#116245  by tcsned
 Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:53 am
zambiland wrote:
Stone wrote:I will be at the next two shows. Cant wait to hear JK's new guitar as well.
What's he got?
It's an Alembic - not a Jerry style. Cocobolo top, looks cool!
 #116251  by seanc
 Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:35 am
Stone wrote:
Phil Lesh101 wrote:Not sure why Phil didn't go direct in the recent years with Furthur.

He most likely was direct. Alot of times the cabs are miked up as a back up or just to add to the direct tone. Typically when I do sound I will take the basses signal pre bass amp and mic the cab. The Edens were also more conducive to being miked up then a full range Meyer system.

Assuming the Meyers are truly audiophile level speakers (99.9999% transparent) there would be no need to mic the speakers. If the speakers impart no coloration at all to the signal. The need to mic the cabs, to get the tone that the artist is hearing and wants the audience to hear, goes away.

The only reason to mic a cab is to capture the coloration of sound that is imparted by the cabs. If he is using a laptop (or any other computer based gear) as a preamp, essentially an eq/ amp modeling (possibly with a bit of effects) as long as there is no additional coloration of signal, he is hearing exactly what the audience is, and has absolute control over the tone.

It really makes perfect sense. And it is really inkeeping with their whole tradition of getting the best, most transparent equipment available, giving the artists as much control over the signal as possible. Ultimately, having the audience hear as close to what the musicians hear as possible.
 #116267  by tigerstrat
 Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:26 pm
Phil Lesh101 wrote:he also has this yellowish one that is new.
He's had that PRS for forever... was his main ax during Hairball Willy daze of yore. The mods are mostly new to me though- different pups (used to all JB Jr.), the Roland controller... almost looks like he borrowed a page from me on that jack-replaces-pot on the pickguard!
 #120605  by kaos
 Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:04 am
Hi Folks,
This is my first post here. I found this thread while I was checking out some old Phil basses and bass rigs. I noticed this new rig in a picture from TXR and was curious what it might be. Please post some more pix of this rig! Anyway, I wanted to chime in here with some info based on what I've seen in these pictures. The speakers appear to be all Meyer equipment. The top 3 cabinets are Meyer Line Array series. The topmost appears to be a M'elode. ( http://www.meyersound.com/products/mseries/melodie/ ) The next two are 500-HP subwoofers from the Ultra Series. (http://www.meyersound.com/products/ultraseries/500hp/ ) The bottom cabinet is something of a mystery to me. It might be a 600-HP but the aspect ratio doesn't seem exactly right. I'm thinking it could also be a USW-1P, but again, the pictured cabinet looks a little large for it to be that. So I can't say for sure.
As for Phil's rack gear, the first pic (the dark one) posted July 1st shows it seemingly in some sort of transition to driving the Meyer self powered speakers. The bottom rack unit below the Eden is a Meyer Galileo 408 digital speaker management system. The lighter July 5th posted pic shows two 408s in his rack, though I think there still may be a CP-10 mounted above them. ( http://www.meyersound.com/products/proc ... lileo/408/ ) Basically this device serves multiple signal processing functions, all in the digital domain. One 408 has the horsepower to replace several racks of analog gear, such as all the equalization of many CP-10 units, as well as performing time alignment, volume level & pan settings, etc. It's totally networkable. Apart from enable/disable switches on the front panel, there are no settings on the unit itself, so likely he's driving (administering) that with the touch device located above the rack in the second shot. Anyway, very interesting direction he's going with the rig. Enjoy!
 #120617  by Sparechaynge
 Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:10 am
At Gathering of the Vibes this summer Phil used a similar-looking rig. During the soundcheck he was using the computer, and I think I saw some waveforms being displayed. Not sure if this helps.
 #120642  by kaos
 Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:09 pm
Hi Rusty! Good question. Damn hard question to answer too. Really, it all depends on what sound or feel one is going for, and moreover how much you're willing to suffer moving... and then there's the cost ;-)

It seems Phil is pretty much embracing the modern stuff now, but his rig isn't really the scale I think you're asking about. One of my former girlfriends once said to me "any thing worth doing is worth overdoing" lol. I think Phil might have a similar thought process when it comes to his rig.

