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Title: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Peter Kowalczyk on October 17, 2018, 08:39:03 pm
Hey All!  I have the dubious honor of consulting on the sound and lighting systems for a new music venue.  Lucky me, we're months away from beginning renovations, so I have the chance to influence the room itself, not just what goes into it. 

I thought it would be fun and informative to gather some wisdom from the experienced talent pool here on the LAB.  While our space will be more lounge-level (mods, please move if desired), I hoped to get input from the Pros...

...  What have you seen in fixed installs that worked very well?
...  What have you seen that makes you wonder what the hell the designers were thinking?
...  What do you WISH was in your venue to make your life easier?
...  What seemed like a good idea at the time, but didn't work out?

I'm wondering mostly about installed AC power and signal wiring; physical ergonomics such as stairs, ramps, and doorways; rigging for speakers and lights, monitor world and front of house layout, structural acoustic treatments, and all those things that can't readily be changed after the construction phase.  Lets not get into details about This Speaker or That Console...

What we are planning now; all subject to revision:
- approx 350 capacity
- corner stage (maybe?)
- Open-rafter, moderate-height ceiling (~12' at wall, sloping up to ~25 or more in center of room)
- VIP balcony area; pretty short throw from stage ( ~20')
- Flown Speaker system
- Low-ish ceiling (12') zone under balcony fitting roughly half those 350 patrons.

Many thanks for your thoughts!
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Lance Rectanus on October 17, 2018, 09:00:10 pm

I'm wondering mostly about installed AC power ...

Just a thought while this is fresh in my mind. I was at a local church and the ambient spl was @50-55 dBa with the AC running. It was constantly running. Compared to my home church where the ambient with the AC on is 40-45. This made a huge difference during the quieter portions of the service. I know that you aren't doing a church, but I was surprised by just how much I focused on (or was distracted by) the AC noise.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Steve Litscher on October 17, 2018, 10:00:46 pm
My short list for venues:

- Dedicated parking within close proximity to load-in/load-out door(s)
- No stairs
- SOLID power with options: 5-6 dedicated 110v 20a circuits near stage, 50-amp 220v single phase receptacles, or easy tie-in options
- No corner stages
- Good space for FOH/lighting
- Staff and owners who appreciate the performers/crew
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Rob Spence on October 17, 2018, 10:07:28 pm
Just a thought while this is fresh in my mind. I was at a local church and the ambient spl was @50-55 dBa with the AC running. It was constantly running. Compared to my home church where the ambient with the AC on is 40-45. This made a huge difference during the quieter portions of the service. I know that you aren't doing a church, but I was surprised by just how much I focused on (or was distracted by) the AC noise.

I did a party once in a barrel roof room. My other guy was complaining that there was this hiss in the pa and we should fix it. I pointed out that the crowd noise was over 90dB and no one will hear it. But really? 90dB of ambient to get over.

So many venues want a live room which makes it tough to do live music.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Luke Geis on October 17, 2018, 10:09:17 pm
Sounds much like a venue I used to manage the sound for.

If sound quality is the focus, then acoustic treatment is numero uno. The rafters can be used to place things that eat reflections and close the room back up. This can be great to make the sound of the PA be the sound that is heard. Walls that are fully exposed really make great reflection devises...... This hurts sound quality and curtains really help make a look and again make the room sound more acoustically dead! The performance space is equally important. Carpeted or at least a dampened floor can really help the band hear things better. The more acoustically dead the performance space is the easier it is to get the band to hear things clearly. Large open sounding spaces that have walls sound harsh and bad. You want it to be more like being outside in the middle of a field; dead with no acoustic reflections.

Aside from making a venue more acoustically dead or at least controlled, next would be making equipment and lighting quiet. A noise floor of 60db isn't the worst thing ever. A performance PA system should be easily 20db above that making a noise floor from most equipment a non-issue. I do agree that making it as quiet as practical is a good idea though. Just keep in mind that the patrons general yapping will drive the noise floor up well above the equipment noise.

In the venue I managed the PA for, I was challenged with a few acoustic deficiencies and I was limited in scope as to where I could put things and what I could do with things. I was more or less stuck with what I had and only replacing equipment as needed was an option. You get the chance to at least sort of clean slate this which will help. The one thing I wish I could have done more was acoustic treatment and more conventional deployment of the PA. Unfortunately for me, sight lines, layout, time and outright say and control were not in my cards.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Dave Guilford on October 17, 2018, 10:37:07 pm
If you donít have acoustic treatment, who cares about the rest?

