Who's responsibility is the PA?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Schwinn, Jun 27, 2004.

  1. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    Tonight, some members of my band decided that we should buy a new PA/ monitoring system as a complete package because our current system is underpowered and can barely handle the lead vocals alone. The cost should be split equally between members.

    However, I have some reservations about this. I will totally help pay for a monitoring system, but I think the PA gear is the singer's responsibility. The bass, drums, guitar don't need to be run through a PA for normal small gigs and bigger gigs have a house PA so I don't see how I share equal financial responsibility for this $3k system. I spent a lot of money on my bass gear and I don't need to run through a PA to be heard. (I've only ever gotten complaints that the bass is too loud.) I feel like a jerk for not wanted to put up my gig earnings toward this new system, but I feel like I'll be paying for something I won't really use and I'm trying to buy a house now. I'm I off base or what? What do you think?
  2. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Singers should not only be responsible for paying for most of the PA; they should be responsible for schelpping the thing around too. Singers are the center of attention - with great power comes great responsibility.
  3. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Personally, I don't like to split the cost of a PA. Bands break up, and someone always winds up with the PA. The only way I would invest in a PA is if I totally payed for a piece of it, (i.e. the monitors, the mains, the power amp, ect.) that way, when the band breaks up, I can take my equipment.
  4. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    It is the singer's responsibility for vocal PA's. Unless he pitches in to buy your next amp, it is unfair to expect you to pay for his.

    IMO, of course.
  5. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I've suggested this to them. Thanks for the idea.

    They way they are putting it is that there are backing vocals, acoustic guitar, and maybe keyboards run through this so it is not just the lead singer's PA. And also that having all the instruments mixed in the PA will make us sound better. I still don't know, but I like the idea of each person owning specific pieces so there is no confusion about who takes what when the band dissolves. So I guess I'm warming up to the idea as long as ownership is clear.
  6. Baofu


    Mar 8, 2003
    I believe the entire band is responsible for the PA. I mean, using some peoples' reasoning, the drummer should have to pay for the PA and our upgraded gear, since we could all hear ourselves fine without a PA with little 30 watt combos before he came and started banging things, ya dig?

    Excellent suggestion of having individual members buy components. Saves a lot of headaches when the band breaks up.
  7. Depends on how you look at it.

    First of all, everyone should take an equal interest in having the best sound possible. If the singer can't be heard clearly at volume, that reflects poorly on the band - regardless of how impressive your individual instrument gear is.

    There is a lot to the point however that bands break up, and members come and go. For that reason, I think its a good idea for someone to have individual ownership of something like that. Might have everyone pitch in a bit, since the sound is good for the band, but have your singer.... or WHOMEVER buy the balance of the gear.

    Other stuff to consider... not all large gigs provide sound. You may want to run your stuff through a PA and let a good soundman handle your sound, even in venues where sound isn't provided.

    Also, some gigs pay better if you provide your own sound. For example... friday night, one of my bands got paid $400 for a three hour gig because we had our own sound. Other bands who used someone else's sound, got paid $300.

    That also raises the point of being able to make money off a good PA system by renting it's use out to a venue where you are playing, and taking a cut from other bands' fees for the use of your system.

    Just stuff to think about.
  8. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I'd like to say that my bandmates and I have reached a nice resolution to this. 4 of the 5 of us agreed to declare ownership over specific pieces in the system and pay for those. I'll be paying for the power amp and the snake. That way things are clearly divided to avoid arguments later. Everybody was cool and I'm looking forward to having a nice Carvin PA and monitoring system next week! After thinking about the whole situation I realized it was pretty ridiculous of me to not want to contribute to improving my band's overall sound.
  9. Sounds like a perfectly reasonable solution!

    Rock on. :bassist:
  10. Joey3313


    Nov 28, 2003
    Chip in for the PA, and then have them all chip in to buy you a new bass.
  11. Though this is not necessarily the point of this topic here --or maybe it is--IMHO it's a good idea to own a small PA of your very own. This will give you enough flexibility to practice (or even play small to medium size gigs) if the "PA owner" quits the band--or you decide to quit the band and start your own later. For around 600 to 800 you can get a pretty darn good powered mixer that'll run monitors and mains, then at least buy a set of monitors and a couple of mics. So for a grand you can have a setup of your own. Sure, it won't be coliseum-level sound, but it'll do quite well...

    Oh I see the band already has an "underpowered" system, maybe you could buy that from them if it's halfways decent...money's no problem, right?

    Anyhow, my point is that it's always beneficial to have an ace up your sleeve when it comes to forming or finding another band, and having a PA setup of your own is a good thing. It also lets you set it up at home and practice singing and playing at the same time, something I am not necessarily good at!!
  12. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    :) I'd love to have a PA of my own but I'm swimming in debt and my girlfriend and I are trying to get a home loan. Unfortunately life gets in the way of music. But it would be nice to own a system. We are going to sell our Mackie power mixer we have to give us a head start on paying for the new stuff.
  13. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Way back when...we were getting started we treated the PA like a member of the band. We cut the money one more time and put it back into the gear. We were working quite a bit and it added up pretty quick. We had a kind of band "prenup" agreement that if anyone left the PA stayed with the band and noone took anything away except their personal gear.
  14. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    IMO it should be the singers responsability to provide the p/a. That IMO is there amp. I bought what I needed to do my job for the band, as did the drummer, guitarist, etc. Why should the singer be any different? It really bugs the heck outta me too, cause whenever I audition a singer they all say the same thing. I dont have a mic or p/a.
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Ok, wait till you tell him you want to DI your bass into his PA
  16. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Different arrangements work for different bands.

    Bottomline, if the house isn't supplying a reasonably decent PA or an event isn't contracting a sound service, what we charge automatically increases.

    Typically, the vocalists have paid for it because the bands have been an important, (if not THE major), source of income for them.

    Sharing the cost among band members may be needed if a good PA is what you need to compete in your market......the old "Spend money to make money" axiom.

    Personally, I don't like sharing the cost. It always seemed to cause friction whenever someone wanted to upgrade the PA. Vocalists get G.A.S., too.
  17. danshee

    danshee Banned

    May 28, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    Contrary to popular opinions here, the whole band should be responsible. A PA is not just for the singer. I guess it depends on how pro the band is and the size of your gigs too. What my band did was all chip in and use gig money as much as possible. Then, we had the agreement that if one person quit, we would buy him out of the band. Now, keep in mind we were totally pro. There were no dumb petty arguments and to top it off we were really good freinds. So, I realize this won't work for some bands. By the way you talk though, you sound like you're somewhat pro level, so try it out in a band meeting or something.
  18. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    An ad on the bulleting board at my local music store for singer wanting band. "Must have tons of PA because I am that good."
  19. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Brotha, I dont have that problem.

    I do freelance work and fill in for those who need a bassist for a gig. Much less hassle, politics, and B.S. that way.
  20. danshee

    danshee Banned

    May 28, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    I guess you are really in the pocket huh. The pocket of no headaches! BIZZAMM!!! :bassist: