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Author Topic: A few questions for BEs  (Read 8962 times)

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A few questions for BEs
« on: June 08, 2008, 01:40:50 pm »

Greetings,

I have a few questions for BEs traveling with national acts.

1. Do you ever find yourself helping SEs troubleshoot their systems?  If so, how often?

2. Has troubleshooting ever taken time you needed for more critical tasks?

3. Have you ever found yourself discovering problems that you felt should have already been dealt with by the SE and/or sound company?

4. Do you find that SEs generally take a proactive role in problem solving, or do they allow you to diagnose/fix problems?

Thanks in advance for the replies.

-Matt

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bruce reiter

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Re: A few questions for BEs
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2008, 02:02:17 pm »

Matthew Whitman wrote on Sun, 08 June 2008 12:40

Greetings,

I have a few questions for BEs traveling with national acts.


Matthew Whitman wrote on Sun, 08 June 2008 12:40


1. Do you ever find yourself helping SEs troubleshoot their systems?  If so, how often?

yes, more often than not.

Matthew Whitman wrote on Sun, 08 June 2008 12:40


2. Has troubleshooting ever taken time you needed for more critical tasks?

yes. so many times a system will have simple problems like a horn is out or a bad cable etc etc and tracking it down can be a pain. i wish more house guys would check their systems before hand.
i always run some noise and go through each amp channel and often find part of the pa does not work and am told "nobody" else noticed or complained.
subs being blown and being out of phase is often a problem.


Matthew Whitman wrote on Sun, 08 June 2008 12:40


3. Have you ever found yourself discovering problems that you felt should have already been dealt with by the SE and/or sound company?

yes! and it sucks and wastes my time!

Matthew Whitman wrote on Sun, 08 June 2008 12:40


4. Do you find that SEs generally take a proactive role in problem solving, or do they allow you to diagnose/fix problems?

25% of the systems guys are awesome and if there is a problem found they take care of it right away. many times the system guy is just not skilled enough to even know there is a problem let alone fix it.
this is more in the 2000 capacity and under venues.

Matthew Whitman wrote on Sun, 08 June 2008 12:40


Thanks in advance for the replies.

-Matt




no problem
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Alex Schultz

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Re: A few questions for BEs
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2008, 02:04:51 pm »

Matthew Whitman wrote on Sun, 08 June 2008 12:40

Greetings,

I have a few questions for BEs traveling with national acts.

1. Do you ever find yourself helping SEs troubleshoot their systems?  If so, how often?

2. Has troubleshooting ever taken time you needed for more critical tasks?

3. Have you ever found yourself discovering problems that you felt should have already been dealt with by the SE and/or sound company?

4. Do you find that SEs generally take a proactive role in problem solving, or do they allow you to diagnose/fix problems?

Thanks in advance for the replies.

-Matt




Yes......... rarely but it happens.

Yes......... troubleshooting someone else's rig always takes time away from more critical tasks.

Yes.........

Well, if I've discovered something wrong, then he/she is obviously not taking a proactive role in his/her basic function as a SE - providing a fully-functional, meets the spec system for my use.

Pro guys will instantly go into "team - whatever it takes" mode and get it sorted out. The "other" (see above above) type will make excuses instead of finding/applying a solution....

Damn............almost got started on it again.

Besta Daze
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Karl Maciag

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Re: A few questions for BEs
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2008, 02:23:26 pm »

Hopefully troubleshooting systems doen't have to happen often, hopefully things are done properly when you get there,  I would say troubleshooting big problems is a rare occurence for me.  Maybe one out of 30 shows, there might be a big problem with the system.  Troubleshooting little things like a funky insert or a bad snake channel might happen more often,  but those aren't really show stoppers, or delay soundcheck for any long period of time.

i've had very rare problems where things have been delayed such as setting up openers, which can cause doors to open late, but in several years of doing this, that's happened less than ten times that i can remember.  My big problem is the stage not being patched right during hectic changeovers, and delaying the start of the set, which usually means the band not getting to play their whole set,  which makes me very unhappy.  A good stagehand, patch person is a high priority for me, especially on multiband shows.  I advance my stage plot, and input list, and always bring copies for all people involved in the stage.  It get annoyed when SE's, house techs, whoever don't pay attention to them.  I've never had a stage with more than 24 inputs while on tour, i don't think that's a big task to take on, and change over properly.

As far as discovering big problems, and the SE being proactive, i think they go hand in hand.  If the system is maintained well, and is in good order when you walk in,  i think it's a direct reflection of how much time the SE or production company put into preparation for your show.  More preparation will usually lead to those problems being found and fixed before the band shows up.  I've had the pleasure to work with some phenomenal crews at some great clubs, that had everything ready, as soon as we walked in the door, and rarely would i find the slightest problem.  Places like the Norva, the 9:30 club, House of Blues, Pageant, the Starland Ballroom, and several other places, i know to expect a top notch crew, and a very low stress day,  because they are prepared, their gear always works, and most importantly, they love this stuff as much as I do.   it's the shows where you walk in, the SE is late, and the cabling and stands from the last show haven't even been struck that worry me.  That indicates a lack of interest in doing a professional show, and the attitude of the SE will usually match what you see when you walk in.

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Mike Babcock

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Re: A few questions for BEs
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2008, 04:53:36 pm »

Matthew Whitman wrote on Sun, 08 June 2008 13:40

Greetings,

I have a few questions for BEs traveling with national acts.

