#1
This may be the wrong forum, not sure. Only other oen I could think of would be band leading, but this forums makes as much sense.

Basically, our band is having problems with our PA and vocals, in that we can barley here them and if we turn the volume on the PA past on the matser or any individual channel it feedbacks like craaazy. I'm wondering if our set-up has something to do with it or if we should be in the market for a new PA (or mics?)

Unfortunatley, we are broke asses and practice spaces in the Boston area aren't cheap, so for the time being we're suck practicing in one of two garages. One of them is a tight fit, low ceilings, the other is a large, high-ceilinged two car garage. We get feedback in both of them.

Our equipment is:
Orange Rocker 30 through an Avatar 212
Peavey ValveKing 212
Ampeg bass amp, not sure on model
The PA is the Peavey XR600F, speakers came with it in a package deal.
Mics are both AKG's, not sure on the model but they weren't expensive.

Our set up looks something like this (sweet paint image inc):


We usually try to get the speakers up off the floor onto at least a chair or something, but we don't have stands. We pull the mics back as far as we can from the speakers which helps a bit, but not enough.

All of the amp volumes are balanced pretty well with the drummer, and our drummer knows how to control himself (as in he's not of those metal guys who is trying to kill his drums) so I don't think getting him to play quieter is really a viable solution.

So questions:
1) Is there something we can change as far as the set up goes?
2) We've tried playing with the EQ on the PA, but nothing seemed to help, is there some tricks I should know about?
3) Would new mics make a difference? The AKG's we have aren't bad, but they aren't high-end either.
4) Is the problem more related to the **** acoustics in a cement garage?

Thanks for any and all advice. Remember, getting a real rehersal space is just out of the question for the time being, so we have to work with what we have.
And maybe we can fly away from here, surf on the debris of a broken scene...
#2
well i know the music teacher at my old highschool EQed the bass and treble ALL the way down because according to him "to get rid of feedback". but other than that, i'd go rent a pair of mics from a music store to see if its the mics
#3
i think if you pad out your concrete garage with some soft materials on the walls which are serrated (i.e. not flat) it might help, as there will be less echoing from the walls; at a RHCP concert i went to, the support band sounded awful because of feedback and the venue is known for "bad acoustics", though RHCP sounded great, of course.

so making your practice rooms a little "warmer and fluffier" on the walls with thick, soft, uneven materials may help, but i am not very experienced with this sort of thing, so the problem could lie elsewhere.
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#4
Hmm...400W should be sufficient to at least hear yourselves clearly without distortion. You'll never get good levels in an enclosed space though - in a proper rehearsal stuio it's exactly the same situation. In ours I can barely hear myself in the mic but i've got used to it, as long as the vocals are okay at gigs I really don't mind.

Don't bother with new microphones, most AKGs are good enough quality and it'll make no discernible difference. You could get a slight improvement by fitting foam windshields though, and even more by using some kind of 'acoustic separation' like a large panel between mic and speaker.

For the most part it's best just to face the mics away from the speakers, keep the treble and presence low, and cope as best you can...
#6
do you point the speakers at the mics? if so, turn them around.

edit: make sure you stay behind the speakers!
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#7
the mics have to be closer to the guitar & bass amps ( about 8"-14", or 20cm -40cm)
and as far as possible from the PA speakers. Drums usualy don't have to be amplified in rehearsal rooms, or else get a microphone set for drums but that's kinda expensive.
in a gig situation the speakers are turned to the audience, but here I guess they're turned to you?? that could also be the problem
#8
Off the top of my head, and probably wrong:

Keep the kit where it is, Move the PA speakers to where the mics are now, face one diagonally towards the drummer and one diagonally towards the singer(s), but give it a bit more of a sideways orientation to cut down on feedback. move the mics further back. The guitar amps and bass amp can pretty much stay where they are, though you might want to move them into a similar position to the PA speakers.
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#9
Set it up like you would at a show have the mains in front of the mics. You will not get feedback thru the minitor mix.
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#10
Thanks for all the 'feedback' so far (oh man what a pun, my dad would be pround.)

aaannnnnyyways.

I guess I should have been a bit more clear with that image about placement. We have all of the amps and speakers pointing in at us with our backs to the drum kit.

Now, I'm a bit confused about what some of you mean by mics pointing at the speakers, so here comes a few images.

