#1
Hi! Let me start of to apologize if this is the wrong place to post this, but I could not think of any place more convenient for this topic.

Anyway.. Me and my band rehearse in a garage with our microphones running through some cheap effects box and straight into a guitar amp.

I don't know if this might be causing more feedback, but we've got alot of feedback.
I'm looking to buy a not to pricey (ignore budget for now, just to see exactly what we're looking at here), but still good.
I've looked around on thomann and found this complete PA set. http://www.thomann.de/gb/tamp_pa_4080.htm

I noticed it was a so called "passive PA"?
I have no idea what the difference between a passive and an active PA is?

Anyway, where should I go with this? We use two microphones, one for me on guitar and one for our drummer. Will a new quality PA reduce feedback or would I need to buy some sort of equalizer for that?

(Please have in mind that I'm new to this stuff, so try to write your answer so that a newbie would understand? )
Thanks in advance!
#2
In general terms, active things have power built into them, and passive things require power from elsewhere.

I'm guessing, then, that it's not the PA, but the speakers that are passive. That would mean that the speakers themselves are unpowered, and therfore require an amplifier to drive them... which is included in the package. Active speakers would have power amps built into the speaker enclosures themselves, meaning you could just use a regular unpowered mixer to send signal to them.

Feedback has many factors. In very general terms, the more signal that is allowed to get picked up from the speakers by the microphones and thus sent back to the speakers and thus into the microphones again, etc. results in feedback.

So, what causes sound from the PA speakers to be picked up by the microphones to a significant level enough to send it back again through the PA?

1. Pointing the mic at the speakers. Don't do that. The further the speakers are from the mics, the better, and the more off-axis the speakers are from the mics, the better.

2. Having the speakers turned up loud enough that they are picked up through the mics enough to feed back. This is further complicated by things like reverb and room reflections that can serve to make this all worse.

3. Mics with a wider polar pattern are more likely to feed back. So, to reduce feedback, using mics with a tighter polar pattern is a good strategy. The trade-off, though, is that those same mics will be less forgiving about the person who doesn't quite sing directly into the mic (like, say, a person who is trying to sing while they play guitar)

4. Some frequencies are more likely to feedback than others. This frequency is dependent upon the size and shape of the room, and whatever natural and artificial reverb characteristics are at work. Tone down the reverb first of all. Second, find those frequencies that are most likely to cause feedback (using EQ), and cut those frequencies back a bit. Basically, you boost frequencies across the spectrum to find which ones are most likely to ring, and then cut those ones back. Sound people call this "ringing out the room."

That specific unit says it is 80W per channel. That might be enough for a small space if you keep the drums and guitars fairly low, but otherwise, it seems really under-powered. I think I'd be looking for something that was 250W or so - at least - for even an average-ly loud band that would want it for rehearsal and might think about using the system in a small club. (like <100 people) (just for vocals.... not to run a band through....)

Maybe if that setup reflects what your budget is, keep saving a little longer and then look for something used.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#3
Quote by axemanchris
In general terms, active things have power built into them, and passive things require power from elsewhere.

I'm guessing, then, that it's not the PA, but the speakers that are passive. That would mean that the speakers themselves are unpowered, and therfore require an amplifier to drive them... which is included in the package. Active speakers would have power amps built into the speaker enclosures themselves, meaning you could just use a regular unpowered mixer to send signal to them.

Feedback has many factors. In very general terms, the more signal that is allowed to get picked up from the speakers by the microphones and thus sent back to the speakers and thus into the microphones again, etc. results in feedback.

So, what causes sound from the PA speakers to be picked up by the microphones to a significant level enough to send it back again through the PA?

1. Pointing the mic at the speakers. Don't do that. The further the speakers are from the mics, the better, and the more off-axis the speakers are from the mics, the better.

2. Having the speakers turned up loud enough that they are picked up through the mics enough to feed back. This is further complicated by things like reverb and room reflections that can serve to make this all worse.

3. Mics with a wider polar pattern are more likely to feed back. So, to reduce feedback, using mics with a tighter polar pattern is a good strategy. The trade-off, though, is that those same mics will be less forgiving about the person who doesn't quite sing directly into the mic (like, say, a person who is trying to sing while they play guitar)

4. Some frequencies are more likely to feedback than others. This frequency is dependent upon the size and shape of the room, and whatever natural and artificial reverb characteristics are at work. Tone down the reverb first of all. Second, find those frequencies that are most likely to cause feedback (using EQ), and cut those frequencies back a bit. Basically, you boost frequencies across the spectrum to find which ones are most likely to ring, and then cut those ones back. Sound people call this "ringing out the room."

That specific unit says it is 80W per channel. That might be enough for a small space if you keep the drums and guitars fairly low, but otherwise, it seems really under-powered. I think I'd be looking for something that was 250W or so - at least - for even an average-ly loud band that would want it for rehearsal and might think about using the system in a small club. (like <100 people) (just for vocals.... not to run a band through....)

Maybe if that setup reflects what your budget is, keep saving a little longer and then look for something used.

CT

Hi! Thank your for your response.

My budget is not clear because I need to spare some money for other gear aswell.
Well I honostly have no idea what to look for. We play really loud (Hard hitting drummer) so we need a PA that will keep up with the loudness.. If that made any sense to you?

Any suggestions where to start?

#4
Hard hitting drummer.... loud band...

I'd go with probably no less than 400W per side... in other words... about 800W total.

One consideration you always have to think about with a PA is how you're going to hear yourself.

Let's say you get two speakers. Conventionally, these are your mains. In practice, you can have them face you, with the mics pointing AWAY from the speakers to minimize feedback. That's all well and good.