But , in order of importance, things to consider AFTER ACOUSTIC TREATMENT:

power
Foh booth size / safety / build
stage build quality
Flat load in
Pa

Then everything else I guess.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Scott Hofmann on October 17, 2018, 11:41:27 pm
If I am picturing this correctly, with the stage in a corner, the ceiling will be 12' above the floor on one side of the stage and much higher (18'?) on the other side. Makes for a pretty asymmetrical stage lighting situation. If the stage platform is even 18" above the floor with a 6' person standing on it, you will also have a very short throw for top or backlighting fixtures near that side.

A corner stage always seems to waste upstage space and also create difficulties with access. You essentially have no ability to sidelight if desired at a later date. Also the stage is no longer either parallel or perpendicular to roof trusses for hanging lights or speakers.

Did I say that corner stages have a lot of disadvantages?
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Mark Cadwallader on October 17, 2018, 11:54:15 pm
Unrelated to sound, but related to the facility:  make sure there is a janitor's closet nearby and at stage level if at all possible. Hauling a mop bucket up and down stairs is a PITA. Having a handy place to dump the catering ice after the show will save your back when you are already tired from the show and the out.

Locating the circuitbreakers for the stage area somewhere backstage (or the functional equivalent of backstage) where you can actually get to them (perhaps even during a show) The and where they won't be blocked by road cases, etc. is quite helpful. Label both the breakers and the recepticles served by the breaker.  A nearby master disconnect for the breaker box is nice, too.

Over-size the conduit/cable chase from FOH to the stage. It is way cheaper to do that than adding more later. Leave a pull rope in the conduit so you don't have to snake one in a couple of years later.  Conduit and cable is cheap compared to the labor to install it.

Best wishes for the new space.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Bob Stone on October 18, 2018, 12:07:20 am
- Enough outlets in the right places, 20 amp everywhere, 240v in standard plugs, big disconnects for 100-400 amp distros, three phase bonus
- Trench plate/cable tray/something to run additional cables from FOH to Stage easily
- Fly points already built in if the structure can support it (bonus if you can drop the lighting trusses down with the push of a button to change fixtures/bulbs/etc. instead of pulling out a ladder or genie)
- Fly as much as you can, gear will hold up better and cleans up sight lines/floor space.
- Good network, get wired in access points, lots of network drops and proper internet access...something with VLAN capability so you can segregate traffic.
- Decent backstage work space for load in/out, repairs, prep, staging, etc. and a non-public way to go from FOH to backstage! No fighting with punters when you need to run to stage.
- Two loading docks minimum, one truck level, one van level...all roll in/out.
- Separate BRIGHT work lighting that is on normal light switches in addition to stage lighting
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Erik Jerde on October 18, 2018, 01:07:06 am
Isolated grounds for audio.
HVAC ductwork placement - is it somewhere thatís going to cause problems for FOH/Audio in general.
Architect measured properly (had one off by 10í once!)
Acoustic treatment fabric isnít reflective (dealing width this one now).
Shore power for tour bus.
Adequate storage for dead cases.
Work lights!
Gear is accessible - shouldnít have to climb a ladder, move a bunch of crap to troubleshoot during a show.  Exceptions for lights/pa/stuff that should/must be hung.  Otherwise if it can go on the ground it should.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Mike Caldwell on October 18, 2018, 01:12:05 am
I'll second good bright work lighting!!

Also are they going to have a couple of qualified people on staff to manage, operate and maintain the system.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Helge A Bentsen on October 18, 2018, 03:37:59 am
Do not build a permanent FOH booth.

It's the nr. 1 PITA with small clubs.

I manage a small club that had a permanent booth, constant issues with space at FOH when someone decided to bring a console or two. Got rid of the whole thing, put the desk (Pro2c) on a small cart so it can be moved easily.
Now we use less space with a guest console in place even if I have to have our console up and running for the openers.
I also made sure we had a easy way of pulling multis from stage to FOH, didn't bother about installing any permanent extras, people ask for different things all the time. I tell them to bring their own and help them lay it down, so far people have been happy with that.

