October 2016 Archives

Time has been flying

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Ok... I admit that I haven't kept the blog terribly current in the past, but wow - this may be a record for me. It's been about 3 months since my last update - crikey. Sorry about that.

So, what's been happening? Pretty much just "the usual" stuff - busy with work, and extremely busy with Pro Sound Madison. My day job has me working on a few large scale projects: the outsourcing of payment of our utility bills (we pay around 17,000 utility invoices per month) and supporting the FCC Auction 1000 - a multi-billion dollar auction where cellular companies are bidding on new spectrum. They've been fun, interesting, and challenging projects.

Pro Sound Madison has been going strong. I can't complain about how my first few months with the formal business have progressed. Over the past few months, I've provided live sound production services for AtwoodFest (a huge summer festival that's held on Atwood Street in Madison), an anniversary party for a local brewery, and countless acts at Kiki's House of Righteous Music and some local bands at various venues.

I've also made some significant investments in equipment. I added a new set of main speakers from JTR Speakers to help provide better coverage for larger events. JTR isn't a household name, but trust me when I say they make some absolutely incredible speakers. The owner, Jeff, was an engineer for Danley Sound Labs for years before starting his own company ten years ago.

Jeff is a master EE (Electrical Engineer) - his work is simply incredible. These new speakers can handle over 2,000-watts of power, will hit 133-decibels all day long, are super efficient, and are ridiculously light weight. They also sound just superb. So crystal clear and clean. I am in love with these things.

jtr_speakers.jpg

To support the new speakers and to provide additional redundancy, I've also purchased several more amplifiers. The extra amplifiers necessitated the need for a better amp rack, so after much searching, I sourced a gently used rack from a guy in Verona. The result? Nearly 20,000-watts of incredible power in this rack:

rack_front_day.jpg

As you can probably tell, I am really digging the QSC brand of amplifiers. The PLX3602 has been superb on everything from subwoofers to mains to monitors, and that PL380 (on top, in black) is an absolute BEAST of an amplifier. It'll put out 8,000-watts all day long, which is insane.

I also upgraded my monitor amplification system, and chose QSC once again. My monitor rack includes another QSC beast: the PLD4.5, which is a 4-channel amplifier with full DSP. This means I can run 4 separate sets of speakers from a single amp, and DSP provides protection, monitoring, and countless configuration options. Here's a side view of the monitor rack (top) and mains rack (bottom) from a recent event:

rack_side.jpg

I've been focusing on branding and awareness - hence the PSM (Pro Sound Madison) graphics on the flight cases.

But with all of this great power comes great responsibility. While I have an elaborate network of DSP-enabled crossovers and speaker processing/management gear, it's still possible to damage my speakers. So, a few days ago, I took to the garage and spent the afternoon measuring output levels of the amplifiers (by voltage) so as to better understand the maximum, safe levels under a variety of conditions. Here's a quick picture of me measuring amplifier output while running "pink noise" through one of the amplifiers.

rack_voltage.jpg

As I mentioned above, I've been busy providing live sound for a bunch of venues, events, and bands. We spent the last weekend of July supporting AtwoodFest. It was a two-day festival, and on my stage, we had 13 bands/acts play over a total of 12-hours (6-hours each day).

atwoodfest_stage.jpg

As you can tell, we used the EAW speakers for this event; I didn't purchase the JTR speakers until mid-August. I still have the EAW speakers, but only use them for certain events, as they are incredibly heavy when compared to the JTR speakers.

AtwoodFest was an awesome event - we ran sound for so many unique, diverse bands and performers - everything from classic rock to a drumline to folk and Latin music. It was a rewarding challenge to set-up, sound check, produce, and load-out a band every single hour, six hours per day. Whew!!!

I've also been working with several local bands, including "Your Mom" (a band that plays hits from the 80s, 90s, 00s, and today) and Thirsty Jones (a really popular country band). Here's a picture from Your Mom playing at a bar in Janesville:

mom_band.jpg

And Thirsty Jones playing outdoors at The Old Rock in Columbus:

thirsty_jones.jpg

It's been extremely rewarding to work with so many great event organizers and bands. And, people seem to be enjoying Pro Sound Madison - I get tons of compliments at every event, both for sound quality and professionalism (I try to make things super easy for everyone, and provide extras like power outlets at both the front and rear of the stage, and so on). It's also rewarding to help people when they're in a pinch...

Next Door Brewing Company was all set to celebrate its third anniversary; they had booked a band, rented a huge tent, and hired a sound company, when the sound company backed-out at the last minute. They found my company via Google, called, and I was able to provide sound for their event. Here's a picture from under the tent:

next_door.jpg

They were super cool and fun to work with, and extremely generous. And speaking of generosity, I couldn't be doing any of this without the help and support of Jenny, or my pals Tony and Jeremey N (aka "goat"). Those two guys are just about the best friends anyone could ask for. Here's a candid picture of them relaxing behind the brewery from a few weeks ago:

tony_goat.jpg

And yep, I'm still doing sound at Kiki's House of Righteous Music. She keeps attracting bigger and bigger acts... a few weeks ago, I ran sound for Tommy Stinson (of The Replacements, Soul Asylum, and most recently, Guns-n-Roses). That was a trip!

Last night, I ran sound for Tommy Keene, who has played for The Gin Blossoms, The Goo Goo Dolls, and The Tommy Keene Group. I almost fell over when I arrived to Kiki's house and saw this in the driveway:

tommy_bus.jpg

That's a heckuva bus!! Besides being much more comfortable than a van, the bus also easily held all of Tommy's gear, which was substantial:

tommy_loadin.jpg

The vast majority of Kiki's shows have been selling out nearly instantly, so I'll say it again - if you have any interest in attending a show, let me know so that I can get you on the list.

They are super cool shows; everyone who attends for the first time kicks themselves for waiting so long. Here's a shot of Tommy and his band playing last night (it was loud, but oh so good):

tommy_playing.jpg

So, there you have it... the past three months of my life condensed into a single blog entry. Jenny is doing great and is extremely supportive of this new side venture. Flea, on the other hand, remains unimpressed.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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