First gig with the Line 6 Stagescape M20d

Short synopsis… awesome! ¬†ūüôā

Last night was the first time my band used the Stagescape in a ‘real’ situation. ¬†We have been rehearsing with it for a couple of weeks now, but this was the first real performance using it. ¬†First up, we threw a couple of curveballs at it. ¬†In practice, we had used just vocals and kick drum. ¬†Last night, we added the guitars at the last minute. ¬†I just ended up picking the guitar combo presets, and added them in, no tweaking. ¬†The presets turned out to be very good. ¬†After getting the hang of dialing in the stage monitors, things went pretty smooth. Not one bit of squeaky feedback the entire night. ¬†The vocals sounded awesome through the PA and the mix with the guitars was great. ¬†Most of the time when I hear a live band, the PA struggles to get the vocals over the band. ¬†Usually, any loud or clear vocals start to get a feedback VERY quickly. ¬†We had none of those issues.

The night before, the singer for my band had gone to sit in with his old group. ¬†They had a normal PA, and basically had feedback every few moments, the guitar sounded weak, and generally the band had a pretty standard ‘bar band’ sound. ¬†When I compared that to how my band sounded with the Stagescape, I was blown away.

Line 6 definitely has a real winner.  I just hope that more people start using them so that they do not get shelved!

Line 6 Stagescape M20d initial OOBE (Out of Box Experience)

As I mentioned previously, my band decided to pick up the Line 6 Stagescape M20d.  Well, I decided for the band to pick it up, then traded in a bunch of my stuff for it.

Before I write a ton of stuff about it, the long and short is that it sounds good, and does what it is advertised. ¬†I haven’t done a very deep dive, but initial results are very positive. ¬†Now on to the details!

Knowing that setting this up is NOT the thing to do while four other people are standing around waiting, the singer and I set the PA up with the new mixer, and set a couple of channels.  The mixer is rather interesting.  There is a LOT of touch screen stuff going on, and you REALLY have to pay attention.  There are several features which are not bought all the way out in the training videos on the Line 6 site.  Those videos are VERY good, though.  They really help you get started.

Once we got everything set up and configured, I futzed around the menus. ¬†My band’s main needs during practice are very simple… kick drum and vocals. ¬†For practice, we are in a small space, and consequently, guitar amps, the bass amp, and the rest of the drum set don’t need amplification. ¬†The kick drum has some very cool stuff built into the channel. ¬†If you tell the board that a channel is the kick, you can dial in what is called ‘Sub Bass’. ¬†This is a very popular studio technique where one feeds a very low tone, say 60hz into a gate. ¬†The gate only opens when the kick drum mic detects the kick. ¬†This adds a low end to the kick drum that may not be present, and gives the kick a VERY big low end punch. ¬†We had our subwoofer really moving with the kick. ¬†Very cool!

The vocals were more interesting… I was trying to find the Feedback control system, but completely missed the buttons. ¬†Fortunately, we didn’t really need it, as we were able to get a good strong vocal without really feeding back the system. ¬†Well, there was one moment where I thought that the input gain was the level knob… Thank goodness for the ‘mute all’ button!

After being able to put my hands on the board, and start navigating the menus, I feel like I’ll get used to the navigation pretty quickly. ¬†Now that I know how to find the presets for the monitors, this will help the monitors a LOT, even though we had them dialed in pretty well.

So far, so good!

Movie Review from my point of view… Iron Man 3

Been a while since I did a ‘movie review’ or felt strongly enough to SAY anything about a movie. ¬†After last year’s wonderful movie releases, including the Avengers, Spiderman, Brave, Batman, and Wreck-It Ralph, I was hoping for more great movies this year, with Iron Man 3 leading the way…

Unfortunately, Iron Man 3 didn’t deliver.

These are just some random thoughts that I’ve had from watching the movie.

The movie was OK at best. ¬†It felt very disjointed and kinda hard to follow. ¬†My guess is that there’s about 30 – 40 minutes of footage on the cutting room floor that would absolutely make the movie flow better. ¬†Kinda like Episodes I through III of Star Wars. ¬†The cutting room floor stuff actually made the movies make sense.

***mild spoiler alert***

IM3 seemed to be cut from a very different cloth than One and Two. ¬†It felt like the studio said, ‘Hey look at how successful the Batman movies were! ¬†Let’s make this one just like the final Batman movie, all dark and serious and stuff!’

The beginning with the voice over was really weird.  It was almost like they took the opening sequence from the first movie with the time bump, but tried to let a voice over explain it instead of letting the people / actors / scenes tell the story.  Plus, the one liners feel very flat, and cheesy.  The other Marvel movies seem to be very light hearted, with the jokes being able to be tossed out with a second thought.  In this movie, every joke is almost cringe worthy.

The next disappointing element… the music. ¬†Where’s the AC/DC? ¬†How about Black Sabbath? ¬†Good ol’ hard rock & heavy metal? ¬†The hip hop doesn’t cut it for this movie.

For me, the biggest disappointment is that Tony Stark doesn’t get to *be* Tony Stark. ¬†Downey Jr. makes the character the likable a-hole because of his playfulness and just ‘fun’ spirit. That is so crushed in this movie. ¬†Stark is dour, moody, uncertain, and generally miserable throughout the entire movie. ¬†If I wanted that, I’d go watch Batman. ¬†The arrogant, fun, playboy that everyone wants to party with is completely missing.

One good thing is that you get to see more of Pepper Potts. ¬†She has a bit screen time in this one. ¬†Unfortunately, it didn’t feel like she and Stark connected that much, not like the first movie or the Avengers.

As much as I hate to say it, the Iron Man movies are probably done. ¬†It seems Hollywood is in love with the format of 3 movies, then retell the first one again. ¬†It’s truly ironic that the latest Spiderman summed it up pretty nicely (I’m paraphrasing)… ‘There is only one storyline; the main character discovering who he/she is’. ¬†I think that’s why the original stories are always so intriguing. ¬†We don’t really care that a hero is doing hero work, we want to know why they became a hero in the first place. ¬†Unfortunately, that bites the comic book stories in the rear. ¬†Three movies isn’t a lot of time to develop a character.

Will Downey Jr be back for the second Avengers movie is anyone’s guess.