The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
New live sound company Modular Synthesizers
Old 16th September 2011
  #1
Gear Nut
 
BasementRecords's Avatar
 

New live sound company

I have been investing in new equipment for my live sound company. I recently am borrowing my buddies equipment and I enjoy working with it. Bu I want to advance to my own equipment.

I have a 50 foot 24 in 24 out snake, as well as most other speakon cables and xlr cables. I am now looking at getting my board which I tend to spend about 1000 to 3000 on if any suggestions and specifications on them please let me know. As well as speakers such as JBL's and stage monitors, those I'm also looking at 1000 roughly a piece or possibly per pair.

Obviously I am looking at effects and processing but wanted to first get peoples opinions on good live sound boards in my price range and most likely JBL speakers and monitors and subs.

Any information and experience with the equipment is helpful.

Chris
Old 16th September 2011
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BasementRecords View Post
I have been investing in new equipment for my live sound company. I recently am borrowing my buddies equipment and I enjoy working with it. Bu I want to advance to my own equipment.

I have a 50 foot 24 in 24 out snake, as well as most other speakon cables and xlr cables. I am now looking at getting my board which I tend to spend about 1000 to 3000 on if any suggestions and specifications on them please let me know. As well as speakers such as JBL's and stage monitors, those I'm also looking at 1000 roughly a piece or possibly per pair.

Obviously I am looking at effects and processing but wanted to first get peoples opinions on good live sound boards in my price range and most likely JBL speakers and monitors and subs.

Any information and experience with the equipment is helpful.

Chris
I think you really need to come up with a solid business plan before investing money into a sound console. It sounds like you're building your business around gear in a budget rather than building your gear around your business...
Old 16th September 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
New live sound company

I would ask this question on the ProSoundWeb. I just basically folded up a live sound side business although I do occasional things to help out people I know. I had built up the gear as part of a corporate band I was playing in and as we got to larger situations I was approached by the promoter of a muni street festival we have played for about doing their summer series. I already had code compliant power distribution and all the other ancillary bits (like a 150' snake and power run for FOH, I don't think a 50' is going to be of much use outside of a small bar) including a trailer.

The gear was already amortized as part of the corporate band but I took out a business license as a sound provider and started looking around for other gigs. While it helps having a reputation for good sound and being able to mix and handle quick changeovers, there's still not much in the way of decent paying gigs until you get to the fairly large regional level and mid sized corporate gigs. Bands and muni street fairs don't pay.

To compete you need to be running JBL SRX at a minimum. Well paying corporate gigs expect Vertec, Meyer, Nexo level stuff. That kind of gear is significantly more than $1000 a box. Also you need something like an M7 digital or Midas/APB desk. You cannot have anything by Mackie, Behringer, Sampson, and the like in your rig. At a lower level you can get away with an A&H GL board but it will be tough to get paid enough to cover all the gear.

As was said, look at the gigs you can talk your way in to. And do this realistically. Who do you know? Who has expressed interest or hired you and has larger gigs available if you can bring the rig? Then scope out how much rig would be needed for those gigs. Can you amortize it in a reasonable time given what you'll be making?

Then add in folks to help push cases. It gets old real fast loading and unloading a trailer or box truck (another expense along with a Commercial drivers license) all the time without some crew.

Then there's all the expenses of being a legit business. Insurance (have some drunk knock over a speaker and get hurt and say goodbye to everything you own) tax accounting, getting contracts written up and so on.

I hope the gigs are there for you. Best of luck.
Old 16th September 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 
toneguru's Avatar
Buy your desk and rack gear used and your speakers new.

Buy great speakers. Great speakers can make an average desk and avg gear sound good but a great desk and great rack o gear rarely make bad speakers sound good.

JBL makes some good speakers (and some not so good) but widen your horizons to stuff like Bag End, EAW and if you move up to world class, consider vdosc and Meyer etc.

Also, get fewer speakers but higher quality than a large array of so-so speakers. You can always add on to the speaker array later.

Oh yeh, do not skimp on mic stands. Cheap mic stands are the bigest waste of time for sound check. Not to mention a waste of money. Get good german mic stands like AKG. My AKG boom stand lasted me 22 years and over 500 gigs and then it broke down and I bought another AKG boom and did another 500 gigs with it in the last 12 years and still going strong. Great stands.

My worst memories of running FOH as a house engineer for 15 years is the bad mic stands slowing me down. I know, it is hard to fathom unless you have been there. It sucks when you have 2 or 3 acts to soundcheck and the clock is ticking and instead you are searching for a stand that works.

If I were starting a live sound co, I would make great speakers and great stands my top priority.

- Cheers
Old 18th September 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Aeolian, I am going to agree and disagree with your post.

But on the whole, my genuine advice would largely be "don't bother".

On the small-PA end of the spectrum, the sort of places you'd use it, IE pub and club venues, will either a) have an in-house system, or b) not be able to afford to pay you anything close to a realistic wage. On the big-PA end of the spectrum, nobody will hire a high-spec rig from a company they've never heard of. There are plenty enough big name companies with big name rigs that they don't need to come to a company with no credentials.

