|duo8675309 ||12-27-2013 09:25 PM |
My band is thinking of buying PA equipment. Are we on the right track?
I think I answered a lot of my own questions in typing this (sorry for the the length), but we could really use some input from people who have more experience than us! I'm looking for advice more than I am model numbers. My band has a nice handful of songs written and is in the process of setting up to play live. This post focuses on the technical challenges we are facing with that.
To give this post a little context, our band has two guitarists, a drummer, and a bassist (me)! The lead guitarist is running through several pedals and a nice Fender amp. The vocalist/guitarist runs through a pedal or my laptop, depending on the day, and a bass amp. We model his guitar signal with an external device and use a bass amp as a very clean and *full* speaker (it actually sounds quite good). Our drummer has a loud kit and a heavy foot. Our vocalist/guitarist recently came close to buying a PA combo from Guitar Center, but decided he wanted to learn more about it before making the purchase.
I believe what we are doing with his guitar is ultimately what we would want to do for everything using a PA (or really good speakers - I'm not sure of the difference). Whether mic'd or direct/digital, our entire band would go into a single source that would be amplified by really clean speakers. The same output that is sent out to our speakers could easily be sent out to a house PA or even recording software. The speakers would essentially be for practice and small gigs.
Our main priority right now is amplifying his voice. Specifically, we want to amplify the very small piano speaker that his voice is coming out of (I haven't managed to find a way of distorting his voice with my laptop that sounds better). Everything else can be worked around. Since most venues we aspire to play will have their own PA's, it seems to me that we are in the market for buying a means to amplify vocals and guitar for small to medium gigs and practice. We have two bass amps, one 1x15 100w and one 2x8 115w. I think clever use of these will allow them to play the role of subwoofer for the system. They will have to for now.
We currently have licensed versions of Logic and Guitar Rig, and this has led to some good results in live tone (particularly running his guitar through guitar rig and my hartke 1x15 100w - seriously). We also have two USB interfaces, one that has one input (two if you count MIDI), and another that has two inputs (three if you count MIDI). I know this isn't common practice, but we like the versatility and quality that using laptops allows us to have. I think if we could send both guitars, vocals, and possibly the snare out of a couple of PA speakers and the guitar amp we have, and send the bass guitar and kick drum out of the two bass amps we have, we would sound pretty damn good. While it would be nice to have mixer one day, I believe we could use the software we currently have to bypass a mixer and potentially save money. Which reminds me:
We are on a budget. As such, the equipment we are about to buy will be budget equipment (low-end, used, or both). We are trying to stay within $1000, but I believe that for the size and scope of what we are trying to accomplish, we could get by with spending even less. I think the most important thing is getting everything mixed correctly, and I believe we have the computing power to do that in a live setting. If that's the case, that's a huge chunk of money we don't have to spend (or have already spent). Through the course of writing this, I've come to think our purchases should be, in order of importance, an amp and speakers. I know nothing about PA's, so I suppose I'm off to go do a little research. But do you guys think we're on the right track? I would hate to spend a lot of money on something we didn't need.