Second ting we did was building a stage with a heavy "sandwich" type floor and put a carpet on top of it. Dual layers of MDF and plaster board. Works wery well, the stage is totally dead even if the subs (SB1000z) is placed inside of it.

Third thing was putting a lot of sound absorption in the roof above the stage. Really helpful with drummers who play at "11". Sadly we can't put anymore in the roof in front of the stage. Makes it difficult sometimes during soundcheck but once you get about 1/4 to 1/3 of the crowd indoors, the room dies down.

Fourth thing. I'm lazy. I don't want to do the same thing over and over again just to get to the point where I can start rigging. So, all the mics live in drawers on stage R with the stands on a shelf beside the. The monitor amps and stage rack is also located there. There is a small drop snake with power, 2 monitor speakons and 8 inputs on SR, another one with 2 speakons and 4 returns for IEMs centered in the rear where the drummer goes 95% of the time. There is also a 12 channel drop snake there. Everything ends up at the amps/stage rack so I can wire and patch from stage. All this makes it possible to run the whole stage with short cables and be up and running for soundcheck really fast. That usually means a shorter soundcheck, happy musicians and more dinner time for me.

Fifth thing. Sort out all "DJ" needs in advance.
In this venue we have a Mackie mixer in the bar so the bartenders can play music. I made a multicore with two XLRs and power, it's long enough to reach everywhere on stage and in front of it if they wish to have the DJs on the floor. It's permanently wired to channel 1/2 on the desk so they can have a DJ show without a tech. If they put the DJ on stage and need a monitor they just rotate one of the outfills and use it as a monitor. I don't see any reason why they should have to bring in a tech to babysit two channels, so I gave them the option to invest some money in a solution now, or have to pay for a tech every time they put in a DJ. There is also a cheap wireless wired on ch 3 so every Sunday when it's movie night the presenter can talk to the audience without issues.

As a final touch, I wired the outputs from the Mackie in parallel to the house console and the PA inputs, so when I switch the PA to FOH mode (two switches on the wall, I think they cost me $2 each.) I can fade out/in the house music/DJ before and after the show.



Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Philipp Diesenreiter on October 18, 2018, 08:41:36 am
I always enjoy pannels with cat6, optical Fibre, some xlrs and such in all corners of the venue, but especially on booth sides of the stage and foh.

Also enough room for empty cases is often a problem.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Roland Clarke on October 18, 2018, 12:49:25 pm
All the venues in London with balconies and small throws from stage, seem to be moving to distributed systems.  Outside of the slight comb that is to be expected, because of the eveness of coverage, the clubs like it as volume is more even and doesnít drown out the bar areas.  Worth considering due to your room geometry.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Dave Garoutte on October 18, 2018, 01:17:40 pm
Tons of great suggestions here.

I second the sound treatment above the stage.
On a tall ceiling venue, I suspended some panels 10' or so over the stage.  What an improvement!
At a small beer garden stage with a low tin roof, a few 2" fiberglas panels virtually eliminated feedback from the stage.

If you do have a permanent FOH, leave it as open as you can get away with.  A 'room' sucks.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Peter Kowalczyk on October 18, 2018, 02:31:01 pm
Thanks SO much for all these great suggestions - just what I was looking for. 

This space is actually the SECOND of two music rooms in this single building.  The first, much smaller, is scheduled to open next weekend.  Progress on the larger space depends on the success of the smaller one...  I joined too late to influence layout and design decisions for this smaller room, and so adding acoustic treatment to the stage area has become a headache.  We'll Absolutely prioritize this for the larger room.

Sounds like I should advocate that the stage be centered along the wall rather than in the corner... I was starting to come to that conclusion myself already; thanks for confirming.

I'll sort through these comments and forward to the owner and project manager.  Lots more fun in store here.  Thanks again!
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Tim McCulloch on October 18, 2018, 04:08:29 pm
Thanks SO much for all these great suggestions - just what I was looking for. 

This space is actually the SECOND of two music rooms in this single building.  The first, much smaller, is scheduled to open next weekend.  Progress on the larger space depends on the success of the smaller one...  I joined too late to influence layout and design decisions for this smaller room, and so adding acoustic treatment to the stage area has become a headache.  We'll Absolutely prioritize this for the larger room.

And the horn they create means that the PA will have to fight stage SPL more than usual.  Bah, humbug.
Sounds like I should advocate that the stage be centered along the wall rather than in the corner... I was starting to come to that conclusion myself already; thanks for confirming.

