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Need some help with PA

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by LPStephens, Jan 24, 2012.


  1. LPStephens

    LPStephens

    May 16, 2010
    I need some help with a PA. I’m not a soundman. I play rhythm guitar and some keys. I have to run sound for the band and I’m learning a lot, but have a long way to go. I know this is the best place for advice.

    We’re a 5 piece classic rock cover band. Vocalist, 2 guitars, bass, and drums. We play mostly small bars and couple of our regular spots might be considered medium size (bar banquet type room). There is never house equipment. We don’t blast the place down and keep volume so people up front dance and yet others can still hold a conversation in the back.

    From our beginning last fall we’ve been renting two powered QSC 1000w powered speakers. No subs. We’re only using them at less than half volume with room on the board too for most gigs. They have been working out well, but come spring/summer they probably won’t be available for all our gigs. We need to make some purchases.

    Have you ever been in a band where no one has a nickel to put towards equipment? Yeah, this is the case so it’s up to me and the other guitarist. We’ve decided we would each purchase one speaker or speaker/sub combination. The band doesn’t want to do band owned equipment.

    Right now we’re running the vocals, both guitars, and a bit of the bass, and bass drum to the main mix. It’s worked out well keeping the stage volume low. I’m using a Mackie Profx16 and I can get a decent FOH sound. The bottom is acceptable without getting everything muddy.

    Being realistic, I think each of us could put together about $800.00 for a total of $1,600.00. Powered speakers seem like the only way to go so that’s what I’m looking at, but I’m open to any ideas you have to get a good sound within this budget, or close to it.

    Would you recommend just getting the best mains we can? Or go with a combination of smaller speakers and subs, if that’s even possible on that budget? I don’t mind low end equipment that will get the job done and sound acceptable to the masses. I got kind of overwhelmed looking at different brands, wattages, and prices. I’m not sure if any certain brands are really considered junk and not worth looking at.

    I’m looking for some specific suggestions on equipment. Any and all help greatly appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    montana
    Powered speakers are definately the way to go. I would keep an eye out for something used since you have some time until you have to buy. Someone recently had an older Mackie Rig for sale on the local craigslist. It was 2 srm450s and a sub for a grand. QSC, JBL PRX, EV and Yamaha DSR would be good choices.
     
  3. LPStephens

    LPStephens

    May 16, 2010
    Something like the SM450's sound like they would do the job, but with running everything through the mix like I do, would a sub be a necessity? or would those speakers handle it assuming I don't get crazy with the lows?
     
  4. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    montana
    If you don't plan on getting subs a powered 15 might be a better option. What QSCs were you using?
     
  5. LPStephens

    LPStephens

    May 16, 2010
    QSC Audio KW153 is what we're renting if I remember correctly.

    I think some powered mains in the $450.00 -$500.00 range is doable. I just don't want to loose the bottom or muddy up the vocals and guitars.

    A sub would be nice to be sure that doesn't happen. Is one sub usually adequate? and would you recommend a Mackie? or is there a better choice in the $500.00ish range.

    If I understand correctly, both sides of the main mix go to the sub and then feed the mains. Is that correct?

    Unfortunately, the used market in my area is non-existent when it comes to powered speakers and subs, or much of anything for that matter. I've been watching for quite awhile now. No luck so far.
     
  6. Jake Saint

    Jake Saint

    Dec 31, 2011
    Mine Hill, NJ
    get your hands on a few K10's or K12's. i use them in a medium/large venue, and they're fantastic. paired up with a KSub, (self powered on all counts, and beautiful sound)
     
  7. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

    Jan 27, 2010
    Nashville
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    The only things you want going to the subs are bass and kick drum, maybe a little of the toms. These are generally run mono, so you can run the sub from an aux send and just dial in as much as you need. Run like this one sub can be fine as long as it has the power to keep up with the mains. You may have to experiment with placement.
     
  8. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    don't ignore 12" speakers as an option, especially of the bass play has nice rig.

    in my band, I run everybody through two 12" speakers, but I also mix the bass drum sound into my cab, so all the low stuff comes through there.

    powered speakers are nice, but you find some great deals out there on a used two channel power amp and two pole mounted speakers. the nice thing about that is your power amp can hook up to the same power that your mixer, instead of hoping you have power where you put your speakers, or running extension cords everywhere.
     
