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  • PA Advice for Gigging Band

    Hi Guys,

    I've been in a band for a few years, and have been working with a DAP Audio 4000w set up (Bass bins and tops) with a really good mixer. However, the bassist has joined a new band and long and behold it was his gear... Anyway, we have publishing money to blow - but we need some advice of what system to get. We play to 20-200 people usually and wont be putting instruments through the mix.

    I've worked with the Mackie SRM400 before, and liked those, is there anything else out there that would be better? I've seen HK Audio, but they seem far too expensive for what you get. 1000w just seems as if it wouldn't cut it! I've also looked at Yamaha DBR12s.

    In terms of Mixers, we would prefer something with some good FX (Reverb, Delay, the usual) - I've had a look at some soundcraft with Lexion effects, any good?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Wattage is one of the least important specs in a system.

    Anyway, Soundcraft is a name brand with good reputation but every brand has cheap junk, good stuff, and in between. Buy wisely. The motto in audio is "Buy once, cry once." You get what you pay for (if you are lucky.) If you buy junk you will regret it every time you use it. Buying good gear is tougher, but once paid for, makes you happy every time you use it.

    Here is some free general advice of what really matters (at least to me)...
    1) Will the company stand behind it when it fails because they all can?
    2) Is the weight something you can manage, and won't kill your car, trailer, or back?
    3) Is the physical size truck pack friendly? Nothing worse than buying something like subs that are one inch wider than you can pack side by side in a trailer.
    4) Is the size going to take up so much stage space that your small clubs won't leave you room to fit?
    5) Are there pole mounts on the subs or do you have to bring stands, where the legs are an issue in a small place?
    6) Can you get parts anywhere just in case your gig is in Podunk when something fails?
    7) Are wheels on the gear or are you going to lift and carry or have to use a dolly?
    8) Speakons beat any other connector today, hands down. Skip anything with quarter inch only.
    9) Two way is fine, three is smoother until you hit the big leagues. 12s beat 15s anytime you have subs, and when you say "no instruments" that will only last so long. Think long range, not for today only.
    10) Resale value never crosses your mind when you carry that shiny new toy home, but it will mean a lot when you go for the next new toy. Buy something others want so you can sell it eventually, because you will someday.
    11) Don't pass something just because you have never heard of it? Many people that don't do audio have never heard of RCF, NEXO, L'Acoustics, etc. In short don't buy a Carvin because you know the name and skip that Meyer sitting next to it. You will kill yourself later when you find out that Meyer is one of the best cabs in the world. Do your homework.

    Others will add fifty other things I am sure. These are mine that come to me fast. Forget price. Find what you need to do the job well, will last, and be a good value (not the same as cheap) and then just figure out how to pay for it. Don't just buy what you see because you have the cash in your pocket. Conversely, don't let someone tell you that you HAVE to have (insert name here) when in a two hundred person club, another option might sound fine at 1/4 the price. You won't need a line array for two hundred people. Lastly if you didn't understand the things said above, you aren't ready to own a system. Hire a soundguy with boxes and be done. Sometimes that is cheapest and most practical in the long run. (Do you have a soundguy, or run from stage. If you don't have a soundguy out front, it won't really matter what you buy unless you are a rarity. It can be done, but generally not well.)

    Good luck, listen to what you hear here. Most of the kids are long gone and those left know what they are talking about for the most part. You will get some good advice, listen to it before you lay down your cash.
    Last edited by Axisplayer; 03-29-2017, 10:19 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      PA wise, there are a lot of great options on the market. I'm a full time audio engineer for a mid sized university, and use the Yamaha DXR for my roving carts. At 1000w each, they really pump out the sound. They also have a really nice bottom end to them. Paired with a sub, they sound great. Mackie also has some great cabinets and sub combo's. Lots to choose from at this price point.

      Mixer wise, you have some really good options at the Soundcraft price point. It all depends on your needs. All the digital boards will do the following:

      1.) Offer an iPad app for some roving, FOH and monitor mixing.
      2.) The ability to save scenes. Great for saving the monitor mixes, FOH starting mix, compressors etc.
      3.) Onboard effects.

      I'm sure I'm missing a few, but you get the idea. From there, the various boards kind of carve out their niche for what they do well or offer. In my opinion, here is what separates the brands at this price point:

      1.) The Soundcraft boards offer a good sound and easy navigation with decent onboard effects. They have the weakest iPad app of the group and the boards lack a few of the nicer features. (At least the Si Expression series does. If you bump up to the newer Impact, they added a lot of the missing elements.

      2.) The Behringer X32 is the most popular gigging band board out there for many years running. Solid, Midas built pre amps, good effects and a strong iPad app. It's #1 for a reason, but the faders feel wimpy to me.

