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Advice needed for a college show

Dave SA

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Hi all. My first post here but have been lurking for a while. A great community here.


I'm providing a p.a. system for a week of college shows and rehearsals. All I would like is some advice on things I need to consider when leaving the rig in the care of music technology students. My business partner is a lecturer at the college and I believe either himself or his boss (both very competent engineers) will be present at all times. I'm thinking about laminated notices attatched to the racks dictating things like start up and shut down sequences... maybe a little note on resetting the desk, no drinks etc?


Is this too anal? I'd also like to be able to think it'll teach the student a thing or two maybe. Any help is appreciated greatly. I don't want to be back and forth fixing problems all week as I have shows elsewhere.


Thanks in advance.

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Er... I suspect you've not been around students very much. You can stick on all the notes you like. The ones that know, will follow them. The ones that don't care, or think they know better will simply just kill the power - as will any caretaking staff, or interfering head of department who sees it left powered up and 'wasting trees'. You can expect to see expensive mics fall out of clips, cables stretched at knee height, being ripped from the connectors, carefully tweaked eq having every low end control turned to full.


If your colleagues who 'know' are there - all should be well, but practicality suggests there will be times when they aren't. Students love red lights, the more the better. If you can imagine how people could abuse your system, multiply that by the fudge factor. What I mean is that with a system you know, you are very aware of the little things it doesn't like - so you don't do them. You get used to the sound the various components make when placed under stress - they won't be. You will be able to keep the system running in it's comfort zone - you cannot assume they will. If your colleagues are running the system, I'd not worry - but are they really going to be there permanently? I'm sure it won't be a problem really, but I once saw a PA cleared by the caretakers with some willing volunteers who had booked the room, and wanted all the 'wires' out of the way. Speakons DO come out when you really, really pull - well, at least the cable does. The small twist being something strangers don't think of. Because one would not come out - they sawed it off with a hacksaw about 6" from the cab - without cutting the power. This sounds crazy, but in big colleges these kind of things do happen when kit is left in place.

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The Show isn't in the college and I will have one of my engineers there before the end of the last show to oversee the de-rig so nothing as ghastly as you describe should occur. If it does I may have to implode a small star. :)


I take your points very well Paul and shall consider them at length.


I think I'll still go with a few notices dotted around, just to eradicate use of the excuse 'Well I didn't know otherwise.' I'm not fantastically concerned about things being broken as part of the contract will stipulate damages are paid for/replaced. I'm more concerned about being off-site and something simple going wrong because someone hadn't listened to instructions about operation of the equipment during the rig. That'll mean time to go down there and explain all over again.


Any thoughts on teaching the students something? I'd have killed for the chance to operate the rig I'm going to put in there for them when I was a college student. How about selected pages of manuals of certain pieces of equipment in a tabbed folder? May sound like some effort but it may put us in a good light with the college as there is plenty more work avialable through them and subsequently the council on a broader scale. Perhaps if there are one or two keen students then they may well learn a few things from casually browsing the manual during rehearsals.


Thanks for your time in reply Paul.

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As its a dry-hire there is always the risk that equipment will be abused or mis-used in some way. The way we handle this is to ensure that our T&C's cover these areas and that a responsible person signs the hire agreement that acknowledges acceptance of these terms.


Key items included in these are:


- equipment shall only be used by competent personnel.

- any damage or losses are the responsibility of the hirer.

- our liability is restricted to dealing with faulty equipment not breakages.


For our more complex systems we also ensure that the hirer understands that an experienced sound engineer is required to setup and operate and we offer the services of our own techs to cover this aspect.


We've had equipment going out on hire to students and colleges for many years now with very few problems.



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