Showing posts with label article. Show all posts
Showing posts with label article. Show all posts

Saturday

The 'Working' Parts (part 1)

All successful musical acts have found  a way to do more than just perform songs on stage. There's Booking, Promotion, Legal concerns and Marketing Strategies....and that's just for starters. 

Most local bands ignore these pieces of the business, or they stumble along blindly hoping to stay 'small time' so as not to call attention to copyright infringement, or licensing violations. Their marketing strategies are usually non-existent, and their best promotion ideas involve an event invitation on FB and a flyer they'll hang up on the venue door. These acts are doomed to play local bars forever.....If this is you....welcome to the 99.9%

In this article I plan to list the jobs that are involved with a successful band. Sometimes, one person deals with several of these responsibilities...and some responsibilities are completely ignored.
I'll miss some I'm sure. PLEASE comment and I'll add yours as well.

Performer- Yeah, I know: this is obviously YOU....(you little bad ass.)

Sound Technician- That's the guy who gets your sound right. It may involve setting the microphones in the right positions to receive sound from your amps or instruments and deliver them to the PA speakers. This guy would also be the one who selects the right microphone, speakers, or equipment for the application at hand. Pushing sliders around and applying reverb and compression is only a small part of this persons job.....(when he's a professional anyway).

Electronics Repair Tech - When things go bad, as they inevitably do, this person has the ability to bring that which is dead, back to life. When a tube blows during a performance, this guy can have you up and running before the next set. Bad connection on your guitar's 5 way switch? Good as new in 5 minutes. Did you set your acoustic down with the cable plugged in and now there's a horrible 'popping sound' every time you move? Yeah. This is the guy that turns 'spilled beer and bad habits' into 'not a problem'.

Part 2

Monday

Alpacas? Local Musician tries an Ad Campaign


Local musician Chris Neal has launched his ad campaign "Alpacas Unite!" The goal of course, is to entertain, and to garner more support for his shows. Following, is the time line of the 'dramedy':


As an alert of an upcoming 'gig' Chris Neal posted-

ALLRIGHT!!! Tuesday night I'll be playing again at Applebee's on Russell Pkwy!!!!

Kelly can't make it ('cause our Alpaca kicked her in the throat during the milkin') but I've made her some liquified potato salad so she won't starve and the party is ON!


Later that afternoon, Chris' wife Kelly was overrun with calls and emails, asking about her condition and the Dr.s prognosis. Remember, THIS WAS A JOKE!! People were genuinely concerned and Chris' dry sense of humor went right over their heads.

The next day Chris Neal posted the following in response to the overwhelming concern that people had for Kelly's well-being....


OK. Kelly has been approached by several people regarding the alleged Alpaca attack. I want to take this time to make it abundantly clear, that Kelly was NOT in fact attacked by an Alpaca, and No, we do not own any.
I want to apologize for the confusion I have caused and to anyone else who has started fundraising programs; to you we deeply apologize and thank you for your concern.

I WILL be performing at Applebee's on Russell Parkway tomorrow night (8/02) and I DO start at 9 and play until 12. That part was not a vicious lie.

  I also want to apologize to any victims of Alpaca violence for trivializing their pain and also to any Alpacas who have been hurt by the untoward accusation of being a violent group. I have friends who are Alpacas so obviously, I am not prejudiced.



It was at this point that Chris Neal seized the opportunity to start a promotional campaign.



As the story goes, some Alpacas were offended by Chris Neal's remarks, believing his apology was insincere, and insulted that the public so readily accepted the notion that an Alpaca could be so violent. In response they issued this press release:

From the Associated Press:
Alpacas for American Acceptance Official Press Release:
We have heard Chris Neal's 'apology' for his baseless accusations...To reiterate: No one affiliated with our organization kicked Chris Neal's wife in the throat. Chris Neal's accusations were horrific and insensitive, and although we are usually non violent, we hope he burns in hell for his lies. This is exactly the sort of thing that causes people to live in fear of Alpacas. His actions were reprehensible, and we would like to further note that "Mr. Neal", or whatever his name is, can have his shirt back. We will no longer be participants in promoting his so-called 'entertainment'.






Several popular local musicians have jumped into the conversation/debate/campaign, and have shown support for both sides, namely, Tim Burris (singer for the hugely successful rock band 'FailTrain') who responded with a post:

Do you own an Alpaca? Do you know any Alpacas that have been victims of brutal hate crimes by middle Georgia musicians? If you, or any Alpaca owning friends have seen signs of depression, withdrawal, or evidence of over milking, call the law offices of Burris and Burris today. We specialize in Alpaca civil rights, and noise ordinance disputes. We'll see to it that justice is done.

This message paid for by Alpacas for American acceptance.









Lance Rodriguez (another well respected local musician) further responded, showing his support for the Alpacas with-


The profiling and slander of Alpacas is a rampant problem in todays society. Please do your part to advocate Alpaca rights. Donate to your local D.A.D (Douchebags for Alpacan Diplomacy) chapter today.



'The Alpacas ( Allen and Alexis)' started a Facebook page, and as their first post, introduced themselves with....


Hi! We are Allen and Alexis Alpaca. We look forward to chatting with you all! We would love to offer you relationship advice, and discuss important topics of the day.
 

Allen: I drive a light blue smart car and I like Nickye Minaj....She's hot!
My wife and I love karaoke, Nickelback, and Honey boo boo!
Alexis: I've got a thing for Justin Timberlake, but he doesn't even no I'm alive<sigh>

But the one thing we are currently very disappointed with is the Local Music scene in Middle Ga..... ESPECIALLY, Chris Neal. He is the absolute worst. His off hand comments and arrogance have caused the local Alpaca community to struggle with even more prejudice than ever before.

Aside form helping you with your relationship problems, Our number one goal is to put Chris Neal out of business!

Thanks for the friendship!!!
Allen and Alexis



They have further posted comments regarding Chris Neal and his performances....


Caught the "chris neal show' ... He doesn't know ANY john denver.What a tool.


and...


He played a lot of 'popular songs' but I was hoping for some 'deepcuts', I asked for Glen Campbell, he played Glen Danzig.

Hey loser! It's not the same thing!

And 'they' have also posted:



Chris Neal will be 'performing' at Applebee's on Russell Parkway.....It's a really nice restaurant, but if you go...SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR ALPACAS!!!! When he finishes a song, don't applaude. Don't give him tips, and request songs like Brown eyed girl, or Sweet Home Alabama.
We don't want to boycott any music venues, we just want Chris Neal, and other musicians like him, to FAIL MISERABLY!!!
This way...they'll replace him with karaoke!
We LOVE karaoke!

