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Author Topic: Hiring a company to consult limited work  (Read 6323 times)

William Henneck

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Hiring a company to consult limited work
« on: November 22, 2011, 06:21:22 pm »

Hi all!

I am new on this board, but certainly not new to the world of sound. I have consulted and worked privately with many venues working on existing systems. But now I have a new challenge. I've been asked to help re-design a system in an old venue.

I know many aspects of system design-and might even feel comfortable selecting FOH speakers for the new rig. What I'm NOT comfortable doing (and the ONLY aspect) I'm not comfortable doing is tuning the FOH system upon install (and rigging it).

Would it be an absurd request to ask a local company to come in, fly the speakers, tune them (with a DSP that I will select and program, specifically a NION system by MediaMatrix (Peavey)) and do nothing else?

I'm sure I could work my way through it, and considering the current facility doesn't have ANY FOH processing (just a crossover for subs vs mid/high-and its slowing degrading). So-it couldn't get any worse...right? I, however, don't feel like buying Smaart, an RTA mic, etc, and doing that part of the install. Question is above...anybody have a thought?

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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2011, 07:39:07 pm »

Hi all!

I am new on this board, but certainly not new to the world of sound. I have consulted and worked privately with many venues working on existing systems. But now I have a new challenge. I've been asked to help re-design a system in an old venue.

I know many aspects of system design-and might even feel comfortable selecting FOH speakers for the new rig. What I'm NOT comfortable doing (and the ONLY aspect) I'm not comfortable doing is tuning the FOH system upon install (and rigging it).

Would it be an absurd request to ask a local company to come in, fly the speakers, tune them (with a DSP that I will select and program, specifically a NION system by MediaMatrix (Peavey)) and do nothing else?

I'm sure I could work my way through it, and considering the current facility doesn't have ANY FOH processing (just a crossover for subs vs mid/high-and its slowing degrading). So-it couldn't get any worse...right? I, however, don't feel like buying Smaart, an RTA mic, etc, and doing that part of the install. Question is above...anybody have a thought?
The question is who is going to assume liability if the customer is not happy?

let's look at a worse case.

The customer is not happy-either about the way the system sounds-or coverage or output or whatever.

The guy tuning it says he can't tune it any better because of the speaker selection/design.  you the designer say that the design is fine-but it is not tuned right.  The customer doesn't care whos fault it is, they just want it fixed.  So a lot fo finger pointing goes on and the customer just gets mad at both parties.

I believe whoever designs the system should be responsible for the alignment and the end result.

There is only so much that even the best DSP can "fix".  Physical problems with the cabinets or the way they are hung is not one of them.

I would make sure the responsibilities are well spelled out ahead of time.

You should hire a company who is licensed and insured to be hangin stuff over peoples heads.  And make sure the gear that is specified is rated to be hung.

Probably not waht you wanted to hear-but I have been caught in the middle of the exact problem I have described.  And the designer is often long forgotten about and the installer (even though they installed the system exactly as designed) is left to blame and gets the bad rap.
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William Henneck

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2011, 08:06:46 pm »

Thanks for the feedback.

What if the company who comes in selects the FOH speakers, amps to match, and also does the rigging and tuning?

Then they leave?
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2011, 09:31:16 pm »

Thanks for the feedback.

What if the company who comes in selects the FOH speakers, amps to match, and also does the rigging and tuning?

Then they leave?
That would less room for "blame".  Just be sure they understand all of the requirements of the system before they do a design.  If the system is designed for one aspect and theuse is another, that can be another issue.

It will be a lot easier to find somebody to do an alignment on a system they designed and installed.

It does not have to be the whole system (like consoles/effects-monitor rig/snake etc), but the parts that rely on each other should be designed together as a unit.
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William Henneck

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2011, 10:13:58 pm »

That would less room for "blame".  Just be sure they understand all of the requirements of the system before they do a design.  If the system is designed for one aspect and theuse is another, that can be another issue.

It will be a lot easier to find somebody to do an alignment on a system they designed and installed.

It does not have to be the whole system (like consoles/effects-monitor rig/snake etc), but the parts that rely on each other should be designed together as a unit.

This put some interesting thoughts in my head, thanks. I appreciate the guidance.
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Hayden J. Nebus

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2011, 09:49:44 am »

This put some interesting thoughts in my head, thanks. I appreciate the guidance.


IMO it's important to find a reputable outfit who will stand behind their work considering you will almost unquestionably need support down the line, long after the check's been cut, for service/tweaks/upgrades. Also, proper documentation of positions, splays, and analysis/ alignment data should be provided as proof in the pudding, so to speak.

Two years since my rig was commisioned, I still have an open dialog with my consultant who designed and aligned the rig, about what works well for me, what doesn't, what I would do differently, verifying performance after service, etc.

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William Henneck

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2011, 12:30:36 pm »


IMO it's important to find a reputable outfit who will stand behind their work considering you will almost unquestionably need support down the line, long after the check's been cut, for service/tweaks/upgrades. Also, proper documentation of positions, splays, and analysis/ alignment data should be provided as proof in the pudding, so to speak.

Two years since my rig was commisioned, I still have an open dialog with my consultant who designed and aligned the rig, about what works well for me, what doesn't, what I would do differently, verifying performance after service, etc.

I just don't want to have them do the whole install. As a personal consultant myself, I want to do the parts of the install that I know how to do-infact I provide system maintenance/tweaking all the time. I've just never done FOH tuning-and don't have the experience or equipment to do so. Hence my snag point. I don't want to hire someone to do the whole thing-only the part I can't personally do.
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Lee Douglas

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2011, 03:21:42 pm »

I don't want to hire someone to do the whole thing-only the part I can't personally do.

A very well defined scope of work is what is needed here.  If you want them to be available before or after the install for consultation or changes, you need to define that in the scope to allow them to build that into their bid.  Be very specific about your expectations and needs, understand that whatever you didn't think of or specify becomes your problem and a change order from them.  Try to stay away from subjective language that is open for interpretation. You've got three entities (you, you sub and the owner(s)) involved who's definition of "best possible location" may vary greatly.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2011, 04:36:51 pm »

.  Try to stay away from subjective language that is open for interpretation. You've got three entities (you, you sub and the owner(s)) involved who's definition of "best possible location" may vary greatly.
And other terms like Loud and Low can mean very different things to different people.  He will need specific numbers that can be backed up with measurement to make sure the system meets the specified needs.

If the customer says the system need to produce 100dB, and the system does that then fine.  But if want to actually run it at 110dB (whatever weighting and time constant you want to attach to those numbers also needs to be spelled out), then then cannot say the system doesn't meet their needs  And yes it doesn't, but it DOES meet the design criteria that was given (100dB).

This is where it can get "ugly" in some cases. 
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Brad Weber

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2011, 05:27:27 pm »

I know many aspects of system design-and might even feel comfortable selecting FOH speakers for the new rig. What I'm NOT comfortable doing (and the ONLY aspect) I'm not comfortable doing is tuning the FOH system upon install (and rigging it).

Would it be an absurd request to ask a local company to come in, fly the speakers, tune them (with a DSP that I will select and program, specifically a NION system by MediaMatrix (Peavey)) and do nothing else?
The comment that you "...might even feel comfortable selecting FOH speakers for the new rig" sends up a red flag.  Would you hire someone who "might feel comfortable" doing whatever it is you've hired them to do?  Are you planning on performing any system performance prediction?  Are you analyzing the acoustical conditions of the existing space and coordinating with or even addressing the room acoustics?

I'm also a bit confused by some of your terminology.  You refer to your providing consulting and being a consultant, but then you talk about you providing some of the installation.  Are you providing the installation or are you consulting with the installation then being bid or negotiated with another company?  Are you acting as a consultant or as a design-build contractor?  That could have a significant impact on the responses to your questions.

The installed system design and installation world often has many liability, legal, licensing/permitting, code/life safety and other considerations that don't exist in other areas of audio but that can be very relevant when discussing issues such as subcontractors or splitting the scope of work.  There can also be many issues related to the design and procurement processes that differ from other aspects of audio.  What is you experience with projects like this?  Do you have all of the potentially relevant certification, licensing, liability insurance, bonding, etc.?  Are you familiar with the potential permitting, code compliance, etc. aspects?  The viability of using subcontractors, their responsibility and potential risk, the contractual relationship, the firms that might be willing to work with you or be appropriate, etc. may depend on some of these factors.

I have worked successfully as both a Consultant and Contractor with third-party system tuning and rigging providers as well as on numerous projects where I was the Consultant and the Contractor used third-party providers.  It can work quite well, however the most effective and successful such situations are ones involving significant trust, coordination and communication.  I think that before addressing the details of using third party providers it makes sense to first understand your actual role and relevant qualifications as that could impact both what is feasible and how to best approach it.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 12:54:04 pm by Brad Weber »
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Charlie Zureki

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2011, 11:13:40 am »

The comment that you "...might even feel comfortable selecting FOH speakers for the new rig" sends up a red flag.  Would you hire someone who "might feel comfortable" doing whatever it is you've hired them to do?

   Hello,
  +1  and... I wouldn't feel comfortable hiring a person/Company ..or whatever, that calls themselves a "Consultant" if they are really not a Consultant.

