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Old 03-01-2013, 01:48 AM   #1
Ethanb08
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PA system practicality

Not sure where this kind of thread belongs...
So I'm wondering how big of a pa system is it worth it to have? So far my band has a
PA system that consists of a peavey pv14usb mixer, IPR1600 power amp and two PV215 speakers cabs. And recently I've been thinking about getting (or building as I'm a cabinetmaker by day and have the capability to do so) some dedicated 18" subs so I can run the 215s as mid and high range tops and crossover the signal to send lows to the subs. Ideally this would be so I can run all the vocal, drums, bass, guitar and click track synth through the pa in full but be able to get a reasonably balanced and good spread of sound.

But how practical is it for me to do that? Right now were just a band in a small town area, so having a pa is beneficial from the aspect that we will be able to provide sound reinforcement as needed (to an extent any ways) But we plan to move to a city, or more populated area where the need for a larger pa may not be justifiable... as we will probably rely on house sound more frequently.

One major thing I like about having our own system is the control we have over our sound and setup.

Anyways what do you guys think? is it worth it?
What would you guys do and why?
Or have any advice or experiences with having your own pa system?
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:37 AM   #2
jthm_guitarist
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It's really up to you. I know some bands that love to have their own full PA just because they know they can be in control and sometimes venues have sketchy or unavailable systems. Personally I find the biggest drawback is loading and transporting the damn thing.

What you want certainly wouldn't be unheard of. If you think it's practical/worth it then go for it, because for some bands it is.

In my experience it's a big pain. It's nice to have a powerful amp, a couple 215s, and some monitors but it more than doubles my effort when we provide the PA. We're only playing hour sets max so to me it would feel like overkill to have subs and all but I know a lot of guys where it's the quantity of gear that makes them feel like a big rockstar and therefore, happy.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:42 AM   #3
Phil Starr
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Hi Ethan. We run a similar system using the IPR1600 which is plenty of power for anything up to 300 people so long as you are using decent speakers. We use the Yamaha club series speakers with the 18" subs. I like the Peavey mixer too. Will you double up the IPR for the subs? It is useful that they have the crossover to a sub built in.

Using the subs will transform your sound. Being able to move the bass in particular to the PA lowers the on-stage volume which reduces the sound bleeding through your vocal mics as well as making it possible to hear much more of the rest of the band when you are performing. Having the audience hear the PA rather than the backline really improves your mix too so go for it. You'll end up with a much more professional sound.

The weak link in your sound are the Peavey speakers. The horn drivers they use pretty much throughout their range are poor and vocal clarity suffers as a result. I'm a Peavey fan for most of their range but their PA speakers are their weak link, well made and reliable but let down by those horns. Hope you don't mind me saying.

As to building I'm keen and I write a lot on this but a word of caution. You probably won't save money by doing it yourself. It is hard to get components at the price the big manufacturers do and their manufacturing is so highly automated that self building is usually a break even game. Buying used is usually your cheapest option unless you are looking at high end stuff. What building does is allow you to put in extras that manufacturers find uneconomic and you will learn loads as well as having the satisfaction of having made something that sounds great. If you want to go ahead with a build I'm happy to help you with a design.

There's loads of articles on UG that I've written such as this http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/colu...s_and_amps.html Some of them are quite old so you might need to search my profile for the rest.

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Old 03-01-2013, 06:45 AM   #4
Phil Starr
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There's clearly a difference across the pond. Few UK venues have their own PA and any band that wants to gig has to have their own or play support.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:49 PM   #5
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Jthm pretty much summed up my thoughts.

I honestly have never played somewhere that hasn't had their own PA system. If you're more of a house band or want to do weddings or something, then yes, it'd be necessary to have all the pieces, but for an average gigging band???

I don't think so, just more things to break and take up space in the van.

I could understand wanting to bring your own DI's, Monitors, Mics, to a venue. Just so you know you're not going to have some shitty mic or monitor that's gonna crap out on you in a show.

Another thing you have to take into account, is that most venues, have strict sound regulations from the city or town they're in. They are specifically set up with the amps and speakers they have so that they can fall into the regulations. You can't just take your rig into most these places, krank the bass and shake the whole block, and expect to be able to get away with it. They have their setups for a reason.

And if you're only playing for 30min to an hour, it's also worthless IMO. You're going to have to set up everything as well, if you are like most places. You generally switch gear out in between sets unless there is a back line or something. And setup and tear down is generally calculated in towards your "time" to get in and get out.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:17 PM   #6
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This is more of a personal preference angle, but I vastly prefer everything to be miced up and put through the PA, rather than just the vocals. The bass and drums in particular draw the requirement for subs (although admittedly I have not used 2x15s) so the question of "should I get subs" draws a definite "yes" from me (if you can afford them).

As for whether it's "worth" it in an originals band, I don't see why not. The difference in sound will make you sound better than the other original bands.
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:34 AM   #7
Ethanb08
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Thanks guys for the replies. After reading, and re-reading the replies and pondering like mad over the last two days I've come to the conclusion that subs are not a necessary addition at this point. On the other hand though, to whom it concerns, funds will be devoted to a guitar build in the relatively near future!
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Starr
There's clearly a difference across the pond. Few UK venues have their own PA and any band that wants to gig has to have their own or play support.


It must be different from city to city, here in Birmingham, even pubs have a PA system in place, and I personally would never play a venue without a PA system unless I was in a wedding band or something along those lines.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:54 AM   #9
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Interesting.

Here in Ontario, Canada, most places that book original bands have their own PA systems, as do many of the places (but not all of the places) that book cover bands.

Original bands can expect to share a night with another band or two or three, whereas cover bands generally do not.

If you're playing mostly small places (capacity < 200 kind of thing), having a big PA might be more of a liability. You spend all that money and spend all that time and energy transporting it around and setting it up and tearing it down only to find that the place keeps telling you to turn the damn thing down. Yeah, sure, it's glorious to YOU to hear the kick drum thump you in the chest cavity as your guitar cranks out a wall of sound out of both speakers and the stage monitors, but when people are trying to enjoy some wings, chips, and beers while they laugh and talk with their friends, and maybe dance a bit, making their ears bleed is not good for business.

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