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Help: Equipment for performing

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Susan from California 18 Aug 00 - 02:05 PM
Willie-O 18 Aug 00 - 02:20 PM
jeffp 18 Aug 00 - 02:32 PM
Jacob B 18 Aug 00 - 02:53 PM
Whistle Stop 18 Aug 00 - 02:57 PM
Bev and Jerry 18 Aug 00 - 03:22 PM
Pseudolus 18 Aug 00 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Les B 18 Aug 00 - 04:04 PM
Susan from California 18 Aug 00 - 07:11 PM
GUEST, Banjo Johnny 18 Aug 00 - 07:26 PM
Sorcha 18 Aug 00 - 08:45 PM
Big Mick 18 Aug 00 - 09:58 PM
Branwen23 18 Aug 00 - 11:38 PM
Branwen23 18 Aug 00 - 11:39 PM
Lox 19 Aug 00 - 12:19 AM
Willie-O 19 Aug 00 - 12:25 AM
Branwen23 19 Aug 00 - 12:25 AM
Willie-O 19 Aug 00 - 08:00 AM
Susan from California 19 Aug 00 - 12:40 PM
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Subject: Equipment for performing
From: Susan from California
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 02:05 PM

We are getting ready to start perfoming--coffee houses and the like, and I need advice from folks who are not trying to sell me stuff! I saw what looked like a great amp on ebay, but I like to be an informed consumer so I didn't bid. It was a Crate Acoustic--CA125. Sold for $380. Did I blow it?

Here's what I think we need--2 mics for singing, a pic up or separate mic for a 12 string accoustic guitar, mic stands, mic cords, amps (or preferably one amp that has 3 plug ins, to reduce storage space and floor space and car space, and wear and tear:-) on our backs). Where should we start? What are some brands to avoid or look for ? Am I just asking impossible questions?


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Willie-O
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 02:20 PM

You need a small powered mixer, not a guitar amp (at least, not first). You can run all your mikes and pickups through it.

I've been looking through the deals at Mars Music--if you check out www.marsmusic.com have a look through the "hot deals" section--if you can live with a 4-channel, 60-watt mixer, they are offering a complete small system (mixer, speakers, one mike, stand, and cables) suitable for solo performers, or duos without extensive instrumentation, for $199 U.S., apparently a clearance price or something--their list price for the system is $499, which is still bargain basement. The brand is Kustom. And I think they ship free in the continental US.

Also in the hot deals section, they have a variety of pretty good mikes _heavily_ discounted.

Anybody have experience with this store? They seem to be like, Walmart for music stores in the U.S., which ain't necessarily a good thing. But deals,my god, deals. No stinkin auction either.

Willie-O
gotta pack up my funky little PA and go play...


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: jeffp
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 02:32 PM

There is a Mars Music store near me, where I go for strings, picks, etc. Huge store, great prices. I haven't bought anything big from them, but I've generally been impressed.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Jacob B
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 02:53 PM

For comparison purposes, here is another music equipment vendor who sells through the web. I've bought some stuff from them, but don't really know how their prices compare with anyone else's.


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 02:57 PM

You got it just right -- it's like WalMart for music gear. I've bought a lot of stuff from them, because I know what I want and they have good prices (they can afford to, because of the volume of merchandise they move) and a good return policy (return anything within 30-plus days for a full refund, no questions asked). The return policy is really helpful, because I think you need to spend some time with most music gear to really get a sense of whether it's working out for you -- trying it out in the store only gets you so far.

For a performing system, I realize money and portability are factors, but don't ignore the way it sounds. The all-in-one systems (Crate acoustic amps, etc.) frequently don't cut it except for on-stage monitoring purposes, because they don't have the projection or the spatial dispersion that you get from having two PA speakers at either side of the stage (or of the performing area, whatever it consists of). Think about what size room you'll need to fill (i.e., the biggest gig you expect to play), and how much volume and "body" you want your sound to have (I realize we're talking small-scale acoustic music here, but you still want the sound to have a little "meat" to it). Some of the systems whose main selling point is portability really don't move enough air to sound good, and if (when) you try to "push" the system they can sound horrendous.

For small acoustic gigs I use a Mackie mixing board with on-board effects (used sparingly), a QSC power amp, and two JBL TR125 speakers on Ultimate Support tripod stands. With microphones, stands, cables, etc., it probably cost somewhere between $2000 and $2500 (U.S.). This is probably more bulk, and more expense, than you're after. But it fills the room, sounds great, and hasn't broken my back (yet). After a lifetime of buying, selling, and cursing my musical equipment, I have come to the conclusion that you're better off spending a little more at the outset to get something you can work up to, rather than going cheap at first and immediately discovering the equipment's shorcomings. Ultimately, it's cheaper to buy the good stuff once than to buy the cheap stuff over and over again. I just wish it hadn't taken me so long to learn this lesson. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 03:22 PM

Susan:

Here are four pieces of advice coming from twenty years of performing with a small sound system:

1. Buy quality. Our Sunn system has survived about 2000 gigs with only minor repairs (which we did ourselves).

2. Buy light. Remember you will have to carry this stuff for (hopefully) many years, up and down stairs, onto and off of stages, into and out of your vehicle, etc.

3. Buy simple. Unless you want to spend more time as a technician than a performer, get something that's simple to connect, simple to use, and simple for you to understand.

4. Buy capability. You seem to know what your needs are today but what about tomorrow? One of our biggest regrets is that we only bought four channels because that's what we needed at the time. Now we need six and could use eight. Plan ahead.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Pseudolus
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 03:58 PM

I can't imagine a 60 Watt Amp cutting it for even a small room. I've always felt that you don't want to be maxing out your amp every time you use it. I have an 8 channel Yamaha EMX860 and it has served me really well. I do a single accoustic thing so at times it seems like overkill but when my friends show up at a gig (and they have!!), the channels get filled up quick and I have the power to go with it. It's pretty light and can be gotten for around $600 - $700.

