Category Archives: Events

Monitors: Let Me Count the Ways

When we started in live sound, the first stage monitor had not yet been used.

Since that time, monitors have become more and more important to performers, many of whom decided to use them on the basis of magazine articles telling them how much they need them.

A few years back were asked to rehabilitate the reputation of a band that had been vanquished from a venue because their sound was offensive. Customers held their hands over their ears, then left when the band performed; a bad model for a bar/restaurant.

The room, 25’X40′ with an eight foot high ceiling, doubled as a dining room. The stage was 15′ wide by 8′ deep. The six person band, keys, drums, bass, rhythm, lead guitars and a vocalist was crammed into that space.

We talked about gear and settled on replacing the four fifteen inch, 250 watt, 95 db SPL floor monitors with five, 6.5 inch, 170 watt, 100 db SPL (potential), microphone stand mounted monitors. These permitted lower real levels by placing the monitor speaker two to three feet from the musician and aimed at the ears, not their genitals. We still had a proximity problem with so many microphones and monitors placed so closely to each other, and it was impossible to get the three principle vocalists to move beyond thirty-six inches from each other, requiring a reduction of monitor volume levels to avoid feedback. 

The house sound was wonderful! Without all of the extraneous monitor noise on the stage, the patrons and fans were treated to the talent of the performers presented through speakers appropriate for the space and musical presentation. It might be fun to say, “We’re LOUD,” but it is never fun for the audience when that translates to, “We will HURT you.” The band subsequently used several tracks recorded on mobile devices as promo materials for as long as they lasted.

We deployed the same monitors for a bluegrass band and for a country in the same venue with great results for the bands, the audience and the venue’s receipts! Its amazing how much more food and drinks can be sold when the servers can take and fill orders.

Appalachian Flyer

Appalachian Flyer at Mick O’Shea’s

Choosing the correct equipment should depend on the needs of the performance, and not be limited to whatever the band members bought for their earlier ventures. Professional sound starts with the assessment of the sound reinforcement needs of the band, the venue and the audience. One size does not fit all.

AutoMixing: Managing the Microphones for Corporate Panel Discussions

Sound reinforcement providers have always struggled to manage multiple live microphones. The problem is that every open microphone diminishes the output of every other open microphone. The sound operator at events with lots of microphones spends all their time trying to keep up with the levels.

This problem doesn’t rear its head at live music performances. It comes to the forefront when there are several presenters or speakers at an event. Panels of speakers are the most difficult to manage.

9.6.dionysus-LA

Basic Sound Business Services has added the industry standard solution to their arsenal – AutoMixing.

This solution maintains the level for each speaker while minimizing the interference from microphones that are not being used by their presenter, thereby providing the presenters who are speaking with the cleanest, clearest sound for the audience.

When someone joins the conversation, their microphone is activated within milliseconds and the balance between all of the microphones is maintained. Your audience doesn’t get cut out of the conversation by microphones that cut-out.

We have all read about, or experienced, the problems encountered by panels at business meetings, political debates and other events. It doesn’t have to happen to you!

If you sponsor panel discussions, presentations with audience Q&A, Town Hall Meetings, debates, or any event with multiple speakers or presenters, call on us to make your event better.

Workout Sound: Runs, Walks & Rides

Punxsutawney Phil tells us that Spring is just around the corner, sometime after the next snow storm, or the one after that.

VDAY_Mud RunWhen it arrives, Spring will bring all nature of rides, runs and walks for charities and for fun! Of the elements that make these events work, music tailored to the activity and a public address system that keeps the participants informed enhances the event, keeping it moving on schedule and enjoyable for everyone.

Announcements have to be intelligible (understood) to move folks from the parking area to registration to staging to the start line. Your sound engineer must have the skills and understanding of audio to make this happen. All of have attended events where, after an announcement, we heard and said, “What did they say?”

Warm-up music should reach out to the greatest demographics, containing elements that help the participants warm-up both bicycle-race_42046_600x450emotionally and physically. Audio providers should have a broad collection of music designed to enhance the exercise aspect of your event, music with a beat that will help bring up the heart rate and get people ready to go!

If an event contains a formal warm-up, led by a celebrity, a headset microphone is a must! Remember seeing the exercise leader calling out the instructions as they demonstrate the exercise while trying to hold a microphone, dropping it, or watching as someone tried to hold a microphone up to the leader’s mouth. Don’t let that happen at your event.MikeStart

Core to all of this is an audio provider with the knowledge and experience to make your event the best it can be, providing the equipment and music that keep your participants coming back year after year!

Share your stories of successes and unmet challenges here, not only improving your next event, but that of the organizers of other events attended by your supporters.

