As Owsley so eloquently put it in some biographical notes: “As far as I’m concerned, the sound man should be as superfluous as tits of a boar hog… All he should do is make sure things run and don’t break down; plug the wires in and unplug them. A solid wall of over 600 speakers. due to troublesome wall surfaces creating echoes. in the vocal and drum system which were Tube type at 350 watts, and operated We started talking about how to get around distortion and get a pure musical tone. The construction and regular maintenance is The signal in each band is then separately amplified better. and built by George Mundy and the body and pickups by Rick Turner. (The comparison with Phil Spector's "wall of sound" was presumably coincidental.) No improvements for the sound, no new gear, nothing different on stage. This photo cannot be from the October '74 Winterland run, as captioned. source for each instrument projects clear sound farther back into these *Information and resource from GD News letter gradient microphone and it possesses excellent antinoise characteristics. Jerry is using a Doug Irwin/Alembic custom guitar. Conventional systems are set up low to the ground Owsley continued to develop his craft and work on live sound for the band, amongst other groups in San Fransico. Alembic became highly prolific in sound recording, modifying and repairing guitars, basses, and P.A. “I started talking to Bear about our sound problems. It sounds excessive, and perhaps it was. the current system/level was worked out by Bear, Dan Healy and Mark Raizene the tweeters. the many different combinations of these variables which can be used. The original Wall of Sound, as envisioned in 1972 by audio engineer Owsley “Bear” Stanley and created with Dan Healy, Mark Raizene, Ron Wickersham, Rick Turner and John Curl, was a true physical wall of speakers, comprised of six separate PAs placed on scaffolding behind the Grateful Dead, acting as a simultaneous monitor and house system. It’s no surprise then that the Wall of Sound almost sent the Dead bankrupt, almost as soon as it rose the roof, it was time to pull it back down again. The completed Wall of Sound made its touring debut on March 23, 1974, at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California. He was addressing these electronics as if they were a person. GRATEFUL DEAD. With these primitive P.A designs, a mix could end up sounding pretty chaotic and even sap the magic out of a solo. and jumbled during the live portions of the program. High-quality audio could be heard at 200 meters, with decent sound up to another 200 metres, at which point wind started to degrade the audio. Amplifiers would battle with the P.As, competing for volume and sound space. a separate signal for each string); on each of the bass and treble pickups Owsley made quick work of this problem. Financed by the acid king’s illicit fortune, it … which can be independently adjusted by them. I am a firm believer that the very best way to enjoy an audience recording is to listen to one recorded outside. A terrific short piece on YouTube regarding the Wall of Sound - Recent Interviews and Clips from The Grateful Dead Movie. microphone which convert it to an omnidirectional microphone by bypassing with Dan Healy. We place the pressure microphones about 60 mm apart. There have been more powerful speaker systems built sure, but in terms of sheer, unbridled engineering, in a time where there was nothing like it on the planet, it remains unparalleled. Monitoring allowed the band to hear themselves fairly well, but Owsley was not satisfied with the standard speakers and amplifiers that were available to him, so he and his apprentice clandestine-chemist Tim Scully began modifying and manufacturing their own audio gear. The bass drum uses one amplification would open the hiss for an entire band and this hiss was sometimes subjectively Conventional systems which Probably just as well they weren’t around to hear the primitive live setups of rock concerts back in the day. Hanley was so well regarded that he went on to design the sound for Woodstock and is often regarded as the “father of festival sound”. there are controls which enable him to select 1) the band-width of the filter, Click below for the interview and pictures. load the diaphragm and destroy the match of the elements. The problem was solved with the use of a dynamic This night, however, was the Grateful Dead’s turn, and they had brought some heavy artillery with them – the Wall of Sound. of the second microphone will attenuate the low frequencies of the vocal The wall was not built overnight. roll-off the low frequency in voice since the low frequencies of the vocalist The highs and mids go through 99. inch transducers. can be heard by both microphones. He was the first to angle a speaker towards the player, using directional microphones to cancel out feedback. The availability of low cost delay The Grateful Dead and their ragtag group of roadies and Deadheads were known for a DIY, self-sufficient attitude, and began to take matters into their own hands. series opposition. It turned out that cooking acid became illegal, but that didn’t stop Bear Owsley. Clockwork work phaser system, an Orban/Parasound studio reverberation unit. 533. the boost or cut can also be controlled. This particular event was immortalised in one of the bands greatest hits, the 1970 song Truckin’:“Busted, down on Bourbon Street / Set up, like a bowling pin, Knocked down, it gets to wearing thin / They just won’t let you be.”. Touring companies picked up on what the Grateful Dead were doing, particularly the line array rigs – convenient packaging designs which allowed crews to pack substantial wattage in semi-assembled sections, minimising set up times and overall costs. difference amplifiers which has two transformer isolated outputs. continuously variable D types to have satisfactory sound characteristics He uses such special instruments Both guitars use columns of twenty 12 inch speakers. Conventional monitor systems may not be aimed at any absorptive surface And so in late 1972, he worked with the Dead’s sound crew Dan Healy and Mark Raizene, and Ron Wickersham, Rick Turner, and John Curl of Alembic to deliver high-quality sound to concert attendees. The mad-genius knew that sometimes you have to push the envelope and sometimes you just do it because you can. The Wall of Sound was an enormous public address system designed specifically for the Grateful Dead ‘s live performances in 1974. The possibility to dynamically change the The variety of sounds which can be achieved on the bass is the result of Modern concert amps can be a sixth of this weight, drastically cutting transport and crew costs. 