New Tombola TV Advert

We recently provided PA and lighting for our friends in top function band Groove Allstars, when they were asked to perform as part of a shoot for Tombola’s new TV ad, to be shown across the UK.

Let’s Make You Rock!

Our friends at Polaris Audio have started a great blog at http://letsmakeyourock.blogspot.co.uk/ – sharing tips and long-form articles to help your band go from good to great!

Included in the blog are all the small things that will make engineers (like us) love working with your band, and in turn get your name around for support slots and other opportunities with local and national promoters.

Kim from Polaris is a touring engineer with a wealth of experience to share, and Let’s Make You Rock will become an invaluable source of knowledge for bands of any level.

The Exhibitor’s Guide to Event Marketing

We were recently asked by our friends at Display Wizard for our thoughts on A/V provision at marketing events. The full article provides a thorough insight for all event organisers and would-be organisers, and our contribution appears below.

“High quality PA (and A/V) can make or break an event. At the basic level, the right sound system will ensure that all presenters can be clearly heard and understood, and that the event can run as a totally interactive experience. Additionally, outstanding visuals and great sounding entertainment will make a lasting impression on every attendee, meaning the brand and/or products on offer will be more attractive and retain attention for longer.

Vocal System

For very small venues, and outdoor events such as busking, we have the Roland AC-33 acoustic amp as a Vocal System. XLR and jack inputs mean that it will take both microphone and guitar, or with the addition of a small mixer can be expanded to handle acoustic duo or trio band formats.
Even without the mixer, the AC-33 can handle aux (eg. iPod) input via ports on the back, has built-in effects including reverb and chorus, and has an in-built looper.

Even better, the whole unit is happy running from batteries, which we always keep installed and topped-up for each gig. In addition to its obvious busking application, this is also extremely useful in the event of a power failure.

The vocal system is useful in small venues of around 50 capacity, and is equally capable of handling spoken word (for example, a small conference, comedy, or poetry performance). If you think the Vocal System may be the right solution for your event, please contact us and we will be happy to advise you of its suitability.

Live Package

If you have no idea what specific equipment you need for your event, that’s absolutely fine. Clear and Loud can advise what you will need from a description of the venue, input list (i.e. what sources need to be amplified), and any requests you’ve had from people involved.
We have also arranged our equipment into simple-to-understand packages, which we will explain in more detail here on our blog. All packages come with an engineer as standard, so you can be guaranteed top-quality sound and customer service.

IMG_2800

What’s included (the technical bit):

Our live package includes:
– 1 x 12-channel, 2 aux, Soundcraft MFX12 mixer
– 2 x 600W DB Opera tops

What it means:

12 channels means that our mixer can accommodate 12 discrete inputs – that could be a vocal, or an instrument, or the left or right side of a stereo source (like a keyboard). The Soundcraft MFX12 also has 2 stereo inputs for sources such as an iPod.
Aux (or auxiliary) sends are used to send the signal from these channels to a destination other than the main speakers (“front of house”). This could be a monitor speaker (for the band members to hear themselves) or an effects processor (like a reverb, or echo). The Soundcraft MFX12 also includes built-in Lexicon FX.

Our DB Opera 602d speakers provide “full-range” sound, meaning that they can reproduce any frequency that humans can hear. They are great at providing crystal-clear sound reinforcement for voice, instruments, and backing tracks/music, but the more information (i.e. separate sources) – especially low frequency information – you put into any system, the less clear the sound will be.

How it’s all used:

12 channels is more than enough for most acoustic bands and small groups working at a pub level. There’s enough for acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, and five singers – more than most bands need!
2 aux sends allow our engineer to give two monitor speakers their own “mix” (discrete levels of each input), or adjust an external send level for reverb and delay(“echo”) effects.

Why it’s the right choice for you:

Our live package provides 600W of power. The system will comfortably fill venues of around 100 capacity with a small band, and we have successfully run events with this system in rooms of 150 capacity.

The system’s small format (physical size) means that it’s perfect for pubs and function rooms with very limited space. It is also our most cost-effective package, as the lack of subwoofers or onstage monitor speakers brings the cost down considerably.
There are limitations of our live package, chiefly the amount of speaker power and lack of onstage foldback, which may not be an issue for small band or acoustic formats. For a small additional charge we can add up to four monitor speakers, although the Soundcraft MFX12 mixer only supports two separate mixes. There is also a limit to how much backline (drums, guitar amps etc.) can be mic’d due to the channel restrictions and lack of bass extension.

If you are not sure whether the Live Package suits your requirements, we would suggest taking a look at our Band Package or Full Package.

