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Title: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 10, 2009, 02:12:07 am
A brief introduction of myself...I am 24 years young, from Central Ohio, and moving to Phoenix in April of 2010. I've run sound for several years, had a small recording setup at one time and play guitar and sing. 14 months ago, upon my return from Orlando, I got bit by the SR bug. Since then, I have constantly upgraded and added to my rig. Recently, in the last 6 months, I have left playing behind, and turned solely to SR for paying my bills. I know enough to get me by, but I really want to gain more knowledge and experience so that I can get to where I really want to be. I feel I've put together a decent rig for what I currently use it for (running sound for other bands, 100-250 occupants), and is a great base to grow upon. But its now time to look towards the future.

Currently, heres the important pieces of my rig:

-Yamaha MG166cx Mixer (wanting to upgrade to Yamaha MG24)
-(2) Yamaha BR15 Tops (wanting to upgrade to Yamaha SV215v's)
-(2) Yamaha BR15m Monitors
-(2) Yamaha BR12m Monitors
-(2) Yamaha SW118v Subs (wanting to add a SW218v or two)
-(2) Crown XLS 802d Power Amps
-(1) Crown XLS 202d Power Amp
-(3) Shure SM58's
-(1) Shure SM57
-(1) Shure PG58
-(1) Shure Beta 58a
-(1) Sennheiser E602 (for kick, want to upgrade to beta 52)
-(1) OSP 50' 16x8 Stage Snake
-(1) DOD SR835 Crossover (upgrading to dbx DriveRack+)
-(2) 2ch Fostex 3070's (OLD!)
-(2) Furman Power Conditioners
-(1) Behringer FBQ3102 for monitors(temporary til dbx, i hate behringer)
-And almost all speaker,mic,instrument,patch,insert cables from Livewire (love em)


I barely get by right now, so I am really hoping to kick it up a few notches between now and April, and really get into the game once I hit Phoenix. I just got a 6x12 Enclosed Trailer to house and store everything in, so I am thrilled about that. I am also getting ready to start building and selling Custom ATA Flight style cases for anything and anyone. Hopefully next year I will be able to offer decent live recordings (leaning toward Presonus FireStudio Project). Also thinking about getting a SMALL light setup to enhance my selling point. But as I said, I am constantly adding and upgrading whenever possible. I have acquired all of this equipment over the last 14 months. I am also a member on Recording.org


Surprisingly I dont have any questions at the moment, but this looks like a great website geared toward my way of life, so hopefully I can meet some cool, knowledgeable people and learn alot of new things to better my small business. I have plans of growing my business, but that will take time, knowledge and experience. If anyone knows of anyone in the Columbus Ohio area (for now til April), or Phoenix Arizona area (starting in April) that I could get with to gain experience, please let me know! I think thats about all for now. I'm sure I will post threads from time to time, but I will mostly be in the background READING READING READING! Also, I am a search-before-posting kind of guy, no worries.

BJ Fisher
Stealthy Sound
index.php/fa/26787/0/
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Jeff Wheeler on December 10, 2009, 06:14:06 am
Hi, BJ, I thought I would comment on a few of the gear upgrades you are planning.  I hope you don't mind the "input."

benjamin fisher wrote on Thu, 10 December 2009 01:12

-Yamaha MG166cx Mixer (wanting to upgrade to Yamaha MG24)

While the MG24/14FX is inexpensive and a good value at its price-point, I honestly would rather have the Venice look-alike from Behringer and a good outboard FX unit.  That's not to say I like Behringer mixers; but that Yamaha is a budget product with very limited EQ and the FX are nothing to get excited about (IMO.)  Also, don't limit yourself to the input count on the 24.  There is little cost difference between the 24 and 32, and it's not too bad to carry the 32 around.

I thought long and hard about those mixers and instead bought a Soundcraft LX7ii and a Lexicon MX400.  I am glad I did.

Quote:

-(2) Yamaha BR15 Tops (wanting to upgrade to Yamaha SV215v's)

The C215V is about the same price and has texture finish.  The S model has carpet, which will smell like bars pretty soon after you buy them.

I have three pairs of 2x15s.  While I am happy with them for the jobs I do, I wish I could trade one or two pairs in for some good 1x12s.  I will likely do this next year.  FYI my 2x15 of choice is the MRX525.  I did not buy small, high-output 1x12s when I got those because I recognize that big stacks of speakers is a visible aspect of my production, and bands want to feel like they have a zillion watts of PA for their 100 - 200 listeners, even if some good, 40 pound 1x12s would be as good or better.

Quote:

-(2) Yamaha SW118v Subs (wanting to add a SW218v or two)

The SW218V will give you about as much output as one JBL SRX718S.  The JBL will need more amplification, but a bigger amp is easier to load-in than subs that are twice as big.  Not to mention, trailer space is saved with higher-output subs.  Demo some other subs before you commit to more Yamaha club-series.

Quote:

-And almost all speaker,mic,instrument,patch,insert cables from Livewire (love em)

Livewire stuff is decent-quality and not really over-priced, but you may find cheaper cables of similar or better quality from www.audiopile.net, a vendor that is well-liked on this forum.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 10, 2009, 06:28:25 am
Jeff - Certainly, input and suggestions are always welcome!

Mixer - I was tossing around the idea of the MG32 as well, if I can get a good deal on it, I wouldnt be opposed to it instead of the MG24. But to be honest, that is about as far as my budget stretches. Channel wise, 24 would truly be sufficient for what I do, but I know you are suggesting to look ahead, which I should probably do. That soundcraft looks great, just a little more than I will be able to spend.

Tops - Again, budget was on my mind Smile And  yes, I agree, visual plays a big part when bands are booking a sound guy  Confused

Subs - My plan with the 218 was to put on one side, and then just move my singles together on the other side. Those JBLs are $$$!

Cables - I'll check out audiopile, never heard of them. I've just had great experiences with the Livewires, affordable and lifetime warranty!


I know I really need to make some decisions on how much money I'm willing to spend, and what I'm wanting to do in the long run. I guess I just need to see how things go over the next year and make sure its going to be worth it. If it is, I would be more than willing to step up to the nicer JBL stuff. Thanks for the input, makes me think more long term. Time will tell!
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Jeff Wheeler on December 10, 2009, 06:44:54 am
benjamin fisher wrote on Thu, 10 December 2009 05:28

That soundcraft looks great, just a little more than I will be able to spend.

