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Tech: PA help...

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GUEST,Irish Mark 16 May 05 - 04:40 PM
GUEST 16 May 05 - 05:33 PM
Richard Bridge 16 May 05 - 05:40 PM
s&r 16 May 05 - 05:45 PM
GUEST 16 May 05 - 05:54 PM
mandotim 16 May 05 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Leadfingers 16 May 05 - 06:14 PM
Pat Cooksey 16 May 05 - 06:39 PM
Richard Bridge 16 May 05 - 09:46 PM
Kaleea 16 May 05 - 10:59 PM
Allan Dennehy 17 May 05 - 01:02 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 May 05 - 01:49 AM
GUEST,mooman 17 May 05 - 04:35 AM
GUEST 18 May 05 - 04:49 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 May 05 - 04:58 AM
treewind 19 May 05 - 10:16 AM
treewind 19 May 05 - 01:59 PM
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Subject: Tech: PA help...
From: GUEST,Irish Mark
Date: 16 May 05 - 04:40 PM

Hi - hoping someone here might be able to help me.

I've recently started a band (irish ballads and tunes mainly) and we've just been booked for our first gig (Huzzah!).

I'm ploughing through what I can find on PA systems, but I'm struggling to find any objective opinions.

I'm going to need to put 3 voices and 3 instruments through a system big enough to fill a good sized pub. I'd ideally like to go for one of those nifty click together portable jobs so I can cart it around easily.

Anyone hear have any recommendations?

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
Date: 16 May 05 - 05:33 PM

My Yorkville MP6d would do you folks nicely...

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 May 05 - 05:40 PM

6 inputs rules the Peavey and the Fender compact systems out. The Fender is godawful anyway.

At Tenterden last year, Cliff Bayliss was (I hear) using a 1 kilowatt system in a low-ceilinged pub, and the cries of drunken Henry and Harriet were still louder than his music about 8 feet from the speakers. And a kilowatt of mandolin really does penetrate!

Of course if people had been prepared to listen, it would have been different.

Now that the series 1 AKG D880 has been replaced by the series 2 (which is crap), you might just as well use Shure SM58 mics for vocals. They are overpriced, but I don't think the Sennheisers are as good. Do not go near the Behringer mics.

There is a fair Yamaha powered desk, I think it's called the EMX5000, 500 watts per side (or you can use one channel for the foldback and one for the front of house) - 12 channels. If that is too dear the Phonic 740 is better than it has a right to be at the price but it is only 6 channels and much lower powered. If you use it make sure the people with piezo pickups get the ultra-high impedance inputs, instruments with a pre-amp inside can manage with the ordinary high impedance ones. Yamaha also do a box amp with 6 inputs, and 3 200 watt amps so you can use one for foldback and two for front of house - it might be called the 680.

Build your own speaker cabs - lots of design info at the Subwoofer DIY pages. Eminence drivers are the best value for money. Use Motorola Piezo horns (the powerline series). Put two (in series) in the same cab as one kappapro 12 (eminence) for the tops, and if you aren't running kick drum or electric bass guitar, with a kappapro 15 LF in the subs, for acoustic music you will have plenty of wellie (with the big Yamaha, forget the subs if you use the Phonic or small Yamaha), without needing a crossover. Make your own speaker leads and make them thick!

Use a DI box for the instruments - the Behringer 4-way one is fine.

Build your own foldback speakers too.   Preferably 4 of them, and you will find one Eminence Apha 12 and a horn in each will be enough. If you want to use the internal amps in the desk for the front of house, pretty well any power amp will do for the foldback, I'm currently using a Hill I got off ebay for under £100 and it came out of the ark, but is still nearly 700 watts per side.

If you are prepared to spend the money to save the time I believe the York (or is it Yorkeville? systems are well spoken of - I think they are Canadian.

Bose I do not like and they are very very dear.

Mackie have lost the plot - their powered speakers are way overpriced, and their mixing desks are now built in Malaysia or somewhere.

