Sound reinforcement

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Cap

Always At Your Service
Feelhim : It's a separate and distinct business application from Mobile DJ work. It requires a real plan, real tax certifications, real business licenses, credit card services, financing programs, and lots and lots of stuff.

If one thinks the public perception of a Mobile DJ is "just a DJ", wait until you deal with the "a speaker is just a speaker" mentality. Oh wait, we already are.

My biggest problem is keeping up with technology. LED light rental units have a shelf life of maybe three months before something newer, faster, brighter, and easier to use comes along. Monitor prices are dropping, but so is quality (cheap Chinese made crap!!!) FCC keeps f'ing with uhf frequencies and time lines, Gas is going to sky rocket again.

With all due respect, marketing is the very least of the worries.
 

Johnny Dee

Website Design & Success Moderator
Staff member
We are doing "Sound Reinforcement".

If you are just going to do sound for sales presentations, motivational speakers, background music, etc...you don't need a whole lot.

However, if you intend to do sound for Bands...you are going to have to spend some money. You will need a decent mixing board, snake, multiple mics, specialty mics for the drums, etc. Then you need gates, compressors, reverb units, etc. You will also need a good monitor system for the band. This is just to do local bands.

If you start doing semi name bands, touring bands, etc...they will have Riders that specify special name equipment. Most of the name equipment that DJ's use won't qualify under the Riders. Some of these bands are also now using "In-ear" monitors so you need to be set up for this.

You also really need to know what you are doing as a sound engineer to get into this end of the business. We recently put up a separate website just for our sound reinforcement, event lighting and screens business. Here's a link to it:

http://www.audiovideoandeventlighting.com
 

Scott McKinney

Active Member
A typical "DJ" can't just jump in and start doing live sound. period!
It's a whole new set of skills and unless you have developed them along the way, just "starting a sound company" will be a BIG mistake. Where a DJ will have to mix between 2 sound sources and an announcement mike, a F.O.H sound engineer will need to mix 16, 24, 32 54 or more channels and have it all come out right (not counting channels for monitor mix).
I run a 32 channel Soundcraft Ghost for FOH and a Yamaha 32/14FX for monitor mix and a Studiomaster 32/16/8 for recording mixdown. Then....You need to add your mains, monitors, amp racks, mike stands, in-ear monitors, effects racks, recording decks (if recording live) cables (LOT'S of cables) and a huge mike locker.
and more. You think mixing cd decks and toast mikes is sound reinforcement? Try 40 channels of live mikes. 9 or more on the drum kit, keyboard inputs, bass mike, lead mike, rhythm guitar, backup vocalists, lead singer and harmony mikes. any other percussionists ( bongo's, chimes and such)...it all adds up.
You're looking a serious investment not even counting the learning curve to make it all work.
The FOH soundman can't make a bad band sound good but if you stink as a FOH soundman....the best band in the land won't be heard.
Do lot's of homework before jumping in.
 

Dr.Rhythm

New Member
I do a regional sales meeting every month. It's not concert sound reinforcement by any means. I provide mics, hookup DVD players, laptops for presentations, play upbeat music when leaders come on stage, etc. This month I hooked up a laptop to my sound system for a guest speaker in New York, I'm in California. We used Skype to video conference with the guest speaker. I used a zone output on my mixer to the mic in on the laptop so the guest speaker could hear everything going on at the meeting, music and all. I was surprised because it actually worked really well, even using the hotel wireless. It took a bit of setup and I had to put on my I.T. hat to help the guest speaker get Skype rolling on her end but it worked well.

I don't find it all that complicated to do the work but it's different work than DJing a wedding. One thing you'll need for sure is a live sound mixer opposed to a DJ mixer. There are very few DJ mixers that have more than two microphone inputs.

I also get into the act sometimes by participating with "line" during skits or presentations. I spend most of my time riding the faders for all the different people that speak on the mics. One person will eat the mic and the next want's to hold it down at their waist.
 

Ken Heath

Super Moderator...da-ta-daaa!!!
Staff member
I did sound for virtually the entire Mobile Beat Convention in Las Vegas one year at the Tropicana...it took everything I owned, plus everything I could borrow and a few things I had to steal!

I got to town Sunday night and <FLASH> the next day it was Friday morning!!!

Whatever you think you're going to need...multiply by two!
(and you'll probably still be short one at some point)

:)

It's not impossible to do, but like has been pointed out by people with more experience than you and me combined...it ain't easy!
 

Johnny Dee

Website Design & Success Moderator
Staff member
If you think the DJ business is very competitive...wait until you start doing sound reinforcement.

For the sound companies to survive with the heavy investment they have in equipment, thet have to be out working 6 days a week. Some of the lowball figures I have seen amazed me until I realized they had to keep the equipment out there working to get a ROI. By the way, most of these companies do not buy a lot of the big stuff...they lease it.
 

MBM

New Member
I have a friend that does it, he has 10-20X invested and typically make less per job than I do, by the time he pays his crew.
 
I had a pretty good rig.

Yamaha MX400-24, 3 different drum mic kits, about 3 dozen wired mics, 3 stereo EQs (4 mon mixes, l&r FOH), 3 lexicons, 3 DBX comp/limiters, QSC amps, EV tops, EAW subs, EV & EAW monitors. 32 can Par64 with 40' truss, L-16 lifts, cheap 10 cranks, etc.

I paid UPS over $3,000 in shipping to send it all over the US to the highest ebay bidders.

