Sunday stuff (Technical Difficulties)

After a couple of weeks away, I was back at my church gigs this morning.

Church gig number one changed up the morning rehearsal time--instead of meeting at 8 AM, we got together at 8:30.  When I walked in, there was a service going on in the main sanctuary, but I found everybody downstairs.

It was a quick and painless rehearsal--a couple of traditional hymns (flute), and a couple of gospel things (tenor).  No problems.  At 9:15 we went running upstairs to set up.

This is the second week of V Drums--this time with a substitute soundman!  Woo!  I guess all the microphone cables for the entire band had been patched incorrectly at the stage, so there was no time to troubleshoot the electronic drums that were not making electronic drum sounds.  Hmm.  We entered into a stand off of sorts--sound man was busy up in the balcony trying to find his inputs;  drummer continued to bang on very quiet drum kit.  I said, hey, let's stick a vocal mic on his XLR--maybe it's a bad line…maybe it's the DI…maybe it's the quater inch cable going into the DI.  I was ignored.

Suddenly it was 9:30 and we started.  In the headphones:  a ton of bass, a ton of piano, some vocals.  No guitar, no drums.  I didn't like the sound of that, so I went without headphones--better, but I could hear the drums, and the slap off the back wall was at least a sixteenth note behind the band.  I didn't like that either!

Other than the technical difficulties, it was a good show/service.  I had good reeds on my tenor and clarinet, and my flute face was good.  I think we played pretty well, and our leader was happy.  We also played the second service.  No problems there, either.  Yay!

I went home and fell asleep on the floor, listening to a Michael Brecker masterclass from 1986.  Good stuff.  Here's hoping it all soaked in.

Church gig number two was pretty good, too.  Good soprano reed, and my flute playing was comfortable.  I had a pretty good mix in the PA, too.

Right before we started, the previous service's leader told me that the piano microphone was going bad (I noticed a few weeks ago that there was a short in the mic/preamp setup).  Sure enough, I soloed it and it sounded like old vinyl.

Band leader said, "When we flip the switch, the crackling goes away."  The switch was for the ground.  Aren't you disconnecting the ground pin in the XLR and thus eliminating the phantom power that you need to power the microphone?  That was my thinking.  We flipped the switch and then we got no signal to the board, which makes me wonder if my theory was true, and if so, why was that an option on the preamp box?

Anyway, the hell with that.  I unplugged the cable, stuck a vocal mic on it, and stuck it on the soundboard through one of the holes in the piano frame.  Worked fine, and I like the sound of it better than that stupid crackly microphone.

The band sounded pretty good;  vocals were pretty good.  Not a bad gig at all.

I've got another pretty easy week ahead, but I'm looking down the calendar at a week from Saturday--I'm playing second keyboard with the Schooner at Dixie Tavern, and I have a couple of parts to learn.  I did this about a year ago (read about it here).  I'm feeling much less overwhelmed this time--pretty sure I'm gonna kick ass.  It's a good challenge.

P.S.  I'm still thinking about the car crash we saw in Dallas a couple of weeks ago.  I wish we'd stopped to check on them.  The taxi we were in slowed down--I regret not getting out to see if everybody was OK.  I would have wanted someone to do that for me.

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