Now featuring: Allen & Heath dLive

Category : Events & Shows Gear

allen heath dlive console foh board mixer live sound music venue production 608 sound light madison dane county
Allen & Heath dLive console at an outdoor concert. Top of the line, world class touring console from 608 Sound & Light


(Madison, WI) Exciting news from 608 Sound and Light, Dane County’s premiere provider of live sound and lighting production services – we are pleased to announce that we are dLive certified and now offer the world class Allen & Heath dLive mixing system.

This state-of-the-art mixing console features DEEP processing with 96kHz audio resolution and less than 0.7ms of latency. When combined with our Lake Processing LM44 speaker processor, you can rest assured that your festival, event, live show, or production will be heard better than ever before.

Our new FOH console system delivers the cleanest, clearest, most accurate sound available. We can accommodate 40 input signals and 24 output feeds – more than enough for almost any live music performance production.

dLive music production live sound lighting band madison wi 608 sound light
Working with The Dead South and our Allen & Heath dLive rig.

We’ve already used this new configuration with dozens of shows, and the reviews have been nothing short of fantastic. Clients that we have regularly worked with have noticed the improvement in sound clarity. Audience members have also commented on the difference, and that’s really saying something because our Midas DL32 and Behringer X32 systems sound really great on their own!

Come see and hear for yourself how good live music can sound with 608 Sound & Light! Be sure to check our Events page for upcoming shows – swing by and say hi!

Mixing console live sound engineer madison wi dane county 608 sound light production stage festival
Mixing Hooten Holler band from Colombia, MO at a theater in Platteville, WI. #dLive
608 sound light allen heath mixing console festival outdoor music
Allen & Heath dLive console at an outdoor festival

Update from 608 Sound and Light – 2018 Music Festival and Production

Category : Events & Shows Gear

Live sound production lighting outdoor stage festival events madison wi dancing
It’s almost time for outdoor music!

Hi fellow music lovers!

We’re just a few short months away from summer music season here in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin and hope you’re as excited as we are! We are so lucky to have so many incredible live sound events in the Dane county and Madison area; we’ve done our fair share of traveling to other cities, and it certainly seems like southern Wisconsin leads the country in awesome live music festivals.

Our 2018 calendar is nearly full already – there’s a great deal of planning and preparation that goes into every one of the many festivals, fairs, and other music fests. Most of the event organizers begin planning for next year’s event within a few days of completing their current event – crazy, right?!

To prepare for the 2018 Live Sound and Lighting production season, we’ve been busy making numerous improvements to our systems and equipment. We have some extremely exciting new goodies to unveil and will do so very soon. For those who can’t wait to see what’s in store, be sure to follow us on social media – we have our Facebook feed and our Instagram accounts – be sure to follow them and give them a look or two…

We can hint that some newer, even more powerful JTR Speakers Subwoofers are en route to us, along with a new FOH mixing rig. It’s going to be incredible!

In addition to the summer music scene, we’ll be providing live sound and lighting production services for AXPONA 2018 – they invited us back again, and we are honored by the request. That event takes place April 12 – April 15, 2018 in Schaumburg, IL and is definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re an audio enthusiast.

Thanks for taking the time to read this update, and as mentioned, stay tuned for more updates! Big things are in the works!!

Feeling Smaart – Acoustic Analysis by 608 Sound & Light

Category : Gear General Message

608 Sound and Light is proud to announce a new service offering: acoustical analysis and correction. Whether you operate a live music venue, a bar, a club, a house of worship, an auditorium, or any other type of establishment, 608 Sound and Light can help make your space sound better than ever.

Smaart v8 sound analysis room measurement transfer function
Working with Rational Acoustics Smaart V8 software.

608 Sound and Light just completed a multi-day, intense training program for Smaart V8 analysis software from Rational Acoustics. Smaart is the industry standard for measuring and evaluating room response – it quickly identifies problem areas and combined with our knowledge and experience, we can recommend various treatments to help maximize the sound quality of your environment.

608 sound light trussing production lighting live sound effects
Get the most from your performance with 608 Sound and Light

608 Sound and Light uses Smaart to measure every performance space that we work in. This ensures quality sound for every one in attendance. By utilizing Smaart V8, we can find “hot spots,” “nulls,” and everything in between. We also utilize Smaart to provide a comfortable experience for everyone in attendance. You’ll get quality sound without any harshness, shrillness, or boominess.

