#1
Ok so right now one thing really holding our band back is we dont have anything to get vocals loud enough. We've been putting vocals through spare guitar/bass amps.

My birthday was last week and now i have enough money to just buy a PA system. I have 2 options of how i could go about this i could

A) Buy the PA, no one pays me back but its mine.

or

B) Buy the PA, everyone pays me back there portion of it and until then its mine but then when its payed off its the bands

or

C) Dont use all my money on this.

How does your band do it? What do you think i should do?
#2
PA option a - b, A if you want to be able to obtain control of the PA

B if you are comfortable and good friends with the band, come to an understanding that its the band if someone leaves maybe pay their part off it
#3
Id say check cragislist for cheap pa's and buy it your self that way if you go on to different bands your more valuable because you have the pa you could make the members buy spare mics if they wanna hook up and sing but ya the whole singing through a spare guitar/bass amp sounds like butt i know.
Guitars- Ibanez rgx digital snow camo
Amplifiers- Randall 125 watt halfstack ( payed 350 for the stack )
#4
Honestly, I think the vocalist should buy the P.A., and own it themselves. Most people usually disagree with me when I say this, but why should it be different than any other instrument? Guitarists have to buy their own amps, so why shouldn't the vocalist pay for their own amplification?

To answer your question, though, my band still uses a karaoke machine and a guitar amp for vocals. I'm the vocalist, but I have had higher priorities than a P.A. However, you can easily get one off Craigslist, Ebay, etc.
My guitar modification blog.
Quote by MuffinMan
Jesus was all like "To those about to rock, I salute you." then he grabbed his mighty axe and rocked the Romans out really hard. Of course they were strict classical music so....
Last edited by Black Star at Oct 12, 2009,
#5
Honestly, I think the vocalist should buy the P.A., and own it themselves. Most people usually disagree with me when I say this, but why should it be different than any other instrument? Guitarists have to buy their own amps, so why shouldn't the vocalist pay for their own amplification?


That works for a little while, until you're playing gigs at places big enough that you put (say) bass, keyboards and backing vocals through the PA as well. It's bit harsh on the poor vocalist to have to pay for other people's amplification. Not to disagree with you - I reckon it's probably a good idea for one person to try and own the PA, or as much of it as possible, simply to avoid trouble on breakup - but be aware that lots of stuff will frequently go through a PA that's not just vocals.
#6
Quote by Samzawadi
That works for a little while, until you're playing gigs at places big enough that you put (say) bass, keyboards and backing vocals through the PA as well. It's bit harsh on the poor vocalist to have to pay for other people's amplification. Not to disagree with you - I reckon it's probably a good idea for one person to try and own the PA, or as much of it as possible, simply to avoid trouble on breakup - but be aware that lots of stuff will frequently go through a PA that's not just vocals.


When you're playing a place that big, the venue will usually have a house P.A. However, if for some reason you need to upgrade so everybody can plug in, then I would agree that everybody should chip in. Only the people using the equipment should have to pay.
My guitar modification blog.
Quote by MuffinMan
Jesus was all like "To those about to rock, I salute you." then he grabbed his mighty axe and rocked the Romans out really hard. Of course they were strict classical music so....
#7
I'd go option A. PAs are incredibly useful and you'll want to use one after this band is over. If everyone goes in on it the PA it may be hard to determine how much should be paid to a leaving member, and if a member wants to use it for an event outside the band it may also raise issues.

Also generally in cases where everyone goes through the PA (for me, all the time), if you use your PA at a paying gig, the PA gets a share of the money (which is you). This is fair because it is a necessity for the gig, and PAs can be pricey.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#8
When you are starting out you need to spend money carefully, we've all been there. What most people miss is that you need three things for vocals;

Something to make you heard at band practice,

vocal monitors so you can hear thee vocals during a performance,

a PA system.

I very strongly advise you to go for a system which will act as monitors. They will also be perfect during rehearsal time and when you are starting out can be angled towards the audience so they can hear the vocals. They will give you the biggest improvement to your sound you can get for your buck and because they will later be built into your PA they won't be wasted after your band has grown.