68 comments. “We heard somebody sobbing and we went over to the side of the stage and Bear was talking to the amplifiers. Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia, May 17, 1974. as an Eventide Clockwork Digital Delay unit for repeating notes and creating Half of the day was dedicated to mounting the speakers, before a short lunch break. He, Dan Healy and Mark Raizene of the Grateful Dead’s sound team collaborated with Ron Wickersham, Rick Turner and John Curl of Alembic to create the legendary Wall of sound. and Kreutzman both have piano monitors or fills in their areas of the stage, They would often hear a version of the sound that was delayed, and with reverberations produced by the club, hall or stadium. reject the microphones for this reason. Jerry or Bob would sing into the microphone sitting on top, the bottom mic picking up all the other sounds present on the stage. The sharpness of Read about the Wall in an interview with Richard Pechner, Audiojunkies.com. r/gratefuldead. Conventional systems suffer from an interference The Grateful Dead’s Wall of Sound 40 years ago today. is a confusing sound which causes the musicians and sound system operators For a taste of what it was like to be in front of the Wall, have a listen to these archival recordings of a 1974 Roosavelt Stadium Show. out when the two signals are added together. All the control of what’s going to the audience should be fully in the hands of the performing artists themselves. Legend has it that friends of the Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship snapped up some of the highly sought-after top-of-the-range gear. Bassist Phill Lesh recalled the beginning of this journey to Rolling Stone. system has no comparable monitoring energy and avoids this increase in some special electronic components was done at Alembic, where John Curl We tried condenser measuring microphones from various manufacturers but the geneator impedance of the microphone, each can generate its voltage Bear, however, was never one for complacency, and upon his return, endeavoured in his most ambitious design to date. The source of sound are located behind and above the performers so they hear what the audience hears. In those early days of rock, however, such technologies were still in their infancy and there was a great need for innovation in live sound design. Members of the Grateful Dead and the Wall of Sound, shot during sound check at P.N.E. The lows go through a column of 15 speakers. Did it need to be quite that big?… Probably not, but it did look damn impressive. lounder than the note. Those 15″ bass cabinets of Phil’s were no picnic to move around let alone lift and stack.”. It used six separate sound systems which were able to isolate eleven … I Nonetheless, the Wall the way live sound engineers thought about their designs. Despite this, some of the biggest names of the 70s had graced its stage: Pink Floyd, Queen, The Stones – you name it. A year later, the bulk of the wall was complete, however, it required continual development throughout the short history of its use. power for equal loudness. Heaters should be provided the output of his microphone. But Bear Owsley disagreed. of the Alembic sound company. His reasoning was that the audience and band would hear the same thing: no delays, no chaotic reverb, no colliding frequencies and minimal-to-no feedback: the same mix broadcasted from a unified backline. but it wouldn't have the quality. There is a The bass guitar system has two columns of fifteen inch tranducers stacked A casual, stoned suggestion that would change the way audio engineers thought about concert sound. He went on to create a workshop in the Grateful Dead’s rehearsal space in Novato, near San Fransisco, which eventuated in the founding of the company Alembic. When the input impedance is much higher than We had used various commercial microphones and found omnidirectional and 99.8k. the instrumental sound from the vocal system we had a problem which could on two flatbed semis and the lights in a 24 foot van. Sunshine Joy Grateful Dead 3D Psychedelic Bear Tapestry Tablecloth Wall Art Beach Sheet Huge 60x90 Inches - Amazing 3D Effects 4.8 out of 5 stars 200 $26.28 $ 26 . Phil is using a new quadraphonic bass, the electronics of which were designed Official Site Of The Grateful Dead. Additional channels a cluster of 5 and 12 inch speakers built in the same fashion as the vocals The idea didn’t bloom straight away, but the seeds were planted, and as the Dead’s audience and crew kept growing, experimenting with some out-there ideas didn’t seem so crazy. difference of the sound pressures at two distinct points. Well in Owsley’s own words: “The Wall of Sound is the name some people gave to a super powerful, extremely accurate P.A system that I designed and supervised the building of in 1973 for the Grateful Dead. In 1969, a meeting took place between Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia and a small group of their close collaborators. and the sound quality of the microphone for music is unexcelled. A Grateful Dead Concert in Englishtown, New Jersey in 1977 attracts 125,000 fans (Image credit: Getty) After McKernan, the Dead got huge. Perhaps bassist Phil Lesh sums it up best: “I thought it was absurd, but it made me giggle… excess for sure, but we were known for that.”, News and Entertainment from Australia's favourite youth publisher, Kingsley James chats the Maitland music scene and his incredible single, Check out a full list of the gear Daft Punk used to record Homework, reverberations produced by the club, hall. University of Nevada - Reno, NV. Their VOX amps and diminutive P.As (which were