  9. wemmick

    wemmick

    May 23, 2010
    Washington, DC
    How do you wire that?

    Bass and kick mic -> mixer -> head -> cab?
     
  10. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I rarely see powered speakers on the secondhand market but plenty of speakers and power amps. For that fact, some of the new generation power can be had for cheap if you shop around. Whenever possible, buy used and locally. Given your budget, you'll do well.

    Riis
     
  11. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

    Jan 27, 2010
    Nashville
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I'm assuming this works for this person, but if you don't know much about sound reinforcement please do NOT try it. Serious risk of blowing your speakers.
     
  12. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    not at all... perfectly safe, but I do have a method

    bass and bass drum both are fed into the mixer, and both get their own subgroup out. subgroup 1 and 2 are seperate sliders that each go into the bass amp head.

    the bass drum is also going through the mains, but I put it through my speaker to add a little low end thump. I have a 300w 4 ohm amp using only 8 ohms of that, and I'm using a kappa lf speaker rated at 600W. there is no way I could blow it if I wanted to, and I hardly have my amp set above 3 out of 10
     
  13. Wes Whitmore

    Wes Whitmore

    Mar 10, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    Those KW153s are some really nice active 3 ways. From your volume requirements, I can see why those worked well for you. You can get those for around $1100 each new from Guitar Center with a coupon, so I would think that you have enough time to try to piece together 2 of those used for under $800 each. Our band almost went that route, but opted to not go powered mains at this time. Those are the ones I would probably get though if I didn't want to mess with subs and my volume requirements were close to yours.
    Wes
     
  14. Stick with the powered QSC KW or K series. They are super clear and transportable. There are few powered speakers to which you can plug in an Ipod directly and sound clear and clean without any EQ's.

    KWs have the longer throw, but the K series are relatively more affordable. It just depends on your venue needs.

    I use the K10/KSub combo for most band gigs unless a bigger PA is required.
     
  15. Biggbass

    Biggbass

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I would also suggest that you look around for a sound guy who has a full system, hire him, and cut him in on equal payout. There are a lot of guys with systems who are looking for just such a gig. Check the local bar magazines in the musicians classifieds. That's what we have been doing for a couple of years and we rotate that hire between three sound guys so one of them is always available. They haul it, set it up, run it, tear it down, haul it home, and store it. That way you don't have to mess with the sound...you can focus on playing the music. Money well spent if you ask me.
     
  16. Khronic

    Khronic Richard J. Naimish Banned

    Oct 24, 2006
    Grand Junction, CO.
  17. OtterOnBass

    OtterOnBass

    Oct 5, 2007
    Michigan
    You should beware. You are ready to spend money on something you don't understand, in the most myth-filled and deceptive market there is. Do your best to find an informed friend, or spend time informing yourself. (for example, long-throw speakers don't exist. The QSC KW are simply made from 'W'ood instead of plastic.)
     
  18. Wes Whitmore

    Wes Whitmore

    Mar 10, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    There is no 3 way version (153) of the K series...just the KW series. There are different horn throw widths used throughout the model line. Some are 75 degree wide throws, and some are 90 degree. The smaller cabs tend to have wider throwing horns. I wouldn't really worry about it at all, but there is a difference.
     
  19. BassGen

    BassGen

    Mar 15, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    We used 2 Mackie SRM 450's at first and they will do the job. You should be able to get them in that ~$500 apiece range new. We actually use them for stage monitors now as I lucked out at an auction and got a huge power amp and two passive EAW 15" speakers for a very good deal. I later added a sub to that when they were on sale.

    Subs can be run many ways. Our sub is powered and I run it off of one of the passive FOH speakers. The sub has a switch so that it can handle either line-level of amped input signal.
     
  20. ggunn

    ggunn

    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Good thinking. In my experience, buying communally owned equipment never ends well. Having to replace equipment when personnel changes is a pain, but it's nothing compared to the fights that can (and usually do) develop when you buy stuff together.
     

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