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#1
I was surprised at the minimal amounts of information on PA systems on this forum board. Unless I missed something I couldn't find a sticky or even that many relevant post concerning them. So heres my question/concern.

I'm in a steady band and we play at parties. So far, we have been lucky enough to have other bands supplying speaker systems and PA's. Now that our bands seriousness is steadily increasing, we decided to pitch in to buy a PA system for ourselves, both for practicing and for playing at parties and maybe even small gigs although thats not necessary. We will be using it for vocals only and we don't need to fill a stadium. I don't really know where to start. Should I go for a 'package deal'? should I buy speakers and the PA separately? Also the wattage seems irrelevant to guitar amp wattage, so I'm not sure how many watts I would need. I'm looking for something quite basic but quality. Any suggestions would be great.
#2
If you like the amp you are barrowing, buy one like it.
I have too much gear to fit!
#3
Budget? I don't really know anything about PA's, but that's always good to know
Quote by Lunchbox362
This thread if fail in almost every way imaniganable.
#4
well we went with a QSC 400w amp, Yamaha 12 channell mixer, 2- 15in Fender speakers w/ tweeters. Bass was @350w, I was running a 50w tube Laney w/ 4x12 Marshall cab. Seemed a god mix. I'd recommend a powered mixer of about 400-600w, w/ Peavey speakers, good mic (Sure SM57). The PA depends on your singers' projection, and the bands volume level. Some bands are quiet, some are overwhelmingly loud. My 2 cents.
#5
Well lucky you, i am in a siliar dillema. My singer wants a PA that we can use for friendly get-togethers or Bar-B-Qs with friends or a birthday someone wants us to play at; little things that we wont be playing in front of 60,000 ppl for.

In that case, the guitars and the drums would be loud enough but the vocals would be an issue. If you are like my vocalist and you want to look legit and have a PA, then you have to get a PA! A good place to start is thinking about how many channels you might need and powered/unpowered speakers. Check craigslist for used 4-6 channel systems. Carvin is one of the better companies to buy PAs from, because they are so ****ing durable you'll have that thing forever. I have used those Fender things before and they are the crappiest thing i have ever herd. Too much white noise, too quiet and not enough EQ stuff on the front. Also, the more channels you have, the more you can mic; meaning that if you cant hear the symbol crashes so well, then throw an overhead microphone on it and call it done. Same with bass; if you cant hear the bassist so well, mic the bass.

With speakers, there are powered and unpowered. Powered means that the speakers need a 120v source (wall outlet) so they may be plugged in. Unpowered means that they suck power straight from the mixer.

Personally, powered is better. Less hassle setting up, less cables and most importantly in my case, they are interchangeable with other mixing consoles.

Thats about it. This is what i was referring to as a good place to start. As i have said, since us musicians are poor all the damn time, buying used stuff is great

https://www.carvinguitars.com/products/single.php?product=P410-1002
#7
I would say to buy a packaged deal. Its some really good stuff all in one and they aren't too expensive. But to have you sound loud and pumping, make sure the mixer is powered. That way the PA speakers will be amplified(loud). Look at GCs PA stuff.
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#8
I'd say my budget is anything under $750 total( including speakers). I really don't want anything too huge, and as for channels, I wouldn't need any more than 4. Two for vocals, maybe one for bass. As for my overall bands volume level, it is at a pretty standard rock volume. We play loud, but it doesn't hurt your ears to stand next to the amp, but we certainly can't hold a conversation over it. I really don't think 600w is necessary. I think 400w sounds about right. maybe even $350. And we sing loud, we yell, but don't 'scream'. Almost a grunge type singing.

I'm not concerned about mics or mixers for the time being. I have a few Shure mics already and plenty of XLR cables lying around.