I'll sort through these comments and forward to the owner and project manager.  Lots more fun in store here.  Thanks again!
Corner stages SUCK.  Uniformly, always, and forever.  They *seem* like a good use of space but as has been mentioned, they leave zero room for empties, access from dressing rooms and make for awkward seating for the audience.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: scottstephens on October 18, 2018, 04:45:24 pm
 What I like to see

1.  Good work lighting and separate lighting for the show
2.  As Helge said: a completely dead stage
3.  Electric dedicated for the stage
4.  Acoustic Treatment above the stage
5.  An out of the way place to run the snake but make it accessible to the crew; there is a local venue here where we have to run the snake up over every open beam and then take it down after the show which requires getting a ladder and adding 30 minutes to every in and out.

6.   make sure every staff member knows that a band is coming in and that they require food and a lot of room for the cases
7.   no stairs
8.   good parking
9.   a wide door to ease the ins and outs
10. If you have a ramp up to the stage door, make sure that it is not covered in ice, cases of beer, staff members who are on break, and general crap that has no other place to go.

Scott
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Robert Healey on October 18, 2018, 05:56:27 pm
Many thanks for your thoughts!

- Hire an architect that has done this before.
- Make your architect hire a reputable acoustical consultant.
- Make your architect hire a reputable AV design engineer. This is the person that will take your needs and translate them into things that need to be built into the building - conduit, power, etc. You aren't looking for someone who writes a performance spec - you want someone who will create bid drawings and specifications for the electrical contractor and the AV integrator. It could also be your acoustical consultant - many of the reputable firms do both acoustics and AV design.
- The project's electrical engineer may not have experience with performance lighting. I understand that this isn't a higher-end venue, but if you want high-end lighting (movers, etc) you may want to make the architect hire a theatrical consultant to be your house lighting designer and stage lighting designer. They would design rigging, locate performance lighting and dimmer racks, design the house lighting with performance-friendly features, and design an architectural control system (which would let you control the house lighting).

Disclosure: I work for a firm that does the last (3). We are probably too far away to effectively help you though, based on the location in your profile.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Geoff Doane on October 18, 2018, 08:39:43 pm
Corner stages SUCK.  Uniformly, always, and forever.

I just did a gig this past weekend at the exception that proves that rule.

Normally, I would agree with Tim, but this particular room defies logic.  Except for carpet on the floor and acoustic tile in the ceiling, the stage is not particularly dead either, with stucco on the walls.  But the bands seem to actually enjoy the "live" quality that the finish imparts, and it's never been a problem out front.

But one thing they didn't get right was the location of the range receptacle (NEMA 14-50R).  They installed it half way up the wall, right behind where the drummer would usually sit.  A 14-50R is a relatively inexpensive amenity to provide for anybody who comes in with their own distro, but please put it slightly off stage, on one side or the other, where it can be used more easily.  They also located the breaker panel at the back of the stage rather than some place which can always be accessed easily, as previous posters have mentioned.

GTD
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Stephen Kirby on October 19, 2018, 05:44:40 pm
Yes, corner stages suck.  Everybody (who is not a drummer) seems to think that a drum kit lays out in a diamond shape.  Not true.  Between the high hat on one side and floor toms/cymbal stands on the other, along with access, it is roughly rectangular.  Also corners force the bass rig downstage of the drummer so all they hear is boom and it's difficult to lock in.  Another caveat on super dead stages.  This reminds me of Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland.  Great for soundpeople/producers, but real jazz musicians hate it and have basically stopped playing there.  I remember the drummer who played the opening night there complaining that he couldn't hear anything and the kit sounded like there was a blanket over it.  Watched Phil Woods' roll his eyes all night and Kenny Burrell kick a monitor over in frustration.  "Dead" recording studios have been ancient history for awhile, but I still see people advising venues to put all sorts of crap on the walls behind the musicians.  You want a balanced and even sound.  Some absorption up high on the back wall and a bit on the ceiling, but don't completely kill it.  I've played in front of carpet, foam and drapery covered walls.  One place has egg cartons and foam all over the back wall and drapes in front of that.  All that will succeed in doing is getting the drummer to pound the snot out of their kit trying to get some sound out of it.  Buddy Rich carried around sheets of plywood as he detested playing on carpeted stages.  The quickest way to incite an on stage volume war is to make it so that musicians can't hear themselves or each other.