In practice a small PA and specialist monitors are much the same, as most small PA speakers are angled and can be placed on their angled sides and most wedge monitors can be stood on their sides and what is inside (a10 or 12" + horn) is the same. We use a small Yamaha PA as monitors

Read the guide to PA in the columns.
#10
this is our band set up 2 mixers, both around 1200 watts - 4 12' speakers for monitors, 2 15's, 2 2x15s, and 2 really big bassey ones... probably all together costs 3 grand, and tahts before cables etc...

oh yeah we also got two other preamp things but I am not sure on what they cost or actual purpose.. they help with power though.

and 1 mixer is for vocals, other is instruments.. dont go this route unless you can afford it.
#12
I highly reccomend you use a PA.
My band just bought a decent one for like $350.
It makes the vocals sound so much better, and you can get them much louder too.
We used to use a 50 watt Vox for vocals with an adapter for the cord and comparitively the PA is better in every single way.
#13
keep in mind what you get matters too.. I have been trying to get the band to change speakers because I have seen some bands with only 4 total and they are alot more powerful then ours and look smaller too.
#15
I like where kyle is going with this... if you are doing originals you probably don't have too many high paying shows so it would be hard to make use of an expensive PA. My band finally is going to look into a better PA but I am in a cover/original band (i say both because I slide originals in here and there) but we do shows every weekend literally and so we can afford to get a better system...

Got to play within your means :P
#16
Quote by ehlert99
I like where kyle is going with this... if you are doing originals you probably don't have too many high paying shows so it would be hard to make use of an expensive PA. My band finally is going to look into a better PA but I am in a cover/original band (i say both because I slide originals in here and there) but we do shows every weekend literally and so we can afford to get a better system...

Got to play within your means :P


BUT at the same time get your own PA

and organize your own shows, hire out a venue for the day 300$ ask 2-3 local bands to support (your band headline)

Small entry fee for the crowd, which if the other local bands have a small reputation their friends and fans will come for a good day

make a small profit

1. this helps network your band to other bands
2. Other bands see that you are organized
3. YOur PA becomes a small investment, for future music projects
#17
Quote by Martindecorum
BUT at the same time get your own PA

and organize your own shows, hire out a venue for the day 300$ ask 2-3 local bands to support (your band headline)

Small entry fee for the crowd, which if the other local bands have a small reputation their friends and fans will come for a good day


This always works in theory, but I can't count the amount of times I've seen this type of gig fall to pieces, make a massive loss, or spiral into some kind of primitive pay-to-play scheme.
Pick your bands wisely, pay them fairly, promote heavily, don't be overambitious with entry prices - and you should pull it off.


But yes, on the 'originals circuit', you'll hardly need your own PA since you'll probably be playing the larger venues (albeit on crap days/times and possibly in pay-to-play 'showcases') which will have excellent in-house sound.

A PA is essential if you're playing covers though, where a lot of your venues will be smaller pubs and clubs without any sound of house amplification. Also very handy if you want to put on your own events, although if you're only running them occasionally PA hire might be sufficient.
#18
Quote by eyebanez333
It has 2 2x15 mains


Bloody hell I bet they're heavy! Sounds like a good deal though. We just got a 1kW system with two 15" actives, a 16ch rack mixer in flightcase, stands and leads for £800. Damn good buy it was too.
#19
Quote by kyle62
Bloody hell I bet they're heavy! Sounds like a good deal though. We just got a 1kW system with two 15" actives, a 16ch rack mixer in flightcase, stands and leads for £800. Damn good buy it was too.


Yeah they weigh about 115 pounds each
#20
i was mostly planning on getting this for practice not gigs. we have no way of amplifying vocals during practice
#21
singer buys PA. period.

think about it man, everyone else has to spring for a ton of other gear, guitarists have to buy atleast a gigable guitar and amp + whatever fx they use, easily going above a grand even when working on a limited budget, same's true for drummers and bassists.

if you're the singer, sorry, but you gotta suck this one up, even if you also play another instrument. besides, like Alan said, they're extremely useful and something you're probably going to want down the road anyways (god i wish i hadn't sold mine!)

so, for every rule there's an exception, this one's no different...

going along with what i said above, if a non-singing member of the band WANTS to spring for a PA because they just want to own one, and they're cool with letting the band use it, great, no probs all around.

also, if your singer can't afford one, it's not too much to ask that they make payments on it with their cut of gig $ until it's paid off, and paid off = amount on the recipt unless previously agreed upon otherwise.


EDIT: just realized black star already said much of this... my bad, not tryin' to steal yur thunder
Last edited by GrisKy at Oct 22, 2009,
#22
Quote by GrisKy
singer buys PA. period.


You're kidding, aren't you? No way in hell would I ever work in a band with that kind of attitude.

