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Author Topic: Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?  (Read 7637 times)

Jeremy Young

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Re: Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2019, 04:48:04 pm »

Hi Jeremy, been watching this thread...always hoping for the impossible lol.

You know, I don't see a TH-118 and your OS as that much different handling wise....or at least, they appear to be pretty much the same task getting up stairs.
Sure, the TH-118 weighs less (86% of OS), and is a few inches shorter and less deep.  But there's just not enough diff, eh?

My smaller 'solution?' was this thread https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,163594.0.html
They are 91lbs, and I can get them up stairs.  But it's no fun.  The near cube form of a single 18" is a very awkward lift and carry IMO.
And I misplaced my handles a bit.
That said, I do like them, alot!...I view 2 of them as an OS equiv. They sound super and dig to 30Hz.

The passive JTR212pro's appear to me to be about the best whack at balancing out Hoffman' Law for smaller gigs....it's light and loud, just comes down to whether  50Hz works i guess.

Hi Mark,

Great thread, thanks for the read! 

I have been skeptical that the TH118's would help my situation enough to warranty the investment, but spec sheets don't describe ergonomics well so first-hand experience from users seemed like a great place to start.  It was just one of those "well if these DID work, I wouldn't need anything smaller..." ideas I thought was worth exploring.  I just kept hearing from users that the TH118 was a great one-person sub, but clearly that's when you can roll it into place.  I wonder if I'd get any strange looks if I brought my subs to the gym for a workout like those crazy folks who flip tires around for fun, haha.

The JTR C212Pro does seem like a great solution and likely the direction I'll go in a couple months.  Light enough to lift and carry, loud enough for what I need, low enough that I won't miss anything critical, wide enough for a pole cup to make sense when tripods are deemed unsightly, and well-priced.  If I ordered more Orbit Shifters at the same time, I could even save on some freight costs.  Steve's glowing reviews don't hurt, and the comprehensive data at Data-Bass is reassuring enough for me to be confident.

I'm leaning towards powered so that it checks the boxes for "manufacturer presets", drops a couple spaces out of my rack for compact events, and anytime I'd be worried about weather (rain and exposed subs with electronics) I'd be using the Orbit Shifters (outdoors) for my mains, and maybe make use of the C212's for drum fill or side fill when necessary (but they would be protected by the stage roof).  Weather here can turn on a dime, so I treat every outdoor event anticipating a "good chance of showers".

In the meantime, I've tapped out my gear-spending-allocated funds until mid-March... but I will have a lighting thread to update shortly after I get back from Purolator! 
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Roland Clarke

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Re: Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?
« Reply #51 on: January 17, 2019, 07:38:56 am »

I donít have the Danley TH18, but I built my own version of the TH118 which is I believe the same size and has approximately the same weight.  Mine have a cut off angle at the bottom rear and casters on that.  Iíve seen pictures of what are reported to be Danleyís TH18 with and without the back bottom angle (perhaps their have been various iterations of the design), and I would say they are a reasonable 2 man lift, easy push for a single man on the flat or slight slope.  I would say that they are not going to be easy for 1 person going up or down stairs, unless you are a grunt.  That being said, they are easier to shift that single 18Ē sub style cabs just because the grab point is higher up.  I personally get someone additionally to help with stairs and steps, not worth the damage or potential injury to yourself or someone else.
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?
« Reply #52 on: January 17, 2019, 07:16:19 pm »

Hi Roland, appreciate you sharing your experience with similar subs.

There are touring and install versions of the Danley TH118, so the ones you saw without wheels were the install versions. If you go to their website and find the product page for the TH118, click the "download drawings" link and you get a little more dimensional information on both styles. 

My JTR Orbit Shifters have a similar cut off angle and wheels attached.  I find them fine with one person on smooth ground, it's the stairs that are "tripping me up"; and what drove me to start this thread to make sure I hadn't missed something before committing to one of the options I'd already stumbled on.
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Luke Geis

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Re: Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?
« Reply #53 on: January 17, 2019, 08:35:00 pm »

Subs and stairs don't really mix well :) You hit a pretty broad range for selection and I can't think of anything you may have missed that performs as well and is more portable. Going with ported/horn subs is going to give good performance at the cost of weight and size, while good performing bass reflex subs are going to be bulky and awkward as well.