What is the function of this venue.  A sit down concert place, or a dancing drinking establishment.  If it's be later, there's something I've noticed about all successful venues in that field.  Civilians don't want to be conspicuous.  I played in the disco era of the late '70s and some clubs had the bright idea to put dance floors up high in the middle of the room.  Regular folks don't want everyone watching them do their "Elaine dance".  These places got overrun by ballroom dance types who didn't drink and effectively shamed/chased out folks who would have.  Also, the layout needs to be conductive to inconspicuously circulating.  This allows folks to comfortably mingle, socialize, or make their play without being the center of attention.  I played for awhile in a large showroom where they cleared the lower level tables and tried to have a dance club.  Anyone who got up from their booth to go to another booth and ask for a dance was as conspicuous as someone going to the restroom at a comedy club.  The walk of shame back to their booth after a rejection pretty much emptied the venue over time and it was the death of many bands.  The most successful place I've played at had the band in the middle of the room, with sunken dance floors to either side and aisles and tables around that.  They had column speakers around the "stage".  Not a soundperson's dream, but the place was packed, year after year.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: George Friedman-Jimenez on October 19, 2018, 08:08:38 pm
...  Another caveat on super dead stages.  This reminds me of Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland.  Great for soundpeople/producers, but real jazz musicians hate it and have basically stopped playing there.  I remember the drummer who played the opening night there complaining that he couldn't hear anything and the kit sounded like there was a blanket over it.  Watched Phil Woods' roll his eyes all night and Kenny Burrell kick a monitor over in frustration.  "Dead" recording studios have been ancient history for awhile, but I still see people advising venues to put all sorts of crap on the walls behind the musicians.  You want a balanced and even sound.  Some absorption up high on the back wall and a bit on the ceiling, but don't completely kill it.  I've played in front of carpet, foam and drapery covered walls.  One place has egg cartons and foam all over the back wall and drapes in front of that.  All that will succeed in doing is getting the drummer to pound the snot out of their kit trying to get some sound out of it.  Buddy Rich carried around sheets of plywood as he detested playing on carpeted stages.  The quickest way to incite an on stage volume war is to make it so that musicians can't hear themselves or each other...
Can't the dead stage effect be mostly overcome by monitors? As a conga player I usually prefer stages with less reflected sound, I find it easier to hear the direct sound from the other percussion instruments that I need to stay in time. I have never had trouble hearing my own instruments on stage. One reason I ask because I will be playing at Yoshi's next month and had not heard of this problem.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Helge A Bentsen on October 20, 2018, 08:24:38 am
Dead stages and a monitor mix for each musician is 9/10 times the preferred solution IMHO.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Randy Pence on October 20, 2018, 11:03:47 am
What is the function of this venue.  A sit down concert place, or a dancing drinking establishment.  If it's be later, there's something I've noticed about all successful venues in that field.  Civilians don't want to be conspicuous.  I played in the disco era of the late '70s and some clubs had the bright idea to put dance floors up high in the middle of the room.  Regular folks don't want everyone watching them do their "Elaine dance".  These places got overrun by ballroom dance types who didn't drink and effectively shamed/chased out folks who would have.  Also, the layout needs to be conductive to inconspicuously circulating.  This allows folks to comfortably mingle, socialize, or make their play without being the center of attention.  I played for awhile in a large showroom where they cleared the lower level tables and tried to have a dance club.  Anyone who got up from their booth to go to another booth and ask for a dance was as conspicuous as someone going to the restroom at a comedy club.  The walk of shame back to their booth after a rejection pretty much emptied the venue over time and it was the death of many bands.  The most successful place I've played at had the band in the middle of the room, with sunken dance floors to either side and aisles and tables around that.  They had column speakers around the "stage".  Not a soundperson's dream, but the place was packed, year after year.

