Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dave Rat Blog - Decision Time

There are several common societal things things that I find the opposite of enjoyable. The year end holidays are all good, humans all shopping at the same time making tons of traffic crowding everything, bummer. People stopping to assist someone in distress, cool. People lacking the self control and unable to resist the urge to slow down to look at an accident on the other side of the freeway, dumb and really annoying. Free society where we can vote, awesome. Being bombarded with fear based political advertising and sneaky shallow tactics to undermine the competitors, embarrassing. The fact that those tactics actually are effective, depressing.

I find the polarization of the political parties disheartening. Competition, good. Being a closed minded stick in the mud and undermining the betterment of the country in order to blindly support party lines, infuriating.

Some thoughts

If you make a mess you should clean it up. The country belongs to the people. Applied to a corporate level, people selling products that directly or indirectly damage the world we share should take that into account and be responsible for cleaning up the mess their products make. We as people should hold the corporations, businesses and individuals accountable, government is the tool we elect to accomplish that task.

We live in a balance, the world will never be free of conflict. To pretend conflict can be eradicated is as useful as trying to teach sharks to be vegetarians. Conflict can be mitigated and international sports like football (soccer) or the Olympics are a good examples of a controlled way that conflict has been redirected into competition. 

If the division between the 'have's' and the 'have not's' is too great, uprisings will occur and tip the scales in differing direction. It is the responsibility of the have's not to abuse the have not's. Lack of financial rules can give the greedy too much power, occupy wall street is an example of an uprising. People can argue about whether or not they agree, but the fact that the uprisings will manifest remains.

We can never walk so softly as to not create friction. With every step perhaps an insect dies, we displace critters by having a place to live, many die either directly or indirectly to supply the food chain and regardless of our occupation, somehow somewhere it effects others.  To live in comfort and prosperity means turning on the actual or metaphorical air conditioning when it gets too hot. As we know, turning on the air conditioning makes it nice and cool for those inside and even hotter for those outside. 

Two opposing views can be simultaneously correct. This concept seems to be the foundation of nearly all of the ongoing societal issues and almost every argument is actually just a discussion about differing perspectives. In fact nearly every question and perhaps every question can be answered with a yes, a no or  a maybe and not be incorrect unless very distinct perspectives from which the question is being viewed are defined. "Is recycling important?" Yes, from a global view. Perhaps no from a viewpoint of a struggling  nation and maybe from a personal perspective depending on where you are in your life, where you live and which items are being considered to recycle. Ultimately what people argue about is whether their underlying perspective is more valid than someone else's. 

A recession is like a forest fire, it is likely to happen sooner or later, we try and prevent them and the more the economy blooms, the more there is to burn up.  If the fire is mild, it just scares away the critters (job layoffs) and burns up the grass and underbrush (businesses) and leaves the trees mainly intact (government). A large recession burns up a lot of everything and a bunch of trees as well.  Then when the fire is out, first to spark back is the grass and soon after the bushes and other plants.  Give it some time and when there is enough foliage, the critters start to return, leaves are sprouting and the forest is coming back to life. Yet, like the trees, the governments cash flow is the last to burn and the last to replenish. This is why the government is so slow to react as delayed tax collection masks the economic issues for months or years from the governments perspective. When eventually budgets run thin, the government finally has the justification to act. Then the local, state and federal governments will be scrambling for cash long after the recession has ended.  Just like gazing upon the post fire regrowing forest, we have a choice of perspectives.  Either we focus on all the burned down trees and how many of the critters have not returned or we notice the fire is no longer a burning threat and the green sprouts of life are everywhere growing.

Overly greedy people spend their lives watching their backs as resentment builds against those that climb upon the heads of others to succeed. This is part of the balance.