You can pretty much find them on eBay within your budget.  A new MixWiz would also be affordable and still give you 2 mid-sweeps, though you will get fewer channels of course.  I would suggest you shop the aftermarket before buying the Yamaha.

Outboard FX are nice too, because they will stay with you for a long time even as you change consoles; and you can easily bring them with you to gigs where you have a house PA to use.

I honestly would rather have a Behringer XL3200 and good FX than a Yamaha MG-series.  Maybe that makes me an evil bastard, but my limited experience (which is about the same as yours) has so far made me think that useful channel strip EQ is the most important thing on a mixer at this level.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 10, 2009, 06:52:40 am
Jeff Wheeler wrote on Thu, 10 December 2009 05:44

benjamin fisher wrote on Thu, 10 December 2009 05:28

That soundcraft looks great, just a little more than I will be able to spend.

You can pretty much find them on eBay within your budget.  A new MixWiz would also be affordable and still give you 2 mid-sweeps, though you will get fewer channels of course.  I would suggest you shop the aftermarket before buying the Yamaha.

Outboard FX are nice too, because they will stay with you for a long time even as you change consoles; and you can easily bring them with you to gigs where you have a house PA to use.

I honestly would rather have a Behringer XL3200 and good FX than a Yamaha MG-series.  Maybe that makes me an evil bastard, but my limited experience (which is about the same as yours) has so far made me think that useful channel strip EQ is the most important thing on a mixer at this level.

Actually I never really considered it, but maybe I should start looking into lightly used higher end equipment. Good thinking (I think thats what you may have been getting at)
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Duncan McLennan on December 10, 2009, 08:26:33 am
Definitely.  If you're a little flexible on brand and purchase timing, you can buy used touring level gear for nearly the same it costs to get new MI grade equipment.

That's always what I've done.  In fact I don't think I've ever bought a new piece of equipment aside from a few mics (even bought mostly used mics) and cables, etc.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 10, 2009, 08:28:28 am
Duncan McLennan wrote on Thu, 10 December 2009 07:26

Definitely.  If you're a little flexible on brand and purchase timing, you can buy used touring level gear for nearly the same it costs to get new MI grade equipment.

That's always what I've done.  In fact I don't think I've ever bought a new piece of equipment aside from a few mics (even bought mostly used mics) and cables, etc.

Great. Where do you suggest I look once I'm ready, aside from ebay and craigslist?
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Duncan McLennan on December 10, 2009, 08:37:50 am
The LAB Marketplace is great, I've bought gear there before.  Lots of good quality equipment on there, and you can be pretty sure the person selling it knows how to use it, and if it's good stuff or not.

Also local sound companies often clear out older gear that's perfectly useable, and music stores often sale rental inventory.  That one can be a little risky, but some offer warranties on rental gear, and if it's only a year old bargains can be had.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 10, 2009, 08:39:40 am
Sounds good, thanks. Yeah, thats my big concern about buying used items from some moron. Hence the reason I've bought 95% of my rig new  Confused
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Jonathan Wiegratz on December 10, 2009, 09:43:05 am
benjamin fisher wrote on Thu, 10 December 2009 02:12



Currently, heres the important pieces of my rig:

-Yamaha MG166cx Mixer (wanting to upgrade to Yamaha MG24)
-(2) Yamaha BR15 Tops (wanting to upgrade to Yamaha SV215v's)
-(2) Yamaha BR15m Monitors
-(2) Yamaha BR12m Monitors
-(2) Yamaha SW118v Subs (wanting to add a SW218v or two)
-(2) Crown XLS 802d Power Amps
-(1) Crown XLS 202d Power Amp
-(3) Shure SM58's
-(1) Shure SM57
-(1) Shure PG58
-(1) Shure Beta 58a
-(1) Sennheiser E602 (for kick, want to upgrade to beta 52)
-(1) OSP 50' 16x8 Stage Snake
-(1) DOD SR835 Crossover (upgrading to dbx DriveRack+)
-(2) 2ch Fostex 3070's (OLD!)
-(2) Furman Power Conditioners
-(1) Behringer FBQ3102 for monitors(temporary til dbx, i hate behringer)
-And almost all speaker,mic,instrument,patch,insert cables from Livewire (love em)




My take... and input on what you're trying to do.

Mixer - Grab an Allen & Heath MixWiz3 16:2... all the direct outs you could ever want for recording.  Built in fx and "6" aux's.
Tops - For your listed crowd size of up to 250 people.  Forget about unpowered junk.  Get a nice pair of QSC K12's with the matching subs, or their HPR122i's with matching subs.  WAYYYY better bang for your buck and you'll immediately see dividends with your clientele.
Monitors - QSC K10's.  Brilliant little things, they are.
Amps -  No need anymore! Sell them and get a little cash back to put elsewhere
Mics - Your vocal mics seem decent enough,  although I'd look at an Audix D5 for kick drums over the Beta52.
DSP - Driverack PX... If you're lazy and don't want to custom tune, it has the QSC presets already built in.
Other - Grab a DBX 1066 or a couple 166xl's for a few channels of compression.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 10, 2009, 09:53:44 am
Sorry if I came off as wanting to continue $100-$150 bar gigs, dont take it the wrong way, but I dont. This is my only source of income, and that doesnt really cut it. Honestly if I wanted to do that, my rig now is MORE than acceptable.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Jason Tubbs on December 10, 2009, 11:06:18 am
benjamin fisher wrote on Thu, 10 December 2009 06:28

Subs - My plan with the 218 was to put on one side, and then just move my singles together on the other side. Those JBLs are $$$!



Why not put them together in the center?

jt

Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Dick Rees on December 10, 2009, 11:13:03 am
benjamin fisher wrote on Thu, 10 December 2009 08:53

Sorry if I came off as wanting to continue $100-$150 bar gigs, dont take it the wrong way, but I dont. This is my only source of income, and that doesnt really cut it. Honestly if I wanted to do that, my rig now is MORE than acceptable.