A designer or architect with venue experience should absolutely be involved.
-For crowd flow, especially for dj events where there isnt a visual focus towards the stage as with bands, it is good to have a buffer zone just off the intended dancefloor. This allows for a bit more room to fill up should it get busier, and also create a natural path to walk AROUND the dancefloor, rather than through it, to get to the bar, toilet, place to sit, etc. If the events are only live gig and leaving, not as important, but the venue makes more money the longer the guests feel comfortable to stay for another drink. Dead ends are not as much fun to explore as loops.
-Make sure wardrobe is close to the entrance. Nobody wants to wander around with their coat. The worst designs I've seen are where one must walk through the dancefloor to get rid of their jacket.
-Every square meter is critical. Combine fire exit routes with backstage hallways (following firecode, of course) so you dont have useless space.
-Try to have drink storage directly accessible to the bar and not have to move supplies through the crowd. Bar-backing is hard enough work.
-Elevating the dancefloor is not a good idea, but singular elevated blocks for the more exhibitionist people to dance on is good.
-Avoid really long sightlines  unless you are sure it will always be full. It is more interesting to explore than see every bit of the venue at once, and if the event is not very full, you have to hide empty areas with darkness, which is not very comfortable, or guests will look around and think some other event/venue is more happening.
-If FOH is slightly elevated to ensure that the person mixing can make eye contact with the band, can the patrons hanging around FOH also see? Make sure the stage is high enough so the people in the back can see more than balding metal/rocker ponytails or hipster man-buns.
-Balconies are cool, but how does it connect to the rest of the room? Is it possible to smoothly close it off for private bookings or smaller events? Is it a fun adventure or annoying task to go between dancefloor and balcony? Less of an issue in such a size venue, but contributes to the interaction.
-slope surfaces you don't want people to knock drinks off of.
-You can never have too many bathroom stalls. Porcelain breaks. Stainless steel costs a lot more, but does not break.
-Any light switch the public can access will be turned on and off.
-Where will merch be sold?
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Stephen Kirby on October 22, 2018, 04:41:02 pm
Dead stages and a monitor mix for each musician is 9/10 times the preferred solution IMHO.
For whom?  Again the nature of the entertainment comes into play.  Will it feature musicians who are used to static mixes in cans or IEM's or folks used to acoustic stages (not necessarily acoustic instruments but where the sound from live sources mixes together).  Most jazz and many other musicians used to smaller or midrange venues are used to hearing each other naturally.  Even watch Miles move around the stage?  Always wanting to hear different aspects of what is going on.  Maybe it doesn't matter to rock posers with one foot up on the wedge all night, but to some musicians it does.
This is what happens when the tail wags the dog.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Michael Kofei on October 24, 2018, 09:13:21 pm
Hey All!  I have the dubious honor of consulting on the sound and lighting systems for a new music venue.  Lucky me, we're months away from beginning renovations, so I have the chance to influence the room itself, not just what goes into it. 

I thought it would be fun and informative to gather some wisdom from the experienced talent pool here on the LAB.  While our space will be more lounge-level (mods, please move if desired), I hoped to get input from the Pros...

...  What have you seen in fixed installs that worked very well?
...  What have you seen that makes you wonder what the hell the designers were thinking?
...  What do you WISH was in your venue to make your life easier?
...  What seemed like a good idea at the time, but didn't work out?

I'm wondering mostly about installed AC power and signal wiring; physical ergonomics such as stairs, ramps, and doorways; rigging for speakers and lights, monitor world and front of house layout, structural acoustic treatments, and all those things that can't readily be changed after the construction phase.  Lets not get into details about This Speaker or That Console...

What we are planning now; all subject to revision:
- approx 350 capacity
- corner stage (maybe?)
- Open-rafter, moderate-height ceiling (~12' at wall, sloping up to ~25 or more in center of room)
- VIP balcony area; pretty short throw from stage ( ~20')
- Flown Speaker system
- Low-ish ceiling (12') zone under balcony fitting roughly half those 350 patrons.

Many thanks for your thoughts!

- Get the latest future proof best CAT 7 (that is compatible with Dante), BNC Video (for MADI) and some digital audio (AES/EBU) cables to install from FOH to stage, and make sure to have a nice robust panel on both ends.

- Avoid as much cables on stage as possible: install power outlets on the stage itself on key locations, as well as analog inputs/outputs and speaker outputs for monitors.

- Make sure the lighting rig is accessible, and when I say accessible I mean install ceiling hoists and a controller if possible. If not, just make sure the rig is somewhere the lighting tech can access it with a ladder.

- No stairs, truck-ramp-height stage access; And a place to store empty road cases.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Tim Hite on October 25, 2018, 01:43:50 am
Care to elaborate here Helge? What's the functionality and what type of switches?

I'm not visualizing it. . .


