Audio Solutions: Support Bands

It's not easy being the support act. Generally you get the bare minimum of stage space and soundcheck is whatever time is left before the house crew wants to go for food and so on. So after a bit of thought over the past six months, I think I've come up with a few ways that a support act can maximise it's sound check time and get the best out of its alotted stage time.

1. Type out a channel list and draw a stage plan with power and monitor requirements. Word and Excel are fine for this. Try and keep it all on one page. Now send it to the promoter, the band you are supporting and the house sound crew or the PA provider.

2. Be on time. That means too early.

3. Think about providing some of the following items to make the sound crew's life easier. They will like you for this and may be inclined to go that little bit further to make sure your set goes well.
  1. Latin Percussion Mic Claws for the Kick, snare top and maybe also for your under-mic-ed hats and under-mic-ed overheads with some Sennheiser 604's or Shure B98s for your toms. Less mic stands means less stuff to move on and off stage. This means that when you build your kit off-stage, it's mic'ed and ready to be plugged up onstage. Even better, also provide a working, labelled pre-made mic loom for the drum kit. A sound crew will love you for this.
  2. Z mic bars or the Audix CabGrabber for your combos. Again less mic stands to be schlepped onstage.
  3. If you use a lot of DI's for a keyboard or hard-disc set-up consider bringing a rack-mounted DI rack with some XLR cable pre-loomed and labelled. There are some reasonable quality units that don't cost the earth. They may not sound the absolute greatest, but the goal here is to get as much time onstage as you can. Better still, get a small sub-mixer to mix your multiple synth channels down to 2 channels

4. Try and have your gear in a manner that facilitates easy movement. That means the combos should be on wheels and keyboard/midi/laptop setups should be easily pre-wired offstage ready to power up and connect once you are onstage.

We've put together some packages that combine some or all of the above items. If you are interested in discussing your requirements, feel free to
get in touch.


B.Y.O.C or Bring Your Own Crew or "iDry Hire"

With Irish financial institutions presently unable or unwilling to finance new professional audio equipment, many bands, venues and other AV companies are unable to maintain their equipment upgrade and purchase schedules. If you are an operation that has access to trained sound crew, you may want to consider the dry hire of professional audio equipment for your events and gigs

Dry hire means hiring equipment without any transport or sound crew. At Alex Fernie Audio Ltd, all our Nexo systems, SSE monitor systems and Digidesign consoles are, to the trained and experienced user, simple plug and play. We want our systems to be as reliable and glitch-free as possible for our own shows, so we are happy to stand over our equipment for month long theatre or rock and roll tours.

Druid Theatre did a recent run in Dublin's Gaiety Theatre making use of a Nexo GEO S12 system on dry-hire. In 2010, Druid also took a substantial Nexo PS and S12 system for a three month UK and Ireland tour of "The Silver Tassie"

The Galway Film Fleadh, held every year in early July, minimize their production costs through the dry-hiring of a number of small speaker systems and wireless microphones for the various lectures and Q&A sessions that accompany the many film showings.

The Cuirt Literary Festival also benefit from the dry-hiring of equipment, using in-house technicians in the many venues to use and operate the range of lavalier wireless mics and small PA systems provided by us.

If you think that dry-hire could help your production budget, feel free to contact us via email or call +353 (0) 91 789848