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Author Topic: First Bar Install: Part 1  (Read 9516 times)

Kurt Stephens

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First Bar Install: Part 1
« on: January 24, 2011, 02:43:28 pm »

I will be doing a somewhat small sound and lighting install for a friend of mine's bar come this May. It is very important to me that I do things right the first time, and gain some rep as well not only with the owner but locally as well. This is my first real install.

Here are some of the details that bar owner specified (he knows little about audio):

Install type: Permanent as opposed to mobile
Budget: Max of $4,000 (he will not increase this, and won't like going over).
Lighting: Yes, mostly low-intensity wash lighting for small jazz bands.
Music: Mostly Jazz or solo players, "soft" music.
Detail: If he brings in a DJ or larger group he will tell them to bring their own system.
Area: 26ft by 60ft with the small stage in the corner. Bar island is centrally located on one side of wall extending outward into middle. Pool tables are on the other side of the bar island from the stage.

I have attached the floorplans.

#1 What additional questions do I need to ask him?

#2 How do I start approaching this install?

#3 What are some of your initial ideas? (do I need stage monitors, what kind of lighting, how do I cover the whole area, should I aim to cover the whole area, talent-accessible mixing boards etc...)

#4 What are things to definitely avoid in this situation?

Again, this is extremely important to me as it is my first real install and I do not want to disappoint. I will be posting this in multiple parts as I get closer to his due date and as I research more.

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Paul Lipp

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Re: First Bar Install: Part 1
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2011, 03:03:54 pm »

I would keep this simple, no need for overkill in any area.

As for lighting, LEDs are sorta out of your budget, unless you want budget lights? Conventional par cans are inexpensive and will cover the area, however power may be a concern, and they give off a lot of heat... something to think about. Lighting could be controlled via a computer or simple dmx light controller.

Is there any existing sound that will be used? Are there mics and cables present, or is this a fresh install of the complete audio system? Are any tv's being incorporated into this system, or audio feed from existing video system.

I would write down the needs of the venue and work it from there..
What output level are you expecting, are you only building for jazz/solo or will it need to be capable of doing a small rock band, etc.
I would assume monitors are needed if you have any live music acts.

I would put a focus on power to ensure you have adaquite as well as if an outside provider comes in, they can connect their equipment in without tripping breakers.. Maybe have a contractor put in a dedicated disconnent and power connections on stage that are not tied into anything else but for stage power.

This seems like a pretty straight forward install.. other little things that come to my head are, how high is the stage, is it portable or permanent, cant you place anything below it if need be, what is ceiling height, and make up..

How are the acoustics? maybe it would be wise to focus on treating acoustic issues, instead of having to fight it, and future acts fighting it.. etc.
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Kurt Stephens

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Re: First Bar Install: Part 1
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2011, 11:37:49 pm »

These are tremendously helpful thoughts, thank you.

Lighting: I'm thinking two par cans via a small DMX controller located behind the bar. The computer controlled route might be a bit beyond their needs (or budget).

There is no existing sound whatsoever. There was a bar there previously with no sound except TVs. This is a fresh install. The TVs that will be put in do not need to have synchronicity with the sound system.

SPL requirements are low. Jazz and solo artists are the focus. He does not expect more than 3 people on average. If he does bring in a larger rock group/ higher SPL group then he will require them to provide their own sound.

Monitors are one of my biggest questions I guess. Just go with one? Maybe a single K8?

Power distribution will absolutely be a concern. I DJ at a bar regularly that has very poor power distribution and I know how frustrating it is. 20 amp three phase technically grounded etc... I will have to get more advice on this later since I am not an electrician.

Stage is not high - maybe 1ft or so. It is permanent and does not have space under it to store gear (but maybe some wires if things are done right).

Ceiling height was not specified yet, I will have to get that. The ceiling is exposed wood beams that can handle a heavy speaker sized load.

Acoustically I haven't been able to test anything out yet and may not get to (sadly) until very close to the install time (aka. when he plans to open his new bar). He wants the spec sheets with my recommended equipment before then.
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Kurt Stephens

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Re: First Bar Install: Part 1
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2011, 12:03:25 am »

sound compliment-wise I'm tentatively thinking:

2x flown EAW FR129z's on a QSC PLX1804 for about $2000

does this leave enough room for lighting, power stuff, processing, cabling, mics/mixer (or even a monitor)? Not sure if it does.
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Ned Ward

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Re: First Bar Install: Part 1
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2011, 01:04:03 am »

If you're asking these kinds of questions and don't understand power or have insurance and the knowledge on how to correctly fly ("hang") speakers safely, you should walk. If you'd like to remain friends with this owner, walk now and have him hire an experienced install contractor.


It's also a bit presumptuous to ask blindly the forum folks to do your job. If you have plans for the install, then feel free to suggest them and ask for comments, but don't ask for free consulting.


