PA Equipment etc Help

Right.....been rehearsing for a while with a band (4 piece) with a view to playing some gigs. We are playing a charity work night thing where we will be doing 1 song maybe 2. But since we've been rehearsing we'd like to keep it going. My question is, at the moment we just rehearse with Guitar Amp, Bass Amp, Roland electronic drumkit, with the vocalist going through the same amp as the drumkit on a separate channel. All very basic, to say the least but as this all came about with the intention of playing a song or two, we were never going to start buying equipment. But as that is changing we'd like to look at sounding a bit better. We have no more inputs/channels to accommodate any more mics, or keyboard.

So are we at the point where the most efficient way of handling this is to get a mixer with  more inputs and some sort of largish speaker for the vocals,keyboards and drums probably (as they are currently going through a guitar amp) (it actually surprisingly  sounds better than your thinking!) to go through? What do people normally do for rehearsing?

I have no idea on what is required, mixers/powered mixers/speakers/ etc etc.

Any pointers would be good. Don't want to spend a fortune, but at the same time, if we are going to invest, perhaps go for something expandible if required for gigging.

  

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  • drwiddlydrwiddly Frets: 340
    edited September 26
    The usual route would be a pair of powered PA speakers and a mixing desk with the required number of channels. You will need stands for the speakers, cables, etc and the required number of mics and stands for singers and guitar amps w/out DI.

    Most large stores (Gear4music, GAK, etc.) do bundles with most of what you need at a lower price than buying the bits separately. You might also want to think about a monitor for the singer.
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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 1666
    Just a thought but it might be easier to find someone locally that can do the sound for you.     Either a local engineer who can talk you through the gear as they set it up and sound check or even someone you know in another band that will bring their gear to a few gigs.     

    If if it goes well you’ll know it’s worth buying some gear but you can easily sink a lot of cash into sounding good - especially if you’re using an electric kit as opposed to just being able to get away with a small pa for vocals.  
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33342
    The cheapest and simplest solution for you is likely to be an old-fashioned PA 'box' amp - like a guitar amp head, but with a basic mixer on the front, and power section on the back - and a pair of passive speakers, preferably no larger than 12". These tend to come in power ratings from about 150W up to about 600W (usually split between two output channels on the bigger ones), and made by Peavey, Laney, Yamaha and many others. They're simple to carry and set up, usually pretty reliable, and can be expanded by adding powered monitors and/or sub bass bins. You will find systems like this in well-used but still working-fine condition as cheap as £100-£200.

    The reason for avoiding 15" speakers if possible, although they were the most popular size 10-20 years ago, is that they're still not properly full-range for putting bass or kick drum through, but will conflict with proper subs if you add those, and often lack midrange punch and clarity for vocals. Although if you're intending to put a keyboard through it *without* adding subs, they might actually help.

    Second choice would be a mixing desk - preferably one specifically designed for live use, with on-board reverb - and a pair of powered PA speakers. This is the modern solution and works well, but can be a little more complicated to set up - if nothing else you need more power points, but the desks also tend to be a bit more complex. It's also probably easier to expand later than the first option since the desk will most likely have more output options. You can add subs and monitors in the same way.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • ICBM said:
    The cheapest and simplest solution for you is likely to be an old-fashioned PA 'box' amp - like a guitar amp head, but with a basic mixer on the front, and power section on the back - and a pair of passive speakers, preferably no larger than 12". These tend to come in power ratings from about 150W up to about 600W (usually split between two output channels on the bigger ones), and made by Peavey, Laney, Yamaha and many others. They're simple to carry and set up, usually pretty reliable, and can be expanded by adding powered monitors and/or sub bass bins. You will find systems like this in well-used but still working-fine condition as cheap as £100-£200.

    The reason for avoiding 15" speakers if possible, although they were the most popular size 10-20 years ago, is that they're still not properly full-range for putting bass or kick drum through, but will conflict with proper subs if you add those, and often lack midrange punch and clarity for vocals. Although if you're intending to put a keyboard through it *without* adding subs, they might actually help.

