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Acoustics

AMPLIFICATION



Anything that changes the natural sounds of my instruments I don't use.
-Fela


To amplify Anarchestra live I use three mixers / amplifiers / pairs of speakers.

All the instruments are routed through Behringer DI800 (8 channel) direct boxes and patched to the mixers through EMI stage snakes available from Audiopile (a wonderful source for cables, inexpensive, good quality, mom & pop biz). I got these because they were inexpensive and I’m very happy with them. The DI800 has a virtually silent 20db gain switch on each channel which allows me to use minimal gain on the mixers. This has been a godsend, as the preamp hiss from so many instruments used to drive me crazy.

For the basses I use a soundcraft E12 Folio mixer, an old ampeg B4 bass amp, a david eden 2-10 cabinet and a Madison 15" + horn cabinet. All these components are remnants from other projects and, if I had the money, I’d replace them. Still they sound okay. This is a mono system.

Basses: (7) Soundcraft E12 / Ampeg / Madison / Eden (A)

La Bas
Dubass
Basuka
Phorques
Banderslide
Basicable
Bootzilla

For the non-bass strings and I use a Mackie 1604, with a Mackie m800 power amp, and 15" JBL soundfactor cabinets. At one point this was the entire PA for all the instruments. I’m fairly happy with this set-up, but the 1604 (ten years old) is starting to get noisy and doesn’t compare in quality to the MixWizard (brit EQ –I don’t want to live without it, particularly for the quirky sounds of idiophones and piezos).

Strings: (14) 1604 / m800 / JBL (B)

Harp
Pedal Guitar
Gurney
Pharo
Bosco 2
Bosco 3
Cranky
Quesera
Mickey One
McKeytoo
SlyOne
TooSly
Wheely
Isolch

For the idiophones and mic’d instruments I use an Allen & Heath MixWizard 16:2 board (I love this) with a QSC amp and vintage Yamaha Cabinets.

Idiophones: (14) MW16:2 / QSC 1450 / Yamaha (C)

Magnetic (6)
Pretty (how) Town
Kalimbent
‘Sprong
Kyzyl Kum
Pig
Tree

Piezo (9+)
Lamelop
Trinidad & Tobago
Smile
Flattery
Bish-bosh
Io
Tank
Ackwat

If I could afford it, I’d add another system for the microphones. As it stands all the winds use three, which isn’t nearly enough.

Winds:

Portable (30)
Edgetones:
Flutes / Whistles (6)
Slides (3)
Ocarinas (2)
Reeds:
Single(14)
Double (1)
Lip-Buzzed (4)

Immobile (8)
Ocarina Tree (4)
Furtwangler
Panic 1 & 2 (2)
Toobad

Membranophones (3)
Blowdrum
Big Drum
Thump

It would be more modern and efficient to run everything through a single system, but, to my ears, as this tendency has grown with bands and venues, some of the personalities of individual instruments has been lost and a slightly oppressive homogeneity of sound has evolved. With so many instruments competing for space in the bandwidths even with a magnificent single system some of the autonomy of individual sounds I value would end up being lost.

Unamplified instruments

Membranophones (7)
Squat
Paired
Lilly, Snarl, & Dink
Tubes

Idiophones (7)
Pilon
Bustelo
Sir Gamelan
Pipes
Guiroshaklave & BMC
Dish
Daisy


 

 

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