Quote by dogismycopilot
Thats about it. This is what i was referring to as a good place to start. As i have said, since us musicians are poor all the damn time, buying used stuff is great

https://www.carvinguitars.com/produ...oduct=P410-1002


that link gives a very ideal PA, but I don't want to go with my first suggestion. Pros cons and other suggestions would be nice.
#9
Well it looks like you kinda understand what i had to say, so thats good. You understood my "language" of how i explained it

Well, good luck and if you find something that works out well let me know so i can look into it too. My band and I are still on the never-ending quest.
#10
The carvin there, the speakers seem perfect. The PA, channels and featers are exactly what I'm looking for but the power might be a bit low? I could be wrong but could 100w of power be enough to be heard over a 50w tube amp and drummer?
#11
i dont think a 100w PA system is really going to cut it for most situations. personally, id say to hell with powered speakers or mixers, and get everything separate. something like a peavey PV-6 mixer is under $100 with 4 mic inputs and stereo line ins on 2 of those channels. it has a good deal of control, and peavey mixers are built like tanks.

then another $4-500 can get you a poweramp that is around around 3-400w per channel, maybe a bit less depending on the output impedance you use.

doesnt leave a lot for speakers, but you can probably get away with one cabinet to start. so if youve spent $550 already on the mixer and preamp, that leaves you $200 for a cabinet. looking into my recent MF catalog, there are a bunch of things in that range. then run one of the extra outputs on the mixer to an old practice amp and youve got a moniter.
#12
how about renting something from a local company forst, to see what you like and what you actually need. thats the only real way of working it out woithout seeing your band play.

I'd buy seperates too. Powered mixers and active speaker cabs are fine until you want to upgrade something and suddenly, you have to spend a lot more money.

as for speakers, I'd make sure you get something with 15's and a horn. that'll give you enough thump without the need for a sub and it wont get too muddy.
Quote by Dave_Mc
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Owns a Blackheart Little Giant...
#13
Find a used peavey powered mixer in the 350 watt range and find some used mains. I used a set up like that for years until I got to the point of needing more channels and oomph.
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Fender super champ xd
#14
I think we really really need a sticky about PA's. Somebody who knows a good deal about them should make a FAQ.

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#15
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Yamaha-EMX512SCBR15-PA-Package?sku=630199
or a little smaller one
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Yamaha-EMX212SBR12-PA-Package?sku=630196


both are great PA systems. both have enough power for all parties, and the majority of gigs that most people get. Small clubs, bars, etc. i would maybe buy some (at least one) better mic(s) with it.


edit
i would strongly advise against the carvin. you want something that you are going to grow INTO, not out of. if you get that, in one year you will be looling to upgrade. with one of these you will be set for awhile
Last edited by chea_man at May 5, 2008,
#16
Hmm, both of those package deals are somewhat pricey plus they have extra equipment I don't need (mics, stands, cables). The only things I definately need. Power amp, Mixer (or both in one) and speakers. Since I am not looking for too many channels, I was thinking I could get a simple Power Amp around 400w, a tiny mixer, really, nothing special at all (I can upgrade easily if ever necessary) and a pair of speakers.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Peavey-PV-900-Power-Amp?sku=481390

That is a good example for a simple Power Amp I'm looking for (Pros cons?). I'm not worried about the mixer.

Also, how come every PA sold individually is rack mount, if every package deal one is not?
#17
i actually need some PA related help with this, this would be a nice thread to start.

we have the mixer and mics and amps sorted, but we need some PA speakers so we can actually hear some vocals rather than have to use them through headphones all the time.

We practise mainly in one quite smallish room, a room about 8 metres length and 6 metres wide. im no good at measuring distance from memory really, haha.

question is, what watt PA speakers do you reckon we will need?

100W? 300W? 400W?

i just want a good place to start, all i really want is some speakers so vocals can go through them. Cheers.

is it just the speakers we will need actually, or a power amp or something? not sure. ta!
Last edited by aether3089 at May 5, 2008,
#18
^
It depends on the mixer.
Some of them have a power amp built in. Then you only need speakers.
If yours doesn't then of course you need a power amp, too.