 

Automixing: Managing Sound with Multiple Open Microphones

You have planned a super event with four subject matter experts to enlighten your audience. Your sound reinforcement provider sets up microphones for them, and one for the moderator. That’ll work! Right?9.6.dionysus-LA

During the discussion, two, then three experts interrupt each other, correcting and expanding on their colleague’s comments. The sound drops out. Your moderator attempts to get control and a painful feedback squeal assaults your audience. This is what your audience remembers.

Or you have three experts lined up and ready to go when theSeated Panel two pre-eminent researchers in the field show up, and you ask them to share microphones. This results in more bad sound, and an audience looking for the exits. The media reports about the sound.

We have all been at, or read about, events like these, or political debates, community theaters, town halls and others places where the presenters talk over each other, swap microphones back and forth, and more, all diminishing the value to your audience of your well planned event.

Basic Sound Business Services has added the solution for this to our arsenal of corporate event communication tools – AutoMixing.

When there are multiple open microphones, they each interfere with each other, diminishing the quality of the sound. The closer together the microphones, the greater the interference, diminishing the quality of the presentations. When microphones are handled, the result is often a disturbing rumble. Too often, there is cacophony, or painful feedback.

We understand the importance to our corporate clients for high quality sound events and have gone the extra mile to ensure good, basic sound.  Our Automixer maintains the balance when multiple people speak, turning down the microphones that are not being used, turning them up within milliseconds when they receive a signal. We can supply and manage up to sixteen microphones, a task that would far exceed the manual dexterity of the best sound technicians.

View of the room

View of the room

If you plan events, hold events, or sponsor events with multiple presenters, we can improve the sound and clarity for you. Let us know if you have questions about your events.

Music: It’s not the size of your stacks, but the clarity of the sound

Who can forFillmore Westget the Fillmore West’s 1969 sound, stacks of speaker cabinets providing a visual background and deafening noise. From the Grateful Dead, to Santana and early Heavy Metal a big sound was born.Technologies have changed how live music can be delivered.

In the twenty-first century, two one-thousand watt cabinets with a pair of 12″ speakers each and a matching sub-woofer provide far more intelligible and pleasant sound than four 250 watt, two way speakers from the last century, for the audience of 300 people or less. That’s where bands are playing, week in and week out.

High quality, high efficiency components, not only make the musicians sound good, they enhance the listening experience for the audience. After all, you aren’t playing at the Fillmore.

And, when the venue is selling food and drink, the too loud performance prevents the customer from placing the order and sales suffer. When the music is just plain loud, the audience feels real pain. If you’re in pain and can’t order the food or beverage you want, what do you?

Why, you answer the question put forth by The Clash: Do I Stay or Do I Go?

With so many entertainment venue options available, the answer will be clear.

Save your band with sound that takes into account the needs of the band, the audience and the venue. Move on to greater success.

Excellence is a Habit: False Economies

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

The above quote came to us from https://www.facebook.com/RunnersWorld.

A minor household repair came up today. It required a wrench.

The $10, 40 piece Socket Set received as a gift was sitting on the bench top. The correct socket was located and the socket driver selected. One turn. Two turns. The plastic handle of the socket driver split into six irregular pieces. Back to the bench for the high quality driver. It cost four times what the cheap driver did and that was the difference between a failed repair and an excellent one.

We often explain to our prospective clients that the services and tools they use today, will affect their future events and success. Excellence doesn’t happen by accident. It doesn’t come from a “how hard can it be” attitude.

Excellence requires preparation. Preparation includes obtaining knowledge and developing an understanding of the task at hand. Knowledge and understanding leads to practice. Practice converts the knowledge and understanding into growth that comes from more learning. The mere acquisition of fabric, a needle and some thread is unlikely to result in the creation of an excellent ball gown without preparation, knowledge and understanding of how to cut and assemble the fabric with the needle and thread, followed by repetition, practice and skill development.

Great cuts of meat, fresh vegetables, some pots, a fire and shelf full or every imaginable spice will not result  in a table of palatable food that excites the palate and nourishes the body with the cook preparing by gaining knowledge and understanding of how the components must be assembled into an excellent meal, and growth through experience gained by repetition and adjustment in the development of skills.

Excellence doesn’t happen by accident. Without preparation, knowledge, and understanding, the most you can hope for is avoidance of a complete, total, utter, failure without tragic results.

When you are planning an event that helps define your future, bring on the people who have the knowledge and skills, developed through preparation and practice of their crafts, and you have set your self up for success through excellence. Saving pennies by having the pool-party-hostess neighbor plan your event, or by having your professional mechanic do your fundraising, picking up a cheap PA to entertain your guests and deliver your message all set you up for failure.

