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Small PA

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by D_Bag, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. D_Bag


    Feb 8, 2013
    Lawrence, KS
    Hey guys, I am basically a dummy when it comes to live sound stuff, but I am looking to put together a small pa for my bluegrass band. We don’t need anything super loud. Just loud enough to be heard in a coffee shop or brewery and also doesn’t take up a poopieload of space in the van. I am the only one in the band with an amp so i’d Like to run just one condenser mic they could play to. What I would like to do is run that condenser directly into a powered speaker (12”?), but I imagine I would need some sort of preamp or eq to tame the feedback. Can anyone recommend a cheap preamp for me and also should I be looking for a speaker that can handle phantom power?
  2. I usually advise against plugging mics directly into speakers. You'll have no control and you wont be happy with the sound. Get a decent powered speaker (non-behringer), and try a small mixer like a Mackie 402vlz4. It will give you more flexibility in case you wanted to add another mic or some playback.

    There are even some bigger mackie mixers that you find used for very cheap that integrated graphic eq's and effects.
  3. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Most powered PA speakers can handle 1 or 2 mic/line/instrument inputs just fine & have what amounts to a built-in 2-channel mixer. I don't know of any off-hand that provide phantom power for a condenser mic., though. External phantom power supplies are available.

    Keep your gains reasonable, don't aim the speaker at the mic., & you shouldn't have any feedback problems.
    HolmeBass and gitfiddl like this.
  4. D_Bag


    Feb 8, 2013
    Lawrence, KS
    That little mackie doesn’t look too bad. I am trying to avoid carrying a big board but that looks like it’ll fit in my gig bag.
  5. TheDirtyLowDown


    Mar 8, 2014
    For budget powered speakers, I can recommend Alto powered monitors. I have two of their TS212 that we use as stage monitors. (1x12 + tweeter, 550W continuous) They are light weight, reasonably priced, and (based on gigging them for over a year) durable. My suggestion would be to get a small mixer (I like the Allen&Heath Zed FX series) and run your single condenser mic into it, and perhaps a DI from your bass amp as well, so you can adjust your stage volume as needed separately from the level in the front of house sound. Then sit back and watch your bandmates do the single mic dance :)
    DWBass likes this.
  6. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Agreed. A small mixer and a couple Alto TX210 (I bought a couple for monitors $169ea) or TX212 cabs. My full PA is all Alto except the mixer.
    steelbed45 likes this.
  7. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    So, are you looking to amplify instruments and voices? How many (and which) instruments and how many voices?

    Are you doing the trad bluegrass thing where you're all grouped around one mic?
  8. Personally, I think Mackie or JBL is the lowest you should go in the budget pro audio speakers. You can usually get a good deal on a used pair because they have low resale value.
    bassmeknik likes this.
  9. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    Im not sure of the availability of Yorkville products in your area but I personally use a pair of Yorkville EXM70's and a Yorkville YX10SP sub, they work very well together. I also use a mixer Yorkville PGM8, but it may not be necessary for your situation. Fits easily in my car's trunk.

    Excursion Yorkville
    YX10SP Yorkville
    PGM8 Yorkville
    steelbed45 likes this.
  10. D_Bag


    Feb 8, 2013
    Lawrence, KS
    4 vocals, acoustic guitar, uke/mando, and washboard playing in a semi circle around one mic.
  11. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Since you don't need a ton of inputs, I'm going to be the dissenter towards the usual approach: small mixer + powered mains.

    I'd recommend looking into the mini line-array integrated systems out there: Bose, JBL, etc. These systems usually have an integrated limited input mixer that would be good for your purposes. More spendy than the usual approach, but there's a few bonus factors - you don't need a seperate monitoring system, speakers less visually distracting, system is easier to carry, setup and use. Since you don't have drums, you can likely get by with just a single one of these units.

    It's not clear if you are including bass as one of your instruments - but the built-in sub will easily handle a bass guitar signal if required.
  12. jthisdell

    jthisdell Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    We use Yamaha BR powered speakers, 12's for mains and 10's for monitors and a Soundcraft Signature 12 mixer. We use regular Shure mics and our instruments all have pickups (IMHO makes things alot simpler). The Soundcraft has high z inputs on 2 channels for the piezo pickups.

    We've used a Bose as a monitor in the past but I'm not a huge fan, it worked well in some applications and in some it did not.
  13. This is a great way to go, but he asked for a cheap solution. RCF, makes a great column line array system that packs into itself but the smallest one starts at about $1000. Even then I'd still recommend using a small mixer. you can go straight into a speaker, but its the difference between "good" and "good enough to get by". plus most of those integrated mixers will not carry phantom poer for his condenser, so he would need and external phantom power supply for the mic.

    How does this eliminate the need for a monitoring system? Its still just one speaker.
  14. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Affordable? Alto, Harbinger, Behringer, Mackie. Mostly non DSP. If you want DSP, you move up in price. Figure out what your budget is and go from there.
  15. I'll also put in a vote for Yamaha. We use their DBR 15's for FOH and 10's for foldback. Awesome bang-for-the-buck. For what you want you'd get away with some 10's or 12's. A small cheap mixer and you're good to go. As some have said, i'd probably DI your bass to get a good spread of your sound.
    jthisdell likes this.
  16. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    I remember reading some reviews about turbosound ip2000. I don’t know jack about these personally. Seems to me a column array would be a good option for you as you don’t need a ton of spl, it’s omnidirectional and resistant to feedback, or so I’ve read.
  17. Joebarnes


    Oct 4, 2011
    Surrey, BC
    For what you're looking for, I'd scour Craigslist for a cheap powered mixer with a couple of 12" passive speakers, but you could even go smaller woofers for coffee shop gigs especially how you guys are playing. Everyone is moving towards powered mains, so the older stuff is mega cheap. I'd hazard to guess you'd be able to score everything for a couple hundred bucks or less.
    BAG and HolmeBass like this.
  18. Very good point.

    The only downside I can see is that if you do want to add to the system or upgrade it's a case of dump the lot and start again. At least with an un-powered desk and powered mains you can add a small powered sub if you want, or take your powered 10's or 12's that you've been using for FOH and relegate them to foldback and get a couple of 15's for FOH to expand your system. So many more options.
  19. Joebarnes


    Oct 4, 2011
    Surrey, BC
    All valid - I was just thinking - Hey, he wants a cheap solution for phantom power for a condenser to plug into the back of a (I assume) not yet purchased powered speaker. I figured for (not much more) than a small format mixer - which would have to be replaced to expand as how you say - you can have a whole PA setup that is already depreciated so you could resell on Craigslist for about what you paid for it - so you likely are out little cash down the road if you're upgrading.
  20. I agree fully. There are some real bargains to be had out there in the powered mixer and passive speaker range.
    There are also a lot of powered items out there second hand, particularly smaller speakers from people trading up in power. OP didn't actually state that he wanted cheap... just small and didn't need stacks of power so I thought i'd add in some info on upgrading.

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