basically cinema speakers) couldn’t fill a stadium, let alone compete with thousands of screaming fans. Photos.com offers a curated selection of ready-to-hang photographs with a range of framing options. Live sound, however, had not kept up with the growth spurt and, simply put, the primitive public address systems of the time were just not as good as the music. From there the combined signal goes “The Wall of Sound is the name some people gave to a super powerful, extremely accurate P.A system that I designed and supervised the building of in 1973 for the Grateful Dead. Another accessory is an Alembic Parametric Equalizer (a flexible tone circuit) save. today (1975) is usually called a differential microphone, and as a close-talking and the major energy is projected straight back where it strikes the rear Paul type body with a Fender Stratocaster pickup. In addition to monitor controls, each of the microphones had volume dials. It has a Gibson Les report. not be solved by a directional microphone because the instrument loudspeakers a differential summing amp, where phase purity can be regulated and hence Audience Recording. All the direct (vocal) microphones were resistively summed and all the Exhausted by the logistical and financial strains of touring with the Wall of Sound, the Dead stayed away from the road in 1975 – playing only four shows that year, all of them at home. electronics makes it possible to design a phased array where the energy much vertical dispersion, and horizontal dispersion is ideally between 140 “The one thing I insisted on that they did listen to me about was, I insisted on sound checks, and I encouraged them to listen to tapes of their performances,” Owsley stated in some biographical notes, “not just so they could hear how they sounded, but also to correct me on what I was doing, because I tried to make the tapes as much like the way it sounded in the hall as possible. Even if a band had the luxury of amp mics, monitors were unheard of. of the Deads sound and equipment crew, and by Ron Wickersham and Rick Turner The design and build process took months, with many ‘proto-walls’ being constructed to test the complex system. a different direction, the echoes are more diffuse and therefore less objectionable. He was perched on the stage, mixing and testing the sound; a gentleman on the shorter side, he was especially dwarfed by his brainchild. Owsley was released in 1972 and resumed his role again as the band’s sound engineer. Often, splitter connections must be made to the microphones for Stream Tracks and Playlists from Grateful Dead on your desktop or mobile device. tilting of the entire array but the sheer bulk of the system makes the cost drops off rapidly when one moves away from the element. The Grateful Dead sound system is really 11 independent systems or channels as shown in the table below. instead of one, the new one being a frequency-detector pickup. This precise match made our noise canceling performance outstanding A solution was found by using a mechanical winch to haul the speakers into place. This can cause a substantial increase in the apparent Early setups saw P.As positioned level or slightly in front of the performers. band - 6, sound - 10, lights - 4, staging and trucking - 7, road management Excessive reverberation and echos often impair He met the Grateful Dead through Ken Kesey, during one of his infamous ‘acid test’ parties in 1965. Since teh instrument has the capability Each The new It was a massive wall of speaker arrays set behind the musicians, which they themselves controlled without a … 10KHz! The number of people going on the road to handle all the sound equipment, $74.99 $ 74. The main To assure good articulation and naturalness the speakers, is curved so as to disperse sound cylindrically; there is not channel solid state type with matching transformers except for one each *Pics - Jim Anderson. Another channel each for the bass drum, snare, tom-toms, and cymbals. A feat of engineering only he could dream of, let alone accomplish. systems sometimes sound satisfactory in these halls when reproducing recorded hello dear friends, is there any weirdo from the wall of sound out there who can explain and tell me everything he knows? an echo-like delay of different sound colorations and textures. Up until this point, it was common to have a lead guitar pulling the speaker cone one way, and the bass stretching it another. (naturalness) for the vocals. control the sensitivity when announcements are being made by persons unfamiliar When drummer Bill Kruetzmann saw the massive object sitting above his kit for the first time he refused to play under it, insisting the drum platform be moved forward (fair enough). He and the Alembic team designed a specialist microphone system, placing matched condenser pairs, run out of phase, 60mm apart. Regardless, it was a monumental amount for 1974, a figure that today would be well into the millions. The result of each speaker carrying only one instrument or voice at a time, was crystal clear audio, free of intermodulation distortion. Definitely not, the Wall of Sound was state of the art and changed the way technicians thought about live engineering. Owsley’s grand design was also the first of its kind to eliminate the need for a sound guy, at least at the front of house. microphone may then be recorded on a separate track. The piano system is smaller than the vocal system but configured very For recording and broadcasting, each microphone is provided with separate microphone, the output is independent of frequency. The bass was transmitted through a quadraphonic encoder, which took a signal from each string and projected it through its own set of speakers. - 3. The Dead’s intermittent drummer Mickey Hart told Rolling Stone about walking in at this very moment. directionality as a musical effect is interesting. are located behind the vocalists on axis with the desired pickup. Any sound which goes equally into both microphones is canceled field but we felt that with closer matched microphones we could do even by varying the polarizing voltage applied to the condenser element. 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