Today’s Friday fight-out comes to you a little later in the day and we’re sure you’re all getting ready for a Friday night out on the town and maybe a little dancing, so it got us thinking about how to create the best atmosphere on the dance floor. One of the factors that is scarcely really considered are the lighting and sound systems and whether these should be left to the band/DJ to supply or whether you need a specialist supplier to kit out your venue. So let’s see if we can find the solution!
In the Red Corner, charged with fighting the cause for the DJ/band to supply the lighting, after all having been unable to find a PA company on a tiny Island in the Canaries for her own wedding she was pretty relieved when the band turned up with a basic sound system! It’s Dom “The Tog Bride”
In the Blue Corner, fighting to bring in the experts to get the best out of your lighting and sound on the day, he has an extensive background in designing the lighting and sound for events having worked for a Scottish Events Hire company for many years (even if every gig he turned up to in Scotland did seem to feature the proclaimers!) It’s Matt “The Gormless Groom”
DJ PA & Lighting Vs Lighting & Sound Specialist
Dom: Many bands own their own PA & lighting systems and will bring them with them and set them up free of charge, whereas an external supplier is likely to charge quite a lot of money to light your event.
Matt: Specialist companies can generally suggest the best solution for any size of budget and, with their expert technicians and designers, make sure the room is attractively lit and the sound properly set up with even the simplest of setups which don’t have to be all that expensive.
Dom: Bands in particular are likely to have their own specific lighting and sound setups that they’re used to working with and they may struggle to get the sound right or achieve the type of atmosphere they want with the lighting if someone else is in control or if the equipment is different.
Matt: Lighting and Sound companies use highly skilled technicians who are very used to adapting on the spot and making the lighting match the mood of the music perfectly. If the band want to mix themselves they can generally plug their mixer into the system so that they have the control, but a skilled sound engineer can then balance the signal they send through and make it sound as good as possible for the rest of the room.
Dom: If you’re limited in space then the last thing you want is technicians with big desks taking up more room! If the band are in control they take a much smaller footprint and you don’t need extra technicians walking around or storage for large emptied flight-cases!
Matt: Bands and DJ’s are musical experts, not sound experts and often don’t consider the room as a whole properly. They will often push their speakers too hard or under spec the number of speakers required meaning the room is not filled with sound and the sound ends up incredibly loud and distorted near the speaker and inaudible further away. A skilled sound engineer will know exactly how to get the best out of the system and make sure you get the best possible quality sound.
Dom: Bands and DJ’s tend to have one set-up that they use and put together whilst getting their instruments set up which is generally fairly quick. An external company may need more time to set-up and then sound check with the band and, depending on the complexity of the setup, may even need to come in the day before which might add to your venue hire costs!
Matt: Bands and DJ’s tend to use very cheap lighting equipment which often don’t create the best effects whereas lighting and sound hire companies are often able to hire out very expensive equipment quite cheaply as it’s always better for them to earn some money hiring it out than have it sitting in a warehouse so you can end up with much better and less “cheesy” lighting effects on the dance floor.
Dom: Some lighting and sound companies insist on having a technician remain with their equipment which can push up the cost significantly, particularly if they need meals and drinks!
Matt: Bands and DJ’s tend to focus purely on effects lighting rather than general room ambience which sometimes means that when the venue turn their house lighting off for the dancing the room is left very dark. This rarely looks great and can be a real problem for the photographers/videographers who may not be able to get a decent shot in such dark conditions.
So those are our thoughts but where do you stand? Place your vote below or leave a comment to join the debate!