The musicians have their own instruments, but the whole band pays for the PA. We bought ours out of gig earnings, it's the simplest and fairest way of doing it.
#24
Quote by kyle62
You're kidding, aren't you? No way in hell would I ever work in a band with that kind of attitude.

The musicians have their own instruments, but the whole band pays for the PA. We bought ours out of gig earnings, it's the simplest and fairest way of doing it.


a practice PA IS the singer's instrument (in addition to his voice). there's no way i'd ever bring a singer into the fold who didn't have the dedication to provide his instrument/means of amplification. would you work with a bass player who owned a bass but expected his band to help pay for an amp? would you work with a drummer who owned shells but wanted the band to buy his cymbols? would you buy an amp for a guitarist who didn't have one?

why is this any different? all of the above are also neccessary pieces of gear to put on a show. price wise, the upper mid range of PA systems for small venues is on par with the total cost of any of the other members' instruments. plus, this way there is a clear cut owner of the system... no selling it for less than half of what you payed for it just so you can divy up that small amount amongst the members when the band breaks up. what else would you do? "hey, you take this poweramp, and youget these mics and some cabling, and you and me will cut the board in half and each take a piece."

now, if we're talking a HUGE, arena PA, complete with top shelf line arrays, AKG's all around, and a mixing board big enough to sleep on, chances are the band (which of course would be using this on THEIR headlining tour) is at that point a business entity, and such a purchase would be at the band's expense, meaning it'd cut from everyone's profits.

but for something that's just big enough to play bars and small clubs, nah, that's singer territory. funny thing is, you say you'd never work in a band with that "attitude," (and perhaps i came across a bit more dictatorish than i intended) but every singer i've ever worked with has not had a problem with this. most like the idea of having tangible ownership in the welfare of the band, even if a payment system has to be arranged. plus, they'll usually look at the investment i put into my rig and think, "ok, i can spring $500 for a PA and a mic."

also, Alan mentioned earlier that the PA should get a cut of gig profits, since everyone uses the PA... i both agree and disagree with this. I agree if that cut of the profits goes towards paying your sound man and rental fees for using a rented PA (since you're hiring an outside party to provide a service = bills gotta get paid). I disagree if we're just talking about stuffing an extra cut into someone's pocket... that's how bank robbers turn on each other. why do i differentiate between the two? because you open some very dangerous doors if you don't. what's to stop the drummer from saying his kit should get a cut, because without it either the band would suck or would have to cancel? why shouldn't my trailer get a cut since it carries the gear to the show in the first place? how 'bout the bassist who lets the band carpool in his van to save on gas? sure, everyone takes turns filling the tank or whatever, but those are still miles ringing up on the tacometer, that's still wear and tear on my trailer, etc.

at some point you have to draw the line or accept that your band is full of socialists , but seriously, sacrifices have to be made to further a band. that doesn't mean the singer should get off the hook while everyone else picks up his slack. i don't see what you find unfair about that.
Last edited by GrisKy at Oct 23, 2009,
#25
Quote by kyle62
You're kidding, aren't you? No way in hell would I ever work in a band with that kind of attitude.

The musicians have their own instruments, but the whole band pays for the PA. We bought ours out of gig earnings, it's the simplest and fairest way of doing it.


The only time everybody should pay for the PA is if everybody is using it. You don't see guitarists asking the band to buy them new amps, do you?

If it's only a practice PA, being used only for vocals, then the vocalist needs to pay for it. End of story.
My guitar modification blog.
Quote by MuffinMan
Jesus was all like "To those about to rock, I salute you." then he grabbed his mighty axe and rocked the Romans out really hard. Of course they were strict classical music so....
#26
Buy the small practice PA yourself. Keep it and sell it later if you outgrow it. Band members come and go, and you don't want to create a "divorce settlement" when your guitarist, etc. leaves and wants his share out of the PA investment.

I'm also looking at a couple of small PA's currently to function as practice PA and as a monitor system. My mains are big and not portable enough to haul to practice every week.
#27
There is a difference between a guitarist's big live show rig and a vocalist buying a PA, though. Sure, you've got two guitars, four pedals and a big tube amp. But you didn't spend £800 on it all at once, did you?

The vocalist is going to need to spend...£200 at least on speakers, £200 on power amp/small mixer, probably £100 on mikes, £100 on a monitor speaker, all at once. That's a big expense to ask one person to commit to, it's about three weeks pay if you're working full time, and none of it is any use without the other bits.

