturday, August 9, 2014

The World Famous Whisky A Go Go Upgrades to BEHRINGER's X32 Digital Mixer

This weekend I had to opportunity to mix sound on a Behringer X-32 digital mixing console. The X-32 is one of the easiest digital consoles I have had a chance to use. It was enjoyable to use.



Tonight I found a great video on the Behringer YouTube page all about the The Famous Whiskey A Go Go Club in LA upgrading from analog consoles to the Behringer X-32 digital consoles. Click below to watch the  video:


Apparently other clubs in Hollywood are installing Behringer X-32 digital consoles into their venues. Cool!
Also our local Imperial Theatre for the Performing Arts has installed a Behringer X-32 into the venue replacing a Soundcraft GB8-40 channel, analog mixing console.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Gordon Lightfoot Featured In Canadian Musician Magazine

In the current July/August issue of Canadian Musician magazine, Canadian Icon, Gordon Lightfoot is featured. You can select the online, digital edition of the magazine to read the article on page 34.

Click on the following link to view the magazine:


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sarnia First Friday - August 1, 2014

This Friday, August 1, 2014 is the next Sarnia First Friday event in the downtown core. Sarnia First Friday is a downtown, cultural walkabout with plenty of entertainment for the entire family. Music, arts, books, all featured throughout the downtown with many vendors participating in the fun.


Click on the link to view the Event Map for Sarnia First Friday - August 1st, 2014

http://www.sarniafirstfriday.com/event-map/august-2014/

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Canadian Musician Mackie PA Sweepstakes

Today, I was alerted to a new sweepstakes by Canadian Musician magazine. CM is giving you a chance to win a Mackie PA System worth total value of $2850.00. The PA System consists of the new Mackie 1604-VLZ4 16 channel mixer and the new Mackie DLM-12 12", 2000 watt, powered loudspeakers. Last day to enter contest is August 31, 2014.


To Enter, Like the CM Facebook page, Click on the Sweepstakes Tab, and fill out the entry form.

Good Luck Everyone!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Iron Groove at Sarnia Artwalk 2011: Revisited

Okay folks, here are a couple videos that I am revisiting from Sarnia Artwalk 2011. I was mixing sound at the small stage during Artwalk weekend and working for local sound company Great Big Sound. It was a fun weekend and I had a blast mixing this band. Enjoy!







See Spot Run At Bridge Bash 2014 Point Edward, ON.

Alright! This past Thursday night, my wife and I attended "Bridge Bash 2014" in Sarnia at Point Edward. It was a great performance by See Spot Run. Found this great quality video of their song "Lucy" posted. Here it is: Enjoy!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Going Direct: The Ins and Outs of DI Boxes

Today, I found this great article on Prosoundweb.com talking about direct boxes. As a sound tech I have always had my questions about direct boxes and which types to use in live sound setups. This article is a great guide letting you know which type of DI box to use for all types of instrument hookups.

Here is the link to the article:

Over the years, I have used a number of brands of DI boxes for all kinds of audio hookups. One of my favourite brands is Radial Engineering. They are made in Canada out west and used my hundreds of audio professionals across the country.

Direct boxes come in two types: passive and active. Each type has its advantages and uses. (Note: the article has comments from seasoned audio professionals on the types of DI boxes they use.)

Here are some of the Direct Boxes that I have used over the years on stages:

BSS AR-133 Active Direct Box

 Countryman Type 85 Active Direct Box

 Radial JDI Passive Direct Box

 Whirlwind IMP 2 Passive Direct Box

 Yorkville Sound YDI-1P Passive Direct Box

This is just handful of all direct boxes available on the market. Many of them are built tough to withstand the use and abuse on the concert stages of the world. Check out the manufacturer web sites for the complete lines of direct boxes available.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

See Spot Run Appearing At Bridge Bash 2014

Coming up July 10-12, 2014, the Point Edward Optimist are getting ready for the annual "Bridge Bash" under the Bluewater Bridges. This year the band "See Spot Run" will be the closing performers on Thursday, July 10th. Opening for See Spot Run will be local bands: "The Barnburners" and "Squeeze Left". The evening entertainment kicks off at 7pm.