Give us a call or send an e-mail to see how 608 Sound and Light can maximize the performance of your venue or establishment!

Celebrating Full Compass’s 40 Years

Category : Gear General Message

We are proud to work with Full Compass for all of our equipment needs. They’re local to us, they have an incredible selection of in-stock gear, they are more than happy to answer our questions or arrange for demonstrations, and their prices are top-notch.

They’re also celebrating their 40th year in business, and as part of that celebration, they asked us to be interviewed for one of YouTube video segments. The video was released earlier today, and wow – color us flattered!!

We really are fortunate to have such great service and support, and we love working with Full Compass (and especially Caleb Hopwood, our sales rep). It’s a great company that treats us more than fairly and is always willing to help. Thanks everyone! Happy 40th and here’s to 40 more!!!

Here’s the video that they shot and produced, featuring us. Enjoy!

dbx DriveRack VENU360 troubleshooting

Category : Gear

When it comes to live sound production, there are a great number of technological tools that can help make or break a show. 608 Sound and Light has worked hard to carefully audition, select, test, and implement the best equipment available to ensure a flawless performance each and every time.

We have long been fans of the dbx DriveRack product, and couldn’t imagine running shows without their loudspeaker management processing system. When the VENU360 was introduced, it promised great things – 3×6 input/output matrix, excellent sound quality, wireless management, a bunch of wizards (auto EQ, auto level, AFS, etc), and room for 99 custom presets.

After a while, we started to notice a few odd problems with our dbx VENU360. It would occasionally drop all sound output, while otherwise appearing to function normally. The input and output meters would flash, the main menu and display would work properly, but there wouldn’t be any sound output. It was if the unit was muted, without actually being muted.

We scoured the internet, contacted dbx, and did some experimentation on our own. We eventually discovered that the issue was related to a bad connection between the main board and the power supply (PSU). Apparently, the 2-conductor connector that supplies power to the mainboard would lose contact, which in turn caused all sorts of performance issues. The most notable and common issue was muted sound or muted output during otherwise normal operation. The issue became most noticeable when the unit was subjected to heat (sunlight, HVAC, etc).

Our unit went back to Harman International for repair (it was under warranty). While it was out for service, we purchased a second unit to serve as a back-up. When it arrived to us, we noticed that it had not been updated/repaired so as to prevent the muting issue. So, we decided to repair it in house, and took a few pictures along the way. We hope that you’ll find this information helpful, should you ever encounter a similar issue.

Disclaimer: perform this work at your own risk. Make sure the unit is completely unplugged from any electrical source prior to beginning work. If you are not comfortable and adept with electrical component repair, soldering, or general repair work, please contact Harman International. Note that performing this work on your own may void any manufacturer’s warranty. For any issues or concerns, please contact dbx and/or Harman International first. This blog entry is for entertainment purposes only. 608 Sound and Light assumes no responsibility for any work you may choose to perform.

Unit: dbx DriveRack VENU360
Symptom: Unit drops all output; no sound
Resolution: Solder main board power feed from PSU

Tools needed: #2 Philips screwdriver, 7/64″ Hex driver, wire cutter, wire stripper, soldering iron, solder

Level of difficulty: easy to moderate
Length of time to repair: 15 minutes

Here’s a picture of our dbx DriveRack VENU360, and all of the tools you’ll need to complete the job.

Starting on the left side of the unit, locate two (2) Philips #2 screws and remove them.

Spin the unit around, and you’ll find another Philips #2 screw on the back side of the unit. Remove this screw.

Spin it again, and on the right side (with fan), you’ll find two more Philips #2 screws. Remove them both. Note, you do not need to remove the screws holding the fan guard. Leave them in place.

Spin it once again, and on the front, you’ll find a 7/64″ hex head screw, just above the rotary knob. Using a hex driver, remove this screw.

The lid will now lift off from the unit.

Locate the power supply and main board connector. They can be found near the right front corner of the unit. The connector will likely be loose and will freely wiggle/move around.

Carefully disconnect the connector by gently pulling out on the connector latch while lifting on the connector. The latch portion is connected to the main board, and will move ever so slightly “outward” toward the outside of the case.