An option might be for the whole band to chip in to buy it, and then the singer pays people back over time. But I know that if someone told me 'you need to spend £600 to be in this band, and we start practicing in a few days so you need to buy it now'...well, unless I was certain that I liked the band a lot, that's a big hurdle to get over
#28
Quote by Samzawadi
There is a difference between a guitarist's big live show rig and a vocalist buying a PA, though. Sure, you've got two guitars, four pedals and a big tube amp. But you didn't spend £800 on it all at once, did you?

The vocalist is going to need to spend...£200 at least on speakers, £200 on power amp/small mixer, probably £100 on mikes, £100 on a monitor speaker, all at once. That's a big expense to ask one person to commit to, it's about three weeks pay if you're working full time, and none of it is any use without the other bits.

An option might be for the whole band to chip in to buy it, and then the singer pays people back over time. But I know that if someone told me 'you need to spend £600 to be in this band, and we start practicing in a few days so you need to buy it now'...well, unless I was certain that I liked the band a lot, that's a big hurdle to get over




You can get a PA system for FAR less than £800. I found a PA first search on Musicians Friend for $200 (someone else can do the conversions.) Overall, your pricing is crap.
This isn't for a big show. This is for simply practicing.
Your logic is crap. You can work with a power amp/mixer and a speaker, until you get the rest. My band has done it, and it worked out fine. The only problem is that the speakers we had were unreliable.
And finally, it's not usually the band that complains about not being able to hear the vocalist. It's usually the vocalist complaining about not being heard. Since they're the ones with the problem, they need to fix it.

And to that last comment, it would be smart to buy a PA regardless. Remember, the only reason Ozzy was accepted into Black Sabbath was because he owned a PA.
My guitar modification blog.
Quote by MuffinMan
Jesus was all like "To those about to rock, I salute you." then he grabbed his mighty axe and rocked the Romans out really hard. Of course they were strict classical music so....
Last edited by Black Star at Oct 24, 2009,
#29
Sam, in addition to what Black Star said, which I completely agree with, I'd also like to answer your question... YES.

Whatever that converts to in USD, I'm certain I've dropped it for gear in a day... probably a few times. Many heads alone cost as much or more than an entire practice PA. In fact, if that's all a singer has to spring for, he pretty much comes out like a ****in' bandit on the whole deal. Sorry, but your reasoning is ass-backwards.
Last edited by GrisKy at Oct 24, 2009,
#30
You can get a PA system for FAR less than £800. I found a PA first search on Musicians Friend for $200 (someone else can do the conversions.) Overall, your pricing is crap.
This isn't for a big show. This is for simply practicing.
Your logic is crap. You can work with a power amp/mixer and a speaker, until you get the rest. My band has done it, and it worked out fine. The only problem is that the speakers we had were unreliable.


So...you'd buy a PA that couldn't actually do a show? Whenever people ask about buying guitar/bass amps, there's normally advice that they think about what they might need in the future, not what 'is good enough to practice in their bedroom'.

Yes, there's always the secondhand, cheap option, and you could get a little PA that'd do for practices. But that won't do for a gig, and it won't really integrate with a bigger PA that most bands will need at some point. It's not the most efficient choice in the long run to buy it...like buying a Line 6 Spider because it's £100 cheaper than a Fender or a Peavey or whatever. You will still need to get the better one at some point, and you've in effect wasted the expenditure on the cheaper one.

And finally, it's not usually the band that complains about not being able to hear the vocalist. It's usually the vocalist complaining about not being heard. Since they're the ones with the problem, they need to fix it./quote]

No, the band has a problem, because they sound bad. You can ask the singer to fix it, but until you work out some way to deal with it, you've also got a problem. Given that vocals are the most important bit of most songs to an audience, it's quite important that the singer be practiced and able to hear himself.


My point is not that the rest of the band needs to buy the PA and the singer can wander around looking pretty. However, it's a big expense for someone who won't use it except with the band and who doesn't need it themselves outside of a band. Contributing money to it is a nice thing to do (and if you sing backing vocals, aren't you using it too?), and might mean that you can get something that's actually useful all the time, rather than just to practice on.
#31
Generally, practice PA's can also be used for small gigs. Larger venues will, 90% of the time, have a house PA, rendering a larger PA useless. A small PA will do the job almost all the time.

