Monday, August 15, 2016

Russ Freeman and The Rippingtons - Stage Plot - 2016

As a sound technician, I have always been curious about the stage plots for all kinds of bands and artists. So, when I was visiting the updated web site for the band "The Rippingtons" one of my favourite jazz groups, I noticed a link for a downloadable version of the band's 2016 Stage Plot. This stage plot is NOT your typical 4 piece rock band setup! Many more instrument mics and monitor mixes than your typical band. My dream as a sound technician would be to have the opportunity to work on show for a jazz group like The Rippingtons. 

Click on this link to view a PDF version of The Rippingtons 2016 Stage Plot;

The Rippingtons have been a band since 1985 and they have a large discography of great work.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

QSC Amplifier Selector

Which Amplifier Is Best For My Speakers/Subwoofers/Stage Monitors???

QSC Audio has a great resource tool on their web site called "Amplifier Selector". It is great tool to determine which QSC branded power amplifier you would use to power "your brand" of speakers and subwoofers. It is really easy to use.

Step 1: Select your brand of speakers then select your speaker model. Once entered you will see a list of specific QSC model power amps that would work with your particular speakers. I chose Yamaha loudspeakers as my test. Here is a screenshot of the result:

(click on image to enlarge)

Step 2: Select your brand of subwoofers then select your subwoofer model. Once entered you will see a list of specific QSC model power amps that would work with your particular subwoofers. I chose Yamaha subwoofers as my test. Here is a screenshot of the result:

(click on image to enlarge)

Lets say your speaker brand is not listed in the choices in the drop-down menu. Here is what you do:

Step 3. You can click on the box marked "or Enter the Loudspeaker Specifications". The menu changes and asks you to choose Impedance in (Ohms) and Watts - Continuous (RMS) or Program. There is also a selection for "Two Loudspeakers Per Amp Channel". For my test I chose 8 Ohms, 350 watts (program) and 2 speakers per amp channel. Here is a screenshot of the result:

(click on image to enlarge)

Step 4: Repeat the same procedure for the subwoofers: I chose 4 Ohm, 1000 Watts (program) and 1 subwoofer per amp channel. Here is a screenshot of the result:

(click on image to enlarge)

***At the bottom of the web page QSC has a disclaimer stating that the amp selector is only to be used as a guideline to choosing amps for your speaker systems.***

This is great tool that every sound technician should check out on web site. Here is the link to get your there:

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Improvising With Sound When You Don't Have Enough Inputs

Once again, Mr. Craig Leerman has provided us with yet another excellent article on how be creative with less when working with sound. This article highlights how to maximize mixing console layouts for those time when you don't have enough inputs on a show. Sometimes it happens when you are given tech rider for show and then things are changed on show day and you may not have enough gear to support those changes. That is when you need to improvise and make thing work. Read this great article and find out some solutions to help you out when you are stuck on a show.

In the article, Craig Leerman talks about always carrying a compact "utility" mixer to every gig which can be put into service as a sub-mixer to the main console, a distribution amplifier for outputs, a press mult, and even an adapter to interface a device to the main mixer.

Personally, I have a BEHRINGER XENYX 1204 USB mixer that sports 4 - XLR mic inputs, one-knob compressors on mic inputs, 2 - stereo inputs, 2 - pairs of main outputs, control room outputs, ALT3/4 outputs and RCA inputs for interfacing an mp3 player, laptop or tablet with a simple y-cable.

Almost every mixing console manufacturer has a line of compact, utility mixers available. Here are a selection of a some below:


This mixer packs a load of features in a small footprint!
4 -XLR Inputs, 3 - Stereo Inputs, 7-band Graphic built-in, EFX processor built-in, 3-band EQ on every channel, USB Input with level control, RCA inputs and outputs with level control, Monitor Send, EFX Send, Stereo Return Inputs, and Phantom power.


