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Author Topic: Useful Rider P.A. Specs  (Read 10680 times)

James Feenstra

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2016, 02:42:31 pm »

My favorite thing in riders is techs requesting equipment they don't know how to use because they either want to see if they'll get it, or they want to learn how to use it.

There's been a lot of times I've rented a specific desk (usually lighting, so I assume they're coming with a show file/etc) for someone because their rider insists on it, and it's something my guys don't know well enough to train a guest tech on, and the traveling tech has no idea on its operation so ends up using the second desk I send that my guys for the opening acts/etc.

If you want to learn a new product, that's great, but don't request it on your rider...
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Jim King

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2016, 05:22:02 pm »

There's that... and the jobs where they ask for a particular desk... but it turns out that they expect us to run it.  So my FOH Engineer is forced to mix a band on a desk he doesn't use very often.

If you're going to demand a particular desk, you'd better be sending your own BE. Otherwise, ask for a realm of quality, but let my guys use the tools they know best so that they can do the best job possible.
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Luke Geis

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2016, 02:23:50 am »

I usually go by this simple cost benefit analysis.

Are you asking for equipment that would cost more to rent than what you can bring in ticket sales?

I.E. Everybody needs to eat. If you're asking for a PA that costs more to rent than what you can actually pull in ticket sales to the venue, you are out of line. Conversely, the venue should provide at least, a working PA of sufficient size to accommodate the venue at realistic and reasonable levels. It is a 3 way street. The venue, the promoter and the band all need to be compensated for their time and energy. An A level act is going to ask for a very large guarantee and likely a very expensive PA. The venue and promoter will obviously have to choose if they can / will afford that demand. In many cases a smaller venue that gets such an act will not be required to have the full gambit of gear, but will be expected to meet a minimum. I would will a bet that a 200 person venue will not be required to have a million dollar PA capable of 140db.

A band and it's management have to know where they are on the food chain. An C level act will usually get the " ignore request " if they are being highly specific and ( let's use the term ) cocky. If you can bring $2000 in ticket sales to the venue and the venue has a PA and team that would cost that much to rent and run, you are on the boundary of being unrealistic. Granted many venues will have some sort of PA, but to tell a promoter and venue that they must have something they don't already have of which may cost a significant amount to acquire, is out of line.

Here is a general idea of cost for certain types of gear.

1. Speakers in general cost around $50 - $100 each.

2. Amplifiers almost universally cost around $50 each regardless of type or brand.

3. RF costs anywhere from $50 - $75 per channel.

4. Mixers are the big who knows, but a cheap digital desk can go for around $75 while a high end as much as $300+.

5. External FX and processing can go from $25 -$100 per unit.

6. Mics can cost anywhere from $10 to $50 each.

7. Let's not forget delivery fee's and taxes. Delivery fee's can be as little as $50 and I have seen as high as $150!

8. Backline is another who knows? Guitar / bass / keyboard amps vary from $50 to as much as $200+ for the amp and cabs. Drums go between $200 and $400 for a full kit.

As you can see, it adds up quick. This doesn't even factor in the venues running costs. An engineer is usually one of the more expensive persons on a venues payroll. At $150 - $400 per tech per day depending on the venue, there is a significant cost for that person to be there running around for your band to have fun.

But wait there is more. Many riders have food and drink demands too. Most food demands are ala carte and will require a person to acquire it, who also probably costs money to do so. Oh and Hotels / motels as well as travel. Yeah let's leave that alone for now. The list goes on. The big question is how much is your band truly worth in sales to the venue? You have to be worth significantly more than you cost in totality to start making demands.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2016, 07:00:42 am »

My favorite thing in riders is techs requesting equipment they don't know how to use because they either want to see if they'll get it, or they want to learn how to use it.



If you want to learn a new product, that's great, but don't request it on your rider...
AGREED!!!!!!!!

I have run into this a number of times.

And then they want to bitch about little things that don't matter-to try and "make up" for their lack of knowledge

Never mind the fact that they don't know how to use the gear that THEY (or band management) requested.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2016, 10:52:16 am »

I usually go by this simple cost benefit analysis.

Are you asking for equipment that would cost more to rent than what you can bring in ticket sales?

I.E. Everybody needs to eat. If you're asking for a PA that costs more to rent than what you can actually pull in ticket sales to the venue, you are out of line. Conversely, the venue should provide at least, a working PA of sufficient size to accommodate the venue at realistic and reasonable levels. It is a 3 way street. The venue, the promoter and the band all need to be compensated for their time and energy. An A level act is going to ask for a very large guarantee and likely a very expensive PA. The venue and promoter will obviously have to choose if they can / will afford that demand. In many cases a smaller venue that gets such an act will not be required to have the full gambit of gear, but will be expected to meet a minimum. I would will a bet that a 200 person venue will not be required to have a million dollar PA capable of 140db.

A band and it's management have to know where they are on the food chain. An C level act will usually get the " ignore request " if they are being highly specific and ( let's use the term ) cocky. If you can bring $2000 in ticket sales to the venue and the venue has a PA and team that would cost that much to rent and run, you are on the boundary of being unrealistic. Granted many venues will have some sort of PA, but to tell a promoter and venue that they must have something they don't already have of which may cost a significant amount to acquire, is out of line.

Here is a general idea of cost for certain types of gear.

