Just to have some fun, vent a little, and perhaps add some spice to the forum, I thought we could all share some horror stories while they're still fresh. As the season winds down, you may have a couple of good ones to share as well. Most of my gigs go quite well, with a lot of repeat clients who know their stuff, but horror stories can still happen.... :twisted: My latest was just over the weekend, a live dual-choir recording at a church in North Philadelphia. It was potentially a dream gig, considering the pedigree of both choirs (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty in this case). Somewhere along the line, three of the members of the "host" choir decided they wanted to get a recording of the performance (without double-checking with the music director) and asked the host church's sound engineer to be onsite as well, and make a recording from his own equipment. (A more bizarre hodge-podge of gear from analog to digital workstation you'll not see anywhere, all up in a 2nd floor balcony/gallery area that's not easily accessible from the main church's floor. Potential for trouble: EXTREME.) So, as I arrive to set up prior to the rehearsal and confer with the two music directors, what to my wondering eyes appear, but: a FORREST of cardioid dynamic stand-mounted mics (at least a dozen all told) in various places around the front of the choir area, plus a spot mic taped inside the piano over the bass strings, and other assorted atrocities. All this tied somehow to several years worth of PA speaker zones and upgrades: big cabinets, underhang boxes, stage monitors, etc. The 'rehearsal" was now about to turn into a sound check - for the PA system, of course. Why they needed a PA with 120-plus voices in a wonderful acoustic space was eluding them, I guessed.... I remained calm (which isn't always the case, but hey, I'm getting too old for this stuff to blow my stack at the first sign of trouble!) and took a moment with both music directors, and as nicely as I could, I asked: "Why do you need a PA system, and would you consider turning it off, since you're paying ME to make a fundraiser CD recording of the event?" They huddled for a moment, and since no one was ultimately incharge (it wasn't really the "Home" church for either group), they went with the flow and kept the PA system in play, "just in case" they needed it. I politely yet firmly warned them that it could compromise the recording (oh boy!) but we proceeded. To be fair, the sound guy was pleasant, cooperative (in addition to my own mics, he gave me a two-channel, mono feed from his board - which he swore was stereo) and we proceeded. He was also completely inept and knew little about the board and live sound in general, blaming it all on a bad installation he inherited there. During a rehearsal with a soprano/boy-soprano duet (You guessed it: Andrew Lloyd Webbers "Pie Jesu") only one of their two solo mics worked. One howled in feedback while he was down on the church floor, away from the console, and the other one was dead. They got it working - just barely - by showtime. In addition to setting up my own mics for the choir et al, I had asked for various spot mic feeds since his board had six sub sends, but when it came time to make it happen, he realized the subs were dedicated to feeding other things, like VCRs, Cassettes, Crying-rooms, etc. No patch bay, no way to get me individual sends. We then dashed to set up our own spot mics afterall. (Which we should have done anyway.) The worst moment came during a piece (that was NOT sound-checked) with an incredible soprano solo during a Negro Spiritual: I Wanna Be Ready. Using the solo mic that WAS working (with its input set WAY too loud) this wonderful, wailing, emotional solo turned into a kazoo blast through the PA system & monitors. (You know what I'm talking about: sinewaves turned into squarewaves due to total and complete clipping.) I literally had to get up from where I was set up (also in the loft/balcony) and go into the booth and SHOW him how to cut back the input trim & overall gain on the Soprano; it was deafening the first ten rows (where the PA's center cluster was doing the most damage) and bleeding into every other mic there. (His comment was: "Gee, she's LOUD!" ((well, duh!!! It's a GOSPEL soprano; what did you expect?!?!?)) All in all, though, most of it came out pretty well. (I'll be doing some sleight of hand with Sequoia fixing THIS one up, though.) The only piece I'm sure we wont be using is the blown-out Soprano vocal, which I've already warned the music director about; it seems completely ruined. Funniest part was when we were packing up to go, the house-sound guy had already burned his CD recording, was now playing it on the church's sound system, and was giving out copies to the three guys who asked him to do this. I pointed all this out to the music director (who's selling OUR recording as a fundraiser in a few weeks) who promptly went "upside his head" and not only took the master away from him, got the other copies back as well. And believe it or not, I had a good time overall; the music was fantastic, and I just might have snagged the guest choir as a new client.