1. Do you ever find yourself helping SEs troubleshoot their systems?  If so, how often?

I always point out the troubled areas and see if the system tech figures it out. If they try and fail I will help out. If they get lippy about their system being screwed, I will fix it, but not before talking to the promoter rep about the issue. Having been a system tech for a long time, I know that everything eventually breaks, but I also know that leaving things broken loses gigs.
Quote:

2. Has troubleshooting ever taken time you needed for more critical tasks?

Of course
Quote:

3. Have you ever found yourself discovering problems that you felt should have already been dealt with by the SE and/or sound company?

Any problem should already have been fixed.
Quote:

4. Do you find that SEs generally take a proactive role in problem solving, or do they allow you to diagnose/fix problems?

Depends on the person. Someone who is there for the free beer typically isn't as proactive as someone who wants my gig or wants the production on my next tour.
Quote:

Thanks in advance for the replies.

-Matt

Your welcome in hindsight.
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Mike Babcock

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Re: A few questions for BEs
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2008, 05:21:44 pm »

I have to take exception to one of those clubs you mentioned, the one with the basketball court. I've been there 3 times in the past 2 years.

First time, great, everything was awesome. I mixed the opener because I wanted a chance to mix on that great system.

Second time, I brought my own monitor console, all I had was 6 sends to their board for wedges and fills. All the guy had to do was wire up 3 wedge mixes, sides and drum were already wired. Took him 2 hours to figure it out. I was busy wiring everything else up and working on other mixes while he was figuring it out. Eventually I nudged him out of the way and replaced a single mic cable to get it working. I also mixed both openers and had the great tech at foh help out in monitors so the bands could actually make it through the set.

Third time, brand new M7CLs at both locations, monitor tech was on it and understood the concept. Foh tech had no clue whatsoever. Foh tech was eventually replaced as my foh guy needed someone who knew it inside and out and got absolutely nothing from that person. This was the tour where I had no digital at foh in big bold capital letters in my rider. The owner of the production company was not happy that the PM of the club gave me his cell number to complain. When I got called out of dinner, and later out of the mall, and again later out of the bus to fix the exact same issue at foh (figuring out how to send to a mix instead of a matrix), not to mention the tens of errors earlier in the day (recalling a different scene instead of saving the current scene, etc), I had to do something.

Sometimes things go downhill, hopefully these were isolated incidents and if they weren't, someone takes some action and keeps good techs in there.

But I totally agree with the rest of your examples.
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bruce reiter

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Re: A few questions for BEs
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2008, 12:48:21 am »

Karl Maciag wrote on Sun, 08 June 2008 13:23

.  Places like the Norva, the 9:30 club, House of Blues, Pageant, the Starland Ballroom,



the norva is one of my favorite venues in the world!
awesome sounding rooms! and the se at the mentioned clubs really do take care of the gear and are "patch masters" they make it fun.
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Re: A few questions for BEs
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2008, 01:01:54 am »

Matthew Whitman wrote on Sun, 08 June 2008 13:40

Greetings,

I have a few questions for BEs traveling with national acts.


3. Have you ever found yourself discovering problems that you felt should have already been dealt with by the SE and/or sound company?




No, never.  Rolling Eyes  Laughing

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a269/MulishaSympathizer/YC022.jpg
http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a269/MulishaSympathizer/YC090.jpg
http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a269/MulishaSympathizer/YC088.jpg
http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a269/MulishaSympathizer/YC016.jpg
http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a269/MulishaSympathizer/YC018.jpg
http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a269/MulishaSympathizer/YC011.jpg
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Karl Maciag

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Re: A few questions for BEs
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2008, 10:00:39 am »

jon,

i think i recognize the top two pictures, and i'm dryheaving remembering.....i think i was a house tech at that venue years ago,  and when i saw the state of the gear, and offered to clean things up,  i was told no due to the owner not wanting to pay to have me work a couple hours on things like that....just cleaning up and wiring things in a normal neat way....needless to say i didn't stick around long.  Those pics i think are after i left, some of the gear doesn't match my memory, but i'm sure you had a fun day while you were there! Rolling Eyes
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Andrew Broughton

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Re: A few questions for BEs
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2008, 11:50:23 am »

Matthew Whitman wrote on Sun, 08 June 2008 11:40

Greetings,

I have a few questions for BEs traveling with national acts.

1. Do you ever find yourself helping SEs troubleshoot their systems?  If so, how often?
Yes, I guess 100% of the time that there's a problem. After all, part of troubleshooting is identifying that there's a problem. If I didn't notice the problem, then it wasn't a problem. What percentage of gigs have problems of some sort? Hard to say, there's always something but the severity is all over the place.

Quote:

2. Has troubleshooting ever taken time you needed for more critical tasks?
Of course.

Quote:

3. Have you ever found yourself discovering problems that you felt should have already been dealt with by the SE and/or sound company?
Of course.

Quote:

4. Do you find that SEs generally take a proactive role in problem solving, or do they allow you to diagnose/fix problems?
Depends on the level of production and what country we're in. The higher caliber of production, usually the more "on it" the crew. I've also had great crews with lousy gear and lousy crews with great gear too, so I guess there's no hard and fast rule.

Quote:

Thanks in advance for the replies.

-Matt
No problem.

The biggest problem for me is the attitude of some technicians. Way too many are "too cool" to hang at FOH while soundcheck is going on. That's when a problem that occur need to be fixed quickly. Why is the tech nowhere to be found? Why do I have to leave everyone waiting on stage and the clock ticking to go and find the tech to come fix his shit?
Stuff breaks, shit happens, just be a professional and get on it when you know there's a problem. I don't care if you found it or I found it, just be there and working on it.

Oh, and why don't you have any spares with you? No adapters? Didn't bring a soldering iron, meter or even a leatherman? That's pathetic. Give me back my maglite.
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