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Fog machines.......

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by 1Drop, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. 1Drop


    Jul 31, 2009
    are they bad for your gear? We just landed a weekly gig at a pretty sweet venue but they just love their fog machine. I'm a little concerned about the effects that stuff may have on my amp and speakers.

    Anybody have experience with stuff failing during a foggy show or soon after?
  2. BrBss


    Jul 9, 2010
    Albuquerque NM
    Shouldn't affect speakers at all. Amps, or any other equipment with fans for ventilation, may build up some residue on the inside. I can't see it being too much of a problem, but you may want to periodically (6 months or so?) take a look in there and see if it needs cleaning up a bit.
  3. If it's a newer unit then you're fine; the fluid is designed with its application in mind and won't gum up any of your gear.

    The only time I've ever had an issue with smoke residue was when it built up on a projector lens and blurred the image slightly.
  4. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Seems to "Bugger-up" my strings for some reason.
    Every time!
  5. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    Is that why my bass strings seem to leave black residue on my fingers? the strings are only 2-3 months old.
  6. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    It depends on whether or not you consider your lungs and central nervous system "gear."

    Frankly, I won't play where there are fog machines, unless someone sprung for dry ice, but dry ice can run the risk of suffocating your audience! (I'm not kidding)
  7. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Fog machines don't bother me, but I know a lot of singers who are pretty sensitive to the mist. I'm sure they're no worse for your gear than smoky bars, and I know for a fact not as bad as places with inadequate kitchen ventilation. Ever leave a bar and feel greasy? You go home and shower that off. Your amp doesn't.
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I don't know what that crap is, but I don't want it in my lungs.
  9. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Way back in the seventies I was in a band that was contemplating buying one. We were told there were two types: dry ice based and oil/fluid based. We were told to get the dry ice type so there'd be no residue. I don't know whether these two technologies are what's available today, so, FWIW and all the rest.........
  10. shaggy45

    shaggy45 Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2009
    Fog machines are lame
  11. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    A lot of stuff done in popular music performances is lame. That doesn't stop people from eating it up, though! Sure it's cheesy, but people like cheese.

    I always figure, if I want to get invited back & paid to play, I need to give them what they like.
  12. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    When overused they are. It's not supposed to be a huge cloud, just a faint mist in the air for the lights to hit. You have to have some slow moving fans to properly disperse it. Nobody should "perceive" the fog.
  13. Hazers instantly double the effectiveness of your light show. It's just another tool in a lampies arsenal.

    If the 'residue' of the fluid (it's 99.5% water anyway) was at all harmful to you or your lungs, the bottles would have to be plastered in health warnings by law. They aren't.

    As a rule, dry ice makes a bed of smoke that clings to the floor, while smoke machines/hazers fill the room with, well, haze.
  14. 1Drop


    Jul 31, 2009
    Thats interesting because our singer lost his voice that night towards the end of the show. Never heard him have that problem before. You'd think that mist would lube the chords and be good for the voice but maybe not. He was all dried up and sounding pretty raspy by the end.

    This venue does have pretty cool light set up and the fog does add to it all. The venue manager did give us the option of fog or no fog. We'll go fogless next time and see if it helps our singer get through the night.

    Thanks for the replies.
  15. Hi.

    I don't think one can buy non-approved smoke/mist fluid anywhere, unles they roll their own. At least not here in Europe.

    All the stuff I/we use is paraffine based IIRC, and one could drink it without any ill effects if necessary.

    Dry Ice machines are seldom used outside theatre/movie circuits, PITA to use, expensive, and a great way to kill people if over-used.

    The biggest problem with smoke/fog/haze is involuntary cough reflex, close Your eyes and you won't notice any difference.

    Funny enough, the smokers complain the most :).

    Lights, especially scanners or moving heads, without smoke/fog/mist are pretty useless IME/IMHO, but then again cheapo RGB leds look absolutely moronic with mist.

    I'd upgrade my Red Devil fog machine to a hazer, but the cost is prohibitive ATM.

  16. Unfortunately, Fog juice is not one of those things that is common enough to attract government studies like cigarettes or car exhaust. So I dont think much info is available about long and short term effects, however I say- Switch to Hazers and Fazers. they burn the juice more efficiently and are much thinner. they allow you to see the beams of light while still seeing the band. Fog machines are going out of favor - they are too concentrated and they are for 80's bands.

    As far as safety - Its one of those things thats basically common sense. Fog is created by heating and burning an oil-based/water-based solution. Too much of it will annoy the eyes, lungs etc. Most of the juice on the market is harmless in small amounts. It does piss off some health-conscious musicians and patrons however. I recommend this water-based juice:

    American DJ ECO FOG JUICE 1-Gallon and more DJ Accessories at GuitarCenter.com.

    if you only have or insist on using old-school foggers:
    I personally have never heard of it causing any damage to an amp. It would probably take years of live shows of fog to do anything worth noticing. Try to aim your foggers away from musicians and equipment and agaist a wall it will dissipate in every direction. But I highly recommend fazers. A very steady but light continuous emission will keep lights looking cool all night and not disgust anyone

    Boney Fingers - Light Show Example #1 - Recalcitrant Productions - YouTube
  17. Na when I was 18 our band played the school dance (1976) that year Kiss played at Cobo Hall in Detroit and used 200 lbs of dry ice in the performance (reported in the Detroit News). We also used 200 lbs broken in small pcs. and dumped all at once into two large heated vats placed just off stage on either side... The entire building had a CLOUD inside with visibility in the 3 foot range, our class mates loved it but the chaperon's didn't... our last gig at Algonac High School was one to remember. That was 35 years ago.

    I do remember the fog eventually condensed and everything in the building was wet including our gear.
  18. Hi.

    Oxygen deprivation tends to do that to Ya ;).

    I don't even want to comment about the CO2 condensing to liquid part...

  19. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    We don't want to ingest anything nasty in order to play music.

    Someday, they will tell us they were causing our cancer.
  20. CO2 does not condense into liquid at atmospheric pressures. The "fog" created with CO2 is water and when used excessively it will condense on surfaces. It is safe when used responsibly. Not the way we did.

    The "vapor" is 100% water not CO2.

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