Frequently Asked Questions about Audiowall
On this page we answer some frequently asked questions about Audiowall, how our company operates, the event production services that we provide and the work that we do.
Audiowall stock a wide range of sound equipment including:
- Allen & Heath
- Linea Research
- Marshall Amplification
- Martin Audio
Our main areas for work are:
The towns we work in most frequently include:
Aylesbury, Bedford, Birmingham, Bletchley, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Buckingham, Cambridge, City of London, Dalston, Hatfield, Hackney, Hoxton, Leeds, Luton, Milton Keynes, Newport Pagnell, Northampton, Nottingham, Oxford, Shoreditch, Southampton, St. Albans, Watford, Westminster, Wolverton.
Some of the venues that we have produced events from include:
Battersea Park, Boomtown Festival, Bradwell Abbey, Brixton Academy, Campbell Park, Concord 2, Concord Club, Donington Park, Donington Racetrack, Doubletree Hilton MK, Duke Studios, Empire Nightclub, Experience the Country, Finsbury Park, Glastonbury Festival, Hackney Empire, Hackney Marshes, Hagerston park, Hatfield House, Hounslow Hall, Hoxton Docks, Koko, Leeds O2 Academy, Leicester O2 Academy, Liverpool O2 Academy, MC Motors, Madcap Theatre, Milton Keynes Theatre, MK11, MK Dons Stadium, MK Gallery, Moggerhanger, Revolution’s Bar, Rockingham Speedway, Santa Pod Raceway, Slamdunk festival, Silverstone Racing Circuit, Stantonbury Campus Sports Hall, Stantonbury Theatre, St. Mary’s Stadium, The Craufurd Arms, The Owl Sanctuary, The Pitz, The Radcliffe School, The Roadmender, The Robin 2, The Southbank, Thekla, Unit nine, Victoria Park, Whittlebury Hall, Willen Lake, Willen Mini Bowl, Wonderworld, Woughton Campus.
Annual balls, awards ceremony, beer festivals, carnivals, car shows, circus performance, community fates, collage balls, conferences, corporate meetings, dance events, exhibitions, experiential campaigns, family festivals, fashion shows, music festivals, motorsports events, presentations, product launches, private parties, raves, regattas, theatre performance, weddings.
We believe that the skills and resources that we use on all events are transferable and that the wider range of events that we cover, the better experience we have.
We work with many different event organisers including:
- Brand managers
- Event Co-ordinators
- Event production companies
- Event promoters
- Festival organisers
- Marketing Agencies
- Private individuals
- Production Managers
- Publishing Companies
- Rave promoters
- Wedding planners
Most of our work is in the UK but we have worked in France, Germany and Switzerland.
Many people come to us with a need to hire a PA system but they are not sure of what size system or type of system they need. There are lots of different options suited to different applications and we can help you choose the right system for you.
You need to start by answering some questions about the venue, audience size and content of your event.
- What is the expected capacity of the audience?
- Are the audience seated or standing?
- What is the size of the venue or area of coverage?
- Is the venue inside or outside?
- Is the application for speech or music?
- What are the required volume levels for the application?
- Do you want to feel the bass?
These are a few of the different types of PA system available:
Below we will outline some of the basic types of PA system and applications they are used for.
Outdoor weatherproof 100V line public address system
These systems consist of lightweight, plastic, IP66 rated, high sensitivity, low-powered horns with limited frequency band-width. They are extremely cost effective systems for speech only applications where a coverage of a large area on a budget is a higher priority than audio quality.
Portable, descreet, compact and distributed PA systems
There are many different options for portable PA systems suited to private parties, weddings, corporate events and many other applications. These systems are designed to cover small audience areas with full range, quality audio suitable for vocal and musical applications from a compact, descreet and portable system. Medium size areas can be covered with the addition of more speakers distributed around the audience. Typically these types of systems will be small speakers on stands but can also be ‘flown’. Bass cabinets may be added to the system for additional sub-bass reinforcement. This is recommended for any applications with musical content unless the requirement is just for background music.
A point-source system is a modular PA system designed to cover a wide range of audience sizes and venue types with high SPL, full range, high quality audio. Point-source systems are the highest quality large scale PA systems. The benefits to these systems are high sound quality, high definition and dynamic range and ease of deployment without software. The disadvantages to this type of system is the footprint, audience sight lines can be obstructed by large speaker arrays, speed of deployment, consistency with frequency response and SPL coverage.
