I want to start playing shows soon, but I have no idea how to work a PA system or how to get any kind of sound besides just playing straight from my amp to the people I know nothing on how to get vocals to make sound. I have alot of friends that can get my "gigs" at a bunch of local clubs and venues. But I don't want to go up there, and look like a level 6 nub trying to figure out how to make sound through out the place. I've only played one show and everything was set up the same for each band you go up, plug in, turn up, play, and leave. So I need to know basic knowledge of PAs and how it goes around little venues for example is there usually a guy up there showing people how to work the equipment and stuff and doing it for them or do you need your own guy.
yeh pa systems are kinda hard.. if there is a small recording stuido in your town or close by then i would suggest on goin to the studio and asking the guy there to tell u some stuff about pa systems. can realy help out, but alot of the stuff u wanna do needs some playing around for ya to learn
Quote by musical donkey
cyclobs you are demented..... in a good way
You plug microphones in and then send it out to large speakers (usually two). The main part is the mixer. It looks kind of foreboding, what with all the knobs and sliders and switches, but it's actually easy. You plug microphones or guitars into the inputs, then send the sound out to two (or more) speakers. This is where most of your sound onstage comes from: not from a big guitar amp, but from a big PA system. I realize I'm kind of all over the place, PM me with specific questions if you need it.
^it depends on where the gig is at, usually bars and other places have their own, or maybe you could do a gig with a band that has its own pa system
(='.'=)Help the Bunny
Cyclobs was on the right track, but studio work is different than live sound. Message different sound guys in your area. Volunteer to do grunt work (moving speakers, plugging stuff in, wrapping cables) in exchange for them showing you some basics. You can find guys either by doing a search on myspace or by showing up at various gigs where a band may bring their own sound guy. Some venues have a house engineer on staff. Most churches also will have a sound engineer on staff if it is large.

If you are really interested in the field, buy the book Sound Reinforcement put out by Yamaha. It's a classic after 20 years and goes into the technicals. There are also plenty of websites out of UG that will have valuable advice.

With every PA system there are 4 major compontents:

1. Source (Microphone, direct line, etc.)
2. Input Level (mixer)
3. Power Amp
4. Output (Speakers, subwoofers, etc.)

All other components are extra (Compressors, Effects, EQs, Other signal processing units)

As for whether or not there will be a sound guy on staff or if they have their own PA, that's something you need to talk about with the venue when you book your gig. If you have gigs already booked, call them to make sure.
I was once heavily prominent on these forums from 2004-2007, let's see how long I can stay now that I'm back.