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Are we going to sound like, well, the amateurs...

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by repoman, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    ...that we are. I play in a basement band...drums, bass, lead guitar, chick vocals, rhythm guitar. She's 35, the rest of us are between 52-57. After about 9 months of rehersing we have about 25 songs down, some covers and some originals (think Bruce Springsteen meets Nina Simone) We have a play for drinks gig next week at a local coffee house. We're going to play for about 2 hours. I'm posting this in live sound because I think (after reading the pages here on TB) that we're really not equipted to play out...even a smallish coffee house like we are about to do.
    Here's what we have:
    The PA is a Fender LX 1506 with Fender 12" speakers (I bought this for my own personal use in my practice room at home and it became the bands "PA System".) We will use this for vocals only.
    The amps are all individual Marshalls/Genz Benz stuff, you know, equipment you would use in your garage.
    The mics ( we all sing) are Shure SM 58's or equivalent.
    We have no monitors.
    No lights.
    So...how bad will the train wreck be?
    Any suggestions for making this work?
    FWIW, we are looking into getting actual live performance equipment , but that isn't going to happen by next week.

    (oh, just for poops and giggles here a link to what we sound like in the basement recorded with a cheap (whatelse) condensor mic sitting in the middle of the room) https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u...13/Demo July 2013/01 - When The Stars Die.mp3 )
  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    You'll probably be fine for a coffee house. They won't want you too loud anyway. What kind of speakers for the pa?
  3. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    the speakers are fender 12" something or other, like I said, I was only going to use the pa for personal in home use not to drive a 5 piece band. :)
  4. eCowboy


    Dec 2, 2007
    New York, USA
    Since you are playing in a coffee house, I am assuming that it will be a somewhat small room and volumes will be kept to a minimum, the equipment that you have should be sufficient. Nothing will be put through the mains except for the vocals so the backline amps will have to carry the sound. Hopefully, you won't run into the typical ego/volume war between guitars, bass and drums since everyone will be responsible for their own volume levels. Have fun!
  5. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Coffee house gig you may even be overpowered. You want quiet and clear. The cashier needs to be able to hear the customer's latte orders. The gig probably isn't quite the same as contracted background music at a wine tasting but I'll bet the gig is closer to that style than fog machines and sequenced light shows. If you guys have been rehearsing for 9 months then it's time to rip the bandaid off and do some shows. Bruce Springsteen meets Nina Simone sounds pretty cool. Go break a leg.
  6. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    whew, thanks for the encouragement guys...now that I think about it, we probably will be too loud if we don't watch it. I think the volume will be low enough for the most part, but I still question how we are going to sound to ourselves without monitors. Is there a certain way to set up the amps and PA speakers to be utilized as monitors and loud speakers?
  7. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Break a leg indeed. Generally, coffee-house crowds are looking for substance over form. How refreshing! If your music is good, you're 99.9% of the way there. Use "amplified acoustic" volume levels, dress neatly but casually, nail the harmonies and you'll kill it.

    As for the speaker configurations, if you have enough volume, you might be able to use one speaker for the house and one as a monitor.
  8. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    I assume the speakers will be on stands. If you are keeping the volume low you could possibly put the speakers back behind the band so you can hear them.
  9. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    No problem! You've got plenty of gear for a small coffee house gig. Just get the speakers up about head level and turn them in a little bit so you can hear them since you don't have dedicated monitors. You're not going to be that loud, right? Just a couple weeks ago I played a small country dance club with a very similar setup. No worries, buddy!

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  10. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    Brilliant! That is just too freaking easy...I'll be bringing "my" suggestion to the next band meeting (Tuesday) Thanks Fret (and everyone else who suggested similar) :bassist:
  11. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Just have fun.
  12. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    ...that shouldn't be too much of a problem...I'm having a ball just playing in the stupid basement,this is going to be like Madison Square Garden in comparison...haha..
  13. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    if you want to sound professional, turn the volume down. Make folks actually have to listen to you to hear you. Capture their attention and hold it. Put on a show. The gear is very secondary with respect to what you do as entertainers.
  14. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    For a coffee house gig you don't need much. You're not there to be loud but to help provide some atmosphere for the place. That said, it'd probably be good for you to have a more dedicated monitor for the vox. I can't imagine them sounding too good out of that little amp.
  15. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    We used to play country music at legions with no monitors. Because the volume was low, the sound from the mains was good enough. Plus monitors take up a lot of room.

    You should be fine. If the vocalist(s) cannot hear, then tell everybody else to turn down.
  16. Drummer better have some brushes or canes. I can't imagine a guitar band in a Starbucks. If your singer can really sing you would do as well to go acoustic levels and key off her volume. Key off her volume anyway, vocals are by far the most important ingredient in any mix.
  17. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    Yeah, we are talking about a band in a Starbucks (although not an actual Starbucks)...The more I'm reading here the more I realize that we are going to be battling loudness, the complete opposite of what I originally thought when I asked about our ****** set up.
    I'll be using a small SWR LA12 combo, the drummer does use canes on a lot of the music and our rhythm guitar uses his acoustic one several songs, and the lead guitar :cool: he can make it loud in a hurry but funny thing about him, he's the one who directs the band volumn and does have a tendency to have us ALL turn down at practice....so there's hope!
    I think with the right angles and such we should be able to hear ourselves and more then fill the room at a comfortable level.
    Great input guys, I really appreciate the help.
  18. You want to chain that guitar player to the drummer and feed them well.
  19. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
  20. nolezmaj


    Sep 22, 2011
    Done number of restaurant gigs with similar equipment. Trick is to keep good volume balance relative to each other. Great experience, I learned to listen to drummer and singer, and adjust my volume and tone pot to them.
    If your singer has problem with hearing her voice (and shouldn't if the rest of you are doing it right), point one monitor slightly or even directly at her. You can even put one monitor on the floor in front of her, and leave another on a stand, you loose a lot of volume this way, but it is better than than singing out of tune.
    Good luck and have fun!

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