Band Package

If you have no idea what specific equipment you need for your event, that’s absolutely fine. Clear and Loud can advise what you will need from a description of the venue, input list (i.e. what sources need to be amplified), and any requests you’ve had from people involved.
We have also arranged our equipment into simple-to-understand packages, which we will explain in more detail here on our blog. All packages come with an engineer as standard, so you can be guaranteed top-quality sound and customer service.

IMG_2797

What’s included (the technical bit):

Our band package includes:
– 1 x 12-channel, 2 aux, Soundcraft MFX12 mixer
– 2 x 600W DB Opera tops
– 1 x 1kW Mackie SRM1801 subwoofer
– 1 x 400W “monitor” speaker
– 1 x full FX rack including:
graphic EQ,
gate/compressors
reverb and delay.

What it means:

12 channels means that our mixer can accommodate 12 discrete inputs – that could be a vocal, or an instrument, or the left or right side of a stereo source (like a keyboard). The Soundcraft MFX12 also has 2 stereo inputs for sources such as an iPod.
Aux (or auxiliary) sends are used to send the signal from these channels to a destination other than the main speakers (“front of house”). This could be a monitor speaker (for the band members to hear themselves) or an effects processor (like a reverb, or echo). The Soundcraft MFX12 also includes built-in Lexicon FX.
Effects racks are often seen as the “dark art” side of engineering where many people have no idea what they are for or how they are used – but you would hear the difference if we didn’t have them!

Our DB Opera 602d speakers provide “full-range” sound, meaning that they can reproduce any frequency that humans can hear. They are great at providing crystal-clear sound reinforcement for voice, instruments, and backing tracks/music, but the more information (i.e. separate sources) – especially low frequency information – you put into any system, the less clear the sound will be.
This is why we use subwoofers. Subwoofers are bass speakers designed to deal with low frequency information (bass drum, bass guitar, the low end of piano or backing tracks) and ‘free up space’ in the tops to make sure the vocals and important sounds remain crystal clear. Our band package includes a single subwoofer, which enhances low-frequency sources for your event and makes sure you can “feel” the music!

How it’s all used:

12 channels is plenty for most live bands working at a local level. There’s enough for basic drum kit mics, bass guitar, electric guitar, mono keyboard, acoustic guitar, and four singers – more than most bands need!
2 aux sends allow our engineer to give two monitor speakers their own “mix” (discrete levels of each input), or adjust an external send level for reverb and delay(“echo”) effects. In the case of a monitor mix, the signal simply leaves the desk and comes out of the speaker in front of each band member. In the case of an effects unit, the signal goes out to the unit to be processed, and needs to be “returned” to a mixer input in order to be heard.
Graphic equalisers (GEQ) allow our engineers to remove certain “problem frequencies” which will stop the “squeal”, “howl”, or “squeak” caused by feedback, which plagues many small events. Our band package uses GEQ on the left and right side of the main speakers, and one GEQ for the supplied monitor speaker.
Reverb and delay are fairly well understood by most people to mean ambience or echo effects, which are heard at most live events. Reverb and delay add ambience to the sounds onstage, and prevent the band sounding “dull” or “lifeless”. These effects are often described as being “wet” (lots of effect) or “dry” (little or no effect).

Why it’s the right choice for you:

Our band package provides 2.2kW of power. The system will comfortably fill venues of around 150 capacity, and we have successfully run events with this system in rooms of 200-300 capacity.

The mixer’s small format (physical size) means that it’s perfect for pubs and function rooms with limited space. The onstage monitor speaker provides a clear sound for the singers onstage, and can be used to support up to 4 or 5 musicians.
There are some limitations of our band package, chiefly the amount of inputs and monitor speakers. For a small additional charge we can add up to four monitor speakers, although the Soundcraft MFX12 mixer only supports two separate mixes. There is also a limit to how much backline (drums, guitar amps etc.) can be mic’d due to the channel restrictions.

If you are not sure whether the Band Package suits your requirements, we would suggest taking a look at our Full Package.

Full Package

If you have no idea what specific equipment you need for your event, that’s absolutely fine. Clear and Loud can advise what you will need from a description of the venue, input list (i.e. what sources need to be amplified), and any requests you’ve had from people involved.
We have also arranged our equipment into simple-to-understand packages, which we will explain in more detail here on our blog. All packages come with an engineer as standard, so you can be guaranteed top-quality sound and customer service.

IMG_2794

What’s included (the technical bit):

Our full package includes:
– 1 x 16-channel, 6 aux, Allen & Heath GL3 mixer
– 2 x 600W DB Opera tops
– 2 x 1kW Mackie SRM1801 subwoofers
– 4 x 400W “monitor” speakers
– 1 x full FX rack including:
graphic EQ,
gate/compressors
reverb and delay.

