#1
All right, so my friends and I tentatively put together a band. It was meant to be a one off at a talent show, but then we won some money and people liked us a lot, so we figured we'd keep going. The show had a PA system we ran into. Now we actually want to start playing other shows. Do we need a PA? I've been told we do to mix all of the amps and drums and vox. But we really don't have ANY money except the money we won which we aren't going to use.

Is a PA really necessary? Could we rent one? Can you recommend any CHEAP systems?
Winner of the 2011 Virginia Guitar Festival

Protools HD
Lynx Aurora 16/HD192
Mojave, Sennheiser, AKG, EV etc mics
Focusrite ISA828 pres
Waves Mercury
Random Rack Gear

65 Deluxe Reverb
PRS CE 22
American Standard Strat
Taylor 712
#2
you might not need one, most bars have their own PA systems.
Quote by Diet_coke_head
Hey! Now you can molest you're grandma and she won't remember! Score!!!



Gear:
Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass
Fender V Jazz
Ashdown MAG 410
EH Bass Big MUff
MXR Bass Octave Deluxe
Digitech Synth Wah
#3
You don't need one, but they're useful. Most venues will have a PA system and other essentials like mics. If you're going to go without your own PA then make sure you check with the venue to see if they will provide one before you sign up for a show.

But if you want to play at a house party or something you're almost always going to need your own PA. Also, they're useful for practice.
#4
I've been noticing we need one for practice. Fender champ vs a huge ass bass and amp a 100watt valveking isn't working out so well.
Winner of the 2011 Virginia Guitar Festival

Protools HD
Lynx Aurora 16/HD192
Mojave, Sennheiser, AKG, EV etc mics
Focusrite ISA828 pres
Waves Mercury
Random Rack Gear

65 Deluxe Reverb
PRS CE 22
American Standard Strat
Taylor 712
#5
Completely off-topic, but i'd like to mention again...
R. A. Salvatore is an amazing author, Drizzt is an amazing (though kinda cliched) character, and the epically twisted Artemis is a perfect foil to him.
Gear:
Agile Ash RB 828
Schecter C-7 (old 90s style headstock)
Handbuilt 6-string V
Handbuilt Baritone scale 6 string Iceman-copy
Pod HD300
#6
Quote by Jango22
Completely off-topic, but i'd like to mention again...
R. A. Salvatore is an amazing author, Drizzt is an amazing (though kinda cliched) character, and the epically twisted Artemis is a perfect foil to him.



Oh I know, I love it.
Winner of the 2011 Virginia Guitar Festival

Protools HD
Lynx Aurora 16/HD192
Mojave, Sennheiser, AKG, EV etc mics
Focusrite ISA828 pres
Waves Mercury
Random Rack Gear

65 Deluxe Reverb
PRS CE 22
American Standard Strat
Taylor 712
#7
OK - My qualification to comment on this is that i am an audio engineer, have a fair bit of PA gear and play in a couple of bands myself (bass).

I guess, the key question is what do you want to do: If you plan to play primarily in bars/pubs, in general, they should be providing the PA and if not, you would expect that they would pay more for you to hire one.

On the other hand if you intend to play more at parties or say, corporate functions (i assume you mean an originals band but you didnt say), you would need to have access to a PA system. It is definitely an option to either hire a system, or hire an owner operator (this is what i do for a corporate/function band).

If you are looking at gigging weekly or something in places where you must have a PA, you might consider buying one along the way. You say "a cheap system" but it really depends what you need. That is, an acoustic band would be very different from a heavy metal/industrial band. For a begginning band wanting to play some small gigs, probably a powered head unit and some speakers would do the job (yamaha give good quality and bang-for buck). I would say though i don't recommend buying that until you're sure you need it, because in the short term, hiring is OK. Just google a hire company in your city. In the long term, if you're going on with the band and you require a sound system regularly, its good to make the investment because otherwise you're just paying for someone else to own a system!

