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Author Topic: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org  (Read 14154 times)

Doug Fowler

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Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« on: May 08, 2012, 05:16:34 pm »

Use this forum for photos and discussions about SR in the olden days.

I will move content over from historyofconcertsound.org.  I had been maintaining it elsewhere; this is its new home.

General rule of thumb: 1979 or earlier, for now.

If you have content from before 1980 and you wish to share, please do so.

edit for bump to top, to "stickify"...
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 02:58:10 pm by Doug Fowler »
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duane massey

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Re: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2012, 06:19:21 pm »

This is going to be fun, if any of us old guys can really remember that far back. Thanks, Doug.
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Duane Massey
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Scott Carneval

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Re: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2012, 06:45:47 pm »

This is going to be fun, if any of us old guys can really remember that far back. Thanks, Doug.

I wasn't alive, but I'm definitely interested to read more about the systems back then
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2012, 06:57:38 pm »

Use this forum for photos and discussions about SR in the olden days.

I will move content over from historyofconcertsound.org.  I had been maintaining it elsewhere; this is its new home.

General rule of thumb: 1979 or earlier, for now.

If you have content from before 1980 and you wish to share, please do so.
Since our industry is fairly young (saying it started in the late 60's-for large scale shows)-there are people still alive who can contribute.

For the young guys-it was A LOT HARDER back then.  With power transfer (not voltage transfer like now)-termination of inputs/outputs-mostly unbalanced lines-low power-lots of electronic failures (a lot of shows had a repairman on site with a bench to fix the gear that broke during the show), lack of standard connectors (although we are headed that way again in the digital relm) and so forth and so on.

When you look at some of the major acts and what type/size systems they used-it is quite small by todays standards.  For example Cream toured with a 500 watt system-Woodstock used a 10Kw system-Deep Purple used a 10Kw system-Grand Funk used a 14Kw system and so forth.  Now those wattages are barely a decent monitor rig-let alone a PA for a large crowd.  And lots of medium sized acts used 1 or 2 Shure Vocal Masters-with 100 watts each!

Thank you for starting this-it should be quite interesting.
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Ivan Beaver
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Ivan Beaver

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The Who's PA history
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2012, 08:18:51 pm »

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Art Welter

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Re: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2012, 02:23:56 pm »

Since our industry is fairly young (saying it started in the late 60's-for large scale shows)-there are people still alive who can contribute.

For the young guys-it was A LOT HARDER back then.  With power transfer (not voltage transfer like now)-termination of inputs/outputs-mostly unbalanced lines-low power-lots of electronic failures (a lot of shows had a repairman on site with a bench to fix the gear that broke during the show), lack of standard connectors (although we are headed that way again in the digital relm) and so forth and so on.

When you look at some of the major acts and what type/size systems they used-it is quite small by todays standards.  For example Cream toured with a 500 watt system-Woodstock used a 10Kw system-Deep Purple used a 10Kw system-Grand Funk used a 14Kw system and so forth.  Now those wattages are barely a decent monitor rig-let alone a PA for a large crowd.  And lots of medium sized acts used 1 or 2 Shure Vocal Masters-with 100 watts each!

Thank you for starting this-it should be quite interesting.
Ivan,
Things were harder, but there was less complaining about how tough it was, that was just the way it was.
On my first show as a partner with a "professional" sound company, Eclipse Concert Systems (AKA "Collapse Concert Systems"), I was instructed the first thing out of the truck was the tool box, and I should plug in the soldering iron so it would be ready for immediate use..

While my partners and stagehands assembled the system, I was busy using various spare parts and cutting up short XLR cords to make several microphone "Y" cords needed to cover Taj Mahal's  input list, many channels more than our console.

After a few years, I struck out on my own starting a company called Southern Thunder Sound, and built a system that falls just on the tail end of Doug's 1979 cut off, pictured below with the “Enterprise”, a 24’ straight truck that was owned by Jefferson Starship, then the band Heartsfeild, then myself.
Many of the components from that system are still in use in various places around the upper mid west.

Most of the major systems at that time were DIY, note the Terry Hanley intercom in the ”Road System Inventory”.

The end of the 1970’s heralded a change from large, ultra efficient horn systems to more dense pack systems that used double (or more) the amplifier power but only required half the truck space.
 Still using horn loaded cabinets, the STS/Welter Systems  of 1981 were equal in output to the 1979 system using half the space. By 1987, speaker size was 1/3,  which left more room for  (relatively) light weight lighting equipment. This helped, as the weight density of speaker systems was now enough to make any truck legally overweight if completely filled with sound only.
The Enterprise on occasion was almost double legal capacity, we learned the routes required to avoid weigh stations.

Now my 2005 system can fit in a 5x8 trailer and equal the output (except in the mid bass/low mid frequencies) of the 1979 24'  truck filling system.

Of course,  people are used to systems much louder than in the "olden days", car subs have more power than concert systems used back then.