Again, based on the questions and paucity of responses, no one wants to touch this for a) liability; b) doing your job; c) both.
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ThomasKielhofner

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Re: First Bar Install: Part 1
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2011, 02:10:38 am »

I have to agree with Ned; If you have some ideas and questions about them that's fine, but if you need a complete system designed you should really consult a local professional to handle it for you. I can give you some suggestions though.

I would look at something powered and simple for your main speakers, like a pair of K12's or K10's. You will want monitors, on your budget you could do something inexpensive like Yamaha BR series or similar and a small QSC or Crown amp to power them. A small rack mountable mixer would work well for low channel count shows like you describe, maybe the soundcraft mfxi series or allen & heath mix wiz. A small dmx show controller and four or five smaller american dj or chauvet par cans should take up whats left of your budget. That leaves you still needing mics, a rack for the mixer/amp, cables, power distribution, and whatever else I left out.

Like I said, from what it sounds like you should consult a local pro to handle the system design and install though. They would probably set up a package deal with you, and be able to give you a little bit of a discount on some of the product.

And when it comes to flying speakers don't just go buy some off the shelf hardware and use your handyman skills to hang speakers and lighting. This is where you really need to get a professional to do the work because you will be held liable if it falls.
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Kurt Stephens

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Re: First Bar Install: Part 1
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2011, 09:13:25 am »

If you're asking these kinds of questions and don't understand power or have insurance and the knowledge on how to correctly fly ("hang") speakers safely, you should walk. If you'd like to remain friends with this owner, walk now and have him hire an experienced install contractor.


It's also a bit presumptuous to ask blindly the forum folks to do your job. If you have plans for the install, then feel free to suggest them and ask for comments, but don't ask for free consulting.


Again, based on the questions and paucity of responses, no one wants to touch this for a) liability; b) doing your job; c) both.

I do have commercial liability insurance. The plan was made for this type of matter. My family owns a Law firm - I understand this.

I am not an electrician and would consult those in the know for that matter.

I do not want anyone here to do my job - I am getting opinions on how other people would approach it and what questions they would ask. Remember this is my first job doing this so go easy. I'm aware that I can and may need to hire someone else.

The bar owner knows my limitations as well and his expectations are very low. My Law firm represents him and his bar.

I'd like to just throw some ideas around on what might work and what might not - thats the whole basis of a Forum.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 09:17:48 am by Kurt Malkames »
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: First Bar Install: Part 1
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2011, 12:23:01 pm »

Have you priced in things like: Install labor-training on system operation-warranty (how are you going to cover costs for repairs/labor if something needs servicing)?

You are going to need mics, stands, DI's, cables etc etc.  Those can add up quickly.

I assume you have determined the coverage needs of the loudspeakers and are choosing them based on those needs.
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A complex question is easily answered by a simple-easy to understand WRONG answer!

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Brad Weber

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Re: First Bar Install: Part 1
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2011, 05:34:49 pm »

My Law firm represents him and his bar.
That could be interesting if there ever was any issue.

I'm surprised nobody has asked about the ceiling height and construction, but that would be useful to know.  And speaking of ceiling, are you looking at aspects such as whether you may need to use any plenum or riser rated cabling?

I would address the power issues right away.  It's not clear if there is an Architect involved but somebody is probably coordinating the design and creating construction documents, you want to make sure to coordinate with them as soon as practical.  If you come up with additions or changes late in the process you won't be making any friends and may not get what you want.

Just to reinforce Ivan's point, does your responsibility end when you walk out after installing everything or will you incur some ongoing responsibility and liability?  That may factor into your costs.  And since you want to do this right don't forget about things like labeling all the wires with that labeling reflected on the system drawings that you leave for the Owner.

By the time you account for the costs of not only the main equipment but also of all the associated cabling and cables, connectors, hardware, stands, an equipment rack an so on as well as anything for your effort and liability, will $4,000 cover providing something with which you'd want to be associated?  If you're willing to do this at a loss for the experience and reference or due to your friendship then that is a decision for you to make, but remember that any resulting references may be based on the belief that you could provide similar results for the same cost.  Otherwise, you may want to first consider the more fixed costs and see where that leaves you on the items and work that is more flexible.
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Kurt Stephens

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Re: First Bar Install: Part 1
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2011, 06:54:55 pm »

Have you priced in things like: Install labor-training on system operation-warranty (how are you going to cover costs for repairs/labor if something needs servicing)?

You are going to need mics, stands, DI's, cables etc etc.  Those can add up quickly.

I assume you have determined the coverage needs of the loudspeakers and are choosing them based on those needs.

Comments much appreciated.

training isn't really to necessary since it will pretty much be one of two people using it. If something needs servicing the cost is covered by the owner. When I am done, it's all his.

Things are definitely going to add up quickly, but he really isn't asking much of this system. I've made him aware that his $4K might not go very far.

Directivity has been considered.

Let it be known that at one point he said to me "hey just pick out some JBLs an amp and a mic for me" His standards are very low and he has no clue what a real professional level install entails. I think anything more than some junk speakers and a mic would please him. Of course, I've got to be thinking beyond just him.

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Re: First Bar Install: Part 1
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2011, 06:54:55 pm »


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