Now, THIS should be humorous to all local musicians, because it is common to play to an unresponsive crowd. With this sortof statement from the Alpacas, it could be assumed that an unresponsive crowd is simply showing support for the Alpaca Unite Movement.

It is also a genius move by the 'Alpacas' to make it appear that they have more support than they do in reality. Wait...Reality?.....Oh yes, back to reality....

It's a well crafted, multi-layered ad campaign which is destined to shake the cobwebs off the local music scene, and hopefully, will spark interest in the marketing aspects that many local musicians have neglected.

Really looking forward to watching this unfold.
  I hope you are too.





Wednesday

The Working Parts ( part 2)

Business Manager- What are the short term goals that carry you to your longterm goal? How closely are you meeting them? What is the overall strategy regarding the branding of your band? What demographic will your band appeal to, and how can you best engage them? What cover songs should you perform live? Where will you spend the night when you play a gig out of town? The Business Manager has his mind on all of these things and is the person who sits down with the Booking Agent, Promoter, Marketing Specialist, Lawyer, and Poll Data Analyst. When he makes sure that all of you are on the same page and working toward the same goal, you have made a significant step forward. The most important person in your band is your Business Manager, so get a good one.

Booking Agent- "Finds you the gigs!" Yes, but again, it goes further than that. A good Booking Agent knows your strengths and weaknesses and will put you in the venues that can propel your career. It's not just about finding work....It's about finding the work that helps you find MORE work....which turns into making more money per gig and playing to larger, more anxious crowds.

Promoter- The Promoter, obviously promotes your shows for you. He'll know how to focus your promotional efforts on your target demographic. This is your money he's working with, so don't waste time with someone who is just good at a putting together a blog page for you and who MIGHT share your Event Invitation. < wink, wink......nudge, nudge>.


Part 3

The Working Parts (part 3)


Entertainment Lawyer- Keeps you out of legal trouble and keeps you from being manipulated by unsavory characters. This might include the contracts you sign with the promoters, booking agents, or the venues. This would also include the contract you would have used to hire your Business Manager in the first place.

Poll Data Analyst- This one might not seem very relevant but hear me out. All business that deal heavily with public opinion, use poll data. Polls are taken VERY often and they tend to show trends developing or fading. Now, I am NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD FOLLOW trends....However, you will. You might not do it on purpose....or you might LEAD a trend, but it is always good to know if a certain demographic is spending more money in that genre or style of performance than another. This is how you target your promotional material. It is also the key to developing/adjusting your marketing strategy to get the most out of your time.

"If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars."- Sam Phillips

Knowing who would love the product and who had the money to spend on it made all the difference in the lives of Sam Phillips, Elvis Presley, and a two-bit carnival hustler named 'Colonel' Tom Parker. So, The Poll Data analyst is the guy that tells you who's spending the money, what they like, and how they communicate. He provides the info that the Marketing Specialist works from.



Part 4

The Working Parts (part 4)

Publicist- Sort of bridges the gap between the Marketing Specialist and the Promoter. This person gets the word out there about what you do and how you do it. You need publicity and although promoters get your shows heard about, and your Marketing Specialist focuses on inspiring a particular group to take action; the Publicist gets you publicity. Many times he uses your private life to call attention to your professional one. Publicists encourage those in the entertainment industry to do things that call attention to themselves....One type of publicist may encourage you to start a charitable foundation....and then be sure it is leaked to the media. Another type may encourage you to do a music video of your latest song completely nude or wear a dress made of meat. to the Grammy's red carpet. Good or bad....you've been talked about and that job is done.

Marketing Specialist- Works with poll data to focus your music toward the most appropriate audience. This way your efforts are more focused- making them more efficient and successful. This is where 'branding' comes in and is the hub from which much of the decisions regarding your band will come from. Just playing a large, varied setlist of songs means that when they describe you to a friend they will say..."He plays a lot of good songs of different styles and we had fun"

HOWEVER; If all you play are songs by Tom Petty and Johnny Cash, then the name of your band will likely be 'Petty Cash' and one of your gimmicks will be giving out 2 dollar bills to everyone in the front row, or the girl who gets up and dances to your favorite song, or as change when someone buys your merch or pays the cover. People who LOVE Johnny Cash and Tom Petty will be there and to them, your song selection has already passed inspection-without even playing a note. The crowd will be waiting anxiously for the next song they can sing along to or the next trivia question they can answer. You will make a connection that lasts and your next show will be even more successful.
Branding is important. and the Marketing Specialist will help you get it right.

Stylist- Who dresses the band? Yeah, I know, it's weird trying to dress a certain way. Your stage and beyond clothing choices should reflect the public's perception of your 'style'. You probably think that each member of the band should just dress in whatever makes them comfortable. BUT, if that was 'how it's done' then how would KISS, DEVO, The Ramone's, The Beatles, The Blues Brothers, Metallica, Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Stray Cats, etc. have communicated to you what type of music they played with a picture?

I know there are more (especially when it comes to putting together an album, for example), but I think this is a good start. How much time have you put into considering which member of your band is currently dealing with one or more of these responsibilities? Who is in your band BECAUSE they are good at one of these responsibilities?

Anyway.......Food for thought and discussion, I guess.

Sunday

Need Extra Money?...... Be a Booking Agent Part 2

To work as a booking agent......I prefer the term "Booking Partner".....you need to know a little bit about the things the band looks at when they do their own booking. Your results should be greater than the results they had before you came along....but consistent with the bands perspective of the details. Of course you'll do things differently, but hopefully better.

Here are some terms you should be familiar with. You should also find out how and if these things affect your band.
1.The dreaded 1099.
2. House PA
3. Door
4. % of Sales
5. Merch Sales
6. Ticket sales
7. Set up and Tear down situation. (How difficult will it be, how early can you set up and sound check...etc.?)
8.  PRO License- This may not affect your band, per se', but I think it's something to look for.

Here is an example of a list ofconcerns that you and the band need to figure out. Feel free to copy and use to make your pitch to the band.


I need 6 things from you…
1. DO NOT BOTHER LIST-List of venues/ cities/ days of the week that I will not be paid for when booked. These should be venues that you have played at before, or venues that you will be able to book yourself with ease. I WILL CHARGE YOU A BOOKING FEE FOR ALL OTHER VENUES BOOKED, NO MATTER WHO BOOKS IT. I am advertising for you through every channel possible and there is no way to know how far my advertising has reached. The alternative would be that I have COMPLETE EXCLUSIVITY in booking you at venues. If you do not provide this list, it means that you do not want to have the option to book yourself anywhere.
List it as :
Venue                                                City                              

2. MILEAGE Starting point for calculating distance. One band members’ address, or landmark centered between band members locations. I will add 1 dollar per mile/per band member to the bands fee for any travel beyond 50 miles from:

_________________________________________________________________________________

3. BAND FEE
Public venue
flat rate*________
OR
 Judgement call-Amount you have charged/would charge….This will help me make a judgement call
Crickets wr (max 75)_____________

Hummingbird(macon) (max 190) ______________

WildWings(northmacon)(max 260) _____________

*if you set a flat rate, I will only charge you 10%.