As a final touch, I wired the outputs from the Mackie in parallel to the house console and the PA inputs, so when I switch the PA to FOH mode (two switches on the wall, I think they cost me $2 each.) I can fade out/in the house music/DJ before and after the show.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Justice C. Bigler on October 25, 2018, 03:02:43 am
Hey All!  I have the dubious honor of consulting on the sound and lighting systems for a new music venue.  Lucky me, we're months away from beginning renovations, so I have the chance to influence the room itself, not just what goes into it. 

I thought it would be fun and informative to gather some wisdom from the experienced talent pool here on the LAB.  While our space will be more lounge-level (mods, please move if desired), I hoped to get input from the Pros...

...  What have you seen in fixed installs that worked very well?
...  What have you seen that makes you wonder what the hell the designers were thinking?
...  What do you WISH was in your venue to make your life easier?
...  What seemed like a good idea at the time, but didn't work out?

I'm wondering mostly about installed AC power and signal wiring; physical ergonomics such as stairs, ramps, and doorways; rigging for speakers and lights, monitor world and front of house layout, structural acoustic treatments, and all those things that can't readily be changed after the construction phase.  Lets not get into details about This Speaker or That Console...

What we are planning now; all subject to revision:
- approx 350 capacity
- corner stage (maybe?)
- Open-rafter, moderate-height ceiling (~12' at wall, sloping up to ~25 or more in center of room)
- VIP balcony area; pretty short throw from stage ( ~20')
- Flown Speaker system
- Low-ish ceiling (12') zone under balcony fitting roughly half those 350 patrons.

Many thanks for your thoughts!

I just opened a small basement jazz club that I have been consulting on and did the system design for the past 3 years.

Here's what I recommend:

1: Make sue that you have enough budget to get all the speakers in all the areas that you need them to cover everything that needs to be covered. In my project I had two sets of out fill speakers to cover the sides of a long narrow room. One set got cut early on because of budget. Now that the venue is open and running, management is talking about putting those speakers back in because there are some dead spots that are not being covered by the rest of the PA system.  :-X

2: Go over to the John Sayers forums and start reading about acoustics and room design. Sayers is a studio designer, but the basics of room acoustics are the same. Make sure you know what the room is going to do acoustically with whatever architecture/acoustic plan the design team has. You need to be able to talk the lingo of the architects and be able to challenge them with proven, scientific data on what will happen if they do whatever it is they are planning.  Architects are morons who only care about how something looks as long as it meets fire code and structural engineering code.

3: Buy and read Bob McCathy's Sound Systems: Design and Optimization book, and then sign up for his class. You will learn more about sound system design, speaker choice and placement with that than any other resource there is. Follow his advice for coverage, and placement. Might be a good idea to buy and read Everest's Master Handbook of Acoustics too.

4: Make sure that the management has a solid plan in place for how they are going to staff the venue. And design/spec something that is at the appropriate level for the "engineers" who will be mixing or working in the room. You don't want to put in a Digico SD10 console when the operators don't understand basic signal flow or gain structure and can barely work a Mackie 1202 console.

5: Make double, extra, quadruple sure that you get the patch points and data and power connectivity where you need it. And make sure that it's on every set of drawings that goes out. My recent jazz club somehow managed to lose the FOH patch points on the house right wall that I speced. Even after going over it about a half a dozen times with the architects and electrical contractors. And now we have to use a jerry-rigged cable loom because the wall is rough stone. To that end, make sure that you know whee all the power, fire sprinklers, HVAC ducting and equipment, plumbing and lighting equipment is going to go also and that you don't have any audio gear there, or that the other stuff can be routed around your audio stuff if it's in a mission critical location.

6. Yes, corner stages suck. Don't do it. Also, don't make the room completely dead. But you have to make sure that you have the right absorption and reflection in the right places so that you don't end up with low end lobeing on or near the stage, or anywhere else really.

I would suggest installing a second room playback/background music system, if the room will be in use when there aren't shows, like for just eating drinking. That way the bar staff can turn it on and plugin in a tablet or CD and play it without having to turn on the main PA system, which the bar staff should never do.

Also, if your renovations aren't starting for a few months yet, I think you are about a year behind the ball on this one. Good luck catching up.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Helge A Bentsen on October 25, 2018, 10:56:44 am
Care to elaborate here Helge? What's the functionality and what type of switches?