Ebay is a good place to buy packs of mic leads - always carry several spares. Buy guitar leads where you can try them and be prepared to pay for quality. Always carry spare PP9 batteries. Buy mic stands where you can try them, the shipping costs to get them from a distance are foolish. Carry a good quality power lead extension and splitter board, and an ELCB. Foam rubber shields for the mics, sold as pop screens, can save your life if the mains supply is dodgy and the mics go live. Also carry a lead tester.

Use headphones to check the foldback mix, you can't rely on people to tell you what they are hearing.

Always use slightly more reverb on the voices than the singers want - from behind the speakers their voices will sound "rounder" than out front.

Shoot guitarists who want to try out their amps before the system is up tested and ready, or at least carry a Louisville slugger for them.

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: s&r
Date: 16 May 05 - 05:45 PM

something like this should be a good starter system


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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
Date: 16 May 05 - 05:54 PM

If your starting out with 3 singers w/instruments, get 8 or 12 channels. You'll find you want to add something pretty soon and with 6 your stuck, additional channels don't go bad from lack of use. I have a Mackie CFX12 system. They are expensive, but they're easy to move, easy to set up, and very road worthy. Mine takes a bit of a beating, (not everyone I play with treats it like their own), and has remained very reliable for about 10 years now.

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: mandotim
Date: 16 May 05 - 05:57 PM

The click together jobs are probably not powerful enough for the task you describe, as they are only about 150 watts total. We have a Carlsbro Traveller for small gigs; it's ok, but not enough punch for a large noisy pub. We also have a HK Audio LUCAS system. 600 watts, loud, very portable and fantastic quality. The amps are built into the bass bin, and there are two small satellite mid/treble units. All you need is a decent mixer, preferably with built-in effects, and away you go. Not cheap, although they do come up for sale on ebay from time to time at reasonable prices. These systems are built in Germany, and are very reliable and simple to use. They come in several sizes, from about 350 watts up to 2000 watts. The whole thing packs together, and is on wheels. Hope this helps.
Tim from Bit on the Side

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: GUEST,Leadfingers
Date: 16 May 05 - 06:14 PM

s&r is pointing you in the right direction with Thomann ! Check their site out - LOTS of kit all at sensible prices , good delivery times and delivery chrage is ONE charge per order , so VERY reasonable . I
hate to agree with an Anonymous Guest , but spare channels are indeed a good idea , though a twelve maight be a bit OTT !!
A couple of years ago we got a set of SM58's and boom stands for our trio at a total cost of about ninety quid a head - inc delivery !!

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: Pat Cooksey
Date: 16 May 05 - 06:39 PM

I use a Dynacord 1000 watt mixer, and speakers, which I bought from
Thomann, here in Germany, the mixer is the size of a small suitcase
with six inputs, this is powerfull enough for a very big hall and
sounds really good.
It's fairly expensive, but I'm sure there are cheaper versions about.

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 May 05 - 09:46 PM

Shure are a lot cheaper in the USA than the UK.
Dynacord are good.
Hughes and Kettner suffer from poorly protected corners, and I find the sound unconvincing - sort of like a large transistor radio. The music department at North West Kent College used to use them and there was always a pile of blown drivers lying about...
Thomann a definite possible.
Do go for the spare channels if you can. But the modern Mackie is not what the old Mackie was. If you are offered a 10 year old US built Mackie at a sensible price, grab it - but not the modern ones, and you will need power amps.

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: Kaleea
Date: 16 May 05 - 10:59 PM

Dare I even mention my "Chick PA" as I call it. As some say, I'm a bit chronologically challenged, and can no longer heave the heavy equipment. I therefore invested in the Roller Rogue PA, which is one unit which contains mixer as well as speaker. Actually, I have 2 of them, and I can plug 4 items into each unit. It is on wheels, & has a handle which pulls out like luggage does these days. It works quite well in a wide variety of rooms. I am, however, an acoustic Musician & so don't require eardrum bursting power.

