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Thread: Venue provides sound system

  1. #1
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    Venue provides sound system

    Monday's chat topic.

    The venue has a sound system. I've been getting a handful of inquiries for 2018 saying just that. Of course, I let the inquirer know the potential pitfalls but it seems they feel they are being double charged, the venue sound system is some how figured into the rate that they are paying to rent the place, and may also have to pay the DJ for use of their system. I let people know it does not matter who's system I use, the rate is the same, we don't lower our rate even if we decide to use the venue system, which we don't unless the venues forces it on us.

    Sadly, several venues I've been to say DJs generally just plug their laptop into our system, so they don't have to lug in there gear I'd imagine. How pathetic, most of the venue systems I've seen are very low quality and have little speakers 4 to 6 inch cones inside, and are mounted on a beam or in the ceiling.

    Are Djs really that lazy to decide to just plug in? How do we educate the consumer in advance. I'd imagine many just skip the Dj when they learn a venue has a sound system.
    Heavy weight lifter, karate, oh, I DJ too. Life is good!

  2. #2
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    Since my proposals are based on each client's specific event, their chosen venue's ease of strike, required equipment and manpower to deliver and set-up are major cost considerations.

    Fortunately, in NOLA, many venues (especially in the French Quarter) have stellar house systems and if after inspection/visit I am given clear permission and authority to use, I have and will use them and provide my clients with fair consideration for said use.

    I do require that I use my own "instruments"...mixer, decks/CDJS/Controller and, most often, mics.

    Not having to strike and deploy heavier gear saves me substantial time and manpower and on the added and typically exorbitant expense of parking a vehicle & a trailer. I rightfully pass those savings onto the client. Personally and professionally I consider it unfair and unwarranted to charge a client for unused resources and unrealized expenses.

    In certain venues, performers are barred from bringing in certain gear, such as speakers, amps, lights, etc, that are already installed and available. Many buildings have limited staging and strike capacities. Hauling gear is not only difficult but likely to and likely has caused damage to the narrow walls, stairwells, hallways, etc. Adding more gear would also reduce the often limited space.

    There is one venue that prohibits hauling in PA gear and the house system is so bad, I let potential clients know that I will not perform there due to the house rules and the horrible house system.

    Know your venues, know your equipment requirements and proceed accordingly.
    Rocky 'djrox' Bourg
    Father/Husband/Son/Brother/American

  3. #3
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    Unfortunately, to the typical consumer if a venue says they have a sound system, the consumer may no longer explore what that means and how a lame system can affect their events outcome.

    With or without our standard sound system setup the initial quoted rate is the same, it's about our talent and giving up the day, and not about if we can keep from setting up some speakers. We generally need all of the other gear that makes up our system. We prefer to use our own mics too, many venues I've encountered have ill mics. What comes out reflects on us in the end.
    Heavy weight lifter, karate, oh, I DJ too. Life is good!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockingdj View Post
    Unfortunately, to the typical consumer if a venue says they have a sound system, the consumer may no longer explore what that means and how a lame system can affect their events outcome.
    That is precisely why I have conversations, usually more than a few, with my clients before and so that I can prepare a fair and comprehensive proposal based on their specific event.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockingdj View Post
    With or without our standard sound system setup the initial quoted rate is the same, it's about our talent and giving up the day, and not about if we can keep from setting up some speakers.
    I acknowledge the proliferation of the use of active speakers but my systems ain't dat and require more than 2 boxes and some sticks...and I rarely perform without subs.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockingdj View Post
    We generally need all of the other gear that makes up our system.
    I hear ya.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockingdj View Post
    We prefer to use our own mics too, many venues I've encountered have ill mics. What comes out reflects on us in the end.
    I do as well but many of the venues where this consideration is relevant also have uber high quality mics and typically provide a board tech that prefers to use the quality house mics so as to avoid any new gremlins or weirdness from foreign gear.

    I truly appreciate performing in a market where venues value high quality sound professional and gear.


    To each his own.
    Rocky 'djrox' Bourg
    Father/Husband/Son/Brother/American

  5. #5
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    I did a wedding earlier this fall and used the venue's in house sound. I would have preferred my own stuff, but theirs was adequate for the situation. However, my baseline price did not change. The client asked if it would, and I let them know that my price was to secure a prime time Saturday, not simply to set up speakers. Plus, I'd have backup equipment with me so that I could fulfill my responsibilities even if something went wrong with the in-house gear.

