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Ok, I just have to say that I love doing sound!


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I love when everything is humming along, the band sounds great, it's a good mix, and everyone is having a great time! Bands are always surprised and impressed with my setup, and I always get good compliments. It's just a good feeling to help out the local live music scene, and make some money to boot.

 

:thu:

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I love knowing HOW to do sound and having the gear. I only LOVE doing sound when the talent has some......

 

This is true. Some bands are a struggle, and others are a pure joy to do sound for, when you get that great band, in a great room, and all the cylinders are firing, you just sit back and really enjoy mixing the gig.

 

 

:thu:

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This was a week full of really good shows for a change. A couple of big band review shows, a couple (professional) ballet shows, then finished off with a Robin Williams show that sold out almost 1000 seats in record time (measured in minutes). All good folks to work with too.

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Andy, I had a friend try to buy Robin Williams tickets at your venue, she couldn't read the "capture" image so she had to refresh it. In the time that took they were sold out and she didn't get them. 2 minutes is what I heard.

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Don't know the exact time, but it was pretty quick.

 

This leads me to another discussion point... I get beat up pretty hard here when it comes to my focus on reliability. IMO, reliability is one of the most important aspects of a system, in addition to sounding good, having predictable response and handling characteristics etc.

 

So, say you are providing sound for a show like this one, 1000 seats at $50 each (the deal of the century, should have been $100 min. but all of us wanted to keep the show "reasonable") and you are on the hook if you have a sound system failure... how important to you would reliability be is you were the one in the hot seat? I venture to guess that reliability would take a higher priority eh? This is more typical of the types of shows I do, the stakes are a lot higher than playing to a hundred drunks at the corner bar. The GP of this one show is more than the GP of all the shows many (non-pro) providers do in a year. Just did a show where the audio for video mix went out to 5 million viewers. Is it worth screwing with bottom feeder gear to save a few hundred dollars?

 

THIS is why there are different levels of gear, and why the pros use better gear and have no problem paying more.

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And then there is that in between area. Did a show couple of weeks ago where we were the headliner entertainment of the day at an outdoor festival. I had sound and lights for 3500 people (and I am a one man company.) Didn't have to be arena concert volume but it had to be clean, full, and problem free all night because we were the main draw.

 

Failures just are not allowed. I do a lot of shows in the 1K-2.5K person size events. Even at that level, you can't justify bottom feeder gear. I am not carrying Nexo or L'Acoustics, but I can't carry B-52s and Harbinger either.

 

I think once you get past the corner bar level, and the event hinges on YOUR equipment and experience, you better show up with your ducks in a row. At my first big show (The Misfits) this really hit home-that they have sold out Madison Square Garden a number of times, and this time it is ALL on me. If I screw the pooch, the culpability and liability are both mine. You have to charge enough to make the risk worthwhile, and make sure you bring a gun to a knife night, and not the other way around.

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Yea, they were a LOT of fun. Very tongue in cheek. The crowd was less fun though. They broke glass bottles everywhere leaving shard in my ratfur subs, spilled beer on one stack, decided to dive off the top of my stacks, swung from the steam pipes in the rafters of the club, and then decided to rush the stage. Stage had a crew of 4 LARGE (looked like line backers) guys with plastic barricades. They tried to hold off the crowd and lasted about 60 seconds. I finished the night with a stage full of punters walking on everything and a floor full of glass where they had been.

 

Did I mention I don't do The Misfits any more? ;-)

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FWIW: Last Wednesday was one of the toughest shows I've ever been involved in the production for and mixed. I suspect it was also one of the toughest gigs the band has ever done. The band was a very good local show-group that I believe commands in the $2K - $3K per show range. The performance was a full-on approx. 3 hour show... production suitable for a corporate level audience of 500 (full sound, full lights, full props, multiple wardrobe changes). The principle audience (who the show was for) was comprised of 2 (two)... and both of them were completely sober... sitting unaccompanied on two chairs in the middle of an approx. 3000 sq. ft. dance floor... wearing suits with arms folded... and not a hint of emotion.

