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Recommendations for Rehersal PA/System?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Andy Brown, May 12, 2006.

  1. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder/Owner: Wing Instruments
    I'm in a four-piece (bass/drum/guitar/vox), and we're looking for an optimal rehersal system. Our space (actually my office) is about 20 feet by 14 ft with slanted ceilings (about 12ft high in the middle of the room).

    We were thinking about going with a small board (24-channel), minor effects and compression (mainly for vocals), with four wedges so we could all hear the vocals. Does it make sense to have cabs in this setup? We don't want the neighbors complaining, yet we want to hear everything that's going on.

    Does anyone here use a wedge-only system for practice? Whatever we choose would be a subset of what we'd use for gigs.

  2. mvw356


    Mar 2, 2006
    why do you need a 24 channel mixer? 8 should be fine for a setup like that. i guess you could use wedge monitors only, they are speakers after all, just in a different shape. where i rehearse there are no wedge monitors, just two big speakers, and it works fine. i think wedge monitors are mainly used for live gigs, where you have to hear the others on stage, as the main speakers direct the sound away from you.
  3. Lex P.

    Lex P. You've got it awful loud -Kathy P. Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2003
    In our rehearsal space I have a Yamaha 8 channel mixer with built in effects. New it only cost about $119.00. It has four XLR mic inputs and 4 other kinds? One of the others has stereo RCA inputs which I feed a CD player into. It sounds very good and is dead quiet.
    The Mixer is hooked to a used QSC PLX power amp and some used EV 12" cabs with horns. It is more than adequate for a practice PA.
    I mic the bass drum in practice. It's not that we are that loud I just think it fills the sound in a bit better.
  4. I have used this old set of powered 4-channel Fender wedges for years and they work great. I would probably ditch the compressors and effects during practice. They might end up being a crutch you need to rely on during a show, and who needs that. I think a nice dry uncompressed voice is the best way to learn mic control.
  5. Kronde


    Feb 1, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    We use a 6 channel sunn head with a couple of Peavey 12"/horn pa speaks, no effects. Very inexpensive system, I think i paid around $400 for the whole thing. We have recently been "retiring" mics to the practice space from the main gigging PA.

    On an aside, I have found that the volume at practice has steadily decreased over the years...I guess we are starting to get old or something. However, during practice, I think high volume is something of a crutch. We have been playing more and more country club type gigs and practicing at lower volume has helped greatly. During those gigs the men want to be able chat about stocks and real estate and the ladies want to show off their latest after-market equipment :smug: ...Anyways, having the capability to keep the volume in check while maintaining intensity is a handy skill.
  6. Yes it is a crutch. Your eardrums flatten at extreme volumes which causes your pitch and rhythm detection to fail. Now you know why all those bands in the 70’s sounded so good live. 120 db anyone?
  7. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder/Owner: Wing Instruments
    We'd want 24 channels for playing live. I guess we could swing two boards if their cheap enough. We were thinking we'd just use a scaled-down version of our live rig for practice.

  8. This is what you need.

    1-24 channel board with 4 pre fade aux sends
    2-dual 31-band equalizers for feedback control
    2-stereo power amps to match the wedges

    This would make up your monitor system when doing shows.
  9. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    you could get the carvin in-ear monitor system, but it's a little pricey, so I don't know. Also check them out for their PAs, good prices and they have built-in effects as well I think.

  10. supermonkey


    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I use wedges only for practice in both my bands. Cabs are non-directional, power-hungry; they cause feedback and take up space. They drive up the room volume unnecessarily. In short, they're overkill. Not needed in a practice space or for a rehearsal.

    Cabs were all I had for years, and in every band I ran that way nobody could hear vocals. Ever. Then I got wise and picked up some wedges.
    Now I'll never rehearse running vox through a cab again. Wedges put the sound in the right place, so you don't have to run as loud, and so it's not throwing sound at a wall or some unlucky band member. Everyone can hear better, it's a win-win.

    Here's an example of the "tilt-back" factor at work:
    Our lead guitarist is way cranked up every week, blasting anyone across from him all to hell, but he still can't hear himself. Why? His amp is behind him, on a chair, throwing sound at the back of his knees. Of course, five feet in front of where he's actually standing, the volume is painfully loud. But he can't hear himself, so he's at about twice the volume he really needs to be. So after 15 minutes of pleading last week, I convince him to position his amp tilted back (stably, of course) against the vocal wedges, right in front of him. The result? He could suddenly hear himself, so he was able to turn down by about half. Everyone else could hear him, too. Voila, problem solved by... (wait for it)... the wedge.

