If someone could explain how a PA system works that would be helpful. By that I mean explain where all the cables go, from guitar to whatever to mixer to... And it's an active P.A probably for small venues. (I've done a bit of research). And any suggestion for good, but not too pricey Speakers/mixers would be helpful too!
Quote by Jehuty
Slider goes up, volume goes up. You can't explain that.

Eat your pheasant
Drink your wine
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wait is this international make threads in the wrong subforum day?
why didn't I get the memo?
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
It was supposed to be a surprise
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I wish I was American.

~ A Rolling Potato Gathers No Moss ~
Ahahaha calm down, yes I realise now this is the wrong forum and I'm extremely sorry for anyone's day that I have just ruined because of my nooby mistake.
Quote by Cing Krimson
(I've done a bit of research)


PA systems are designed to make your band's noises louder and spread them out throughout the venue you are playing in. A basic PA system works like this:
1) Microphones convert sound into an electrical signal
2) Mixers combine several signals into two signals for left and right. They also allow you to adjust the relative volume of each individual instrument and their position in the stereo field.
3) Amplifiers then make the two signals really loud
4) Loudspeakers convert the electrical signal back into sound

On large PA systems, each component will be separate. However, for more compact systems you can buy speakers with built-in amplifiers. These are called active speakers and need their own power supply.

There are different types of microphones, but the most common types are dynamic and condenser mics. Generally, dynamic mics are more durable and are used very close to the source of sound. Examples of dynamic mics inclue the Shure SM58 (commonly used for vocals), SM57 (used for guitar amps, snare drums, virtually anything) and the AKG 112 (for kick drums).
Condenser mics are very sensitive and require their own 48v power supply to work. This is often known as "phantom power" and is provided by the mixer. Examples of condenser mics are the AKG Perception 170, which are used in pairs as drum overhead mics (for picking up cymbals at a distance).
Microphones are connected to the mixer using XLR cables. Look them up.

Things like acoustic guitars, keyboards and electric basses don't necessarily need their own amplifiers and can be plugged straight into the mixer. However, the output impedance of the instrument needs to match the input impedance of the mixer. This is achieved using a DI box. They come in many shapes and sizes. Look them up.

Let's have a look at a mixer.

Mixers have several inputs, each with an assigned channel and several controls arranged in columns. If you understand how one channel works, you can use mixers of any size. There's a lot going on but I'll try to briefly cover the basics.
At the top we have the inputs, in the form of XLR or 1/4 inch jacks. Use one input per channel to avoid instruments interfering with one another.
All input signals are going to be different, depending on how sensitive the microphone is and how close it is to the source of the sound. The gain control lets you boost weak signals and get them all up to a similar level. However, if you have too much gain, your signal becomes distorted and sounds shitty. Set the gain control all the way down and press the "SOLO" button at the bottom of the channel. This lets you hear this channel in isolation. On the far right of the board, you'll see two columns of red, yellow and green lights, representing the volume. Adjust the gain control such that the signal is at the top of the green section, but never peaks into the red. Press "SOLO" again to enable all the channels.

Now I'm tired of writing. I regret writing all this but I've gone too far already, so I may as well post it.

There is a lot to learn about PA systems and no-one is going to just tell you everything. You have to do at least a bit of research. We don't know how much you know, or what specifically you want to learn. Just google "PA system" or something.
Perhaps the easiest way to tackle this is for you to ask about any part of the above mixer you don't understand. That is a pretty basic mixer above so it's probably a good one to examine for a beginner.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100

Cathbard Amplification
My band
wow, no one likes to make a long, technical, pointless post more than i do but not even i can manage to motivate myself to explain how a PA works.

sashki even got about 1/4 way through a good explanation and ran outta gas and ended with 'just google it'
punk isn't dead, it's always smelled that way.

"A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."
Thanks sashki, much appreciated. I'll just use trusty google from here so consider this thread dead... If it wasn't already.