With the connector disconnected, use a sharp wire cutters to cut the connector. Cut the wires as close to the connector as possible, so as to preserve as much of the original wiring as possible. Then strip the wires so that approximately 1/2″ of wire is exposed.

Be certain to maintain the proper orientation of the wires. The black wire will be positioned on the terminal closest to the front of the unit (control side). The red wire will be positioned on the terminal closest to the back of the unit.

Carefully wrap each wire around its respective terminal. Pay close attention so that any wire strands don’t “jump” terminals. You do not want any wires from either wire touching the opposite terminal. We used a small flat blade screwdriver to help “shape” the wires and press any strands closer to their proper terminal.

Prepare your soldering iron, following proper soldering techniques. We utilized a Hakko FX-888D unit, with the temperature set to 700F. We used a pencil soldering tip and high quality solder. We carefully soldered each wire to its respective terminal. Do not use any more solder or heat than necessary, and do not touch the soldering iron to any part of the unit, other than the terminals.

When you’re finished soldering the connections, things should look similar to this.

Reassemble the unit, making sure to replace all of the screws into their proper location.

Power the unit up, and test for proper function. You might want to run some “burn in/test” music for an hour or two to make sure everything is working as expected.

And there you have it.

The issue with the mainboard/PSU connector is well known and documented across various forums and user groups. If your dbx DriveRack VENU360 is out of warranty and is exhibiting similar symptoms, you may want to try to fix the unit on your own. Please note that in doing so, you assume any and all risk. If you have any doubts or concerns about performing any type of diagnostics or repairs on your dbx unit, please contact dbx and/or Harman International directly.

Live Sound and Music in Madison

It has been a busy couple of weeks for 608 Sound and Light. With our recent name change, there has been a lot of behind-the-scenes work to be done… updating our promotional materials, contacting clients and venues, labeling gear, working on the website; the list goes on and on.

Thankfully, we have managed to find time to attend several live sound productions in the Madison area. We really are a lucky group of people – Madison hosts so many wonderful live sound events – from small bands at neighborhood bars to open jams to national (and international) touring acts at larger venues. Madison really is a music-lover’s paradise.

It’s only Wednesday, and we have already attended six live music performances over the past 3 days. Unless you’re living in Nashville or Austin, I doubt you’d be surrounded by so much live music. Heck, we ventured to four different music events on Tuesday, alone! There was the Maximum Ink Magazine Jimmy K show at the Wisco, Onadare at the Malt House on East Wash, The Lower 5th at the Up North Bar, and finally the Open Jam at the Red Zone. Yes, it was a full evening, but it was truly enjoyable and extremely rewarding.

While out and about, we couldn’t help but notice the tremendous support for live music that exists in our community. It’s not easy for venues to host live music – there are logistics to consider, expenses, and countless other variables. The artists don’t have it easy, either – there’s practices, equipment to haul around, time away from the home, and pressure to perform. Support from the audience and community goes a long way and means a lot to everyone involved, so thank you!

And that brings us to our final point – we know how difficult it can be to produce a live music event, and that’s why we are here. 608 Sound and Light can take the pain and hassle out of your next live sound production or music event. We have nearly 30 years of experience with live sound and lighting production in the Madison area. We have an unbelievable arsenal of world-class sound and lighting equipment. Our staff is unbelievably friendly and extremely talented.

If you’re in need of any type of live sound or lighting production service in the Madison area, 608 Sound and Light can help. Give us a shout!

2017 is here!

Category : Events & Shows Gear

Hello fellow music lovers! From everyone here at 608 Sound & Light, we hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that the new year is off to a good start!

We certainly have been busy over here! Between shows, maintenance, and the events of daily life, it feels like we haven’t had a moment to breathe, let alone rest. But, you all know how that goes, I’m sure!

What have we been up to? Well, real quickly…

We are booking shows well into 2017. If you are planning an event, a festival, a bar gig, a party, or anything that will require live sound production here in Wisconsin, contact us SOON. We aren’t kidding when we say that we are already booking shows into September of 2017, and are negotiating on several events that haven’t been posted to our calendar yet!!!

