Saturday, March 29, 2014

Patty Smyth & Scandal 6/21/12 Alive at Five

Today on YouTube, I just found a full-length concert by Patty Smyth and Scandal. It was recorded live in Albany, NY for a free outdoor concert series called "Alive At Five". I grew up listening to the band Scandal and Patty Smyth. She rocked then and she still rocks now! I invite you to spend some time watching this full concert from back in the summer of 2012. Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gregory J. Bachman - Fly To The Land Of Z - Album #1

Today, I would like to share some information about a musician that I was first introduced to on Myspace.com. His name is Gregory J. Bachman and he is a composer, musician, producer, recording engineer, mixing engineer, and one amazing guitarist! Gregory Bachman hails from Colorado Springs, Colorado and has his own home recording studio where composes and records his music.

Since my introduction to Greg on Myspace music, I have been interested in his progress of creating his first album called "Fly To The Land of Z" which will be released in Summer 2014. Greg has graciously sent me a copy of his new CD and autographed for me.

The CD is a collection of instrumental compositions featuring amazing guitar work and top notch technical production and is dedicated to his son. Greg's guitar influences are from guys like Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Neal Schon, Steve Vai, and numerous others. As a guitarist myself, I can hear many of these influences in Greg's compositions. Greg is an excellent musician with amazing skills on the guitar!

Below are pictures of the "Fly To The Land Of Z" CD cover, of Greg and his son, and the CD track listing.




I also invite you to visit Greg's website at: http://www.gregoryjbachman.com/
to read Greg's bio and his musical journey that has brought us to the release of his first album.

On the website, there is a spot where you can pre-order your own autographed copy of "Fly To The Land Of Z" for only $12.00. Also, you can listen to the first single from the album called "Positive Flow".

Another item posted on the website is a video preview of songs from the new album that you can watch here.



If you are a fan of instrumental rock music, I suggest that you take a listen to the music of Gregory J. Bachman. Congratulations, Greg on the release of your first album "Fly To The Land of Z". You Rock!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ample Options: The Universe Of Live Recording

These days more of us sound techs are being asked to record live performances in addition to mixing the live concert sound for the show or event. Many options are available today to help with the process of recording live.

I found a great article on Prosoundweb.com by Craig Leerman called "Ample Options: The Universe Of Live Recording. Mr.Leerman discusses a number options for recording gear and the techniques that will allow you to produce a decent quality live sound recording for your shows and events.

Click here to read that article: http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/ample_options_the_wide_world_of_live_recording/P1/


The author showcases his own live recording rig that he uses for conference events. A beautiful rolling rack system with an A/D converter feeding a laptop computer for live recording. (Picture below).


Personally, I have only recorded a few times on certain shows. One time I used a Yamaha MD8 digital MiniDisc recorder to record a live band playing country music for a gig. Here is a picture of the rig I used for that show. (Picture below).


Back in my House Tech Theatre days, I used to get to do basic 2-track recordings using a shotgun microphone permanently mounted in the theatre, patched into the control room, then routed through the house mixing console and recorded to a DAT Recorder. When the show was over, the client would come and collect the DAT and pay me the money for it. It worked great because, the performer got the original tape and I received the money to buy more blank tapes for the venue. At that time, the theatre sound gear used for recording was an EV shotgun microphone, a Soundcraft DLX mixing console, and a Tascam DA-30 DAT Recorder. How the recording technology has changed so much!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Carrying The Right Tools For The Job

Today, I found an article that takes you back to basics when working as a sound tech.
It is all about having the right tools to for the job. Without them, you cannot be an efficient part of the team.
The article is by Craig Leerman posted on the Prosoundweb.com page.
Here is the link: http://www.prosoundweb.com/article//everyday_carry_the_right_tools_for_the_job/


Personally, I have tech tool kit in an aluminum carrying case and I take it to every gig I work. Having the necessary tools on hand make the fix job easy to complete when required. You just never know what will happen on a gig and you should be ready for it.

The picture above is a standard set of tools you will use on every gig. Of course, there are also a great many devices that you could add to your tool kit. For example: digital multimeter, cable tester unit, SPL meter, DI box, talkback mic with cable, iPod, and various adaptors and patch cords for a variety of hookups.

Here is the type of aluminum tool case that I use for my kit:

So, go out and buy yourself an aluminum case from Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire and make up a tech tool kit for yourself. You will be glad to have the tools at your next gig.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Recycling Older / Vintage Mixing Consoles

With the popularity of digital mixing consoles these days, their older, analog counterparts are being forgotten about. Daily, I see online ads for all sorts of older / vintage analog mixing consoles for sale. So many of these great, older consoles are destined to end in landfills or forgotten about in storage.

These classic workhouses are still very much useful for all sorts of audio jobs. Just because, digital mixers are the norm now does not mean that we have to forget about analog all together. With all the large format consoles up for sale on Ebay or Kijiji, there are some really great deals out there for the right kind of buyer.

