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Advice on setting up my mixer + speakers

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  • Advice on setting up my mixer + speakers

    Hi there!

    I would appreciate advice on how to set up my rig. I am new to the sound business. I have a room that I plan to use to rehearse with my band (electric drums, bass, guitar, 1 mic). Over time I have bought several pieces of gear, and I'm trying to optimize the set up

    Gear:
    - Sound
    - Yamaha EMX 5000-12 Powered Mixer
    - Yamaha MG124C Mixer (unpowered)
    - 2 Wharfedale Pro Titan 8 passive PA speakers
    - 2 speakers from an AIWA 990 hi-fi system
    - 1 Peavey KB 60 Keyboard amp

    Bass
    - Squier Jazz Bass California Series
    - Behringer Bass V-Amp effects unit

    Guitar
    - Epiphone Les Paul (I think it's an LP200)
    - Classical Guitar (with mic)
    - Line 6 M13 Stomp Modeler

    3 Microphones

    Currently I'm using the EMX 5000 with the 2 Aiwa 990 Speakers (I use them at a very low volume, and set the mixer limiter to 100W). I tested the Wharfedale Titan 8 speaker (powered by the EMX 5000) and found that it delivers a kind of better sound (difficult to explain in words, kind of 'more clear' or 'more focused'. I also tried the Peavey KB 60 (self-powered, fed it with ST OUT signal from the EMX 5000) and found it sound way much better, and also louder.

    Is the Peavey KB 60 Keyboard amp better than the passive speakers? Or it sounds better because for the same signal, it sounds louder? The fact is has a 12" speaker has any influence? How would it compare vs passive PA speakers of similar features (12" drivers)? Is a keyboard amp better than a PA speaker?

    Thanks for your advice,
    Guillermo

  • #2
    Seeing you posted this in the recording forum I'm guessing you want to use this gear to record?

    What you have may be passible for live music but I don't see anything on that list there for recording. That's fine if you're just asking about how to set the gear up in a room to rehearse if that's all you need.

    If you plan on setting up a studio and plan on recording, that equipment isn't going to get you there.

    To record you need a pro quality external sound card (Interface) that converts the analog sound all your hear and mics produce and converts the signals to binary samples that get recorded on a computer through a DAW program.

    Both of these items are very inexpensive now. You can download a DAW program for free. You just need a computer for recording.

    You don't need mixers to record anymore. You needed a mixer/console as front and rear end for an analog studio using tape.
    They aren't needed for digital recording anymore. The DAW program takes the place of a million dollar analog studio and has nearly everything you need built into it.

    The only thing you need is to convert the analog sound to binary so the DAW program can manipulate the data.
    The question comes down to HOW MANY INSTRUMENTS YOU PLAN TO RECORD AT THE ASME TIME?

    You need a separate recording channel for each mic or instrument being recorded at the same time.
    We're used to Stereo which is two channels. Quad is 4 channels. You can buy interfaces up to 48 channels and beyond if you needed that kind of horsepower. Even if you only record solo and a 2 channel might suffice today, you'' be regretting you didn't buy 4 channel. If you only need 4, you'll regret buying a 6, 8, 16, 24 channel etc.

    With a 3 piece band an one singer I wouldn't go for less then an 8 channel interface. You can run 4 drum mics, Guitar in stereo, bass and one vocal. You can tap the vocals off the PA mixer is you want. If you have two singers run the guitar mono and tap the channel inserts off the PA so they go to separate channels. If you take a mains/tape feed off the PA all the vocals will be on the same track so mixing becomes more difficult.

    I used to use an 8 channel mixer on the drum set and use 8 mics to mic the set up, then run that into two channels of the interface. I'd have to carefully mix the drums but it usually worked out pretty good once I had things set right. You cant of course tweak and individual drum in that stereo mix so that's where being able to use separate interface channels is important.

    Of course having that many mics/channels can be a waste too. Sometimes I'd record an entire song and the drummer never hits a tom or cymbal and I wind up deleting that track. You can use mics to combine a couple of drums too.

    This doesn't limit the number of tracks you can record either. a 2 channel will let you record 2 at a time. You play those back and record new ones at the same time to multitrack as many as you need, 2+2+2+ etc.

    For solo stuff I cant do with less then 4 channels because I record my guitar in stereo and use drum machined for beats.
    If you build loops via the DAW program you don't even need 4. You can record mono and sing through 2 channels at the same time. Not much good for a full band unless you want each player to record his parts solo. Then you'd have to question whether they even need to come by to do that. You can upload a project and let them record they're parts at home.

