16-Feb-2003 (Sun)

Friday was the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA's double helix.

Also on friday, I think I finally got the webcasts behaving again. You may have noticed that it's sounded like ass for most events in the last month or so. Apparently something changed that caused the signal going from the main room to the webcast computers to be way, way hotter than it used to be. We have a compressor in front of them that's supposed to compensate for this, but apparently it was so loud that the compressor was throwing up its hands and letting it clip anyway.

Perhaps this is what went wrong with our last compressor, too? Though there was at least a month in there where everything was fine: we got a new compressor, and the problems went away. Then a month later, a different set of problems began. I don't have any idea what changed to start causing the second problem. One theory is that it was only happening when the DJ was on the stage and not in the booth (and using a different mixer than we had been using) but I'm pretty sure the problem was happening when the DJ was upstairs too.

So, because we've been unable to get any help on this from our sound company, even though they designed the system (...250 word rant on this and related topics omitted...) I finally crawled under the stage, found the little inline amps and relays that go to the webcast, and started turning screws until I figured out what they did. Then Jason came over and fixed the compressor settings. So, it sounded pretty clean on friday and saturday. Let's hope it sticks.

Anyway, the right way to fix the webcast problem permanently is for the webcast feed to come out of Soundweb instead of splitting off from the mixer directly. (Soundweb would then internally simulate the necessary chain of compressors and expanders digitally, without being subject to the kind of limits we're experiencing with the hardware implementations.) But, we're out of channels on Soundweb, so to do that, we'd need a second Soundweb. Which we'd kind of like to have anyway, because right now the stage speakers aren't going through Soundweb, which is kind of a mess: to adjust the overall room volume, we not only have to adjust it through the Soundweb controller up in the booth, but then also run into the back room and turn knobs. Barry's getting tired of making that hike through the crowd every night.

But Soundweb is really expensive, so we can't afford it yet.

Only eight more years until we're in the black.

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