What to buy with $250 at GC?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Shroom, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. Shroom


    Dec 12, 2006
    So my band just won a Battle of the Bands last night! Woohoo! (i say "last night" instead of tonight only because its after midnight) It's pretty exciting for us =D

    But anyway, as a prize we got a $250 gift certificate to Guitar Center, and we have no idea what to do with it. Some considerations have been: more/bigger PA speakers (don't think we really have enough mula), moniter(s), a wireless system for the guitarist (don't wanna spend it all on one band member), a subwoofer for the PA (so I can hook the bass in, cause it's not heard well), or to see if we can trade the gift certificate for cash and take a look around the local pawn shops or save it for other things. We're definitely open to other suggestions too, and I figured you wiser, more experienced musicians might know what types of things a band needs.

    Thank you sirs!
  2. what do you have already? that would be helpful.

    If you dont have any kind of recording equipment that is what I would invest in - get everybody to pool 50 bucks a piece, add that to the 250 and you've got enough to get a small DAW and some nice mics.

    I doubt you'll be bale to get cash instead of that card, btw.
  3. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    8 track recorder.

  4. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    $250 isn't really that much if you want to improve your PA. Here's a list of other things you could buy, and get decent quality stuff too:

    - an effects processor (mainly for vocals)
    - a 15-30 band graphic equalizer (for overall sound shaping)
    - some kind of compressor (vocals, bass, guitar...)
    - a mic or two (e.g. shure SM57's or 58's, for micing amps or for backup vocals)
    - mic stands
    - DI boxes (for bass, keyboards, acoustic guitars....)
    - cables, preferably long ones - you can't have enough of them!

    Some recording device could be nice to have, too. Perhaps a Zoom H-2 would be enough? (I'm thinking of buying one of those myself, sounds like a great product and the sound clips I've heard sounded great).
  5. Radial direct boxes, upgrade your cables, a killer vocal mic, all good options.
  6. nubs


    Mar 1, 2005
    do you have to spend it at GC?
    guitar center SUCKS
  7. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    +1 get a Zoom H2 or H4. My H2 has been the most used gear purchase next to my bass rig...
  8. Shroom


    Dec 12, 2006
    (check. our PA has built in effects)- an effects processor (mainly for vocals)
    (check? it also has 3-band Eq for singe channels and an overall 9-band EQ)- a 15-30 band graphic equalizer (for overall sound shaping)
    (check? my bass amp has one built in, and i think the guitar might too. how valuable is a vocal compressor?)- some kind of compressor (vocals, bass, guitar...)
    (check. we could use extra, but 3 are getting the job done for now)- a mic or two (e.g. shure SM57's or 58's, for micing amps or for backup vocals)
    (check)- mic stands
    (check. bass amp has it built in)- DI boxes (for bass, keyboards, acoustic guitars....)
    (check)- cables, preferably long ones - you can't have enough of them!

    And to the guy who asked what we already have:
    -PA, including a mixing board and 2 active, 200 watt speakers. surprisingly, it's not very loud. our vocals have a history of being nearly inaudible
    -3 mics. we could use a couple more
    -a friend with a cheap home studio, who might become our singer if we're lucky. if she became a part of the band, we might not feel bad about buying her come good recording mics, since she only has a couple decent ones
    -120 watt guitar combo amp
    -300 watt Behringer bass amp (with a direct output which I plug into the PA sometimes, because i can only turn the stupid thing up to about half way before it starts to distort)
    -drums. no mics for em, which is ok for the venues we're playing
    -a guy who's ready to make us shirts that'll be done by the end of the week. once their all sold, we should make a profit of about $200, not including the $325 we'll be using to get even more shirts

    Also, whoever said they doubt we'll get cash was right. I didn't go in yet, but he card says right on it that it's "not redeemable for cash or credit."
  9. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I think I know why your "vocals have a history of being nearly inaudible"... :)

    Anyway, it sounds like you need a more powerful PA. Try to find active speakers in the range 300-500w each and a sub or two with at least 500 w, preferably 1000w. Or go for passive ones with separate amps. You could get a used passive system relatively cheap nowadays I think, as everybody seems to want active systems today.
  10. someguy0105

    someguy0105 Guest

    Jul 1, 2007
    Elk River, Minnesota
    Have you tried selling the gift card to someone for cash? A trade essentially.
  11. Shroom


    Dec 12, 2006
    I don't think GC sells active speakers in that range :/ . i checked out the website and it looks like the best active speakers they have are the ones we have. And I think having two PA's (which is essentially what you're suggesting, right?) would be too much of a pain to set up at shows. Not to mention, too many wires to trip over and get tangled.

