The Great Sound System Debacle continues (episode 23)

In recognition of what has now become an ongoing tradition, we have dedicated pretty much the whole review to the following debacle. Congratulations are due all round….

Step 1 Spent a pleasant hour or so in the morning not understanding the sound system as explained, patiently, by Mike, the all round ober gruppenfeuhrer Der Post, part time audio engineer and optimist in chief. Eventually the sound system of his dreams worked: signal through the mixing desk sitting on the amp we weren’t using (no one noticed until step 4 of Ensuing Debacle) to the ceiling mounted speakers, via the control panel behind the bar. Active speakers deployed as fold back, taking signal from the guitar amp, bass amp, piano and vocals via the mixer and feeding it to the singer/saxes, and to the piano/drums/bass.

No one notices the switched off amp/mixer and the two biggest EV speakers which are not connected anyway. And we couldn’t fully check the microphones but did notice that the output signals from the mics were not matched.

Step 2 of the Ensuing Debacle. Captain Chaos (now where have we heard that name before?) helpfully connected the Roland piano amp to the piano, thus managing to destroy the balance in the Obergruppenfeuhrer’s system. Quietly removed power and lead. No one noticed until step 3 of the ensuing debacle.

We started around 4 – ish with the sound system and foldbacks working better than ever. Questions remain over the microphones, some adjustment at the mixer, thereby further depleting the balance in the set up.

Step 3: Tits up and Pear shaped About 20 minutes later, the Obergruppenfeuhrer’s computerised system crashes, bringing down the secret computer panel in the cupboard and most other things in its wake. This causes the foldbacks to stop, err, folding back. The Captain converts one foldback to a fold forward as the overhead speakers had ceased emitting a signal due possibly to the aforementioned Step 3.

Step 4: Gimme Noise! Pianist points the other foldback at the pianist, thereby excluding the saxophones. He also elects to plug in the separate keyboard amp, as he can’t hear the foldback (which isn’t working). We need’nt worry about the singers, as by this stage, the microphones weren’t working either. Someone pushes the sliders on the mixing desk to max. Has no effect as the leads are feeding to Aux not Main.

Step 5: Noise Goes Up: Instrumentalists now elect to play louder as they can’t hear themselves or indeed anyone else in the foldbacks. As a result, the increased volume forces everyone else to shout .. at each other, at the bar staff, and at the top of their voices. So the sound goes up some more….

Step 6 : Switch the other speakers on: Captain Chaos is nearing end of his tether. In desperation, we switch on the Yamaha mixer amp, which powers up the two enormous EV’s with what remains of the balanced signal – although we successfully amplify the short comings in the microphones.

Outcome? Everyone happy, and a splendid afternoon ensued, proving that no sound system, however awful, can keep a good jammer down. Or as an alternative, no Jammers, however good, (and there were 25 of us) can fix a sound system up. Take your pick!

Honourable Mentions go to Laurie, sweet as ever, Alan the best of the saxes on the day, Marion for being properly audible, Aimee and the Captain for hot solos on You Are So Beautiful, and Aimee’s mum for staying on after Aimee had gone home. And to the Right Honourable Miss Annie Smith for singing so well, so late.
TW

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