For private parties-
Flat rate*__________
OR
  Judgement call-Amount you have charged/would charge…. This will help me make a judgement call
pool party 20 -50 ________
small wedding reception 50-100_______
large wedding reception (Or NYE) 100+___________

*if you set a flat rate, I will only charge you 10%.

4. SCHEDULING-
All Thursday, Friday, Saturdays are mine. If you are not available, or if you book something on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday- I get 10% (unless it is on the DNB list) and you MUST LIST IT ON the Calendar on MidGaLive.com (Password is midga- Do not list an end date)
ALL BOOKINGS for Thursday, Friday, Saturday Will BE LISTED ON THE Calendar. It’s how I’ll get paid.
In the event of double booking, the one listed on the calendar first, will take precedence and the other gig will have to be rescheduled or cancelled.


5. BOOKING FEE- At the beginning of each month, I’ll send you an invoice. You can pay me then….with a check or through paypal.

Note* If you are doing a flat rate my fee will be 10% for all bookings.
If the rate is a judgement call, I’ll get 15% for the first gig at a venue, and 10% for every gig at that venue as long as we work together.

6. PROMO MATERIALS- I’d prefer to create these myself and you pay half the cost. It will consist of a post card sized flyer on card stock. These will direct the venue to my phone number or the band page on MidGa Live.com. All other promo/press will be in digital format that you will maintain.

Wednesday

Need Extra Money? Become a booking agent!


You wanna start Booking Bands? There’s money in it, with a minimum amount of stress.
IF you do it right.

Three things that you need to focus on while you read through:

1. Building Your Stable
2. Scheduling Gigs
3. Getting paid

What’s in it for me?
Booking bands is not too difficult, although there are issues that you’ll have to deal with that you may have never experienced before. The more acts that you have involved, the more issues you’ll encounter. One act is probably best to begin with, but in that case you’ll be limited on the variety you can provide a venue, and you’ll be limited on your income potential; so you may be inclined to stock your stable with more.

I would suggest beginning with no more than 3 full bands, a 2 piece act, and a solo act to complete your stable. That’s 5 acts to pull from, ranging from the biggest outdoor stage to the smallest corner of a coffee shop.

Working with a full band means that you potentially have more people to promote the show, which would give the venue a better return on their investment. They will be able to play bigger, more elaborate events. With solo acts, and most duos, you have more booking opportunities. Venues that host solos and duos typically have live music most days of the week, and you have fewer schedules to work around. Yes, the monetary return is less, but the stress is too.


If you are getting 15% for each booking, here’s the rundown…


BANDS should be booked at a minimum of $120 per person. A DUO should be booked at a minimum of $250. A solo act should see a minimum of $175.


If you have each one working once on a weekend, you are looking at a minimum of ($785 x .15) $118.00 for a Saturday night where you are just sitting at home.

Bands (usually) will play on Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights. If you max out the schedule, one week could bring you…

Three -3 piece bands playing Thursday Friday and Saturday- will see $360 times 3 = $1080
Duo playing 5 nights- wll see $1250 *
Solo act playing 5 nights- will see $875*
(They should have at least 2 nights a week off for rest.)
The money that pays the booking agent comes directly from the above totals, so…

This particular week (at 15%) gives the booking agent…. $480. If you have 5 acts that are willing to keep up that schedule for a full month, you are looking at almost $2000 for talking good about bands you love.

This is not where you would start out, but this sort of schedule is reachable. That is booking 3 different bands, one gig per week, and then getting work for a duo and a solo act 5 days per week. With all the restaurants, and small bars in Middle Ga. This should be almost easy for someone willing to hustle in their free time.

(I would not suggest you work your bands this hard all the time. You don’t want to burn them out.)


 The 15% is negotiable….It could be more….It could be less. Talk to your bands and work out something that makes it worthwhile for both of you.

First things, first. You should get into contact with acts that you enjoy. It is so much easier to book an act if you don’t have to fake your love for them.


Booking for Bands
A band may have 3, 4 or more members. Each one has his/her own personal calendar which you’ll have to accommodate. They will also have their own idiosyncracies that you’ll have to deal with.


Select bands based on their level of professionalism. Availability is important, but don’t fall into the trap of booking gigs that the band is not going to want to play. Some bands have gotten quite accustomed to playing once every two months. If you suddenly have them playing every weekend, they’ll get burned out pretty quick. Most musicians are not assertive, or are passive aggressive. These are exactly the types that won’t ‘cancel’ a gig….They just won’t show. You’ll learn to recognize these types very quickly. Stay away from bands who don’t respect and appreciate your work….

Booking Duos

In Booking Duos, you must follow the same basic guidelines as you would a full band, or solo acts, depending on the situation. The stress is diminished, because, there are, of course, fewer personalities at play than with a band. Also, in the event that a member of a BAND or SOLO ACT is absent, the gig will usually be cancelled, But when dealing with Duos, the missing member can usually be replaced temporarily, without much headache and little notice.

Booking a Solo Act
Solo acts have changed over the last few years. Many use backing music, looping devices, and digital instruments to augment their sound. In some cases, a ‘solo’ performer will have the sound of a full band.

Many venue managers consider a solo performer to have the impact of ¼ of a full band at most.  Some venues welcome this; especially if they are concerned about the volume of the music or the space where an act may setup. Many restaurants, and smaller clubs prefer a solo or duo. Larger clubs, with a dedicated room for live music, prefer full bands; so pressing them to book a solo act is usually a waste of time.



Finding The Right Acts
There simply is no substitute for going out to see a band perform. What they do when you are not involved with them, is exactly what they will do when you are. You cannot change them. You cannot give them tips to get better that they will follow. You cannot expect to have an impact on their set list, or stage show. You will not be asking to be their ‘manager’. Your job will be to get them gigs, and this should be your primary concern.

Choose acts that put on a show that people will talk about the next day.

 So, the question that you should be asking is whether or not you feel you can sell the product that they are providing. If you think that they ALMOST have everything they need to succeed, then keep on looking. It is not worth your time or the stress involved. Musicians have fragile egos. If you start trying to make changes, they will HEAR you saying that they aren’t good enough as they are. Eventually, they will abandon you: leaving you with dates that must be filled, and both of your reputations will take a hit.

People who are motivated by money, can be depended on to show up where they are getting paid THE MOST.