Unless you have a lot of time in and a rep which enables you to walk in and mix for a living wage, low-ball club sound is not a business.....it's a hobby.  The pay has not gone up in your lifetime and will not in the future.  You will be bearing all the epense of gear purchase and maintainence and be earning only enough to scrape by with food, housing and vehicle to say nothing about health care and a future.  If you want to do this kind of stuff, get a day job so you can afford the habit......
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Dave Rickard on December 10, 2009, 11:24:22 am
You've gotten some good advice so far.  

Before you go much further, I'd consider powered cabs as an option.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 11, 2009, 03:03:51 am
Thanks for the opinions, I'm weighing everything and not putting anyone off. Only time will tell. I'd love to be able to get to the bar scene, but I dont know any way around that aside from working my way up the chain....
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Tim McCulloch on December 11, 2009, 11:50:57 am
Hi Benjamin-

Read Dick's response (above).  He speaks the truth.

About 30 years ago I was doing what you are.  Skipping the details, it took me about 6 years to determine that I had set myself up in a dead-end business.  No money for expansion, no money for all but critical maintenance, no money for a life beyond gas money, groceries and utilities.

Eventually I sold off or gave away most of my personal gear and went to work for others, managing and operating.  I used the 'education' I'd received from the University of Experience (and some of the formal kind, too) to help them avoid, on a larger scale, the dead end situations I'd put myself into.

Thirty years later, I can tell you the income potential has not changed.  In all but the more lucrative areas, you will not make a living providing sound for bands who play bars.  Slightly up the food chain are bands that play society weddings, small corporate events (such as may still be around), etc.

The issue with serving bands is that they are spending their own money.  There is tremendous pressure to keep contracted services as inexpensive as possible.  The best profits exist in serving markets where your fee is paid with "someone else's money."

Make your purchasing decisions with a forward-looking eye.  Size, weight and the ability to put in and take out by yourself, relative ugliness of gear in public view are all factors.  While we can and do discuss/argue over the sonic merits of a mixer or speaker, realize that most of the people paying your fee can't tell the difference.  They only know if you were easy to work with, if there was feedback, that you gear looked well maintained, etc.  Keep those kinds of things in mind.

And cables?  At your point either go with Mark & Liz at Audiopile.net or learn to make your own.  Great folks selling honestly described and fairly priced products; you'll like buying from them.  I purchase all my 'kibbles and bits' adapters, short XLR cables and lots of misc. from them.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 11, 2009, 12:02:23 pm
I think what you are basically saying is go to work for someone else, correct? What if I want to be the person others want to work for (I do)? I dont want to keep working in bars, thats for sure. I see many bigger production companies, and many kind of in the middle. Thats where I want to be.

I think right now my biggest concern is getting proper experience, so that I am able to do whatever it is I need. I see these indie-level bands touring all over the country. Dont most of them have a dedicated sound person that travels with them? Isnt there money in that?
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Dave Rickard on December 11, 2009, 12:06:35 pm
benjamin fisher wrote on Fri, 11 December 2009 10:02

I think right now my biggest concern is getting proper experience, so that I am able to do whatever it is I need.

You can get experience with the equipment you have, but it will limit the growth of your business to not upgrade.  Upgrading will limit your cash flow.

Your pick.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 11, 2009, 12:10:08 pm
But whats the point of upgrading if I'm not making more money using it? I could be making the same amount of money had I spent half the amount, as well as if I spent twice as much. I have people here telling me that I need to basically throw in the towel and work for someone else if I want to make any money, and I'm assuming thats for a large scale company.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Dick Rees on December 11, 2009, 12:10:26 pm
benjamin fisher wrote on Fri, 11 December 2009 11:02

I think what you are basically saying is go to work for someone else, correct? What if I want to be the person others want to work for (I do)? I dont want to keep working in bars, thats for sure. I see many bigger production companies, and many kind of in the middle. Thats where I want to be.

I think right now my biggest concern is getting proper experience, so that I am able to do whatever it is I need. I see these indie-level bands touring all over the country. Dont most of them have a dedicated sound person that travels with them? Isnt there money in that?


Not enough.

Another analogy.

Say you want to drive a big rig over the road.  You train on a big rig, not on a bicycle.

As has often been said here to folks wanting (for who knows what reason) to enter the glamorous world of SR, find an outfit that does what you want to do and go to work for them doing whatever they need done.  You'll learn the business from the ground up including a lot of things you had no idea you'd need to know and after an "apprentice" period, you may get to do what you want to do and make a living.  In the mean time, you're "playing with other peoples money" so to speak.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 11, 2009, 12:11:44 pm
Dick Rees wrote on Fri, 11 December 2009 11:10

benjamin fisher wrote on Fri, 11 December 2009 11:02

I think what you are basically saying is go to work for someone else, correct? What if I want to be the person others want to work for (I do)? I dont want to keep working in bars, thats for sure. I see many bigger production companies, and many kind of in the middle. Thats where I want to be.

I think right now my biggest concern is getting proper experience, so that I am able to do whatever it is I need. I see these indie-level bands touring all over the country. Dont most of them have a dedicated sound person that travels with them? Isnt there money in that?


Not enough.

Another analogy.

Say you want to drive a big rig over the road.  You train on a big rig, not on a bicycle.

As has often been said here to folks wanting (for who knows what reason) to enter the glamorous world of SR, find an outfit that does what you want to do and go to work for them doing whatever they need done.  You'll learn the business from the ground up including a lot of things you had no idea you'd need to know and after an "apprentice" period, you may get to do what you want to do and make a living.  In the mean time, you're "playing with other peoples money" so to speak.

Alright, point taken.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Dick Rees on December 11, 2009, 12:19:16 pm
benjamin fisher wrote on Fri, 11 December 2009 11:11

Dick Rees wrote on Fri, 11 December 2009 11:10

benjamin fisher wrote on Fri, 11 December 2009 11:02

I think what you are basically saying is go to work for someone else, correct? What if I want to be the person others want to work for (I do)? I dont want to keep working in bars, thats for sure. I see many bigger production companies, and many kind of in the middle. Thats where I want to be.

I think right now my biggest concern is getting proper experience, so that I am able to do whatever it is I need. I see these indie-level bands touring all over the country. Dont most of them have a dedicated sound person that travels with them? Isnt there money in that?


