Proposal: Equaliser Soundsystem Co-op

I propose that Co-operation Birmingham provide £1000 of start up capital to a new co-op that will provide sound and vision equipment to it’s members.

It will cost £50 per year for individual membership and £100 per year for organisational membership. Finances will be managed by the co-op’s own OpenCollective. There will be an interview process for new members. The decision making process would be the same at Co-op Brum’s and the legal structure and assets would belong to Co-operation Birmingham.

Members will then have access to extremely cheap music and lighting equipment to hire out via a shared calendar.

Estimated prices for 24 hours hire:

  • £20 per speaker
  • £10 for lights
  • £5 for mixer

The co-op brum forum will be used for communications.

The £1000 investment will be used to purchase the initial equipment inventory from a local supplier

The remaining £94 would be spent on hard cases for the lights and mixer and some cables.

After 6 months, we could be looking add more equipment to the inventory. Perhaps another speaker so we can do stereo sound.

The strategy behind this initiative would be to encourage a culture of collective connection and celebration. We aim to bring people together after a difficult years to socialise and have fun. The current planned inventory is very portable (can be transported via cargo bike or car) and can be used for events in various small venues and house parties.

I will now leave 2 weeks for discussion before brining forward to a vote.

Hey Leo thanks for the proposal. It’s a pretty hefty one so I think it’s worth putting together more of a formal business plan so that we can make the spending decision in an informed way. It seems to me that there’s little point just getting one of the items so we need to do the whole amount or more - which is a big chunk of our existing funds so we should something like this through properly.

I put together some questions which would be a good starting point. If we did go down this route there is also a potential for some hours of support on business planning from Co-operatives West Midlands.

  • Where could the equipment be stored and accessible for members to use.
  • How many estimated members would we have? Could we get some of the initial funding from these institutional members to spread the cost a little. For instance unions.
  • What would the co-op do about damage and insurance?
  • What sort of venues would this stuff be used for? If it was possible to explain a number of use cases then it would be easier for those of us not versed in audiovisual stuff to understand the demand.
  • How does this compare to the current commercial market/ use cases for this sort of stuff? What is the conential market route.
  • What is the difference between the proposed equipment and the speaker constructed by @ben again not very well versed in decibels and volts. Perhaps better would be to describe the type of events and things this list could be used for and compare to the existing equipment (such as warehouse and pink portable soundsystem)
  • Promo, how would new members find it, would it have separate platforms and stuff

These two projects might be worth speaking to for info and seeing if there is any crossover:

Both seem related but not very grounded with other co-ops so it would be interesting to reach out.

Good idea. Would there be something suitable for city centre rallies etc? It’s a real problem at the moment if you don’t have transport, since one that is available is tightly controlled by one disagreeable individual. If something could be picked up from the cafe that would sort a large part of the problem.

This would definitely be good to be part of the proposal.

There’s a lot of question here but I will try to answer them as best I can. Feel free to ask for further clarification.

  • Where could the equipment be stored and accessible for members to use.

Hopefully at the Warehouse Cafe or Warehouse.

  • How many estimated members would we have? Could we get some of the initial funding from these institutional members to spread the cost a little. For instance unions.

I think only small collectives and individual DJs would be interested in what we have to offer right now. The proposed inventory is only suitable for small venues. I would like to aim for 10 members in the first 6 months.

  • What would the co-op do about damage and insurance?

Could seek insurance as time goes on but for now, if you break it, you would pay for it.

  • What sort of venues would this stuff be used for? If it was possible to explain a number of use cases then it would be easier for those of us not versed in audiovisual stuff to understand the demand.

This proposed setup is not for demos. It requires main power. It’s for parties or inside events. Everything ranging from a house party to a small venue the size of Warehouse Cafe. With more gear, we could do better things. It’s all expandable.

  • How does this compare to the current commercial market/ use cases for this sort of stuff? What is the conential market route.

It’s operating on the low end of the market so offering much cheaper prices for members. Maybe half the price of competitors due to small scale.

  • What is the difference between the proposed equipment and the speaker constructed by @ben again not very well versed in decibels and volts. Perhaps better would be to describe the type of events and things this list could be used for and compare to the existing equipment (such as warehouse and pink portable soundsystem)?

The proposed equipment is portable in the sense it packs down quite small but the idea is to eventually build a club sound-system.

Ben’s system is battery powered and works best for speeches etc.

The current Warehouse sound system is really insufficient for anything more than speech or small band setups. We’re running it at absolutely maxed out volume at parties at it just doesn’t sound good. It doesn’t have the bass reproduction needed for electronic/dance music. It’s also fragile and bulky and doesn’t pack well. I wouldn’t really want to move it anywhere and the cafe need it there all the time for events.

The Equaliser Soundsystem is based on the latest speaker technologies which give a really good balanced sound at all frequencies for music. We’d be aiming to create a sound that would be pleasant and impressive to people which would encourage them to come back to our member’s parties again and again. We currently don’t really have access to any soundsystem that would be taken seriously in the music world but we know many people with the musical talent to DJ, play in bands, do poetry etc. We need to create a culture of joy and connection in order to build our communities back up after the pandemic and having a good audio soundscape is part of that.

  • Promo, how would new members find it, would it have separate platforms and stuff

Word of mouth is best! That’s the good thing about parties!

Would there be something suitable for city centre rallies etc?

It’s not currently part of the plan sorry. That requires battery powered equipment which is not our focus/area of expertise. Once the co-op is setup and surplus was raised, it could be spent on equipment suitable for that direction if the co-op decided that.

The proposed unit seems like a good deal and my neighbour (who is an events DJ) has a similar bit of kit that I’ve heard, so I know it can offer really good SQ for the size. However I wonder if it would be better to build something.

My very limited knowledge is all on the 12V portable side so I would need guidance on spec etc but I also wonder if a more custom option would be better in terms of versatility, value for money, improvement over time etc.

Like I say I’d need direction on what would best suit the events planned, but we could for instance start with something like a cubo12 and a 10"/1" midtop (maybe even using the current amplifier at the café), then double it up from there in a year’s time, and so on. I could do the physical building & wiring etc but would need someone else to take the lead on choosing the electrics.

See for example:

speakerplans.com
diyaudio.com

It’s just timing issue with this though. I’m interested in building a DIY soundsystem but it takes time and effort whereas buying one off the shelf only takes money.

One other issue is borrowing anything from the cafe won’t work because they need it constantly.

Yeah, true on both counts

Shall I put this to a vote?