The modern stuff is a different canvas, entirely. The idea being if you have a transparent reproduction system (amps & speakers), then the rest of the coloration (the artistic sound sculpting, or personality) can be performed entirely in DSP. Granted there are those who are of the analog purist mindset (and I don't totally disagree with them - there's something to be said for authenticity), but I will say digital (when properly done) can be nearly impossible to distinguish from exceptional analog processing. Beyond that, digital can do things which are simply impossible to do with analog. That said, the real wins realized by going digital are: absolute repeatability of settings, environmental consistency, flexible remote control options, and vastly reduced hardware footprint and maintenance. So if you have the Phil buck$ to $pend, I'd say it's an exciting new world opening up. As I'm sure it's painfully obvious I've swallowed the Meyer koolaid and come back for seconds. So yeah, a bit of bias here.

So what would I put together for a small to medium bar bass rig? That really depends on tons of factors, not the least of which is what type of sound I was really after. One can attempt to make a silk-like purse out of a sow's ear, but it's going to require tons of attention and will inherently have a very finicky character. It comes down to the old saying: affordability, flexibility, quality. Choose any two at the expense of one.

If I had the budget or good fortune, and was looking for a clean Phil-like sound, I'd consider going with a mini version of his setup. I'd try to find a digital preamp I liked. Based on those July pictures, he seems to be using a Rocktron Blue Thunder, which I think sells for around the $300 - $450 range, maybe less if bought used. I was rather surprised to see him using something so seemingly "off the shelf", anyone know if he likes it? Maybe he has had some hardware hotrodding done to it, or special DSP algorithms programmed in there for all I know. Another less expensive pre option might be the Behringer LX1B-PRO which is around $200. I honestly don't know much about either of them, haven't ever even touched one. Anyone have any experience with either to give them a thumbs up or down? They both offer the promise of modern DSP. Given one of these pres, I'd drive some small Meyer self powered speakers with the line out. You don't have to go overboard with the speakers, 2 cabinets would work. Perhaps a used UPM-1P and a UMS-1P. If you're very lucky or very skilled you could likely assemble such a rig for under $2.5k. Yikes it is a lot of money, but they are truly fabulous speakers with uncompromising design. Another alternative would be forget Meyer and get similar self-powered offerings from from QSC, JBL, EV, EAW, etc. for a more budget system. Most manufacturers offer variations on the theme, but of course the devil is in the details. To get truly coherent & linear sound you have to have gear which incorporates the proper electronics and physics.

On the flip side, far from all the bells and whistles of unlimited-budget modern technology, I love the basic sound of something like a P Bass into one of those old 80s GK heads and some well designed/sized cabinets. Sometimes simple just kicks ass in all the right ways.

Basically it's like food. You can dine on Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail for every meal and live in bliss, but sometimes a slice of pizza, a great burger, or a beer and a burrito just hits the spot! There are so many good things to eat, and so many flavors: Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Mexican, French... the list is endless, just like with sound gear! Hang on to your wallet ;-)

Sorry, I don't think I _really_ answered your question at all, did I?
 #121028  by zambiland
 Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:35 pm
Kaos, it's interesting that you mention the digital thing. I've been thinking about trying to do it with a laptop via Metric Halo interfaces. Certainly for effects, it could be a really cool way to go, what with FilterFreak and all the other cool SoundToys and other plugin options. I haven't really gotten a handle on the best hosting setup, whether to use Mainstage, Plogue Bidule or any of the other myriad options. Anyboyd else out there playing with this stuff?

