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How much money is invested concert sound systems?


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I see these major touring acts with all the bells and whistles and I was wondering; what kind of dollar figure does it take to purchase a large pro sound system? What kind of money to these guys have tied up in their SR system for the big touring groups?

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They all mostly rent. I don't know of any major touring acts that own their own touring system. There are others here more experienced but I'd imagine that a large format touring system probably can come close to the million dollar range for a new purchase. Just thinking of the last tour I saw had something like 24 L-Acoustic K1 subs and three line arrays. I don't know what that stuff costs but I'm guessing more the $1000 a cabinet...:lol:

 

Actually, that is an interesting question. Does anybody know the purchase price of that type of system?

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"Concert" covers a large range. Of the smaller ones I have seen or worked with, I would venture that PA alone is a $500K entry to get started with big boys and the sky is the limit on the high end. I expect from what I see that you are talking $.5M up to $1.5M for PA and infrastructure and then lets add the same in lighting. $2-3M would get you started with a real touring system and that may not be enough to include the trucks to move it from place to place.

 

List price (although NO large company pays this) for an EAW array can be over $10K per cabinet for tops and $3K for subs per box. Multiply that by at least 16 tops, and equal subs. Now add $50-75K for a console, 30-40 touring amps at $3-4K a pop, cables, DSP, flying hardware, mics, real monitors at $3-4K a box (x maybe 15 boxes) and your entry is pretty significant. Thats also not a large system for the big boys, it is more of a B level in some areas. I am sure the Stones or U2 are renting $3-4M of gear for every large show they do.

 

Thinking about buying one?

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They all mostly rent. I don't know of any major touring acts that own their own touring system.

 

I was talking about the actual cost of a large touring system. I realize touring acts rent but I was trying to get an idea what kind of money is involved for sound companies to invest.

 

BTW, no, I am not thinking about buying something like this. Just curious. :)

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Starting at $500k for a pro level rig in the 2000 seat and up venues, or roughly $250 per seat. This will decline as the venues get bigger, maybe down to $125/seat. Some stuff increases, some stuff stays the same regardless of venue size but this is a REASONABLE start IME.

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One of the companies I work for just acquired a new 12/side EV hang with a dozen dual 18"s. Full package w/ amps cost just short of $300k. Throw in consoles/mics/snakes/monitor rig and $500k is a VERY reasonable starting point for a touring act.

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Equipment is only part of the equition. You have to store it, move it (53' trailers), set it up (stage hands), maintain it and make an ROI after all is said and done. After all that you still don't have a PA to use at the local coffee house.

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Starting at $500k for a pro level rig in the 2000 seat and up venues, or roughly $250 per seat. This will decline as the venues get bigger, maybe down to $125/seat. Some stuff increases, some stuff stays the same regardless of venue size but this is a REASONABLE start IME.

 

 

Those sound like seating ticket prices to a major artist concert from $125-250 a ticket. No telling what a back stage pass would cost you.

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LMAO Andy!!


OK, so if we are looking at a range of $500,000 to $3,500,000 in cost to BUY one of those big rigs, what does it cost to RENT them?

 

 

Ballpark, with labor, about $25k-$75k/week, with some discounts for multiple weeks, and depending on the number of show days versus travel days and routing.

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I am sure the Stones or U2 are renting $3-4M of gear for every large show they do.

 

 

heh heh, I'm pretty sure the U2 360 tour was well north of that: http://clairglobal.com/u2/

 

From that description, I'm counting at least $1.5M in power amps alone. If you assume that the i-5's would cost $10K ea (if you could buy them) and the i-5B's would be $5K each, that's another $2.7M just for the main hangs, not including any fills or ground-subs.

 

From that and other articles, it looks like they had an almost entirely redundant set of mixing consoles, with 4 SD7's and 2 D-Show Profiles. That's somewhere in the neighborhood of $800K; maybe more, depending on configurations.

 

That's $5M before any processing, fills, delays, cabling, monitors, wireless, microphones, etc.

 

I'd bet, however, that the biggest expense was those custom-built superstructures (of which there were 3, IIRC). I seem to recall reading that the tour didn't even break even after the first run.

 

-Dan.

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I wonder where labor costs fall in these larger shows... you can always re-sell or re-rent a box, but once the hour's passed, the money's gone.

 

 

Absolutely right.

 

Labor is a huge factor and why the pros generally try to make things efficient to set up. This is one major factor (IMO) in the success of line arrays... they rig quickly and work predictabily. Rigging labor is some of the most costly.

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Labor is a major expense. Back in the days I was an LD at Radio City Music Hall, the minimum labor call (that's minimum labor call if you wanted to use the stage empty for a photo shoot,) was $ 20,670.00

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I did a outside pre concert show for the fans waiting to get inside to see the big national act, and when i got done i went to the sound guy inside and got to talking to him and he said they rented some EAW array speakers , (i think about 5 on each side) he said the rental on them and some subs was about $5000. the sub were i think Danley ( correct me if i am wrong on the name.) he just had 4 single 18's clustered in the middle . he said that they owned the board , The atist was a christian group called Big Daddy Weave.

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heh heh, I'm pretty sure the U2 360 tour was well north of that:


From that description, I'm counting at least $1.5M in power amps alone. If you assume that the i-5's would cost $10K ea (if you could buy them) and the i-5B's would be $5K each, that's another $2.7M just for the main hangs, not including any fills or ground-subs.


From that and other articles, it looks like they had an almost entirely redundant set of mixing consoles, with 4 SD7's and 2 D-Show Profiles. That's somewhere in the neighborhood of $800K; maybe more, depending on configurations.


That's $5M before any processing, fills, delays, cabling, monitors, wireless, microphones, etc.


I'd bet, however, that the biggest expense was those custom-built superstructures (of which there were 3, IIRC). I seem to recall reading that the tour didn't even break even after the first run.


-Dan.

 

 

Clair design/ builds their own cabinets w/ JBL OEM drivers. I'm sure with their economy of scales, the I-5 box costs waaaaaaaaaaaay under $10k

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Clair design/ builds their own cabinets w/ JBL OEM drivers. I'm sure with their economy of scales, the I-5 box costs waaaaaaaaaaaay under $10k

 

 

Sure, but that's about what you'd pay for a box like that.

 

And I wonder how much economy of scale they actually enjoy. Sure, they're a big SR provider, but this is still a small industry; they're only one provider, and they only build boxes for themselves. If you're trying to minimize your per-box expenses (and I'm not saying they are), that's not the way to do it.

 

-Dan.

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Interestingly Clair is located in little old Lititz PA, right smack in Amish/Mennonite Lancaster County. Tait Towers, an offshoot that builds stages is nearby. I sometimes wonder whether the residents of sleepy little Lititz have any idea of the sonic tsunamis regularly unleashed by their hometown company. The big name acts occasionally take up temporary residence in Lititz while they work the bugs out of their sound/stage systems prior to a tour.

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The "cost per box" is more than the price of the materials and components, and assembly labor. In a business, you need to allocate the cost of design and development, plus the capital costs of the development and production infrastructure. I have no idea of what those costs are for this company, but they are probably substantial. Mark C.

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