High fidelity for the people

MapJam has launched a crowdfund campaign to immediately accelerate the careers of hundreds of performing artists.

We want to deploy world-class sound reinforcement and complete backline equipment direct to artists gigs that are booked through mapjam.co.ke

We want to help artists who cannot afford the opportunity to perform with quality equipment, and we want to help a majority of the performing artists in Kenya, in particular our musicians, who are stuck using sub-standard equipment that makes them sound bad.

In short MapJam is giving the artists the best because we want them to sound the best they do each time they perform.

We have launched a fund raising campaign to kickstart the deployment of this essential infrastructure for the performing arts. Contributors will be rewarded handsomely with complimentary tickets to the upcoming New Noise Festival 2016 and more.

Where we are going?

MapJam needs to assemble a complete set of high quality musical instruments and integrate these into a light-weight, high efficiency sound reinforcement system. The system needs to be able to be used anywhere and frequently.
We estimate the cost to be upwards of $15,000. We are taking this challenge strategically, assembling what we need step by step and reaching out to companies directly for material support.

Technical specifications of our transportation system:

We require a ROBUST means of portability for a sound system and backline. We require a low cost solution that is both MODULAR, and EASY TO REPAIR.

This is an Omnium Cargo bicycle from Denmark. As you can see it is capable of carrying a load that is equivalent in dimension and weight to a light-weight sound reinforcement system. The recommended maximum loading weight including rider is 175 kg.

Why this will work in the urban environments in Kenya?

Nairobi has been building bike lanes all over the city. I know from experience and I can demonstrate through routing information that the cargo bikes can carry more loads across the city faster than motorized alternatives. The slim design of the Omnium is suited to moving through dense traffic. Why better than motorized alternatives? Cost and load. With 2 of these bikes we can carry 350 kg. Rack dimensions: 83cm x 50cm. We will use the bikes as the backbone of our logistics in Nairobi and other urban zones. If we can carry the system by bicycle we can carry it anywhere.

Technical specifications sound reinforcement system:

ROBUST, PORTABLE, MODULAR, FOOL-PROOF OPERATION.

max dimensions 83 cm 50 cm
max weight ~< 100 Kg
Subwoofer > 12"
Power active 220 volts

This is the KS-audio microsat. It is possibly the most light-weight, high fidelity system available. It has a very efficient SPL rating with a 12" sub pushing 1400 watts and 8" satellites pushing 500 watts.
In simple terms that is more than enough power for a small party of 200 to 300 people who are gathered in close proximity to the stage.
The satellite speakers weigh in at 24 kg together and the sub weighs 25 kg. That gives ~125 kg weight remaining for the rider and any other additional gear.
Dimensions of the sub are 44 X 44 x 58 cm, one of these subs will fit snuggly on the Omnium cargo rack which has dimensions of 83cm x 50cm.

Backline and instruments:

I will dedicate another post to the instruments and backline because there are too many components to talk about individually here.

Instead, I want to talk about the most minimal backline setup we have been able to use.

We have had tremendous results in all our shows in 2016 utilizing the Presonus Audiobox 1818 and DIGIMAX D8 combination that allows 16 channels of direct audio conversion and signal processing of guitars and mics. This setup precludes the needs for any kind of individual amplifiers for the instruments. Combining this with a light weight drum set and a powered monitor has provided us a complete system of sound reinforcement and monitoring for instruments.

So for instance we can run all the following simultaneously using the Presonus configuration.
- Kick, Snare, Hi-Hat (all mic'd) - Electric Guitar x2 - Bass Guitar - 4 vocals - Keys - Additional percussion x2 - Acoustic instruments x2 (I.e. Obakano, Brass section) - DJ or Electronic musician

Where we are now:

Our prototype MapJam mobile sound transport

This is our prototype mobile sound transport rig. What you see here is the just about the most minimal amount of equipment needed to put on a small live performance assuming that we are running powered speakers(which these are not).
This is a conventional bicycle trailer and what you should immediately see is that despite the compact speaker design the rig does not have the capacity to carry more than a 1/3 of this gear.

At minimum - MapJam needs to acquire an ultra-portable world class KS-Audio Micro sound system and an Omnium Cargo bicycle to transport it with**

KS-AUDIO MICROSAT SOUND SYSTEM or equivalent ~ $3270
OMNIUM CARGO BICYCLE ~ $2565
TOTAL ~ $5835

How you can help.

In Kenya our performing artists and musicians face multiple, extraordinary, challenges when trying to earn a respectable income.

4 out 5 struggle to secure more than 1 paying performance every 6 months.

The high cost of being a performing artist is not met by potential for steady revenue that matches these costs, for instance: musical equipment, performing, and rehearsing end up costing the prospective musician more than they earn in 2 to 3 years*.
A negative perception has persisted long enough whereby being a performing artist is recognized as a desperate or marginal means of survival in Kenya. Such attitudes are pervasive in the justification of paying artists marginally: "we will pay you more when you get better.”

MapJam's goal is to permanently change this negative cycle of poverty.

We would love more industry players around the globe to be a part of this story of raising artists out of poverty and creating a platform for professionalisation.