    She had no complaints, and everything went well.
    Ross Anderson
    DJ & Managing Director
    Bela Sono Music

  6. #6
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    I always visit the venues to see their system, Most of them have had QSC or EV system installed. I have yet to come across with one that didn't have an adequate system. My Price stays the same as far Dj'ing an event. I've never had a problem to this date with clients. Just plug-n-play once in a blue moon, does a body good. Of course always carried back up systems, just in case..
    DJ Mx ONE
    Proud Member Of the U.S. Armed Forces

  7. #7
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    I have designed systems for three wedding venues. One venue just wanted a regular portable system that they could move around. The PA was QSC K-10s and a KSUB which were new at the time. The mixer and players were Denon and the mics were Sennheiser if I recall correctly. DJs could use it or carry their own system up a flight of stairs (albeit wide stairs). The other two systems I designed were for outdoor venues that needed to comply with noise ordinances. These systems don't get too loud and have no bass below 75 Hz. At first many DJs hate them because they lack bass. After a while they realize, they don't have enough gear to cover the property adequately and loud in/out is a breeze.
    The No-Hype DJ:
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  8. #8
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    I would never use another venue's sound system, not because it is nowhere as good as what I use, but if something goes wrong, you will still get the blame, so it's a liability issues for me.
    Thanks,
    Justin

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaswrx View Post
    I would never use another venue's sound system, not because it is nowhere as good as what I use, but if something goes wrong, you will still get the blame, so it's a liability issues for me.
    Not if the contract with your client is well written with such considerations included.
    Rocky 'djrox' Bourg
    Father/Husband/Son/Brother/American

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaswrx View Post
    I would never use another venue's sound system, not because it is nowhere as good as what I use, but if something goes wrong, you will still get the blame, so it's a liability issues for me.
    Then you would not be allowed to play in the outdoor venues I work with. A standard DJ system will violate the noise ordinances.

    Nearly every outdoor venue I have consulted with has at least one neighbor that will do anything to put that venue out of business. They know that logging complaints is the key to their success. The real cost of complaints is much higher than your imagined liability. Local law allows one to file criminal charges against a venue after the 2nd complaint for the same event. The minimal legal fees to defend against such charges are $7500. Since this is a criminal charge, not a civil charge, the venue cannot recoup their costs if they win the case. Their profit for the average event is ~$2500 which is probably about what you charge (the max you might have to refund). In other words, one criminal charge wipes out the venue's profit from 3-4 events. If they lose the case, their permit can be revoked and thus they are out of business. Your complaints to the venue about the inadequacy of their sound system will fall on deaf ears. They have much more skin in the game.
    The No-Hype DJ:
    When you can't afford the best...
    I'm one of the rest.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sawdust123 View Post
    Then you would not be allowed to play in the outdoor venues I work with. A standard DJ system will violate the noise ordinances.

    Nearly every outdoor venue I have consulted with has at least one neighbor that will do anything to put that venue out of business. They know that logging complaints is the key to their success. The real cost of complaints is much higher than your imagined liability. Local law allows one to file criminal charges against a venue after the 2nd complaint for the same event. The minimal legal fees to defend against such charges are $7500. Since this is a criminal charge, not a civil charge, the venue cannot recoup their costs if they win the case. Their profit for the average event is ~$2500 which is probably about what you charge (the max you might have to refund). In other words, one criminal charge wipes out the venue's profit from 3-4 events. If they lose the case, their permit can be revoked and thus they are out of business. Your complaints to the venue about the inadequacy of their sound system will fall on deaf ears. They have much more skin in the game.
    Since we are located in the same area, what venue's are you referring to? I did it one time, and it made me look like crap. People blamed me too, and that was the last time I ever do something like that again. Just not worth it to me, when my reputation is on the line.

    I wouldn't take the job if I ran into this again.
    Thanks,
    Justin

  12. #12
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    it's not necessarily the client, but other people there whom notice or I should say noticed b/c I have done this before.
    Thanks,
    Justin

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaswrx View Post
    Since we are located in the same area, what venue's are you referring to?
    I didn't pay attention to who posted the original comment Justin. One venue was Tropical Paradise. They are out of business now because they were slow to deal with the problem and their permit was not renewed. They were a bit cheap with their system too and waited till the 4th year of operation to really deal with complaints. Finally, the owner never talked with the neighbors directly. Triunfo Creek Vineyards is doing very well now and installed their system almost from the beginning. They have done several upgrades to their system as they got more experience too. The Stonehaus hosts live music on busy days but they have now banned all percussion instruments to stay in compliance. All musicians plug into their system but are allowed a monitor of their own. I have seen small receptions and rehearsal dinners held there.
    The No-Hype DJ:
    When you can't afford the best...
    I'm one of the rest.

  14. #14
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    We prefer to use our own gear. We will consider using house gear.

    Our price is typically the same.

    We do events at the local House of Blues. They have a great sound system and a sound man on sight during events.

    If someone is looking at this as a cost cutting measure is not our client. They are certainly welcome to find someone else
    Scott Hanna, American Entertainment
    wedding dj in cleveland
    440-398-9910 or 877-THE-DJ-4-U
    www.djincleveland.com

  15. #15
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    Several HOB use to use EV systems then went to JBL. I liked the EV setup better but both are good. Wish they had Martin or L-Acoustic Systems. Setups in concert venues like HOB I feel good about using.

    Sound systems in the typical banquet or venue we DJs work at so often are unacceptable. But, they say Djs all the time plug in to avoid having to setup there own gear. It could be those little 4-6 inch 100watt speakers are better than what they'd bring it, perhaps why many do it.
    Heavy weight lifter, karate, oh, I DJ too. Life is good!

  16. #16
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    Price doesnít change. People are booking me for my talent at the base price primarily. Itís also clear I donít leave my house for an event below a certain price. I also have to approve of the sound system or wonít play there. Fortunately in this area it isnít a common issue.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by captd108 View Post
    I also have to approve of the sound system or won’t play there.
    I feel ya on dat!

    Quote Originally Posted by captd108 View Post
    Fortunately in this area it isn’t a common issue.
    It is definitely more common in markets with a serious local live music culture.

    One venue in New Orleans, a bowling alley of all things, has a house system and stage crew that would be the evny of any concert hall. (All JBL Vertec and either QSC or Crown amps)
    Rocky 'djrox' Bourg
    Father/Husband/Son/Brother/American

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by djrox View Post
    I feel ya on dat!


    It is definitely more common in markets with a serious local live music culture.

    One venue in New Orleans, a bowling alley of all things, has a house system and stage crew that would be the evny of any concert hall. (All JBL Vertec and either QSC or Crown amps)
    The crew (and control) is key. I did a fundraiser at a local club that had about a dozen small Vertec hangs scattered (most were 4 boxes). Nearly every hang had issues .. blown drivers mostly. The sound was horrible and the owner must have dropped $500K+ on the speakers and amps .. even had all the amps in a glass fronted room off the main entrance so patrons could see the flashy lights. But apparently no one knew how to run it and they let the "talent" do all the control (mostly DJs).

    I tried using it for the performance, but ended up hauling my Yorkville Unity system in for the dancers/listeners to use and used their JBL system merely to cover the rest of the cavernous space with something .. and it sounded like crap.
    Steve Montambault, Copper Sound
    Audio - Rane MP25, A&H ZED12FX, Denon MC6000mk2, Denon DN-HC4500, JBL PRX612m, Yamaha DXS12, RCF EVOX 8

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve149 View Post
    The crew (and control) is key. I did a fundraiser at a local club that had about a dozen small Vertec hangs scattered (most were 4 boxes). Nearly every hang had issues .. blown drivers mostly. The sound was horrible and the owner must have dropped $500K+ on the speakers and amps .. even had all the amps in a glass fronted room off the main entrance so patrons could see the flashy lights. But apparently no one knew how to run it and they let the "talent" do all the control (mostly DJs).

    I tried using it for the performance, but ended up hauling my Yorkville Unity system in for the dancers/listeners to use and used their JBL system merely to cover the rest of the cavernous space with something .. and it sounded like crap.
    Money only buys stuff, not ability, skill nor knowledge.
    Rocky 'djrox' Bourg
    Father/Husband/Son/Brother/American

  20. #20
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    Fortunately, the venues around me do not have their own systems.
    If they do, they were installed for announcements, bingo calling, or background music at the most.
    So, I have never had to deal with that issue.
    But if I did encounter it, I would gladly use their system if it was up to snuff...
    especially if it was one of the more difficult places to load in and out of.

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