Marty's quick contra sound workshop web page

On March 30th 2008 we held the first class for those interested in doing sound at contra dances. About 8 people showed up and we were able to cover many of the basics.
The class was at the Masonic hall at 1010 Lootens in San Rafael, starting at noon.

The second session was on April 12th at the same location starting at 3PM.

The sessions were followed by an evening contra dance.

The curricula is tailored to the skill level and experience of the attendees.

The first session covers the basics:
Schlepping in the stuff
Basic sound reinforcement theories
Different kinds of systems
Layout and setup of speakers and mixer
Setting microphones
Connecting it all up
Setting initial levels
Getting the mix
Maintaining the mix during the evening
Breaking it all down and packing it away
Schlepping it all out

The second session gets more into the nuances of mic placement, mixing and troubleshooting. A jam band played from 3:30 to 6 for us to practice mixing.

Sound for contra dancing presents some challenges that are not in other sound reinforcement setups. At a contra dance we have live music, a caller and an audience who make a lot of noise. Over all that noise the audience must be able to discern the beat and phrasing of the music, and at the same time understand the caller. This is not easy, especially if you want to keep the volume at a reasonable level.

Bob Mills has written a nice simple booklet on the basics of contra dance sound.

There is a Yahoo groups forum dedicated to contra sound:

Other helpful links:

Favorite Vendors:
Jack's Music Factory
Sam Ash Music

My collection of board layouts and stage plots can be found here.


Here are some links on coiling cables...