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Down Size for Small Venues/Clubs

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by MrBassman17, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. MrBassman17


    Dec 30, 2011
    Brewster, NY
    Here's something I thought I'd never run into! It seems that the project I'm currently involved with is beginning to take off, but, by the nature of the group - a three piece combo; drums; keyboard/vocal and me on bass, we are getting bookings in small dinner club venues locally.

    So, our first gig was last night, and I brought the PA - my smallest one - a 30 watt per channel, four channel head and two speakers - 10" with cone driver for the high end. Real basic - just one vocal mike, nothing else into the PA. We played from 9 - 11 pm (happy hour crowd) and the manager came to us several times to ask us to lower the volume. OK, so I did. Ended the gig and loaded out, went home.

    So here's my question - what should I do? I have a pair of real small studio monitor type speakers, that I would be able to adapt to mount on stands, that should be quieter than the PA speakers; certainly easier to carry, or is there another solution I am not aware of? We will be back at this club in April, and I would like to have this resolved by then!

    Any thoughts?
  2. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Did the manager ask for just the vocals/PA to be turned down, or was his complaint about the overall volume? If the problem is overall volume, a quieter PA won't address it.

    OTOH, if you need a quieter vocals-only PA, you can pull use your current rig and pull down the master volume. Or bring only one speaker. Or you could bring just one powered PA cab w/ built in mic pre-amp. Some of these will accept and mix two mics + an aux in, and some offer reverb, eq, and feedback control built in. It's hard to get simpler if you only need PA for one vocal mic.

    If you're that quiet, you could put it on a stand behind you for FOH + monitor all from one speaker on a stick.
  3. MrBassman17


    Dec 30, 2011
    Brewster, NY
    It was the vocal volume, as that was all that was through the PA. I had thought of using just one speaker, but won't that damage the PA head - load mismatch between channels? We are already setting the speakers up behind us, and using them as monitors as well (if you saw how small the space is you'd understand - I'll upload a picture!) I do have powered monitors that I could use as a PA for the vocal, good thought!

    Attached Files:

  4. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Are you sure he wasn't complaining about the drums or keyboard?
    jimfist likes this.
  5. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    Might want to try a Cajon for such a small venue. Adjust PA volume accordingly.
  6. MrBassman17


    Dec 30, 2011
    Brewster, NY
    Problem solved! Going to use a powered monitor for the mike, done!
  7. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Two-channel PA power amps are generally designed so it shouldn't pose a problem to run only one side.
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  8. We used to play at a casino restaurant/club - I had the PA paired down to a Peavey xr8600 and two JBL JRX112s, one on the floor and on on a stick. They monitored db levels at the entrance for 86 DB ao as to not spill into the casino too much.

    My drummer ALWAYS made us way too loud to meet this. The guitar player wouldn't pair down and was always loud too. I had a small bass cab that didn't put out massive bottom and had good voicing, which would be dialed back nicely.
    As soon as I used another drummer we were able to do it, and played that gig every 3 weeks for about 2 years. Eventually I replaced that 2nd guitarist and it was even better.

    How are you drum levels, and instrument levels? Your PA has a knob, you should be good if all you have in it is vocals
    jimfist likes this.
  9. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    The drums. If the levels are supposed to be that soft, drummer should try brushes. I'm also in favor of placing the PA behind the band, and also, ditching all of the stage amps in favor of modeler pedals to go direct into the PA, assuming it can handle a fairly low volume mix with bass in it (guitar, no problems). IMHO, these are compromised gigs from the get-go, and nobody is expecting to hear a perfect, full band mix in these situations. Make your life easy, travel light, and indulge them if you want to keep the gig.

    I do duo and trio (add acoustic drums) gigs in this format and have stopped carrying a bass rig altogether. I use a modeler/preamp/multi-effect/tuner direct into the PA and call it a day. No complaints from within or outside the group. Try it, you might like it.

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