    Second choice would be a mixing desk - preferably one specifically designed for live use, with on-board reverb - and a pair of powered PA speakers. This is the modern solution and works well, but can be a little more complicated to set up - if nothing else you need more power points, but the desks also tend to be a bit more complex. It's also probably easier to expand later than the first option since the desk will most likely have more output options. You can add subs and monitors in the same way.
    Thanks very much. Any suggestions on tried and tested Brands/models?  
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33342
    Roysterdoyster said:

    Any suggestions on tried and tested Brands/models?  
    Peavey and Yamaha are the best I've come across at the lower end of the market - Peavey tends to be a bit cheaper and less 'refined' sounding than Yamaha but pretty bombproof and punchy. Laney, Carlsbro and quite a few others (even including Marshall) also made quite decent ones, but not quite as good. Celestion and EV made good speakers - if you can find a pair of old EV Stage 200s they often look scruffy but sound great and are very hard to kill.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • ICBM said:
    Roysterdoyster said:

    Any suggestions on tried and tested Brands/models?  
    Peavey and Yamaha are the best I've come across at the lower end of the market - Peavey tends to be a bit cheaper and less 'refined' sounding than Yamaha but pretty bombproof and punchy. Laney, Carlsbro and quite a few others (even including Marshall) also made quite decent ones, but not quite as good. Celestion and EV made good speakers - if you can find a pair of old EV Stage 200s they often look scruffy but sound great and are very hard to kill.
    I've got a pair of EV SX300s if you want them...also some EV 400 watt bass bins. Old school but sound great and reliable.
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  • ICBM said:
    Roysterdoyster said:

    Any suggestions on tried and tested Brands/models?  
    Peavey and Yamaha are the best I've come across at the lower end of the market - Peavey tends to be a bit cheaper and less 'refined' sounding than Yamaha but pretty bombproof and punchy. Laney, Carlsbro and quite a few others (even including Marshall) also made quite decent ones, but not quite as good. Celestion and EV made good speakers - if you can find a pair of old EV Stage 200s they often look scruffy but sound great and are very hard to kill.
    I've got a pair of EV SX300s if you want them...also some EV 400 watt bass bins. Old school but sound great and reliable.
    Cheers,thanks for the offer. But being in NI, they’re probably not a option.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33342
    firepaulmusic said:

    I've got a pair of EV SX300s if you want them...also some EV 400 watt bass bins. Old school but sound great and reliable.
    That’s a seriously good rig with a couple of decent power amps.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 197
    Can recommend older peavey hi-sys speakers like the 2xt which can be picked up for £40-50 on gumtree.  Well built, sound great and can handle a hell of a lot being thrown at them.

    add that to icbm's idea of box mixer amp or a smaller mixer and older heavier pa amp ans mixer.
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  • onyironyir Frets: 1
    Being just a charity gig (for now, I know), a "feeler" gig, I would try to hire/borrow a couple of main speakers (active or passive and an amp), a monitor speaker and a desk and see how you feel about it.
    I see a lot of bands starting up with just a couple of mains, without monitors for the vocals, and I think it's a big mistake. Like it or not the singer is the face of the band and he/she needs to hear himself clearly to perform.
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  • I'd look into a cheap in-ear monitor system for the vocalist. Singer in my band has this...

    https://www.gear4music.com/PA-DJ-and-Lighting/Wireless-In-Ear-Monitor-System-by-Gear4music/OUE
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  • ICBM said:
    firepaulmusic said:

    I've got a pair of EV SX300s if you want them...also some EV 400 watt bass bins. Old school but sound great and reliable.
    That’s a seriously good rig with a couple of decent power amps.
    Also got 2x Amcron MT1200s. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33342
    firepaulmusic said:

    Also got 2x Amcron MT1200s. 
    Now that *is* an old-school rig :).

    MT1200... when men were men and a PA rack weighed as much as a small house...

    https://medias.audiofanzine.com/images/normal/amcron-mt-1200-99612.jpg

    I bet that lot sounds absolutely great, but I do understand why most people have moved on from that technology.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • andyozandyoz Frets: 667
    edited October 1
    This whole Allen & Heath ZED FX range is best of the current crop for the money.  Here's one second hand in NI but this opn ly has enough inputs to run vox really. 

    If you could find the slightly larger ZED-12FX then you'd have the basis for a simple band PA.  Most pubs bands just put the kick through vox, guitar (for some spread), bass and kick through the PA.  Don't but the bass or kick through it unless you have subs though.

    If you want to go for powered the Allen Heath 12PA is solid and go for silly low money as most use active speaker now and don't want mixing desks with built in amps.