If you give away too much control, you may not have the power to focus energy in a positive direction. I remember when I worked for a another band back in the late 90's and that kept pushing for low ticket prices. Because of the low ticket prices, the tours were not as profitable so not pay their touring crew very well, no retainers even though every show sold out. I actually got into a fairly lively discussion with the guitar player and my position was that while I am against corporate greed, if they charged a few dollars more per ticket, they could have paid their crew better and take a significant lump sum of the excess earnings and support the causes that they were very vocal about supporting.

Alright, enough of that, how about some pics.

Building SoundTools Rat Sniffers in house, our first big run of 250 hand assembled units.

Houston Seminar friends

120,000 Watts of power and a Ronnie

Minnesota Seminar, there is something so cool about sound humans everywhere. Perhaps a camaraderie amongst people whom have chosen a craft of using ears instead of the much more common eyes as primary career focus.

The march of the ducks!

Think, care, vote!

Dave Rat

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dave Rat Blog - Tools and Travels

Last day of the tour leg has me in New Orleans and heading home tomorrow for a short break. Hey, check this out!  Peter Gabriel is rocking an Audix microphone capsule on a Shure wireless transmitter by using a SoundTools Audix to Shure adaptor


Check out other cool SoundTools products at 

Oh, Also we are looking for more SoundTools distributors if you are interested there is contact info at

Oh, if you have not been to Tel Aviv, wow! I highly recommend it.  Another magical place and how cool is the interference patterns of the waves coming through the breakwaters. Not much different than the interference patterns of sound waves from two sources

The sound seminar in Tel Aviv was great. Lots of very together sound humans and cool people. I am adding new dates in the US with Austin coming up soon.  Go to if you are interested in attending and hanging out with me.

And wandered across a Banksy

Alright, It's show time in New Orleans

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dave Rat Blog - Up Down and Side to Side

San Antonio Texas and a cool hotel on the Riverwalk. Show day of the 4th gig of the tour leg. San Diego, Glendale AZ, and Denver so far with Dallas and New Orleans still ahead.

I continue to ponder the deficiencies in the methods typically used to setup and measure the implementation of live audio systems and question whether a truly accurate and useful method even exists. Primarily the aspect I am focused on has to do with the inability of measurement systems to adequately differentiate between comb-filtering issues occurring in the horizontal versus the vertical domains.

With two horizontally spaced sources, like our home stereo or a typical live sound system setup, the comb filtering that results is not really a negative issue to our ears yet common measurement methods will typically indicate the interaction from the output of the two sources as undesirable, not flat and a series of summations and cancellations known as comb-filtering.

With identical vertically spaced sources conventional measurement methods will measure the same issues from any single point as with the horizontal sources mentioned above, yet sonically  perception-wise to our ears, the sound is far from the same. Horizontally spaced sources covering the same area sound 'stereo' and so desirable that we strive set up sound systems this way, comb-filtering and all. With vertically spaced sources covering the same area we do not enjoy the perceptual benefits of that 'stereo' sound so all we are left with is determining whether the resulting comb-filtering is an issue or not.

Is vertical comb-filtering less important to our ears than horizontal comb filtering? Is that why variable angle line arrays are always vertical? Is horizontal comb-filtering desirable from spaced sources (stereo) and an issue from horizontal sources in close proximity? Yet with vertical sources in in close proximity, are our ears less likely to here the issues associated with the multiple sources reproducing the same signal?  If any or all of the above are true, then differing amounts of relevance would need to be attributed to comb-filtering issues depending on whether the sources are horizontally spaced or vertically spaced and also one the spacing distances as well.

Does the method you use to measure, calibrate and EQ a live sound system have the ability to tell you effectively "OK, these horizontal issues are no big deal and these horizontal issues are a big deal where as these same vertical issues are no big deal and these vertical issues are a concern."?

And on to sharing a few pics:

This blog is focused on the audio and adventure side of tour but a bit of love and recognition for my friends and the band who has me join them on these worldly adventures.

My view from FOH

It was great to see the band OFF! opening for Peppers in Los Angeles. Long history with old friends, yay!