Not enough.

Another analogy.

Say you want to drive a big rig over the road.  You train on a big rig, not on a bicycle.

As has often been said here to folks wanting (for who knows what reason) to enter the glamorous world of SR, find an outfit that does what you want to do and go to work for them doing whatever they need done.  You'll learn the business from the ground up including a lot of things you had no idea you'd need to know and after an "apprentice" period, you may get to do what you want to do and make a living.  In the mean time, you're "playing with other peoples money" so to speak.

Alright, point taken.


Don't take it too hard.  The facts are often less than pleasant when dealing with your dreams.  

It's not just the SR skills, but the business sense that needs to be developed.  The SBA has a lot of free information and courses if you want to learn how to run your own business.  But make no mistake.....it's a business and running it is as much or more work than the work that you set out to do originally.

Good luck.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 11, 2009, 12:20:55 pm
Thanks for the heads up.

I will read into the SBA
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Tim McCulloch on December 11, 2009, 01:00:40 pm
Hi again-

I'm not telling you to give up now, I'm telling you that providing sound directly and exclusively to bands that play in bars will not make you a living.

I don't know what mixerpersons make for 'band in a van' gigs these days, but it was about $75/night 20 years ago.  I doubt that has changed.  Indie band in a bus... that might get you $250/night or $1000/wk plus per diem.  Not bad if you can do it 52 weeks a year, but unacceptable if you acquire a family that expects you to be home.

Here's the deal:  You'll spend $20-40K building a bar band rig acceptable to the occasional "D" level national or regional act.  You need to pay yourself back (with interest) for that investment as well as paying yourself to be the technician at the gig, AND you need to pay yourself for running the company, too.  This is where most start ups fail.  They don't factor in those costs when setting prices and work too cheap for too long, establishing a pricing precedent that is almost impossible to break out of.  Trust me, I've done it myself and watched others do it, too.  As a manager, it's my job to not have my employer take that track.

One needs business education as much or more as one needs advice about consoles and speakers.  Develop a business plan.  Seriously.  That will be the litmus test that shows if you have profit or loss on your horizon.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 11, 2009, 01:10:55 pm
Ok, So how do you suggest I get to the point where I am charging what my equipment and I are worth? Because I am sure making $100/night X 4-6 times a month is under paying me. As you know, in this economy, and atleast around here in Ohio, its tough for me to even make $100/gig. And if I charge much more, bands just say forget it. They are happy with my system, but dont care about it so much that they are will to regularly spend over $150/night. I'm getting $200 on NYE and its only because its NYE! $100-$150 is my average per gig, and normally only Fri and/or Sat each week.


I appreciate the eye openers from everyone. Although I dont like to hear it, I know its a positive thing.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Jeff Wheeler on December 11, 2009, 01:39:15 pm
benjamin fisher wrote on Fri, 11 December 2009 12:10

Ok, So how do you suggest I get to the point where I am charging what my equipment and I are worth?

I do several things that allow me to use my equipment.  DJ, karaoke host, and bar-band sound.  I know bands and sound guys that are lucky to be booked 2 times a month right now, while that would be a crappy week for me, because I have the flexibility to do several things.  I bet everyone on the forum sneers at me when I post something related to karaoke or DJing, but it's easy and it pays.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 11, 2009, 01:45:04 pm
Jeff Wheeler wrote on Fri, 11 December 2009 12:39

benjamin fisher wrote on Fri, 11 December 2009 12:10

Ok, So how do you suggest I get to the point where I am charging what my equipment and I are worth?

I do several things that allow me to use my equipment.  DJ, karaoke host, and bar-band sound.  I know bands and sound guys that are lucky to be booked 2 times a month right now, while that would be a crappy week for me, because I have the flexibility to do several things.  I bet everyone on the forum sneers at me when I post something related to karaoke or DJing, but it's easy and it pays.

Yeah, I've gathered they hate to even see the words Karaoke, or DJ. But, I do DJ weddings as well for extra money. Hey, its money and I have the stuff to do it. Plus its so easy, however I hate it and it sucks!! I work with a photography company that books wedding photography and then offers DJ services as a package, and I get cut in. I also host a weekly open mic night, but I use the bars junk equipment. Why, because it pays $20 most nights, but I'm always promised a good drunken stooper  Rolling Eyes

But still, around here, and right now....gigs are hard to come by, and when booked, still are low paid. I do believe that with the stuff I currently have, I could work with slightly bigger and better bands, but they already have someone working with them on sound. So, I get the leftovers. I guess I'm not in the "click"
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Doug Fowler on December 11, 2009, 03:20:15 pm
Quote:

The issue with serving bands is that they are spending their own money. There is tremendous pressure to keep contracted services as inexpensive as possible. The best profits exist in serving markets where your fee is paid with "someone else's money."



...and the logical extension of this is working for promoters vs. doing corporate work.

When you do a concert for a promoter, your fee comes out of the promoter's profit.

When you do corporate work, your fee comes out of a company budget.

Newbies would do well to learn this early on :-)

Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: thomas williams on December 11, 2009, 11:33:25 pm
Take a look at Guitar Centers used gear site. I picked up a Neumann kms 105 for 350.00 that was in excellent condition. I have found numerous high end mics at this site that sell for far less than Ebay. Enjoy
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS on December 12, 2009, 01:21:13 am
Sorry to break the news to you but the low end St market here in Phoenix sucks right now.   I do not typically work directly for bands unless they want to pay my regular fees.  I turn down a lot of work because the bands here are too cheap.  Best thing I can recommend is to network with others.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the market out here.
Ryan
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 12, 2009, 03:42:00 am
RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 00:21

Sorry to break the news to you but the low end St market here in Phoenix sucks right now.   I do not typically work directly for bands unless they want to pay my regular fees.  I turn down a lot of work because the bands here are too cheap.  Best thing I can recommend is to network with others.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the market out here.
Ryan


What are the bands willing to pay? What are you charging if you dont mind me asking? I will be in contact





Thanks guys
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS on December 12, 2009, 07:30:56 am
benjamin fisher wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 01:42

RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 00:21

Sorry to break the news to you but the low end St market here in Phoenix sucks right now.   I do not typically work directly for bands unless they want to pay my regular fees.  I turn down a lot of work because the bands here are too cheap.  Best thing I can recommend is to network with others.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the market out here.
Ryan


What are the bands willing to pay? What are you charging if you dont mind me asking? I will be in contact





Thanks guys


PM me your number and I give you a call on my dime.  You may not hear from me for a couple days, I have the Pig Flu and it sucks real bad!

