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  • Can't seem to get it right...

    Hello everyone,

    As a newcomer to this board, I have tried as much as possible to find an answer to my questions by searching older posts, but I have come up virtually empty handed.

    I recently started a small band (four people) and we play rockabilly, surf tunes, and other oldies. We are finally ready to book our first gig, but...no PA.

    We will only be playing for crowds of 50-150 (unless the group gets wildly popular, which I highly doubt because of where we will be playing).

    I have read the PA 101 tutorials several times, glossaries, etc. but I honestly still don't have a handle on it. In my mind, the PA should be loud enough to be able to put the vocals at the same volume of an unmic'd drum set, but after reading some posts on here I realize that there are a multitude of variables that I have a great deal of trouble comprehending. I usually find myself lost in a sea of ohms, watts, and bridged modes...

    Musicians Friend sells a Behringer PMP1680S / B215XL PA Package that brings a 10 channel powered mixer and two 15" speakers and some mics that I'm sure are garbage...but with an $800 price tag...is this worth it? Would this rig be adequate for my band? I honestly don't even know whether to mic vocals, amps, or what. I don't know whether I could get away with simply using direct lines from the amps' "out" jacks...I know very little about this stuff and it is exceedingly confusing.

    Can anyone please help?

    Thanks so much!

  • #2
    Find someone in your area and hire them to do sound. You guys are just starting out so do a few gigs with a hired sound man and it'll make it much easier to figure out exactly what you need to do it yourself. Since you're doing Rockabilly is the bassist using a stand up bass? Is he using an amp? Is he able to get that amp loud enough without the bass feeding back? You'd be better off leaving this stuff for a hired sound man to deal with.


    • Rob_H
      Rob_H commented
      Editing a comment

      If you do decide to go down the path of getting your own gear it is a good idea to rent a few different products before buying anything as you don't have enough experience yet to know what you want or need. Once you find something you like you can look for it used, when you don't have a lot to spend it goes a lot further on used gear...

  • #3
    definitey not that package! And I'm pretty sure you want to mic vocals! Otherwise, in your case, a decent pair of 12" or 15" powered speakers and a small passive mixer with onboard effects should be a good start. Or, a couple of the same size and quality of passive speakers and a powered mixer would work fine and should be a bit cheaper. Used is easier to find this way too. Of course, a couple monitors would be nice to have. How about renting initially?
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    • #4
      What are people playing in the venues that you'll be playing in using? Once you get an idea of the gear and its cost then you will have a more realistic view of what you'll need.
      Don Boomer


      • #5

        You'll definitely need to mic the vocals - its a question of do you need to mic anything else. Acoustic guitar? Guitar amps? Kick drum? 

        It really depends what you're trying to achieve. 

        It sounds like a good start would be vocals only, but you dont want to buy a PA that limits you to only ever doing vocals only. 

        Generally the advice you'll get these days is to get some powered speakers and a mixer. Doesnt mean thats the only way to do it, but if you buy decent gear in that direction, you won't go far wrong. 

        Avoid Behringer. Small steps up from the bottom are worth it. I've particularly heard that their powered mixers are junk. 

        Agree with the general advice though - hire a sound guy at the budget level (you'd prefer one with recommendations!) See what they do? Ask them questions. 

        Have fun. The sound should support the fun, not take away from it! 


        • #6
          Thank you all so much for the great advice! I'll definitely hire a sound man and try to gain experience that way...

          Thank you all again! You saved me a bunch of money


          • #7
            Crownman, the bassist plays an electric. Fortunately the whole upright bass feedback problem is a non-issue!


            • abzurd
              abzurd commented
              Editing a comment

              Another reason for hiring sound the first few times is that you're going to have enough on your plate without having to worry about the sound too. This will allow you to concentrate on the performance and not sweat the production. I'm assuming you're not playing for top dollar, as such often the hardest part is convincing the other members that most, if not all, of the take for the night is going ot the sound guy.

              I supppose it's good news is that you have nothing presently for a PA. This avoids the temptation of showing up to a gun fight with a knife.