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Sound System Build Basics

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by photoatdv, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Same outdoor charity event as the genny problem. As of right now the entire crew will consist of a guy from the company providing the gear and myself. We will have very limited setup time, so I know he won't have much time to teach me the basics.

    What do I need to know to help set up a reasonably large sound system for an outdoor event? What do I need to check on the specs to make sure we have everything we need and it will all work together? I'm not exactally a sound expert (in case you can't tell). In fact the only sound experiance I have is mixing (which I'm okay at).
     
  2. hsaunier

    hsaunier Active Member

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    You have not provided enough information for us to be able to give specific guidance. Above all else THINK SAFETY. Large rig means heavy stuff, likely stuff that 2 people should not try on their own, But then again large to you, may be small to me. Can you be more specific about the "size" of the rig? My best advice from your post is to listen a lot. Don't do anything without being told. Make no connection of any component that you are not absolutely sure about. Beyond that, find people with experience.
     
  3. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Occupation:
    Acoustical, audio and audiovisual consultant
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    I agree that much more information is needed. What is the event? How large an audience? What type of acts? Have the performers identified any tech requirements? Do you have a budget? I'm also a little unclear on whether you already have a sound provider or are trying to put together a package to get one?
     
  4. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Yes, we already have a company providing all of the staging, lights, sound, video. We don't know how large the system will be and probably won't until 1-2 weeks out. The event will have 2000-4000 people however the stage is only one area and will never be used for that many people at once. Basically the company is doing this for peanuts-- so we're not real high on their priority list. However the guy from the company seems to think we'll be able to get everything set with just him, me, and another questionably experienced tech who will be there.

    And yes, large to me probably is small to most of you :). I just want to learn enough that I will know what he is talking about when he tells me to do something. I do know connector types and stuff, but I don't really understand how the number of speakers and impedence type stuff works. How are multispeaker stacks usually configured? The kind of stuff that is helpful to the overall picture. I hope that most of what I will be doing in terms of audio setup will be plug this into here ect.
     
  5. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Sounds like you'll be what's called a "Grip" on many stages. You're job will be to hump gear from A to B. Best thing you can do is pay attention and learn.
     
  6. howlingwolf487

    howlingwolf487 Active Member

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    Tips:

    1. If you have to force a connector into place, you're probably doing something wrong.

    2. Don't tape anything down until after soundcheck (or at LEAST line check).

    3. DON'T MESS WITH ELECTRICAL

    4. Don't turn on any gear until told to do so; if you haven't been told to yet, ask the person(s) in charge of the rig.

    5. Be alert and use common sense.

    6. Unless not doing so will cause harm to someone, don't try to save a piece of big, heavy gear if it is taking a dive.

    7. If you feel uncertain or uneasy about something, voice your opinion; there are no stupid questions, only ones that don't get asked and then people get hurt.

    8. Have a fun time and enjoy being part of making everytyhing happen. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
  7. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Occupation:
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    Can you clarify your role in this? From the first post I got the impression that you were one of the promoters/organizers for the event and were trying to figure out what to request or specify for the event. However, the second post sounds more like you are going to be part of setting up and operating the system. Defining the requirements for an event and how to design, setup or operate a system are two very different subjects.

    I'm also still not clear, you have a sound provider but apparently you don't know what they are providing or what they expect others to do. Is this a situation where the sound system is basically donated, or dramatically reduced in cost, and you are thus getting whatever the provider has not rented out to paying, or at least better paying, gigs?

    If you are looking for what you might need for the event, then it would still help to know things like the type and size of acts, any of their requirements, etc. Some acts may have tech rider requirements for the sound system that have to be met or at least discussed. I am a little concerned that it sounds like the work force and equipment involved likely rule out any flown system elements, depending on the venue and physical conditions, that could make it difficult to support the size crowds you note.
     
  8. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    I'm am an organizer for the event, however for the actual event I will be helping run the system. It will be me and one guy from the company running the lights, sound, and video.

    Yes, we are basically getting whatever they haven't already rented out that weekend, which is why I don't know what we will have. And no, at least I hope, we won't be flying any speaker arrays--- that sounds like a disaster waiting to happen! As far as the size for the crowds, we (no I) know that could be problematic, however it cannot be any worse than last year when our DJ/sound guy didn't know how to run his own (mostly broken) equiptment. The only stuff that will be above the ground should be a projector and a couple of truss with the lights (the guy from the company better know how to safely rig the truss).

    We also do not have all the acts booked as of yet (we had several cancellations) or a DJ (so I may be learning to DJ and well as run an outdoor sound system for a long event).

    Basically due to the obvious personel limitations and probably time limititions (last meeting we discussed the setup for the staging I had to explain that 2 people COULD NOT set up this size system in 3 hours-- sounds like we have 5 hours now, but I will talk it up again at our next meeting) I will have to help quite a bit as well as run either lights or sound for a good bit of the event.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2009

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