Here is the video of "Weightless" by See Spot Run:



 Here is the video of "Terrified" by See Spot Run


Here is the video of "My iPod Killed My Girlfriend" by See Spot Run





Here is the lineup for Bridge Bash 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 7:00pm

  • The Barnburners
  • Squeeze Left
  • See Spot Run
Friday, July 11, 2014 at 6:00pm

  • Corner Stone
  • The Ropers
  • Powerhouse
  • Rock Ridje
  • Rumblefish
Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 6:00pm

  • Painkiller Jane
  • Retrospect
  • Bling Dog Molly
  • The Room
  • 3rd Wave
Admission is $5.00 for everyone and all proceeds go towards the building of a new splash pad in Point Edward. There will be a beer garden for 19+ on all 3 nights along with a family area with food and merchandise vendors onsite.

Bridge Bash is always a great time so, why not bring the family down for a few nights of great, local entertainment under the Bluewater Bridges in Point Edward.

I Am An Audio Engineer - T-Shirt

Okay, today I was browsing around on Facebook and I saw a picture of this great T-Shirt for all Audio Engineers. Check it out. Maybe there should be a "Canadian" version also.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Radial Introducing SB5W Wall-Mounted Stereo Direct Box (“WallDI”) At InfoComm 2014

What a cool idea! Radial Engineering has come up with a stereo DI box that can be mounted inside a standard wall socket. They will be featuring it at the InfoComm 2014 show in Las Vegas this year.

This is a really great idea! I can just see how it could be used for so many kinds of audio/video installations.
It would be a perfect fit for a school gymnasium installation where a basic stereo input is required to feed the audio signal from an MP3 player or a laptop computer or other line level signal source.

I look forward to reading the specs on this item and seeing how easy it is to integrate it into any kind of audio system/installation project. Here is a picture of the device:




Click on the following link to read the entry taken from the www.prosoundweb.com site:
http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/radial_introducing_sb5w_wall-mounted_stereo_direct_box_walldi_at_infocomm_2/


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Too Old To Start A Business?

Is there ever an age when you are too old to start your own business?

Personally, I would like to start my own sound company business but, I wonder if I am too old to get into it.
I turned 45 this year and I still would like to put together a sound business. I would only be able to start a "part-time" business because, I still need my full-time job to live and take care of my family.

Currently, I work as freelance sound technician for local bands and events. Usually, I work with sound systems supplied by the artist or the venue. My main goal is to purchase pieces of sound gear and build my  own sound rig. I am 45 years old now and I feel that I am still not too old to work on creating a business. I would like to speak to other people who have done the same thing to see how it worked for them.

If there is anyone out there who has started a business later in life, I would appreciate any advice you may offer for my idea. Please contact me via email with your suggestions.

Thanks

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Solution To Sound System Problems at Artwalk Show

After some thought about my lack of sound gear for my recent Artwalk gig, I have come to a conclusion about the kind of setup that would have worked better.

My friend Pete has a Yamaha EMX5014C powered mixer that he uses for his trio band gigs. It has a collection of essential and useful features onboard on all built-in. Since it is self-contained, it is easy to transport to the small gigs where a larger system is just overkill. This mixer would have been totally perfect for the gig that I was part of.

The EMX5014C mixer has 8 mono inputs, 2 stereo inputs, stereo 9 band graphic EQ, SPX effect processor, 2 aux sends, and 500w + 500w of amplifier power available to the mains outputs. There is also selectable amplifier routing allowing custom setup of the power amp channels in the configuration that works for the gig. It can be set to basic left and right mains out, or left/right on one channel with monitor on the other, or both outputs setup for monitor sends.

