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Author Topic: Useful Rider P.A. Specs  (Read 10684 times)

eric lenasbunt

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Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2016, 10:07:12 pm »

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.

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.


This is it. Unless you are one of the big boys you likely are going to get what the promoter or venue is willing to pay for. Even the most conscientious promoters I know would not care at all about the specs you listed. As a regional provider we work hard to make acts happy, but we tend to gloss over or ignore specs that are unachievable or over the top. We'll bring a great system that will get as close as possible to the request and what the buyer is paying for, but that's often a compromise.   
« Last Edit: November 15, 2016, 10:09:36 pm by eric lenasbunt »
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Art Welter

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2016, 01:30:00 am »

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.
Stephen,

I happen to use some Mackie and Behringer gear presently, and had some really good sounding gigs mixing the "Solid Senders" on their Bose system.

My present Welter Systems "PA" conforms to Russell Ault's "rider", if ceiling height allows it to be flown to an adequate height, though my ear plugs would be firmly in place about 10 dB below the 104 dB(A) he asks for.

If I live long enough to complete the six new Keystone "B-Low" 29 Hz Fb subs that are already half cut up in my shop, they will be capable of around 150 dB peak SPL at 20 Hz at FOH, if FOH is located at one meter from them ;^) .

Off topic, I took an $800.00 ride in a Siemans CT Monday morning (a picture of one for sale below), have thoughts of selling my PA to buy one and rent it out to small hospitals, should be able to make about 10 dB more daily return on investment than I usually get for 10 hours work with my PA rig, work which occurs with far less regularity since I gave up providing "sound by the pound" that met every damn rider I ever encountered last century up until 1992...

If I would have just had the business sense to "gloss over or ignore specs" as is the usual routine in the world of production, I'd be able to buy dozens of brand new CT scanners and rent them to dozens of big hospitals for millions of dollars, but I have always been a sucker for providing what the rider requests.

Does that make me just plain stupid, or just a slave to idiotic requests, reflecting masochistic tendencies fueled by manically driven obsessive compulsion to achieve the near impossible requests of artists that I have enjoyed (and hated) working with during the last four+ decades?

Since the Mental Health Associates facility I was using locked their doors Tuesday morning without bothering to inform me prior to my scheduled appointment, I would welcome objective observations answering the above question :^).

Cheers

Art "Crazy" Welter
« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 02:09:48 am by Art Welter »
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2016, 08:00:05 am »

Stephen,

I happen to use some Mackie and Behringer gear presently, and had some really good sounding gigs mixing the "Solid Senders" on their Bose system.

My present Welter Systems "PA" conforms to Russell Ault's "rider", if ceiling height allows it to be flown to an adequate height, though my ear plugs would be firmly in place about 10 dB below the 104 dB(A) he asks for.

If I live long enough to complete the six new Keystone "B-Low" 29 Hz Fb subs that are already half cut up in my shop, they will be capable of around 150 dB peak SPL at 20 Hz at FOH, if FOH is located at one meter from them ;^) .

Off topic, I took an $800.00 ride in a Siemans CT Monday morning (a picture of one for sale below), have thoughts of selling my PA to buy one and rent it out to small hospitals, should be able to make about 10 dB more daily return on investment than I usually get for 10 hours work with my PA rig, work which occurs with far less regularity since I gave up providing "sound by the pound" that met every damn rider I ever encountered last century up until 1992...

If I would have just had the business sense to "gloss over or ignore specs" as is the usual routine in the world of production, I'd be able to buy dozens of brand new CT scanners and rent them to dozens of big hospitals for millions of dollars, but I have always been a sucker for providing what the rider requests.

Does that make me just plain stupid, or just a slave to idiotic requests, reflecting masochistic tendencies fueled by manically driven obsessive compulsion to achieve the near impossible requests of artists that I have enjoyed (and hated) working with during the last four+ decades?

Since the Mental Health Associates facility I was using locked their doors Tuesday morning without bothering to inform me prior to my scheduled appointment, I would welcome objective observations answering the above question :^).

Cheers

Art "Crazy" Welter

That seems like a really good deal on the shipping.... wonder if that is just dock to dock or includes in room delivery....