      3.) PreSonus just released the StudioLive III boards and they look like a solid contender. They added motorized faders, onboard wifi and the ability to record 16,24 or 32 tracks off the board to a memory card that you can then take to your DAW and mix down. A huge feature they offer is the ability to record the bands sound check and then recall it back up and tweak the mix while the band is taking a break. In most gigging bands, someone is pulling double duty as musician and sound guy. This lets you get out front and dial in the mix and essentially be two places at once. A really nice feature. I'm seriously considering one for my band.

      4.) From a pure sound standpoint, the Midas M32 is the winner. True Midas pre amps and a rock solid board and effects.

      Allen and Heath and Roland also offer good boards at this price point. In my opinion, the Roland M200i has the strongest iPad app of any one out there but lacks a few other features now and is getting up there a bit in age.

      Not sure if I helped out a bunch, but it will give you a few ideas to go read reviews on etc.

      SCHECTER SOCIETY

      Comment


      • #4
        Hey guys,

        Thanks so much for you advice, great to actually have a comprehensive answer on these things! Price is something we will not skimp at, we are looking at a preowned, next to new system, just to shave a few hundred off the price.


        flyfis4fun - we have looked at the Yamaha DBR12s, are they any good at all? How do you find yamaha in general?

        Thanks for the mixer advice, great!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by narratones View Post
          Hey guys,

          Thanks so much for you advice, great to actually have a comprehensive answer on these things! Price is something we will not skimp at, we are looking at a preowned, next to new system, just to shave a few hundred off the price.


          flyfis4fun - we have looked at the Yamaha DBR12s, are they any good at all? How do you find yamaha in general?

          Thanks for the mixer advice, great!!
          Purchasing used equipment is the best idea if I were you. I have found that the sound gear that I purchased (as used) can be sold for nearly the same price but new gear (even only a couple of months old) will only garner a 'used" price.

          The time that you purchase used gear will determine the price that you pay. I have found that in my local area (Boston) the best time to purchase used gear is in October. The most expensive time is April/May. Supply and demand, I guess.

          Comment


          • #6
            Yep, just bought the mixer on eBay for around 200 less than the RRP and it's been used a few times.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hello!! I use a Soundcraft gigrac 1000 powered mixer complete with 2 internal Crown lightwt power amps even has kexicon effects built in get a gigrac1000 and a couple of 12inch passive speakers loud eneuogh for typical club gig want more sound use line out to a powered speake r or a small bass amp with speaker
              ‚Äčeven more power for outdoor gig add a power amp and 2 15inch bass or pa speakers for bass speakers add a crossover if needed for bass only

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Axisplayer View Post
                Wattage is one of the least important specs in a system.

                Anyway, Soundcraft is a name brand with good reputation but every brand has cheap junk, good stuff, and in between. Buy wisely. The motto in audio is "Buy once, cry once." You get what you pay for (if you are lucky.) If you buy junk you will regret it every time you use it. Buying good gear is tougher, but once paid for, makes you happy every time you use it.

                Here is some free general advice of what really matters (at least to me)...
                1) Will the company stand behind it when it fails because they all can?
                2) Is the weight something you can manage, and won't kill your car, trailer, or back?
                3) Is the physical size truck pack friendly? Nothing worse than buying something like subs that are one inch wider than you can pack side by side in a trailer.
                4) Is the size going to take up so much stage space that your small clubs won't leave you room to fit?
                5) Are there pole mounts on the subs or do you have to bring stands, where the legs are an issue in a small place?
                6) Can you get parts anywhere just in case your gig is in Podunk when something fails?
                7) Are wheels on the gear or are you going to lift and carry or have to use a dolly?
                8) Speakons beat any other connector today, hands down. Skip anything with quarter inch only.
                9) Two way is fine, three is smoother until you hit the big leagues. 12s beat 15s anytime you have subs, and when you say "no instruments" that will only last so long. Think long range, not for today only.
                10) Resale value never crosses your mind when you carry that shiny new toy home, but it will mean a lot when you go for the next new toy. Buy something others want so you can sell it eventually, because you will someday.
                11) Don't pass something just because you have never heard of it? Many people that don't do audio have never heard of RCF, NEXO, L'Acoustics, etc. In short don't buy a Carvin because you know the name and skip that Meyer sitting next to it. You will kill yourself later when you find out that Meyer is one of the best cabs in the world. Do your homework.

                Others will add fifty other things I am sure. These are mine that come to me fast. Forget price. Find what you need to do the job well, will last, and be a good value (not the same as cheap) and then just figure out how to pay for it. Don't just buy what you see because you have the cash in your pocket. Conversely, don't let someone tell you that you HAVE to have (insert name here) when in a two hundred person club, another option might sound fine at 1/4 the price. You won't need a line array for two hundred people. Lastly if you didn't understand the things said above, you aren't ready to own a system. Hire a soundguy with boxes and be done. Sometimes that is cheapest and most practical in the long run. (Do you have a soundguy, or run from stage. If you don't have a soundguy out front, it won't really matter what you buy unless you are a rarity. It can be done, but generally not well.)