I would look at a 15 horn loaded option. You can shave some weight and the size won't be as large making them a little more portable. The Yamaha DXS sub series is in Mkii now and they have pretty good numbers. The 12" even gets pretty low and loud and is in a rather compact and lightweight package. The 12" horn loaded sub weighs in at around 66lbs. and is less than 24" in any measurement. The 15" weighs in at 80lbs. and is right at 24" in any measurement. For comparison, the JBL SRX 818 weighs 87lbs. and is basically 27" in any measurement direction. The Yamaha DXS 12" says it will do 134db, which I highly doubt, but the SRX says it will do 135db ( which is not likely either ), so they are pretty close. Obviously, we know the Yamaha won't go as low, but if you just need something that gets the point across it will do the trick.
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?
« Reply #54 on: January 18, 2019, 06:20:23 pm »

Thanks Luke, appreciate your time and thoughts.  I've got a nice collection of options now to consider. 

Somewhere along the way my quest swerved slightly and I have a little bit of business plan examination to do to make sure I'm following the right long-term path, but whatever path I choose I'll be sure to follow up on this thread with an update. 
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?
« Reply #55 on: January 19, 2019, 11:20:08 pm »

One of my questions when booking a gig in a new-to-us venue is about access - elevators, steps (even 1 or 2), narrow doors, gravel/grass, etc.  If the client is vague or does not know, I'll make a site visit.  If it's an "event center" or similar space I stop in the office and tell them I'm an event decorator who wants to see their meeting rooms.  They like decorators more than sound guys, whom they assume are really DJs.

The point is if access is difficult I bring a helper and charge the client for that person.  If they don't want to pay it I skip the gig.  It's not worth an injury to myself, my employees or others, or risking damage to the venue or our gear.

Jeremy, I realize you don't want to pass on gigs and I don't like to, either... but make sure paying a premium for smaller/lighter or accepting lesser capability also works with the rest of your business.  Remember that a client that won't pay for a helper is unlikely to pay for premium gear, either.  Capturing a small market that ties up capital may not be worth it in the short/mid term.  If you're currently passing on a Tuesday night gig every week because of stairs, then spend the money.  If this is to fill in the occasional Saturday night, I'd be less inclined to spend much unless there was some kind of expanding demand.

{optional story}
We've done charity fund raising shows in the local Scottish Rite temple.  All the usual gorgeous architectural work and 90 year old drops in the fly gallery... stage on the 2nd floor.  Not an issue for the Rite, as they built almost all the set pieces and props in the building but for the other uses access is an issue.

Only 1 pedestrian elevator goes to all floors and there are limits to cargo size and weight.  It's tremendously slow to unload and load a 26 ft truck this way, plus having to share the elevator with catering and the table & chair folks.  Shows in this venue add about 3 hours of overtime for my crew and I have to recover those hard costs.  Even if it's just me and can move all the stuff by myself, I need paid for the extra time expended due to venue access.
{/optional story}
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?
« Reply #56 on: January 22, 2019, 05:48:47 pm »

Tim, thank you for your wisdom.  I wanted to let your post sit with me for more than a day so I fully digested it before responding.  Sometimes the best answer is to the question you didn't ask.

I have no quarrels pretending to be a decorator if it helps me get a successful site visit ahead of preparing my bid, that's a great technique!

My main rig was always the goal, and by all accounts is quite portable and fits my needs well.  I wasn't looking for a magic bullet subwoofer, but if there was something out there for the low-frequencies that aligned with my buying strategy and long-term goals I thought it might be worth the investment.

Between this thread, some offline chats with other LABsters and some self-reflection, I think I'd be better off sticking to that "one good rig" approach and giving my clients the best service I can offer. 

Coming from a volume-sales universe in my day job (designing heating/cooling systems and selling the components to the installing contractors, rinse and repeat), offering tiered pricing of products to my customers after a mechanical system design means that the time designing might not be wasted if they buy one of the options, but if I offer only the most expensive I might not get an opportunity to show them the cheaper options I have and now that time is down the drain. 

