Today we are talking about the basic topics that a Sound Engineer and Musicians should understand about Tech Riders and the need to have a perfect one..
In the event that your band wants to play soon or you already play gigs, you’ll always come across a concept for every gig: Technical Rider.
The Technical Rider, also called “Tech Rider” for short, is a technical stage instruction that prepares the location and the mixer for your technical requirements. It contains all the relevant information that is necessary for your appearance to be technically flawless.
Furthermore, the Tech Rider also serves as a contractual hedge: Smaller, perhaps not so professional locations sometimes suggest that they do not need a rider because they have “everything in common”.
The idea of what a location has to offer in terms of technology is very vague and there are all sorts of stories known in which a band after a long journey with the club over non-existent monitors or too few microphones/cables have to argue.
If you can not play the gig, then it would not even be clear if the club has to pay you a fee, because the technical requirements were not clearly recorded and communicated.
A technical rider protects you from such unpleasant surprises.
Anything that helps the bands write a good rider will ultimately help to do the job well for sound engineers as well as for musicians.
The most common mistake is usually that the rider is not up to date. Even with the biggest bands in the business, you get outdated riders which are being forwarded.
Of course, bands are creative and here and there comes a keyboard or sampler, a tom or an acoustic guitar, for example. This must, of course, be communicated to the technician on site – in advance!
Our work does not start only when we are on stage and wiring, but sometimes weeks in advance to plan exactly what is needed for technology and how, what, where to wire it. Of course, every good technician knows that and plans emergency solutions.
How can a band score with you, what information is important to you on a rider?
Be as accurate as possible!
Bands that write their own riders often write a list of the instruments they play, but not what really awaits me on stage. The info drums, bass, guitar, vocals are usually not enough. Here we are suggesting to provide an accurate, up-to-date information, for example:
1 x bass drum
1 x snaredrum
1 x HiHat
2 x toms
2 x crash basins
1 x Ridebecken
1 x bass amplifier
1 x electric guitar amp
1 x stereo keyboard
1 x lead vocals
2 x background vocals
With the information, you can think of a patch plan that suits to work.
Secondly, it is very important to know how many musicians are on stage.
Every musician should be able to hear well, so you have to know how many monitors to put on stage. If someone has an in-ear system, then please write which frequencies you use and if you would like to have stereo or mono.
Please write a contact with the rider. In the event that something is not technically feasible, the technician can then contact you and you can find a solution together.
Anyone who wants can also write down sound requests such as “fat rock sound” or “we like a lot of reverb”.
Then it does not happen that a pop band, exaggeratedly, suddenly sounds like a metal band, because the mixer may have a completely different sound concept than the band itself.
What should definitely on a Tech Rider?
- Instrument List (as accurate as possible)
- Number of musicians, also by name
- Stage plot, a plan that identifies who’s where, so you can see where to get the channels you need.
- The telephone number of the contact person of the band.
- In principle, you can write everything on a technical rider, as long as it has to do with technology.
Suppose your band and you are still inexperienced in writing a Tech Rider – what should we pay attention to? How can we tackle this?
Assuming that I have never seen you as a technician, but we work together as a team for the concert evening! So that everything runs smoothly, you need as much information as possible and here are the 7 Elements of a Good Live Sound Tech Rider.
Write everything in your rider. If you only have a certain instrument with you at some concerts, it still has to be mentioned in the rider, because omitting channels spontaneously is not a problem for you as a technician. Spontaneously conjure more channels, unfortunately, you cannot in the worst case.
Do not write a novel, keep it clear! Write short sentences and use tables.
Often, a rider also knows which microphones are preferred. What if I have no idea how our drums or similar. should be miked?
That does not matter. If you have your own mics, for example for the vocals and want to use them, then this should be mentioned in the rider. Otherwise, you write a nice note like: “We do not bring microphones, tripods, and wiring and use the material on site.” Then the technician knows and can prepare everything.
With this information, it should not be so difficult to write a Tech Rider and make a good figure at the next sound check, right? You can also download a free Tech Rider Template from the link that is provided under the section Download a Free Template in the blog article.
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Thanks for reading & Happy Sound Engineering