By and large, you'll spend a huge amount of money, you'll need a huge space to keep it, and you'll end up letting the local village fete use it for free once a year so you can get some use out of it. Happens to most people, basically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolian View Post
I would ask this question on the ProSoundWeb. I just basically folded up a live sound side business although I do occasional things to help out people I know. I had built up the gear as part of a corporate band I was playing in and as we got to larger situations I was approached by the promoter of a muni street festival we have played for about doing their summer series. I already had code compliant power distribution and all the other ancillary bits (like a 150' snake and power run for FOH, I don't think a 50' is going to be of much use outside of a small bar) including a trailer.
You are not alone. In this country, there are "PA Hire" companies left right and centre but the majority do not make profit and the owners have day jobs. They all bought big PAs on saved cash thinking the work would flow in, and it didn't. Reality? PA Hire is like any other business, and if you do not plan up front, it is no easier than any other form of business.

For them, some random village festival of 200 people on a small stage in a marquee is their highlight and is a right novelty too. They'll get an appalling rate because they're so desperate for the gig they'll under cut everyone else. They'll spend out on a nice big truck to take it all down there, a couple of mates to be 'crew' at 50 quid a day or whatever, hotels overnight and food during the day (as they're so desperate for the gig they can't demand it from the promoter as a big company would). Then by the time they've paid their annual equipment insurance and public liability insurance, fuel for the van, a couple of beers in the bar and a wage for the engineers, they're in loss. And it either ends up as more of a hobby than a job; or they sell the kit on eBay at a fraction of it's original value and lesson learned.

Quote:
To compete you need to be running JBL SRX at a minimum. Well paying corporate gigs expect Vertec, Meyer, Nexo level stuff. That kind of gear is significantly more than $1000 a box. Also you need something like an M7 digital or Midas/APB desk. You cannot have anything by Mackie, Behringer, Sampson, and the like in your rig. At a lower level you can get away with an A&H GL board but it will be tough to get paid enough to cover all the gear.
There is little point buying Vertec / Meyer / Nexo / L'A systems until you are a big, credible company. If you are going to hire that sort of system, you hire off a big company. They have so much of it, they can hire it out fairly cheap, and the customer is much happier having it installed and engineered by an experienced team who do that sort of thing all the time and have done so for some years.

I know of a few small companies with big rigs, most of them never get any work.

In addition to these points... @OP - how good an engineer are you? Are you expecting live sound to be like studio stuff except with very big monitors? I will tell you now it's nothing of the sort. It's a WHOLE different skillset and needs to be treated entirely differently. Many studio engineers DO do live, but they're skillsets that need to be developed separately. Live sound engineers really need more experience in live event crewing than they do in actual sound work, this is where the majority of college grads fall foul.

If your live sound experience amounts to some local pub gigs plus studio time, you can definitely count yourself out of any big system.

Quote:
As was said, look at the gigs you can talk your way in to. And do this realistically. Who do you know? Who has expressed interest or hired you and has larger gigs available if you can bring the rig? Then scope out how much rig would be needed for those gigs. Can you amortize it in a reasonable time given what you'll be making?
The easy way to do this, is to offer yourself (initially) as a sound company, specialising in something. Sub-hire the kit from an existing hire company. You still need your own PL Insurance, but the kit is insured by them, maintained by them, purchased in the first place by them, and so on. Do this for at least a year. Have a look how much you've made. If it's only a little, be glad you didn't spend up, and try something else. If you're getting loads of work, and constantly driving down somebody else's warehouse to pick up kit is a pain, then you know it's time to buy your own!


I'm not trying to put you off... well I am. Just not trying to dampen your enthusiasm for life. Live sound is not studio but bigger, it's an art unto itself, and there are plenty of people who are very good at it who don't get enough work. Coming into the business armed with the PA but little previous experience, contacts or credentials; will lead you to being sat on your arse doing nothing whilst your equipment gathers dust and goes out of date. Begin by sub-hiring from another company, and once it gets too busy to keep doing so, only then buy your own. One of the UK's best live sound companies who did sound on some of the biggest stages in the country used to only sub-hire from a nearby company, and did nothing but supply first-rate engineers and techs. Only in relatively recent years has work for them picked up to the point where they've actually bought their own kit. And that is still regularly supplemented by sub-hires.

Think about it.
Old 18th September 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by toneguru View Post
Buy your desk and rack gear used and your speakers new.
Out of interest... why?

Second hand doesn't mean bad. Speakers can easily have their drivers replaced with new ones, this isn't the case with everything else!

I would highly recommend buying some well-toured Turbosound / L'A / D&B / Nexo boxes and (if needed) replace the drivers with new ones. There is no need to buy new cabinets, you're getting NOTHING for your money! I would never buy new speakers! I still deal with many old-skool Turbosound Floodlight, Nexo Alpha or Meyer MLS speaker systems which are 20 years old and still on the run, the cabs are a bit beat up but with some paint look fine. Either way, they still sound the same!

I do agree with you that you need great speakers, but they really don't need to be new. Nothing wrong with some well toured boxes, it's only wood. It doesn't stop working, until it physically breaks up in front of you. But that will stop anything working...

Personally, I'd buy everything second hand. No reason not to. When you hire something from a sound company, it's basically 'second hand' in the sense that it's been used before. Why so different when buying?
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump