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Author Topic: Useful Rider P.A. Specs  (Read 10679 times)

Russell Ault

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Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« on: November 14, 2016, 06:45:11 pm »

Hi all!

This might be more of a Lounge-level question, but I sometimes find myself as a BE in LAB-level venues, so I thought I'd ask it here (mods, please move it if I've erred).

After having recently completed a couple P.A.-design-related training courses (and reading 6o6's big green book from cover to cover) I've decided to re-write the P.A. specs section of the technical rider of one of the groups I work for to make it less artistic (i.e. make it actually mean something).

What I'd really like to do is put something down in writing that a) is reasonable, b) is achievable, and c) walks the fine line between sounding like I know what I'm talking about and seeming like an arrogant prick. :) So far, I've got:

Quote
Please provide a high quality P.A. that provides minimally variant (3 dB) coverage to the entire audience area (with fills, delays, etc.), and that has sufficient power and headroom to produce sound levels of at least 104 dB(A) throughout the audience using pink noise with a crest factor of at least 6dB. The system should be tuned to provide equal-amplitude response, 3dB from 50 Hz to 12 kHz, and 6dB from 45 Hz to 18 kHz.

It's definitely a work in progress, but it's a start.

My question, then, is this: I'm sure everyone on here has seem some truly outrageous P.A. specs on a rider (20 Hz-20kHz at 150 dB SPL at FOH, etc.), but have you ever seen any that you really liked? What sort of thing would you like to see?

Thanks!

-Russ
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2016, 07:25:28 pm »

Hi all!

This might be more of a Lounge-level question, but I sometimes find myself as a BE in LAB-level venues, so I thought I'd ask it here (mods, please move it if I've erred).

After having recently completed a couple P.A.-design-related training courses (and reading 6o6's big green book from cover to cover) I've decided to re-write the P.A. specs section of the technical rider of one of the groups I work for to make it less artistic (i.e. make it actually mean something).

What I'd really like to do is put something down in writing that a) is reasonable, b) is achievable, and c) walks the fine line between sounding like I know what I'm talking about and seeming like an arrogant prick. :) So far, I've got:

It's definitely a work in progress, but it's a start.

My question, then, is this: I'm sure everyone on here has seem some truly outrageous P.A. specs on a rider (20 Hz-20kHz at 150 dB SPL at FOH, etc.), but have you ever seen any that you really liked? What sort of thing would you like to see?

Thanks!

-Russ
I bet if you actually measured various systems-ESPECIALLY portable systems- you would find that your specs are asking QUITE A BIT.

+/-3dB over the entire audience area is a feat for a portable system.

-3dB at 12K is also not easy to get over the whole area.

Yes-some systems do that-but I would guess MOST are not even close.

And what are you going to do if you arrive at a venue and the system does not meet your spec?  Leave?

Reality is often VERY different than what we would like.

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Tim Weaver

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2016, 08:06:42 pm »

I always wanted my rider to say:

If it worked for (insert washed-up band name here) last week, then I'm sure it will be fine.
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eric lenasbunt

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2016, 08:38:23 pm »

I have never had a BE come in and setup multiple Mics throughout the room and take a bunch of transfers. As a provider mostly for B acts I read more for the spl ask and then design the mobile system as best I can for the room of the day.
Often times it's not my PA that is the limiting factor, but instead the room, PA wings or fly points, bar locations, etc.
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Craig Leerman

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2016, 08:54:50 pm »

How about "Please provide a PA that you didn't buy at Guitar Center"
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2016, 09:27:44 pm »

As a production manager I find artistic words much more helpful.

For example if you throw a bunch of numbers at me, I'm going to decide you are a pretentious prick and bet that not only will you not measure, but will simply decide if you like the system or not in the first few minutes in the room.  The number of times I see dB levels without weighting or slow fast etc.... FML.  If you are a C level touring act without a BE and you tell me what brand PA you want, I cross that out in rider review.  You get the house system. 

At the level I work at, it's more helpful for someone to say, this is a small acoustic duo, we don't need rock band levels but it does need to be really accurate, we know what our instruments should sound like and the system should amplify that without color.

Or a different take - this show worships the almighty kick drum.  We want that shit loud.  Even if your room doesn't need 40 subs, we think we sound better just having them in front of the stage. 

And so on. 


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Frank Koenig

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Proposal: A Simple Objective Measure of Enough Rig for the Gig
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2016, 09:56:16 pm »

I got to thinking about this problem. As Ivan correctly points out, for portable systems tight specs for coverage and frequency response uniformity are both difficult to achieve and ascertain. Furthermore, meaningful distortion measurements are likely difficult to perform in the field. I propose a cruder test of whether there is sufficient clean SPL available at a particular spot, say centered and a specified distance in front of the stage.

Excite the system with band-limited pink noise of specified statistical properties (crest factor) and require a certain (weighted) SPL to be achieved at the test location. Further, require that the drive be increased by a known amount, say 3 dB, and that the measured SPL increase by a similar amount, say at least 2.5 dB. This detects saturation at any point in the signal chain, as well as power compression in the loudspeakers. The problem I see is that saturation in a narrow frequency band can be masked by headroom elsewhere. This could be ameliorated be breaking the spectrum into sub-bands that would be required to meet the criterion individually.

In addition, of course, a loose frequency response spec could (should) be added, but that's another kettle of fish.

I doubt this is at all new but I have not heard it mentioned here. What do you all think?

Best,

--Frank
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Roland Clarke

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2016, 05:31:17 am »

I would recommend that you start out with the basics.  Let the venue know what your band requirements are, input list, preferred mic's, monitoring requirements (important, many venues can have very limited number of wedges and/or amps.  Stage layout, important.

When it comes to PA, it comes in basically three flavours, you are carrying, it is specified by you or the management or both, It's local/regional providers, you spec, suggested acceptable systems, possible exclusions of non acceptable kit, (this is a bit of a wish list, be prepared to negotiate, often many other options might be perfectly acceptable and the provider may have good local knowledge).  Thirdly, it's a house install and it can be anything from absolutely amazing, to shagged out with the odd blown driver.

Whatever you write is unlikely to change the situation, particularly on the last scenario, though I have seen tours that are carrying choose to bring their own stuff in or leave it in the truck depending on what they come across.

As Ivan says, your spec would be a very tough one to meet even with a good install in a decent room.  I would suggest that you ask for a suitable PA for the venue with reasonable audience coverage, perhaps list 10 brands that you think are of a level you require.  Check with the venue to see what they have installed and consider if it is inadequate, whether there is a budget to supplement or bring in your own gear.  Of course it has to be born in mind that some venues this may not be practical.  That's just my own take on it!  Food for thought. ;)
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2016, 07:58:30 pm »

It used to be that you just said no Mackie, Behringer or Bose, and you would have weeded out the folks you didn't want to deal with.

Actual performance specs are kind of high end.  Somebody better really want you to play there.
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Steve Payne

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2016, 09:38:17 pm »

I always wanted my rider to say:

If it worked for (insert washed-up band name here) last week, then I'm sure it will be fine.

Love it.
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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2016, 09:38:17 pm »


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