I prefer not to mention my exact prices in a public forum but let's just say that my minimum charge is about 5 times what a band will pay out here + tax.  Keep in mind that in arizona you need to collect and pay sales tax to equipment rentals to the state and cities.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 12, 2009, 07:36:30 am
RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 06:30

benjamin fisher wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 01:42

RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 00:21

Sorry to break the news to you but the low end St market here in Phoenix sucks right now.   I do not typically work directly for bands unless they want to pay my regular fees.  I turn down a lot of work because the bands here are too cheap.  Best thing I can recommend is to network with others.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the market out here.
Ryan


What are the bands willing to pay? What are you charging if you dont mind me asking? I will be in contact





Thanks guys


PM me your number and I give you a call on my dime.  You may not hear from me for a couple days, I have the Pig Flu and it sucks real bad!

I prefer not to mention my exact prices in a public forum but let's just say that my minimum charge is about 5 times what a band will pay out here + tax.  Keep in mind that in arizona you need to collect and pay sales tax to equipment rentals to the state and cities.

PM'd!
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Bob Leonard on December 12, 2009, 07:54:55 am
I would think Evan may be a good example here. Started with crap, bought better crap, continued to expand his system with good hardware buying the best he could and then started to cater to larger events paying more money. In time he was noticed and is now the BE for ATL and touring with them.

Evan did a number of things right. He put his earnings back into his business until he could eventually provide sound for larger better playing acts, and he listened to what the pro's on this site told him and learned very quickly.

And, he also wrote the book "Destroying drivers, class 101".  Laughing

The point here being you'll have to spend money to make money. It can be a painful process, but eventually with the correct business plan and a lot of hard work you can move past the $100 dollar gigs. Anything that puts you in a position above the compatition will hewlp. Better gear, better chops, better support, more knowledge, and of course a better attitude.

If you're paid more, you have to be worth more.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 12, 2009, 08:00:09 am
Thanks Bob.


I just dont see me getting more or less gigs due to the fact of the equipment I currently have. I'm sure it could limit me, but at the same time, I think there is a medium. I think there are better gigs to get with the given equipment I have now. Maybe I am wrong, but I just cant afford to get more/better stuff until I can get in that medium...
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Bob Leonard on December 12, 2009, 08:06:02 am
benjamin fisher wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 08:00

Thanks Bob.


I just dont see me getting more or less gigs due to the fact of the equipment I currently have. I'm sure it could limit me, but at the same time, I think there is a medium. I think there are better gigs to get with the given equipment I have now. Maybe I am wrong, but I just cant afford to get more/better stuff until I can get in that medium...


All true Ben, but a some point you need to be offering services that others can not. Build your reputation and your rig a little at a time, not all at once. You'll be surprised at how quickly a few dollars set aside and invested wisely can help.
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 12, 2009, 08:10:53 am
Bob Leonard wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 07:06

benjamin fisher wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 08:00

Thanks Bob.


I just dont see me getting more or less gigs due to the fact of the equipment I currently have. I'm sure it could limit me, but at the same time, I think there is a medium. I think there are better gigs to get with the given equipment I have now. Maybe I am wrong, but I just cant afford to get more/better stuff until I can get in that medium...


All true Ben, but a some point you need to be offering services that others can not. Build your reputation and your rig a little at a time, not all at once. You'll be surprised at how quickly a few dollars set aside and invested wisely can help.

I totally agree, and I think that is what I will end up doing. I'm going to ride it out with the stuff I have now, and as I've done from the beginning, add to it whenever possible. Thank you Bob
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Dave Rickard on December 12, 2009, 11:30:06 am
benjamin fisher wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 06:10

Bob Leonard wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 07:06

benjamin fisher wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 08:00

Thanks Bob.
I just dont see me getting more or less gigs due to the fact of the equipment I currently have. I'm sure it could limit me, but at the same time, I think there is a medium. I think there are better gigs to get with the given equipment I have now. Maybe I am wrong, but I just cant afford to get more/better stuff until I can get in that medium...

All true Ben, but a some point you need to be offering services that others can not. Build your reputation and your rig a little at a time, not all at once. You'll be surprised at how quickly a few dollars set aside and invested wisely can help.

I totally agree, and I think that is what I will end up doing. I'm going to ride it out with the stuff I have now, and as I've done from the beginning, add to it whenever possible. Thank you Bob

That said, I'd like to offer my opinion.   Caution-long post-

I think the items which have the biggest impact on your sound are tranducers, i.e. mics and speakers.  You have a decent mic package going.  But your speakers aren't going to cut it.  You can spend a lot of money on processing gear trying to get your speakers to sound better without much benefit (polishing the turds).  Or you can step up several levels and get great results immediately with great speakers.

Let's look at some boring theoretical "upgrade math".  The "whizbang speaker corp." makes speakers at the $300, $600, and $1200, and $2400 price point.  Top cabs only.

1.  You bought a pair of "Whizbang 1" $300/ea. cabs (@$600).

2.  Rookie mistake.  You quickly find them inadequate so you decide to move up and buy a pair of $600 "Whizbang 2" cabs (@$1200)

You have to keep operating so you have to buy the new cabs before you can sell the old cabs, but can only sell them for about half price, losing $300 in depreciation gaining $300 in cash flow only AFTER you sell them.  

Long term net cost so far is $1500.  $1200+$300 depreciation loss.  Cash flow at the time=$900.

3.  Your business is taking off now, and things are starting to happen!  You decide to move up to the "Whizbang 3's" for $1200/ea. $2400 total.  You buy them and sell your old cabs for half.  $600 depreciation loss.  Long term net cost of 2400+300+600= $3300  Cash flow at the time=$1800.

4.  Congratulations on your business success so far, very successful!  Next you move to the "Whizbang 4", a great choice by the way.  These are truly incredible top cabs!   $2400 each/$4800 pair.  Long term net is $4800+300+600+1200=$6900 for $4800 cabs.  Cash flow is going to be $3600, but you lost $2100 in depreciation!