    If you're just setting up you're room so you can record at some point then having a table or desk to set the mixer up on and have any other gear set up there is handy. I'd keep the drums at one end of the room, bass facing the drummer from the other end. you want to keep those two separated because the have problems with bass bleed over through mics. No idea how big this room is. If its fairly small, get your PA speakers up high. If they can be mounted on stands get them up to ear level or higher. You'll find you have much better separation between instruments and can hear the vocals better bounding around near the ceiling vs blasting you at waist level where all the other instruments at clustered.

    You may want to get some blankets or foam to hang on walls to cut down on reflection. Leave the wall in back of the drummer plain. Drums sound better reflected off a bare wall. Again, I haven't got a clue what you're wanting to do but There aren't many things I haven't done. I've built many rehearsal and recording studios over the years. It all depends on how much you want to invest. Do you live alone, is this a bedroom studio or a pro studio. Do you rent? All have they're challenges.

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    • #3

      WRGKMC,

      Thanks so much for your (very detailed) answer. My question was related on how to improve the sound, rather than how to do a recording. I browsed twice the available forums and couldn't find any that deals specifically with live sound, so I ended up posting here in Recording. I should have specified that at the beginning of my post. Apologies for that.

      Just to avoid any confusion, my question is which gear should I have or how should I use the one I have to get a good live sound. I mostly play the bass, and I primarily want a good bass tone, but have other instruments as well (classical and electric guitar, keyboard, electronic drums, vocals). I opted for a PA amplification, as the other alternative (having an amp for each instrument) was too expensive. What I don't know if using the PA to amplify the bass is wrong (spoils the tone, of if the bass can damage the speakers). My options are:
      • Powered mixer + 2 8" PA passive speakers
      • Mixer + 12" Keyboard Amp combo (this and the former is what I have)
      • Invest in other setup (e.g. 12" or 15" passive PA speaker, or get another 12" Keyboard Combo, or get a Bass Amp)
      Thanks again for your advice,
      Guillermo

      Comment


      • #4
        That makes sense then. Thanks for clarifying.

        The PA is good for vocals. Other then practicing playing bass I wouldn't be pumping a bass through it very hard with only 8" speakers.
        I'd definitely purchase a bass amp if that's your main instrument. Its properly voiced for that instrument and can take the lows.

        From there you have allot of options. You can buy a smaller bass amp and larger PA cabs then mic the bass amp or run it direct through the PA for extra volume. I prefer 15" cabs with horns myself because it gives the vocals the beef they need to compete with an acoustic drummer. Anything smaller then a 12" winds up sounding like a megaphone live even if they can handle the power and you can get them loud enough.
        If you want to run bass through the system its a matter of the bass frequencies causing the vocals to garble because the bass will dominate the woofers. PA cabs aren't ideal for stage volume either. They project long distance so you wont hear yourself play on stage without monitors.

        Of course coming up with the money to make upgrades is the issue. you can get by using the PA as an interim fix till you can get a good bass amp.
        I do suggest you get a multieffect pedal designed to run into a PA system and give you amp emulated tones. You'll hear a big difference in how it makes the instrument sound vs just using the PA channel. I bought one of those Vox stomp lab pedals for bass for around $50 and it does a wonderful job for that kind of stuff. It converts the instrument level to line level which the PA has and you can dial up around 20 different amp types and 20 different cab types. Its got a full array of effects and 20 user presets too.

        Once you do get a bass amp you might want to look at the Ampeg Portaflex systems. They make heads in the 350, 500 and 800w versions and they are lightweight class D amps that pump allot of power for a compact size. I have a 350W which I picked up for $200. I have a bunch of cabs but wouldn't mind having their matching 1x15 cab. That basic setup in tube version was a standard for live and recording for many decades. They weren't all that powerful for live but had the great tone. They made the SVT and V4B for louder bands. I loved my V4B when I had it. It was plenty loud for live.

        SS amps need allot of more watts compared to tube. the 350W is OK for rehearsal but I'd prefer the 500 or 800W versions for playing live. Its not that you use it all, you run it at lower volumes and the reserve wattage gives you that big beefy tone and headroom.

        For PA cabs Kustom has dome great prices on they're passive cabs. Yamaha, JBL and others might have better speakers but for the wattage and sizes they should do a good job. That PA head has some pretty high wattages so you really want PA cabs that can handle between 150~200% higher wattage then the head.

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