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PA/FOH supported gigs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by gleneg61, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. gleneg61


    Jan 10, 2008
    Osaka Japan
    Just interested in what bar/pub/club gigs are like in the US/Can, UK, EU & other areas. I played in & around Sydney, Australia in many different bands for over 10 yrs & every gig I ever did in a venue of over about 50 people was PA supported, with the bass thru the system, DI'ed, along with vox, guitar & at very least kick, snare n overhead on the kit. This was also the same in Japan, Singapore & Indonesia at any live venue I gigged at or visited that had bands. Consequently I never had to worry about my sound out front, just set up my stage sound, do a quick band sound check n off to the bar. Of course we had to hire a sound system & engineer each gig unless it was already in house but we had our regulars so they also knew how the band sounded. Are we spoilt in our little corner of the world? I often read comments of gigs without PA support so just wondering.
  2. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Going by the gigs I have done for the past 15 years or so only bigger concert type venues will have a PA that the bass goes through and then the bass seems to be that thing getting in the way of the sound dude's awesome kick drum sound! :scowl:

    Anything smaller and we carry our own PA with subs.
  3. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    PA/FOH support varies a lot depending on location. There are a few venues around my town that have decent PA's, but the vast majority of bar's do not have support for bass. Even if you wanted to show up with just a DI there would be no subs, and the monitors would really lack for bass.
  4. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Most venues I have been to that put the bass through the PA seems to almost ALWAYS have WAYYY too much bass drum goin' on. damn, I HATE THAT!!!:mad: It's the times, I think.

    But, most of my gigs are just me going through my rig. But, I do go through the PA when needed for larger gigs.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, it varies with how much the gig pays, whether or not the band has their own PA, how big the venue is, etc. Almost all my gigs are PA gigs, but we will do a handful where the PA is for vocals only.
  6. will33


    May 22, 2006
    It's a pretty mixed bag over here depending on where you live, size of the club, etc. I've seen anything from clubs that have way too much system for the size of the place to using our own PA to try to play to way more than it could handle.

    In general, you may expect to find more provided PA in the larger cities and not so much outside of that, but that's not a hard and fast rule either.

    Most bands I've been in have, or should've had, enough PA to compete with a drumkit and play to 80-100 people or so. I use mine most gigs we play, but those are primarily smaller places outside of the city. Can get better paying gigs out there, but also have to provide our own sound.

    That much is my experience currently. Years ago, doing original band stuff and playing low paying club gigs for exposure PA was almost always built in those downtown clubs.
  7. gleneg61


    Jan 10, 2008
    Osaka Japan
    The average size of many venues was probably 200-400 so the stage volume wasn't so loud but out front I didn't know, although I often got feedback from muso friends in the crowd & the sound guy as well. Quite a few places had db meters installed with warning lights so the band, & the soundman, had to be careful not to clip it & cut power, so no real probs with stadium level drum sounds but I know what you mean! Of course I had no real control over my sound out front as most engineers took a pre-eq feed anyway so I accepted that & it left me with the freedom to get my stage sound how I wanted it & I just enjoyed the gig, 95% of the time. Ahh, I miss those days!
  8. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    My situation is similar to Will's. Outside of the big city the band is expected to provide its own system in all but a very few venues.

    I usually put only vocals, acoustic guitar and bass drum in the sytem and mix around the acoustic output of the drums. That's all that's required for most of the venues we work (and the volume we prefer to play at). Sometimes in larger venues I'll add the bass and lead guitar in order to keep the stage levels down.
  9. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    There are a few venues around here with very nice house PA systems.

    The bands I have been in, and the one I am currently in, have their own PA systems. My current band does pretty much nothing but street dances and outdoor festival stuff all summer----the PA consists of 8 JBL dual 18 subs, 8 JBL dual 15/horn tops, and around 25k watts of power. For indoors, we use half of that. Obviously, everything is run through the PA. It's a huge system, but it has no problem handling crowds of 3-4 thousand people, outdoors, with ease.
  10. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    My band almost never plays at venues with reliable PAs. I wish we did - schlepping our PA is a lot of work.
  11. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Yep, pretty similair, though I do run at least a drum overhead/ambient mic and a guitar mic even in small places, but it doesn't really make things much if any louder, just kinda bigger and fuller and spread around the audience better with the dispersion from the PA mains.

