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Do we have enough PA system?


chord123
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We are playing a debut gig at a place that holds 350 people. The length is 100 feet long about 1/3 the size of a football field. The width I don't know 50 feet. There is an attached room where the bar is and by the bar a pool table. We hired a professional sound company to do the sound they are using a 32 channel imput mixer and we can use their monitors. They want $800. Our bass player said the sound companies PA system is too big for the place. So i will be suppling the FOH speakers, a pair of RCF 312 speakers rated at 400 watts. I don't think 400 watts is enough power for the size of the venue. Does anybody think so? Realizing this I have rented a pair of Yamaha powered speakers 1000 watts for this Friday. Can anybody tell me is this Yamaha overkill? Is the RCF loud enough for this venue?

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Sounds like you're assuming you will have 350 people in the place. You are probably assuming that everyone wants you blasting in their ears. Rest assured, they don't. Some will want to hold a conversation and a loud band ruins that. So in the back of the room, you will want levels down around about 80 dbc. Wattage itself doesn't tell you how loud the PA is. My PA, which fits inside the trunk of most mid-sized cars is 3000 watts total towards the audience. I find that loud enough but most won't think it looks big enough. (I've provided general PA sound for 5000 people outdoors. Different system, same maximum spl.) Keep in mind that a 500 watt speaker is only 3 db quieter than a 1000 watt speaker. (Assuming similar efficiency rates. Not sure, but there is a possibility that the Yamaha's aren't as efficient as the RCFs. Need models and specs to tell.) From what I can see even the RCFs are max spl of 127. so assuming you'll be running them with some safe head room at about a maximum of 115. (3 feet.) so at 96 feet away you would have a 30 db drop outdoors. (Indoors will be louder because of sound off the ceiling and walls.) That would result in a PA level of 85 db in the back of the room. I think that's more than enough. People who like loud won't have any problems finding space near the band. (Consider it a warning if no one wants to fill tables near the stage.) So I don't believe you needed to get the Yamahas. Now, the "professional sound company" make sure they are aware and responsible to not blow up any speakers. (Especially rented sound equipment.) Hopefully they carry insurance to cover losses. If you apply 2000 watts to a 1000 watt speaker, it can fry in seconds and then it won't sound good for the rest of the night. And trust me, a 1000 watt speaker doesn't have a 1000 watt horn driver. it might have a 100 watt horn driver. (Or less.) Speakers with blown horns suck. No clarity, vocals lost in the guitars. I'm getting carried away because I don't know what your background is and I've seen enough stupidity out there. When a speaker has multiple wattage figures, always use the smallest one. The continuous figure is the only one worthwhile. Program. Peak Program and anything else will only apply to momentary power burst. (I'm talking a small fraction of a second and not several fractions in a row.)

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Would the $800 dollars include the use of the sound guy's FOH speakers? If so why don't you just use theirs instead of going out & renting additional FOH speakers? If the supplied PA from the sound guy is too big, couldn't he just turn the volume down? I wouldn't care if it's too big as long as I don't have to haul it around...

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You didn't mention the genre, didn't mention whether the audience is only there for your band (the bar and pooltable mentions tell me they aren't)and didn't mention whether you've got subs in your system. I'm assuming the pro system has them. Either way, what you describe doesn't sound like enough rig for the show unless you're okay with the near-stage audience getting decent levels, and having the levels drop off naturally as the room progresses from the stage. If the system is truly 'pro' they'll have some delay speakers to maintain even sound at decent levels to the back of the room. But that's only if that's what's really needed.

 

A bit more info would help here. Either way, break a leg!

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We play 60's and 70's classic rock. This a retirement party for our singer who is retiring after 44 years of service at John Deere Tractors. The Supervisor's club it's a big wedding venue

. I can relax.The sound company did provide the FOH speakers.The speakers were 4000 watts. The sound company provided subs and 32 channel mixer used 27 imputs miked all the drums and DI the guitars. The sound was on level four the whole concert. Plenty of power to fill the place which is 1/3 the size of a football field.

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1 Kick outside

2 Kick inside

3 Snare top

4 snare bottom

5 floor tom 1

6 floor tom 2

7 medium tom

8 hi tom

9 Overhead L

10 Overhead R

11hi hats

12 bass DI

13 bass mic

14 guitar left

16 gutar right

17 acousic left DI

18 acoustic right DI

19 keys DI

20 Hammond DI L

21 Hammond DI R

22 vocal

23 vocal

24 vocal

27 vocal

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1 Kick outside

2 Kick inside

3 Snare top

4 snare bottom

5 floor tom 1

6 floor tom 2

7 medium tom

8 hi tom

9 Overhead L

10 Overhead R

11hi hats

12 bass DI

13 bass mic

14 guitar left

16 gutar right

17 acousic left DI

18 acoustic right DI

19 keys DI

20 Hammond DI L

21 Hammond DI R

22 vocal

23 vocal

24 vocal

27 vocal

 

 

that clears it up...

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it WAS a private party.

 

As I got somewhat appointed to point out problems with the songs at practice, I can only assume that you may want my opinion of the gig in general. I'm posting this here in an e-mail because it is for band members only, and don't want to share with the entire world on Facebook.