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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2016, 08:21:53 am »

Here is what I would like to see-and it would be useful and practical.  Your particulars would of course be a little different

Something like:

28 WORKING channels on the console.  The console should have minimum 4 band eq with sweepable freq.  6 aux  2 reverbs and 2 delays

House system should produce 104 A weighted slow at FOH

Sub level should be capable of 15dB greater than Mains at FOH

Coverage should be adequate for the intended audience area.

Freq response should be decently usable from 40Hz -12Khz.

6 monitors mixes that would include stereo sidefills, drum fill and 5 wedge mixes.  Dual monitors for lead singer

Etc.

This does not get into argue-able numbers, but gives the provider a baseline of what to provide.

Unless you are planning on actually measuring the specs and have a plan of what to do if the system does not meet the specs, having those details is not really needed on what it takes to do a good show for the audience.



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Riley Casey

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2016, 03:11:53 pm »

After 35 years of receiving band riders and having to come up with a solution for the local promoter / client I would suggest that numbers are utterly worthless in getting a usable package of gear to support your touring band on a one off.  Create an imaginary sound  system of brands and models that will meet your needs. Detail any specific items that are absolute must haves.  Put in some explanatory text that says we need a system similar to this in function and capacity.  List any likely substitutes that you know are red flags for below minimum acceptable gear as no goes.  End the tech list with the admonition, in large bold text, that all equipment provided must be in good working condition with sufficient spares to ensure a timely set up and a smooth running show.

Jim King

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2016, 04:51:26 pm »

...also keep in mind that to the sound provider, you're not the client. The event promoter is.  We fight to get you what you need (because we all got into this business from the point of view of the performer and like to see good shows), but in the end we can only provide what the promoter is willing to pay for.

So if your rider is a wish list, it'll probably not be met. I usually take riders like that and spec out exactly what it says, which comes out to WAY more than the promoter has planned on paying. From there we start negotiating and trying to figure out what is actually important to make the show good. When I'm allowed to contact the artist, that becomes a 3-way conversation that hopefully is productive. Often I'm not allowed to contact the client, so it ends up being a game of Telephone.

It does all work out easier if the rider is realistic, and as stated above describes the artistic goals.  I've spent a lot of time trying to fill riders that were written for 2000 person venues, when the band is going to play for a 200 person small room. (hint: no, you don't need a 16-box line array for a 200 person room).
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Russell Ault

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2016, 09:15:03 pm »

Okay, well, that certainly is a lot to think about!

Tim McCulloch and I exchanged a couple PMs on the subject after I posted it, and he suggested that more context for this group's rider might help me to drill down to what I need (it seems I've been labouring under some very misguided concepts of how riders are read in different contexts, and I appreciate everyone helping to illuminate that for me!):

First, this is the technical rider for a vocal a cappella group that uses IEMs, so basically all of the sound heard by the audience will be coming out of the P.A.

Second, this particular group tends to do three kinds of gigs: a) gigs where I design the PA (so the rider doesn't really matter, although the specs listed are roughly what I aim for in my PA designs); b) gigs at PAC-style venues with high-quality PAs (which would probably come close to meeting those tech specs anyway, although I've never bothered to measure any of them); and c) medium-to-large corporate-type events with 4- or 5-digit entertainment budgets and clients who have basically no knowledge of the performing arts, let alone sound reinforcement. The group has basically never toured, and the few non-corporate promoters we have dealt with tend to be working for regional municipalities programming their own (remarkably well-equipped) PACs.

Basically, what I'm trying to create is a PA spec that will: a) confuse corporate clients enough to make sure our rider actually gets into the hands of their technical provider; b) not piss off contracted audio providers or PAC audio heads; and c) allow for enough negotiating room that I won't end up stuck with someone trying to cover a sit-down dinner for 500 with a pair of SRM450s.

Part of my goal with putting specs in the rider (as opposed to equipment requirements) was to try and make the requirement scale: the smallest corp show we've done is 60, and the largest was pushing toward 1000, and with specs I can use one rider for everyone (which the talent booking agencies really appreciate).

For the specs themselves, I was trying to come up with something that most of our local PACs are already meeting (although, again, I've never bothered to measure). The 104dB(A) (with only a 6dB crest factor) spec is to make sure that, on the few occasions when the show does get loud (say, in the mid-to-high 90s), there's still room for the transients. I promise I don't run an a cappella show at 104dB(A)! :)

As for the rest, we provide all our own wireless and console. P.A. is the only thing we don't bring with us since each room really requires its own approach. (The exception is school shows, where we'll put up a pair of speakers on sticks in the gym and a call it a day.)

