Who buys the PA?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by NKUSigEp, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    We've been putting out ads for singers for a while but run into the problem that we don't have a PA, and neither does anyone who has responded. Is it just expected that since they're the "frontman", they get a free ride? (most of 'em are just glorified karaoke singers at best anyways LOL) The guitarist and I have put every extra cent possible into our respective rigs, so there's pretty much nothing leftover for us to foot the bill for a PA.

    Shouldn't it be the singer's job to provide his/her own PA? I mean, how do they expect to be heard over amplified instruments and drums without it? Not to mention they don't have any other gear to buy. :atoz:
  2. jschwalls


    Sep 4, 2007
    Savannah GA
    its all part of their LSD addiction... Lead Singer's Disease

    I have always had a nice PA... I realized a long time ago that the people in the clubs were not really there to hear an amazing bass/guitar tone. They wanted to be able to hear and understand the lyrics. It's a sad world, I know.

    We get tons of compliments on how "clear" the vocals are live. And other bands have even paid me to come and set their vocal sound up. If the people can hear the vocals well enough to sing along with it, then the majority of the time they could really care less about the instruments..

    This is speaking from an average cover band perpective. I have experimented with having the guitars pulled out of the mix 100%, with just minimal stage volume. And the crowds never complained. I have found that great sounding vocals, a punchy & fat kick drum and a decent sounding bass is usually enough to get people moving.

    I personally do not want the singer to "control" the PA.. that would be a nightmare. So to insure a good sound, My PA, My Rules, lol.. Take your $100 and I'll see you next show.

    Bassists make the best soundmen anyway.
  3. mrwink


    Apr 30, 2000
    Los Angeles area
    I would expect a singer to have a good quality mic.. maybe even wireless mic - but not the whole PA system. In most of the bands that I've played with "someone" has had some type of PA or the venues have had their own PA. I bought my PA years ago when I was a high school choral director and needed it. Now it mostly sits in my garage...

    If it's a serious gigging band then rent for a few gigs and buy a band PA with the gig money - make sure there's an agreement about ownership and what happens to the equipment when you break up.

    I don't think it's a free ride for the singer - it's something that the whole band will be using, not just the singer. I've giggled out loud at craigslist ads that read like this post - "come audition for our band... oh and bring your PA cause we don't have one!"
  4. BassMonstrum


    Mar 7, 2008
    That's the case with one of my bands. We don't have a PA-system, so our singer plugs in to a small guitar-combo, in which he is barely heard.

    We've talked it through and he agrees that it's his job to have the necessary equipment. Just as bassplayers invests in a bass and a rig, singers need to invest in a PA. Doesn't mean they have to buy a huge concertrig, but at least enough to be heard at rehearsals... that's at least my two cents.
  5. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    True story...and as mentioned above, I wouldn't want the singer controlling the PA anyways LOL. :help:

    Good point with the CL ads too, I thought about saying something like that in our ads but I figured I didn't want to turn anyone away who was vocally qualified. So far though, no one's had "it".
  6. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA
    Whoever started the band and is the band leader should provide the PA.

    Singers should have their own mike, just like we have our own bass. Our amps are basically a 'personal use' piece of equipment. A singer might have a small PA or amp to practice vocals though but in a band setting, the person who started the band should have the PA.

    That being said, a nice compromise is that everybody contributes to the PA.

    In one band that I am currently in, I provide the mains, the power and some mic's and stands. Another person provides the monitors and some mic's and stands.

    In the other band that I am currently in, the guy who started it provides the whole PA.

    In the case that I wanted to start my own band, I have enough equipment for a full stereo PA and monitors.

    I also have a small practice PA.

    Hey man, it takes money to play. No doubt about it.


  7. 69nites


    Jul 11, 2006
    in my experience every current member of the band chips in for the PA and then it's band ownership.
  8. Wow, and I thought just putting together a nice bass rig was hard enough!

  9. I have always looked at a PA as "Band" equipment. Almost everyone in the band sings. Our drummer mics his drums through the PA. Acoustic guitars are in the PA as well. We have a mixer and a bunch of odds and ends monitors, cables, and so on.

    Of course this band is a "beer" band. We play once a week over beers and gig monthly. We all have careers, families, and so on. Any money we make playing goes to the "kitty". We buy new equipment with that. If we get an especially large take (over $300 or so) we may pay ourselves.

