Monday, August 25, 2014

Vee Hick Cull

The "Morrow Project" XR311 print arrived from Shapeways. It looks real good, even in the cheapest of the available materials (the white nylon). I didn't expect the tread on the tires to show as well as it does. In any case, I'll post some pictures once it gets assembled and painted up.

I'm pushing on contract and hourly right now, as bills are coming due and the next show doesn't go into tech for several weeks yet. So not a lot of time for props or electronics projects.

Successfully replaced another jack on a Sennheiser body pack. It's a pain because the circuit board is so tight, and the traces are fragile. I had to carefully cut apart the old jack with dykes and de-solder the stubs of the lugs one by one. I have at least one more to go through, plus the easier tasks of antenna and LCD, but the big labor is a pile of damaged Countryman B3's. I'm hoping I can return at least some of them to service, but they are all aging.

I may have imagined it -- no way to do a double-blind -- but when I finally washed out the elements the principals were wearing on Shrek, it made a big difference to the sound. Yes; you can actually rinse the Countryman elements in water. Or in alcohol, which is what I do. Do give them time to dry out properly, though!

Meanwhile, the crazy budget system I assembled at another theater made it through the first Theater Camp without problems. I still need to label and document. Downloaded a couple of installation diagramming software packages, but the level of detail I need for these end-users means I'll probably have to do the docs in PhotoShop. Or Inkscape, which is the shareware option to Illustrator.

A Rolls MA2355 is fed by a dedicated microphone (Crown PCC160) and drives two legs of monitors; one in the booth, another in the dressing room. This is completely independent from everything else, but at some point I'd like to link it up to the ClearCom for Stage Manager announcements to the dressing room. (This may be as simple as a length of cable).

The primary system aggregates through a Rolls rack mixer; this pulls in a pair of inputs dedicated to the FOH mix position, a pair from the firewire interphase of the sound effects computer, and front-panel jacks for iPod and dynamic mic for use during rehearsal and by the Theater Camps. On the remaining work list is to cut a plexi shield that will deny access to anything other than the latter two inputs to casual users of the space.

This feeds a DriveRack PA+, which does the absolute minimum system tuning; a little notching in a graphic EQ for gain, a gentle corrective parametric EQ, and delay for the rear speakers (which I'd like to replace, and move further forward to make proper fill speakers out of).

I've also got another rack mixer in there which is not yet connected, but is designed to bring together a second pair of firewire outputs with a second pair of feeds from FOH, to allow both access to the front fill stage monitors.

Still, just this (plus putting in hardwired boxes for the ClearCom runs, adding a Furman to the rack, and a few other details) already cost over fifteen hundred. The bucks add up quickly with sound.

Those bucks went to the theater. My own bucks stretched just enough to pick up a little fabric and repair my futon cover, but not enough, yet, to have any PCB's fabbed off. My browser is still filled with tabs on power MOSFETS and 5-watt LEDs, but that project is going to remain stalled for a little longer.

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