                Good luck, listen to what you hear here. Most of the kids are long gone and those left know what they are talking about for the most part. You will get some good advice, listen to it before you lay down your cash.

                What about XLR?

                James Shannon Bussey & The Drunk Thirsty Cowboys
                www.jamesshannonbussey.com
                www.facebook.com/BusseyCountry
                www.twitter.com/clhndluke

                Comment


                • #9
                  XLR connectors are not suitable for powering speakers. They should only be used for carrying line-level or microphone signals.
                  Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Axisplayer View Post

                    Do you have a soundguy, or run from stage. .
                    I'll suggest this might be one of most important considerations in gear choice... or at least it has been for me. Lately (in the past 10 years or so) it's become increasing difficult for me to source and retain sound personnel... to the point in the past few years of generally factoring-out relying on having a sound person involved, and thus considerably changed the equipment we (I) generally use to accommodate the situation.

                    Seemingly: Currently most sound folks who would be a true asset, generally have better things to do with their time than encumbering their schedule with a local band's project. Certainly good sound people can be sourced, but finding and keeping a good reliable sound person will likely be real money, which can be a really tough nut to crack on a local, or even regional act's budget.

                    For gigging musicians who are more interested in performing than schlepping gear (which I'll suggest is "most"), and are routinely running their own system: I've found that optimum set-up and tear-down time is about "as long as it takes for the drummer to set-up and tear-down"... so our choice of equipment factors in this as well as our limitations of knob twisting in real time, and what produces the best results with the real life factors considered.
                    Last edited by Audiopile; 03-31-2017, 10:18 AM.
                    I need to catch up with those guys, for I am their leader.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wesg View Post
                      XLR connectors are not suitable for powering speakers. They should only be used for carrying line-level or microphone signals.
                      That's right, so we are assuming that the OP should get a system with a powered mixer, or that he is not going to use powered speakers?
                      James Shannon Bussey & The Drunk Thirsty Cowboys
                      www.jamesshannonbussey.com
                      www.facebook.com/BusseyCountry
                      www.twitter.com/clhndluke

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MDMachiavelli View Post

                        That's right, so we are assuming that the OP should get a system with a powered mixer, or that he is not going to use powered speakers?
                        No, just failed to mention the option. Powered speakers might well be a good choice for him. Some folks love them. I don't but that is a personal choice so I didn't mention them but should have.

                        I would never suggest a powered mixer since it limits growth of a performing band and is not a long term solution. He may well decide that it does fit his personal plans, but I believe for a performing musician it is short sighted unless music is truly a passing interest.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Axisplayer View Post

                          I would never suggest a powered mixer since it limits growth of a performing band and is not a long term solution. He may well decide that it does fit his personal plans, but I believe for a performing musician it is short sighted unless music is truly a passing interest.


                          While I agree, I have my choice of systems, and of which, the system we use by-far the most is powered mixer based (Carvin BTW). I actually have two of these powered mixer based systems, system 2 is an exact clone of system 1... specifically for days when we're double dipping with a tight schedule between shows. Comparatively my upscale systems don't see near as much use.

                          I need to catch up with those guys, for I am their leader.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Axisplayer View Post

                            No, just failed to mention the option. Powered speakers might well be a good choice for him. Some folks love them. I don't but that is a personal choice so I didn't mention them but should have.

                            I would never suggest a powered mixer since it limits growth of a performing band and is not a long term solution. He may well decide that it does fit his personal plans, but I believe for a performing musician it is short sighted unless music is truly a passing interest.

                            I gotcha.
                            James Shannon Bussey & The Drunk Thirsty Cowboys
                            www.jamesshannonbussey.com
                            www.facebook.com/BusseyCountry
                            www.twitter.com/clhndluke

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Audiopile View Post

                              I'll suggest this might be one of most important considerations in gear choice... or at least it has been for me. Lately (in the past 10 years or so) it's become increasing difficult for me to source and retain sound personnel... to the point in the past few years of generally factoring-out relying on having a sound person involved, and thus considerably changed the equipment we (I) generally use to accommodate the situation.

                              Seemingly: Currently most sound folks who would be a true asset, generally have better things to do with their time than encumbering their schedule with a local band's project. Certainly good sound people can be sourced, but finding and keeping a good reliable sound person will likely be real money, which can be a really tough nut to crack on a local, or even regional act's budget.
                              There is alot of truth to the above. It has been my experience that good techs will not find work, work will find them.

                              Comment













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