i would have thought there would be more on this on the net, but i wasnt able to find anything useful. i've attached a simplied scene. no matter what i do (granted my gi setup knowledge isnt very good), i cant get rid of the splotches on the background sweep. of all the videos and tutorials i've watched, i dont see anyone else having splotches with the ir cache, so i dont know what to do at this point.
sweet, thanks adam, that did it. it was working well with just upping the samples, but it took longer to render. switching to rad maps cut the render time in half AND removed the splotches... at least in my little test region. but, looks promising. thanks again!