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The band doesn't have any lighting? where to start?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by slap-a-da-bass, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. slap-a-da-bass


    Sep 28, 2009
    Our band is a 5 piece and the places we will likely play will be small to med bars, 100-150 people. The couple of gigs we have played we borrowed lights, they were some cheap LED light bars that were only ok, not really a beam of light, but it washed everything out. Our stage set up will be small, likely 20' across, 12' deep.

    I was thinking about a a tree on each side, with two or four lights with gels, and something for the dance floor. Will some par38's be enough light? is a 150w bulb ok? is power consumption a problem?

    I see tree's 9' and 12' tall Is 12' necessarry, also see them with a t bar and side bars, would I need all that in the future? What about brands of lights? is there some I should avoid? What do you use for the dance floor.

    Here's an example


    Here's the stand I'm talking about


    What do you think?
  2. Vinny D

    Vinny D

    Jan 9, 2007
    Warwick, RI
    I think you will be throwing your money away if you buy anything but LED lighting....and here is why.
    Most places (Bar/club scene) have hardly any AC power available, most places it's tough enough to even find power for the bands backline...never mind the PA!.
    A lot of times with regular PAR lamp lighting cans you always seem to get that pain in the *ss buzzzzzzzz sound coming through your speakers once you turn on the lights......never happens with LED's.
    You will also be surprised how quickly you will eat up power on a circuit just (4) 150w par cans....doesn't sound like much but when power is at a premium every watt not wasted on lighting helps for your backline & PA.
    With LED lighting you get multiple colors, not just one single color depending on what gel you can find to stick in front of the light.

    Now, If you happen to play places with plenty of power available and multiple circuits then buy the old PAR cans...but, I would check your local Craigs list or want ads for deals on used as everyone is practicaly giving them away as they upgrade to LED.
  3. slap-a-da-bass


    Sep 28, 2009
    With LED's do you still use a normal can & buy a LED bulb? How do the multiple colors operate?
  4. I have 2 banks of 4 PAR cans plus I have 4 LED lights and a fog machine. Smaller venues I use the LEDS. As Vinny D said the PARS suck up power like crazy. Nothing worse then blowing breakers mid-set. I also don't think you would be happy with the throw from a PAR 38. There just isn't that much lighting oomph in them.

    LEDS can be pricey but are worth it.
  5. Vinny D

    Vinny D

    Jan 9, 2007
    Warwick, RI
    LED fixtures are a all-in-one kind of deal.
    The fixture will operate in multiple colors, most now will change to the beat of the music.
    The ones I use you can set to a solid color (red, blue, green, purple'ish, and a few others)
    or set them to randomly change.
  6. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    We used to use par64's, man.... I felt like one of the crusty old sandwiches, in 7-11 that has been sitting under one of those heat lamps all day.......

    We moved on to led's, first thing we noticed was that both the guitarist's amps stopped buzzing..... wasn't hot at all either......

    yeah, if you have the opportunity, get led's, you'll thank yourself later....plus most are multi color, instead of just one color... plus the one's we have will do strobe, with the controller we have..

    We use a tree of 4 on each side and 2 behind the drummer, on a truss that goes across the back of the stage, we plan on getting 2, for the truss..
  7. slap-a-da-bass


    Sep 28, 2009
    Can someone put a link to give me an idea of what I should be looking for?

    With the multiple colors, could a small gig get away with two on each side for the size stage I'm talking about? What about something for the dancers?
  8. Vinny D

    Vinny D

    Jan 9, 2007
    Warwick, RI
  9. Baron Von Vik

    Baron Von Vik

    Jun 11, 2010
    Somewhere in Arizona
    Mojo FunkBasses
    Our setup has been two trees with three par-38s; one blue gel, one amber, and one with no gel. Blue aims stage-left, over the keys mostly, clear/white aims center-stage, and amber is stage-right (over me mostly).

    Right tree holds clear/amber, and left tree holds blue and a Chauvet Radius. The Radius swirls colored light-beams around, and we aim that out at the dance floor. It's also kind of heavy, so it's bolted close to the post.

    We put an Abyss Jr. behind the drummer, as low as it can get, aiming upward through the kit. It looks cool with fog.