TONS of new gear, literally. We have been busy upgrading some of our core gear, and we are *excited* with all of this excellent new live sound production equipment!

We said good-bye to our faithful and beloved Behringer XR18 Air rack mixer and upgraded to the Behringer X32 Rack. The XR18 served us very well, but it’s in a great new home with a local band, and they are loving it. And we’re loving the X32 Rack! We have it paired with a Behringer S16 stage box to deliver 32 balanced (XLR) inputs at your next important event.

We also purchased new JTR subwoofers, and couldn’t be more excited, because they are absolute *beasts* that will really punch-up the low end of your next show. Each of these new subwoofers requires 4000-watts of power… good thing our QSC PL380 amplifiers are up to the task. Why not visit us at an upcoming show to check them out, or better yet, feel them for yourself when we provide sound production for your next event!

And finally, we purchased a pair of Yamaha’s amazing DSR115 active speakers. The DSR115 are a 2-way, powered speaker with a 15″ woofer and a 2″ titanium compression driver, and are capable of delivering 136dB of clear, powerful sound. We use them as drum monitors, side fills, and FOH speakers (for small venues). The DSR115 are unlike any other powered speaker we’ve ever used, which is why we made the investment in them.

Alrighty… I suppose that’s enough shop talk for today. It’s time to get busy in the shop – January is more-or-less fully booked! Thanks for checking in with us, and we hope to see you at a show sometime soon. Until then, stay healthy, take care, and rock on!!

Live Sound Production Costs and PA systems

Category : FAQ Gear General Message

It has been an incredibly busy year for 608 Sound & Light. We provided live sound production for a number of events here in Wisconsin, and we’ve provided sound services for dozens of performers, bands, and acts – ranging from local to international touring groups.

Countless bands have reached out to us to ask for price quotes, and most are surprised by our response of “it depends.” We shared an earlier blog post about this, but it warrants a revisit, albeit with additional information.

608 Sound & Light thoroughly enjoys working with and supporting performers, venues, events, festivals, bands, houses of worship and everyone else. We wouldn’t be in the business if we didn’t enjoy it; the hours are often long, the equipment is heavy (and expensive), and we put a tremendous amount of effort into producing every single show that we’re a part of.

As I examine our inventory and insurance lists, we currently have just under $100,000 worth of sound production equipment at our small warehouse. None of it was financed – we paid for it out-of-pocket and aren’t carrying debt on our books. We have fixed, monthly costs regardless of whether or not there is an event: insurance on our gear, business liability insurance, rent, and utilities. When it comes time to provide live sound services in Wisconsin, we have additional costs: employee costs (food, drink, wages), travel costs (fuel, mileage, maintenance), and inevitably, a few extra production costs (small amounts of gear).

Our rates for a single show range are *extremely* competitive, and we often barely cover our operating expenses. Rather than publish rates that will likely change or vary depending on countless variables, I’d like to share some comparative rates from a few national sound companies that provide equipment and services of similar size and scale. Rather than providing a package price, most sound companies will itemize each piece of equipment and charge accordingly. Common items include:

– Speakers (subwoofers, full-range, arrays, traditional cabinets) = $50 – $150 each
– Amplifiers = $75 each
– Mixing console = $100 – $??? depending on size/complexity
– Monitor wedges = $25 each
– Microphones = $10 – $50 each
– Lighting = $200 – $??? depending on size/complexity
– Staging = $300 – $??? depending on size/complexity

As you can see, expenses add-up quickly… let’s say you had a small outdoor show and needed 4 subwoofers, 2 main speakers, 3 amplifiers, a mixer, a few microphones, a few monitors, and basic lighting – you’d likely be quoted at around $1000, not including labor (typically around $150 – $400/person per day). That’s quite an expensive show! A weekend festival could easily cost several thousand dollars!

DJs are another often expensive crew – we were at a friend’s wedding a few weekends ago and were surprised to learn that their DJ “cut them a massive deal” by only charging $1400 for the night. His system consisted of 4 plastic self-powered speakers (that were too small for the venue), a single t-bar of lighting, and some LED “up-lighting” (a $500 addition). He arrived in a small SUV, and was in-and-out in 5 hours. Not bad!