Quote by shrugs1434
Should I go for a 'package deal'? should I buy speakers and the PA separately?
At the "entry level" end of the spectrum, package deals get you great value/dollar. And they are extremely simple to use. A powered mixer with built-in effects packaged with speakers will cost much less than buying separates. The only add-ons you might need would be speaker stands (a must) and monitors, if you play so loud that it's not practical to put the speakers behind the band. It's a pita trying to sing if the band is so loud you can't hear your own voice on stage. You already have mics, stands, and cables.


Quote by shrugs1434
Also the wattage seems irrelevant to guitar amp wattage, so I'm not sure how many watts I would need.
That all depends on how loud the rest of the band plays and what else is in the PA mix. For a vocal only mix, 100watts is usually plenty if the speakers are reasonably efficient. If you put keys and drum mics through the mains, 1000watts and up.
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Last edited by SomeoneYouKnew at May 5, 2008,
#19
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
A powered mixer with built-in effects packaged with speakers will cost much less than buying separates.


Could you point me towards any examples? Every package deal I see has way too much or not enough (not enough as in a little 100w with 8" speakers)
#20
Quote by shrugs1434
Could you point me towards any examples? Every package deal I see has way too much or not enough (not enough as in a little 100w with 8" speakers)
Oh, you're one of those. Forget what I said earlier.

I could give a long detailed explanation about how unless somebody in your band sings bass you will never need anything larger than an 8" for a vocals only PA. And that 100 watts is loud. And to get twice as loud, with the same speaker efficiency you have to have 10 times the power. But I won't. You and Barry White will be much happier with big woofers.
Meadows
Quote by Jackal58
I release my inner liberal every morning when I take a shit.
Quote by SK8RDUDE411
I wont be like those jerks who dedicate their beliefs to logic and reaosn.
#21
For your price range you can't get any better than 8 in and 100 watts besides thats perfect for what you need you're playing at rock volumes you DON'T need any thing more. get a peavy escort they work great... i use it when i don't want to lug around a massive system. and it is plenty loud especially since voice is about all you'll use it for.

Remember you're not playing at the Georgia Dome. And if you ever play in a place that is too big for your escort you'll have lots sponsorships a road crew and this thread would have no meaning to you anyways cuz you can afford anything at that point.
The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised
-George Will

Also caught her playing fallout boy on my guitar, changed my strings and cleaned it the next day.
#22
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
Oh, you're one of those. Forget what I said earlier.

I could give a long detailed explanation about how unless somebody in your band sings bass you will never need anything larger than an 8" for a vocals only PA. And that 100 watts is loud. And to get twice as loud, with the same speaker efficiency you have to have 10 times the power. But I won't. You and Barry White will be much happier with big woofers.

8 inch speakers dont sound very good for a PA. sorry buddy. they will need more than 100 watts because (i know from experience) a 100 watt PA doesnt have enough clean headroom for a band.

every-time i see you post, i expect, for some reason, a really intelligent and helpful answer. and every-time im disappointed.
#23
Quote by chea_man
8 inch speakers dont sound very good for a PA. sorry buddy. they will need more than 100 watts because (i know from experience) a 100 watt PA doesnt have enough clean headroom for a band.

every-time i see you post, i expect, for some reason, a really intelligent and helpful answer. and every-time im disappointed.


