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What power PA for 3 piece band?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by mldavis, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. mldavis


    Jul 22, 2013
    South Wales, UK
    Hi guys

    I'm in a 3 piece band and we are going to be buying PA in the next month or so but we are unsure what power we should be looking to get.

    I have a Orange Bass terror 500 amp and 410 cab, and the guitarist has a vox ac 30 with 212 speakers. The drummer is relatively loud.

    Would 300 watt be enough for the vocal PA?

  2. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    It depends on how loud you, and the rest of the band, play. How big are the clubs you're playing?

    It's better to have too much PA, and not need it, than too little.
  3. +1

    We run a pair of Peavey (powered) Pro 15P PA cabs which IIRC are rated at 270W RMS each. These have always been adequate with our 4 piece - Lead vocals + 2 backing singers.

    If you are going to mic the drums then you need plenty of power and bass bins, for vocals only then bass bins not really necessary. (IMO, in my band setting that is so YMMV)
  4. mldavis


    Jul 22, 2013
    South Wales, UK
    Thanks for the advice.

    We are planning on just using the PA for vocals, so won't being mic'ing up the drums. We are going to be playing small pub gigs mainly.

    So would you say 250-300 watt each side will be enough for these type of gigs? We are playing indie/Brit pop music, so nothing to heavy!

  5. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Probably not if you guys light it up. An AC 30 fired in anger can peel the paint from your automobile...

    Running a PA at or close to it's limits generally results in crappy sound and repair costs after the stuff gives it's life in vain...

    My 3 rules.

    1. Understand that EVERY pa out there has limits. If you exceed those, expect to pay for it...

    2. Buying as much volume potential as possible, extends the limits and makes it less likely that you will violate rule number 1...

    3. See rule number 1
  6. If your small pub gigs are anything like ours then 250-300w a side will be ample, but as 4Mal says, if you start getting a bit volume happy then it probably won't.

    Most of the places we play are not slow at telling us to turn down if they think we are too loud.

    A cranked AC30 can be insanely loud, I remember seeing Taste play (8/29/1970 - isn't Google wonderful), Rory Gallagher had a single AC30, the bassist had 2 x 200W Marshall stacks and struggled at times to be heard.
  7. Deepwoods

    Deepwoods Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2003
    St. Louis
    One of my bands was using a Behringer powered PA head and it crapped out on the gig. I recommended to the singer to replace it with Peavey or Yamaha. Power wise get as much as you can afford. A nice feature to have with some of these mixers is seperate poweramps an EQ for the mains and monitors. This gives you the option to bridge for more mains power and use powered speakers for monitors or passive monitors with a power amp.
  8. mldavis


    Jul 22, 2013
    South Wales, UK
    We've been looking at Behringer and a Peavey package.. Think we'll go the Peavey then!

  9. -Asdfgh-


    Apr 13, 2010
    Other factors to consider:

    - How will it be mixed? I.e. do you need a desk, snake/stage box or loom?
    - Will you also be using monitors? How many, what type, how many mixes?
    - What space do you have in a van/car for transport?
    - Do you want to go with active cabs and monitors or passive?
    - What power set up are you likely to have where you play (you want to have mixing and power amps on the same circuit, so you might need to factor in long power cords)?
    - Will you have someone to do your mixing?
    - How will you deal with feedback (e.g. do you want some automated feedback suppression?)
    - Crossovers if you use bass bins (and DON'T stack one each side of the stage).

    I'd also recommend hiring a few PAs if you can before buying to give you an idea of sound/types/requirements.

    Beware ratings. Some quote peak watts, some RMS, some 'PMPO' and output (dB) depends on speakers and many other factors.
  10. Behringer doesn't get a lot of love round here but we have used one of their mixers for about 8 years with no problems, it supplies a line out to the Peavey cabs.

    The only problem we have had with the Peavey cabs was that the tweeter voice coils were soldered with lead free which was attacked by the ferro-fluid coiling liquid. I scraped the hard black residue that used to be solder off and re-soldered with good old 60/40 tin/lead solder and all has been good for years. You can buy replacement voice coil assemblies but me being a tight assed Yorkshireman decided to have a go at repairing them first, I couldn't make them any worse.
  11. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    You can't always trust guitar players (or bass players) with more wattage. Your PA on the other hand should be trusted with as much wattage as you can afford.
    The behringer powered mixer we run is supposedly 800 watts per side and our main vocal channel clip light comes on unless we're very careful with our gain vs. channel fader balance.

    delta7 I thought the whole Yorkshire thing was just a Monty Python joke -- " I used to live in a lake!"
  12. wicksy


    Nov 4, 2013
    We are a 3 piece and for smaller gigs where we only mic the kick, vocals, guitar and DI the bass we run a powered RCF system 2 x 15" subs (1000 watts each) and 2 x 750 watt top boxes. Way more than we really need for the smaller venues but the head room makes for crisp clear sound without pushing anything.

    We also have a couple of 18" subs and 4 more top boxes that we link together for large outdoor gigs.

    I know RCF is costly but it never lets us down and lives in our trailer in the humidity of the tropics in Darwin Australia.
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Don't count out Behringer! Last band I was in we used a PMP6000. That thing was reliable and had plenty of power! I own 2 Behringer B212XL speakers and those things pump!
  14. Yeah, both Peavey and Yamaha are good - and, Yes 250-300watts per side for vocals will be enough.
  15. This is a good place to praise a recent amp purchase. I recently bought a Carvin DCM2004L. If you are not aware of this great little amp you should check it out. It has 4 separate channels (300w/ch @8ohms, 500w/ch @4ohm) in a package that is about 10 lbs. It easily powers the 2 mains and 2 monitors. Highly recommended.
  16. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    A pair of Mackie Thumps should be more than enough. Lightweight,and very reliable.
  17. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge

    Eh... Lost 2 out of three i used for monitors at a gig last summer. They were under warranty and AMS fixed them. I sold 'em with disclaimer. Life is too short for gear failure.
  18. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    If you read the SPL specs on the thumps they are pitiful. Maximum long term SPL of 113db @1meter. The Mackie SRM450 does 124dbs which would be twice as loud on paper.
  19. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    +1. If you're playing small venues and using passive speakers, the DCM2004L is a great fit — capable, flexible, compact, and light (10 lbs).
  20. No joke, a Yorkshireman is like a Scotsman without the generosity! :D