Besides smaller festivals, I hosted underground teen rock shows. Bands change out in 5 minutes, 3 minutes for sound checks. Usually 4-5 bands at a show.
 

feelhim

New Member
Slow down guys im not talking about doing concerts.I'm looking at speaking engagements maybe open mic type stuff not the rolling stones lol.
 

Bob Dietrich

Active Member
Ok, one VERY important thing nobody has mentioned yet...LIABILITY! You need to make sure you have adequate insurance to cover your a$$!!! This is much different liability than a mobile DJ needs...but probably should have anyway since a equipment malfunction could ruin a toast as easy as it could ruin a press conference.

Also, make sure you have 3 of at least everything! LOL!!!

Most of the rest of the posts are right on as well. I still use speakers that are now approaching 20 years of age for some events...and they still work great! I have mics that are older than that. My original pressbox was built way back when and still works fine...though this is something I'll probably be talking to Bill about in the next couple of years.

The point here is making your equipment pay for itself...and taking care of it so it will continue to give many years of service.

As for insurance...whatever you think will be enough...quadruple it!
 

Gordonsound

New Member
I am Sound Co that added Dj services because the market for Dj verses the market for sound services was so much better, Now we are a multi-op. My #1 suggestion is stay out of the Band market, there are tons of guys ready to go out for $250 with piles of gear.
(and not garbage or a inexperienced operator either just bad at marketing and have gear payments to make)
I still do it because its my passion and I have the inventory and expeirience and some really good festival contracts.

Go for Auctions, Meetings, seminars, Awards banquets, Sales meetings and go modular A system w/ 6-8 Speakers on sticks and 8 microphones for a big auction can easily be converted to four 2 speaker sound systems for I pod weddings and small meetings. Dont forget a couple of 3500 lumens projectors, some 6 and 8 ft screens, a couple of laptops and 42' LCD Display. You should have wireless laveliers, hand helds and "invisible type" headsets, and several hand held w/ switch and either own or know where to rent Compact gooseneck mics, larger projectors and Screens, press boxes.

Dont buy it until you need it, or really think you will use it and dont hang on to it too long. I love to buy gear as much as the next guy. As a Dj you buy what you want to use not what a client wants as a rental house you buy what the client needs. You may want to use that Allen and heath mixer but the client wants the simpliciity of 4 knobs. I am not say go out and buy some cheap junk, go buy Industry standard and easy to use peices for "Drop" rentals. Get too fancy and the average client cant figure it out. The average rental client will need this equipment once a year or even once a lifetime.
If all your going to do is stuff with a operator fine but you are leaving a lot on the table.


You really got to Hustle it, I would look for several medium aging hotel/event center with old inventory and offer them a exclusive booking fee. ( no capital outlay, no labor outlay and a new source of revenue ) You have to find a client who sees the Value in charging for the services, some just don't care enough because they roll it as free in the package ( same client who wonders why the new convention center gets all the gigs)

You have to take credit cards (not paypal ether, a proper machine) for deposits and payments. And you need to be prepared to bill out Net 30 ( up to 60) and take PO's from certain clients.

This client also expects to be able to contact you during normal day buisness hours, so if you can't contact ( e-mail or phone ) the client back promptly ( no more than an hour) during daytime hours forget it.

Make sure you take a deposit or get a card at time of rental and explain your reservation policy, the world is full of flakes.
 

Beachcitiesdjs

Account Closed
Agreed, I did sound reinforcement for a film festival for a few years, and every year it was further away...down the 405. Nightmare commute. I provided DJ speakers and mics for both little panels (usually 3 producers who hate using mics) did the awards (Fritz Colman is a 'mic at the waist guy') and hooked up to bands. The bands would inevitably show up 5 minutes prior to performance, and were real prima donnas. The hot lesbian band at the last event was cool though.
 

Scott McKinney

Active Member
If your just doing small lecture/open mike stuff then just get you a small Mackie or Yamaha 12 channel (or less) and run it into you DJ rig. This will be good enough. When you get into music...then you have to worry about headroom and a bunch of other things but for just vocal stuff....you'll be fine.
 

djBACh

Derby City DJ
The point here is making your equipment pay for itself...and taking care of it so it will continue to give many years of service.
yep - this is exactly why i went the other way around. one of the reasons i came to louisville was because i love its music scene. but being an out of towner, and in my late 30's and TOTALLY unestablished as a musician here i found it easier to get dj work.

been a musician half my life, learned to dj a number of years later and did it intermittently, and owned all my own sound reinforcement equipment, wasnt working as a musician (trust me - thats a complete pain!) and decided i needed that equipment to earn its keep!

so i sold some of my sound reinforcement equipment and bought dj equipment and went to work!

i still work in live music environments - even helped do the FOH install at my club - it still amazes me what all goes into it. even more so now that we have a soundtech i am even more amazed. this guys isnt just a soundtech - he is a sound scientist. i thought i knew something - until i met this guy!

PLUS - im just getting to damned old to haul all that around! lmao!
 

Corey Rock

Nubsauce Dancer
I did sound for virtually the entire Mobile Beat Convention in Las Vegas one year at the Tropicana...it took everything I owned, plus everything I could borrow and a few things I had to steal!

I got to town Sunday night and <FLASH> the next day it was Friday morning!!!

Whatever you think you're going to need...multiply by two!
(and you'll probably still be short one at some point)

:)

It's not impossible to do, but like has been pointed out by people with more experience than you and me combined...it ain't easy!

Ken, I remember when you did this. I thought you did a great job. You, Mark, and Ryan all running around...almost as fun as the three...... :)
 
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