In reflection, my personal business is quite different.  The product is the experience, the tools I use shouldn't require tiers based on client budget, but rather my professional opinion to decide what is best for the gig, and then price it based on time/materials.  If they can't afford it, there's no reason I should be storing/maintaining/pricing a whole other sound system that goes out at a lower cost, because that means my other rig isn't rented and the results are less impressive (both of which cost me money). 

To put it this way, if I hire a carpenter to build me a deck, would they price it with their best tools, with a cheaper option if he works with his rusty old tools?  Or a "deck in a day" price versus a "deck in a month" to save him hiring a helper or making trips to the hardware store in his hatchback?  Probably not.  And if he did, he would likely lose credibility with the more professionally geared clients.

I was trying to re-configure my racks this past weekend to suit a gig on Feb 2nd (sold out at 200 people, two live bands, 72'x47' room plus stage with 23' ceilings, and 11 stairs on the load-in/out).  It was a delicate balance between removing enough to make the racks lighter, and not being adequately prepared or having to patch a lot more on site than I'd like.  I'm going to instead hire a grunt helper to get me in with my gear-of-choice and move on. 

Then my new lights arrived and I started doing some tests, and my fiance asked if I'd be using them at this gig.  I replied "no, they only paid for my cheaper lights".  To which she asked "but will these ones look better?  Will your work improve because of bringing them?  Will it cost you money to leave them at home?".  I realized in that moment that I should be putting quality first, and let my reputation grow from there knowing that each time I put my name on a gig that it's another opportunity to make an impression and a lasting relationship.

To go full circle, I'll probably end up selling the ZXA5's and EAW sub, and adding more SM80's and Orbit Shifters to my inventory.  That way I can free up some capital and storage space while also allowing me to scale up for the gigs I'm actually trying to target (small concerts in the park, boutique production for bands playing larger rooms than their own equipment can cover, etc) and if I get myself into another load-in issue I'll price a helper.  I've already invested in myself (training, learning, experience) and premium gear, I'm just short-changing myself by working with my older stuff.

That D&B Y-rig looks sexy but I'm sure it would come at a cost (another year at the dayjob, or more) for what would only be marginally more portability.  These small events are certainly not a growth market for me, and if anything it puts me in direct competition with a larger pool of players that are already doing the highly-mobile somewhat-decent production game.  There's a time and a place for compact rigs, but rock and roll probably isn't one of them.

As for your story, I can completely relate.  Sometimes working by myself is fantastic (no one to blame patching mistakes for though), but all it takes is an injury, a tiny elevator or 30 stairs to ruin my mood.  I try not to let it turn me into a sour grape, but when it comes time to mix the event if I'm feeling my most creative and on top of my game I will give the best results, period.  Instead of spending so much time trying to find the right tool, I should be exploring options locally for the right helper to allow me to do my best work.

As always, thanks to everyone who offered ideas and suggestions.  This community is a fantastic resource and if any of you ever find yourselves in my neck of the woods don't hesitate to reach out so we can connect in person.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?
« Reply #57 on: January 23, 2019, 02:34:41 pm »

Don't forget that shop prep has a cost, too.  If you're switching gear around in racks to accommodate one gig, that cost - and the labor to restore the gear back to the original packaging - needs to be attached to that gig, or it becomes an overhead expense.  Either way, you need to compensate yourself for the labor and materials involved.

I used to work in a shop that had lots of gear, most of it "proprietary" which is a nice way to say "home made".  If you're Clair Bros, "home" is a very well staffed and equipped R&D dept, wood shop, metal shop and paint booth but for most of us, home is where the pillows are.  While the gear was pretty decent for the era (very last century) it was a pain to get clients to accept because they'd never heard of it.  Lots of acts have been burned on rigs like those and is where "no Peavey, no Behringer, no Mackie, NO PROPRIETARY ANYTHING" came to be on riders.

That firm had a large amount of money invested in gear that had poor resale value.  The owner was in denial, as his rigs sounded okay and the acts that used them generally had favorable impressions, but "Band you almost have heard of" endorsements don't help much.  One of the reasons I left that firm was because I got tired of defending the gear.  Replace it with more marketable gear?  Uh... well all the money is tied up in stuff, from the gear to the shop space and equipment it takes to build it.