True for guitar, bass, and voice 8in and 100watt ain't enough but for voice alone its fine if not approaching overkill
The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised
-George Will

Also caught her playing fallout boy on my guitar, changed my strings and cleaned it the next day.
#24
Quote by BAoxymoron
True for guitar, bass, and voice 8in and 100watt ain't enough but for voice alone its fine if not approaching overkill

i agree about 100 watts being enough (maybe) for just vocals, but an 8 inch speaker wont sound very good.
#25
If you want something that is going to last you a lifetime you need to up your budget just a touch. If you could do that then I'd suggest you get this

http://www.andertons.co.uk/acatalog/info_EMX312SC.html?utm_source=Froogle&utm_medium=Froogle

and you get these speakers to go with it

http://www.zzounds.com/item--JBLJRX115

I own a few PA's that I rent out and use myself. The JBL JRX 115 speakers are probably the best speaker I've seen for the money. Way better than most venues have for their house setups. The Powered mixer has lot of FX you will never use, but it's got 1 that you will find you use a lot. That is compression on the 1st 4 chanels. A little compression on acoustic guitar and vocals will make the difference between a great gig and being laughed off stage. You can get the whole setup for about $800 (875 if you get them with stands and lights) if you shop around and it is well worth the money. I've got more expensive setups but I don't like them as much. In fact. When I'm not renting this one out, I keep it in my music room and use it as a stereo. It's got my real to real, record player, computer, and CD player hooked up to it right now. I don't listen to my music any other way!

If you HAVE to stay under $750 Then I'd probably go with 2 roland KC150 keyboard amps. They have a mic imput and several line level imputs on each one and they can be linked together for stereo tone. The sound quality from these is also amazing which is why I recomend it. The problem is that they are only 60 watts each 120 total which isn't that much. Should be loud enough for you at the moment, but won't be enough for long if you are seriouse about gigging.
Not taking any online orders.
#26
Quote by chea_man
8 inch speakers dont sound very good for a PA.
Wrong
Read the OP:
Quote by shrugs1434
both for practicing and for playing at parties and maybe even small gigs although thats not necessary. We will be using it for vocals only
An 8 can easily handle frequencies as low as you'll get from most voices. As stated previously, Barry White might need something bigger.


Quote by chea_man
sorry buddy. they will need more than 100 watts because (i know from experience) a 100 watt PA doesnt have enough clean headroom for a band.
Wrong
Read the OP:
Quote by shrugs1434
both for practicing and for playing at parties and maybe even small gigs although thats not necessary. We will be using it for vocals only
A - Small Venues
B - Vocals only

None of the power is going to be wasted for low frequencies. That's where 90% of the power in a full-range mix is. In this application it's all lower midrange and up.


Quote by chea_man
every-time i see you post, i expect, for some reason, a really intelligent and helpful answer. and every-time im disappointed.
Just plain ridiculous

If every time you were disappointed, you should know by now to not expect a "a really intelligent and helpful answer" shouldn't you? Unless of course you're completely incapable of learning.

Every time I see you post, I expect absolutely nothing. You've never disappointed me.
Meadows
Quote by Jackal58
I release my inner liberal every morning when I take a shit.
Quote by SK8RDUDE411
I wont be like those jerks who dedicate their beliefs to logic and reaosn.
#27
^That was like watching God come down, say "/THREAD", and then leave.

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#28
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
Wrong
Read the OP:An 8 can easily handle frequencies as low as you'll get from most voices. As stated previously, Barry White might need something bigger.


Wrong
Read the OP:A - Small Venues
B - Vocals only

None of the power is going to be wasted for low frequencies. That's where 90% of the power in a full-range mix is. In this application it's all lower midrange and up.


Just plain ridiculous

If every time you were disappointed, you should know by now to not expect a "a really intelligent and helpful answer" shouldn't you? Unless of course you're completely incapable of learning.

Every time I see you post, I expect absolutely nothing. You've never disappointed me.

don't be such a dick. for the most part, the guy was right anyway.
#29
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
Wrong
Read the OP:An 8 can easily handle frequencies as low as you'll get from most voices. As stated previously, Barry White might need something bigger.


Wrong
Read the OP:A - Small Venues
B - Vocals only

None of the power is going to be wasted for low frequencies. That's where 90% of the power in a full-range mix is. In this application it's all lower midrange and up.