A line-source array or ‘line-array’ is a modular PA system designed for covering large audience areas with high SPL full range audio, most suitable for outdoor concerts and large festival stages. These systems will usually be hanging and the line-array modules will be hung underneath each other to form a long thin column of speakers either side of the stage. Typically there will be around sixteen array elements in each hang. The design features of this type of system compromise the audio quality in exchange for a more consistent frequency response and SPL coverage over large areas.
These systems have many benefits that make this type the ideal choice for large scale productions. Benefits include speed of deployment, small footprint, good sight lines for the audience to the sides of the stage and more consistent frequency response and slightly less loss in SPL from the front to the back of the audience. The disadvantages to these types of systems can include a compromise in overall audio quality, very little high frequency content above 15khz, distorted mid-range and lack of punch and definition in the low mid and bass frequencies. Complicated computer software needed for rigging and array-angle calculations. This type of system can sound really bad if it is setup incorrectly or not optimised properly for the venue.
Some manufacturers have designed line-source systems that work very well and sound great but there are many systems on the market that do not. With these systems there are a few industry standards and they are worth sticking too.
When you book a touring performer or artist for a show, you will usually be presented with a rider as part of the contract.
A rider is a document that details the requirements for the artist or performer to perform at your event. It will list technical requirements and non-technical.
A technical rider will list all the sound and lighting requirements. Most technical riders will include a stage plot. This could include minimum stage dimensions and details for any risers. The channel list for the mixing desk will include a list of microphones, DI box’s and mic stands. Some can be very specific, right down to specifying brands and models of equipment.
Common items to be requested on a technical rider
- DJ Equipment
- Mixing Desk
- Monitor systems
- PA system
- Stage risers
In many situations a rider will suggest acceptable solutions and will also notify you of what is not acceptable. The rider is generally a wish-list and the equipment requested will be the ideal choice. For some types of equipment, there can be multiple choices that are all perfectly acceptable. Some things are nogotiable and most of the time a compromise can be reached to keep within budget restraints, however some items will not be negotiable. In general the technical rider is a guide for the standards of quality that is expected from the production equipment.
Backline & Instruments
When we talk about ‘Backline’ we are referring to equipment used by the band. This could the drum kit, bass guitar amp, electric guitar amps and other instrument amplifiers at the back of the stage. Many bands will request this equipment on the rider and will usually be quite specific. A touring band may travel with just instruments and expect to plug guitars into amps that are provided for them whilst some international artists will travel without instruments and will request these to be provided.
Generally DJ’s will be very specific regarding the equipment they need. It could be due to specific features offered by a particular model of CDJ player or DJ mixer. Most DJ’s will request the latest technology. When DJ equipment is specified on a rider it will be non-negotiable.
As part of the channel list, it is common for the rider to suggest microphones for each channel. These are the first choice of microphone for the sound engineer. In most cases they can be exchanged for microphones of a similar type and spec but must be of the same quality.
If the artist travels with a sound engineer, the rider will specify a mixing desk. Possibly more than one. It is common to have one desk for the front-of-house engineer and one for the monitor engineer at the side of the stage. In some situations, the engineers will specify specific models of desk because they have a ‘show file’ for a particular desk other times there will be a list of acceptable mixing desks or a list of specifications and features the desk must have.
A monitor system is a vital component for any live performance. The monitors enable the performer to hear what they need to hear to perform at their best. A monitor system can consist of multiple mixes and can include on-stage ‘wedge’ speakers and ‘IEM’ In-ear-monitors. It is also common for each member of the band to have an individual ‘mix’ tailored to their needs. If the band request stage monitors, it’s standard to suggest acceptable brands.
It has become increasingly common to see a list of acceptable brands for PA system and there are generally a few common brands that appear on most riders. Many riders will also stipulate PA system brands that are not acceptable.
Industry standard and ‘Rider friendly’ equipment
An industry standard is a benchmark of quality, features and specifications for a particular product type. Most of the items specified on riders become known as an industry standard for that type of product. For example the Technics SL-1210 is the industry standard for DJ turntables and the Shure SM58 is the standard for dynamic vocal microphones. There are often alternatives that are equally up to standard. The term ‘rider friendly’ refers to products that are often requested on riders.
An artist rider will also include requirements for backstage refreshments, travel arrangements and accommodation.
Common items included on non-technical riders:
- Soft drinks
- Alchoholic drinks
- Cooked food
- A warm, dry and secure backstage dressing room
- Travel arrangements
- Hotel rooms