Our rates aren’t anywhere near this range, yet we are regularly asked to provide sound for $100 or so… unfortunately, we don’t have that type of business model. The $100 range is going to get you a questionable PA system that will likely have numerous limitations and potential issues.

Our “smallest rig” usually consists of 4 main speakers (2 subs, 2 mains), 3 amplifiers (1 for subs, 1 for mains, 1 back-up), 4 monitor wedges, 1 monitor amplifier (4-channel), a digital mixer, digital sound processing equipment, 6-10 microphones, stage power, and a few t-bars of lighting. We are regularly asked to provide this set-up for $100 – $150, and while I wish we could, it’s simply impossible to do so.

Hopefully this is some helpful information when shopping around for local sound companies and production services. We want to be as reasonable and supportive as possible, but keep in mind, our gear is worth around $100K and we’ll spend an average of 8-9 hours at your event between load-in, set-up, calibration, engineering, and load-out. We can’t be the cheapest option around, but we guarantee to surprise you with our quality and professionalism.

Enjoy the holiday season and give us a shout to compare our equipment, experience, and rates!

Lighting Rig Update

Category : Gear

608 Sound & Light is pleased to announce that we now offer a few different lighting rig options – from basic LEDs on tripod stands to full trusses with moving heads and laser effects. You asked for it and we were happy to oblige!

We explored several options for controlling our new lights – from small DMX controllers to software DMX to full-scale lighting desks… We tried a few options before settling-in on software with MIDI controllers.

For anyone who may be struggling with configuring their DMX controller, allow us to share a few tips/tricks that we discovered along the way.

Our base system consists of: Enttec DMX Pro USB Mk2, a MacBook Pro Retina, QLC+ software, and a Novation MIDI controller. This rig will likely handle most of our real-world jobs – to deploy the full rig would cost more than most folks will want to spend.

Our MacBook Pro runs OS X 10.11.6 (“El Capitan”) – we haven’t made the jump to Sierra quite yet. Our Enttec DMX Pro USB Mk2 had its firmware upgraded to the latest and greatest (4.12). We tried using QLC 4.10.4 (current version), but had numerous issues with it… we reverted to 4.10.3a instead.

The biggest issue we had was with DMX output – no matter what we tried, we couldn’t get QLC+ to send a DMX signal to any of our lights. We tripled-verified that our lights were properly addressed and assigned, yet the room remained dark.

After spending the better part of a full day researching, we discovered that QLC+ is *extremely* sensitive to FTDI drivers, and Apple doesn’t apparently play nice with these drivers. Other software (Chameleon, LightJams, D Pro) didn’t seem to care as much, but we really liked the QLC+ interface, so we were determined to resolve the issue.

If you encounter a scenario where your Apple Mac computer won’t output DMX with QLC+ and an Enttec DMX Pro USB Mk2, you *must* locate and run a third party FTDI driver conflict resolution package called “D2XXHelper” – if you don’t, chances are your lights will never operate properly. As soon as we ran FTDICHIPS D2XXHelper and rebooted our laptop, everything functioned properly.

To ensure consistent results, we’ve reverted to QLC+ 4.10.3a – it seems to be more stable than the newer versions (as of this writing). Once we had these items in place, we set about programming our fixtures, scenes, cues, and chases, and I must say – things are looking great.

So there you have it – hopefully a helpful tech tip for anyone else who may be having problems with DMX output on a MacBook. We’re going to get back to programming… we’ll see you at a show, soon!

Busy, busy, busy!

The 608 Sound & Light crew has been busy around the shop – there’s never a dull moment, that’s for certain!

We’ve improved and increased our inventory and equipment and have been busy with live sound production in and around the Madison area. We are grateful for everyone’s interest and support, and we have enjoyed every single show.

I often comment that it’s difficult to mix the FOH (Front Of House) show when I’m busy tapping my toes and drumming with my fingers because I’m enjoying the performance so much. 🙂 Just shows you how lucky we are to work with so many awesome live bands and artists!

Here’s a quick run-down of some of the recent events, additions, and news from 608 Sound & Light. Please be sure to contact us as early as possible for any of your potential shows, gigs, or events – our calendar is filling-up quickly!