    Best active speakers for the buck are still probably the Yamaha DXR12 as a good starting point. They still hold their value as so popular though.  As others have said Peavey hard to beat for the lower end priced stuff and can sound fine as long as you know the limits (most just cane the shite outta it and it sounds rough)

    If you've got young legs and backs and and prepared to life heavier stuff there's loads of second hand bargains out there really.
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  • andyoz said:
    This whole Allen & Heath ZED FX range is best of the current crop for the money.  Here's one second hand in NI but this opn ly has enough inputs to run vox really. 


    If you could find the slightly larger ZED-12FX then you'd have the basis for a simple band PA.  Most pubs bands just put the kick through vox, guitar (for some spread), bass and kick through the PA.  Don't but the bass or kick through it unless you have subs though.

    If you want to go for powered the Allen Heath 12PA is solid and go for silly low money as most use active speaker now and don't want mixing desks with built in amps.

    Best active speakers for the buck are still probably the Yamaha DXR12 as a good starting point. They still hold their value as so popular though.  As others have said Peavey hard to beat for the lower end priced stuff and can sound fine as long as you know the limits (most just cane the shite outta it and it sounds rough)

    If you've got young legs and backs and and prepared to life heavier stuff there's loads of second hand bargains out there really.


    Thanks @andyoz although Ive a few "noobie style" questions if you can bear with me. (Being in NI, that first link would be handy enough)...So....Why would the that ZED FX10 only have enough inputs for vox? If we only had one lead and 1 backing, are the other inputs not suitable for an electronic drumkit/keyboard whatever or even if guitar was mic-ed? 

    With Bass and Kick (Is that assuming an acoustic kit?) , why not put it through without subs? 

    If you were doing this first time would you go powered mixer or active speakers. Cheers

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33342
    Roysterdoyster said:

    With Bass and Kick (Is that assuming an acoustic kit?) , why not put it through without subs?
    Because the amount of energy needed for those low frequencies, and the size of the transients they produce (kick drum especially) means that it will drastically limit the power and headroom available for everything in the mix. Full-range speakers usually won't handle extreme lows very well either, and it can make the whole mix muddy. On top of all that it will require a lot more power from the amp and could make it distort, which is extremely bad for PA speakers and not good for the amp usually. (Completely different from guitar amps and speakers.)

    If you're intending to run kick and usually if you're intending to run bass through the PA, subs are a requirement not optional. Just because the main cabs often have 15" drivers doesn't mean they can handle proper sub frequencies like a dedicated sub cabinet can - in fact it's better to use smaller tops (12" or even 10") and subs than try to do it all with full-range 15" cabs.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • andyozandyoz Frets: 667
    Yeah, subs are tuned to that lower octave whereas your typical two way just doesn't really like to go below 80Hz.  Also, the tops will be on poles and don't get the benefit of coupling to the ground that gives them an output lift due to location.
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  • andyozandyoz Frets: 667
    edited October 1
    andyoz said:
    This whole Allen & Heath ZED FX range is best of the current crop for the money.  Here's one second hand in NI but this opn ly has enough inputs to run vox really. 


    If you could find the slightly larger ZED-12FX then you'd have the basis for a simple band PA.  Most pubs bands just put the kick through vox, guitar (for some spread), bass and kick through the PA.  Don't but the bass or kick through it unless you have subs though.

    If you want to go for powered the Allen Heath 12PA is solid and go for silly low money as most use active speaker now and don't want mixing desks with built in amps.

    Best active speakers for the buck are still probably the Yamaha DXR12 as a good starting point. They still hold their value as so popular though.  As others have said Peavey hard to beat for the lower end priced stuff and can sound fine as long as you know the limits (most just cane the shite outta it and it sounds rough)

    If you've got young legs and backs and and prepared to life heavier stuff there's loads of second hand bargains out there really.


    Thanks @andyoz although Ive a few "noobie style" questions if you can bear with me. (Being in NI, that first link would be handy enough)...So....Why would the that ZED FX10 only have enough inputs for vox? If we only had one lead and 1 backing, are the other inputs not suitable for an electronic drumkit/keyboard whatever or even if guitar was mic-ed? 

    With Bass and Kick (Is that assuming an acoustic kit?) , why not put it through without subs? 

    If you were doing this first time would you go powered mixer or active speakers. Cheers

    The mixer will def work it's just that with four channel you will soon run out. If the electronic drums were stereo and 2 vox then that's all the inputs used.