Besides, you've never heard of a guitarist upgrading to a better amp? Same concept.
My guitar modification blog.
Quote by MuffinMan
Jesus was all like "To those about to rock, I salute you." then he grabbed his mighty axe and rocked the Romans out really hard. Of course they were strict classical music so....
Last edited by Black Star at Oct 24, 2009,
#32

Besides, you've never heard of a guitarist upgrading to a better amp? Same concept.


And that's why I don't recommend people starting out with 10w practice amps. They'll inevitably need to be replaced, so why bother?

As far as gigs go, maybe it's because I'm at uni and have played gigs/been to gigs in lots of very non-traditional settings (bars with no PA system, big halls, outdoors, etc), and I reckon you need a significantly powerful PA setup to cope with vocals in such situations.

Can we clear up what you're defining as a 'practice' level PA? I would call anything below 250-300w a 'practice' one, with ones at that level or above with decent speakers being good for smallish gigs.
#33
Quote by Samzawadi
And that's why I don't recommend people starting out with 10w practice amps. They'll inevitably need to be replaced, so why bother?

As far as gigs go, maybe it's because I'm at uni and have played gigs/been to gigs in lots of very non-traditional settings (bars with no PA system, big halls, outdoors, etc), and I reckon you need a significantly powerful PA setup to cope with vocals in such situations.

Can we clear up what you're defining as a 'practice' level PA? I would call anything below 250-300w a 'practice' one, with ones at that level or above with decent speakers being good for smallish gigs.


you clearly have never given lessons. if you had, you'd realize how many people, after a week of practice (or perhaps i shold say a week of owning a guitar), decide that "guitar is not for them." that's why people start with a cheapo 10w practice amp, because it's a smaller investment, less risk, should they decide they're not really into it.

every bar i've been to across the globe (not sayin' i'm the alcy tht's been to every bar in the world, just sayin it's not a regional thing) that didn't have its own PA was small enough to where a practice PA would do the job just fine. think about it, what do bars and clubs usually have? music, even if it's very low level background noise. the bigger the club, the more powerful (and often more complex) the PA gets.

when skinny people get fat, their pants don't fit anymore, so they either buy new pants or exile themselves into nudist colonies... same idea, PA = pants.
#34
I'd advise you to just buy your own PA, it's easier in the longrun. You don't have to chase people up for payments and if the band splits there's no arguments over who gets what or how to split the gear.
Often in that situation, the gear is sold and the money split, but you'd never get all your money back as the gear starts to decrease in value as soon as you've bought it and invariably the band accepts the first offer because it wants to get the whole 'split' situation over with as soon as possible.

As a musician, owning a PA is an asset, if you audition for a band and it's a toss up between you and someone else, owning a PA (or even better, a van) will quite often swing the decision in your direction.

BUT.... make sure that the band uses the PA with the understanding that if anyone breaks part of it due to mis-use, (known in the trade as 'dicking about') such as a microphone for instance, then they should personaly pay for it.
Any breakages that happen as a result of pure accident while moving the PA to a gig should be payed for equaly by the band, including yourself. So if there are four of you in the band and someone accidently trips over the carpet going into a gig while they are carrying the PA amp, then you all pay a quarter each towards any repair/replacement bill, (always try to go for the cheapest option) because if it's an accident, then blame cannot be placed on any one person, and if blame cannot be placed on any one person, it's unfare to punish just one person.
When the PA is being used by the band, the band are all equally responsible for it.

Look at it this way, if you have a clumsy band member, it's the band's equal responsibility to make sure that he never carries the most expensive components of the PA.
#35
I think the Singer can afford their own practice PA. They arent even close to being the same price as most equipment the other band members use.

This is what we used for practice. (5 piece hard rock band)

http://www.samash.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_Eurolive%20B412DSP%20Processor%20Controlled%2012%20Powered%20Speaker%20Cabinet_-1_10052_10002_-49956256?cm_mmc=Froogle-_-PA%20Cabinets%20Powered-_-Eurolive%20B412DSP%20Processor%20Controlled%2012%20Powered%20Speaker%20Cabinet-_-BB412DSPX

Picked it up on CL for a couple hundred bucks (Canadian... in like new condition) Plug a mic in and viola. Sound.

Having said that, I ended up buying it, (guitarist... I dont sing either) and when the band split I took it home. I plan on making a jam space on our acerage, and it will serve its purpose just perfectly.

If you can afford it buy it, its enver a bad thing to have a PA, heck you can even rent it out to other bands/birthdays/anything that someone might need to speak at.

Can be used later as a monitor if needed.