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Looking for tips on reducing setup time

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  • #16
    I took Andy's advice and have virtually stopped playing and doing the sound. Pretty much just do sound now and the odd occasion I do play I hire someone to do the heavy lifting.

    I wanted to add to what Audiopile was saying about the yakety yak at the end of the night. I am mildly anti social and very focussed on getting packed up and off home. But ..... I have picked up so much work from talking to punters after the show has finished. Its usually other musos saying how good the sound was and how much would it cost for me to do their show. Well worth the little extra time!



    • #17
      I like to get in and get setup before the ying yangs come marching in. Ying Yangs being the band
      Strat Guy it appears to me that you need a bigger truck and your a bit top heavy?
      Last edited by Pro Sound Guy; 06-05-2014, 09:31 PM.


      • #18
        I did a number of years as guitarist and sound guy in a 60s band. Made good money. Long days. The band would show up at sound check, go home within 30 min of the last note. Anyhow, having all the cables organized helps. Sub snakes help. Organizing Foh snake with its AC cable , minimizing drum mics, e609 guitar mics help, a digital board helps, minimizing monitor mixes helps, a stage stringer ac cable helps... Wiring the stage is usually the longest setup time eater. A sub snake for the front, one for the backline too, those can save time. I leave my xlrs hooked into the monitor and main racks too. Colored cable or clear labels can cut time. Simplified lighting left on slow color wash can cut time out.


        • #19
          Like Mark, I'm usually the guy doing all the work because I'm production not talent. When we take our horse exhibition show on the road though, I'm talent first and production second. We are expected to socialize and in fact it's part of our contract with meet & greets, media stuff, VIP's, etc. it's important that you set yourself up so that you can go the job that's expected of you and that you make plenty of time to do so. That may mean I stay late to wind down and clean stalls, or adjust my routine to allow me to hold it together. On the production side, I will load in a day earlier than necessary so that I have plenty of time to make things work.


          • #20
            Unlike Mark, I'm usually the guy chatting it up. Making social connections is often well worth the time, and as you wrote, Mark there doesn't really *need* to be a rush even though you're dog-tired. Now if only it were possible to chat and work...maybe tell the others "just follow me around as I work, and we can keep talking". Hmmm....maybe they'll pitch in?

            Write something...


            • #21
              Here are my tips

              Everything on wheels
              • Be able to roll everything into the venue
              • Get all the carts or hand trucks you need to do put everything on at the same time. This saves you from unloading a pile of stuff in the venue, going back out, loading the cart again,etc. It also allows you to keep things on the cart until you need them and if you have to move them around while setting up you're just rolling the cart and not picking up 6 things and moving them out of the way.
              • We have all sound and lighting in 4 “ready to roll” units
                • 2 Rock-n-Roller carts - subs, mains, monitors, light/speaker/mic stands
                • 1 Large heavy duty storage trunk - all efx lights and lighting cables. Extra long extension cords, black scrim. On top are 2 semi-hard cases with our wash lighing.
                • 14U mixer rack with ratchet mixer top - mixer, most needed stuff stored underneath (see down the page)
              • a trailer is an obvious must for this to work. If you have a trailer with no ramp you can buy a folding aluminum ramp.
              • HERES A VIDEO OF MY OLD SETUP - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cu5pDOOR8eQ
              Think outside the box
              • Depending on your situation you may be able to strap your subs to a hand truck and leave them on it during the show. I did this for a few years and if I only did bar shows I would most likely go back to it. I had a black backpack strapped to the back of the hand truck with all needed cables inside. Through the hanging loop of the backpack I had the speaker pole. During transport I had a monitor and main strapped atop the sub. You roll the hand truck to the FOH position, offload the main and monitor and hook up the FOH with the cables you already have at the ready. Tear down is a cinch too. All the cables go back inside. Label the speaker jacks and cables and even your bass player can hook them up
              • A large outdoor plastic trash can is great for transporting mic stands, light stands, folding stools, guitar stands. Some go right in and others are in a soft case then go in. You can also use a smaller trash can and attach it to your cart. I do this with a Rock-n-roller cart
              Keep things at the ready
              • I recently just broke down and bought a 14U rolling mixer rack from Mark (audiopile.net). I already had some rack drawers so just bought a few more. Not the cheapest solution, but now the mixer rolls into place and there are drawers of what we need in a central location. If you need more cables, tape, etc you have it handy versus going to where ever you put your stuff and digging through cases or totes to find it.
                • 1U - remotes, business cards, small tool set, promo magnets,
                • 2U/3U (forget which) - gaff tape, cable tester, misc toiletries (advil, deodorant, toothpaste, adapter cables, outlet tester, etc
                • 4U - XLR cables
                • 4U - extension cords and IEC power cables
              Don’t bring in what you probably won’t need
              • I keep backup cables, stands, mixer, adapters, vocal processor, in the storage compartment of the minivan. It’s there if I need it, but there’s a 99% chance I won’t so why bring it in. If we do need something like a stand more XLR cables to make a long run, we know this during setup and it’s not a big deal to just go get it versus hauling in 10 things you won’t need 90% of the time. If I have to park offsite I will remember to bring in the backup mixer as it’s mission critical and can’t be 3 blocks away.
              Oh, forgot, sub-snakes are a god send. I have a 4 channel one as does the guitar player. They stay permanently attached and hung on a velcro loop. We just roll them out for the show and they attach to the powered monitors, microphone, and processors. Keyboard player and drummer (edrums) also have patch snakes. They aren’t permanently mounted but do cut down on clutter and storage space as they carry them with their gear so I don’t need as many XLR cables with me ( 8 less cables for me to transport and for them to have to get up and fish around to retrieve).
              Last edited by abzurd; 06-06-2014, 11:50 AM.


              • #22
                Wow, a ton of great suggestions! I will look to implement some of these ideas. My rig is small, but I am essentially a 1 man operation. Like some of the others I have a little problem handing off to band members. Thanks all! Someone should write a book on this topic!


                • #23
                  The biggest things that has helped me is organizing everything that I can in racks, making all of the connection inside the rack and then mount a patch panel on the rear rails. Like our amp racks have all of the connections from the processors to the amps and such. All we need to do is walk up and take connect the XLR inputs and speakon outputs, which are all labeled of course.


                  • #24
                    Another thought on cabling if you're looking to reduce set-up time is to standardize the cabling as best as possible. Examples:

                    1) Speakon cables: I run predominately* 4 conductor 13 ga. NL4FC equipped Speakon cables. Admittedly 50% or more of my Speakon cable hook-up could be done with 2 conductor cable, and some or much of hook-up could be done with thinner gauge cabling, but running all 4 conductor 13ga. cable, any of my Speakon cable will work properly with any of my Speakon hook-ups.

                    *My larger festival system runs all NL8 cabling... so I don't run all NL4 cable... but NL8 and NL4 cable doesn't "exchange" the way NL4 and NL2 cabling does.

                    2) AC cabling: I run predominately 12-3 SO equipped with L5-20 twistlocks. This is compatible with my power distros. I have 8ea. short 12-3 SJOW cables equipped with 5-15P x L5-20R ends for running my L5-20 cabling off wall power. I have about a dozen "quadbox" cables, again, they're 12-3 SO equipped with L5-20P and 5-20R duplex outlets on the quadbox end for stage drops. And admittedly for some or many applications, the 12-3 is over-kill... 14-3 or even 16-3 would probably suffice, but standardizing to the 12-3 covers my range of applications without having specialized cables for specific applications.
                    I need to catch up with those guys, for I am their leader.