Stage Power

Neutrik OA Windsor PowerCon
Building OA Windsor Stage Power Boxes with Neutrik PowerCon connectors

OA Windsor tour grade stage and backline power boxes
OA Windsor Stage Power Boxes and 12/3 SOOW cable in various lengths
A behind the scenes view of our new OA Windsor Stage box, doing what it should do - providing modular, clean, reliable power to a pedal board
A behind the scenes view of our new OA Windsor Stage box, doing what it should do – providing modular, clean, reliable power to a pedal board

Most people take power for granted – it’s always there when you need it, right? Normally, yes. But when it comes to “backline stage power” for a performance, there’s a lot more to consider. Thanks to our new OA Windsor boxes, 12/3 SOOW cable, Neutrik NAC3FCA 20-amp PowerCon connectors, and Hubbel 20-amp hospital grade receptacles, we are able to place clean, safe, reliable power anywhere on the stage. We are proud to offer six independent boxes and more than 150-feet of cable options.


QSC amplifiers
We are loving our newly configured amplifier racks. Clean, simple, and powerful!!

QSC Power Everywhere – nearly 25,000-watts of clean power
QSC Live Sound Amplifier Rack FOH
18,800-watts of live sound QSC power for your next gig, show, festival, or event!

Simply put, we LOVE our QSC power amplifiers. They never run out of gas and always sound incredible. They are super efficient and uber-reliable. We carry spares in the event of the unthinkable – not many sound companies can do that!

Cables & Maintenance

Getting ready to assemble a Neutrik NL4FX connector with 10-gauge Rapco speaker wire
Getting ready to assemble a Neutrik NL4FX connector with 10-gauge Rapco speaker wire

Replacing old RCF subwoofer drivers with new 18Sound drivers in our EAW cabinets
Replacing old RCF subwoofer drivers with new 18Sound drivers in our EAW cabinets

Anytime you’re moving heavy, cumbersome, expensive, and delicate equipment, there’s going to be challenges and problems. To combat unexpected issues, we proactively monitor and maintain our gear, especially the “heavily used and abused” stuff like cables.

After a few untimely failures, we have taken the plunge by investing in and replacing any non-Neutrik connectors with quality Neutrik connectors. Neutrik makes the best connector, bar none. Reliable, foolproof, and simply great. Sure, each speaker connector costs around $7, but they’re worth every penny.

We also took the plunge and proactively replaced all of our subwoofer drivers. The original RCF drivers were good, but a few of them were showing signs of their age. So, we called the folks over at 18Sound and within a few days (and a few thousand dollars later), we had brand new, 18-inch, 2400-watt drivers. The 18Sound drivers are *incredible* – so smooth, so controlled. We are loving the lows that these deliver, and so will you!!

Shows, gigs, live bands, venues

A favorite local band performing at a bar - sound by 608 Sound & Light
A favorite local band performing at a bar – sound by 608 Sound & Light

live band outdoor stage
Thirsty Jones playing at The Old Rock in Columbus, WI
The Material Boys at Next Door Brewing Company's 3rd Anniversary Party. Sound by 608 Sound & Light
The Material Boys at Next Door Brewing Company’s 3rd Anniversary Party. Sound by 608 Sound & Light
608 Sound & Light Tommy Stinson
Providing live sound services for Tommy Stinson
Live sound for bands 608 Sound & Light
Dressy Bessy rocking out at Kiki’s House of Righteous Music. Sound by 608 Sound & Light

Let’s be honest – this is why we do what we do. We LOVE music, especially live music. The energy, the crowd, the vibe… it’s all so enjoyable and addictive. We also love making bands and performers sound their absolute best. We’re able to do what we do because we have great equipment, we take care of it, we are constantly improving, and we have the experience to work with any type of venue, performance, or situation.

So, there you have it. A brief look into what’s been keeping us busy lately.

And, just because I didn’t know where to insert these, here are a few extra random photos. 🙂

Thanks again to everyone for your support and interest!

Mogami Rapco Whirlwind
Cable management is key!
SKB cases
Some of the gear no one ever sees… road cases for days!
We are in love with Mark Fairchild's DW kit. It sounds incredible and Mark knows how to work it!
We are in love with Mark Fairchild’s DW kit. It sounds incredible and Mark knows how to work it!
Sennheiser 906
A Sennheiser e906 microphone on a Fender Blues Master Jr amplifier