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Arc’Teryx Arro from Berg’s Snowsport Specialists.

As a bag maker myself, choosing a bag for myself from the seemingly endless variety out there in 2016, including looking back over previous years seasons, is an arduous task to say the least. It basically means research and meta research.

The Arc’Teryx Arro 22 bag is not perfect for my needs, but it does fulfill a few of the criteria I required such as a stiff back panel and robust design with robust materials that are tried true and tested.

My need for this pack are as a 2nd version every day pack for essentials, then for work and then for groceries.
I am a documentary filmmaker & I carry a basic two camera interview setup at all times:
I carry two mirrorless cameras with lenses, a Sony PCM-D50 audio recorder and two fistfuls of accessories to make that all go, that lot fits into a Domke F-5Xb which nestles in the bottom of the pack and under that I have cut a 1 inch thick piece of high impact foam to compliment the foam already in the pack’s base -take this into consideration as I talk about what else I put in this bag. Additionally I have an 11″ MacBook Air in an STM sleeve case, two external drives a thimbleful of accessories power and cables. Sometimes Ill even take non folding Sennheiser HD25 headphones.
I also carry a Sirui tabletop tripod and occasionally a full-sized micro tripod (Sirui T025X). All of this fits into my Cilogear 20L Worksack (which truthfully, is probably more like a 16-17L).
With all that in there, I would say the Arro is about 50-60% full. If I need to get groceries on the way home, I can grab the trifecta of veggies, a pound of flesh a small tub of yogurt, butter and a handful of treats from the bulk section, & that will all fit into the main compartment. The “bubble” as I like to call it, is an added bonus on this pack. I believe that 22L is the main compartment size, and the bubble is probably another 6-10L (my dimensional reasoning escapes me here). At the bottom it holds a fist size ziploc with daily essentials. After that a 1L Platypus ‘bag’ of water, lightweight jacket & cap.

What I wasn’t expecting with the Arro 22 is how high the pack rides when on a bike. Even full, it sits higher then I would expect given the strap engineering and location on the back panel. I suspect it’s because it is a narrow long pack. The bottom ridge, I tend to nestle on the top of my jeans belt. This isn’t a major problem for 10 mile round trip rides in Seattle but if I were going on a camping bike trip, I might have to look at other bags I have.

Like I said, it’s a long narrow pack, which makes it good in busy urban environments, and for getting through crowds. The bottom of the bag is wider, so it does hold more than you would think it should.

I’ve already been in a prolonged heavy rainstorm and it kept its contents dry.

The straps are thick, which is not the current thinking on packs today, however, they are very comfortable with load or not. The strap adjusters help to keep the straps present when not in use, so picking up the bag via the top handle and swinging it over your head to put on your back is the easiest I’ve experienced on any pack including my own *flawless* pack designs.. The bag just belongs on your back.

The high density back panel is very sturdy and very comfortable. There is a small hardly discernible curve on the lumbar which makes the pack extremely comfortable (I have scoliosis & it’s still extremely comfortable). There is a removable PVC panel which I have tried with and without, the added weight is a non issue but the benefits of having added rigidity is priceless. The additional hip-panels also contribute to this comfort.
I will say, that in hot weather, you will sweat heavily into the back panel, and I could foresee this as being a problem in hot weather, and the material will soak up sweat like a sponge. I may modify my pack by adding two 2″ disks of foam at the lumbar area to a stand-off position.

As far as Hydration Packs go, well that is kinda weird on this bag. There is a long narrow elastic mesh pocket in the inside of the back panel, but there is no hook to hang it from, so you have to rely on the hydration pack’s own integrity to stay put. I was already using a Hydrapak 2L, which, incidentally is similar to what Arc’Teryx show on their website; a pack with a bridge lock top closure that simply rests on the top of the mesh pocket ~we will see how well that elastic top stands up to use after a year of wrestling..

The side pockets are ‘meh’ really not enough for a water bottle, but fine for whatever you can fit into them. Some is elastic & and loop for a carabiner, and the other has superman grade velcro which holds tight whatever you put into it (we will see how well that is in a year of heavy (ab)use.

I’m surprised I actually had so much to say about this bag, but so far and envisioning 5 years from now, I suspect I will still love this bag. Arc’Teryx are the Apple of backpacks, with astounding functional design backed up by gorgeous aesthetics.

Highly recommended.

I purchased mine at Berg’s who had the lowest price available at the time and really lovely customer service.

MEE Audio M6 Pro IEM

An Opinion on MEE Audio M6 Pro IEM

I should caveat this with what I’m used to first; Sennheiser HD25-II Professional headphones (the benchmark for all my listening both music and pro sound). Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10, for when I don’t have the option of the HD25-II’s.

My Ultimate Ears are wearing out and using them regularly for work, prompted me to get the M6 Pro’s because of the price and the hype surrounding them.

I don’t know about breaking in modern cans, however, I did run these through 12-18db of non & oscillating pink noise for 100 hours before proper use, and I will say that they did sound more full after the break in.

I have had them for a month now and can honestly say that they completely suck for any kind of environmental noise isolation, even using custom ear pieces and the Comply tips included. Whatever it is about the construction, everything gets in and muddies the sound.

If I’m to break down sound into 5 categories from deep bass through to high treble, rated 5-1, these cans provide crisp clean clear high treble 1,2,3 and a fraction of 4.
Yes, this is great for studio work, and other quiet areas, but to get any bass to feed through, one tends to increase gain or volume, and then the treble is so piercing that it makes for an uncomfortable listening experience.

