PA Help and Suggestions

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Derio, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. Derio


    Dec 6, 2005
    Saint George
    I hope this forum suffices, I wasn't sure where to post this..

    I have a question for everybody, I've been a lurker for about 7 months now, about the time I started playing bass. I've always enjoyed the knowledge and maturity of you guys here at talkbass, and therefore I have a few major questions all rolled into one.

    I am currently looking at spending 2500-3500 on a PA system for doing shows here Saint George (we're >starting a venue), our average will probably be 100-400 people. >Obviously, I can add on to this list later like subs and monitros and such,
    but I am wondering if this is a good start for my budget.

    Here's the list:
    Kick Drum
    Vocal Mic
    Mic Stands
    Mic Stands
    Direct Box

    Speakers Main
    Power Amp
    Power Amp



    Any input at all would be awesome, thanks so much!

  2. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I might move this over the the Misc Forum. I think you'll get more hits over there.
  3. You're going to be investing a fair amount of money; you need a system that will be very reliable over years of abuse. The Behringer mixers and amps don't have a reputation for reliability--they have lots of features, and may be fine for a home studio, but frankly I don't think they'll handle a lot of gigs. Furthermore, I suspect they are not made to be repairable when they do break.

    I'd scale back if necessary, but buy a higher quality mixer, amps, and monitors. A Yamaha or Mackie mixer wouldn't be a lot more money, but would hold up much better IMHO. (Even Peavey and Carvin mixers, while not necessarily considered high-end, will hold up to years of abuse and be there when you need them) Likewise, QSC power amps aren't that much more expensive than the Behringers, but they're pretty much bulletproof.

    Monitors are pretty important. Instead of 4 cheap monitors, I'd buy 2 medium-priced JBL's, or a pair of the higher-end Yamaha's. Trust me,vocalists sing much better when they can hear themselves clearly. And you can always add another pair of monitors later if need be.

    If money's tight now, skip the EQ to pay for an upgrade to a better mixer and amps.

    You don't need a fortune in PA equipment, or lots of bells and whistles, to play moderate-size venues. Just get reasonably good quality.
  4. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    I agree. It's really hard to beat a Mackie board for features and value. Yamaha is also very good - and in my opionion highly under rated in many areas. You can find them used all the time for a good price. You don't need to mike the drums. Have the guys in the band buy a good vocal mic, stand and cable. They should anyway.

    Instead of the all-in-one cabs, I'd get a sub and 2 high packs.
    Easier to upgrade in the future and will sound better.

    I took 10 minutes and found this now on eBay. You could probably do better with more time, but this gives you an idea of far better components at not so bad a price:

    Mackie 1604 mixer and case = $600
    JBL Sub for lows = $400
    JBL 2 way 15's for highs ($300 X 2) = $600
    DBX Crossover = $180
    Crown CE1000 power amp monitors = $350
    Crown CE2000 power amp for mains = $500
    Yamaha 15" 2 way monitors $350 X 2 = $700
    8 space rack for amps and crossover = $175

    That's about $3,500 - plus you need some cables. You'll get a much better sound than with what you have planned, and it easy to upgrade, change, add, etc.
  5. Nashvillebill is right on.

    Check out the powered mixers by Yamaha. Specifically the EMX5000-12 and -24. They pack 1000 watts at 4 ohms. I use Yamaha Club series monitors and mains also. All of it performs very well. I use one power amp section for the two mains and the other power amp section for the monitors. If you ever need more power you can scale up with an additional power amp, powered speakers, or more. It also has a sub out, on board effects, multiple aux outs, etc.

    Alone it should be plenty of power for the size shows you describe. This powered mixer, 2 of the mains, and 2 monitors will cost about $1300. That leaves you with alot of $$$ for mikes, stands, cables, etc.
  6. I would recommend miking the kick and snare if you are playing loud and/or rock. Just a suggestion.
  7. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    Is this to be an installed system?

    I am not allowed by work rules to express opinions on installed systems as that is one of the technologies that we design and are consultants for.

    All that having been said and kinda undertood, in my personnal experience, a bang for the buck system of reasonable cost can probably be dialed in to sound pretty dog gone good.

    Please ditch the Berhinger power amps. Opt out for something else of better repute. Step up your mixer also. Both items could probably be accomplished at little or possibly no change in cash outlay. Used stuff can be a great deal, buy smart.

    Best of Luck,
    Wesley R.
  8. Derio


    Dec 6, 2005
    Saint George
    Hey, I appreciate all the comments from everybody.

