need help piecing a PA together

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Casey C., Jul 7, 2003.

  1. Casey C.

    Casey C.

    Sep 16, 2000
    Butler, PA, USA
    Well, my band isn't preparing to take off. We are putting together our music and doing what we can to get this band together. Our rhythm guitarist's dad offered us about $1400 for a PA system as long as we pay him back eventually. We feel like kids in a candy store. We plan on adding what we can to get a kick arse system. Well, the problem is what to get? We have a rental system right now. We have 2 yorkville 15'' that are pushing 450w rms each. The power amp is an older one that is 750w rms probably at 8 ohms. the mixer is a mackie 16 channel. We only use 4 though. 2 for singing, 1 for my bass (my amp isn't very powerful) and 1 for the bass drum. Well, considering that I told my drummer that we should get a good 8 ch until we have to mic all his drums then get a bigger one and he said that he would rather have the bigger board just in case :confused:

    Anyways, we need 2 monitors definatly, 2 15 loud speakers (I think), a mixer, and a power amp to run it all. Our setup now is probably pushin 600 watts and it sounds good but if we had monitors we wouldn't need as much power at the loud speakers because we are crankin the PA so we can hear our selves. I would like anyones input what to go for, brands to get and brands to stay away from and so on.

    I was considering a carvin setup mainly. 2 400w 15in loudspeakers, 2 200w 12in monitors, a 2000w amp, and a 8 ch mixer... or the 16 ch :rolleyes:
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    well, I dunno. you could go behringer mixer. They do direct rips off of mackie. Then try a power amp from them too. It's a rip off of QSC. Then get Yamaha speakers. The club series are nice. That'll start you out. So many people don't trust this behringer stuff. But I have used it with good results. Try that. It'll get you the best stuff for the least amount of money.
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Yeah... but what you going to do when Mackie, QSC and other innovative companies are driven out of business and the Behringer Research Photocopier has nothing to feed on?

  4. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    don;t worry about that. QSC has a 3 year warranty that is good, and a very reputable name. They have their following. And so does mackie. It's just like ford made the escort. Yugo had their's, in a way. But how many yugo's do you see driving around these days? They have nothing to worry about.
  5. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    This is what I did: I bought a makie 808m all in one head and two yamaha 12in moniters. The guitar player had a yamaha 12in as well. Just with this setup I personaly made about 10 grand playing in average bars over the past year. This rig will cost you about $1300 with cables, case and stands. This system is expandable too! I have a power amp and just bought two yamaha club series 15s, two yamaha 18in subs and a BBE. I paid $1300 for this last go arround. This pa kicks some major tail and is more than I will ever need. To summerize: I use the 808m all in one (2 600watt amps, eq, effects), one amp running the mains and one for the monitors, line out to a crossover and BBE, into a power amp, into the subs. All this was bought new at guitar center including tax. If you buy used I bet you could buy the 808, two 15s and two 12s for arround a grand. Good luck on your choice. BTW, the two bands Im in plays classic rock - nu metal.
  6. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Well... buy the Yugo if you want.... ;)

  7. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'd go used. I put together something similar recently. I'm giving you a modular approach that will let you grow your system as needed.
    A Yamaha MX 12/4 Mixer for $200-$250. It has 8 XLR inputs and 2 stereo inputs. 4 bus. It is a really great mixer for the price. Yamaha makes good stuff. You could go Behringer for around the same price, I prefer the Yamaha.
    A Power amp. If you are willing to deal with heavier weights, go for a cheaper power amp such as the QSC RMX series, or one of the newer Peaveys. In the used market a power amp that will give you at least 200W per side at 8 Ohm would be somewhere between $200-$300. You could get two power amps, one for the mains and another for the monitors.
    Monitors - $300-350 a pair. I bought a pair of Dayton Pro 12" monitors from for $325 shipped. They sound great, and are relatively light. The Yamaha club series are pretty good for around the same price range.
    Mains - two fifteens will do, or if you really want to get the bass and trebles clear go for 15" mains and a subwoofer. The subwoofer would probably take you out of your pricerange, but it is worth considering. The Yamaha club series are good mains and the Peaveys are sturdy and reliable. A pair on the used market could be had for around $3-450. A decent low cost subwoofer would be anywhere from $200 to $350.
    Don't forget the cables! Those are the biggest ripoff. You can easily spend hundreds on speaker cables, mic cables, etc. If you don't mind doing some simple soldering, make your own. sells bulk cable and connectors. If you build your own cables, you pay about a third or less of the price of buying manufactured cables. For around a $100 you can get all the cables your band would need at this stage.
    BTW, a company called superflux makes a 6 piece set of drum mics for around $150 including a case. They are very good mics for the price.
    If you guys bought everything on the list, you would be spending somewhere between $1700-$2500. If you skipped the drum mics and the subwoofer, you would be under budget. If you decided to go with a powered mixer like the one Behringer sells for @ $300, you would save $500 or so. Bands form and break up all the time, so PA equipment is usually plentiful on the used market. Hope this helps.
  8. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    like I said, go with the behringer power amp. 1400 watts, for 320 street. Can't really beat it.
  9. I think there is lots of good advice above.

    A couple things to consider:

    1) Decide how many mixer channels you need, then buy a board with a few more than that if you can. Most end up wanting the additional channels sooner or later.

    2) Your price range leaves little room for healthy subwoofers, but someday, you will want them. Keep your options open for this upgrade. A healthy low end (in addition to good soundman skills) makes all the difference between a "good sounding PA", and a "majestic, awesome PA". I'm not talking about volume, I'm talking about full, quality sound that club goers enjoy.

    3) Power (watts) is your best friend, for monitors, mains, and especially subs. Wussy power, even though it may sound loud, actually sounds thin and lifeless compared to a powerful system.

    Good luck...

  10. I think there is a lot of advice here that should start you along the way towards having the PA sound system that you need. Always get more channels than you think you need.

    There is no way you can afford new gear for a complete system for the $1400 budget. At least, not if you are going after a beginning component system that you can grow with.

    Peavey's new Pro Lite PR-15 is a decent sounding, entry level market main speaker cabinet. They retail around $160 each. That is $320 for the pair. Behringer's Eurolive series sells for about the same price. The entry level Mackie/JBL/Yamaha/EV speakers are quite a bit more expensive...about double.

    A pair of new CGM ARM-112H1 monitors would run around $280 ($140 each).

    A decent Behringer UB-2442X PRO mixer with 10 mic and two stereo channels with on board digital effects runs around $350.

    You need a dual 31 band graphic EQ (one for mains and one for monitors), several can be had for around $150. (Run your system mono. In live band settings, the audience cannot normally hear "stereo" in a club sized venue.)

    If you stop here and simply add a power amp to handle the mains and monitors then add another $400 for one of the QSC RMX-1450 then you have exceeded your budget by around $150 and you still need cables, speaker stands, mic stands and microphones.

    The system I spec'ed above should easily handle any rehearsals and venues with up to 150-200 people with no problems.

    Go to Scott's PA Tutorial Message Board. It can be found at

    I suggest you search for phrases like "starter PA" or "Beginner PA" or "small PA".

    For what it is worth, all the equipment suggested by the other posters is good stuff. Yorkville, Mackie, QSC, Peavey, Behringer, Yamaha...all of it.

    I currently own two powered mixer based PA set ups with additional monitor amps and speakers. They will easily handle 75 percent of the events that my band plays.

    We rarely need to mic guitar amps. I hardly ever run my bass DI through the PA. And other than acoustic guitar, congas and kick drum, we only run vocals through the PA. Our typical club is around 200 people.

    Sorry for the "min-novel".