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Venue Supplied Sound Systems

posted Dec 11, 2013, 7:22 PM by Paul Clairs   [ updated Dec 11, 2013, 7:22 PM ]
I often get asked about my policy regarding venue supplied sound systems.
My policy states that I supply all my own sound gear and I carry a complete spare of that system in my car.

I won't use venue supplied sound systems.

Why?...There are several venues in the south-east that have built in systems and DJ's must plug into these - no exceptions.
There a many reasons for this but mostly it is for control of volume. They either have decibel levels they must adhere to or they have had too many cowboy DJ's blow the walls down despite requests to turn it down.

I set my policy after playing a sporting club function in Brisbane around 2 years ago. The venue insisted on the use of their in-house system so I had no choice. On the afternoon of the function I arrived and was given some very basic instruction in the use of their mixing desk (one I had never seen before) then told the amplifiers were in a secure room and I had no access to them. I was not allowed to adjust any volumes or touch anything other than the desk.

About 5 songs into my DJ set all the roof speakers died leaving me with only sub woofers - this meant the sound was muddy and bassy and the volume was significantly decreased. The venue called the technician who found the main power amp had blown a circuit and he subsequently re-set it and left. In the meantime the dance floor was empty because the music was not loud enough to dance.

20 minutes later this happened again. The tech turned up (not happy) and accused me of touching his amps - I had not left the DJ booth so this was impossible of course.

To cut a very long story (and night) short...this happened on and off all evening. A few days later the client called me and explained that the venue tried to blame me for interfering with their system and I should give them a refund not the venue.

I don't use in-house systems anymore.

Electronic equipment always has the possibility of deciding not to work on any given day regardless of how well maintained it is.
The difference between a pro DJ and an  amateur is how they handle a system shut down.

In the unlikely event of a system malfunction I have my spare system in the car and I would be up and running again in around 5 -10 minutes. In fact if space allows I actually have my spare system right there with me hidden under my DJ booth for quick access.

Several years ago I purchased a brand new set of speakers (in fact I got 4 of them) the next day I set 2 of them up at a ceremony location and waited for the bride to arrive. 10 minutes before she was due to arrive I noticed my volume had dropped - I did a quick check and one of the brand new speakers had died!...I had a spare right there, plugged it in and not a single guest even noticed - it's how a situation like this should be dealt with...Quietly and effectively.

An inexperienced and unprepared DJ will come and find you and say "My amp just died so I'm going home...have a great night"...you won't have any trouble hearing what he just said due to the deafening silence on the dance floor!

It's good to check with your venue about their in-house system policy if you have any concerns.


Paul Clairs
Wedding Music Queensland


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