Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Living In Stereo - Headphones, That Is

It's something I've noticed lately - I always seem to have headphones on, or earbuds in, listening to something. All the time. It's a fact of life when I'm onstage. When I'm playing with Steppen Stonz, just off to my left, hiding behind my hi-hats and the drum pad that I use for, depending on the song, rim clicks or tambourines, is my little command center, where I place my Simmons Hybrid drum module and a Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer. I use the mixer to create a monitor mix for headphones, with the first channel coming back to me from Mike and Arthur's mixer, basically what's going out to the crowd. The second channel is the right-channel feed from the Hybrid, the left/mono channel going to the main mixer. When Cliff was playing keyboards and mixing the sequences, I took the headphone jack from his mixer and put it into a third channel on my mixer, so I could hear the sequence as well as what playing Cliff did. I stopped that when Miguel joined the band, because sometimes his playing overwhelmed the mix he was sending to the main mixer. Now that Alex is manning the post, I may go back to having that third channel in my mix.

And I always have my earbuds in when I'm setting up and tearing down my kit, listening to my mp3 player. When I'm in front of either of my computers, I'm listening to iTunes, or whatever video I'm watching through those earbuds, or the comfortable Sennheiser over-the-ear headphones that I bought at the Guitar Center in Sacramento while on an expedition with Joy for some other reason. I even use headphones when I'm running my Xbox 360 through the little TV I use when I'm camped out in the trailer, and at the Nugget and Atlantis, where I just cant get the 360 to work with their hotel TVs. I just don't want to make too much noise, bother Joy in the hotel room, Mike and Arthur in the bandhouse, or the neighbors behind Michelle and Bill's house up in Sun Valley.

The craziest thing is that I've started to notice that I occasionally have the phones or buds in place and plugged into whatever device, even though I'm not listening to anything. Joy's started to tell me that I'm wearing them too much during the day, as though I'm doing so for the purpose of not having to listen to her. Even I'm beginning to think that maybe I'm wearing them too much. Perhaps it's a sign of something. Some unconscious desire to shut out the world, perhaps. Though given my current situation, maybe it's not such a bad thing. Right now, the cold hard reality I face is something I really don't want much to do with any more. 

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