Art Welter
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 02:37:48 pm by Art Welter »
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2012, 12:29:08 pm »

Art, I like the 125' #4 main feeder cable with 125 amp alligator clips....  That's "power with a bite!"
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2012, 05:36:53 pm »

Art, I like the 125' #4 main feeder cable with 125 amp alligator clips....  That's "power with a bite!"
When you gotta tie in hot-a twist on clamp may be the only way.  I always carried some with me-just in case.

I have done quite a few hot tie ins-even so far as tieing under the main incoming power while the building was operating.

HIGHLY NOT SUGGESTED-but I have done it a number of times.  I didn't like doing it-but you gotta do what you gotta do.

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Tomm Williams

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Re: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2012, 12:41:11 pm »

I've been waiting for a thread like this forever. Would love to know some of the details behind the Woodstock system if anyone knows.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2012, 01:21:03 pm »

I've been waiting for a thread like this forever. Would love to know some of the details behind the Woodstock system if anyone knows.
Here would be a start

http://www.billhanley.org/projects/1969_08_15-woodstock/
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Tomm Williams

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Re: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2012, 04:20:23 pm »

Here would be a start

http://www.billhanley.org/projects/1969_08_15-woodstock/

Great read but what a drastic difference concerning "enough rig for the gig". Would be interesting to know how truly effective that rig was for the size of the venue. By todays standards, that would be a rig for about 2000 people. Would be an even greater "debate-starter" if it was deemed to have worked just fine. Certainly the folks in the front-third or so could probably hear just fine, what about the back 40?
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2012, 05:40:26 pm »

Great read but what a drastic difference concerning "enough rig for the gig". Would be interesting to know how truly effective that rig was for the size of the venue. By todays standards, that would be a rig for about 2000 people. Would be an even greater "debate-starter" if it was deemed to have worked just fine. Certainly the folks in the front-third or so could probably hear just fine, what about the back 40?
One thing that many/most people forget-is that the "gig" was not supposed to be that large.  The system was designed for a much smaller crowd-but the event grew.

As Bill Hanley tols us once-there were delay towers out in the crowd.  But they weren't used-because something happened with the tape deck that was going to be used as a delay device.

ALso the SPL levels of concerts back then was not as loud as today.  Probably because they couldn't get as loud as we can.  Lack of large amps and high power capacity loudspeakers.  Remember that a 300 watt/channel amp was a VERY LARGE amp back then.

My first systems were run on lots of 100 watt amps that I built.  I remember when I got my first BIG amp-a Peavey CS800.  I felt I had "arrived" and that would be all the power I would ever need for bass.  And I was doing mostly hard rock at the time.  Oh how the times have changed.  Before long it wasn't enough to do monitors well.
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Hayden J. Nebus

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Re: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2012, 07:11:08 pm »

Ivan,
Things were harder, but there was less complaining about how tough it was, that was just the way it was.
On my first show as a partner with a "professional" sound company, Eclipse Concert Systems (AKA "Collapse Concert Systems"), I was instructed the first thing out of the truck was the tool box, and I should plug in the soldering iron so it would be ready for immediate use..

While my partners and stagehands assembled the system, I was busy using various spare parts and cutting up short XLR cords to make several microphone "Y" cords needed to cover Taj Mahal's  input list, many channels more than our console.

After a few years, I struck out on my own starting a company called Southern Thunder Sound, and built a system that falls just on the tail end of Doug's 1979 cut off, pictured below with the “Enterprise”, a 24’ straight truck that was owned by Jefferson Starship, then the band Heartsfeild, then myself.
Many of the components from that system are still in use in various places around the upper mid west.

Most of the major systems at that time were DIY, note the Terry Hanley intercom in the ”Road System Inventory”.

The end of the 1970’s heralded a change from large, ultra efficient horn systems to more dense pack systems that used double (or more) the amplifier power but only required half the truck space.
 Still using horn loaded cabinets, the STS/Welter Systems  of 1981 were equal in output to the 1979 system using half the space. By 1987, speaker size was 1/3,  which left more room for  (relatively) light weight lighting equipment. This helped, as the weight density of speaker systems was now enough to make any truck legally overweight if completely filled with sound only.
The Enterprise on occasion was almost double legal capacity, we learned the routes required to avoid weigh stations.

Now my 2005 system can fit in a 5x8 trailer and equal the output (except in the mid bass/low mid frequencies) of the 1979 24'  truck filling system.

Of course,  people are used to systems much louder than in the "olden days", car subs have more power than concert systems used back then.

Art Welter

I find it interesting that while that 70's PA may look like a bronchiasaur today, the mic kit remains respectable!
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Art Welter

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Re: Welcome to historyofconcertsound.org
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2012, 06:31:37 pm »

I find it interesting that while that 70's PA may look like a bronchiasaur today, the mic kit remains respectable!
Transducers have made little advancement since the days of old, though it is possible to get good sounding microphones for a fraction of the cost we paid for that kit back then.
Though there has been great advances in woofers Xmax potential, allowing 6-10 dB more output (using about 8 to 12 times more power) HF transducers have made virtually no advances in terms of high output with low distortion.

Most of the HF drivers from the STS dinosaur picture are probably still in use.

Art
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