You should also choose an act who is mature enough to recognize the monetary potential.
Indeed, most musicians are lazy and immature and use ‘being a musician’ as an excuse for not getting a conventional 40 hour a week job. (‘
Know thyself, right? ;) )

There are, however, many musicians who have found music to be a great option. Some have ‘real’ jobs and use music as a 2nd source of income.

 Unfortunately, if they are taking time off of their primary job to perform, they may end up losing money. This type will resent that loss and will not allow that to happen very often. Dealing with someone who’s primary source of income is not music, could result in a cancelled gig, in the event they get the opportunity to work overtime at their primary job.

I would suggest choosing musicians that either use music as their primary source of income, OR have real jobs that won’t influence their gig schedule. Many government jobs lack the potential for overtime, so musicians who work for the post office, on base, etc. would be good choices also.

Musicians who treat music as nothing more than a hobby are RIGHT OUT.


You must take this approach with every member of the band, duo, or the solo performer. You must gauge their level of commitment to you, and your work. Do not try to book an act unless everyone involved has the same level of commitment that you do.

They way a musician cares for his gear, shows you how much he depends on it.

One way to determine the level of commitment the musician has to his career, is the level of commitment he has made to his equipment. The amount of investment says something... But how he treats his equipment shows the real deal.

A musician who has a good ‘real job’ is likely to have spent a lot on high quality equipment. A musician whose primary source of income is music probably has less disposable income, and will make do with the cheapest options available out of necessity.
 

In either case, it is not so much HOW MUCH is spent….as it is HOW WELL his gear is protected, and cared for.

These are just guidelines I’ve used. Feel free come up with your own.

Scheduling
There are a few ways to schedule a gig for a band.
You may do it over the phone or online. Usually, these will require an EPK (electronic press kit) If your band doesn’t have one, they need to have something that represents what they do. Whether audio, video, or simply an article about them on a shamelessly self promoted blog such as MidGaLive.com .
 

The other way is to talk to the booking manager in person. In my opinion, this is the most effective method for smaller clubs or restaurants.

Tell them you enjoy the live music they’ve hosted, and that you think your band will fit well in this venue.

They will ask what type of music your band plays….be descriptive, but not too much.
If your band plays Last Dance with Mary Jane, tell them Tom Petty. Highway to Hell, tell them AC/DC…The reason for the question is to determine how well your band fits with their clientele….not to critique your setlist. Tell them what bands best describe the style your band brings to the table. This person usually has more important things to do, so don’t be forceful, but be direct and quick.

Know when your band is available, and be ready to fill whatever slot the venue has open.
Use a calendar that both you and the band can check and edit at a moment’s notice. The MidGaLive Music Schedule works great for that. If the band is not available, they can list that date as “not available”. Preferably, they will list that date as being a “Private Party”, or ‘Practice’. Nobody needs to know about the drummer’s colonoscopy. Either way, you will know at a glance when your band is available, and the band won’t have to track you down to make sure you know what they’re doing.

Of course, you should maintain close contact with your bands. But when booking with a venue, it is best to get things done and over with. Having the venue hold interest until you get a chance to settle on a date with all 5 members of the band, is inefficient at best….and once you do, you’ll have to pray that the venue doesn’t have something booked for that date already. REQUIRE THE ACTS IN YOUR STABLE TO KEEP YOU INFORMED OF AVAILABLE DATES. The MidGaLive Music Schedule is the quickest, easiest, most effective way to do that.


This schedule is also available for owners to look at when they decide to book your band later….They’ll know your availability before they call you, which translates into more bookings.

It is also a good way to be on the lookout for ‘double bookings’. Since it is updated in real time, and available to all, it is easy to see when a venue already has a band scheduled. This will help you keep surprises to a minimum.


MidGaLive.com has articles on most of the best local bands with links to all of their promo materials, EPK’s and videos. Emailing the link to your bands article on MidGaLive.com will give the venue everything they need.

Know the going rate for the act you are booking, and what they are worth.

I came up with a formula for determining the ‘worth’ of a band. It goes like this.

Number of years of stage experience of the members of the band.

plus  the Number of people the band will bring in.

Multiply that number by 10.

I explain this in greater detail here, but to put it simply.
 
A more experienced performer should be able to entertain people who are not familiar with him. A less experienced performer should promote more to make up for the customers that will leave due to his inexperience.

If your band is not worth at least 120 dollars per person, you should reconsider booking this band for now.
 

It is better to overdeliver than oversell.

Do not promise the venue your band will bring 20 people if you can’t get 2 people to share the event. Your job is not necessarily considered ‘promotion’, but the way you sell your band does affect the expectations the venue will have in the bands performance. The best promotion for this week’s show…..is last week’s show and if they deliver more than you promised, you’ll find it easier to get the booking again.

Getting Paid
Most small venues will pay cash at the end of the night. Some would prefer to pay with a check. If the band takes the payment at the end of the night, you’ll need to get with the band to get your cut. This is probably the easiest way to get paid, although there’s a level of trust involved. If you’re dealing with mature responsible, musicians, this is the method I suggest. Of course, everyone involved is responsible for understanding their tax responsibilities.

Some booking agents or managers choose to send an invoice to the venue. Doing this has it’s risks, too. If a venue is struggling, you may not be able to cash the check for a few weeks, if at all. Venues who cut checks are more likely to issue 1099’s at the end of the year. Before you book the band, you should find out if the venue does this and charge accordingly. If you are having the venue mail you a check, understand that you will be required to account for all the money that they’ve sent you… not just your take.


Any band you have booked, will be expecting you to make sure they are paid. If the venue decides to pay less at the end of the night, or if the venue tells the band that they will just be paying you later, you’ll be in the hotseat. Know how to handle the situation and become familiar with small claims court. Venues that play this sort of game are not that common, but they do exist. If you run across one, let people know.

There are MANY issues, that I just don’t have the time to cover…..and even if I could….it may not do you any good. The only way to learn how to do this, is to do it.

So do it.

Select a band you are familiar with and ask them to let you do their booking.
Find a venue you like that regularly hosts a similar style of music.
Book the gig.
Party like a Rock Star.

