I'm going into high school next year. I play guitar, have a friend who plays bass, and want to start a band. We know musicians, I can write songs (or we can do covers), and me and her are both covered for equipment. My only obstacle is practice. We could practice in my basement, but the issue is a). setting it up so that everyone can hear themselves and moreover b) vocal mic set up. My friend has as several microphones but we have no pa. I could get a cheap speaker, but I don't know how to set it up. I'm assuming anywhere we play ill have a pa, so gig-readyness is not an issue. Thanks for any help you guys can give me!

Also, sorry if it's a bit long winded. This is my first post ever. Thanks again!
I used to have 1 powered speaker that my singer would run his microphone through. They are really heavy, but if you get at least one and a stand (not needed but if you can get the speaker up to head level it helps with hearing him), you should be good to go.

maybe something like this?

my band actually practices at our school, we play in the school band (i play guitar & bass and he plays drums) and we only have practice in the morning. For the rest of the day, we go in their with various bassists and rock. If there's a way to play at your school, do it.
for a mic speaker in my band, i first used an old guitar amp that i didn't care if it exploded, then an extremely crappy karaoke machine just so we could hear my voice in some form over the music, and i finally got a vocal/acoustic amp for christmas. so basically just be resourceful until you can get something good, or get a singer who has a decent PA.
setting up so you can hear eachother isn't very hard with a little practice/observation. you can use a guitar amp for the mic. but it won't sound as good as a p.a.
Speaking from experience, ( i also play in a high school band with a less than stellar vocal set-up) hearing the instruments isn't the hard part. It's fitting the vocals in that's a bit tricky, just buy a cheap speaker for now, figure it out, and if needed in the future buy a PA for yourselves
I use a cheap bass amp with the mids pumped when I practice with friends. It works pretty well.

EDIT: For vocals.
There's nothing more disheartening than practising and sounding bad so getting the right gear is really rewarding. At the same time you need to spend money wisely so get something that you can eventually use as a stage monitor as well as something that is good for rehearsal.

Your best choice is between either a small and cheap PA set like this http://www.gear4music.com/PA-DJ-and-Lighting/100W-PA-System-with-Mixer-and-Speakers/8BJ and a powered wedge monitor like this http://www.laney.co.uk/show_prod.php?prod=cxp-110.

The cheap PA won't really do for PA at this price as it really won't go very loud and the quality is limited by the cheap speakers but it will do a much better job than an old bass or guitar amp and you will be able to use it as a stage monitor.

We have one of the Laney's which we bought new for £120 and it really is quite good, and it has a proper mic input.
Last edited by Phil Starr at May 20, 2010,
Wow, you guys are awesome! Thanks for all the replies, but the question is now moot. We found another bass player (my friend will move to vocals premanently, or we'll experiment with 2 basses), and she has a large amount of great equipment, including a PA, so we'll practice at her house. Hopefully we'll get a real start in the summer, when we get the missing members.

Thanks again!