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Thread: Buying a P.A.

  1. #1

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    Default Buying a P.A.

    My bandmates and I have progressed to the point where we need a legitimate Public Address system to continue practicing. We have two guitarists, a vocalist, bassist and myself on percussion. We don't mic our guitar amps, and our lead guitarist uses a halfstack (not sure on the head wattage, but it's decently loud). The rhythm only has a 25 watt Fender DSP, but it also gets decent volume. Coupled with our 100 watt bass amp, and my tendency to play very, very loud, the vocalist tends to get lost in the mix.

    We want to have a P.A. that can handle practice with ease. We want a P.A. that would handle, if need be, playing in a decently crowded area (something around 150 people). And we need to do it on a budget.

    We've looked at All-In-One P.A. packages, and talked to a few people on what they think the best ideas are. But the bottom line is that none of us are really well-educated on the specifics. I'm not sure if any of you would be. So I figured I'd ask.

    I have a P.A. in mind, but I can't post the link so I won't. "The Phonic Powerpod 780 / S715 PA Package includes a Powerpod 780 powered mixer and two S715 15" 2-way speakers." That's the description. That goes for $450. Would I better off buying separate components? Or would that work? I'll post more info if needed, but I don't want to breach the rules.

    Thanks for reading, and thanks again if you decide to respond.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Buying a P.A.

    powered mixer AND a pair of 15's for $450? mmmmmm, I would steer clear if it were me.
    put it this way, We were just in this same situation.

    We needed a PA and we're on a really tight budget so we picked up a Behringher Europower pmp2000 powered mixer at GC for $389.
    - 2 x 350-Watt stereo powered mixer (800 Watt bridged mode) 10-channel mixer section features 6 mono and 3 stereo channels plus separate CD/Tape inputs
    - 4-bit stereo FX processor with 100 presets including reverb, chorus, flanger, delay, pitch shifter and various multi-effects
    - 9 IMP "Invisible" Mic Preamps with switchable +48 V phantom power for condenser microphones
    - 3-band EQ, switchable Pad and Clip LEDs on all mono channels
    - Dual 9-band graphic EQ allows precise frequency correction of monitor and main outputs
    -Selectable stereo (main L/R) or double mono (main/monitor) amplifier operation mode
    - Multi-functional stereo Preamp outputs and stereo Power amp inputs

    that being said, Behringher is pretty much the low end of what you can get. Our Mixer works just fine, no issues. Now as for speakers, if you're just running vocals you can probably get away with 12" mains but 15's would be better, you can get low end 12" mains for about $250-300 each. Behringer B212XL, Peavey PR12N


    so all in all for a low end PA you're looking at about $1000 unless you can find some decent used gear

    oh and you probably need a couple monitors to hear whats going on since you're mains will be out in front to avoid feedback
    Last edited by Quadcam79; 05-11-2009 at 11:56 PM.

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  3. #3

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    Default Re: Buying a P.A.

    Yikes,

    that's a bit out of the price range for us. I looked at the P.A. packages on GC's website and the reviews said that they worked good, so what about them is it that's a problem? We don't have a grand to drop on this stuff. I guess it's going to primarily be a practice P.A. if that makes a difference.

  4. #4

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    My band is in the same situation right now. We previously had a bass player who had a PA, but he is no longer with the band, so we need to replace the PA system. Right now at practice we're using an old Peavey head that puts out 250 watts per side, and two Samson speakers. Same problem as you're encountering - the guitars have to turn up pretty loud to cover the drums, so the vocals are muted. So we added a third speaker, and that does the job.

    However, that's just at our practice space, and the speakers are really be used as monitors so that the rest of us can hear the vocals. For a venue we will need something to project to the audience, and we'll continue to use what we have as a monitor system.

    I will say that most of the venues (about 75-80%) that we play will have the PA system supplied. It's for the other 20-25% that we need to cover it.

    We've chosen a Phonic 16-channel mixer with built in effects, a QSC 1400 watt amp, and two JBL 2-way 15" speakers. That will work for now, but we also plan on adding JBL 18" subs and another QSC amp in a couple of months. When we mic the drums, we'll need to add some punch to the system, and the subs and extra amp will do that. This system will pack plenty of punch, and the mixer is pretty easy to learn to use (from what we're reading). Our lead guitarist used to run sound, and our lead vocalist has set up sound systems at 3 churches, so they both know what we need and how to run the mix. Obviously they'll be on stage though, so will have to train someone else to do it.

