First off, if this is in the wrong place, please move to the right part, thanks! 

So I'm the guitarist in a small rock band (1 gtr,bass, vocals and drums), we've started to gig and I want to know about placement of speakers and general tips for a good live sound. I pretty much do all the mixing myself, having the most knowledge about audio etc. 

My current set up is to put the vocals and bass directly through the mixer and put them out into the PA's with some subtle EQ, I then just use my guitar amp as a standalone speaker as its only small venues we play at, so micing my amp seems to be a lot more effort than its worth.

I have a few issues:

I get some phase issues a couple of meters in front of where the PA's are, and have tried to minimise this by spacing out further, but to no avail - so any tips to reduce this would be good.

When I crank up the volume of the PA's my vocalist starts to get feedback. Unfortunately we don't have the luxury of monitors so we try and position the PA's just behind us, so the drummer can actually hear what's going on. So any tips as well for reducing feedback (I have seen him cup the mic a lot, but not sure thats the biggest issue)

One last thing is what height to have the PA's at. Should the bass part of the PA be at ear level, or the treble horn part? 

Any general tips and links to this would be helpful as I have tried looking prior to this.

Thank you!
About the feedback: I do not think you are going to get proper results with your speakers behind you. You need proper monitoring. You can get wired IEM's for pretty cheap if you do not move around a lot. If you do move around a lot, you can tie the IEM cable to your guitar cable from your board and run it up to your ears, and that may help you out (but may look kind of silly). Or get stage wedges (making the FOH worse) or get wireless IEMs. The point is, making it work with the PA behind you is not really an option for proper sound IMO.

Phase: There are softwares that calculate phase relationships between sound sources that works with the parameters you set but I do not know them off the top my head. You would use that software to calculate your best speaker placement. I doubt you will have a setup that results in no phase issues, though- rather you would use the best model possible.

Height: I would say have the "bass part" at ear level. I presume you do not have subwoofers. If you did, those would need to be on the ground and you would likely get a much more strong bass response, giving you the ability to dedicate your mains for just lower midrange to highs reinforcement and saving you a lot of headroom.

Do the places you play at not have their own PA?
Last edited by Will Lane at Jun 14, 2017,
Thanks a lot , this is exactly what I want really.

Yeah we don't own subwoofers yet, and well the last month or so we haven't been regularly gigging. But most of the venues do not have there own PA's , if they did though I wouldn't be trying to rely as much on me mixing our band!

Anyway thanks a lot
One thing I hate to see is a singer cupping the mic. Depending on the microphone, cupping the mic usually results in the air not moving properly past the diaphragm the way the microphone was designed. In most microphones the air flow past the diaphragm needs to be unobstructed so that thin piece of metal can  vibrate properly over the magnet. Restricting that airflow in any way will change the sound of the mic often to dull and boomy. Of course this varies with the type of microphone but I think it's always a bad idea (and no it doesn't look "cool"). 

I agree with the above comments about putting the speakers behind you. not a good idea and putting the bass through the PA is great if you have a very powerful PA with 15 or 18 inch speakers or a sub woofer (and lots of clean power). Bass will suck up more power than anything else in the PA. You are asking the PA to do a lot with a bass coming through it. Having instruments going through the PA is fine if everyone has monitors. My experience is that if you are relying on the main PA to hear yourself, you will be too loud to everyone else. Good luck. Been there-done that many times and I feel your pain. 

Check out this article:

Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jun 15, 2017,
Some things we have done that worked at small gigs:

Run vocals only through the PA.
Set FOH speakers to the side and angle in 45 degrees to act as side fill monitors.
Find the feedback threshold on the mics and roll the gain back 3db for loud and clean without FB.
Adjust instrument volume so the lead vocal is always on top, then snare, then kick and bass, rhythm guitar and keys last.

It is challenging but can be done and still sound good.  Way easier with proper monitors though.  Good luck!

Here are the Altec side fill monitors used at Woodstock for Joe Cocker:
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Jun 15, 2017,