Similar features to the Mackie Pro8FX with the addition of 2 extra XLR inputs with stereo inputs when you need just a couple more mic inputs. Also included is a Hi-Z switch on one of the mono input channels that will allow to you patch in a high impedance instrument without the need for an additional DI box.


Similar features to the Mackie, Yorkville, and Behringer mixers above.
Includes 2 in/2 out USB functions for connecting you laptop for audio or recording with included Cubase AI DAW software download version. For those times when you need to make a simple recording of a presentation or other audio feed on on show.


Soundcraft took the best features from some of the past, analog mixing consoles and designed it into the Signature Series. Even in the the smallest model Signature 10 you get the famous Ghost mic preamps, Sapphire British EQ with sweepable mids, Lexicon branded effects engine, dbx Limiters (High Ratio Compressors on inputs channels, Hi Pass (Low Cut) filters and 48V Phantom Power on all mic channels, 2 in/2 out USB playback and recording, Switchable Hi-Z inputs for guitars, basses and other instruments, and GB Series Audio Routing functions.

As you can see there is so many features that can be packed into a compact mixer and you should always carry one with you to every show or gig your work. Think of it as your sound safety net that will help out in a pinch when you don't have enough inputs. Happy Mixing!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

That Night In Sarnia - A Celebration of The Tragically Hip - August 20, 2016

I was so happy to hear that the CBC has decided to broadcast the final show of the current Tragically Hip tour from Kingston, ON on August 20, 2016.

I am also happy that K106Fm, The Station Music Hall and Apex I.T. put together this cool event!
Cantara Park in Sarnia, ON. will be packed to watch the live broadcast of the show.

Back in May, released a statement that the band’s front man and Canadian music icon Gord Downie had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Shortly after the announcement, The Tragically Hip revealed a Canada wide tour. A true celebration of Gord Downie and over 30 years of Tragically Hip music.

The final show is scheduled for Saturday, August 20th in the Tragically Hip’s hometown of Kingston, Ontario. Many communities throughout Canada will be holding events and broadcasting the concert. Sarnia is doing the same.

K106.3, The Station Music Hall and APEX I.T. Solution is proud to present "That Night In Sarnia". A FREE public event that will begin at 6:00p.m. in Canatara Park 
with Tragically Hip videos and concert footage displayed on two large 30' video screens. At 7:00p.m., local band “The Room” will take the stage and warm up the crowd with an hour of Tragically Hip music. At 8:30p.m., the CBC broadcast will begin. The park will be open for general lawn seating where attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and bug spray. A beer tent and several food vendors will also be onsite; as well, limited edition event t-shirts will be on sale (pre-order yours today for only $20. see below).

Even though this is a FREE event, donations are being accepted and split between the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research and the Bluewater Health Foundation. 100% of the proceeds from the beverage and t-shirts sales and a portion of the food sales will be donated to the charities.

For more information and to order your Limited Edition "That Night In Sarnia" t-shirts, visit

To volunteer, donate or ask questions, email:

Click the link here to view the event page on Facebook:

Monday, July 4, 2016

Freelance Sound Technician Looking For A Gig

Finally after a couple of months, I am now getting a some more sound gigs over the summer. I have one booked in July on a river boat cruise and the other is at the local bandshell at the beach park. I am happy to work these gigs however, I wish I could find even more gigs to add to the list.

In my local area of Sarnia, ON. many bands are mixing their own sound for their gigs and either don't require a sound tech or just don't want to pay for one. It likely goes hand in hand with the lack of money most bands get to play the gigs in the first place. Still, I believe that most bands require a competent and experienced sound tech to mix their shows. It is one less thing the band has to worry about during a show.

For some reason in my city, there seems to be a less cheapness that comes with the idea of hiring a sound tech and renting a PA system for a show. I would guess that every would like to sound their best and would be willing to hire a sound tech to make that happen. In this city, it seems that everyone wants to cheap out on the sound tech guy.... Too bad because, I have been to some events and shows where the sound was lacking and could have used the expertise of a trained sound tech.