    Initial investment will be around $1200, and when we add subs and the second amp we'll spend another $1000. There are cheaper solutions, but we're playing a mix or indoor and outdoor venues, and all different sizes, so we need something that will work in a larger venue too.

    PA systems are not cheap, and you have to look at not just how many instruments you're going to run through it, but also how many vocal mics. I'm not an expert on them, just relating what we're doing if that helps.
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  5. #5

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    I would only recommend powered mixers for practice. It's my personal opinion, but I just feel that things get weird in a live situation. Floor monitors may be a good way to go. Just remember Ohm's Law. Do not go under the recommended impedance!!!
    I recommend an unpowered mixer with power amps for the live stuff. You can run a lot more. You may consider looking into Carvin's products. I have been using their power amps for about 15yrs. Never had any problems. I use their 15" monitors and like their clarity.
    All in all, just do a bunch of reading and comparing. Ask other live bands what they think of PA gear. Mackie, JBL, EV, and Crown make awesome stuff, but that comes with a price tag.

  6. #6

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    We could only afford to get the mixer right now, so as for mains I had an old pair of Pioneer 3 ways speakers sitting around, ya know the old solid wood cabinet kind for the 80's. They're rated at 300watts each and are loaded with 15's, 8's and tweets. We use them for vox only and when we practice with a full band I havent had to turn that mixer past 2 and even at that level the vox are screamin above the instruments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fiacovaz View Post
    Quit belly aching and just do it...no other way.
    - RIP Frank

  7. #7

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    I think the key is enough power for a clean signal and possibly more important good cabinets. Our mixer isn't great (an older Peavey XR600c), but we've got decent old EV 100S 12" monitor's and EV SH1502 15" mains. Definitely enough for bars and basic clubs. But those SH1502's are old (you can get them used for like $200 each) but they are the equivalent of like $500 cabinets (each) nowadays. Unpowered too!

    For bigger situations we rent, like for our upcoming gig we're renting 2 amps, 2 more mains and 2 more monitors, mics, etc... since we have a lot of kids performing with us (charity thing at school). I think when you go big having a separate mixer and amps is important.

    Another option for smaller stuff is an unpowered mixer and powered cabinets. I had that on my kit as a 2nd PA on a show and it worked fine.
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  8. #8

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    yamaha mg206 mixer, and br15 speakers. do you have all the necessary mics?
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by NWDrum View Post
    My bandmates and I have progressed to the point where we need a legitimate Public Address system to continue practicing. We have two guitarists, a vocalist, bassist and myself on percussion. We don't mic our guitar amps, and our lead guitarist uses a halfstack (not sure on the head wattage, but it's decently loud). The rhythm only has a 25 watt Fender DSP, but it also gets decent volume. Coupled with our 100 watt bass amp, and my tendency to play very, very loud, the vocalist tends to get lost in the mix.

    We want to have a P.A. that can handle practice with ease. We want a P.A. that would handle, if need be, playing in a decently crowded area (something around 150 people). And we need to do it on a budget.

    We've looked at All-In-One P.A. packages, and talked to a few people on what they think the best ideas are. But the bottom line is that none of us are really well-educated on the specifics. I'm not sure if any of you would be. So I figured I'd ask.

    I have a P.A. in mind, but I can't post the link so I won't. "The Phonic Powerpod 780 / S715 PA Package includes a Powerpod 780 powered mixer and two S715 15" 2-way speakers." That's the description. That goes for $450. Would I better off buying separate components? Or would that work? I'll post more info if needed, but I don't want to breach the rules.

    Thanks for reading, and thanks again if you decide to respond.

    Dont play so loud. I know its fun to let err rip but seriously if you turn down just a little and can hear your vocals and everybody is nice and clean your music will come together way faster, practices will go much smoother, and your neighbiurs and ears will thank you.

    We only run 250 watts through 12" speakers and it never goes above 1/2 volume and thats in a room of 200 people.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Buying a P.A.

    id agree with NR, its way better to have everything equalized at mid to low sound levels than go full blast and blow ear drums out. things might get distorted if you do that, and the singer will have an even harder time unless he's set up real good
    ZildjianLeague/LP/Aquarian/Mapex/Pearl
    Snares: 4
    RIP- Frank, Wolvie, Les Paul
    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl MCX Man View Post
    I wish I was your wife
    Quote Originally Posted by amdrummer View Post
    if double bass is cheating then so is using two sticks

    Forum Rules
    DrumBum
    No metronome?
    The Rudiments

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