    What if we returned or sold our current PA and bought a more powerful one with passive speakers? Would we still want one with a 600-1000 watt output, which I guess would mean speakers with power handling of 300-500 watts, or would we need more/less power? Actually, I guess the mixer output would be less, so there's some headroom, but same idea.

    And I'm thinking what the other dude who posted was, and maybe sell the gift certificate so we have a choice of where to buy, and add the money to t-shirt profits and whatever we get back for returning/selling our PA.
  12. southshoreconor


    Oct 30, 2007
    The Road
    Endorsing Artist: Fender Musical Instruments, SIT strings
    if this were my band it would probably be pawned off for cash so we could fill the tank in our van twice lol.
  13. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    No, I didn't mean you should keep two PA's, but one that is powerful enough for your needs. Or then keep the active speakers as monitors. It's always nice to have a few of those.

    If you go for a passive system, this is what you would need:

    - two amps: one for the sub(s) and one for the mains. The wattage should be 300-500 W per channel in 4 ohms for the mains and preferably a bit more for the subs.
    - a cross-over, if the amps don't have low/high pass filters built-in.
    - two passive main speakers that have an RMS rating at the same level as the amp or slightly higher.
    - one or two or more subs, again with an RMS rating such that it can handle all the power the amp can provide. (My old band used to have two large and heavy subs (4 ohms each), but we replaced them with four smaller ones (8 ohms). The reason was that the first ones was a nightmare to carry...) :)

    One small notice still about the wattage. Watts are not the same as decibels. Therefore, look also for the SPL value, expressed in decibels. A higher value mean more decibels per watt. So one speaker might need more power than another one might need to put out a certain volume (in dB's). Also be sure the speakers have the correct impedance (ohm) rating so you don't blow your amps (too low impedance), or get only half of the max effect out of the amp (e.g. if the speakers are 8 ohm and amp needs 4 to reach max effect).

    This post have probably nothing to do with your $250 gift certificate to GC, but thought I should post it anyway... :)
  14. Shroom


    Dec 12, 2006
    No, it was pretty educational. Are subs really necessary, though? The local bands around here seem to get along just fine without em, and we're in high school, so I don't know if we can spare the extra cash.
  15. Rockthesnakepit

    Rockthesnakepit Guest

    Dec 11, 2006
    i'd just buy something as close to 250 that i could, then turn around and sell it back to em. if nothing else works at least you'll get SOME cash for em. or just wait till someone goes to buy a nice amp/guitar/drums/etc. and right before they check out see if they'll swap you, it cant really hurt them right?
  16. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    The thing with the subs is that they offer a better low end than the bass rig (mostly) does, and makes the sound more solid and powerful. It's the subs that get the chicks moving. :cool: Not the 120 Watt guitar amp. ;)

    Subs would be necessary also if you want to mic the bass drum. Anyway, a good mic for the bass drum is rather expensive so you'd need to consider that as well.

    Look at the second-hand market. It should be crowded with great passive systems as everyone seems to want active ones these days. That should keep the prices on a fairly low level. Passive systems can be as good as active, but you just need to carry a little bit more stuff to the gigs. The amps are generally pretty heavy too. If you can cope with that, you should be fine. :)
  17. Geddyfleaharris

    Geddyfleaharris Supporting Member

    Why not load up on sticks, picks, strings etc. If you have a lead singer get him a towel or something for wiping the sweat from his brow when he rocks hard!!! :) But seriously $250 does not go very far so why not take care of the basics for the band? :hyper:
  18. ElectrAcoustic

    ElectrAcoustic Guest

    Aug 29, 2007
    Boston, MA
    +1 on a Powered Sub.. or trade in your pa for something better altogether..