Let’s Talk Gear

      Sound tech, Kris Ferris, working at the board with his young friend, Summer Solstice, 2012, Lindley Park Arboretum, GreensboroSound Guru instructs his protege at Summer Solstice 2012Here we are smack in the middle of 2012 and technology has turned many a “technician” into a “musician”. By that I mean that many of the latest marvels of electronics make it possible for people who have had little or no formal music training to create decent, even credible music. There is nothing really wrong with that and, let’s face it, it is the relentless march of progress and the evolution of man we are talking about so there is no fighting it. Ok, so maybe I am covering up for the fact that I feel intimidated by the onslaught of ever more complex and complicated electronic devices in the digital world. I suppose I would then have to admit that my reluctance to keep up with the pace of advancement is largely behind my using what I do these days for my live shows and recording. So be it!

      Today, one person, with the right technology at their disposal and some basic understanding of music and instrumental skills can put together tracks to sing to, or perform along with that make them sound like a whole band. Not only CAN THEY, but many DO just that. Each new generational audience comes to music with a more open and accepting ear embracing sounds and presentational concepts that their older counterparts grumble about or scoff at. I have somehow grown into one of the grumblers and scoffers, to some degree, for I do NOT like the idea of pre-recorded music being passed off as a “live” performance. This is NOT a judgment, just a personal opinion and musical preference. The term “old school” is probably still used frequently enough to be familiar to most of you. That description pretty much fits my approach. So, let’s take a look at what I use on stage currently.

    The last piece to mention here, though not technically necessary, is something many clients appreciate me having. I keep a CD player with me and bring a collection of various music selections which I play during my breaks (very often I will play CD's by other local musicians as a way of friendly promotion for them and to give listeners something unknown to hear which has caught someone's attention more often than you might think). Clubs like this because then their staff don’t have to remember to turn their sound system on and off, especially when things get busy. People at private parties like it because often they will as me to play a certain favorite CD they may have, or certain music such as a wedding march, or special dance song which I may not know or be able to reproduce myself. You’d be surprised how much this has helped me, or saved me in critical situations. Of course and Ipod would serve the same purpose and is on the horizon for me.

     All in all, it is a simple configuration allowing me flexibility to fit on most any stage or in whatever space I encounter along the way, while creating ample, full sound. I can be set up in 30 minutes without rushing and break down can be even faster.