In that context does my spec make a bit more sense, or am I still totally out to lunch? Would it be better if I kept the specs, but prefaced it with a more artistic description and the words "ideally, here's what we'd like" (or would that just weaken my negotiating position while still pissing people off)?

Thanks for all your feedback!

-Russ
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2016, 10:57:54 pm »

...also keep in mind that to the sound provider, you're not the client. The event promoter is.  We fight to get you what you need (because we all got into this business from the point of view of the performer and like to see good shows), but in the end we can only provide what the promoter is willing to pay for.

So if your rider is a wish list, it'll probably not be met. I usually take riders like that and spec out exactly what it says, which comes out to WAY more than the promoter has planned on paying. From there we start negotiating and trying to figure out what is actually important to make the show good. When I'm allowed to contact the artist, that becomes a 3-way conversation that hopefully is productive. Often I'm not allowed to contact the client, so it ends up being a game of Telephone.

It does all work out easier if the rider is realistic, and as stated above describes the artistic goals.  I've spent a lot of time trying to fill riders that were written for 2000 person venues, when the band is going to play for a 200 person small room. (hint: no, you don't need a 16-box line array for a 200 person room).

We have an interesting policy here at our PAC.  If the promoter is using the house system (which is quite good), we will not process the booking and confirm it unless we are in touch with the artist or management.  It's always a 3 way conversation but we never allow the promoter to be our only source of info...


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Guy Morris

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2016, 05:46:12 am »

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.

+1 with this. In the UK where I provide, the vital ingredients to any band rider are Channel requirement (noted for desk layout for a visiting BE or used as reference to what is required for a band's  channel count) Stage plot which is really helpful anytime. Any specifics eg: what the band provides itself (if any) are welcome as are some artistic notes.

Most bands will include a preference on PA and desks which itself flags up what they expect quality wise,generally it will (in the UK) be either d&b L'acoustics,Meyer Martin,Nexo and a suggestion of preferred desk (if BE driven and a principle artist the choice is supplied or discussed but if it is a generic show band or upcoming band and using the house BE then it will be the desk du jour.(of quality level)

I'm also happy for bands to suggest their preferred mics which is  always a positive for a BE or artist (shows that we have taken note of their rider) the number of 'tired or badly trained' sound guys here who just take the attitude 'they will get what we have' really is unprofessional.

The negatives that would make me bristle and use the 'PP' term would be the terminology you stated in your opening suggestion :-)
Just naming some quality brands is enough to tell a tech provider what is needed and he will know what those system can deliver anyway, also it does not matter what level you want at FOH if there is a limit on the house level (indoor or out) it's not relevant.

The other factor these days which is pretty pointless is stating what you do not want,it is much better to discuss with a venue/provider what they have available because they maybe an eg;Midas or Yamaha user with all the digital transport to go with it and because all desks are different with their digital protocols your request for say a Digico is going to mean a lot of expense for the client and if you are not A list and a must have band that could be a deal breaker against your band performing.

Finally! Always keep your rider updated with a date showing the last revision and a current email and mobile contact number, this is a good professional courtesy and is more likely to get you what you want, we all have stories of inaccurate riders that have wasted time and valuable resources and it does indicate that the rider is serious and not some dreamers wish list (happens a lot these days with a certain level of bands who like to puff themselves up asking for a Vi6 to do a wedding and they are using backing tracks!) Could start a whole new thread about that!
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2016, 01:35:43 pm »

What I prefer to do is provide bands information on what I HAVE available to them for the event.  Yeah, a band can want whatever they want, but unless the budget dictates it, they usually have to deal with what is available at the venue.

It really surprises me that the tech rider doesn't request information about the sound system. If I was in a band, I'd generally assume that the sound system in the venue is what it is, and isn't likely to change.  I would want as many details on the system as possible, such as type of console, input placement, speaker type and placement, etc.  From that, I can determine if the system is likely to be adequate, or if I'll have to bring (and charge for) something else into the space.

Specs about dB and frequency response in a rider are pretty much a waste of time.  If you're not going to enforce it, why bother even using it?  Making a spec more realistic is great, but what if the venue misses it? You demand 105dB at 40hz. What if you only get 103dB at the far back left seat?  Do you walk? Do you charge more to bring in a whole new system?  Doubtful.

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Brian Jojade

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2016, 01:35:43 pm »


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