BTW, it's weird to see the Blue Thunder crop up like this. It's pretty old technology and from an effects standpoint, pretty limited. There's not even modulation on the delay lines! I guess my Lexicon G2 and Eventide Eclipse have me spoiled.
 #121055  by ugly rumor
 Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:38 pm
I have used Meyer for a number of years, and can attest that there is NOTHING like them. I use a 15 in a Fender cabinet, and couple with a 4 X 10 Hughes and Kettner (Eminence), and the tone is incredible with my Gibson RD-77 Artist. No other effects, Thunderfunk amp, all I need. A Meyer speaker is about 25% heavier than most comparable speakers, and I have been looking for a Thiele Electro-Voice cabinet to try to lose weight, if there is no sacrifice in tone.
 #121105  by kaos
 Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:10 am
Phil Lesh101: Those are some nice shots of his speakers, I'm still questioning the bottom (sub) speaker. I think it might be a 650P/750P cabinet, but I've never seen a front foam or grill which looks quite like that on one. I suppose anything is possible.

zambiland: Yeah, you know the big issue with all the digital stuff (specifically when using computer plug-ins in a live environment) is latency. It was a huge problem converting bass to MIDI (tracking, etc.) back in the day, thus the use of wired frets on bass; it's something of an issue with audio too, when using laptops as DSP processors. The round-trip signal path can impact playing, sometimes significantly as you accumulate a little AD conversion lag, more significant DSP lag inside the computer, and another bit of lag within the DA process. Some players simply can not abide the feeling of their sound lagging their playing - and I can totally understand that. The situation is a little better with hardware based effects (preamps too) as they can be more specifically optimized to reduce latency to an absolute minimum, where as most computer based plug-ins are written for more general purpose application where they are typically applied to playback, rather than live throughput.

My assumption of how Phil's rig is configured (based on the pictures) is that his Mac is simply functioning as a GUI control over the Galileo 408s (which perform Level, Equalization, Routing and Time Alignment functions for the M'elodie array and sub cabinet) and that he's not using any computer plug-ins to process audio. I say this because I don't see any evidence of AD/DA conversion equipment or interfaces. Furthermore, I don't think he's interfacing the Mac with the Blue Thunder pre as it only supports MIDI and analog audio connections (no AD/DA access via USB, etc.). The Galileo does support 96kHz AES input but (to my knowledge) the Blue Thunder only has analog out on 1/4 inch at that! Surprised he didn't choose a pre with digital out. I speculate he could be also using a 408 for in-ear monitors. If in fact he is using a Galileo for his in-ear system, it might explain why he has two in the rack - though the 408 is a 4 in x 8 out matrix, so conceivably he would be able to do some pretty complex configurations within one device, two seems a little overkill. For instance with a truly flat (colorless) speaker setup (like the M'elodie rig behind him) he could route both his bass, and some of the band mixed in with it, to those speakers. At the same time he could route any variation of that to his stereo in-ear monitors... as well as send a stereo house DI, all within one 408.

ugly rumor: The Meyer speakers (specifically within their properly designed cabinets) are indeed exceptional performers. One of the things that really sets the 650/650P/750P cabinets apart from a lot of other cabinets is their tuning and control electronics. The current version 650P self-powered cabinets have been designed to have a minimal distortion bass response extending down to 28 Hz (all while remaining within 4 dB of flat). The previous 650R2 (think Phil late 80s/90s) cabinets were designed with a heavily braced 14 cubic foot vented enclosure. When used with its proper control electronics and external power amp, the 650R2 had a pressure sensitivity of 101 dB SPL measured with 1 watt of pink noise, and a total harmonic distortion less than 3% at 130 dB SPL. The control electronics placed the speaker within the control loop, unlike most other "speaker processors" which are "single ended" (meaning they have no feedback or idea how the speaker is actually responding to the input signal). That clean, extremely low frequency response, coupled with the low B on those modulus basses, really made an impact. Anyone who remembers their PA from the period has heard the Phil bombs and the thunder during drums. Nothing sounds quite like those cabinets.

One thing I'd like to see is some good close up shots of Phil's rack (both 80s-90s and his current rig). There are still a few pieces of gear I can't identify, and I'd like to see some of his settings. Also has anyone noted the reference microphone currently mounted off to the side of his vocal mic stand? I've been wondering about this for a while. Is this part of a Meyer Constellation setup, or for someone mixing monitors for him, or for a feed to his in-ears? Anyone have any idea?
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