===================

Around here you will hear the saying, "Buy once, cry once", the above plan will have you crying four times and losing a bit more each time, but gaining more each time too.  But everyone has to learn the ropes and upgrade as they go, so what can a guy do?

* Upgrade smarter, not harder.  If you need to move up a level, bite the bullet and consider moving up two levels instead, more cash flow but less depreciation.  

* Buy *quality* gear every time.  Better gear doesn't just cost more, it sounds better, makes your job easier, and your results better.

* You can save money buying used.  For example, someone bought your scratched and dented Whizbag 3's for only $1200!  When you buy your line array, someone 's going to get your whizbang 4's used as well.

* Read reviews and search posts here so you get the right pieces in place sooner.  

* Network.  Maybe find a good local companies and let them know you'd like to handle some of their "bottom feeder" gig requests.  Ask them if you can work for them also.

* If your market TRULY can't support the company you'd like to build, don't do any of this.  You'll live longer getting a day job, investing in something else, and spending weekends with your family.

* For most of us, audio is in our blood and we don't do it solely to make money, we love it.  If that's you, then have at it, but keep your "business hat" on all the time as well.  

*whew*
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 12, 2009, 11:39:57 am
Thanks for the insight Dave, it makes sense. I think my decision right now is to hold off on upgrading ANYTHING until I feel I can no longer make more money with what I currently have, AND making enough that I can afford to upgrade. I think this makes perfect sense and is a good plan, seeing as how I truly believe I can make more money than what I am now even with the stuff I have now. But I do know that when/if I do upgrade, it will be two steps above instead of one, like you suggested.

And just for the record, when I bought my tops, I had zero plans of getting anything more than 2 12" monitors....
Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Dave Rickard on December 12, 2009, 11:54:42 am
benjamin fisher wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 09:39

And just for the record, when I bought my tops, I had zero plans of getting anything more than 2 12" monitors....

Yeah, we all did.  That's how it starts..........
Title: Re: Evan
Post by: Greg Cameron on December 12, 2009, 01:05:54 pm
I remember when Evan & Tom started. Evan appeared to have copied my then very crappy website (now just crappy) down to the fonts, layout and colors. We started emailing back and forth, then chatting online. He's come a long way since then, almost 10 years ago and I'm so proud. *sniff*.

Greg
Title: Re: Evan
Post by: Tim Padrick on December 12, 2009, 10:52:55 pm
Unless it was one of the megabucks models, I would not buy a Yamaha analog console.  The Allen & Heath and Soundcraft are much better IME (owing only in part to the dual mic sweeps - which I hate being without).  Owing to repairability and layout, I much prefer the A&H, even if it has to be (owing to budget) an original version MixWiz.

If you are using subs, a 2x15 is seldom of any benefit.  (The exception would be a U215 in lieu of a U15 - and that's for headroom.)
Title: Re: Long Story of Beginnings
Post by: Phil Lewandowski on December 13, 2009, 12:22:57 am
Hey Ben,

You are some-what in a similar situation that I was/am in and matbe it will help to see how I got to where I am.  (And I can't say super far yet, but still planning and investing for the future Wink

I am 21 right now and I am also looking to try and succeed and move into the realm where I am really make a living, so any advice from the many pros directed towards me is always appreciated!   Very Happy



{Sorry it could be longer}

So anyway, when I was 14 I needed service hours, so I took a tech class at the local community theater and was put on to do a show running sound cues.  I enjoyed the atmosphere and being behind the scenes.  I tried lighting and enjoyed it.  But then I moved to sound for the next show, "A Chorus Line", where I ran the board for the show.  That is when I guess you could say I found my passion for sound.  I also met my good friend Jeff, a lighting guy.  So we ended up going to the same high school and freshman year decided we should start a DJ business since he loved lighting and effect lights and I liked sound.  We were still volunteering up at the theater designing sound and lights and learning as we went since we were still only 15 and 16.

So we started out DJ business and just started with basic "cheap" gear doing cast parties for shows.  And as the word got around we got hired for slightly larger events.  Where we were each getting paid about $75-125.  Nothing big but we were still 16 and 17.  And this was our side job, just for fun.  And I used it to buy live sound gear!


We ended up DJ'ing our own senior Homecoming and Prom, which by that time we had the DJ thing down and had a lot of fun and something I will remember doing downtown Cleveland at the Ritz.  And of course we did sound and lighting for our talent show and pep rally's each year.  We then started charging a decent bit more and now I make a decent amount DJ'ing on my own, because he is off at college in Florida becoming a "Rocket Scientist". While all that still doing sound at the theater which we started actually getting paid for when we were 16.


So anyway, I knew my passion was live sound and not DJ'ing even though it was good money and less physical work. So when I was 17-18 I started to buy entry level pro gear starting with a pair of of Mackie SRM450's.  I was still doing 3 local middle and high school's dances and several Homecoming's and Prom's a year and throwing in the other various events and parties.  Then I found this site and was hooked.  I had got the idea to maybe morph the DJ business into a live sound business, but didn't really know if that is what I was supposed to be at. I tried to pursue some other things coming out of high school but the money wasn't there for going away to college.

So I ended up going to a local community college with an audio recording program and took some basic classes and took a live sound class taught by a small to medium sized local sound company.  So I made a connection there.  I then used much of the advice here to slowly build up my live sound rig buying used pro level gear, that was also bang-to-buck pieces. Kept doing DJ'ing and 2 summers ago worked at a medium sized outdoor music venue here in Cleveland, Cain Park.  I learned a lot there even though the pay wasn't super.  But the stuff I learned from actual pros and seeing consistent B-level acts come through taught me a lot.  Plus I learned a ton about lighting, even though I was the "Sound engineer".


After that, about September of '08 I decided to really give the sound company a go.  I got a basic website up, got business cards that matched the color and style of the website.  And kept reading hear and learning more for free!

This past January I was renting some monitors from the guys from the company that I took the live sound class at.  They just had happened to get a call from a new band that had formed under one of the main talent agencies here in Cleveland.  They needed a smaller rig for privates, weddings, and some clubs.  The guy though of me.  So I got hooked up with them.


