FDP Forum / House Concert: PA Question/ 19 messages in thread.

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langford

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Toronto, Canada

Oct 1st, 2017 01:48 PM        

I'm planning to throw a party at home in the next few weeks, with a show by a local rockabilly trio as the evening's main event. The guys in the band want a PA for vocals (two of them sing), which means I'll need to rent something for the night. Any suggestions? The band will be playing in my livingroom/dinningroom area, which is about 10 feet wide and 25 feet long.<br /> <br /> TIA



Juice Nichols

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Panama City, FL

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Oct 2nd, 2017 06:55 AM        

You won't need much that's for sure. If you're renting, try to find a Fender Passport system or something similar. This should cover the area you described easily as long as the instruments aren't extremely loud. <br /> <br />



Tony Wright

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Stillwater, OK

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Oct 2nd, 2017 10:45 PM        

How much are you willing to pay to rent a system?<br /> <br /> Where are you going to find a place to rent systems?<br /> <br /> My "personal" threshold for volume is just enough to get the vocals louder than the drums and instrument amplifiers.<br /> <br /> I would also take into account the presence of mobile biological audio baffles. (AKA human bodies soaking up all the sound energy).<br /> <br /> 10ft by 25ft is a rather small space. I certainly hope they are using small amplifiers...perhaps about the size of a '72 Vibro Champ or maybe a L'il Dawg Champster Head with a 112 speaker cabinet. Bass amp slightly larger, maybe a 210 or a 115 with around 150 to 200 Watts max.<br /> <br /> I am not going to try to teach you about sound systems, I am just cutting to the solution to your problem with enough "techy" stuff so you have some concept of what to acquire.<br /> <br /> Let's start easy:<br /> <br /> Do you have a local friend who would bring his band's rehearsal PA for an invitation to free food and perhaps a chance to jam with some rockabilly guys?<br /> <br /> Still need something to rent?<br /> <br /> Bottom line, I would suggest as a minimum a 4 channel powered mixer with two speaker cabinet each with a single 1-12 with horn. If someone is willing to include a pair of 1-12/horn monitors AND if the powered mixer can support all four speakers at different volume levels, all the better.<br /> <br /> Whazzat? How much power? You do not want a low powered amp driving the powered mixer and speakers. Why? Well "not enough power to be heard over the drums and amps" will result in someone turning the PA too high which will bring on the risk of damage due to clipping.<br /> <br /> (By the way, you did not indicate that the band "asked for monitors" or "just a PA".)<br /> <br /> If this is a working band that you are paying to perform, they probably have access to a small PA for rehearsals...I would suggest you start by asking them how much extra they would charge to bring their own sound.<br /> <br /> Back to the techy stuff:<br /> <br /> If someone tells you the powered mixer is rated at "2x200 Watts at 4 Ohms" and the powered mixer is a 6 or 8 channel system that can be configured as "mains and monitors"...that simply means you want four 8 Ohm speakers, two mains and two monitors. Two 8 Ohm speakers for mains equal ONE 4 Ohm load, so that fills up the "mains" and if you have two monitors also rated at 8 Ohms each, that fills up the "monitor" side of the powered mixer. <br /> <br /> Whazzat? You don't need 6 channels, just two? Not a big deal. It is likely easier to find a 6 or 8 channel powered mixer than it is a 4 channel powered mixer that supports powering mains and monitors. You do not have to use the extra channels...unless the rockabilly band plans to run their vocals and their instruments thru the PA at the same time...in that case you probably need at least 4 channels.<br /> <br /> Buy rather than rent? Legitimate option. In the local market where I live, rental runs about 10-15% of the price of buying. <br /> <br /> I took a look at your local Craigslist for Toronto...and I decided to shut up. I have no idea what the second hand market is in your neck of the woods.<br /> <br /> Just remember: Power amps, speakers, mixer, mics and stands and speaker cable and mic cable.<br /> <br /> It does not matter if it is a powered mixer or a passive mixer....<br /> <br /> BUT<br /> <br /> Only one side (mixer or speaker) needs to be powered. So if you buy passive speakers you either need a powered mixer or a mixer and a power amp.<br /> <br /> On the other hand, if you opt for a powered speaker you need passive mixer. <br /> <br /> BUT all of your speakers need to be powered in that last example or otherwise you need a power amplifier to power the passive speakers.<br /> <br /> Candidly, for the size of your living room, one speaker and one monitor should be enough, but I have no idea how loud your rockabilly trio will play, so I am not going to address that.<br /> <br /> (My comment about buying was just made in passing...if you don't NEED a PA system for yourself, don't spend the extra cash. Renting a PA is like renting a car...if your car is in the shop or you flew in and only require a car for a short time, buying is foolish. On the other hand, renting a car to go to work every day is also foolish. So, use your own judgment about whether you should buy or rent or BORROW.