Good Luck! Frank


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 04:04 PM

I agree with Bev & Jerry - Go for a Sound Head that will accept eight or more inputs - you never know when you'll need to add an extra "hired" musician to give you a Bluegrass, or Celtic, or Old Timey, or Country, or Whatever sound. It can make you way more versatile. Trying to find room for them in too small a set-up can be a real pain.

There was a good thread a few weeks ago on microphones (anyone got the blue clicky stick handy?) that should give some insight as to types of mics.

It's a real toss-up between a mic or a pick-up for instruments. Our group (four piece) is coping with a lead singer who plays rhythm guitar and has a hard time hearing herself in the monitors. When we take her guitar mic up to the point she feels comfortable, the guitar is so "boomy" it drives the rest of us crazy. We're trying to talk her into trying a pick-up that can be equalized a little better.

What is a real pleasure, but usually not affordable, is to bring along your own sound technician. They can do much of the humping of heavy gear, check out how all of you sound at the same time, get your drinks, and drive back from those gigs that are 300 miles from home! Sleeping with one (but not more than one) of the band members is an optional perk!


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Susan from California
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 07:11 PM

Thanks for the advice so far, I guess what I really need to do is go down to my local music store... I couldn't find the recent thread on microphones, tried two searches and maybe I'm just blind...if someone could post a blue clicky I'd be most obliged :-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: GUEST, Banjo Johnny
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 07:26 PM

You said "we" but you didn't say how many. Don't see how anyone can answer this without knowing whether you're a solo or a chorus of 15. == Johnny


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Sorcha
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 08:45 PM

I would suggest OMNI directional mikes, rather than UNI directional. UNI's are just too hard to get into. Also, check the impedence values on mikes, you need a large range.

Equipment needed for gig: 1 fiddle, 1 bow. Rosin, tuner, accompniansts optional. Sheet music and music stand VERY optional. Sound Person== good. Then one of you does not have to run to the Board every time you get feed back because somebody does something stoopid. Floor monitors==good. I played without them for years, and the first time I played under one I was BLOWN AWAY!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Big Mick
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 09:58 PM

It is hard to beat the SM series of Mic's from Shure. I usually use the SM58 (about $125.00) for vocals and the SM57 for instruments. For a sound system a powered amp head is great. My first one was an eight hole Soundtech with JBL speakers and stands. Found the Soundtech in a pawn shop for $200.00. The speakers and stands were about $1100.00 new although if you watch the bargain ads and pawn shops you can do better. If your gigs are mostly in small rooms, 100 people or so, and you have only a couple of performers, you might consider the Fender all in one systems. For about $700.00 you can get a system that is all set to go. Elderly sells them. CLICK HERE to see the description. These are a very good value and are a 250 Watt system. And they pack up and transport very easily. I am strongly considering one for solo gigs.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Branwen23
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 11:38 PM

I hope this works... this is supposed to be a link to the thread about microphones...

Click here


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Branwen23
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 11:39 PM

cool! I did something right!


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Lox
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 12:19 AM

About the most reliable mikes around for gigging are "SM-58's" made by "shure". They are extremely versatile, good quality, but most importantly, they last! You could bathe one in nitric acid whilst setting off small semtex charges all over it, and then drop it into the sun, and it would look at you in the way a bored crocodile might look at an irate sea-sponge.

If you can bung a basic PA together, with a seperate desk and amplifier, and a couple of monitors then you'll be laughing. I just think it makes setting your levels a bit easier even though you'll still probably be doing it from the stage.

The mike advice is good. I have no reason to give sure any business other than the fact that SM-58's & SM57's are bloody great. (Get the real thing though, there are a lot of copies around that can't stand the pace.)


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Willie-O
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 12:25 AM

I've been using a borrowed 60-watt, six channel Yamaha mixer plugged directly into the speaker of my guitar amp. It's adequate for what I'm doing...I could borrow speakers with stands from the same person that owns the board, but frankly this gig doesn't pay enough to do all that on my own. Decent mikes make up for a lot of hardware shortcomings--and indecent ones will just make any amplification sound like crap. You make do with what you can get away with...but its true, you can't have too many channels and a four=channel alone is probably not enough to provide sound for a duo. And what if one of the channels goes bad? (Frequently happens). Wouldn't happen soon with new equipment, one hopes.

Those little Mackie mixers WhistleStop mentioned are a wonder, Susan, although I've never seen anyone using them as the main mixer in a PA. They are unpowered, very compact and quite inexpensive. Usually eight channels.(I don't know what they cost in the States, maybe $250?) Since its an unpowered mixer, you can plug one into a channel of a mother sound board (even a 4-channel) and have individual sound control at your fingertips. A lot of multi-instrumentalists use them like this so they can set up and manage their own variety of sounds without having to have to trust the sound tech (if there is one) to set up all the eq's and balance everything to suit each instrument.

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Branwen23
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 12:25 AM

i absolutely love the Audix OM-5 that I bought. It has such a mellow, clear sound... all the advice on the Shure was a great testimonial, but after trying them both, I liked the Audix better

-branwen-


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Willie-O
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 08:00 AM

Here's a blue clicky thing to the microphone thread we just had going--since the last time I checked, RichM has added some answers to a question I had--thanks Rich!

Willie-O
off to sell hardware again (non-musical)


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Subject: RE: Help: Equipment for performing
From: Susan from California
Date: 19 Aug 00 - 12:40 PM

Banjo Johnny--the "we" is two singers one who plays guitar. We are joined occaisionally by a lead guitar.

Everyone--thanks for all the help!


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