Buy the best tools you can. Seek financial advice and services. from a CPA or professional Financial Planner. Get legal advice from an attorney. That all should go without saying, right?

Pay for the experienced planner, the professional fundraiser, the professional caterer and the professional audio service provider. They bring you the same preparation, understanding and experience as other professionals. They thrive on excellence in their products and services. They prevent accidents. Invest in yourself by investing in good quality people who have and use the best tools for you, the best habits.

Don’t let cheap tools shatter your dream of excellence. That’s false economy!

 

What is a Program DJ?

When describing the nature of some of our services, there is often a quizzical look in response to the term “Program DJ”. Let’s see if we can make sense of it.

Everybody knows what a DJ is and does, right? Maybe. Those two letters, or the words disc jockey, can take in a lot of different roles and jobs. At the core is sound reinforcement, the playing of music and providing microphones and management for presenters. From these roots, a multitude of DJ styles grow.

A “Program DJ” works with the client in advance of an event to identify the style, genre, or even specific tracks that become the entertainment for the evening. The program DJs forte’ is events where the music is used to enhance the experience of attending, where the purpose of the event is other than dancing the night away. Program DJs can still add excitement to the dance floor, too!

More often, program DJs provide the tone and background for the event that could be networking, fundraising, exercise, dinner, or another event where the focus is on the people in attendance, not the entertainer. These DJs use musical knowledge, research and skill to select the best music in advance of the event, spending many hours screening and rehearsing to make the event wonderful.

Program DJs often have a broad musical library, and familiarity with a variety of musical styles preparing them to meet the needs of different events, social groups and desires. They’ll have a large variety of instrumental music as well as songs with lyrics. A dinner party on the green will usually call for music different for that for the corporate awards banquet. Just as different radio stations play music for different audiences, a program DJ is able to play the right music for a variety of events.

Another area that sets professional Program DJs apart is with special events. Fundraisers, races, runs, exercise events, issue rallies, parades and similar events require multiple skill sets on the part of the sound reinforcement provider. Often, there are multiple musics styles required as well as the management of the output of presenters. Playing music loud is pretty easy. People will figure out the beat and the song, even if the sound is distorted by poor management. Not so with the spoken word.

When the guests at your event need directions, your audio provider should make those announcements as clear sounding as if you were talking them at close range. Whether leading an worm-up exercise session, or providing sign-up and staging directions, if your audience can’t understand the announcements, your event can devolve into a garbled, disorganized mass. The program DJ brings the best equipment, not necessarily the biggest equipment to this event. The program DJ brings the skills to manage the voice frequencies being reinforced so the sound is intelligible. Program DJ Sound Reinforcement Equipment

Club DJs provide the music that keeps you drinking and dancing into the night. Within the subset Club DJ there are variations. Some “mash” original music for you, blending multiple songs into an original version. Some of these can be published as DJ Mixes and get radio play in addition to being played by other DJs who respect the originator’s work.

Some Club DJs “scratch”, alter the sound of a song through physical or electronic manipulation of the track, making the music unique for that event. Club DJs work long hours in the rehearsal studio refining their techniques and creating the music that their audience wants.

Wedding DJ’s make or break the impression of the wedding, the most important day in the life in two people and their guests. Research has shown that hours will be dedicated to the selection of the rings, the cake, the menu and the facility, but in the end, no one will remember anything but the party that follows the formalities. (I left out big accidents like falls and the garbling of names during the introductions. Those will be remembered, too.)

Brides and Grooms should focus on selecting the Wedding DJ that gains their trust through performance during the selection process. Wedding DJs should have the flexibility to work with the principles, the planner and the families. They should be selected on the basis of their ability to provide the experience wanted by the Bride and Groom. They will present the organizational tools needed to nail down the smallest of details and to get tasks completed in the right order and on time. Select the voice you want to hear making your introductions. This is your one opportunity to make this day perfect. Don’t scrimp and compromise on your entertainment. Get a Wedding DJ.

Party DJs will often have the music variety to meet the needs of a broad population. Pool parties, house parties, birthday parties, anniversary parties, retirement parties, going away parties, coming home parties, whatever you want to celebrate with friends, require special attention from your DJ. Although the DJ may have party pricing packages, each event is unique and your Party DJ should provide you with the flexibility and skills to make your party exactly what it should be.

The foregoing is not a exhaustive list of the variety of DJ services in the marketplace. It as overview intended to differentiate between common forms in the art and how Program DJs fit into the marketplace.

Please share you comments and questions.