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The trick is, as the 'Mag' says-- to make the ensemble sound like a well tailored suit. Everything should dovetail and fit and not stick out. It can be done. The last thing you would want is for white noise/feedback out of speakers to distract or for whatever comes out of the speakers to be overbearing, to become the central point of interest... unless it's supposed to be. And that's perhaps only a few points of the show. 

 

Talked again to someone who is one of the people who get how field electronics work, and the gist this time was that some of the top end DCI corps are spending literally hundreds of hours of time and serious in getting their set-up and volume levels right. You can't just chuck the stuff out there and hope for the best. Even the High Quality equipment. Scarier yet, conversations with another individual also caused me to draw another conclusion- given the housing fees the DCI corps are paying to stay over at schools now throughout the tour... 15 to 25k spent on electronics would amount to peanuts.

 

The conclusion I've reached for DCA is you need someone who really knows the equipment, can engineer simple cost effective solutions and meshes the output in a artful, intelligent, and careful way. I can easily think of at least 2 corps who are doing that, likely more are. The ones who can and demonstrate they operate the stuff on a higher level know they can give their corps perhaps a bit of an advantage if the numbers are tight against a competitor who does not.

Edited by BigW

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23 hours ago, trptmagnet said:

First, Jeff thanks for detailed performance information in your review.  Amazing how much you captured.  I see many reference to the “mic”, so I’ll add (pile on?) on amplification.  There is so much to love about drum corps so I tell myself, don’t get obsessed with the amplification.  Btw, I am investigating, “when has a trend been reversed”.  This one will be difficult.

Important comments <my tag> from above,

>>>sitting at the 25 yd line watching the Blue Coats play at the 50 yd line while hearing the music through a speaker at the 5 yd line.  <BALANCE of Amplification levels>

>>>there were two 5-second stretches when the center speaker scratched   <DISTRACTION>

>>>victim of the 12 or so speakers on the field. <Financial escalation, BALANCE of Amplification levels>

So this is a marker.  Will DCA trend toward DCI, with different constraints in budget and staff time.

A few years back at Clifton, I was with guitarist from my old rock group – he is electronics expert, at least to me as he can fix amplifiers, and he stayed with trend for example to powered speakers vs. power amp in the rack.   He was also a tuba player in HS.  So we enjoyed the show, he was amazed by the corps.  But there was running commentary back and forth on speaker placement, EQ, balance, etc.   My reflection next day, geez very distracting to the experience of watching a show.   <it will take time for me for it be the new normal>

I also think back to a parade when a West Point sound crew (a contractor) did sound for the after parade party.  I think I posted on this prior – that sound board with parametric EQ and all the rest – these guys had a beautiful mix for a rock band playing.  I thought, wow if we could have that sound treatment for a corps – oooh.   I love a great, powerful mix as much as the next guy.   <Financial, skill level>

Also think of recording artists, like say Springsteen taking nearly a year to produce a song.  >>>Springsteen became bogged down in the recording process while striving for a wall of sound production.

Point is that the amplification game is a deep discipline in its own right: recording, small venue, arena.  And it is complex, subject to taste.   Should the bass drum kick your chest, or rattle your lowers <LOL>.

So how much to invest vs. housing, staff, rehearsal space, music rights, equipment, buses?  Goal is to be competitive so it must be and is being factored – it is de facto mandatory.  Maybe most sound gear today are loaners from dedicated staff and friends of corps.

Big Dub, I get your point on physics of sound, and balance with and without amplification.   Key point to me though is difference in the sound experience, with and w/o amplification.  Is the qualitative and quantitative better overall with amps?  Lots of tradeoffs as with any complex decision.    Someone will just tell me don’t worry about it, get over it, enjoy the show - I’ll try tonight.   I may get my best kicks in front of a horn arc, or “inside the arc”.   <g>

You don't have to break the bank.l but you have to have knowledge and imo in drum corps at all levels, the knowledge isn't all that

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In my opinion, the Cabs french horn soloist is 2nd only to the soloist from the Crossmen.  It's my favorite part of a show that I almost completely enjoy. 

Their trombone feature - well...

 

It looks like I will be spending another $50 to catch the action at Rochester in a few weeks.

Edited by Kyle B

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6 hours ago, Kyle B said:

>>> the Cabs french horn soloist is 2nd only to the soloist from the Crossmen.  It's my favorite part of a show that I almost completely enjoy. 

.

I think they had mic/mix malfunction last night at Kingston. Please correct me if not so.  I could not hear the french horn solo at all.   She looked a little frustrated checking her gear as she stepped back when done.  

<amplification distraction, sorry>

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2 hours ago, trptmagnet said:

I think they had mic/mix malfunction last night at Kingston. Please correct me if not so.  I could not hear the french horn solo at all.   She looked a little frustrated checking her gear as she stepped back when done.  

<amplification distraction, sorry>

 

Yep, wireless issue, dealt with today. It happens.

 

 

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