And where I left off last blog was in Beirut, we then headed to Istambul and WOW! What and absolutely amazing city.  Truly magic and I can not recommend enough a visit there added to your adventuring dream list.

And doing Dave Rat seminars in cool places is so darn cool! Another group of wonderful sound nerds. Thank you for hanging out with me and being such gracious hosts!

Here is the Istambul gig

This was the last show with us for Ulf whom came to join us and assist with the stadium sized Peppers show. A true pleasure and honor working with you and see you soon I hope.

Finally, to sign off with a bit of curiosity, here is a pic I snapped out the van window as we drove into Tel Aviv

Oh my

OK, more to come and off to do a show in San Antonio, rocking!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dave Rat Blog - Believing Illusions

So coming up on the last show of this leg of tour I start this post 45 minutes before lobby call in Istambul. Beirut show was three days ago and we're heading to Tel Aviv this afternoon. It is truly amazing and intriguing to visit these ancient and historical cities and yet find the common ground of happy and enthusiastic humans gathering to enjoy music. More so than any other travel trip I have done, this tour has highlighted the vast discrepancy between the impression that corporate news media presents and the reality of what to see and expect. So naturally the unfamiliar is blown out of proportion illogical fear levels. Just as Nebraskans can watch aghast with fear over the how unbearable it must be for Californians to live in constant fear of earthquakes, while yet another swirl of tornadoes roll past ripping through local houses and corn fields.

People die of gangland shootings in Los Angeles so common that the news stories rate lower than a traffic jam on the freeway while just a mere mention of visiting Beirut, Tel Aviv or Istambul  is met with wide eyes aghast,"is it safe, those places are all over the news." There was a guy, killed and kidnapped there just yesterday!" I hear someone say. "Really? someone died in a city that is not the city I am going but it is in the same country?, wow!" And what comes to mind is the simple minded logic in reverse. that I occasionally hear "Wow, you are from Los Angeles? Hey, my sister's husband's brother is from Los Angeles, do you know a guy named Joe Smith?" And with the same odds and probability that I know Joe Smith, I will embrace those irrational fear levels as I travel the earth.

Now that is not to say that having an alertness to one's environment whether in the forest, the desert, south central Los Angeles or any other place on the planet earth is not a wise.mindset. And just like going on a camping trip where I neither got lost, died or ran out of water but saw some amazing and interesting things, I get to share a few pictures and memories.

So Lets start with Beirut, oooh look!

And as far away as places seem to be, the simple familiarity of being able to live off of plastic cards holds strong

Loading up the crew bus at the airport to head to the hotel

Our bags are very safe right now

Yay Tour bus!

Ooooh, cool UN vehicles!

Our bags are even safer when we unload at the hotel

Hey look a special conveyer belt to help move the bags a 5 feet closer and save us hauling them a bit plus a walk through metal detector too.

Yummy amazing meals

This was the view out our hotel room window.  Did a bit of asking around and it is the Holiday Inn from the "Battle of the Hotels

Plus I did a mini Seminar there as well

The Gig

And some wandering

And back to the airport

Next stop Istambul.

and thought of the day:

So wandering around the local Best Buy and Fry's looking at electronics and such as I occasionally like to to do.  I notice the growing popularity of "sound bars",mod=17&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

And with these horizontal steerable sound systems each seems to be all about simulating surround sound. I guess not so much surround actually but rather trying to create an enhanced stereo image. In essence inferring that the stereo image is inadequate in the recordings or that there are improvements to be made?  Could they be trying to make the instruments sound like they are coming from different places? Meanwhile, the bulk of live engineers, we have total control and yet most engineers mix on huge complex sound systems what is almost always very close to mono.  Hmmmm

In real life, next stop San Francisco.  In Blog life, next stop Istambul. Meanwhile, 6 days home and 5 days of surfing, huge piles of pretending I am a business man and no where near enough time with my daughters. But hey, it can always be worse and upload it goes without a proof read or edit.

Good night