In addition to the powered outputs, there are also other line level outputs that bypass the internal power amps. Left and right mains outputs, Aux 1 and 2 monitor outputs, and Left and Right Sub outputs. These external connections allow you to connect the mixer to external amp racks or to separate, powered loudspeakers for larger setups.

Now, for the gig I just worked on the street, I could have easily down it with the Yamaha EMX5014C mixer. Everything would have been available onboard and the separate amp rack would not have been required.

The only drawback I can see is if something goes wrong with one part of the powered mixer, you can't just swap out the piece of gear like you would with a component system setup. With the size of gigs I usually work, I would be able to get away with using a powered mixer for most gigs and then adding separate power amps for the larger shows. That is as long as I have enough channels for the show.

Here are a couple of pics of the Yamaha EMX5014C powered mixer:



I used the Yamaha EMX5014C as and example of a good powered mixer. Of course, there are other companies making great powered, desktop mixers out there. Allen & Heath, Mackie, Peavey, Yorkville Sound to name a few. There is a cost difference with a powered mixer compared to a passive mixer + power amp setup. There is also the portability issue with all the extra gear using a passive mixer.

Another option now is the advent of powered loudspeakers that can be easily used with any kind of passive mixer eliminating the needs for separate power amps with the system. There are many things to consider when buying a powered mixer over a passive mixer with separate amp. Determine the complete use of your sound system and make an informed decision when out shopping for a sounds system. Happy hunting!



Basic Sound System for Sarnia Artwalk 2014

This past weekend, I mixed sound for 4 acoustic acts and 1 - 3-piece band at Sarnia Artwalk 2014. Under a 11ft x 8ft tent, I had a micro sound system with minimal gear and managed to make it work.

My sound system consisted of a Behringer XENYX 1204 mixer, a Peavey EU112 loudspeaker (just one), a Peavey CS-800 power amp, 2 - Shure SM58 mics on stands and nothing else. For the acoustic guitarists, I plugged them into the line inputs on 2 channels. No DI boxes required. (I mixed from right beside the tent). The sole Peavey speaker was placed at the back corner of the tent and directed the sound 45 degrees towards the performers.

The setup worked well for the acoustic only performers but, when the 3 piece band played, I was getting feedback from the closest vocal mic due to the higher level required to get over top of the band sound. A little frustrating to say the least. The mixer channels only have basic 3 band EQ and I did not have any outboard EQ on the main speaker.

My other issue was the lack of EFX on my Behringer mixer. All the acts asked for reverb and I did not have it. I actually tried to get an EFX processor from a musician friend but, could not because, he was using it for the same weekend.

I know what you are thinking. Why didn't I plan the setup better? Well, I was asked for a basic setup to provide basic sound without disrupting the other vendors at the Artwalk event right out on the street.

If I get to do the same event next year, I will bring a completely different system with all the essential tools I need available. More speakers, a larger mixer with better channel EQ and EFX and a separate outboard EQ for the mains outputs would be a better way to go next year.

I did not take any pictures this year of my setup and I am kind of glad about that. If I get the chance next year to do it again, I will make it much better for the performers. If you are curious, take a look at the picture below of my baby mixer. The Behringer XENYX 1204 USB:


That's all folks!
Cheers!
Ron "Sound Tech Guy"

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Peavey Gear Great for School Sound System Upgrade

In my quest to search for excellent quality sound gear for a school sound upgrade, I have found my way to Peavey Electronics on the web. Peavey has always been a leading manufacturer of pro audio gear at an excellent price point for consumers. They are innovative and creative with the products that they design for musicians and sound engineers alike.

With my proposal to upgrade a school sound system in a rolling rack, I will now consider Peavey sound gear as a primary choice for the upgrade proposal.