So this past 8 months, I have done 80-90% of my gigs with them, which is about 50 with them.  I am just slightly lower than the average "going rate" for what I provide here in Cleveland, which I do quote higher now for incoming requests and keep my prices steady, realizing I don't want to devalue my services.  And that low-balling will get me no where.


So, invested in my rig over about the past 3 years is about $20,000-22,000 in gear, and was able to invest in a trailer 3 months ago, which is the only thing I am paying off.  Everything else is paid for.  The great part has been being young and living at home and having the extra money to buy this equipment off the bat and not go into debt.  I file private small business taxes and talk regularly to an older friend of mine that has owned many businesses over his career and he helps mentor me.


So I am still looking for advice to now start to move up the food chain so that I can make a living and support myself in the coming years, since I am still 21.  I would like to break into the festival circuit and of course eventually, even though I only did about 15 club gigs this year with that band, would move out of that as has been said that you won't make much of a living.  Even though, on the bar/clubs level I was making probably in the 70-80% percentile bracket of the going rate here in Cleveland, but it does get you that "working in the trenches" audio type experience.

The drummer from that band was doing a Sunday Night Jam night at a local club and the sound guy quit there, so he got me in there.  Nothing special but it is $100 for 4 hours of walk-in mixing, no gear.  In this area, the regular is $75-125 for 4 hours walk-in work.  Again you won't make a living doing that, but I figure right now, it is a way to make money on a day that I usually don't have gigs on Sundays.  Plus I can let them know whenever I can't do one and they get another guy from another day to fill in.




I am still investing into the company to keep moving forward.  I have a basic business plan that I now need to get into writing and put the thoughts into writing.  I still work part-time at McD's  Very Happy making more an hour I ever thought I could make in fast food, working whenever and however much I want.  That was the great thing was the flexible scheduling of being able to work 40 hours one week, and none the next.  So that pays for my cell phone, basic car insurance, and car repairs so that the other income can go to investing in the company. And still go to school right between full and part time doing the recording engineering.  I am actually looking to take more electrical engineering classes as I found them interesting and apply to stuff in the sound world.  Plus that was a tip here, was if you are getting a degree, maybe not so much a sound degree, but an electrical engineering one can come in hand.




Sorry this was so long, but it gives you an idea of how someone got "started" and what it can take.  Also you can see that making connections is huge.  I have been able to make connections in the theater, DJ, and live music sound business so hopefully those contacts keep paying off like I have noticed already.




Take Care! And Good Luck and if your ever in this area, give a holler and I'll buy you a drink,

Phil
Title: Re: Evan
Post by: John Chiara on December 13, 2009, 02:17:51 am
Greg Cameron wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 13:05

I remember when Evan & Tom started. Evan appeared to have copied my then very crappy website (now just crappy) down to the fonts, layout and colors. We started emailing back and forth, then chatting online. He's come a long way since then, almost 10 years ago and I'm so proud. *sniff*.

Greg

Isn't Evan like 20? 10 years ago?

John
Title: Re: Long Story of Beginnings
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 13, 2009, 06:50:16 am
Very nice Phil, much appreciated!

In the past I have always bought "decent" gear, new. I think from now on I will be purchasing more pro quality USED pieces. That seems to be what alot of people are suggesting, so I will bite!

I am not actually in Columbus, rather outside, so its a little tougher here. But I have decent contacts here and try my best to network with everyone.

My issue with going to school, for anything, is money. I really just cant afford it, and hate the thought of being in debt. I've done my best to stay out of it. Like you, all of my equipment is paid off, with the exception of my trailer (and truck).

I have a few bands that I work every gig with, but they are not as busy as I'd like, and still low paying ($100-$150). I know they would like to be able to pay me more, but they arent making much either. I know, thats the bar scene.

In the last year, I have invested about $9k, while I live at home. I am moving out again in April, so of course, the extra cash flow will be greatly decreased. I'm not sure how you file private small business taxes, but I have a friend who is an accountant. She has helped me out a bit, to stay legit in the eye of Uncle Sam, since I do not have another job in which I pay taxes. She had me setup a separate bank account for the "business", in which I will pay taxes for each year, according to the total deposits I make into that account. May be similar to what you are doing, I'm not sure. But I dont have a DBA or anything, other than a Tax ID number.

I have a similar Sunday night gig at a local bar hosting open mic. Walk in work, but only typically making $50-$75 plus drinks, and I split it with a friend. Sucks, but every little bit helps, and I dont have anything else to do on a Sunday.

Seems like we are indeed in similar situations, and you seem to have a good grasp on things. I'm not ever up in the Cleveland area, but I wouldnt mind making the trip up, checking you and your rig out, and just hang out and chit chat sometime. Feel free to PM me.

Thanks guys
Title: Re: Long Story of Beginnings
Post by: Charlie Zureki on December 13, 2009, 08:06:35 am
   Hello Ben,

  I'm glad that you've decided to stick around... there's a lot of great resources for information here on the Forum.

  Reading the posts, I see you're already learning some important business and Sound Professional's lessons.

  TAKE NOTES. WRITE THEM DOWN. Make a business plan. As Mr. Rees said ... contact the SBA for business information. Check to see if you have a local "Score" association. Score can "assign" a retired business professional that can help you write a business/marketing plan, costs are very minimal or even free.

 Make an inventory, makes/model numbers, & serial numbers, of all of your gear.

 While you're making the lousy money (Crying or Very Sad)  associated with the local bar scene, make the most of it. DO THE BEST JOB YOU CAN. Look as it as a paid internship.

 This is the period of your career where you'll learn how to deal with A-holes, malfunctioning gear, late group arrivals, not enough gear... and how to get through the show...while making the best possible decisions. Where you'll REALLY LEARN ABOUT AUDIO.

 This is also the period where you'll meet people....some will become friends and possibly drag you with them if their career goes big-time.  Some will just be a dragger...learn who's who.

 Learn to be a business minded person...that although it IS about the bottom line, there are times that you may set aside the dollars now, for a better deal tomorrow.

 While most of your gigs currently, may not be written deals, there'll come a time you need to start contracts.  