    Then again, I have one of those guitarists I can tell to turn up sometimes and never have to tell to turn down, which is a treat.
  12. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    My gigs have run the gamut from using a pair of 1x12 monitor cabinets on poles for the vocals, to a full-blown PA (4 EV 18" subs, EV 215/mid0high cabs, two 1x12 monitors and four 1x15 bi-ampped monitors, six monitor mixes, everything through the PA including separate mics on each tom. That was the same band BTW...

    Lots of places the whole PA was stupid overkill, and several places it was exactly what we needed. I've played since 1976 and MOST places all that's really needed is a good balanced vocal system and reasonable stage volume.

  13. Tuned


    Dec 6, 2007
    As a sound tech and musician, I've got both the desire to go for shock & awe and the pragmatism to keep things economical and portable. Across Canada there's all types of venues, some with full PA, half-assed PA, sometimes just a powered mixer and mains, sometimes none at all. It's a vast country with many large sparsely populated areas, so bringing PA along will always fill open dates on tour.

    Keep in mind when you're playing a venue that has poor PA or no PA, the audience is expecting poor sound so you really don't have to aim all that high to make a good impression, and even then it won't improve turn-out until you've been through several times.

    The solution I've worked out is to use my bass rig as part of the PA, serving as a "stage driver" which acts as vocal monitor, subwoofer, PA reinforcement, and of course bass amp. You have to be good with an EQ to ring it out since it's behind the vocal mics, but it's rather impressive what you can get out of it. It's no substitute for proper subwoofers and monitors, but far less expensive and space consuming, much better than just speakers on poles.

    One trick I've worked out is to get the most kick out of a bass amp requires a subkick type mic, and what's worked well for me is a little practice bass amp with the back taken off. Wire the speaker to a patchcord (signal is high enough for line input) with +/- reversed (since the speaker is backwards). A normal kick mic produces a huge spike that's too much for a bass cab, but a subkick mic is more like a kick mic with a compressor on it, but with much better feedback rejection. It not only lets you get the most out of a bass cab but is also the best option considering the bass rig is generally close to the kick drum.

    Considering we're only touring with modest PA speakers (Peavey PR12's) we definitely make a good impression wherever we run our own PA. Compared to hauling subs and monitors we're probably saving 30% on gas driving a smaller vehicle, not to mention our backs and setup/teardown time. We average over 300 miles a day on tour, and gas ain't cheap, especially where the population is sparse.
  14. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    It's funny,Tuned, but until recently, just a powered mixer and mains was a venue with full PA support around here. :D

    I use one of my instrument cabs (2 BP102s tuned low) as the PA sub in small venues, and run direct from my Studio 110 (for some bark on stage). Kind of a scaled down variant of what you're doing.

    EDIT: Ha, my mains are also PR12s. Amazing what a sub and an ear can do for those little things.
  15. Interceptor

    Interceptor Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    I have been primarily in the PA the last few years. It made me concentrate on having a great signal that I can hand off. We bring our own PA for the smaller things, the bigger are festivals, and then we are in a provided PA. We also bring a producer along, and she is more than capable of gutting us to sound good anywhere. None of the venues I play have a house system, the bands are expected to bring their own.

    Right now, I'm using a MXR Bass DI+. It works well, but I wouldn't mind a bit lower noise floor.

    If it wasn't for the bit of church work I do, I could part with my rig.
  16. gleneg61


    Jan 10, 2008
    Osaka Japan
    Thanks for the feedback guys, no pun intended! I guess we had it pretty good back in the day as we only lugged & set up our own rigs, waited for the sound guy to get his stuff happening, do a line check, quick band sound check n off to the bar to get some of our rider, when supplied. I simply ran a GK or MB head thru my Nemesis 410 or 210 for the smaller venues or stages, always elevated on a chair or my stand to avoid boom n coupling,
    set up 5-10 mins, tear down n pack up the same. The PA usually cost us A$300-400 depending on size but that came out of our $1200 fee so $160-180 each a gig for our 5 piece band. How do those fees compare to US n Canada?