   While, I don't know you (poster) or of your capabilities, I would find it difficult to believe that you would be a proper choice in regards to taking on this project, based on your posts. (Pro Audio Installation and Design is one of those fields that, "if you have to ask... you don't have the experience".

   Not knowing about your project...how can one be certain that the choices you'll make in regards to selecting a Foh speaker system (or many other pieces of equipment) is going to be a good, or even an acceptable choice when you have no measurement tools and acknowledge that you have no experience in using measurment tools or, how to interpret the data?

   What is the reason that you've chosen the NION  system?

   Lastly... In your first post I find this rationalization a bit disturbing..." considering the current facility doesn't have any Foh processing (just a crossover for subs vs mids/highs...) So...it couldn't get any worse...right?" 

 ....Actually...yeah, It could get worse...the customer could be putting their faith and money behind a person that they believe will give them what they want/need.....and, only get an expensive butchered job that needs to be corrected.

    This post is not meant as a slam, but, if you cannot close your eyes and view the whole system from start to finish, properly and safely installed, tuned and optimized...walk away.  Or, turn the job over to a Company that CAN test, Design and install the system....with a stipulation that you'll be paid for assisting with the install and that you'll be paid for monitor the tuning process.

  Hammer
 
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 12:31:39 pm by Mac Kerr »
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William Henneck

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2011, 12:07:13 am »

Is there a moderator who can delete this thread please? I don't need this on the internet attached to my full name.

Thanks,
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Brad Weber

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2011, 09:12:09 am »

Is there a moderator who can delete this thread please? I don't need this on the internet attached to my full name.
Why not?  As you see at the top of the page, this site is "for the Audio Professional" and I don't see anything posted that does not relate to professional audio.  If your background and qualifications appear to be misunderstood or misrepresented then please provide any relevant information clarifying that.  If not, then what has been posted it may offer value to you and others, especially potential clients.

It is very common for people with some experience and education in studio production and/or live mixing to have limited, if any, exposure to the world of professional installation and thus to not understand some of the issues and implications involved.  Nothing wrong with that, but those related aspects need to be understood and addressed in order to properly serve clients and to generate a positive perception of audio professionals.  If that does apply to you then how your respond regarding them can go a long ways in the perception of potential clients and others in the industry.  You've gotten responses from people representing years of installed sound experience and there are others that would also likely be willing to offer the benefit of their experience and knowledge, whether you choose to take advantage of this resource, to pursue other resources or  to ignore the issues is your choice.
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2011, 10:50:14 am »

Is there a moderator who can delete this thread please? I don't need this on the internet attached to my full name.

Thanks,

Changing your name to "Nick Clayton" won't work, William.  Have you said something you regret? 
« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 08:22:14 pm by dick rees »
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2011, 08:28:41 pm »

   Hello,
  +1  and... I wouldn't feel comfortable hiring a person/Company ..or whatever, that calls themselves a "Consultant" if they are really not a Consultant.

   While, I don't know you (poster) or of your capabilities, I would find it difficult to believe that you would be a proper choice in regards to taking on this project, based on your posts. (Pro Audio Installation and Design is one of those fields that, "if you have to ask... you don't have the experience".

   Not knowing about your project...how can one be certain that the choices you'll make in regards to selecting a Foh speaker system (or many other pieces of equipment) is going to be a good, or even an acceptable choice when you have no measurement tools and acknowledge that you have no experience in using measurment tools or, how to interpret the data?

   What is the reason that you've chosen the NION  system?

   Lastly... In your first post I find this rationalization a bit disturbing..." considering the current facility doesn't have any Foh processing (just a crossover for subs vs mids/highs...) So...it couldn't get any worse...right?" 

 ....Actually...yeah, It could get worse...the customer could be putting their faith and money behind a person that they believe will give them what they want/need.....and, only get an expensive butchered job that needs to be corrected.

    This post is not meant as a slam, but, if you cannot close your eyes and view the whole system from start to finish, properly and safely installed, tuned and optimized...walk away.  Or, turn the job over to a Company that CAN test, Design and install the system....with a stipulation that you'll be paid for assisting with the install and that you'll be paid for monitor the tuning process.

  Hammer
 

Hammer...

From this and another thread it does appear that William (or "nick clayton" as he now prefers to be called) is a recent graduate of Andover High School just north of Minneapolis.  His extensive professional experience dates back (according to him) 10 years with some "major" projects under his belt.  That's some precocious 8 year old.

But if you should wish to participate in the "teen band" at his church (Church of St Patrick of Cedar Creek), feel free to contact him via Email or through the parish office. 

Ask for "young Nick", not "Old Nick"........
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Re: Hiring a company to consult limited work
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2011, 08:28:41 pm »


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