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Acoustic Guitar and PA

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by padenski, Mar 13, 2009.


  1. padenski

    padenski

    Feb 19, 2008
    Landenberg, PA
    I play in a band with a several novices when it comes to sound, etc. The gui**** player always plays acoustic and has lately been plugging into to the PA using an unbalanced connection (there is an option for balanced as well). The problem I noticed is that he wants to turn himself up in the PA so that he can hear himself. When that happens, he is then to loud. I have also notice that when he is direct into the PA, his acoustic sounds too boomy and results in a muddy band sound.

    I told him his best option is to use a small amp as a monitor facing him on stage, and either line out or mic the amp in the PA. Someone told him that he needs a direct box, and that this will make his sound the best.

    Its ironic that keyboardist suffers from the same dilemna. I also made the same suggestion about a monitor amp and then mic to the PA.

    What's the best sound solution for first the gui**** and then the keyboard? What will a direct box do for sound quality, etc? My impression was that these were nothing more than transformers to match and unbalanced load to a balanced load.

    Thanks
     
  2. Jehos

    Jehos Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    DFW, TX
    You want the keyboard and the acoustic to go direct. If the guitar is too loud, turn it down. If the guitarist can't hear at that point, you probably need monitors to go with your PA.

    The boomy sound can be solved by rolling off the bass, either on the guitar or at the PA. Piezo pickups are bad about having a strong bass thump from the picking sound, it's just the nature of a piezo. For a good modern acoustic-electric sound you should be rolling the bass way off, turning up the mids a bit and turning up the highs to get that nice sparkly sound.

    Amp -> mic -> PA for acoustic or keyboards just doesn't make sense. You're adding an unnecessary air gap and more channel bleed.

    Edit: He probably shouldn't be plugging in unbalanced, although it does work. A direct box is better.
     
  3. The boominess isn't because of the unbalanced/balanced issue. Your bandmates' EQs just aren't set right. Cut some of the bass out of their channel, and that should go a long way towards getting the sound tightened up.
     
  4. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    do you have a monitor system?
    If you have a good monitor system with seperate mixes, no need for stage amps for keys or acoustic guitar. For the acoustic guitar, I would run into a preamp with EQ/DI box before sending to the PA...Both keys and guitar will need their own monitor mix
     
  5. padenski

    padenski

    Feb 19, 2008
    Landenberg, PA
    Can you explain exactly what a direct box does? It sounds like my impression was not correct.

    Thanks
     
  6. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    Definition: A small interface box designed for connecting a high-impedance, unbalanced instrument or other device to a low-impedance, balanced microphone input on a mixer or recording device.

    A direct box is also called a "direct injection" box, as it allows a "direct injection" of a signal into the PA or recording system, as opposed to going through an amplifier and microphone combination.
     
  7. padenski

    padenski

    Feb 19, 2008
    Landenberg, PA
    Thanks Alembic. So if the acoustic guitar has a balanced output, then a direct box is not necessary, right? (His does)
     
  8. If his guitar has an XLR out, then that would be correct. I have never seen an acoustic guitar that has a balanced 1/4" output.
     
  9. padenski

    padenski

    Feb 19, 2008
    Landenberg, PA
    His guitar has a 1/4 out and an XLR out. Okay, so no direct box needed.
     
  10. Not NEEDED, no, but there is a good chance that a quality direct box would sound better than the built-in XLR output on his guitar. For basic practices and smaller shows, there probably wouldn't be much of a difference.
     
  11. Jehos

    Jehos Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    DFW, TX
    Correct. Fix his sound by running an XLR cable from his guitar to the PA. Roll off the lows, tweak the mids and highs until they sound good. Acoustic guitar that sits well in a mix has almost no bass to it.
     

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