I'm not visualizing it. . .

Itís two on-on 2x3-pole switches, one for each channel (L/R).

PA input is connected to the center taps, FOH mixer output in position 1, barmixer in position 2.
In position 1 I control the PA from the FOH desk and I have the bar mixer wired in on a free input so I can play bgm from the bar.

In position 2 the barmix has the PA and I can power down FOH and strike the stage.



Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Tim Hite on October 25, 2018, 03:15:43 pm
Ahhh, that's the part I was missing. Thanks.

Are you using a transformer isolated splitter to pull off the bar mixer, or will a y-cable work fine?


I have the bar mixer wired in on a free input so I can play bgm from the bar.

Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Helge A Bentsen on October 26, 2018, 10:16:46 am
Ahhh, that's the part I was missing. Thanks.

Are you using a transformer isolated splitter to pull off the bar mixer, or will a y-cable work fine?

Itís a simple Y-cable. No noise-issues so far (knock on wood).
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Dan Richardson on October 29, 2018, 10:28:31 am
Don't put flush mounted or recessed electrical outlets on the stage floor. They will always be in the wrong place. Put them on vertical surfaces, wall or stage front.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Roland Clarke on October 29, 2018, 05:18:37 pm
In addition to that, they get all sorts off rubbish in them and I would suspect that they may not be acceptable for fire and safety regs these days.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Jay Barracato on October 30, 2018, 12:34:06 am
In addition to that, they get all sorts off rubbish in them and I would suspect that they may not be acceptable for fire and safety regs these days.
The performers most likely to spill also drink the stickiest beverages

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Wes Garland on November 08, 2018, 05:59:26 pm
For the love of God, include some spot lighting above the stage, with light switches that the performers can access.  There is nothing more annoying than loading in/out in low/no light, it triples my work time.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Mike Monte on November 08, 2018, 08:14:20 pm
For the love of God, include some spot lighting above the stage, with light switches that the performers can access.  There is nothing more annoying than loading in/out in low/no light, it triples my work time.
+1
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Bob Stone on November 08, 2018, 10:19:54 pm
For the love of God, include some spot lighting above the stage, with light switches that the performers can access.  There is nothing more annoying than loading in/out in low/no light, it triples my work time.

Should be work lights (4 foot LED) rather than spot lights.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Stephen Kirby on November 09, 2018, 12:32:01 am
For the love of God, include some spot lighting above the stage, with light switches that the performers can access.  There is nothing more annoying than loading in/out in low/no light, it triples my work time.
And you invariably leave something behind.  :(
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Robert Healey on November 09, 2018, 10:25:07 am
Should be work lights (4 foot LED) rather than spot lights.

Osram has a good product designed specifically to be a stage work light:

https://www.osram.us/pia/products/led/p001_pia_product_detail_23.jsp

I spec them as part of the theatrical lighting package on stages because curtains, technical equipment, and the stage lights themselves are all installed at the end of a project and usually get in the way of building lighting.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: Tim Hite on November 09, 2018, 06:10:21 pm
Nice light. Looking for a 12v version for the sides of my Sprinter van.

Osram has a good product designed specifically to be a stage work light:

https://www.osram.us/pia/products/led/p001_pia_product_detail_23.jsp

I spec them as part of the theatrical lighting package on stages because curtains, technical equipment, and the stage lights themselves are all installed at the end of a project and usually get in the way of building lighting.
Title: Re: New Venue: Dos & Don'ts
Post by: DAN PROSSEDA on November 18, 2018, 12:07:08 am
Thanks SO much for all these great suggestions - just what I was looking for. 

This space is actually the SECOND of two music rooms in this single building.  The first, much smaller, is scheduled to open next weekend.  Progress on the larger space depends on the success of the smaller one...  I joined too late to influence layout and design decisions for this smaller room, and so adding acoustic treatment to the stage area has become a headache.  We'll Absolutely prioritize this for the larger room.

Sounds like I should advocate that the stage be centered along the wall rather than in the corner... I was starting to come to that conclusion myself already; thanks for confirming.

I'll sort through these comments and forward to the owner and project manager.  Lots more fun in store here.  Thanks again!
  Is the venue in a commercial/ industrial zone? Make sure you have adequate soundproofing for any nearby residences... nothing like a visit from the local authorities in violation of any noise code!