PA system?


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SupImJimmy
04-07-2008, 08:15 PM
First and foremost, I apologize profusely if this is the wrong forum, please relocate this if that's the case.

Secondly, the point of this thread... I'm looking for a PA system for the purpose of practices and basement shows. Basically, I'm only going to be running one or two vocal mics through it and possibly a keyboard. The problem is, I know next to nothing about PA systems and don't know where to start. I was looking at packages, but I already have the mic and cable I want to use and I don't want to pay for them again. I don't know what else I need though. I want two speakers and stands, and I'm under the impression that I need a mixer... are there certain cables I need to hook all this up? If someone could clarify what I need to purchase for this to work and maybe even point me in the right direction, it'd be great.

Oh, and as a side note, I want something that sounds as close to professional as I can get. Obviously, for just vocals, I'm not going to need that much power. My budget is basically unlimited as I've been working for almost a year now with only a few sporadic purchases here and there. Thanks a lot everyone!

Cutlass_253
04-07-2008, 08:32 PM
Well you have a couple options. You're BASIC setup will need a few things.

1) Yes you need a mixer, but you can get one with a power amp. This is what you plug mics into
2) If you buy a seperate mixer You'll need a power amp. This is what you plug speakers into

This is kinda like buying a guitar head, and you can get it in one or two pieces.

3) Most likely mic stands (I can't imagine that you'd hold even two mics all night)
4) At least one speaker, and preferabley a stand for it (it won't be heard on the floor).
I'm not totally sure, but I think 2 smaller speakers are louder and more clear than 1 big one. And I don't think you'd need a subwoofer either.
5) Cables. Mic cables are no big deal, but careful what you need to go from the power amp to the speaker. Some of them use Speakon cables which are kinda expensive (up to $30 for a 25 ft cable)

SupImJimmy
04-07-2008, 08:40 PM
Well you have a couple options. You're BASIC setup will need a few things.

1) Yes you need a mixer, but you can get one with a power amp. This is what you plug mics into
2) If you buy a seperate mixer You'll need a power amp. This is what you plug speakers into

This is kinda like buying a guitar head, and you can get it in one or two pieces.

3) Most likely mic stands (I can't imagine that you'd hold even two mics all night)
4) At least one speaker, and preferabley a stand for it (it won't be heard on the floor).
I'm not totally sure, but I think 2 smaller speakers are louder and more clear than 1 big one. And I don't think you'd need a subwoofer either.
5) Cables. Mic cables are no big deal, but careful what you need to go from the power amp to the speaker. Some of them use Speakon cables which are kinda expensive (up to $30 for a 25 ft cable)

Alrighty... I neglected to mention I have a mic stand. Also, I think you're right about the 2/1 speaker thing, I've had a little experience with both setups and two smaller speakers definitely seems to be the better bet.

So basically I need to pick up a mixer, preferably with a power amp, two speakers with stands, and cables to connect the power amp to the speakers.

Speakers should be simple enough, but what kind of mixer should I be looking at? Does the quality of the mixer affect the sound quality greatly? What sort of price range will I be looking at for the best performance?

Cutlass_253
04-07-2008, 08:48 PM
Oh and one other thing I forgot to mention because I don't know much about it is powered speakers. I'm assuming these would be used without a power amp of any kind, but still with a mixer. These I don't know about, the only downside I can see is that they are more expensive and in order to add another speaker you'd have to buy another powered speaker. I'm thinking for more than one speaker you'd be better off buying passive (not powered) speakers.

shortyafter
04-07-2008, 10:10 PM
Most PA "systems" in the lower price range will already include the combined mixer/power amp, speakers, and stands. I think you're looking at a price range from $400 to $2000+, it all depends on how much you're willing to spend and what you're using the PA for. The price is really determined by the power, or watts, sort of like guitar amps. So you need to decide how many watts you want your power amp/mixer to be.

For basement shows and practice, 100 watts may be enough. It depends on how loud you guys play. My band uses this 100 watt system and it gets the job done for practice/small indoor gigs: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Kustom-PA-Profile-One-PA-System?sku=630506

If you can afford to spend a little more you may be better off with a bigger system, maybe 300 watts. I'm a big fan of the Kustom systems so here's the bigger brother to the other one:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Kustom-Profile-Two-300W-PA-System-?sku=600822
That should be more than enough power for practice and small indoor gigs.

Just balance how much you're gonna use the system and how much you are willing to pay. Remember that many larger clubs/venues will have a house PA system, so you probably won't need to lug around a huge PA for every gig. But it's better to be safe than sorry - you're better off spending a little extra and getting a reliable system then spending too little and having the vox drowned out.

So my recommendation? A system of about 300 watts. Possibly go bigger if you have the money. If you don't want to spend that much, at least buy something that's 100 watts. It SHOULD get the job done for your purposes but there's no guarantees - only you know exactly what your situation is like. Again, better safe than sorry.

Just look up some systems and read some reviews. The two links I gave you are just examples. Find out what will be best for you. Take my advice with a grain of salt though, because again, only you need exactly what your situation is.

Hope that helps.

PS: Yes, two speakers is louder - it moves more air and spreads the sound out more.