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A Guide to Different Types of Professional Lighting

Posted: December 20, 2016

At Performance Audio, we sell lighting materials of many different kinds. Here is a look at some of the most common types of lighting that we sell.

Black & UV lights
You're probably familiar with black lights and UV lights. You may have encountered one at a concert when you had your hand stamped with invisible ink, or at a haunted house in one of the rooms with crazy lighting. And while black lights and UV lights may seem like novelty lighting, they are used extensively in special effects lighting because of how they make whites look extremely bright. You'll find them in a variety of forms, including tube lighting, UV bars, light panels, and cannon lights.

Gooseneck lamps
A gooseneck lamp is a small light bulb (or light bulb array) that is attached to a flexible, adjustable shaft. The shaft can be moved in order to direct the light without having to move the fixture. Gooseneck lamps are ultra convenient because they can be used to provide spot lighting in virtually hundreds of applications. You'll most often see them fitted with LED or halogen bulbs.

Moving heads
Moving head lights are huge in the special effects lighting world. You'll most often see them used in stage lighting and DJ lighting because they allow you to direct and move colored lighting. Moving head lights come in virtually any color of the spectrum.

Lasers & strobes
Lasers and strobes are the perfect accent lighting to colored moving heads and offer more unique lighting effects. Lasers offer pin-like lighting effects, while strobes produce regular flashes of light. They are often used in stage and DJ lighting and come in virtually any color of the spectrum.

Par cans
Parabolic aluminized reflector, or PAR, lights are perhaps the most widely type of light used at concerts, clubs, and theatres. They may use regular or LED bulbs, and they feature a reflector that helps concentrate the shining light. They are generally installed overhead to provide ambient and directed lighting, but you will see them installed in a variety of places for different architectural purposes.

Uplighting refers to low-profile lighting that is directed upward. It can truly set the mood in a space or completely transform a space. You might use uplighting to accent walls with colors, highlight specials areas, or cast a special glow in a space. A variety of lighting types can be used for uplighting, including cans, pucks, and light drops.

Gels, gobos & lenses
Gels, gobos, and lenses are used to add color or images to lighting. Gels are small, then sheets made from polycarbonate or polyester, and you can place them in front of a lighting fixture to create a colored beam. Gobos (short for "Goes Before Optics"), meanwhile, are small pieces of flat steel or glass that, when placed in front of a light beam, project the image that is on the gobo. Lenses are durable and convex in shape and are made to fit pin spot units.
🔗 Click Here to Browse Lighting Products
A Guide to Different Types of Professional Lighting

Bose Professional, Portable Products Day

Posted: December 15, 2016

If you've ever thrown out your back loading your PA into the back of your 1972 Volkswagen Rabbit, you've probably thought to yourself "somebody should make this smaller". Somebody from Bose thought that exact same thing and decided to do something about it.

Performance Audio would like you to join us for Bose Professional, Portable Products Day, on Wednesday December 21st! Scott Sanders the Bose Professional factory representative will be in store from 10 AM to 5 PM, demonstrating their fabulously innovative line of portable line arrays.

While you're here for the demo, we invite you to indulge with some winter warming beverages, and enter to win one of three Bose products to be given away later that day.

So quit hurting yourself with oversized, heavy PA equipment and come hear the Bose products! They sound great and your back will thank you!
Bose Professional, Portable Products Day

Waves DigiGrid Seminar!

Posted: December 05, 2016

Waves DigiGrid Seminar!

Come see Waves DigiGrid in action!
Play, Record, Monitor with DiGiGrids new range of Desktop solutions and bring some fun to your creative moments.

Michael Pearson Adams from Waves will be in town to share tips tricks on mixing as well as showing the new cubes from DigiGrid, running the latest Waves plugins.

December 15th, 7PM

Performance Audio
2456 S West Temple Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84115

Created by Waves and DiGiCo, DiGiGrid provides advanced audio interfaces, offering users of Native DAWs, Pro Tools and MADI-enabled devices easy connection to the SoundGrid networking and real-time processing platform, in the studio and live.
Waves DigiGrid Seminar!

Bite the Bullet and Buy the Good Stuff (by Nate Brown)

Posted: September 06, 2016

I'm a born and raised off-brand kid. Budget cereals, q-tips, toilet paper, shampoo, medications, cheese, clothes, car parts... name a product and I guarantee we bought the budget brand when I was a kid. Imagine my delight the first time I tasted real butter rather than margarine, or when I learned that toilet paper doesn't have to feel like it's made out of whole twigs and sandpaper. Have you ever taken no-name Valium? It is not for the faint of heart, my friends.

Higher quality products typically cost us more money. It's a tough pill to swallow (not as tough as generic Valium), but if experience has taught me anything, it's that quality brands are worth the expense. There is no industry in which this rings more truly than in audio. There are obvious exceptions to the rule: Marshmallow Mateys are leagues better than Lucky Charms and Cascade microphones hold up adequately against your upper-scale ribbon microphones, for example, but living your life based on the exception rarely ends well--especially in the audio industry.

I take no pleasure from informing one misguided soul after another that their budget-brand powered speakers are never going to sound like the million dollar J-Array that they heard at the Katy Perry concert they'll deny having ever gone to. The concept is completely lost on them--after all, to your every man $600 IS a decent chunk of money to drop on a couple of speakers. I get it. You'd be hard-pressed to find me spending $600 on a trip to the Emergency Room with a nail protruding from my head. However, I also am not foolhardy enough to not expect repercussions from visiting the budget doctor whose idea of a sterile operating room is wiping his hands off on his stained budget brand sweatpants before stitching my wounds with mom's sewing kit.

There is a reason why the 'good stuff' tends to cost more money, and the specs available online rarely give you the full story. There are plenty of $150 large diaphragm condenser microphones that boast a relatively flat frequency response from 20 to 20k, but somehow they just don't seem to ever quite fit in the mix quite like your 'fancier' models. Somehow they just don't seem to have the same life as your more 'professional' brands. At some point, you find a microphone that you don't have to fight with. It's like having a twin sibling that always knows what you're thinking, but they only use their powers for good and you don't have to share a birthday. The only problem with this microphone is that it's probably going to have a starting cost in the ballpark of $900. For a single piece of gear. That's a month's rent for some people. You haven't even begun to consider a preamp up to the task of boosting this microphone without all of the added noise... and THAT is a completely different topic to be addressed at another time.

Fact is, there are tiny details that make the premium gear... well, premium. Higher-grade microphone preamps use multiple small step gain stages in sequence rather than one big voltage swing right up front. This means that the preamp will grant more clarity and boost without all of the pesky noise floor that comes with pushing a budget-conscious pre-amp. (Pro tip: if you want to find out what your current preamp can and can't handle, plug an SM7 into it and see what happens when you boost it enough to hear the mic.)

So what's one thing that premium brands are not? A magic bullet. Nothing is going to replace experience. Put a rookie driver behind the wheel of the family hand-me-down Geo Metro and the worst thing that's gonna happen is that the family swing set may need to be straightened out, or you owe the neighbors a mailbox. Put the same rookie behind the wheel of, say, a formula one car and you have high-speed, high-octane, fiery horror. I've never seen PA misuse result in fiery death, but an untrained user at the business end of a quality piece of equipment can do some damage--both literally and figuratively. A quality speaker is designed to show you everything. Basically, if your premium PA sounds bad, it's not your gear's fault. But on the flipside, a quality engineer will go a long way in making a less than ideal PA sound as good as the equipment allows.

Ultimately, you need to decide for yourself if going with the premium option is worth the expense. I've often found myself in life facing the tough decision between taking my wife on a few dates, or buying a new microphone for my recording studio. My single tax filing status would indicate that I made the right choice, though I realize that not everybody's life trajectory merit the same actions. To those people, my advice is to wait and save whenever possible. You'll never regret putting the desire for instant gratification aside in favor of saving up for the gear that actually serves your purpose.

Selecting A Gig Bag

Posted: August 11, 2016

Selecting a gig bag is necessary whether you are a DJ, a professional photographer, or a musician. Equipped with the right bag, you will be able to grab everything that you need for your event in a moments notice, stay organized, and protect your gear. However, with so many options on the market, it can be quite hard to find the perfect gig bag to fit your purposes. Below are a few things that you need to consider before you pick the perfect gig bag.

The most important thing you need to think about is what you will be using your gig bag for. Naturally, you will need a completely different bag for a set of speakers than you would need for a camera, but not every situation is that black and white. It may be helpful to ask others in your profession to see if they have any suggestions as to what gig bags they use to help you find yours.

It is necessary that your gig bag fits your equipment perfectly. A bag that is too big will allow items to slide around, potentially damaging them. You will also be carrying around a bag much larger than you need to be. However, if your bag is too small, your fragile and expensive equipment will spill out at your house, in your car and at the gig, potentially causing it to break or become lost.

Your gig bag should be well organized so that you can quickly access your gear without making a mess of things. Tangled cables and other gear can cost you valuable time at your event, and even cause something to break. The bag that you select will make a huge difference as to whether or not your equipment is organized. Pick a bag that has enough pockets for you to store your things in an organized fashion. Make sure that you also have enough space for your business cards, backups, extra cables, papers, etc.

There are two reasons why you need a gig bag: to carry your things, and to protect them. Do you need to protect your gear from physical damage (bumps and scrapes), UV damage, water damage, or theft? The best thing you can do is purchase a waterproof, padded bag that will protect your gear in all terrain. When that is not possible, find something that will protect your equipment for the weather you are expecting.

How To Be A Professional DJ

Posted: July 19, 2016

It seems that nearly everyone is a DJ these days, and it can be quite difficult to separate yourself from the crowd. The fact is, it is very easy to become a DJ. You can buy equipment for a few hundred dollars, read a couple of "how to's" online, and then book a gig! But being a professional DJ is not just being able to stand behind the decks and play music, it's all about looking and acting the part. Once you have the skills down, you need to start presenting yourself as a real DJ. So whether you are an amatur, or you have been a DJ for quite some time, here are some tips and tricks to help you become a professional DJ.

Dress the Part
The clothes that you wear will either say "I know what I'm doing" or "This was all I had in my closet." Really take the time to decide how you would like to appear at gigs, and create a few "DJ" outfits. Try to create a cohesive look so that you can be recognized at the different events that you DJ. Of course you'll need a set of headphones, and many DJs wear a hat, a jacket, sunglasses, and comfortable yet snazzy shoes. Of course, you should always dress for your gig - you'll wear a completely different outfit for a wedding than you would to a teenage dance party.

Have a Name
While you can use your own name when you DJ, it is much better to create a DJ name to build your reputation around. Build your DJ brand just as you would any other business. Select a name that is easy to pronounce, but also fits your image.

Have References and Reviews
If you want to sell yourself as a serious DJ, you will need to have references and reviews to give to potential clients. Create a website with pictures of you at work and reviews from people that you have worked with in the past. Set yourself up on social media so that you can communicate with your fans as well as let people know what you are up to.

Continue to Learn
As a DJ, you will need to be willing to continue to hone your craft. While you aren't required to go to DJ school or pursue other means to continue your education, you will be better off if you continue to learn the tricks of the trade.

Troubleshooting Sound Problems

Posted: March 21, 2016

There you are, standing on stage with the lights blaring in your eyes, perspiration sliding down the back of your neck, the audience rapt with attention. You begin to speak into the microphone to share the line-up of tonight's performance, and the moment sound comes out of the speakers, you hear the most terrible, high pitched screech you have ever heard in your life. Everyone in the audience has to cover their ears and duck for cover as the sound screams at them like a banshee. The night has been ruined.

Audio problems seem to happen at every live event, but they are relatively simple to correct. Don't be the next victim of a sound spector. Below are four of the most common sound issues people experience, and how to correct them.

Feedback occurs as a result of an endless circle. The microphone amplifies noise into the speakers, which reproduces the noise, sending it back out towards the microphone, which again sends the sound to the speakers, then back to the microphone forever and ever, creating that terrible screech we all have heard. The easiest way to reduce feedback is to keep the microphone as far away from the speakers as possible. Also, if the speakers and microphone are facing each other, there will be more feedback, so angle them away to cut the circle. Placing the microphone closer to the sound source (or speaker) will also help this problem.

No sound
No sound is typically a basic signal flow problem. It can be caused for a number of reasons, dead batteries in microphones, muted microphones, disconnected cables, and shorted cables. The first thing to do if you hear no sound is to ensure that everything is plugged in correctly. Sometimes cables get bumped while moving around equipment, so make sure everything is completely plugged in, and make sure that they have all the necessary power connections as well. Make sure that nothing is muted, either the microphone itself or the audio channel. Replace cords to see if they are the problem.

Crackling noises
Crackling noises are typically caused by loose connections in the signal flow. Ensure that at every point, all of the cords are completely plugged in. Another common reason for crackling is shorts in cords. If that is the problem, they need to be replaced. Sometimes, though, it is a sign that the amplifier or speakers have become old and have loose internal wires. Over time, strong vibrations from the sound can cause wires and connections to become loose. You can take in your speakers to be repaired, but it may be necessary to replace them completely.

USITT Stage Expo 2016 - Complimentary Pass

Posted: March 02, 2016

Dear friends of Performance Audio,

As our valued customers, Performance Audio would like to invite you to visit us at USITT Stage Expo 2016 as our guest. USITT Stage Expo 2016 will be held March 16-19 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Stage Expo showcases businesses, products, services, and educational opportunities in the performing arts and entertainment industry. With over 200 exhibitors, Stage Expo provides conference attendees with the opportunity to see the newest and best products and services on the market today. Stage Expo is also the setting for special technical and design exhibitions, as well as craft demonstrations.

To register for a complimentary Stage Expo pass, please be sure to use the specific registration link below!

This is your code for a Complimentary Stage Expo Pass: PA937

This pass will enable you to attend Stage Expo free of charge, on all three days of the show!

For more information on USITT Conference & Stage Expo, please visit the USITT website at

We look forward to seeing you in Salt Lake City!

Performance Audio Management
🔗 Register for a Complimentary Stage Expo Pass

Comparing Dynamic and Condenser Microphones

Posted: February 10, 2016

In the today's world of audio production, whether you are capturing sound at a live show, recording a hip new album, or picking up dialogue for a movie, any microphone you will be using likely falls into just two main categories: dynamic microphones and capacitor microphones. While the number of categories is small, the reasons for picking in microphone are not. The right microphone for you will always depend on the specific sounds you are capturing, and the environment you are recording them in.

Dynamic Microphones:
Dynamic microphones are the most common type of microphone. Made by locking a small metal coil into a magnetic field, they record sound through vibrations in the coil of the magnetic field by reading an electrical signal made in the process. They tend to be on the cheaper end of things, but can be very efficient. Dynamic microphones have a strong and sturdy design that makes them more resistant to the elements and prevents damage from louder sounds. This makes them a very ideal choice for live sound, such as stage shows and outdoor use.

Dynamic microphones have a limited frequency range. So, while great for recording most things, upper harmonics, or anything on the higher range, will be a weakness in most dynamic microphones. If you are recording an instrument with lots of tonal detail in the higher frequencies, this may pose a problem for you. However, the standard range of recording with dynamic microphones make them perfect for drums and guitars, as well as most percussion instruments.

It must be noted that the electrical current made by the microphone's coil is small, and therefore usually requires the presence of a preamp to reach workable levels without substantial noise in the gain. Because of this, it is best to place the microphone as close to the source of sound as possible in the recording process. The good news is that, other than for the preamp, dynamic microphones don't typically require power.

Condenser (or Capacitor) Microphones:
Condenser microphones tend to be made light, and are more fragile than dynamic microphones. The sound of a condenser microphone is recorded by measuring the vibrations between the diaphragm of two plates, thus creating an electrical current. Condenser microphones are generally more expensive than dynamic microphones, and require greater precision with the interior workings. They are much better suited to be used inside of a studio, and may be used for music recording, or even for recording video sound with shotgun or lavalier condenser mics.

Condenser microphones capture a wider range of frequencies, and can capture greater detail in the upper harmonic range. Because of the warm tone and finer details provided, condenser microphones are great for capturing the human voice. They have the ability to pick up on the smaller sounds that can make instruments (or voices) with more frequencies sound immensely richer.

Condenser microphones require power to work, and most are designed to operate with phantom power. Due to the need for phantom power, one must make certain that mixer is compatible with balanced microphones. Balanced audio cables (such as XLRs) must be used, as well.

The quality of condenser microphones may be achieved at a lower cost by using electret microphones, a specific subset of condenser mics in which each of the plates between the diaphragm has a fixed charge. This process makes electret microphones heavier and more akin to dynamic microphones, but using the same method of capturing the audio as condenser microphones. Depending on the specific mic and what audio you are recording, this can translate to higher quality at lower cost. All phones, computers, and headsets today use electret microphones.

Good luck, and Do Research!
Before purchasing or renting a microphone, always do your research and make sure that what you are getting will suit all of your needs. Having a good microphone to capture the initial audio can make the process of mixing and playing with sound so much easier, but also remember that good audio also depends on mic placement, as well as other factors.

Happy recording!

Visit our booth at the USITT convention at the Salt Palace

Posted: January 13, 2016

USITT Convention at the Salt Palace, March 16-19, 2016.

Use the widget below to register for the convention and come visit Performance Audio / GTS at booth #937!

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