The main upgrades are for a new mixing console and a new power amplifier. Here is the Peavey gear that would work very well for the sound system upgrade still staying within a budget:

Peavey PV 1500 Power Amplifier:



Click her for more details about the Peavey PV 1500 Power Amplifier


Peavey PV 14 USB Mixing Console:


Click here for more details about the Peavey PV 14 USB Mixing Console


Peavey PV-215 Dual, 15 Band, Graphic Equalizer:



Click here for more details about the Peavey PV 215 Graphic EQ


All the gear would be installed into the existing Raxxess Converta rack. This rack has a top mount space to rack mount a smaller mixing console. The front rack panel has 10 RU rack spaces for installing the rest of the gear for the system.


All the existing gear inside the rolling rack case will be removed to be replaced with upgraded gear. The existing rack panel with connectors installed will be moved from the front of the rack to the back of the rack. This rack panel has a pair of 1/4" locking speaker input jacks and a pair of XLR input jack for hookups.

Wish me luck with the project proposal! Cheers!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Shure BLX Wireless Mics for Gymnasium Sound System

Today I was reading about a high school that recently upgraded their existing wireless mic systems with the new Shure BLX Series Wireless Systems. Upon, inspection of the products on the Shure.com website, I see that the new wireless mic systems are quite good. They feature a simple user interface making it easy to setup up great sounding wireless mic systems in any venue.

I am working on a proposal for my kid's school to upgrade their current portable sound system with some new gear including a couple channels of handheld wireless microphones. The BLX Series wireless appear to be a great fit for the project that I am working on.

Specifically, I like the Shure BLX24R/SM58 wireless systems. The system consists of 1 - BLX4R wireless receiver and 1 - BLX2/SM58 Handheld Wireless Transmitter. The units also include the brackets for rack mounting the units together for easy of installation. See a pic of the system here:


Here is the web link for this product on the Shure.com web site:

Here is a link to download a spec sheet for the BLX Wireless Systems:

The current sound system for the school gymnasium is a rolling rack, portable sound system with portable loudspeakers on stands. Some of the current gear is going to be upgraded with better gear while the wireless mic systems are a proposed addition to the system. Shure mics were my first choice for wireless systems because, I have worked with Shure over the years and their systems always work well.

As for the rest of the sound gear, I am proposing a Mackie 1402VLZ4 mixing console, a QSC GX5 power amplifier, a dbx 231s graphic EQ, and a Furman M-8Lx power conditioner all for the rolling rack setup.





The main goal is to keep the costs down and have the proposal ready for the next budgets in the new school year. The school principal told me that money for any new purchases would not be available until November in the next school year. That is okay. I will have plenty of time to put the proposal together and submit it to the school principal for consideration. 

In the meantime, I am donating a used, Sony 5 CD Changer to replace their current one does not read discs anymore. Also, in the rollling rack is a Technics Dual Cassette deck that NEVER gets used. I proposed to take out that unit from the rack to make room for the new gear proposed for the system.

As I progress with this project, I will update this post with more details. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sarnia ArtWalk 2014 - June 7th and 8th - Sarnia, Ontario

Once again downtown Sarnia, Ontario will be transformed into our annual Sarnia Artwalk Event on the weekend of June 7th and 8th, 2014. The main downtown streets are closed off to traffic and lined with artists, crafts people, vendors, and live musicians performing and showing their works. This year will be the 12th year of the event which has become a major attraction with over 25,000 visitors last year! The event is FREE all weekend long and runs 11:00am to 5:00pm each day.

For more information, please visit the website:

Monday, May 12, 2014

School Sound System Upgrade Proposal

Recently, I was talking with staff at my kid's school about their current, portable rack, sound system and the need for upgrades to the equipment. The principal has informed me that to purchase new gear for the rack system, it will now have to wait until November 2014 of the new school year. Apparently, there will be new budgets set for the school after November.

In the meantime, the school system is in need of a new CD changer to replace the broken one in the rack. I have found the school a used CD changer in excellent shape and I am going to donate it to the school.

