Sound Check Crocodile Jim - Soundmana Sutra
posted by June 7 at 11:39 AMon
He’s Jim. Jim Anderson, the man who has been the sound man at the Crocodile Café for 16 years. He’s on Lineout today to talk about sound at the Croc.
Jim is a pre-grunge stalwart who has made the room one of the better places to play, anywhere. He’s a rolodex of technique, specs, and experience. His demeanor is patient and waiting. He knows his gear, the room, and he knows how to use the gear for the room. He is a master and a historian.
He quotes a Surangama Sutra, “Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise.”
Before the Croc, Jim was at Pioneer Square’s Central Saloon. The Central was the place to play. There he ran sound for Soundgarden’s Screaming Life release show in ’87. Other Central shows were Mojo Nixon, Rank and File, Camper Van Beethoven, and Meat Puppets.
** Jim will be monitoring this post, so if you have questions, ask away. He says:
It’s a bass trap in my corner, so I mix accordingly. I think live sound should be mixed for the room instead of a mix position. I listen to the whole room to dial it in. I’m wireless now, and can roam. Sound is about balance and placement, it shouldn’t hurt. If it hurts my ears, I know it will hurt everyone else’s ears a lot worse.
Sound at the Croc has come a long way.
The system at the Croc is not a PA. Public Address systems just throw sound out. What the Croc has is a Sound Reinforcement System. I take a given sound and make it as much louder as it needs to be. If a guitar player’s Marshall half stack is cranking 118 db, it’s not going to need to come through the house much. I’ll bring everything else up to match that.
I’ve been very lucky at the Croc because the owners have allowed me to evolve the sound.
The board used to be an old Soundcraft 1S. We had a 16 channel snake, 20 input channels, 3 aux sends, and no sub groups.
In ’93 or ’94, we got more monitors, a better console, added snake channels, and I had 4 monitor mixes on stage.
In ’96, we made the system stereo, and the snake was upped to 32 channels. We had to have twice as many amps and a cross over. We doubled our power resources.
In 2001, we built the drum monitor, there were 40 channels for the front of the house, and had 7 mixes.
Recently, we put rubber matting on the floor that helps absorb sound. It’s from Portland, and is made from 100% recycled tires. It’s same flooring they put in gyms and workout rooms.
Here are the system specs at the Croc now:
Mains / Front of House- Soundcraft K2-40ch console BSS FCS966 main eq Dbx Driverack 260 x-o
Mid-hi cabs are the McCauley IDesign id2.112-96
Subs are the ac288. There are two of each kind of cabinet on each side. I LOVE the McCauley stuff. It’s been great to work with.
All QSC MX series power amps
Yamaha spx 990
T.C.Electronics d-two ddl
T.C.electronics m300 multi fx
Lexicon mpx 500 multi fx
Lexicon pcm 41 ddl
Alesis midiverb2 rev/fx
6 ch- dbx 266 comp/gate
4 ch dbx 1046 comp
8 ch behringer quad gate
8 ch presonus acp88 comp/gate
(cd player & ipod inputs, recording available)
Allen & Heath gl3000/32 console w/mixwizard 16/2 sidecar
7 mixes on stage
4 PAIRS of McCauley 15" & 2" coax wedges
Drumfill consisting of a pair of wedges + a double 15"
Stereo sidefills--small 15"+1" cabs
42+ snake ch available
Wide selection of mics including Shure, EV, Sennheiser, Audio-Technica.
What is your setup?
Usually a fastball in on the hands and then I throw a slider low and away.
What is your basic process for running live sound?
First- try to figure out what the band actually sounds like and then make it as much louder as it needs to be. Sometimes that means doing a lot, sometimes not much at all.
When the band is playing, what are the types of things you do?
Other than surfing porn?
What adjustments do you make after the band is already playing?
I try to remember part of a doctor's Hippocratic Oath -- "Above all, do no harm."
What are your favorite pieces of gear?
Probably microphones. They beat the hell out of Dixie Cups and string,
What have been the biggest problems in that room for sound?
The jackass friends of the band that feel it's their obligation to get drunk and tell me how to how to do my job. Thanks dude, but I knew about that problem, and was working on it long before YOU heard it, and, by the way, I don't come over to Jiffy Lube and tell you how to cross-thread that bolt, now do I?????
Besides knowing sound, Jim knows Sumo wrestling. Here he is with his Sumo recap podcasts.