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!

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!

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!

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

Welcome to 608 Sound & Light

Category : General Message

Welcome to our new website! Pardon the dust while we finish putting things together here on the world wide web…

We are excited to have a great online presence, with our new site, as well as our social media feeds. If you haven’t started following us online, take a minute and check us out!

Instagram = @608soundlight
Twitter = @608soundlight
Facebook = @608soundandlight

Enjoy the new site, and if you have any questions or would like to learn more about our services, please drop us a line. We’ll be happy to chat any time.

-Steve and the gang at 608 Sound & Light