The existing mixer/amplifier in the rack is the kind of unit normally used for a paging system full of those ceiling speakers. The unit is setup like a powered mixer with the single, mono split to two speaker jacks for the existing loudspeakers. The mixer/amp unit is very underpowered for the speaker setup and should be replaced with a better setup.

The proposal to replace the mixer/amp unit is to purchase and install: 1 - analog, rackmountable mixing console in the top on the rack case and 1 - two channel power amplifier allowing each speaker to have its own output. With the new mixer and power amp additions, I am proposing that the school purchase 1 - dual, 31 band, graphic EQ for the tonal shaping of the main speakers.

There is an existing dual cassette deck that NEVER gets used so, the proposal is to remove that unit from the rack making more rack space for other gear. The school has expressed an interest in purchasing at least 1 - wireless handheld mic system (and maybe 2 units) to add to the existing rack case.

I have suggested that the school should buy the following items: 2 - wired, vocal microphones to replace aging, broken and lost mics in the system, 1 - passive direct box for connecting the audio output of a computer to the sound system, and 1 - power conditioner/distribution unit to be installed in the rack for powering all the gear.

The school currently owns a rolling rack case with top mount rails for mounting a mixers (10RU rack spaces) and 10RU Rack spaces on the front panel of the rack for mounting of all the other sound gear. The rack also has a custom patch panel installed that would have to be modified a bit to work with the proposed, new system.

The good thing for the school is that I am not charging them for my time spent of this proposed project. Since my kids attend the school, I decided that it would be a nice way to volunteer my time with my kid's school. I also mentioned to the principal that I would be willing to train all the required staff and tech students on how to operate the upgraded system after it is finished. I am also going to volunteer my time for that task.

The only thing the school will have to pay for is the purchase cost of the new gear. The principal also said that used gear is acceptable as long as it is in excellent working order. I have proposed some specific sound gear for the new setup:

1  -Mackie 1402VLZ4 Mixer
http://www.mackie.com/downloads/VLZ4/support/1402VLZ4_SS.pdf

1 - QSC GX3 Power Amp
http://qsc.com/files/9513/4625/5899/QSC_GX_Series_Spec_Sheet_Eng_revA.pdf.pdf

1 - dbx 231s Dual, 31-Band, Graphic Equalizer
http://2fecf431b6f093853a80-bc95634e606bab3d0a267a5a7901c44d.r9.cf2.rackcdn.com/product_documents/documents/760_1324414918/dbx231sDataSheet_original.pdf

1 - Furman M-8Lx Power Conditioner/Light Unit
http://www.furmansound.com/downloads.php?z=PDF&item=PDF-DS-P120-004

1 - Radial ProAV1 Multimedia Direct Box
http://www.radialeng.com/pdfs/smartsheet-radial-proav1.pdf

All of this gear would be mounted into the existing Raxxess Converta Rolling rackcase.

Loudspeakers currently consist of 2 - TOA SL-122 12", 2-way speakers rated at 240watt @ 8 ohms.
http://www.toacanada.com/assets/files/sl_series.pdf


Loudspeakers - Option #2:

There is another option to swap out the existing TOA SL-122 speakers for a new pair of powered loudspeakers effectively eliminating the QSC GX3 power amp in my proposal. There are numerous brands in the marketplace offering powered loudspeakers in their lineups. I am interested in the Electro-voice Live X series powered loudspeakers.

Specifically the ELX15P 15", 2-way powered loudspeaker:
http://www.electrovoice.com/product.php?id=1067

With using powered speakers, the school could start off with a pair for the mains and then later on purchase a second pair for stage monitors or foldback monitors on their stage. They would also have to purchase more XLR cables for interconnection of the new speakers along with enough AC cables to run power to each speaker.

All this can be done quickly as long as the money gets approved for the purchases. Now I wait and see if the  money gets approved for November of 2014. It takes time for schools to get their wallets out to spend money on those capital expenditures. Wish me luck!