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Buying equipment


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This is the classic case where information comes in two types. If you ask your local dealer, this is fine, but you must be aware that their choice will be biased towards equipment they have in stock or get easily get. Things they don't have available might not, even if it's the best item for the job, get mentioned. When you ask a dealer, you have to accept this kind of flaw in the plan. Bigger dealers have wider ranges, so the mix is different. Basically, you need to be aware their advice on equipment may be influenced by the profit margin on each item. Have they recommended item X over Y because it's better, or they can make an extra £30? If you use a local dealer, make sure it's one who is going to stick with you as you grow. Picking a random dealer the other end of the country won't be always the way to go.


The other alternative is a consultant - a proper independent one, with no ties to particular suppliers, who can look at what you want to do, they kind of user you are and pick a complete working system that will be presented to you as a kind of shopping list. Sometimes, they will specify absolutes for certain kit - as in it must have an XYZ123 mixer, but then offer suggestions and variations on other items, so you can offer alternatives to suppliers.


You then send out the spec to a few dealers and wait for them to offer their best deals - which may not just be on price. Some will offer you the kit at above the cheapest price, but spend time installing it and even training your people to use it properly. Others will offer you cardboard box service. You get whatever you asked for at the lowest possible price, delivered and then you're on your own. There's nothing actually wrong with this if you can cope.


My experience is that cardboard box shifting is not for the beginner. Stupid things like making the kit talk to the other bits can be a pain. Phoning them up for help is often pointless. They have never even seen the thing inside the box.


Personally, for a new group like yours, I'd recommend the consultant for a pain free project. They get paid a fee, or maybe even negotiate a percentage of the end price - but they can come to you, listen to what you want and then even organise things once you've had the quotes in if they have to. Some can offer training too.


Don't let the consultant actually be a dealer rep. Consultants are free of ties - or at least, proper ones are. A real consultant can also help when the budget gets tightened. They can suggest cheaper kit and will know what compromises this means. With a dealer quote, there will be little scope for cutting corners.


Asking three dealers for their ideas will mean 3 entirely different quotes that will be difficult for you to balance against each other.



We can probably help, but we need to know what experience and skills you have, what the venue's like, and what exactly do you need to be able to do with the kit. Your initial comments suggest that you want to go 'clever' - but a system needs designing. If it's going to be left in one place permanently, it will be a different design to one that has to be brought in/taken out each time. Building is critical too - what is it like acoustically? Photos could be useful too?


If you give us some more info, we can help in the forum, and no doubt if you wish - the consultant type people on here can contact you by PM.

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Thanks for the reply's. We have been around for a while since the 1971 but performing regularly since 1994. We normally hire our equipment but we are finding it not to our needs in terms of we would prefer to have our own people doing it to our time scales and be able to use for other community groups and performances as well as the annual panto.

In terms of experience and skill, I have very little so training is an option we have been looking at as part of our grant bidding process. The system will have to be removable because of the different uses of the building unless it could be sited away from the stage in my production room at the back of house.

The equipment I've listed is stuff we normally hire and as such have grown accustomed to using and wouldn't really want to lose.

Acoustically the building is quite good as it was a purpose built hall and stage. I will try and send you a picture if I can find one.

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What equipment you have listed?

stage mics, body mics, mixing desks

This covers spending a little or a lot, no idea of quantities, types or quality levels. No amps or speakers? We need to know quite a bit more info really. If that's as much info as you have, I suspect you'll get stitched up because nobody can advise based on such vagueness? What exactly do you hire? This will help us no end.

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My group is looking at getting funding for buying new equipment as we are a church as well as a panto society and we wondering if anyone could reccomend somewhere where we can get advice on what our hall needs and quotes for equipment such as stage mics, body mics, mixing desks etc before we submit our bid.


With over 20 years expericence in helping Church and Amateur groups with advice on Sound equipment for hire and purchase.

Call mm productions now on : 01206 845947

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