The High Points 

When you discuss this with the band you've selected, here are some things that should be addressed:

1. Area- bands will not want you to book them in places that they've already booked themselves. They will most likely prefer that you book them somewhere out of town.
Also, you want to be paid for your work, so I suggest an agreement .
I would organize it this way. Before you begin, ask the band to list the venues that they have played before. Anything you booked outside of this list, you get paid for every gig played there for one year. The year starts on the day of the first gig played there. If either of you dissolve the relationship, then the gigs in venues you have introduced the band to, will still be listed as the venues you will be paid for booking until the year is out IF other gigs are played there.The decisions are to be made betwen you and the band....These are only my suggestions!
2.Scheduling- Most booking agents limit the gigs that the bands can book on their own. The reason is usually due to scheduling conflicts. Solution; Require that the band and Booking agent use the MidGaLive Music Schedule. Whatever gig is listed first gets that date. This way the band is free to book on their own, and the booking agent doesn't have to worry about conflicts. If the band is unwilling, or too immature to keep this caveat, you probably shouldn't be booking for them anyway.
If a member of the band is busy, or cannot play on a date in question, he can book his band as "Unavailable", "Private Party", or "Practice". This will provide a little advertisement for anyone watching the schedule and inform the rest of the band and booking agent of availability. Any member of the band can post to the schedule, and if he is not available he should list the BAND as not available if the band can't perform without him.
Also, don't forget to discuss 'time' issues with the band. If someone doesn't get off from their 'regular job' until five, don't book them for a gig 50 miles away at 5:30 on a Friday Afternoon. A rushed band is not as prepared as a relaxed one. This is only my suggestion. The decision should be made between you and the band.
3. Fee - Bands need to charge more for travel.  I suggest anything beyond 50 miles gets an extra 1$ per member/per mile. In other words, a solo act performing 55 miles away will be paid $180 instead of $175.....a 3 piece band will be paid $375 instead of $360. Choose a landmark and Google maps to determine the distance to the venue in question. Charge the venue the amount the band agrees to, and you'll make everyone happy.
Everyone involved wants to be paid as much as possible, so find out what the band considers to be their bare minimum before you get started. Later is not the time to find out that you are booking the band too cheap. Get the most possible for your bands and you'll rarely have loyalty issues.
Also, regarding your 15% fee....You might consider offering to the band a discount in your fee for repeat gigs....For example; the first time a band plays at a venue, You charge 15%. Everytime they play there after (for the next year) You only take 10%. Or even as low as 5%.Granted, you need to continue to recieve passive income from the venues you introduce the band to, but the amount is up to you and the band! These are only my suggestions.

4. Promo Materials -find out what the band has available for promo. This may include flyers, demo's, or Press Packs.Use these as needed but be sure you discuss with the band who is responsible for maintaining the stock. These can be a substantial cost to reproduce so someone will need to come out of pocket to provide them. I suggest that the person who can get it done the cheapest be responsible for maintaining the stock and every member of the band plus the booking agent split the cost evenly. All of these decisions should be made between you and the band.

These are only my suggestions, and if I can help you out let me know!!

Saturday

March Forth and September Twenty Seconds

A few years ago I put together a birthday party for my wife...I was of course, booked to play that night. I got the idea that I could make it a birthday party for others born around the same date.
 I found people on FB with birthdays within a week of my wife's.
I contacted these people individually, and asked if they wanted to participate.  Several people wanted to but it was Memorial day weekend and they already had plans out of town.  Of the 12 that I asked, 3 were available and agreed to participate. I got each of them an extra large cupcake of their favorite design, and a tshirt. Each person brought their own birthday party to the same location. I ended up with a substantial crowd.....70 people... All but 6 were there for the birthday party. If not for 'my birthday party crowd', the place would have been dead.

Many in this crowd had never seen or heard of me before. I was sure to give out plenty of business cards and copies of my original music. That one event gave me new friends, and fans that have come out to support me ever since. I have gotten to perform at private parties, a Christmas Party, a New Year's Party and office parties because of someone's attendance at this one event.

My birthday is March 4th. It just so happens that March Fourth is the only day of the year that is also a command ("March Forth!" for those of you from Twiggs County). I've also noticed that a few other local musicians have birthdays around that same time, so I'm thinking that it would be a cool idea to have all of us born around late Feb/early March get together and have a big birthday jam.....

Then the good ideas started coming.....

My brother's Birthday is September 22....and the most common birthday of the year is within a week of that..(Sept 16)...So, here's my plan......

If your Birthday falls between Feb25 through March 11....Let's have a big birthday bash....one night, one big party! Contact me and let me know you want to participate.... we'll get a venue who'll love to have the business....and we'll make it happen.!!! We'll do it next year....I'm thinking the first weekend in March. Contact me at chrisnpope@gmail.com I need to know how many to tell the venue to plan for, and I need to know how big a venue to book.

 
If your birthday is between Sept 16 and Sept 29 let Uncle Earl Tribble know.......It's far enough out to plan for and we could put together a birthday blowout to pack the house. His email address is prodrummer67@windstream.net    CONTACT HIM EARLY! He needs to know how many people to tell the venue to plan for.

Having everyone's birthdays listed on FB makes it easier to personally invite people we may otherwise not have a reason to engage. If each one of us attending will seek out others to invite to have their birthday parties at the same location, it could open some doors for private parties, office Christmas parties, and increase the attendance at our public gigs. The one event like this that I did, really helped me out alot!

So if you are a musician get with Earl and plan the best birthday blow out ever for September 21st.
Or get with me to plan the best birthday blowout bash in early March of 2014.....

OR finally put 2 and 2 together and turn your next gig into a birthday party for someone you have never met.

Who knows......maybe you'll get a crowd that night.

Wednesday

The last ride of The Chris Pope Train Wreck

 Musicians have stories. Much like every other profession, strange things happen.
I've been run out of a bar because i didn't play the type of country the regulars wanted to hear.

I've been shorted by bar owners, and had my gear stolen.

I even had a night where a woman requested a song... She didn't know any of the words and the way she described it, no one in the bar could understand a bit of it.( "It goes.....'something, something, something......NA NA NA' ".........That's exactly what she said. ) NO ONE was more surprised than me when I guessed the song she was talking about, and played it.....having never even considered playing it before.

We've all had nights where we leave shrugging our shoulders and shaking our heads.....
but one night in particular has bewildered me for years.....
I used to invite people to come out and jam with me…..For a few years, NO ONE ever did, So I would continue to invite anyone (who said they owned an instrument) to sit in. I don’t do that anymore.

This one night, playing at the Rookery for my wife’s Birthday Party, EVERYBODY showed up.
I had 3 electric guitar players,2 acoustic players plus me, (one of them didn’t even have a pickup in his acoustic and wanted to play REAL close to my vocal mic so it could get through the PA.) . I had a bass player, 2 more singers, NO Drums, and a guy who sat right up front with a harmonica……yes. One harmonica.

I was much nicer back then, so things got out of hand quick. Also, at that time, I didn’t use a drum machine…..you can just imagine how bad it was.

After every song, I would ask the harmonica guy to ‘sit this one out’. I told him over and over that I wasn’t used to a harmonica player and him playing SO CLOSE to me and SO LOUD that I was very distracted. Not only was he playing out of key, but LOUD.