But what about gigging? You point those mains to the audience, and all of a sudden, you can't hear yourself.

Solution = monitors.

This creates two more NEW problems:

1. Added cost.

2. You need to have something to drive them. This might mean another power amp (common setup = one non-powered mixer going to two power amps - one to power the mains and the other to power the monitors), or having a power amp that can actually run a set of mains AND a monitor, or two, or three.

which leads to...

3. added cost - yeah, not just the monitors, but more cabling and maybe even another power amp to run them.

Think of it this way...

It's almost like having TWO PA systems. One for the audience, and the other for the band to hear themselves.

The bigger your PA system, the more power it will require. It will probably mean also bigger speakers. The bigger your PA system, the more likely you are to be successful in running other instruments through them too.

which leads to....

4. added cost. More mics, more cables, more inputs, etc. for your instruments.

Now you start finding that your vocals, despite all your powerful gear, are getting lost again. You need to start being more sophisticated. You get some bass bins to get the bass and the kick drum out of the mains so they aren't obliterating everything else.

which leads to....

5. added cost - Crossovers, bass bins, and of course, the cabling and power amplification and inputs and outputs to run it all.

As you can see, a PA can really find itself wanting to grow. (so long as you and ten friends don't mind humping it all over hell's half-acre, up stairs, down stairs, into cars, onto and off of freight elevators, buying dollies to make your life easier, etc.)

Get something that will suit your needs now and can be integrated into whatever you likely see yourself "growing into." Most bands can get away with a basic vocal PA. Leave the crossovers, multiple power amps, bass bins, etc. for the clubs who want to have permanent installations. But seriously consider something that will give you: (either now or can be expandable to accommodate in the future)

-two mains
-three monitors (one for stage right, stage left, and drummer)
-about 1000W total power, with enough flexibility to run it all.

It won't be cheap. Look around for used stuff, because there are a thousand bands ahead of you who have already done this, have broken up, and are now selling their stuff off so they can reimburse their members for what they put into it. But if you get what I suggested, it will be an awfully long time before you need anything else. You'll be able to use it for rehearsals and for club shows, and with a little bit of care, and when you're ready to make that step, will be able to handle some drums, bass and guitar reinforcement to balance it all out.

The good news is that, in the last couple of decades, PA speakers have been able to be made much smaller. You can get a surprising amount of sound out of a single pair of PA speakers, with each cabinet having a 15" speaker and a horn or whatever.

Check out Elite - a sub-brand of Yorkville Sound. Built like tanks, sound amazing, very well engineered and very competitively priced.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Mar 30, 2013,
#5
Good Question:
axemanchris is very correct in what he is telling you, So i won't cover it again. What I will cover is some In's and Out's of a 3 man band running their own P.A. from the stage.

1) It's bloody difficult to do this and sound good doing it.
Mixing a band from the stage while performing is almost impossible unless you take MONTHS of rehearsal before hand with a video camera located where your prospective audience will be anywhere from 10 Ft to about 50 Ft from the stage.

You'd be surprised at how much this will help...
During rehearsals you can find a Mix - settings from each PLayers channel so that nothing overpowers each other and all can be heard.

PLay song
Review film
Adjust settings.
Repeat until happy.

Write down, save it on your smartphone, whatever, but make sure you remember the settings for that song
Most likely you'll be able to re-use this mix for most of your setlist
That way you can have one member talk to the audience while the second adjusts the P.A. (Shouldn't take any longer than it take to tune your guitar.)

To properly hook a system up go to sites that sell this stuff and look at/download the owners manual.
Behringer has great pict-o-graphs of how to hook up powered mixing heads in multiple configurations

For good powered mixing heads I'd go with Either Peavey or Behringer.
They both have models in the 300-700.00 range with more than enough power for Mains and Monitors in one unit.
#6
I have now realised that I need the PA basically just for rehearsal.
I'm 15 years old and I wont be affording monitors for a long time, so I'll have to keep it kind of simple.

Do you have any suggestions where to begin to build up a simple PA (Speakers, something to run the mics through with perhaps a little bit of reverb?)

I'm so new to this so I don't udnerstand most of what you guys said, but it has made things a bit more clear to me.
#7
BEst rehearsal P.A bang for your buck:
http://www.peavey.com/products/index.cfm/item/700/118112/PV%26reg%3B%26nbsp%3B5300

or:
http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/PMP530M.aspx

Both can be had for under 200.00 brand new.
A couple of floor monitors
Example: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/kustom-kpc10m-10-monitor-speaker-cabinet-with-horn-pair

This would be good for a you guys as a three piece band.
You can put the monitors on the floor or place them on stands and use them as Side fill monitors.
#8
Quote by djmarcelca
BEst rehearsal P.A bang for your buck:
http://www.peavey.com/products/index.cfm/item/700/118112/PV%26reg%3B%26nbsp%3B5300

or:
http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/PMP530M.aspx

Both can be had for under 200.00 brand new.
A couple of floor monitors
Example: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/kustom-kpc10m-10-monitor-speaker-cabinet-with-horn-pair

This would be good for a you guys as a three piece band.
You can put the monitors on the floor or place them on stands and use them as Side fill monitors.

Is that what's called an amplifier?
Are that all I'd need to set up a new PA in our rehearsal place? Just the "amplifier?", monitors and microphones?

thx for your answer
#9
Quote by Gillthenasty
Is that what's called an amplifier?
Are that all I'd need to set up a new PA in our rehearsal place? Just the "amplifier?", monitors and microphones?


No those are "Powered Mixers"
Meaning they are a helpful combination of Amp and Mixer in a single unit.

And Yes all you would need is the Mixer/Amp, Monitors and related cabling and mic's.