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: Allan Dennehy
Date: 17 May 05 - 01:02 AM

Spare channels are a great idea but dont buy too complicated a mixer unless you have time to go to evening classes to learn how to use the stuff. You probably cant go too compact with min. 6 channels but arent there enough of ye to carry it in? But avoid the heavy wooden speakers if you (like me) dont/cant carry heavy shit.
There are loads of used pa units around that have never been used very much.

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 May 05 - 01:49 AM

big noisy pub
the dynachord or the peavey - the 500watt peavey - and they do a lightweight but very big speaker. don't buy the yamaha either which for some reason isn't powerful enough despite the 500watt label and many attractive bells and whistles. but the 1000 watt is better.

the mackie system is pretty damn good also. expensive, but good.
I've seen the Carlsboro power amp mixer used by a local duo - but the peavey speakers are better or even better JBL( but they are heaveee!)

I've got two fender fold up ones - they're brilliant for little quiet venues old peoples homes - folkclubs where they shut up. but they couldn't deal with a bass instrument - tiny little speakers - the bose is really the same - or at least it was, last time I tried one, which is a while back. and as for crowd noise - remember Jerry garcia's dictum about PA - either you eat the room, or the room eats you.

one piece of advice - go out see what your competitors are using. see what works. buy it -even if the cost frightens you. if you buy stuff that doesn't work - you will die on your arse and your band will split up.

if your credit card can buy it, get it. then you will be the boss. not out of power mania, but if fred the fiddler gets ego tantrums - he can go and tant somewhere else - even if they all leave you - you can put together another project. Insist that the group help you carry it in - even if does arrive in your car - its the least they can do, after the financial burden you have shouldered for them. if fred the fiddler needs twenty minutes to tune up and goes straight to that when he arrives - be blunt.

these are all sad comments on human frailty I guess, but i think most people would recognise the accuracy of my observations.

try to develop a good working relationship with a local shop - one big enough to lend another one if they are repairing your system. Rude and disinterested...? then you MUST look elsewhere, if they aren't interested enough to be polite at this point when they might make money out of you, its pretty much downhill all the way.

Best of luck!

Big al whittle

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: GUEST,mooman
Date: 17 May 05 - 04:35 AM

Second the Dynacord suggestion from Pat Cooksey.

I have used a slightly smaller version (200 or 300W per side) but for design, portability and sound it was excellent.

You might check out the Laney PA systems. I think there are 8 and 10 channel power-mixers with matched cabinets at a decent price and the quality is fairly reasonable.

Now that my "band" days are behind me I tend to use a combination of acoustic combos (Trace Elliott and Laney) and a Behringer bass combo, mixed or singly according to to the needs of the venue.



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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
Date: 18 May 05 - 04:49 PM

Thanks for the help guys. The clear no no on the compact systems really helped - some of the promo materials they put out make big claims about the sort of audiences they can handle - Fender have been bandying around figures in the 500 head region for the PD-250.

Once I started looking away from those, it became a lot easier. Finance has dictated much, but today I got hold of a 500 watt Peavey system, on some useful interest free terms.

Thanks again for the guidance.

Slan agat

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 May 05 - 04:58 AM

I love the Fender Passport sysyem - I am a real fan of them, but they are not for what you are intending to do.

You have made a good choice. The Peavey speakers - well they do wide variety, but they best ones to go with that amp, I have found are the PR15's. They are very light for getting on a stand, but quite powerful.

You should be okay for noisy pubs and small halls.

all the best

Big Al whittle

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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: treewind
Date: 19 May 05 - 10:16 AM

If I needed a PA I'd go to Thomann
and get a pair of EV SX300 speakers and at T.Amp TA 1400 II. I have a mixer, but if I didn't the Soundcard Spirit range (what I have) is a good all-rounder.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PA help...
From: treewind
Date: 19 May 05 - 01:59 PM

Duh. That's

(Mental note: always check links before posting)


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