At one point, a person came up from the crowd and asked (beginning very politely, and increasing volume as he leaned toward the harmonica players ear.)…

”Hey. Can your harmonica player play in the key of shut the f &% k up?!!?!?!” I laughed until I couldn’t breathe.

It was complete chaos. Fortunately, this gob of ‘talent’ allowed me to decide the songs and the tempo for each song. It was so chaotic and thrown together that the door guy changed the name on the sign from “Chris Pope and Friends” to “The Chris Pope Train Wreck”.

When it was over, I thanked everyone and started packing up, completely disgusted.

Chris Wolfe (he now plays for EchoSpeed) was in the crowd that night and decided, based on that performance, to play lead guitar for me in a two piece we called "the Window Liquors".

I got two business cards from women who wanted to book me for a private party. They both worked at Aveda and said they had the best time ever.

To this day it blows my mind.

Saturday

Promoting yourself

We all use Facebook as a way of advertising our shows, but we are missing out on MANY opportunities.

This site was built to help us in a variety of ways, and if we will collectively take advantage of it's benefits, we can see even more people supporting  live music!

Now before I go any further, let me point out, that at present, I have GROSSED approximately 4 dollars per month with this site. If I take my yearly domain fee out of that, I have made about 40 dollars for 2012. In June, I plan to take my wife to Outback for a plate of celebratory cheese fries with my earnings. Assuming of course, that the money keeps rolling in.

In other words, my constant attempt at promoting MidGaLive.com, has nothing to do with profit, and everything to do with promoting the music scene in Middle Ga. I would like for all of us to take part in it.

What if you could get other musicians to promote your show at the same time they promote their show? It would increase the visibilty of both ads and almost guarantee you all will have a bigger draw. A good example of this was seen recently!

This is where Lance Rodriguez has a show at Shenanigan's on the same day FailTrain is playing at Friends On The Hill. Lance will post something like.....

"Come to Shenaningan's tonight starting at 7 so that I can get you geared up for hearing FailTrain at Friends on the Hill starting at 10! Get drunk, get crunk, and experience the funk!- Lance "

It's been happening alot lately, and it should continue .......

When you list your show on the MidGaLive Music Schedule, you are promoting live music as a whole. You are drawing people to one place so that they can see the wide variety of music that is being performed. If you are on that schedule, they will, of course see your band as well.

By having your band profile on MidGaLive.com, you get the chance to promote yourself, and at the same time the Live Music Schedule will appear at the bottom of the page.You can post the article I have written for your band, as your advertisement. At the bottom of the screen, the Live Music Schedule shows all of the activity going on. Nothing attracts a crowd, like a crowd.

If you promote ALL live music, you promote the entire scene....This brings more people out to support it, which opens up more opportunities to play.

By using the color codes people will find it easier to seek out the type of music they are interested in....Which means you are making it easier for potential fans to find you.

Win/Win.

You can encourage venues to use the MidGaLive Music Schedule to promote shows as well. This gives them a chance to read about all the bands in the area, and possibly open doors for you in playing new and different clubs, which opens the doors to new and different fans. If they can see what is working for another venue, and maybe they'll try that as well.

The Eleventh Hour has been helpful to a lot of people. Many bands have a loyalty to the Eleventh Hour which makes them hesitant to promote or utilize MidGaLive.com .

Personally, the notion that MidGaLive.com is somehow competition is funny to me. There is simply no comparison. I think the Eleventh Hour does show support for the music scene, but it supports many other things also. They have done well, but they can't focus specifically on every single act while simultaneously selling advertisements for every restaurant, art studio, and massage parlor in Middle Ga.. We coexist and I believe both the Eleventh Hour and MidGaLive.com have a purpose, and we serve it well.

Use every resource you can find to promote yourself. The Eleventh Hour is a  great resource too; and I wouldn't discourage anyone from using it.

Let's work together. Promote each other and we will ALL win.

That should be everyone's goal.....Shouldn't it?

Monday

A Beginner’s Guide to Stage Sound – Part 2: Setting up your PA

So now you’ve got all of your equipment and you’re ready to test it out. That’s right… test it out. Hook everything up and run through the numbers. Don’t tell me that you just wanted to get on stage and see how it sounds. It’s very important to thoroughly familiarize yourself with your equipment before it’s time to hit the stage. Let’s start with simply getting everything in place and hooking everything up.

Inputs

Once your mixer is in place, it’s time to run your inputs. I like to start with my vocal mics then progress across the channel list until everything is hooked up. At this point, nothing is powered on, and all faders and volume knobs are bottomed out. As you position your microphones, consider your stands. Make sure they are stable and non-intrusive. Make sure your cables are long enough to comfortably reach your mixing board (Or snake) and provide some slack for adjustments if needed. Make sure your stands won’t be tripped over or bumped into during those more enthusiastic ballads.
A good Vocal microphone is cardioid, which means that they have to be sung into directly. When positioning your microphone, consider what sound sources will be aiming at the front of that mic when the singer moves his/her head. Since monitors are generally placed on the floor in front of the singer, it is a good practice to angle the microphone so it aims almost directly away from the monitors. This will be a great step to preventing feedback. And remember never to position your FOH speakers behind your microphones. If you have a guitar cabinet behind you, try getting it, or your mic, positioned in a manner where the speakers don’t aim at the front of the mic. One of the best ways is to angle the mics upward slightly. If the mic almost pointing at your mouth from below it not only blocks less of your face to the audience, but provides better cardiod isolation from your back line.
 
Instrument mics are also cardioid, but often more so than vocal microphones. If you are placing a microphone in front of a speaker cabinet, place the mic as close to the protective screen as possible, and aim it directly at the sound cone of one of the speakers (Not the center of the speaker). Boom stands and short instrument microphone stands are helpful for this application, but be mindful of cable routing and positioning to avoid snags and trips. Isolation from other instruments is important, so if you have the drums next to you, pick the speaker furthest from the drums. If you’re right next to another cabinet or the bass amp, try to get some isolation (space) between their amps and your microphone if possible.

Equalization

Now that our inputs are in place, we need to push that signal out for processing and amplification. Run the outputs from the mixer to your 2 –channel equalizer. One mono channel will be dedicated to your Mains (FOH) and the other will go to your monitors. If you plan on using multiple monitor mixes, more equalizers should be considered. Equalizers can be your best tool for accenting or brightening certain frequency ranges while suppressing others. On your monitor channel, it will be a great tool for finding feedback frequencies and suppressing them.
Though equalization takes place later, during sound check, we will discuss it a bit here. Equalizing a signal can be a lengthy process, and sometimes needs to be repeated when you visit a venue with different acoustics. Taking notes of your EQ settings can save a lot of time. (Photos using your camera phone can be a great way to archive your settings for future visits.) My favorite method is the basic sweep method. Hook up an MP3 player and play some music that matches the tone and style you want to equalize. Start with all faders centered. Starting with your lowest frequency, slowly sweep the knob up and down while listening to the effect it has on your sound. Find the spot that sounds the best and move on to the next fader. After going all the way to the highest fader, work back through from High to Low.
 
