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Articles May-June 2021

Pursuing the Pro Audio Trail

In conversation with Caroline Moss and Sue Gould

PT got in touch with the Pro AVL Asia magazine core team of Editor - Caroline Moss and Sales Director - Sue Gould, who between them boast of over three decades of experience in the pro audio industry..... read more

NJSM Marks a Milestone in the Business of Sound

From Rental Company to manufacturer and innovator, Nixon Johnny has guided and grown NJSM from a two-person company to a fifty-person company, continuing to expand into virtual events with NJSM Virtual Studio..... read more

Tech Savvy Environment for T-Systems

Eyte Technologies installs high-tech AV Solution at T-System’s Experience Center facilitating brand value and delivering superior customer experience..... read more

Conversations with SudeepAudio

Sudeep Audio, one of India’s first pro audio web store selling studio software and equipment online commenced its YouTube Channel, ConverSAtions, in 2011 to share the journey of Indian Sound Engineers..... read more

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Install Heaven

Most of us in the ‘Shows’ part of our business are a little wary and perhaps a bit uncomfortable with the Permanent Install Business.

We have the technical expertise, we know the market, we probably have a decent relationship with some of the leading manufacturers and suppliers as most large brands have something to offer both sections. So why this discomfort?

This is a general statement. Of course there are many of us that have successfully installed venues.

At this time when there seems to be so many new and glossy venues coming up, I think it is worth a visit to reflect how some of us in the rental business can grow our business in this direction.

While technology may be the same, the approach is totally different.

In the rental world we have the benefit (and the hassle) to assemble our equipment specifically for a purpose. For a specific artist, or a festival. We set up to a certain specification and afterwards break it down and pack it into its separate boxes.

The equipment must be rugged to withstand the pressures of the road and work under varying conditions of heat (or lack of) and dust and whatever nature or hotel venues throw at you.

Equipment designed to be installed securely is built to much lower tolerances. If the venue is sufficiently large – manufacturers may offer some degree of customisation. So what do we look for?

In my opinion we rental boys tend to consider a ‘one size fits all’ approach in our thinking.

We understand that the equipment we install will be used for a variety of uses- from speeches to all out EDM on occasion. What sound system is capable of handling both equally well.

Lighting boys will have to do conferences with focus on presenter and audience. And after dinner for the inevitable Bollywood remix – by dancers or guests.

Video & Display boys will have to do sober informative displays for Doctors or corporates or Town Hall type events on one day and Background visuals for weddings and /or performances the next.

How does an Install engineer bring it all together and keep all the stakeholders happy.

In my opinion, the install engineer should not be thinking of equipment at all. He should focus on functionality. By that I mean – make a template for each use of the place. Into the physical space draw on translucent paper plans for every use of the space. Each drawing to focus on that use only – as if it will never be used for any other purpose.

Once they are all ready, stack them one on top of the other.

Sift through for commonality and then list all the features that appear more than once. Like mike placements, speaker positions, FOH positions etc.

Then see what can be included into the budget. Once you have bought all the equipment that the budget will allow, ensure that you have left sufficient space to install all the equipment that you have left out now at a later stage.

This simple wisdom is seldom followed.

Far too often we hear of ‘State of Art’ Halls that will never be used for what they have been designed for. Equipment decays. Too often the management fights for the integrity of a system only to see the hall fall out of favour. To save face – the preferred equipment is then installed ‘Over’ the existing equipment. These half measures may save face but will seldom stand the test of time and the halls get relegated to do mundane events.

A Sad state that we never seem to learn from. A vicious cycle that serves only some few unscrupulous people on the periphery of our profession. My sincere prayer is that we will see this state of affairs end soon.

Onto the equipment itself. Most equipment today is of a fairly decent build. It is rare to come across a ‘BAD’ system. So we are in good hands here.

The trouble usually creeps in when we come to the word ‘Maintenance’.

Very, Very few venues have a regular and thorough maintenance schedule in place. Preferring the ‘Fix it when it breaks’ model.

This can work only if maintenance is immediate. We all know how difficult accessing good quality spare parts is. So invariable a stop gap ‘jugad’ solution is found and before too long it becomes a permanent part of the Install. That’s great in the short term. In the long term this is probably the main reason most installed equipment is in shambles.

Another Prayer – For I wish it would change.

Great, well-equipped venues will encourage live performances. This in turn can enrich a city’s culture and way of life. I sincerely hope that there will emerge some great private public joint ventures that can look after all aspects of a performance venue.

The conference centres mushrooming in and around Hyderabad are an example of how they have contributed to that City achieving eminence in our country. I hope more city’s follow that lead.

We hear of overcrowding. But if civic offices are convinced – a lot can happen. Look at New York. Constantly renewing, rebuilding in small tight spaces to create state of art venues.

I hope we can all come together and achieve something that can make all of us proud.

(The views expressed by the author are his own personal comments and the magazine does not subscribe to them).