Someone mentioned rehearsal on here. It depends where you're rehearsing. If you use a professional rehearsal studio, they will provide the PA anyway, but otherwise, yeah you'd be needing to think about that. That however, would require a very small system just to amplify the vocals. You could even consider a keyboard amp or something. Really depends where you are and where you wanna go.
#8
Quote by Jango22
Completely off-topic, but i'd like to mention again...
R. A. Salvatore is an amazing author,


I've read 23 of his books, working on number 24...

Wait....what was this thread about?

Oh yeah - PA's are good to have, but not a necessity. Just look for a good used one.
Gear

Gibson '57 Les Paul Reissue
Marshall TSL 601
EHX: Big Muff, Metal Muff, Small Stone, POG, 2880
Ibanez TS808
Voodoo Labs Microvibe
Analogman Chorus
Morley Bad Horsie II
Keeley Compressor (C4)
Nova Delay
MXR 10-band EQ
#9
I don't even remember how many i've read. I haven't checked up on him lately, though. I read the first book of the ____ King series (which i didnt like, WHY wizards, WHY must you kill Forgotten Realms?). Has he written the 2nd/3rd yet?
Gear:
Agile Ash RB 828
Schecter C-7 (old 90s style headstock)
Handbuilt 6-string V
Handbuilt Baritone scale 6 string Iceman-copy
Pod HD300
#10
He's written the second one, I hated the first one. But I've read every single other one. Not to mention plenty of other stuff by Salvatore. The Entreri spin off series is great.
Winner of the 2011 Virginia Guitar Festival

Protools HD
Lynx Aurora 16/HD192
Mojave, Sennheiser, AKG, EV etc mics
Focusrite ISA828 pres
Waves Mercury
Random Rack Gear

65 Deluxe Reverb
PRS CE 22
American Standard Strat
Taylor 712
#11
Yeah, most of his stuff is good. The only reason that first one sucked so much is because Wizards completely destroyed and time-skipped the Forgotten Realms. The only one I haven't read is the Dawn something or other. I could never find it.
Gear:
Agile Ash RB 828
Schecter C-7 (old 90s style headstock)
Handbuilt 6-string V
Handbuilt Baritone scale 6 string Iceman-copy
Pod HD300
#12
heath_eld's advice is good, read it well and digest the knowledge therein...


If you play originals, you can probably gig for some months without a PA - the venues you play will likely have them, especially if you're playing on 'showcase' nights or pay-to-play events.

If you want to do paid gigs, it only tends to be smaller venues and pubs that are willing to pay bands, so you'll probably need your own sound system for most of these. For coves and functions bands it's a must, but original bands can get away with house P - but unless you're good, don't expect to get paid.

As for PA systems, don't buy a cheap 'starter pack' - you'll end up needing to upgrade so quickly that it's a false economy. Believe me, '100W' is not enough - and the speakers will sound like absolute mud...
Try and get a powered mixer, it's the best compromise between flexibilty and simplicity. If you're never going to be using the PA for more than a few mics, powered speakers are worth a look. 200W RMS is the bare minimum, though you'll soon be realising you could do with more power, so get the best you can at the time.

Behringer are almost certainly going to be your best bet - it's not the most reliable or sophisticated stuff, but for the price their PA gear is really quite decent. i don't know about their speakers but the powered mixer we use is brilliant for the price.
Also have a look at Alesis and Yamaha stuff - though if you can get your PA sceondhand, all the better.
#13
Thanks to both Heath_eld and Kyle62. Both very informative posts. Two of the places we want to play have PA systems so maybe we'll just hang out around there. We don't really expect to get paid. We're...good. But not excellent or anything. Good meaning we have a better lead singer than 90% of bands today, but he, the drummer and I are the only ones with legit musical experience. The bassist has been playing about a month, but he's pretty good and our rhythm guitarist about 6 months. It's just for fun and experience, but we do want to play some shows.
Winner of the 2011 Virginia Guitar Festival

Protools HD
Lynx Aurora 16/HD192
Mojave, Sennheiser, AKG, EV etc mics
Focusrite ISA828 pres
Waves Mercury
Random Rack Gear

65 Deluxe Reverb
PRS CE 22
American Standard Strat
Taylor 712