To use an equalizer to eliminate feedback, you need to find your “invasive frequencies.” There are some specialized pieces of hardware available that specifically help to find and suppress invasive frequencies, but these can be expensive additions to your PA. There are also some great equalizers that will have a light on the fader to indicate which frequency is causing your feedback. But I’ve found that I can gain similar results with a simple, free iPhone application called “Feedback Detector.” Simply hold your phone near the speaker feeding back and it will tell you the approximate frequency of the intrusive signal. Lower the corresponding faders on your EQ and you will be suppressing the likelihood of feedback.
 
Fighting feedback sometimes means deliberately causing feedback. Whenever you are doing feedback testing, be extremely careful not to overdrive your FOH speakers or monitors. Keep someone at the faders so they can mute the channels if the feedback gets too hot. If you do this in a club, let the club owners know what you are going to be doing so they don’t get concerned. Fortunately, if you don’t change your equipment, you can take note of your dangerous frequencies and apply what you’ve learned at most similar venues. You don’t necessarily need to do this every time. Once you’re pleased with your equalization, the signal can be split and amplified.

Crossovers

Crossovers take the single FOH sound signal and split it up into multiple signals. The two popular uses are called Bi-amp and Tri-amp setups. Bi-Amp setups will split the signal into a low signal and a Mid/High signal. Tri-Amp setups split it into a Low, mid, and high range. I find that many decent FOH speakers include a basic internal crossover that will split your Mid and high signals for you, so in many cases, Bi-Amping is sufficient. You can even get away with a single signal for some venue, but I am a big fan of subs, so I will advocate the added expense.
 
Crossovers will have dials which allow you to manipulate where in the frequency spectrum the split will occur, and how much of each frequency will be able to fade into or overlap into the other channel. This is another place where experimentation will be helpful. Find a cutoff frequency for your low signal (I set my PA around 20-30 Hz) and simply see how your subs perform. If you think your subs can handle more, dial it up a bit, or if you just want hard hitting lows, dial it back. I find 20-30 Hz to be a nice compromise. This is a setting that you will likely only need to do once over the life of the PA. Once you’ve found the “sweet spot,” you shouldn’t need to adjust it again, barring a major change in your band’s sound. Now your signal is ready to be amplified.

Amplifiers

Amplifiers will boost your signal so that it can drive your speakers. Some amplifiers are built right into the speakers creating “Powered” or “Active” speakers. Other amplifiers are separate from the speakers, making the speakers “Passive”. Active speakers are great for novices because the internal amplifiers are perfectly rated for the speakers they are attached to. The downside is that you will need to plug each speaker into its own power source and they also tend to be more expensive than passive speakers.
 
Amplifiers will have an output power and an impedance rating for each amplifier channel that should be carefully noted. It is very important that your amplifier is compatible with your speakers. A mismatch could result in an overdrive or frequent clipping, both of which can cause permanent damage to your equipment. There are numerous arguments about how to properly match power rating to the speakers peak and optimal RMS. I’m going to take a stab at explaining it.

Pairing Speakers and Amplifiers

Amps are rated for output power (Watts) at a certain impedance (Ohms). Simply stating that you have a 1000 watt amp may not be accurate, since the “power” will not always necessarily be consistent. As the impedance (number of Ohms)of a line changes, the power to each speaker will change with it. For example, a fairly popular amplifier, the Peavey CS-2000, delivers 1075 watts (rms) per channel @ 2 ohms, 750 watts @ 4 ohms, and 495 watts @ 8 ohms.
 
Speakers have an impedance rating in ohms, and an optimal (program) and peak power rating. The Peavey PR-15 is an 8 ohm speaker that handles 400 watts program and 800 watts of peak power. When speakers are “daisy chained” off of a single amplifier channel, the line impedance changes. How it changes depends on if the speakers are in series or parallel. If you have 2 speakers in a parallel chain (I would never advise chaining more than 2 for common applications), then your impedance is divided by 2. If they are in series, the impedances are added together. Peavey PR-15’s are connected in parallel (this information is usually labeled on the connector plate.), so the line impedance will now be 4 ohms.
 
As we can see above, the CS-2000 amplifier provides 750 watts at 4 ohms. This means that 750 watts will need to be divided amongst all of the speakers in that chain. In this case, each speaker will get 375 Watts of peak power. In this case, it falls under our program power, and not even close to our peak power. Though I’ve seen this application work, it is not healthy for the equipment. I would recommend getting a slightly more powerful amplifier. The pros say that the Amplifier should be able provide roughly 2/3 (66%) peak power to each speaker. If we have a pair of PR-15’s, we will be looking for an amplifier that can provide 66% of 800 watts, or approximately 528 Watts at 8 Ohms. Since we are hoping to use them in parallel, then we need double that, or 1056 Watts at 4 Ohms.
At first glance, it looked like the Peavey CS-2000 was a good pairing for our PR-15, but after we calculated what the output power would be, it fell short. Now, if we decided to only hook up one speaker per channel, the impedance would be 8 Ohms. So each speaker would receive 1075 Watts of peak power. This is higher than the speaker’s peak power rating. Fortunately, the CS-2000 has a dial to reduce the peak power output. A user could simply dial the knob back to the center mark, and each channel would receive half of that 1075 watts (approximately 537 Watts). This will put the peak output power almost perfectly at our 66% range.
 
What have we learned? Do your homework before deciding how to connect your speakers to your amplifier. Matching power isn’t always as straight forward as it looks.

Note about wiring – Always keep your load above 2 ohms and below 16 Ohms .Most amplifiers are not designed to handle anything more than that.
 
~Now that we are hooked up and ready to go, In the next article we will discuss performing a sound check.~

Thursday

A Beginner’s Guide to Stage Sound – Part 1: The Equipment


The first article by our resident sound man-
Tim Burris: Lead singer of the local supergroup 'FailTrain'

Introduction


So your band has been working hard to build enough material to get out gigging. You’ve finally polished off a nice set list and booked a gig at the local bar. But the bar doesn’t have a PA or sound man, so you’ve got to acquire, set up, and configure your own PA. This is an opportunity to make or break your band’s reputation since all the practice in the world won’t improve the sound of feedback or a bad mix. Great bands have stumbled due to the lack of a quality sound system or trained sound man.
PA equipment can be a relatively simple set-up or a logistical nightmare. So to keep it simple, I am going to highlight 2 basic set-ups: An all-in-one PA and a traditional mixing board and Amplifier modular PA system. We will touch on 'powered' (also known as 'active') speakers in another article.
when you see speakers referenced in this article, we are referring to 'passive' speakers.
An all-in-one system will have your mixer, equalizer, effects, and amplifier in one convenient, easy to use, piece of hardware. You simply plug your microphones into the inputs, plug your speakers into the outputs, and voila, you’ve got sound. Well, it’s not exactly that easy, but that’s the general idea. A modular PA will require a lot more individual equipment, but it allows for versatility, flexibility, and growth.