The point of this is that for a system owner at the Lounge level, capital is a finite and precious resource.  It's generally best to spend it on things in demand or that will create more demand.  While it's good to have some tiered pricing (we have a large institutional client that wants such) the costs of keeping those things does not change with demand so it's important that you can recover your costs of acquisition in a timely manner.

Showing off the nice, new lighting is good and it will be an up-sell point for your client on their next gig.  Creating demand.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
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Rob Spence

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Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?
« Reply #58 on: January 23, 2019, 06:27:57 pm »

I have an inventory of variously sized gear, all of it quality (but not all top tier).
It isnít a set of configured rigs that go out but more a tool box to select from. One size does not fit all. Recently I replaced passive subs with TH118s with plate amps. This eliminated a 70lb amp and made it so I can take any of my subs with no amp racks.

When offered a gig, I evaluate what gear will most appropriately do the gig to the clients satisfaction and then price it. This takes into consideration any pita factor based on the venue (like the need for more crew).

I have a spreadsheet with the inventory and gear price points for dry rentals, cross rentals & part of production.

One section for audio, one for lighting, one for cross rented gear. There is a place for a regular customer discount.

Next is a section on labor. Items for shop, load in/out, run time, wait time and overtime.

Next is transport.

I plug in the values and out comes my price.



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« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 06:30:10 pm by Rob Spence »
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?
« Reply #59 on: January 23, 2019, 07:34:51 pm »

Thanks guys that's great feedback. 

My pricing spreadsheet has all kinds of math behind the scenes to cover all the little pieces that make up the system (mixer needs a snake and UPS, speaker needs a stand and cables, etc).  Then the pricing is based on what I've calculated to be a fair compromise between my ideal ROI timeline (shorter for electronics and flashy things, longer for cables/stands/cabinets) and what the market seems to be willing to bear from the few quotes I've been doing so far.  I have my pricing on my website but as I re-examine my operating expenses and inventory I'm thinking I'll probably take that down.

I've been doing labour as a flat-rate for setup/teardown based on the rig size/PIA factor, then hourly for "tech time" during the event, plus a delivery charge again based on rig size and distance from my "shop" (living room).

Tim you're right that my time re-configuring my rigs needs to be compensated from the beginning or I'll lose my shirt once I get busy.  I need to sit down with a few local providers and find out (if they're willing to share) how they handle the labour side of things once you get beyond the ankle-biter gigs.

Both my mixers (iLive mixracks) are living in in a pair of racks: a larger rack for the 32-preamp one with a distro and big amps; and a smaller rack for the 16-preamp one with smaller amps that ends up being a monitor rack for the bigger gigs.  Both have UPS, POE switches with POE artnet/DMX and WAP's, plus the dante cards in each so I can link them.  For a lounger I'm living in luxury I must say.  That's why it pained me to break down the smaller one into even smaller parts chasing the idea that I could do every gig without help.  Even when I include the "PIA" factor into my pricing for labour, I need to bite the bullet and hire help instead of just suffering through it myself, which would eliminate some of the load-in issues I've been stumbling over and trying to use inventory to solve. 

Tim, I think I've shared this before, but my first job in this industry was for a company that was very "proprietary".   The owner was a fantastic FOH tech and good with woodworking, but I always heard him defending his rig to TM's when trying to secure us work and it was always an uphill battle. I've heard you make the "system" plea to people many times, and I couldn't agree more that leaving the R&D to the manufacturers is the most reliable way to get consistent performance from locally supplied rigs when you're touring.  I plan to target that touring-act business where it falls within my capabilities.

That's what I had in mind when I started this thread, knowing I had a Danley DSP on my buy-list, so something smaller from Danley for a subwoofer seemed to make sense.  Still sort of does if the venue is small enough, but I have to evaluate that need against other needs (and my wedding gets closer every day, haha).  As Tim said, spending money on "things in demand, or that will create more demand" makes sense.
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Brown Bear Sound
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Re: Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?
¬ę Reply #59 on: January 23, 2019, 07:34:51 pm ¬Ľ


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