    If you are only playing small places and don't need to crank things above a rowdy crowd then if the guitarist and and bass player have decent rigs and can balance their levels off the drum snare level then there's no reason would can't just run vox thru the PA.  It's actually a great way to listen to bands...its just that it takes alot of self control from everybody to not start volume fiddling with there amps...

    If it was me I'd go active cabinets but not the really cheap stuff...say at least Yamaha DXR or RCF Art 7 series level (or better).

    I personally wouldn't be bothered with powered desks but there are bargains out there that would get you going and you could flip in 6 months.   They are generally heavy shits to move about.

    There is alot of Martin Audio stuff floating about second hand in NI (they are passive speakers with amp racks).  It's not the most exciting stuff but their Blackline rigs are tough enough but it's all heavy.
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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 1431

    Really depends on budget and inconvenience.

    The main issue with PA gear is getting clean headroom. Virtually all PA faults are caused by pushing the PA too hard.

    There are several options open to you.

    1) Active PA boxes and mixer.

    This is way most people go now for pub gigs.

    The advantages are that the speakers should be matched to the speakers, it generally makes for a lighter compact PA system. 

    If you want to up date this system your old speakers can be used as monitors.

    The best value active PA speakers I've found are the old RCF 200a. These sound fantastic and go for under £100.

    You also have a wider choice of mixers, so can find one with the features you need.

    2) Passive speakers, power amp mixer.

    This would be the most inconvenient solution due to weight / size, however there are some real bargains out precisely because of this.

    Old "boat anchor" Peavey gear is great value here.


    3) Passive speakers, powered mixer.

    This may be the cheapest solution, and there is plenty of decent used gear out there, however you may need to compromise somewhat on mixer features.

    There are plenty of options, including Yamaha and Peavey units mention above. The Soundcraft Power Station is also great unit that can be picked up cheap, and has a nice mixer with it.

    re the Allen & Heath 10fx, this has 4 mic inputs and 2 stereo inputs, so you can run the electronic drum kit through one of the stereo inputs. This is a well-specified mixer with fx, swept mid, high pass filter, prefade listen, channel mutes. It can run one monitor mix, which may be a problem if you want to run an electronic drum kit and bass through the PA as the drummer and simger/s may have different monitoring requirements.

    re running the bass drum / bass through the PA with subs, is NOT a good idea as both these instruments can suck up a lot of power from the PA and make it hard get a loud clean vocal. I've seen tons of gigs where this has been a problem. In fact I saw a gig last night where the bass drum was WAY too loud. 

    The obsession with micing the bass drum has ruined many a gig.


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  • andyozandyoz Frets: 667
    edited October 1
    Just on the RCF 200a comment above...the other one to look out for are the Mackie SRM450 Version 1 (ones made in Italy..not the latter ones).  They were made by RCF (I think) and are great value second hand.  just don't push them too far as they will sound crap.  Not the prettiest box either...

    This lad in Dublin has three but asking too much..make an offer for the two nicer ones.  https://www.adverts.ie/speakers/mackie-srm-450-v1-x-3/15080459

    Also, couldn't agree more with comments above.  Best gigs I've seen are where the band understands the limits of their (cheaparse) gear and just run nice clean vocal through the PA and leave the rest alone.  Takes discipline from the band but can be done.  What sort of music is it?  I see it is an electron9c kit so that does mean no benefit of unamplified drums.

    Here's what the complete version 1 of that Mackie rig looks like with the subs.  In Wexford so not much use to you.  The v1 stuff has been devalued now because Mackie released some cheap stuff and lost momentum. https://www.adverts.ie/pa-systems/mackie-pa/15833222
    The subs are 15" and that model SWA1501 is still highly regarded....here's what they as for a single refurbished one.  http://www.surreyamps.co.uk/shop/product/mackie-swa1501/ 
    That range uses 'older' style amp packs that generally last longer and can actually be serviced


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  • ICBM said:
    firepaulmusic said:

    Also got 2x Amcron MT1200s. 
    Now that *is* an old-school rig :).

    MT1200... when men were men and a PA rack weighed as much as a small house...

    https://medias.audiofanzine.com/images/normal/amcron-mt-1200-99612.jpg

    I bet that lot sounds absolutely great, but I do understand why most people have moved on from that technology.
    Yes, it would suit an installation in a club or some thing like that...
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