    On the floor, center stage, is a 5 color light bank. It aims up at us, and like the radius is sound-activated and changes with the music.

    And that's basically it. By default, I'm the lighting guy, and in the beginning I used way too much lighting, with a DMX box running everything, but minimal is the way to go (especially when it's just one dude setting up).

    This setup works for us, and was pretty inexpensive all in all. I think the fog machine cost the most.
  10. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA

    We had 8 PAR64 halogens. Sucked. Tripped breakers constantly, even when only using 6 of them - and never had them plugged into the same circuit as the PA.

    Now we have 6 of these:


    A million times better. We still use 2 - 4 of the old halogens when we have room.

    We're just a 3-piece. When we have the the room, we run 3 at each front corner of the stage and then a truss across the back with 2 on each side and our banner hung in the middle.
  11. Went through (still going through) lighting issues with my main band, and I have to echo the above advice. Years of playing under par cans made me feel like I was just a naturally sweaty guy, but with the new LEDs it's amazing how much cooler (both literally and figuratively) we are.

    Unlike many music situations, it seems like you really do "get what you pay for" with lighting - don't skimp. Look for good deals, but don't bite on the super-cheapo stuff - you'll be replacing it soon if you're gigging regularly.

    Also, as a slight OT derail... Where are you playing that you'll have 20' x 12' of stage space? I might need to convince the band to move!
  12. I have 4 of those. Do you have a controller or do you just let them go on auto or sound?
  13. mbrain


    Feb 20, 2006
    A number of years ago, my band bought lights. Two trees (each consisting of four par56's loaded with 300 watt lamps on a single crossbar), and a controller. We typically put a green, yellow, blue and red gel on each tree. Total cost was around $1000 (half of which was the controller package).

    The led lights are probably nicer, but will cost more. If you decide to go the traditional route, I'd offer the following:

    1. You absolutely want the taller stands--the higher the lights are, the better off you are from a "I hate looking into those things" standpoint. This point goes for whatever lights you buy.

    2. For most inside gigs, we only bring one tree, which is more than enough. You want to get it across the room away from the band as best you can. This may be why we don't have power/buzz problems--we find a circuit that's a long way from the stage.

    3. At 1200 watts per tree for our set-up, you're looking at a 10-amp per tree draw. They are plenty bright. You do not need the 500 watt bulbs, nor do you want to deal with the problems associated with finding power for them. When we find ourselves using both trees (typically outside gigs), we take care to find two circuits (many circuits have a 15-amp breaker). People will try to get you to run them off a single orange extension cord. If you are unable to resist the urge, problems will ensue even if you find a circuit with a 20-amp breaker, because that cord is probably rated at 12-13 amps and will get hot. Accidentally setting something on fire is not most people's idea of a Neat Light Show.

    4. While the controller will make them do all sorts of fancy things, we never do anything other than turn them on and set them to the proper intensity (and the yellow gel always gets turned down in comparison to the others because it's more obnoxious than the others). The ability to dim each light individually is crucial, but if I had it to do again, I would skip the controller, make a trip to the Home Depot, and put together a dimmer package for a fraction of the cost. Something to think about if you just want stage lighting, as opposed to a light show.

    Oh, and at $35 per can, I don't mind that my band treats them like garbage (they ride around in the back of a pick-up with mic stands, etc.).
  14. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    my 4-piece bar band has 4 of these and a couple of these, which we clamp to whatever's handy, plug into power strips, and leave on (i do the sound, and like most soundguys, i hate lights :spit:).

    they're just enough to do the job, aren't that expensive, take up little space, draw no power, and make no heat.

    the 200bs flood nicely, while the bigger 64s are stronger, but more of a spot.
  15. Blasto


    May 12, 2009
    How much do the 200b's run?
  16. mbrain


    Feb 20, 2006
  17. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
  18. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    LED's are worth the extra money. We use 14 cans and 4 moving lights on a single truss. The LED's draw very little power,which means very little heat,and they are programable to do all sorts of cool things. We have about 30 different scenes with just the LEDs,plus about 20 scenes with the moving lights. It will bring the bands stage show up about 2 or 3 levels. Get what you can afford,and add on as you go.

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