In my city, many clients do not want to pay the cost for a rental sound system and an experienced sound technician. Many people don't even include those costs into their show budgets and expect the sound techs to work for very little or for free. In mu opinion, I am worth the cost of hiring me to do the job. I charge a rate per hour with a minimum flat rate if I am only required for a short period of time. Everything I do is by contract so, I have the ability to adjust my rate depending upon the gig.

In my earlier years, I used to work with the local community theatre groups as a theatre technician for free because, those groups are all non-paying shows. Those days are long gone. I don't work theatre shows from free anymore. I always ask for pay if the groups are offering me work. To me it is no longer just a hobby, it is another form of a paid gig. Needless to say, I have worked many theatre gigs for a number of years.

One-off shows are something that I have been able to work and for those shows I usually set a flat rate for the whole day to make things easier for the client. It works out best for all parties and I have been getting the call to do the same show again the following year or season. Fashion shows and dance recital shows have become part of my portfolio and are guaranteed paid gigs!

With my current presence on the internet with things like Facebook, Linked In, and Blogger, I am starting to get more inquiries about my sound tech services. Word of mouth is also still a viable form of networking. Artists, bands, groups, etc. who I have worked with usually spread the word that I am an available and experienced freelance sound technician looking for work.

So, if you are in the Sarnia, Ontario area and require a sound technician for your show or event, please contact me directly for details. Use contact information below:

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Current Sound System At My Old High School SCI&TS Auditorium

Recently, I was able to go back to my old high school Sarnia Collegiate and Technical School (SCI&TS) to get a look current sound system installed in the auditorium. I arranged to meet up with the Head of the Drama Department, Mr. Dan White. He allowed me to come in so that I could take some pictures of the current sound system to compare it to what used to be there back in the mid 80s when I attended my school.

The auditorium has changed quite a bit since my time there. The gear has also changed drastically.

Back in my school days, we had a pretty basic sound system to use which was located in a small box room that was on the third floor overlooking the balcony level of the auditorium. The gear consisted of a Yamaha 1204 mixing console, a Yamaha dual 31 band EQ, a Yamaha single 31 band EQ, 2x Yamaha power amps, 1 pair of JBL speakers for mains and 1 pair of Yamaha speakers for foldback monitors.
Here are pictures to illustrate:

This is the original Yamaha MC1204 Mixing

This the original rack unit with Yamaha graphic EQs and power amps

Now compare some pics of the current setup at my old high school. 
They relocated the mix area to main floor of auditorium under the balcony at centre line:

They have a new, Presonus digital mixing console:

They have two racks with all the power amps, signal processors, and wireless mic receivers:
(Furman, Shure, Yorkville Sound, Yamaha, DOD, Aphex)

There is a left - right hang of Yorkville Sound loudspeakers:

There is a newly added centre cluster hang of Yamaha loudspeakers:

There is even Yorkville subwoofers mounted underneath the stage! (never had those when I was there!):

Here is a view looking from Front Of House towards the stage:

It was so great to go back to the auditorium where I learned to be a theatre technician and learned how to mix sound on an analog mixing console. I left feeling very nostalgic for the rest of the day...

On a side note: My old high school is actually on the chopping block this year to be closed by the board of education. They want to close it down and send all the students to another high school after it gets renovated and expanded. There are some local people trying to stop it from happening because, SCI&TS high school is the oldest school in our city with the most character and the most amenities. We are all hoping that the school doesn't end up closing down but, the board is still set on their idea. More to follow......

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Key Aspects of the Technical Rider

Here we have an excellent article written by Mark Frink for and it highlights the key aspects of working with a properly designed "technical rider" for a show. This important document is very helpful to local sound crew of any venue detailing all the important information for a particular show setup.

Click link here to read the full article on the web site: