How to make the perfect tech rider for your band

Being a live sound engineer has taught me many life lessons; one of those is ‘not having a tech rider is better than a bad tech rider’. If you came looking for this post, I don’t have to tell you what a tech rider is. It’s your band’s technical profile/requirement for the organizers, sound vendor and engineer to be prepared with stuff you need on stage.

Do you need one?

If you want to put a gig together without too many words flying around during sound check, yes. Tech riders are great, they not only bring the sound vendor and sound engineer up to speed, but also work as a brilliant check list for the band.

It’s your insurance policy in case the equiment is a mess. I am using some screen grabs from a tech rider I use for Swarathma, a band I frequently travel with.

What goes into a tech rider?

1. The line up
This gives a simple but precise overview of the band.

Member list with overview

Continue reading

Review: Revive your Apple iPad 2 Wifi/3G

Why read this review?

After the steep price drop on the iPad 2 (since 3 and 4 got released), I’m sure many of you must be considering buying the iPad 2. It’s been over two years since I bought the iPad 2 – 3G (16GB). I won’t get into the specs and other details readily available online. There are other very informative reviews on the iPad 2 already, so why would you read a late review? Here’s why:

  1. My iPad had always been used outdoors. This review is for those want to know how well it’s built and what kind of abuse it can and can’t take.
  2. It will help audio professionals who have one lying around and want to revive it.
  3. Audio professionals who are planning to buy one get an idea of how you can put it to work.
  4. Because it isn’t time to throw it out yet! The iPad 2 can run the latest iOS 8 without much fuss. (Yes, it’s a little slow but it’s bearable.)

Continue reading

Organise Your iPod/ iTunes Music Library

Music in digital formats has changed the way we discover music. Our approach to owning and storing music must change as well. We come across multiple new tracks that we like everyday or think we might like, and since acquiring them has become so easy, we end up with a huge pile of junk in our music library.

Do you remember the time and effort it took to find that record/ tape with that song we liked on radio? A few days probably went by just looking for the artist, album and track name. Today, we have apps like SoundHound and Shazam for those one-off listens, and anyway all music is pretty much discovered on TV or the Internet where finding track information is easy. Owning the track is just a matter of visiting a website and clicking for a quick download.

Acquiring music has become so easy now. We download it before we know if we will even listen to it

Acquiring music has become so easy now. We download it before we know if we will even listen to it

This has brought about one BIG problem – too much music media stored in every computer, music player and phone. We don’t have time to decide whether we actually like the track before we buy/ acquire it. In fact, I have been on the music hoarding bandwagon since the digital era began, with well over 100GB of music in my library. All this gets on to my iPod classic (love the classic for that). I’m pretty sure I haven’t explored even half of it.

Over the last few years, Continue reading

IndiEarth – XChange 2014

The IndiEarth Xchange this year kicked off on 5th December 2014 in Chennai. It was lined up with great sessions, industry veterans, films and music acts.

I was invited as a panelist for a discussion on the evolving role of technical directors at music festivals. It is an interesting topic to touch upon, especially with an audience filled with festival makers and active independent art promoters. The session was curated by Guru Somayaji (Program Director, Counter Culture) and the panelists were Yotam Agam (CTO EarthSync – IN), Fali Damania (NH7/SulaFest – IN), Nikhil Pai (Freelance Sound Engineer – IN), Rahul Samuel (FreeLance Sound Engineer – IN) and Marion Joly (Sakifo, Les Rockomotives – FR).

The discussion was about how the role of sound engineers in India has changed into that of technical directors in the recent years. We, as sound engineers, are now making technical decisions that traditionally, festival management or a equipment rental company made. The discussion dove into lack/availability of skilled crew for setups and stage management. We also discussed some issues faced at music festivals and shared some technical advice.

Key take-aways:
1. Sound engineers are not the decision makers for all things sound/technical that need to be procured for a music festival.
2. There is no lack of quality equipments available in India now.

3. Skilled crew is available provided they are compensated rightly.
4. A festival/concert usually doesn’t sound right due to management decisions made at earlier stages and of course poor crew.
5. With proper technical planning, work during the festivals can be smooth and reduced to a great extent.

Sway, will this be the next big presentation software? (Microsoft launch)

Microsoft announced Sway, the new kid in the Office. Presentation software, storytelling software, interactive website builder, call it whatever you like, it does everything with ease. Like the Sway vision video below depicts, it will probably be the most versatile presentation software out there.

It works across industries, and due to its intuitive user interface, users can range from school kids to design professionals. And they all still get what they need.

The key features of this software are:
1. Its built-in media manager lets you add media like videos, images from within the app. It handles formats and converts sizes automatically for you.

2. Seamless integration with OneDrive.

3. Seamless integration of content across devices. It automatically re-arranges content depending on the device.

4. If you are stuck trying to work a layout, it automatically creates templates depending on the content included.

The video above says it all, and yes, this is still in preview mode. If, you would like to try it out immediately, head over to and sign up for a preview invite. If you are impatient, like me, tweet and share to get the invite sooner.

Express yourself!


Audio-Technica ATH M50 User Review (Anniversary Edition) (Updated)

I got the Audio-Technica ATH-M50s/LE 50th Anniversary Edition about a year ago when it was time retire my old Sennheiser cans which I reviewed here. The Audio-Technica M50’s have been around for a long time and people swear by them. This is a straight cable 50th Anniversary Edition which is in a metallic silver-blue finish instead of the regular black-grey. In all other ways, it is exactly like the regular ATH-M50’s and has the same specifications.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50s/LE Anniversary Edition

Audio-Technica ATH-M50s/LE Anniversary Edition

It was a big leap from the budget friendly Sennheiser’s that served me for many years. I have used various headphones on the road including Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro, Shure SRH840 and more in the past few years, however I never tried an Audio-Technica ATH M50 which had numerous good reviews. Based on this, I had short listed the DT770 Pro and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 as final options.

Continue reading