Microphones


Before you get started you have to get all of your hardware. Let’s start with inputs. You will need vocal microphones, instrument microphones, and in some cases drum microphones (which we won’t discuss here). Not just any microphone makes a good vocal microphone.
For vocal microphones, you should start by finding a microphone that is “Dynamic”, and “Cardioid.” Dynamic refers to the fact that the microphone doesn’t require any external power and that the microphone responds well to varying volumes. Cardioid is another word for unidirectional which means that it will pick up sound that is directed primarily at the front of the microphone. This is an important thing to note when we get to talking about feedback. (A couple quality vocal microphones include the Shure SM-58 and EV N/D267A.)
Instrument microphones should be dynamic and either Super-cardioid or Ultra-cardioid. This will help prevent the microphone from boosting any other sounds from the stage. How often are your guitar cabinets within just a few feet of the drums? A good instrument mic will prevent sound from bleeding over, and give the sound man good control of what is being amplified. (A quality instrument microphone is the Shure SM-57 or the Sennheiser e609)

Microphone Cables

Microphones will need cables to plug into the mixer. Here, you should get low impedance XLR microphone cables with quality connectors. I cannot stress the importance of quality connectors enough. Many great musicians have had headaches during their sound checks due to bad cable connectors. A good rule of thumb is “You get what you pay for.” Another good rule of thumb - If the XLR connector doesn’t say ‘Neutrik’ on it, don’t’ buy it. (Yes, I’m biased)

Mixer Inputs

Next, the microphones will plug into a mixer. Each microphone will be designated a channel. It is important to note, at the mixer, which microphone belongs to which channel. I like to group my vocals next to each other (1-4), and then instruments (5-6), and then drums (7-12), labeling each on a piece of masking tape. These labels will greatly assist the sound tech while they are making adjustments during your performance.

Mixer Outputs (All-In-One Mixer/Amplifier)

All-in-one mixers include everything you need in one box. They are portable, easy to set-up, and generally less expensive than traditional modular set-ups. If your mixer is an all-in-one unit, then you simply need to connect your mixer/amplifier outputs to your speakers. In this case, you will have two groups of outputs: Mains and Monitors. For simplicity sake, we will have a “Mono” output and daisy-chain our mains and daisy-chain our monitors. When considering what kind of cable to use, consider both the output type of the Mixer/amplifier and the input type of the speaker. Some use 1/4 inch connectors, while newer models are using locking “Speakon” connectors. Make sure your cables are long enough to allow you to position your mixer in a safe, comfortable position while allowing for flexibility in positioning your main speaker and monitors.
Speakers should always be inspected to make sure that they are compatible with the impedance (4 Ohm or 8 Ohm) and output power (x Watts) of the amplifier. Incompatible hardware could result in damage to your speakers or amplifier.
*Please note that connectors should never be connected or disconnected while there is power running to the PA.

Traditional Modular Mixer Amplifier Set-ups

Modular set-ups require a lot more equipment than all-in-one units, but allow for greater flexibility and growth. To get a good sound quality, reduce feedback, and protect your equipment, the following hardware will be needed: Mixer, Effects Processor, 2 channel equalizer for mains and monitors, Crossover, Amplifier for mains, subs and Monitors.



Effects Processor

The mixer will send an auxillary signal to the effects processor. This is usually sent over a ¼ inch cable. The effects processor can modify the sound by adding chorus or reverb effects, then send them back to the mixer. Most mixers let you manipulate which channels get sent to the aux and which bypass it. So you may want effects on your vocal channels, but not your instruments.

Equalizer

The equalizer lets you help dial in your sound, and also eliminate any frequencies that are feeding back. Configuring the equalizer is a time consuming process that will require a lot of experimentation, but the benefits are well worth it. The mixer’s outbound signal will go to the equalizer. The equalizer will then send the modified signal to the crossover to be split.

Crossover

The crossover will separate your signal into High frequencies and Low frequencies. This is primarily used to send the low frequencies to their own subwoofers, while sending the high frequencies to speakers and horns. By separating the signals, you take a lot of strain off of your speakers and gain greater control over how each element of your sound is presented. If you don’t plan on using a subwoofer, a crossover is not necessary, but bear in mind that your mains will have to process a lot of sound. The crossover generally receives the signal from the equalizer and passes it to the amplifiers.

Amplifiers

The amplifiers will boost the “cold” signal into a powerful, amplified signal ready to go to the speakers. This is one of the most dangerous elements of the set-up, as misconfigured or mis-wired amplifiers can result in permanent damage to your equipment. Make sure your output impedance and wattage match what your speakers are capable of handling.

Speakers - Mains (FOH)

The most important speakers in your set-up will be your mains. This is what delivers your final mix to the audience. They are also referred to as FOH (Front of House) Speakers. A rule of thumb – Never place your FOH speakers behind your performers and their mics. This is a recipe for feedback.

Speakers - Monitors

These speakers are placed on the stage and aimed at the performers so that you can hear yourself. Many All-In-One PA systems will only allow for one monitor signal. This means that you get to create a single mix of instruments and vocals and play them back to the performers. More advanced set-ups will allow for separate monitor mixes. So the guitarists can have more guitar and singer can have more vocals.

Speakers – Subs

Most All-in-one units don’t’ allow for the additional of subwoofers without some creative engineering. So these will generally be used more with modular PA systems. They will produce your deep low sounds, and when used in coordination with a good crossover, will remove the low sounds from your main FOH speakers, giving them more clear and crisp highs.

More on Cables

You will need microphone cables, speaker cables, power cables, connectors to bridge equipment, and extension cords. It is important to inspect your cables regularly and take good care of them as a single cable can be the difference between a great sounding show and a night of headaches. In general, you get what you pay for, so if there’s one place to avoid the bargain shopping, it’s on your cables.

…In our next article we’ll talk about how to use this equipment together and configure it before a performance to help control and enhance your sound.

What is Mid Ga Live?

I'm glad you asked. MidGaLive is now a brick and mortar live music venue for all of you fresh local bands who need a place to gig....But...