What it means:

16 channels means that our mixer can accommodate 16 discrete inputs – that could be a vocal, or an instrument, or the left or right side of a stereo source (like an iPod).
Aux (or auxiliary) sends are used to send the signal from these channels to a destination other than the main speakers (“front of house”). This could be a monitor speaker (for the band members to hear themselves) or an effects processor (like a reverb, or echo).
Effects racks are often seen as the “dark art” side of engineering where many people have no idea what they are for or how they are used – but you would hear the difference if we didn’t have them!

Our DB Opera 602d speakers provide “full-range” sound, meaning that they can reproduce any frequency that humans can hear. They are great at providing crystal-clear sound reinforcement for voice, instruments, and backing tracks/music, but the more information (i.e. separate sources) – especially low frequency information – you put into any system, the less clear the sound will be.
This is why we use subwoofers. Subwoofers are bass speakers designed to deal with low frequency information (bass drum, bass guitar, the low end of piano or backing tracks) and ‘free up space’ in the tops to make sure the vocals and important sounds remain crystal clear. Our full package includes two of each of these speaker types – one at each side of the stage or performance area.

How it’s all used:

16 channels is plenty for most live bands working at function-band level. We usually use two inputs for an iPod or laptop, plus one input for our effects return (more on that later), which leaves 13 inputs for a band. That’s enough for drum kit mics, bass guitar, electric guitar, keyboard, acoustic guitar, and four singers – more than most bands need! If more channels are needed we can share channels for the iPod with extra band inputs, or use fewer microphones on the drum kit – which engineers often do in small function venues anyway.
6 aux sends allow our engineer to give four monitor speakers their own “mix” (discrete levels of each input), plus adjust two different send levels for reverb and delay(“echo”) effects. In the case of a monitor mix, the signal simply leaves the desk and comes out of the speaker in front of each band member. In the case of an effects unit, the signal goes out to the unit to be processed, and needs to be “returned” to a mixer input in order to be heard.
Graphic equalisers (GEQ) allow our engineers to remove certain “problem frequencies” which will stop the “squeal”, “howl”, or “squeak” caused by feedback, which plagues many small events. Our full package uses GEQ on the left and right side of the main speakers, and one GEQ for each of the four monitor mixes.
Reverb and delay are fairly well understood by most people to mean ambience or echo effects, which are heard at most live events. Dynamics (gates and compression) are engineer’s tools to help us solve problems such as wildly varying volumes, quiet singers, loud and ringy drums, and noisy instruments onstage. They are also useful for spoken word events, for example at a comedy night when the comedian may switch from speaking to shouting into the microphones. Reverb and delay add ambience to the sounds onstage, and prevent the band sounding “dull” or “lifeless”. These effects are often described as being “wet” (lots of effect) or “dry” (little or no effect).

Why it’s the right choice for you:

Our full package provides 3.2kW of power, although this number really isn’t very useful in describing how much sound it will put out. The system will comfortably fill venues of around 300 capacity, and we have successfully run events with this system in rooms of 500-600 capacity.

The mixer’s large input capability means that it’s perfect for function bands with multiple singers and horn sections; live electronic acts with a lot of “stems” or backing tracks; and festivals or variety shows with multiple acts requiring different inputs. The onstage monitor speakers with separate monitor mixes and EQ provide the very best sound for the musicians onstage, and can be used as a personal monitor for up to 4 musicians, or split into groups around each speaker to support as many as 9 or 10 musicians.
The only limitations of our full package are the size of venue, and for larger events we are able to combine extra speakers and if necessary, hire in extra equipment – which we would recommend you contact us to discuss.

Doc Marten’s launch night video

A great video has appeared on YouTube covering the launch night we teched for Doc Martens in Newcastle. The music is by our friends HATI, who played live on the night, and we have to thank OPR for booking our services at the event.

In-store Promotions

Some of the most interesting bookings we’ve had recently have been the ones in unusual venues, from the Calvin Klein department of Debenhams, to the Harley Davidson showroom, or the opening of the new Doc Marten’s shop in Newcastle.

There are unique challenges to providing sound in a retail shop – especially when the sales teams are trying to sell over the top of a rock band! These are the events that make every day different for Clear and Loud, and can be the most enjoyable.

Some photos here below:

Funeral Services

We have been asked to attend a small number of Funerals recently, to supply our services to those wishing to pay their respects. We have provided service recordings to allow family members living abroad, and those who can’t attend for other reasons, to experience the eulogies and the tributes to their loved ones.

We have also provided sound reinforcement for smaller venues, where the number of attendees has involved people standing outside and needing to hear the tributes.

Our discrete approach to these unique occasions has received positive comments from family, church & crematorium staff, and funeral directors – and we have found it very rewarding to offer our help to those suffering a loss.