Ok, so this is how it is now:


Should it be like this?


the mics have to be closer to the guitar & bass amps ( about 8"-14", or 20cm -40cm) and as far as possible from the PA speakers.

So something more like this?


In ours I can barely hear myself in the mic but i've got used to it, as long as the vocals are okay at gigs I really don't mind.

For the most part it's best just to face the mics away from the speakers, keep the treble and presence low, and cope as best you can...


Problem is it's killing us in the studio. Since it's tough to hear we assume it sounds ok, then I get in the booth and realize half my **** is way off. Plus we have people come by to listen and give us thier thoughts and inevidabley it's "I couldn't hear the words"

Thanks for the advice though, I'll try that this weekend.
And maybe we can fly away from here, surf on the debris of a broken scene...
#12
go with the one with the pa speakers near the drums, but make sure that when you sing, you're facing the drummer...
if the head of the mic is pointing towards the pa speaker, you're going to get a lot more feedback
#13
I think the setup you're using now looks fine,if you're standing facing the speakers you should be getting minimal feedback. Other than that, if you can scrounge some small speakers to use as monitors (like modernp suggested), the singers at least will be able to hear themselves. And 'in-ear monitors' = problem solved.

Don't expect the rest of the band to ever get clear vocals though, in a confined space you just can't get those kind of levels. My only other suggestions - which've only just occurred to me - are hypercardoid instead of cardoid mics (minor improvement), and angling the speakers in such a way that they're not pointing at the mics (minor to moderate improvement). Try and create a small 'dead zone' for the mics to go where the PA is quietest. You could even go mental and get some wooden panels (old doors or whatever), and glue some dense foam to them as a physical barrier to the sound. Downside - it'll make it harder to actually hear the PA in the first place!

Your best bet is definitely in-ear monitors, but it's never going to be the cheapest option...
#14
You could... turn down your amps?
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Quote by utsapp89
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#15
Quote by FacingUsAll
You could... turn down your amps?


From my OP:
All of the amp volumes are balanced pretty well with the drummer, and our drummer knows how to control himself (as in he's not of those metal guys who is trying to kill his drums) so I don't think getting him to play quieter is really a viable solution.


I thought the point was clear enough, but perhaps I should have stated it explicitly. Turning down is not an option. The drummer plays quietly (it's a relative term) and the amps are (usually) down as low as they can go without being drowned out.

I would try putting stuff on the walls, like mounting blankets or something, to absorb the soundwaves, so it's not bouncing back and giving you feedback.


Yeah I've though of this. In the smaller garage theres a fair amount of stuff hanging of the walls already, bikes and tools and shelving and the like. Not the greatest stuff for killing soundwaves though, so I suppose I could hang some blankets on the stuff.

The other garage is so big I'd need to drain the house of blankets to hang them heh.

I think the setup you're using now looks fine,if you're standing facing the speakers you should be getting minimal feedback. Other than that, if you can scrounge some small speakers to use as monitors (like modernp suggested), the singers at least will be able to hear themselves.


Something I just realized about our set-up though. In pulling back away from the PA we generally end up standing really close to the drums, and when people come watch they're behind the drums. So I wonder if the close proximity to those gd cymbals is drowning out the vocals.

I'm going to try "set-up #2" from above and see if getting us back from the drums helps.

Thanks for all the help so far though guys, I appreciate it.
And maybe we can fly away from here, surf on the debris of a broken scene...
#16
Quote by gald
From my OP:

I thought the point was clear enough, but perhaps I should have stated it explicitly. Turning down is not an option. The drummer plays quietly (it's a relative term) and the amps are (usually) down as low as they can go without being drowned out.



I didn't realize there was more writing after the picture .

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Quote by utsapp89
^I'd let a pro look at it. Once you get into the technicalities of screws...well, it's just a place you don't want to be, friend.
#17
Quote by FacingUsAll
I didn't realize there was more writing after the picture .



Fair enough. Can't say I've never done that.
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#18
Try this one: Face the mics toward the side walls to cut back on noise. Place your PA speakers in the center of the room and face them toward opposite corners.
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#19
Quote by gald
The drummer plays quietly.

Whoa, they can do that?? What button do you press? Mine's black, do i have to start him on a special diet or anything?




Also,
I would try putting your PA system a bit higher, tilt them so they're aimed at your heads, or put them on chairs so they're like waist-chest level.