The Horn Rig

This was our rig for the HowThings Work show on Nov. 15th, and will be for the foreseeable future.

OK, so what does this all do?

Bringing a horn into a rock club is like riding a zebra into a rodeo. It’s not really that different, but nobody is prepared for it. This rig gives the club board strong and even signals from both horns through good-sounding (surprisingly) mics. Taking charge of our sound from the stage leaves less up to the club sound operator, which has proven to be a distinct advantage. Plus, indicator tubes rock!!


Ribbon mic on Trombone bell goes to panel on back of horn with XLR output. (All quickly removable)

Similar setup for Baritone Sax: Ribbon element sets in lyre holder socket, goes to clamp at bottom crook of horn with XLR output. (Does not interfere with keywork, also quickly removable)

Both mics go into preamps (in camera case from 1976) with XLR outputs to club board and indicator tube output level displays. Two views here, one shows the tubes better, another with neater wiring.

Numbers. I must have numbers:

The indicator tubes are calibrated (Of course they’re calibrated. Have you met me?) so that the bright

glowing bands meet at 0.1 volts (RMS). This is a signal level about 20db above that of a Shure 57 getting the same (110db) blast at the horn bell. At .08 volts the bands are about 1/4 inch apart.

Why the indicator tubes?

Why not? They’re really fun, you can easily see them in the dark, without glasses, at a distance.

They provide an exact reading without a tiny needle over tiny numbers on a dial.

There is no needle lag, and the motion of the bands is amusing to watch.

I am surprised they’re not more commonly used.

True, an LED display would be smaller and use less power. Ah well. Personality matters. I like the tubes.

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