1. Speakers in general cost around $50 - $100 each.

2. Amplifiers almost universally cost around $50 each regardless of type or brand.

3. RF costs anywhere from $50 - $75 per channel.

4. Mixers are the big who knows, but a cheap digital desk can go for around $75 while a high end as much as $300+.

5. External FX and processing can go from $25 -$100 per unit.

6. Mics can cost anywhere from $10 to $50 each.

7. Let's not forget delivery fee's and taxes. Delivery fee's can be as little as $50 and I have seen as high as $150!

8. Backline is another who knows? Guitar / bass / keyboard amps vary from $50 to as much as $200+ for the amp and cabs. Drums go between $200 and $400 for a full kit.

As you can see, it adds up quick. This doesn't even factor in the venues running costs. An engineer is usually one of the more expensive persons on a venues payroll. At $150 - $400 per tech per day depending on the venue, there is a significant cost for that person to be there running around for your band to have fun.

But wait there is more. Many riders have food and drink demands too. Most food demands are ala carte and will require a person to acquire it, who also probably costs money to do so. Oh and Hotels / motels as well as travel. Yeah let's leave that alone for now. The list goes on. The big question is how much is your band truly worth in sales to the venue? You have to be worth significantly more than you cost in totality to start making demands.

I can tell that almost nobody has read Russell's follow up than explains the nature of his act's performance.

The issue in your post - about cost - is something that the promoter or talent buyer has to understand prior to signing the contract; if they can't afford the technical aspects of presenting a certain act they should not hire that act.  That said, let's look at Russell's update:

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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Chris Hindle

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2016, 12:27:37 pm »

I can tell that almost nobody has read Russell's follow up than explains the nature of his act's performance.

The issue in your post - about cost - is something that the promoter or talent buyer has to understand prior to signing the contract; if they can't afford the technical aspects of presenting a certain act they should not hire that act.  That said, let's look at Russell's update:

Tim, I've always wanted to just say:
"We need a system that sounds good in your space, loud enough to satisfy YOUR patrons, and not fuck-up on us during our performance. Industry recognized decent quality gear in necessary to get this done."

Ya, like that would work. I can already hear the scissors coming out... :'(

Really, that's what it all boils down to.
A decent system, appropriate to "the room", and the audience expectations.
I'm not going to mix Pop on a Mackie analog with SOS in a room of 800 people, just as I'm not going to mix Rap on a heritage with 15 a side hang and 50 subs in that same room.
Chris. 
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2016, 12:38:46 pm »

I can tell that almost nobody has read Russell's follow up than explains the nature of his act's performance.
The conversation did shift away from his specific case and into the realm of "rider idiocy." Topic swerves, whodathunk?!? :)

The issue in your post - about cost - is something that the promoter or talent buyer has to understand prior to signing the contract; if they can't afford the technical aspects of presenting a certain act they should not hire that act. 
Absolutely a valid point, but at the same time, I think we've all dealt with promoters/etc who didn't bother to read what they were signing... "I CAN HAZ WHO PLAY?!? WOWZERS!"

As a sound provider, I DO appreciate the short-and-simple: "We need two wireless mics and two monitors." No mention about the sound, because they know a) it's there, and b) that the venue knows it needs to be sufficient for the space. (And that's where I come in!) That being said, getting that information more then 5 days in advance would be a bit nicer........ (Not just the rider information, but the entire booking being confirmed in general!)

-Ray

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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2016, 12:57:37 pm »

The conversation did shift away from his specific case and into the realm of "rider idiocy." Topic swerves, whodathunk?!? :)
Absolutely a valid point, but at the same time, I think we've all dealt with promoters/etc who didn't bother to read what they were signing... "I CAN HAZ WHO PLAY?!? WOWZERS!"

As a sound provider, I DO appreciate the short-and-simple: "We need two wireless mics and two monitors." No mention about the sound, because they know a) it's there, and b) that the venue knows it needs to be sufficient for the space. (And that's where I come in!) That being said, getting that information more then 5 days in advance would be a bit nicer........ (Not just the rider information, but the entire booking being confirmed in general!)

-Ray

The usual budget busting issue is a show that transforms, AFTER the promoter signs the contract, from a bus-and-trailer (or semi-trailer) to a "fly date" for which the promoter becomes responsible for back line, IEM package, wireless mics & wireless instrument systems, sometimes even personal instruments as musicians become less trusting of airlines to fly their guitars, basses and keyboards.

That's when the PA provider becomes expected to take care of these things after the promoter has signed the contract with the performer's agency and the promoter expects the same price from the provider.

We have advised one of our clients to add their own language to contracts (they have a legal dept in Vegas) that makes any additional expense of such a nature to be recoverable by the promoter at settlement.  It's amazing how quickly a 3 show fly date runout can become a bus and trailer tour when the act has to pay for that 12 mix, 16 pack IEM system, 14 wireless mics/instrument systems, and an entire stage full of back line.... or we get the necessary increase in the production budget to make it all happen.

But back to Russell's issue - it looks like he encounters inappropriate PA systems on the corporate or community event side of this act's calendar.  He mentions that in most venues with installed systems "it is what it is" and many times the system is pretty good.  What he's trying to achieve is a dialog that results in a meaningful advance for his act's show and an acceptable sound system upon arrival at the gig.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2016, 01:00:21 pm by Tim McCulloch »
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Curt Sorensen

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2016, 04:44:17 pm »

Hi,
So does anyone ever say "System must be advanced through Act's representative within x amount of time prior to perfomance."?
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Doug Johnson

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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2016, 10:14:02 pm »

Not that they are similar to the op needs but, I have always found Bob Workman's riders for the Charlie Daniel's Band to be about the best riders I have run across.  Plus, he makes them easily available on the band's website.
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Re: Useful Rider P.A. Specs
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2016, 10:14:02 pm »


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