Personally, I have noticed that many sound production companies are selling off all their older, analog gear once they have converted over to digital. Many of these larger consoles are still in perfect operating order and would be a great addition any number of venues requiring a great mixing console.

Large bars/clubs could make use of a large format console quite easily. Think of all those bars that only have a 16 channel mixer. Add a 32, or 40 or 48 channel console to the venue and you would be set. Especially, if the venue already has all the required signal processing racks, amp racks, and loudspeakers. Many of these older, analog consoles are selling for a steal!

The only issue a venue may have is not having the required infrastructure for hooking up a large console to the rest of a system. Analog snake cables with high input counts are still really expensive. In my research, I did find that some people are selling the larger consoles along with the matching sized snake cable and even the road case.

Recording studios, rehearsal spaces, community theatres, churches, and other venues could easily make use of a large format mixing console. As long as the venue has enough space to allow for a large format mixer to be installed. I am sure that is a problem with many venues and groups. They just don't have enough space for a big old mixer! For the venues that have enough room, you can score a great deal on a larger console.

Today, I was browsing around the Kijiji Classified ads and I found a vintage, Soundcraft 600 mixing console for sale. Asking price is only $1800.00. This console has a full patch bay attached to it which would make it useful as a recording console. 


Here is another example of a Ramsa 40 channel mixing console for sale $1000.00. That price is a steal!



Those were a couple of examples of great, older, analog mixing consoles for sale that could easily be put back to work for the right person in the right venue. It would be sad to see so many older mixing consoles taking up space in landfill sites around the world. Do you agree? Disagree? Comments on this subject would be welcomed.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Yamaha Debuts Next-Generation MG Series Small-Format Mixing Consoles

In a world full of large format mixing consoles, there is still room for small-format mixers that can handle a variety of sound jobs quite easily.
Recently Yamaha released their latest, redesigned, MG Series mixing consoles to the market. Below are a few sample pictures of 3 models available.

Yamaha MG10XU

Yamaha MG16XU and Yamaha MG06X

Click on the link to read the article on Prosoundweb.com site:
http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/yamaha_debuts_next-generation_mg_series_small-format_mixing_consoles/

Click the following link to download a PDF copy of the new Yamaha MG Series product catalog from the Yamaha Pro Audio web site:
http://download.yamaha.com/api/asset/file/?language=en&site=ae.yamaha.com&asset_id=61446


Monday, March 10, 2014

Solving A Messy Audio System Installation

The other day I was browsing some of the pictures posted on the Facebook page called A/V Nightmares. This page is devoted to highlighting bad, audio/video installations around the world. It is amazing to see the kind of bad installations being done. Messy and even dangerous installations are happening everywhere. It is too bad that the installers do not take much pride in their workmanship. It is also a problem when installers forget to consider safety factors when installing gear. You have to consider the safety of any person who would be using the system when installing it into a venue. It should be safe to operate first and foremost.

One of the recent posts I viewed was a portable audio system that was designed for school gymnasium. The first picture shows a messy, thrown together setup on a simple A/V cart apparently done by a "pro sound company". The the second picture is of the same audio system cleaned up and installed in a proper rolling rack case. This is the way it should be done, nice and neat and organized.

Check out the before and after pictures below:




As you can see the second picture clearly shows how a professional installation should be done. If this was my work, I would  be proud to have my name on it for a quality job completed.

In my own experience, I have worked at a local bar/club with a sound system that is need of some TLC like this job. Only problem is that the owner does not want to spend the money to do the job right. The sound system is setup and operating but, I could envision a much cleaner, neater setup that would look very professional to all visiting artists and technicians. Too bad the owner does not see it the same way. I guess you can't win 'em all.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mackie VLZ4 Series Compact Mixers - Review and Video

Just received my copy of Professional Sound magazine - Feb. 2014 issue. I was reading the articles in the "Product Tests" section and this month there is a great review of the latest Mackie 1604 VLZ4 mixer by Mark Desloges.

Here is a picture of the latest Mackie 1604 VLZ4 mixer taken from the Mackie website:



Click on the following link to view the review by Mark Desloges in the current issue of Professional Sound magazine. Once the magazine had loaded onscreen, go to page 24 to read the review article.

http://issuu.com/psonline/docs/sp_prosound_feb14_2_

Also, there is a product video available on YouTube with an overview of the whole Mackie VLZ4 Series mixing consoles. Click on the video below to view. Enjoy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Playfair Music, Sarnia, ON. Online Radio Station

Here we have a picture taken from The Sarnia Observer newspaper showing Steve Dumont and Chuck Howard at controls for the Playfair Music Online Radio Station. The Sarnia business is expanding its reach with an online radio stream. You can find the music on their website: http://www.playfairmusic.biz