    This is going to be used mainly for rock, and up to hardcore and metal. With of course the use of acoustic, and everything else - so the drum mics are pretty important..

    I've got some really good ideas from you guys - guess instead of trying to wait it out and piece everything together before hand, I may aswell wait until I have the cash and then shop ebay a bit for some good deals then just fill in new stuff all around.

    How is it buying used gear, though? I mean, what's protecting me from buying a blown speaker or a screwed up power amp?
    I typically trust ebay, so perhaps it's just the seller I need to look at.

    - Derick
  9. Derio


    Dec 6, 2005
    Saint George
    I think I may have a budget increase to about 5000, so I'm going to take everybodys suggestion to heart, and go from things then when I have a confirm on my loan.

    Thanks again,

  10. What are you guys using for a PA now?

    If you have absolutely nothing now, and don't have much PA experience, then I would NOT advise going out and dropping $5000 on a PA. Why not? You'll probably wind up with a lot of stuff you don't need, and won't have the stuff you really need.

    Ease into this slow!!! For 100 to 300 seat venues, a powered mixer will indeed work fine, and at first you won't need to mic drums. It strikes me as unrealistic to think that you're suddenly going to be playing in front of 400 people if you guys don't even have a basic PA now.

    The earlier advice about a Yamaha powered mixer is absolutely a great idea. For less than $1000, that gets you a very good mixer. Another $800 for the JBL Eons for mains (non-powered) and $600 for a pair of JBL monitors. Four Shure SM58's,stands, and mic cables: $600 or less. For less than $3k, you would have a setup that would handle vocals plus acoustic guitar for most any club gig. And it's expandable if necessary for more power and more speakers. Plus, since it's a self-contained powered mixer, it's easy to operate, which is important to learn on, and also important if you don't have a separate sound guy.

    While I have bought used mixers, I would NOT recommend buying a used mixer off Ebay. You need a dependable rig, and mixers can be temperamental (and on the 'bay, they may not work quite as well as claimed....) Bite the bullet, get a new Yamaha (or Peavey or Carvin) powered mixer....
  11. Derio


    Dec 6, 2005
    Saint George
    We use the PA and skill of a man who does shows small to large events in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.

    This is excellent, however there are a few problems - He's not always reliable, and it's costing us more to pay him for his efforts (though he is a good friend, and it's cheap), then it would be for us to buy and run our own PA.

    I've been given a basic list of things that I need from him, and from reading reviews and stuff, and I'm fairly sure I'm not going overboard atm.

    I dropped the equalizer, and upgraded quiet a bit of stuff. My situation, is that I do NOT want to have to upgrade things like AMPS and Mixers later unless required, but to just perhaps add on later with a third amp, and subs, and more monitors whatever.

    Doing one or two upgrades would be a little more convienent then doing an entire equipment upgrade, here is my current list, and it prices are with everything NEW, and overbudgeted. I definitely plan on shopping on ebay, and around for a better cheaper price to save some money to put into other departments (promo, lights, merch, etc)

    Item Link Price Q Total
    Microphones 69 2 138
    Kick Drum 199 1 199
    Drum Mic 89 1 89
    Lead Vocal Mic 159 1 159
    Backup Vocal 99 2 198
    Mic Stands 29.99 3 89.97 11.99 7 83.93
    Drum Mic Clip 19.99 1 19.99
    Direct Box 34.99 1 34.99

    Speakers Main 399 2 798
    Speaker Stands 44.95 2 89.9
    Power Amp 599 1 599
    Mixer 849 1 849
    Monitors 349 3 1047
    Power Amp 449 1 449

    Conditioner 130 1 130
    Case 89.99 1 89.99
  12. Derio


    Dec 6, 2005
    Saint George

    We rarely do acoustic. Most of our shows are 5 piece bands, sometimes keyboard, that are rock to metal.

    This isn't for a single band - we BOOK bands here in Saint George, and find a place for them to play. We're all about local music supporting.

    I'm fairly sure on my mic setup, we will most likely have a box of 3-5 mics sitting around left over, but they will be used down the road. I'm sure it's nice to have extra mics, and some bands are rough on mics - you know, the bands that swing the mic around, etc.

    We also like LOUD, kids here enjoy that aspect of the show. I have so many mics to mic all the amps, and have 3 total mics for singers.

    I really do appreciate the input on everything, I'm learning a lot, and I hope it really does pay off in the end.