csberry: (Oh My Joel)
I was looking at the pictures I have on my laptop just now (realized how old my wallpaper is and felt an urgent need to change it) and found a sad piece of evidence.

For a few years, I worked sound for the contemporary service at my church. Although I was only expected to take care of vaguely placing musical instruments on stage when setting up the various mics and sound cables, I was raised to do my best. If I'm going to do something, I don't want to do it half-assed. The stage was memorized by me and reinforced by notes and drawings I put in my notebook. I went to the point of photographing the drum kit after the drummer had everything set as he liked it. This all culminated in my making an illustrated guide for people who ran sound.

drum-setup

And this is from my first guide. When we did a new service at a roller rink for a year, I had a series of diagrams showing the layout of all of the instruments, amps, monitors, speakers, mics, power cables, and audio cables - and what order each should be set down on the stage. But that isn't handy, so I can't share those gems.
csberry: (Default)
Whether we're talking national politics or inter-personal relationships, I do worry quite a bit about how fractured we can be on various scales of "society" when it comes to voicing and supporting our choices/opinions and the effort we place on understanding others' choices/opinions. That is a big enough concern, let alone going the next step of actually taking the time and effort to compromise and come to some sort of agreement on things. It is so easy (and lazy) to isolate ourselves in our own world where we surround ourselves only by like-minded people. Is it within our collective ability to think outside of our own opinions and put forth the brainpower and communication necessary to find common points and overcome the differences so we can get along together?

I just keep noticing so many instances lately where those that disagree or dislike something instantly choose the isolating or aggressive (reporting to police, personal attacking, PR/political ploys) option in a situation rather than working with the person of a differing stance to come to a mutual agreement or understanding. I'm tired of seeing people paint those that disagree with them as evil or stupid. I can tolerate people of opposing positions a lot better than I can people that are intolerable.
csberry: (Oh My Joel)
I am a map geek. I love maps. I'll spend hours staring at an atlas as others may become engrossed in novels, video games, or drugs. Not only that, but I pride myself on identifying cities by their skyline. Watch a movie or TV show with me and they show a skyline, I'll ID it for you. Freakin' Tron: Legacy drove me nuts the other night with their construction of a fake city skyline of where the real world portion was supposed to take place. And, yes, I do get annoyed to see the Dallas skyline in the movie RoboCop (which takes place in Detroit).

Unfortunately, the video person at the contemporary worship service, Vicki, doesn't know about my map geekiness. So, when she created the slides for the church service today and saw the sermon was about guidance...Vicki put a blowup of a map as the background image for the sermon slides.

I spent the whole sermon gazing at the map, trying to figure out where it was.

There was a splash of blue in the upper left corner and the roads didn't seem American. The map was filled with lots of town names that started with Drum_______. I found a Blackrock and the only bolded name that I could see (remember, this is a background image, so much of the center of the map was obscured by other images and text) was Leitrim. But the more I said the town names in my mind, the more I was convinced that I was looking at someplace in either Ireland or Wales.

After the service was done, I went to Vicki and told her of my sermon-length distraction and was thrilled to be told that the map was of a portion of Ireland.
csberry: (DW-Please)
Since starting on the sound team, one of the things I've become aware of is an intermittent problem (Ack! Intermittent problems suck!) with the sound coming from the stage-left monitors. Sometimes it is just a crackling sound and sometimes the audio will just drop out. The other sound tech learned that usually just unplugging the speaker cable from the back of the amp, touching it on some metal, and plugging it back in will fix things up.

I'm just too anal to keep guessing, so I started marking the monitors to ensure that it wasn't a faulty monitor continuously being placed on that side causing problems. To track down the problem further, I would need to follow the cable back to inside a large speaker cabinet that holds the stage-right speakers. Under the speakers are two amps with a whole nest of cables.

Today, I took a couple of hours, went to Aldersgate UMC, and did some exploring. First, I crawled into the bottom portion of the speaker cabinet with a flashlight and inspected the rear panels of the amps. I used an orange tie which I wrapped around my targeted cable and tracked where everything was coming from and going to (my first attempt trying to follow cables with just my eyes resulted in my mistakenly thinking the monitor amp was supplying a feed to the stage-right speakers). I then sketched the back of the amp panels and wrote in what was plugged in where and where those connected cables went. Before leaving back there, I pulled out a bunch more cable ties and did my best to gather together the excess cables so it was much more organized behind the amps. A can of air will be going with me on my next visit to clear out some of the dust.

I didn't notice anything with the amps that made me think there was a configuration problem there, so my top theory right now is that there is a short or something wrong with the Mon2 cable that runs from the amp to the stage-left monitors. But there is a slight complication. The mon speaker cables are 1/4" jacks on the monitor end and are spliced open and connected to banana clips on the amp end. I hate splicing cables and was concerned that I would have to not only find a spare speaker cable...but then splice one end for the banana clip connection. Thankfully, after getting home and finding the manual for the amp online, I verified that the 1/4" above where they are connected now will also work. Now I am only in search for a spare speaker cable that can reach from this cabinet to just past center stage.

As part of my continuing education of the sound system in the Fellowship Hall, I also peeked under the stage at what all was connected under there. Something that stood out to me is that there is unused audio equipment underneath - as in, when the old sound system died, it looks like they just unplugged it but left all the cables and equipment in place rather than remove it. This is most easily illustrated by a large cluster of cables that stick out of the wall/ceiling in the back of the Fellowship Hall. This collection of XLR and other cables just dangle above the door to the library. It is a backburner project, but once I run out of other things to do, I might put in the time and effort to examine the old audio equipment and see what all I can still use and what can be removed for good. But before I undertake that big task, I really want to find the older members of the church to track down anyone that may have any insight to the audio equipment history of the Fellowship Hall and someone's approval for me to actually do this.

But first...gotta swap cables for the amp-to-mon connection and see if that solves the problem.

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Cory Berry

June 2016

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