Just plain ridiculous

If every time you were disappointed, you should know by now to not expect a "a really intelligent and helpful answer" shouldn't you? Unless of course you're completely incapable of learning.

Every time I see you post, I expect absolutely nothing. You've never disappointed me.

i will say again, an 8 inch speaker, although they CAN handle it, are not going to sound very good.

it may be difficult to decide sometimes who you want to listen to on here. so it is important for us to set up our credentials. i will tell you i have much more experience than most people on this site. first off all, ive been a professional musician (meaning playing countless gigs all over the us, and been on tour) for six years now. my current band gets regular radio airplay everywhere from ohio to texas. im a guitar performance major, attended berklee college of music with a rather large performance based scholarship, as well as received numerous music awards for both my self and as part of a band. so, someoneyouknew, give him a reason for him to listen to you. because all your doing is spouting random information that may be true for guitar amps, but not for PA systems.
#31
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
Oh, you're one of those. Forget what I said earlier.

I could give a long detailed explanation about how unless somebody in your band sings bass you will never need anything larger than an 8" for a vocals only PA. And that 100 watts is loud. And to get twice as loud, with the same speaker efficiency you have to have 10 times the power. But I won't. You and Barry White will be much happier with big woofers.


Like I said, I'm only relating what I think is loud/quiet to what people have said before. Everyone seems to be requesting around 300w, I'm just going with what they said. If what you say is true, then great! now I wont have to spend nearly as much as I thought and get more quality equipment. I'm not exactly 'one of those people', I just don't know a lot.

EDIT: And when I say 'for vocals only' that means I will be singing through it, but there is still guitar and drums being played, just not through the PA system. I'm not sure if thats how you are translating it or not, but I wanted to clear that up. I'm not sure who to believe because I have relatively no experience behind the subject, hence this post.
Last edited by shrugs1434 at May 6, 2008,
#32
Quote by shrugs1434
Like I said, I'm only relating what I think is loud/quiet to what people have said before. Everyone seems to be requesting around 300w, I'm just going with what they said. If what you say is true, then great! now I wont have to spend nearly as much as I thought and get more quality equipment. I'm not exactly 'one of those people', I just don't know a lot.
Power relates to volume in a logarithmic fashion. Yes, 300w will be be louder than 100w. But not 3 times as loud. In fact it won't even be twice as loud. To double the volume you need to multiply the power by 10. 1000w is twice as loud as 100w for the same speakers.


Quote by shrugs1434
EDIT: And when I say 'for vocals only' that means I will be singing through it, but there is still guitar and drums being played, just not through the PA system. I'm not sure if thats how you are translating it or not, but I wanted to clear that up. I'm not sure who to believe because I have relatively no experience behind the subject, hence this post.
That's exactly what I'm basing my statements on.

It's easy to say "you should get something bigger". There's no problem with having more power or other capabilities than you need. But when you're the one who has to pay for it, things change, don't they?

Not sure who to trust? Trust yourself.
Rent something like a Fender Passport from a full service music store the next time you play a party, or just audition it at a band practice some weekend. If that is sufficient, great. They're extremely simple to set up and use. And you don't need to buy road cases. That's all built in. This won't be a system you'll grow into. It's small, light, easy, effective, and inexpensive. But it's limited.

If it doesn't do the job for you, you'll have to open you wallet wider when you buy. Sure, bigger is better. But bigger costs more. And takes up more space when you haul it. And weighs more when you carry it.
Meadows
Quote by Jackal58
I release my inner liberal every morning when I take a shit.
Quote by SK8RDUDE411
I wont be like those jerks who dedicate their beliefs to logic and reaosn.
#33
Quote by moody07747

You're like Batman. You come swinging in with your great URL which i will probably, yep, I just bookmarked it.

How is your build, close to Bruce's? Call me sometime and you can show me everything you know
#34
thanks for the advice. I'm finally beginning to be able to make watts and speaker sizes relevant to volume and tone. That was the main point of this thread.