    The PA was already in place when I was hired. So when we decided to buy a mixer, I threw an extra hundred bucks in. It wasn't expected... but I wanted a nice mixer for the boys.

    This is just my situation... however- if I was doing this professionally and I was in a "serious" band- I would expect the singer to put up some cash too.

    BTW: I have seen quite a few horror shows when bands split up and guys fight over equipment. I am glad I have never been in that situation.
  10. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    As with most bands in an urban situation only a relativly small PA is needed in most club and small concert situations (we are talking blues, old school R&B and classic rock here) so a 1000 watt board with usually just two mains and a couple of monitors work well ... and I own all of ours.

    Anything bigger venue wise and the have their own system

    :) ... To her credit our singer did bring a PA to the band but I upgraded it.
  11. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA
    That's exactly why you contribute equipment instead of money.

    It is so much easier to replace equipment that figure out how the band 'buys out' the member that is leaving.


  12. Buzz


    Feb 3, 2004
    Metro Detroit
    That looks good on paper, but when there's fall out and members leave, it can get ugly. I bought my own floor monitor, mics, stands and cables.

    The old joke is, "If you own the PA you'll never be kicked out of the band". But there is truth in humor. :smug:
  13. dcr

    dcr Supporting Member

    With the exception of a few background vocals, I don't sing -- certainly not lead -- and never really have much.

    That being said, from the beginning I've always owned a nice PA -- mostly because I've always been fortunate to afford it since I've been blessed with good jobs and a good career. So far, I've never had to argue about who owns what when somebody leaves...because I own it all!

    FWIW, I've started or co-started most of the bands I've been in, but never really did the "leader" thing. Provide technical support and vision, perhaps, but direction has always been democratic.

  14. 69nites


    Jul 11, 2006
    that's just irresponsible if anything were to ever get ugly.

    if anyone leaves the band the rest of the band should refund their investment....

    The only time I've ever done it we all signed a contract when the purchase was made and when I made my exit I got my money back promptly.
  15. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years

    May 3, 2008
    I agree with the PA is community property and LOL with the humor.
    The kicker is if someone leaves the band. Like a pre-nuptial, if you are thrown out or leave the bad for other opportunities then you give up your interests in the PA.

    Sound reasonable?
  16. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    True...we're not so "urban" though LOL. I anticipate a lot of our gigs to be outdoors which is fine with me - the bigger the space, the better my Aggies sound :D . And also playing original metal songs doesn't typically bring in the big bucks if you know what I mean.

    But back to the main point...we're NOT a full band yet and we're not gigging yet so there's no stock-piling of profits from shows. Not having a PA has been detrimental to finding a singer. Now I feel like I'm venting instead of helping the cause LOL :rollno:
  17. I play at a weekly jam type gig. The Pa they had was crap, but no one had any intention of upgrading it. You could NEVER hear vocals.

    So..........this is what I did.........................

    My bass rig is a QSC plx 1602 and preamp - and I typcially only use one side of the amp. I tried adding it to the crappy powered mixer, but it was always crackly....so I didn't trust it. I bought a PV8 non powered board and a older set of EV 12" monitors. That worked great, and recently added a set of Yamaha 10" monitors. I have 5-6 mics and a few mic stands.

    If I ever join a real band, I think I can contribute towards a "real" PA, but this is ok for small rooms and practice. It will certainly make a great monitor system in a full PA situation. I would not consider it a grown up PA by any means, but until someone has something better to bring, it works well. Sometimes, I Use my Peavey T Max bass head and devote both channels of the QSC to the board for a real monitor setup. Otherwise, I have to Paralleled mains, one acting as a monitor......not perfect, but it works.
  18. Guest043

    Guest043 Guest

    Apr 8, 2008
    this is a great post. not just because i am a bassist, i agree that we make the best sound guys, either bass or key guys. singers gennerally dont know what theyre doing when it comes to audio, guitarists dont care if theyre the only one being heard, and once i played with a band where the drummer was the designated soundguy, and that was a horror.

    it would make sence for the singer to buy the nice PA, but they very rarely do. ive found a lot of drummers have them, cause where the drums are tends to be where the rehearsals happen. a lot of guitar players have them too. ideally, a singer would own it and know to an extend how to use it, but wouldent mind the rest of the band tweaking it (as long as the guitarist doesent touch it ;) )
  19. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA
    Hell no! That can be a lot of cash!



  20. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA

    Mother necessity is the mother of invention.

    Or maybe that was Frank Zappa?



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