 Good Luck,

Hammer

  ps. as the Billionaire, Armand Hammer told me many years ago.... "If you like what you do, and are good at it.... the money will come!"

 

 
Title: Re: Long Story of Beginnings
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on December 13, 2009, 08:10:52 am
Thanks for the reassurance Hammer, its much needed!

I'll be sticking around here, continue to read everything I come across, take notes and learn from those who have done what I want to one day do. Although some negativity hits hard, its eye opening and is probably for the good, in the long run. Much appreciated people.
Title: Re: Evan
Post by: Greg Cameron on December 13, 2009, 07:31:44 pm
You're right John, probably more like 5-6 years. He was in high school, very young and inspired. Reminded me a lot of myself at that age.

Greg
Title: Re: Evan
Post by: Charlie Zureki on December 13, 2009, 07:46:24 pm
Greg Cameron wrote on Sun, 13 December 2009 18:31

You're right John, probably more like 5-6 years. He was in high school, very young and inspired. Reminded me a lot of myself at that age.

Greg



 Yeah, when I was in High School.. and Like Evan...I craved a nice Low End! Laughing

 Hammer
Title: Re: Evan
Post by: Ivan Beaver on December 13, 2009, 08:27:58 pm
Charlie Zureki wrote on Sun, 13 December 2009 19:46

Greg Cameron wrote on Sun, 13 December 2009 18:31

You're right John, probably more like 5-6 years. He was in high school, very young and inspired. Reminded me a lot of myself at that age.

Greg



 Yeah, when I was in High School.. and Like Evan...I craved a nice Low End! Laughing

 Hammer


I thought we were talking about sound systems here Laughing  Laughing
Title: Re: Evan
Post by: Philip Roberts on December 13, 2009, 09:23:40 pm
Greg Cameron wrote on Sun, 13 December 2009 19:31

You're right John, probably more like 5-6 years. He was in high school, very young and inspired. Reminded me a lot of myself at that age.


Evan joined the forum Nov 30 of 2004, so it's been 5 years.

The topic of his first post; "Subs on a budget", nothing has changed. Smile

Philip

Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Phil_Michaels on December 13, 2009, 09:33:43 pm
Hey Ben and Phil. Didn't know there was any other youngsters on the forum!

A bit about my background:

I studied Music Tech at Uni - however nothing related to live sound on my particular course. Instead we covered things like Max/MSP Programming, surround-sound composition, the history of electro-acousique music + a bit of physics/theory.

Took a placement year out which involved doing some live sound. I didn't really enjoy it at first nor really know what i was doing. But as my year out involved doing it every week i kinda had to force myself to learn more about it.

I think it was only when i started doing some studio work that i realised i appreciated certain aspects of the live stuff.

From then to present day i have had three jobs engineering at small local venues building up my experience and list of happy clients.

////life story over


Ben, I think your pretty brave trying to do this as your only source of income. My Only advice would be try and have a few fingers in different pies - I don't think S.R. on it's own will provide enough income(yet).

Right now i work at a music shop 30hours a week, engineer at a music venue, do some demo recording, offer myself or myself+PA for hire and promote the odd gig (engineering lots of gigs lets me see who all the popular local bands are!). Fortunately both my music shop and venue job are fairly flexible with hours so i can pick and choose my schedule.

Seeing as your currently just serving the 100-250venue market i see no reason why you can't get another job on the side. It's not like you need to be at the venue before 5pm most weeknights. You could get that dream portable rig a heck of a lot quicker this way!

I really don't think putting your money into the 500+ venue market is worthwhile. The start-up costs for a small rig for a freelance engineer are just about do-able but anything more and costs+workload multiply tenfold.

If i was you i would still concentrate on the 100-500 venue market and get another job on the side. Use your extra income to upgrade your portable rig to something every customer is going to be impressed with and soon enough you'll be the go-to guy for every local band. Spend the rest on something that will be useful for your whole Live sound career (i.e. perhaps a selection of vocal mics to suit every voice and situation).

In the mean-time i would pester Sound-Reinforcement companies until something comes along.








Title: Re: New Guy - Wants To Learn More!
Post by: Brian Harden on December 13, 2009, 11:01:50 pm
It was really interesting reading Phil's "life story" and how he got into sound.  I was a recording guy in my early twenties and got stuck doing sound for a musical for a community theater group in which my girlfriend was acting in.  I was hooked immediately with the SR bug!  I have now done 38 musicals (give or take) with various groups in the area.  Oddly enough, the work seems to just be flowing in.  Some of my sound friends are still out there banging gear around, slushing through the harsh winter load in-load outs, working until 3:00 to 4:00 in the morning, and making peanuts... while I'm sitting behind a Yamaha M7CL in a comfy sound booth from about 6:00 p.m. until about 10:00 p.m. making more money than they are.Laughing My clientele are mostly high schools, community theaters, semi-pro theater, and then the occasional bar/venue gig.

I guess what I'm getting at is that there are other gigs out there than just bar gigs... even at your level.  In fact, I've always thought that if you can learn to manage twenty wireless mics, three floor mics, four choir mics, and a fifteen piece orchestra (mic'd and piped in) while making untrained vocalist sound full and intelligible.... you'll have come a long way.  I've built a niche market for myself and am generally the first call for most theater shows that need a sound designer.  There aren't too many of us that specialize in theater sound!  As for gear... I've gotten used to working with a multitude of mixers, effects, compressors, EQs, DSP, etc... that I wouldn't have access to otherwise.  I've learned tons in the process!

Really, there is nothing wrong with wanting to build a rig and have nice gear, but it really does make sense to work for someone else (with their gear) so you can get better acquainted with what's out there.  You'll still make some money while learning the ropes!  As for building your own setup... reading reviews on gear is fun and rewarding, but until you actually play with something, you never really know if it's for you.  I've certainly made gear choices for myself based on someone else's gear that I've worked with (or was forced to work with).  

BTW- of all my gear choices (and there are many), I can say that the best ROI has been my 12 channel Audio Technica wireless set up and my $600 Mackie SDR hard disk recorder.  Of course, these were bought out of necessity and I didn't salivate over these like I do amps, speakers, monitors, and mixers.  Those two items are almost always out on rentals and make as much money as I make mixing.

Good luck and stay strong!