To bring up a similar topic. I've used speaker systems that feed back horribly. I am aware of how feedback is created, but I don't know too many techniques on how to limit it.
#35
Quote by dogismycopilot
You're like Batman. You come swinging in with your great URL which i will probably, yep, I just bookmarked it.

How is your build, close to Bruce's? Call me sometime and you can show me everything you know



It's going slow, without much money and no job along with college time...I'm not buying any gear...

I do have a nice studio gear wish list setup though....everything from a mid sized Yamaha Digital mixer to an alasis HD24...
#36
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew

Not sure who to trust? Trust yourself.
Rent something like a Fender Passport from a full service music store the next time you play a party, or just audition it at a band practice some weekend. If that is sufficient, great. They're extremely simple to set up and use. And you don't need to buy road cases. That's all built in. This won't be a system you'll grow into. It's small, light, easy, effective, and inexpensive. But it's limited.

If it doesn't do the job for you, you'll have to open you wallet wider when you buy. Sure, bigger is better. But bigger costs more. And takes up more space when you haul it. And weighs more when you carry it.

this is great advice. really. no sarcasm.
i would like to apologize to someoneyouknew for they way i verbally assaulted him. i still disagree on many points, but i didnt handle it well. i made us both lose our cool. i hope you check this thread and accept my apology.
#37
this thread has some nice info so far.

am just wondering if anyone can help me, do you NEED to buy a power amp with speakers? im wondering if you don't need them with active speakers, and if it's just passive ones that need it.

cheers!
#38
You don't want a power amp if you are using powered speakers because the speakers are your power amp.

If your speakers are passive then you do HAVE to use a power amp of some kind.
Not taking any online orders.
#39
Quote by chea_man
this is great advice. really. no sarcasm.
i would like to apologize to someoneyouknew for they way i verbally assaulted him. i still disagree on many points, but i didnt handle it well. i made us both lose our cool. i hope you check this thread and accept my apology.
No probs chea_man. Apology accepted and one of my own offered. I appear to come on like gangbusters when barb like that punctuates a post, but tbh, i was laughing my ass off when i wrote my reply. The "Meths style" large type retort is all for effect. Of course we'll disagree. Different priorities, different views.

Quote by shrugs1434
thanks for the advice. I'm finally beginning to be able to make watts and speaker sizes relevant to volume and tone. That was the main point of this thread.

To bring up a similar topic. I've used speaker systems that feed back horribly. I am aware of how feedback is created, but I don't know too many techniques on how to limit it.
Distance, directionality, and de-emphasis of frequency response peaks are your main weapons.

The farther away the mics are from the speakers, the louder you can get before feedback is a problem.

Most vocal mics are somewhat directional. And so are speaker systems, especially horns. The mics more sensitive from the front than they are from the side or the rear. That's why you'll usually see two speaker systems for the PA, one on each side, rather than one in the rear behind the band. You can get a high spl in the house and less on stage. Of course if you don't have floor monitors beamed up at the vocalist, it might be difficult for him/her/them to hear themselves if the speakers are too far forward.

The size, shape, and surface treatments of a room affect which frequencies resonate, as well as any peaks inherent in the speaker systems you're using. You can minimize these resonances with careful use of a graphic equalizer. A little goes a long way here. You can't reduce the offending frequency band too severely or it will sound unnatural.


Quote by CorduroyEW
You don't want a power amp if you are using powered speakers because the speakers are your power amp.

If your speakers are passive then you do HAVE to use a power amp of some kind.
Pretty much that.

The power amplifier can be in the mixer, the speakers, or a separate. But just one power amp in the chain. You can have several poweramps and several speakers in separate chains from the same mixer. But you never want to have the output of one power amp feeding the input of another.
Meadows
Quote by Jackal58
I release my inner liberal every morning when I take a shit.
Quote by SK8RDUDE411
I wont be like those jerks who dedicate their beliefs to logic and reaosn.
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