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I'll take the crowd down by several more. We do 20+ weddings a year. The crowd averages 100-600 people and 1/2 of them don't give two toots about the band. To the bride and groom, however, everything is critical. I'm juggling staying on time, pronouncing names correctly, making sure there is even coverage, sometimes releasing tables, assuring power is adequate, the list goes on and on. I'm wearing many hats and trying to provide a solid production. The gear has to be rock solid. If a failure occurs, and some minor ones have, a remedy has to be seconds to initiate and hopefully seamless in terms of no quality being lost. We have redundancy all over the place. The only thing that would hose us for more than 60 seconds would be a mixer failure. We carry a small backup mixer that we could get by on, but it would realistically take 5 minutes to swap out.

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yes, reliability indeed.

 

I just finished a hell weekend. mixed 15 different acts at 5 different venues, all my gear. The gear has to work and has to be reasonably fitted to the gig requirements. by "reasonably" i mean just like axisplayer says, pro level gear or even prosumer level that works great and is close or more than you need.

 

 

 

there have been gigs where i longed for more system but the gig was a huge success, the client extremly satisfied..because i ran the gear within it's capabilities and yet it was 10-20% away from what it needed to be.

 

fri-sunday i did an event with 18 bands, mixed 12 of them, and my other guy did the other 6. after advancing the gig i decided to use the QSC HPR153i over 181i subs. not a huge rig, but it performed flawlessly all weekend and it was actually fun to mix a lot of the acts.

 

we often have the best seat in the house at FOH, and we have the controls, that can be rewarding

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We have redundancy all over the place. The only thing that would hose us for more than 60 seconds would be a mixer failure. We carry a small backup mixer that we could get by on, but it would realistically take 5 minutes to swap out.

 

yes, I try and have a plan B and even plan C if possible. I hope to never use my plan C mixer, the Peavey PV10 :)

 

it's tough when you're spread thin with a couple or few gigs going at the same time..

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It dawned on me last Wednesday night: How many other folks really get to do this... at this level anyway? Statistics suggest about 1:100,000.

 

 

indeed my friend:) it is a pretty cool thing. often we go home knowing what a good job we have done, albeit a somewhat transparent one . sometimes just hearing a compliment that you can trust makes it rewarding.

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There is something funny about when the show is well underway and the gear is humming along and everything is doing what it's supposed to. And I'll just kinda look over things, cables I've built, patch panels I made, racks doing what they're supposed to do. And I guess I know better than anyone the weak points of a rig, the bottlenecks. But there is redundancy of everything, not always with snake and mixer though, but everything works 100% and has a backup. When someone else is mixing on my rig I have more time to think about a disaster, but it doesn't consume my time.

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Quality equipment, redundancy with the spares racked up and ready to go, and a plan to implement should a problem develop are keys to surviving.

 

Last month I did a show for a band out of NYC (A Place To Bury Strangers) when they came through town. The event went off without a hitch...but: I had a second 32 channel mixer set up at FOH. Redundant Drive Racks with the inputs "Y'd", powered, programmed and running. Spare sub amp, spare top amp, and a spare monitor amp all wired and ready to go.

 

A week or so ago in the "post pics of your rack" thread, Andy showed his amp racks with Driveracks (nice looking BTW) and mentioned the pass through. I had questioned if he ran the pass through through the DR. He confirmed what I though about a "Y" on the inputs in case of DR failure. It's these things that can make recovery from equipment failure easier.

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It's 10:30 PST. I'm leaving home in 1 hour to start set up for a two night Swing Band concert. These folks are seriously talented players who also play in our local symphony. I guess they look at "Swing" music as a way to get their freak on :lol: The venue is a 1930's-40's hall with somewhat updated wiring. I feel confident in the reliability of my equipment, but the wiring in this place has a reputation. Andy really made a huge pont about reliability. Almost seems like it doesn't matter if that extra $ bought you better sound, did it buy you reliability and piece on mind? I think there is probably a dollar-level of equipment where you really don't notice a difference in sound but the failure percentage drops drastically.

 

The players should start showing up by 6PM for sound check followed by a two hour rehearsal. Shows on Friday and Saturday night. This is probably my favorite event of the year because of the talent level. Also a learning experience working with these types of instruments rather than the typical Rock act. Definitely adds to the knowledge base.Yeah, this is a cool thing to be doing :thu:

 

TW

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