Home Use/Jamming PA Recommendations

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Philibuster, Jan 1, 2014.


  1. Philibuster

    Philibuster Supporting Member

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    So I'd like to buy a decent little PA system/package for use in my home and have no clue where to start. I've searched this thread for beginner and starter PA recommendations and have not found anything recent so I want to make sure the info I get is current/relevant. I've checked some used gear out but have the money and prefer new when it comes to electronics (I've got burned in the past on couple occasions).

    All I am in search of is something that I can plug 3-4 mics into, can be heard over bass, drums, & guitars, and isn't going to bankrupt me. :D Should I look into one of those PA packages on Musician's Friend? The Fender ones seem affordable/easy to useĀ…

    Thanks in advance for any and all help!
     
  2. chrisrod9

    chrisrod9

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    You may want to consider getting a mixer and monitor speakers instead. The main difference is you won't be able to use them to play out. I bought an 8 channel Mackie mixer (802-VLZ3) and a pair of Yamaha studio monitors to go with it. It's great because you can run mics and instruments through it for rehearsing. I think the main advantage is the secondary usage of the monitor speakers as playback from computer (iTunes, YouTube, Pro Tools) as well. Sounds much better with monitors than it would with PA speakers I think.

    All instruments and mics into mixer then 1/4" cable out of mixer into mbox. 1/4" cables out of mbox to monitor speakers. Mbox connects to computer directly via USB. Can play and sing over playback from computer at same time if desired.

    I realize you can do all of this with a PA as well. I guess you just have to choose between powered PA and unpowered speakers or mixer with powered speakers.

    Just my $0.02. Good luck.

    Chris
     
  3. chrisrod9

    chrisrod9

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    You may want to consider getting a mixer and monitor speakers instead. The main difference is you won't be able to use them to play out. I bought an 8 channel Mackie mixer (802-VLZ3) and a pair of Yamaha studio monitors to go with it. It's great because you can run mics and instruments through it for rehearsing. I think the main advantage is the secondary usage of the monitor speakers as playback from computer (iTunes, YouTube, Pro Tools) as well. Sounds much better with monitors than it would with PA speakers I think.

    All instruments and mics into mixer then 1/4" cable out of mixer into mbox. 1/4" cables out of mbox to monitor speakers. Mbox connects to computer directly via USB. Can play and sing over playback from computer at same time if desired.

    I realize you can do all of this with a PA as well. I guess you just have to choose between powered PA and unpowered speakers or mixer with powered speakers.

    Just my $0.02. Good luck.

    Chris
     
  4. chrisrod9

    chrisrod9

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    Aleach - I wasn't responding to your reply. You must have posted while I was typing. I agree your solution would work fine and have the added benefit of being useful for gigging.

    Also, no idea why my post went up twice. Very odd.
     
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  6. chrisrod9

    chrisrod9

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    +1

    My son's band used one at at gig once last year. It was a Fender model. There were 4 mics plugged into it - no instruments. It crapped out numerous times during the first couple songs. We ended up setting up our own PA mid-set.

    The all-in-one packages are good if you are an elementary school principal and want to talk to kids during an assembly. Not good for music.
     
  7. modulusman

    modulusman

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    If you want something that is a package deal you might check this out. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/yamaha-stagepas-400i-400w-portable-pa-system Believe me I'm the last guy in this forum that would usually recommend something like this. One of the bands I play with the BL has 2 of the older 500 stagepas which is now discontinued. We have used it a dozen times and it will get the job done for small gigs where you are just micing the vocals. We will use one set for mains and the other for monitors. If you need more wattage they also make the 600 series.
     
  8. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

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    For in-home rehearsal rooms, the dimensions of the room will tend to produce feedback on vocal mics at relatively low volume. In short, this could be simple, or it could turn into a money-hole. Ideally, you'd be able to borrow or rent a couple systems and see if they suit your needs in your particular room. (A quick test is to stand in your room and clap your hands loudly. If you hear a loud ringing echo, that's a bad sign that you're likely to struggle with feedback in that room.)

    Sometimes, physics is a stopper. If you have soft-voiced singers, a small room with multiple severe nodes, and heavy handed instrumentalists, you'll have feedback before the system can get loud enough to get the vocals over the drums and guitar amps. Well-designed vocal pre-amps and speakers will perform better than cheap gear with peaky eq curves; but even then there are limits.

    If you have 3-4 singers, you likely won't be able to get a single monitor speaker loud enough for the farthest-away singers to hear over the drums and amps (unless, of course, your drummer and instrumentalists are able to rehearse at low volumes). So to produce enough monitoring volume, you might be looking at a few solutions.

    One path is to use multiple monitors run at lower SPLs than you'd use for a single monitor. Putting multiple monitors closer to your singers lets you run each speaker at a lower volume, and you can better place monitors for the best feedback rejection.

    Alternatively (or additionally), you could acoustically treat the room to tame room nodes. (Depending on your room and the materials you use, this could cost from under $100 to over $1K.)

    In the worst combinations (of loud players, soft singers, and feedback prone room), you might want to get a flexible multi-mix headphone amp and rehearse using cans. In some situations that's a great (and hearing-saving) solution, but not everyone is comfortable rehearsing in headphones. Its best if the whole band goes to headphones or in-ears, so there are no open mics to feedback. But it's possible to use phones for just the softest singers, or for the ones needing the loudest monitoring.
     
  9. JohnMCA72

    JohnMCA72

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    A lot depends on the room, of course. Think less in terms of "PA", as in front-of-house, projection, etc. Set up your monitor system only & try to build yourself a good sonic environment that you can take with you to gigs. When it comes to gig time, use your mains to supplement what bleeds out from your monitors. Most bands do it the other way - project out to FOH, then try to fill in with monitors as an afterthought.

    Especially if you have a small room, consider headphones or in-ears. If you don't have monitors already, it's worth seriously considering in-ears. For about the same as you'd spend on a decent collection of wedges, you can get in-ears, especially if you don't need to go wireless right away. About the only good reason to use wedges is if you already have them. That, & some people just don't like in-ears.
     
  10. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

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    All you need is a little "PA on sticks" type system.

    Get two PA speakers with 12" drivers and horns, w/stands - either active (powered) or passive (un-powered) and a un-powered or powered mixer depending on which PA speakers you get. You can add floor monitors later - or just use monitors, your call.
     
  11. Philibuster

    Philibuster Supporting Member

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    Wow. First let me say sorry for the late reply on my part, four kids and getting back to work after the holidays keeps one busy.

    Anyway, I greatly appreciate the responses/advice/suggestions you all submitted. In the next day or so I am going to ask some pointed questions as there are quite a few terms I am not familiar with here; but I wanted to drop a quick line as I don't want anyone to think I am ungrateful. Thanks again all!
     

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