    And FX, compression, etc. aren't needed.
    Feedback control is best done w/ EQ, so you either need a mixer that has sufficient EQ control that you can find and zap feedback frequencies, or you need a basic graphic eq in the chain.

    If you own a PA and you're using a subset of it for practice monitoring, the last post is right on. But you can get by with SO much less than that -- depending on how many mics you're running.
  11. Compression may not be dead necessary but without it you'll find you vocalist singing different to control their dynamics - they'll sing louder on the quiet parts and quieter on the louder parts to control their volume. I think compression is a good idea (and an inexpensive item) - it will make rehearsal much more like the live situation.

    Good luck!
  12. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    My band used our wedge monitor system for rehearsals all the time. It worked great doing it that way.
  13. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder/Owner: Wing Instruments
    Thanks to everyone for your replies. All have been extremely helpful.
  14. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    All we use is 2 mics into the live rack from our PA (EQ, compressor, QSC amp) and then into 2 wedges. Sometimes we'll borrow our church's 6 channel powered Yamaha mixer/amp that powers the church monitors.

    My best advice for you is to keep volume down. When you're practicing, you really want to be able to hear every little nuance of what you're doing. Yes, we could pull out our 24 channel board, but it's rather overkill for our rehearsals. What else needs to go into the PA besides vocals? I guess if you run things direct, you might need the extra PA oomph, but otherwise, you really shouldn't need more than 2-500W for a rehearsal PA.
  15. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    Bose PAS, with mixer if needed, not needed if you just let the drums go acoustic.

    I have one 2bass module setup, with bass guitar, vocal, guitar going straight in for a rock/metal band. Best we ever sounded. Trust me it will save you the hassles of traditional pa's, and sound much better at practice and gigs.

    We sound like a professionally mixed band everytime we play now, and have the same mix on stage that goes out into the audience, and all the players can hear everything.

    Use modleing effects like pod xt live for guitar and get rid of the back line amp.

    though some guitar tone freaks who want an amp sound, prefer getting a high gain small amp, so it doesn't take over stage sound, and just micing it.

    But, I replaced a marshall half and just went straight in with the electric guitar and it actually sounds better that way.

    Bass sound is awesome, unless you need to be going boom boom like some idiot kids car.

    Vocals best I've ever heard on any system.

    What you put in is what you get out, so start straight in with instruments and add from there.

    You can also play at lesser volume because of the sound dispersal and lack of sound decay.

    It's like being surrouned by the whole bands sound, instead of having to walk in front of amp beams and getting blasted, and not hearing the one you walked away from.

    And, yes, they can get very ear ringing loud if you are silly enough to want that.

    but, they will fool you at first because you can sit a foot in front of it and it's not much louder than it is 20 feet away. In other words people will actually be able to come in front of the stage.

    No, I don't work for Bose, I'm just an extremely happy customer.

    Try the trial period though, you can't really tell how it is at GC.
  16. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    You know, it's interesting. I've heard the Bose PAS in only one situation.

    I went to a local rock show... they had powered Mackies for the main PA and the Bose for a second stage behind a solo acoustic guitar/singer guy. The first thing that I noticed was that the system completely lacked low end. It reminded me of trying to push a lot of volume through a Squier 10" 50W PA speaker... very thin. Granted, it could have simply been bad mixing, but even the acoustic guitar sounded flat.

    During the first song on the "main" stage though, after the acoustic player's first set, the Mackies simply stopped making sound. They played around with them for about 20 minutes (the acoustic guy played a few more songs), and then they plugged the rock band into the Bose.

    Surprisingly, it was audible above the sound of the band. They were really only running vocals through the PA, but it competed with a few loud drummers and a dozen loud amps... It still sounded flat and not full at all, but maybe that's why Bose made the bass modules.

    I'm not sure I believe that THIS system, at least, could carry a metal band on its shoulders. Maybe your system is more robust...
  17. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    To save money, build a rehersal system from peices you will use from you PA.

    The monitors usually work very well.

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