I am quite new to the whole cabinet setup with a guitar and I was curious at shows why venues have speakers that are separate from the band's gear. The band has their cabinets and everything on stage but there's always external speakers above and to the side of the stage. What are they for? Doesn't the band have all the gear they need for a show? And if the speakers are for extra sound how do they work in a typical setup? How would someone go about setting up speakers+head+cabinet? Thanks.
I believe those speakers are for vocals.
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Aside from just vocals, the bands equipment on stage is just for their own personal use, as a personal monitor, as a way of controlling their own personal sound, or things like that. The speakers to the side and up front and above are usually in house P.A. systems that the venue owns, but even if it is the bands, everything is sent to the board (Vocals, drums, and if they want it guitars,basses,keyboards) and it allows the sound-guy out front to control the sound overall, because the band can't hear what the crowd does, they are behind the speakers. The sound is usually much more even and sounds better over-all when done this way. The speakers you see on the stage are monitors and they allow each person on stage to have a seperate mix of sound depending on what they want to hear from everyone.

Many bands carry their own P.A. system but many dont and alot of clubs have invested in their own audio equipment so all the band has to do is bring in their amps and instruments.
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it will be the house PA system. Most venues have more than just live bands, comics, stage shows and such. They need volume too. And yeah, like SublimeGuitar said, for vocals too.
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You can't fill a whole stadium with a single amp...

The venue has their own speakers so the show isn't incredibly quiet.
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It's for amplification purposes, thats part of the bands gear it's the PA. All the instruments are run through the main console and mixed together and than sent out through the main P.A. speakers. In a large venue this is crucial and everything is miced up and amplified, in a smaller venue the amps may be loud enough on there own in which case the vocals would only be amplified through the PA.

How else do you think bands amplify vocals live?

And in terms of setting that up a microphone would be placed in front of the guitar cabinet, and fed into the mixing console and out to the speakers.
Last edited by take_it_t at Feb 26, 2007,
Playing off the backline is fine for small venues, but if you mic up through the PA the sound balance is better...and like everyone else said, you need the PA for vocals.
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