 

Now, if this band decides to go on, and I understand that on May 20, the band wants to be involved in a gig with another band, here are a few of my observations, speaking from a person who has played many, many gigs, some outstanding and some that just totally sucked! With that being said, I made my share of mistakes at this gig, so with any of these comments, isn't to put anybody down or critique in a negative way. Just pointing out a few things.

 

First off, and it really was not the band's fault, we should have had more monitors on stage. Jay, if he has any real salt as a sound guy, should have known that. Using just one monitor in the center of the stage just doesn't give the rest of the musicians an accurate account of what is being played. I know, Jay said that there wasn't room on stage and I should have confronted him about this situation, but for future reference, more monitors!

 

I understand that this was Jay's first gig with this band, but he should have had more control over the sound. After listening to my recording which came straight out of the PA speakers, the keyboards were way too loud, the guitars were too soft and Michael's lead vocals were drowned out in American Band. However, the vocals got a lot better as the gig progressed, but I feel the overall sound of the band should have been more balanced. Both guitars should have been out front, as well as the bass. But, I don't know Jay's experience, so won't comment any further. Again, great for a private party, but not so at a real gig. In my opinion, since Jay said he recorded all the channels for the entire gig, he should remix the entire gig, and give Wayne a CD of the remixed gig. As I recorded in stereo, I have no control over the mix, so what you hear is what you get.

 

Second, cut the chatter. Dancers, especially if you have many female dancers, will NOT stand on the dance floor waiting for the next song to start. They could care less about stories, or staged conversations about old girlfriends or the history of the Rolling Stones. They want to dance! I know, as my wife has pointed this out to me on many, many occasions. Again, experience will make this more clear. Also, with a lot of chatter, musicians stand around on stage with their thumbs up their butts, and it's a very unpleasant feeling just standing there. So, in a real gig, a band should have only a couple seconds of down time, and if possible, have songs flow one right into another one.

 

This one falls strictly on the Michael, if he continues to be the lead singer. Saying, "Bring it on Home" is good for about 2 songs, but really gets old real fast. I can understand being nervous, and at private parties, especially your own, this is fine and can go over, but be warned that it just isn't needed at a gig out in town.

 

Also, as far as cues go, the more you play together, the band will rely less and less on visual cues. In fact, the music itself should be your cues, if from a drum roll or a guitar lick or a bass riff, which is why you really have to listen to each other and become better musicians. Again, this comes with practicing over and over again and doing on stage exactly what you do at rehearsal. I don't care if you are the best drummer, or best guitarist, or best keyboardist in the world. If you can't operate as a unit, it's rather a useless situation.

 

Speed! Watch how fast you are going, especially when starting a song. Remember that the drummer is the time keeper, unless he does not start the song. Who Will Stop The Rain was way too slow, and it's not a slow song. Wonderful Tonight, in my opinion, was too fast. It wasn't bad, but it's one of the belly rubber songs, so should have been a bit slower. Also, drummers, especially if they start the song, don't need to click their sticks. I think this happened on American Band, and it just wasn't needed. Obviously, Riding the Storm Out really fell apart, and already talked to Wayne about it. However, during the end part, Michael started talking before the ending and I think the band got confused and just ended it without waiting for the synth growl.

 

OK, as I was discussing with John, musicians are their worst critics, and you will be amazed just how tolerant fans are, especially if they like the band. However, the phrase of the day is, "you are only as good as your last gig", and I have always felt that way. People will tell you are great, but then change their stories when talking to their friends, and unfortunately, word of mouth is still one of the best references among people.

 

Again, these are just my observations and they may or my not reflect how the rest of the band saw this gig. Like I said, it was a private party and a very good gig for a private party. I'm glad that Michael got a chance to give his family and friends a good show.

 

Believe me, critiquing your gigs after playing is something all bands should do, especially if you tape your show, either on video or just audio. You need to pick apart the littlest things and then put it all together until the band is totally satisfied. Unfortunately, sometimes that never happens, but at least you will have a show that you can live with and hopefully, just keeps getting better and better. It is called "work", and there is no way around it, especially if you start getting paid for it!

 

Again, thanks for let me part of this party and celebration!

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One thing to remember is a board recirding is kind of opposite of the gig. If bass & guitar are pretty loud on stage there won't be much coming through the PA, so they will sound quite low in a recording of the PA.

 

Good point on the chit-chat. Try to group songs into blocks of 3 so there's less down time. Recording the band is a good way to see if the tempos are good. Every gig is a learning experience, and there's always room for improvement. It also shows what's good as well.

 

There really should be one monitor per musician as well, unless you're shoehorned into a tiny area. There are times when as a 4 piece we've used only 2 monitors...

 

 

 

D609AA44-3A60-4969-BED9-715F6002435A.jpg

 

But in a room 1/3 the size of a football field there should be a decent stage, and any sound guy worth his salt should be able to handle a 4 or 5 piece cover band.

Edited by StratGuy22
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Ok I'm gonna defend the sound guy. Maybe you had guitar amps on stage meaning there was less need for guitars in the mix.

 

You should agree with the sound guy on how many monitors you need before the gig. Ideally everyone would have one, but it really depends on the level of the hired sound guy.

 

Don't think you can tape the gig and get an idea of what it sounds like. It just isn't that easy.

 

Otherwise just keep having fun!

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