For $50 is it worth the price to get them and have them for a few weeks trial period. Probably not. $50 is 1/3-1/4 the price of the things you are going to pay to get you to where you wanted to be originally.

If I had known then what I know now, Id prefer the $50 and opted for a different pair of IEMs.

MEE Audio M6 Pro IEM

MEE Audio M6 Pro IEM

#MEE #M6Pro #IEM

The Tascam DR-70D is the Nun’s Knickers!

Ok after a few days, and reading the Manual (!!), I have determined that the Tascam DR-70D is actually almost everything I have ever wanted in a recorder/mixer.

The sound I am getting from my existing microphones, especially my Sennheiser MKH-416, is astonishing, especially considering I bought a dedicated Sound-Devices MM-1 specifically for that 416. My Shure VP88 sounds amazing, clear, and the separation between the mid and side capsules appears more pronounced, with more control over each channel. The pre-amps are amazing, quite mind-boggling considering the size of the thing. My wired Rode Lavalier connected to XLR is also remarkable in that it appears clearer and better high-end then it was then using the Micon-3 mini jack connector, maybe that has something to do with more power through the XLR connector..

The Interface is simple. The layout of controls is reasonably logical and fair considering the real-estate, though I think I will do some modification on the pots, maybe some rubber tape of some kind.
It would be nice if there were two XLR’s per side instead of three on the right and one on the left, but that’s just me being symmetrically anal.
Power requirements are reasonable, especially excellent when paired with an external battery back of your choice, connected to the micro USB port on the left.

I got this primarily for the 4 channels, so that I could do more in-depth field and location ambient recordings with a combination of microphones. I have been dreaming of using binaural contact mics in combination with clip binaural mics as well as a directional or even binaural hydrophones to create what I suspect might end up being an amazing sound.
Another project in mind is to have an additional 416 for dual channel recording in left and right channels and having that stereo separation option for play in post.. ooh…
I have ideas oozing out of my brain through my semi-lunar canals..

Shit film

A shit film is a shit film because it has shit sound.

An interesting film is a shit film with great sound.

A really good film is an ok film with great sound

A brilliant film is a brilliant film because its made with intent and cut with intent and sounds amazing.

The rest is hollywood.

Amazing Environmental Audio from Maha Kumbh Mela

I’ve been back from India just over a year now, back living in the US and in that time its been a real struggle, both on a personal level and financially.
Looking back on that time, a half-year spent in India, thinking about it and thinking about how much I miss it, and yearn for the Utopian chaos to run through my veins once more.
I have edited my photography over and over trying to extract the essence of the experience. However the personal journey that India was to me, has obscured my objectivity, something that only time can distill.
I have started once again on the editing process, going back over the audio recordings I made, and in doing so, had an epiphany about the work. I realize that I have no choice but to go back to India, and capture more audio, this time with an expanded kit. And to dedicate much more time and effort into making quality environmental recordings.
Audio recordings offer a taste of reality that video and photography simply cannot touch. Where video has to be constructed to make a compelling presentation, and photography provides specificity, and depth, that depth is within just that contextual intimacy.
Audio offers a living reality of time based exploration. Audio treats the consciousness to a wide layered mental vision, one that the mind is intrinsically connected to, there is no learning to listen, whereas there is learning to read photographs.

This Location Sound during the Anup Jalota concert at Pilot Baba’s Ashram camp 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela, Sangam Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh India. I had decided to walk around the sector 9 area where the ashram was located, about 7 miles from the actual main bathing area.
You can hear all of the local sounds, and the far distant sounds of the millions (130,000,000 to be more accurate) of pilgrims who existed at the ‘city’. Headphones highly recommended. Sit back and enjoy the Mela as I did for thirteen minutes.

Night Train Approaching from distance Canacona Goa India

Canacona, Goa, India. 1.30am Im staying at a low rent guesthouse at a blind corner on Chaudi-Talpona road which traces the Chaudi river at this point. It is moment away from Monsoon so the water is almost at street level on one side and an embankment on the other. Right at this blind corner there is a single track concrete rail bridge which carries both freight and passenger trails through at a regularity of about 30 minutes during the day and 45-60 minutes at night. Just beyond the blind corner is an egg-shell Blue two story hastily erected building and a family home nestled beside it. The rail bridge traverses 8 meters from the house and then is swallowed up in foliage on the embankment.
My room is on the ground floor front and center to the lot, it is North facing. It is off season, extremely humid (95%), and extremely hot (45c) despite being on the coast. The area is lush tropical and very quiet.
At night it is almost completely silent, with exception to distant sounds from neighbouring homes and the Hindu and Catholic places of worship (at 3’26” you can hear the chime of a gong or bell).
The trains are traveling in from the north, from Bombay, at night they are mostly freight. You can hear the sound funnel down the rail-track clearing in the dense jungle, it is amplified and you can pick out the pitch changes in the engine as it grunts its way in.
Warning: this track goes from subtle to extremely loud and then very quiet.
Recorded using a Roland R-26, Binaural microphones and a Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun directional microphone, mixed-down and rendered using Audacity. There is some slight clipping at the high peak, as I simply set the best levels I could based on guesswork before making the recording.
Thanks and enjoy.
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