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Contra Dance Sound Policy

April 19th, 2012
sound, contra

This is an attempt to draft a sound policy for a BIDA-like dance. Ideas? Comments?

The instruments and caller at a contra dance are not naturally loud enough, so we need sound equipment to amplify them. This equipment is complicated and has far more ways to use incorrectly than correctly, so we need a capable person to operate it. The goal is to present the illusion that the performers are simply loud enough on their own: sound should do its job and be out of the way.

If you're coming to play or call for our dance, it's important for you to know that you'll be working with a good sound person who will be bringing appropriate equipment. It's also important for you to know what we intend to provide and what we expect you to provide. Our sound person should be in contact with you a few days before the dance to sort out your needs, and if you need something beyond what we normally provide they may be able to accommodate you.

If you don't care about equipment details and sound people at other dances seem like they've always been pretty much fine, you can stop here: we hire good sound engineers with good equipment and we think you'll be happy with the sound at our dance. What's below is an attempt to describe what we see as the minimum appropriate equipment so that people who do care about the technical setup can either be reassured that we will be providing what they want, or at least not surprised when they arrive at the hall for the dance.

Mains: two speakers, with a frequency range of about 65Hz-18KHz and about 90 degree dispersion, capable of sufficient volume to fill the hall. Most likely: two QSC K10s.

Monitors: two speakers, with dispersion wide enough to cover at least two seated musicians each. Frequency range ~100Hz-18KHz. If you play keyboard, upright bass, electric guitar or another unusually quiet instrument, you should bring an amp or personal monitor. Talk to us if this is a problem. Most likely: two QSC K10s.

Mixer: six xlr inputs, additional line (1/4") inputs, two band high/low EQ, one monitor mix, one main mix. Most likely: Mackie 1620i.

Mics: one dynamic mic on a boom stand per performer. If you have your own pickup or mic you're welcome to use it, we'll provide an xlr cable. If you need phantom power, talk to us. Most likely: SM58 for the caller, SM57 for instruments.

DIs: if you need a DI box, perhaps because you have a pickup, talk to us.

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