Roly

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Whitehorse Canada

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Oct 3rd, 2017 01:13 AM        

Listen to Tony....I think he has covered all the angles.<br /> <br /> <br /> I have had very limited exposure to the Fender Passport option.<br /> <br /> I think the ones I used sounded awful.(10 or 12 years ago)<br /> Could be that newer models sound better. <br /> <br /> Here's what I would do.......<br /> Rent a pair of powered speakers(and powered monitors if needed) and a small mixer with swept mids that has on board EQs that are assignable to mono mains and one monitor mix.<br /> If you want to get super complicated, Tony Jim and I can offer advice until Hell won't have it.<br /> <br /> Hope it's fun.<br /> <br /> cheers



Peegoo

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Deus

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Oct 3rd, 2017 07:05 AM        

All good advice from Tony, as usual. All I can add to the techie stuff is this: if they're going to set up in a living room, there's no need for FOH speakers *and* monitors, because the smallness of the room will contain the sound and serve as the monitor for the band. A single 2-way 1x10 or 1x12 on a stand in the corner will work great.<br /> <br /> Contact a party rental place (they rent out tables, chairs, & tents, etc.), and they should have options for what you need, at a reasonable cost. A pro-sound company is usually more costly than a party rental, but not always. Shop around.



Juice Nichols

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Panama City, FL

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Oct 3rd, 2017 07:15 AM        

Roly, the newer Passports sound pretty good for what they are. It would more than cut it for a living room gig. :-)<br /> <br /> Edit:<br /> <br /> I agree with Peegoo. No need for monitors in this environment. A single powered speaker and compact mixer âshouldâ be plenty. If it isnât, I wouldnât want to be in that room for more than a few minutes. <br /> <br />



langford

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Toronto, Canada

Oct 4th, 2017 06:29 PM        

Thanks for the recco's and comments, guys. Much appreciated, especially your detailed discussion, Tony. (Love your amp recommendations, by the way. I would have chosen exactly the same set up.)<br /> <br /> FYI. The band is professional and the members have been to the house before, though not to perform. (They're friends.) <br /> <br /> Also, a checked in with my local music store (about a block from my house). They have small PAs for rent and, since I'm a good customer, I shouldn't have any problems getting them to come around and have a look at the space first. <br /> <br /> Tony, I'll be sure to show my PA supplier your notes.<br /> <br /> Thanks again, everybody. And if you happen to be in T.O., shoot me a note. I"ll make sure you get an invite.



Tony Wright

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Stillwater, OK

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Oct 5th, 2017 10:23 PM        

Langford, guess where I got those suggested guitar amps? (Hint, I often read the profile page on FDP people...)<br /> <br /> And since we are talking about small venue, no real need for high volume sound...those amps sounded perfect for the gig.



langford

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Toronto, Canada

Oct 7th, 2017 03:45 PM        

@Tony... Oh yeah, I made the connection pretty quickly. But when I first read "perhaps about the size of a Vibro Champ," I thought, "Wow! What a coincidence." True story.<br />



Tony Wright

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Stillwater, OK

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Oct 7th, 2017 11:38 PM        

OK, I sometimes cheat and peak at the answer sheet at the end of the chapter.<br /> <br /> But honestly, checking out the gear list helps give an understanding of the other member when trying to formulate your answer to a question on the forum. My answer to someone with a 100 Watt Marshall full stack would be different from someone with a Blues Jr or Vibro Champ.<br /> <br /> Lots of tools in the box and knowing what kind of tools the other guy has is helpful.



langford

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Toronto, Canada

Oct 9th, 2017 05:22 PM        

"Lots of tools in the box and knowing what kind of tools the other guy has is helpful."<br /> <br /> Very true, Tony. I'm hoping I can convince the guitar player to use my Vibro Champ. His main amp is Deluxe Reverb... way more than what's needed here. Wish me luck ;)



Peegoo

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Oct 10th, 2017 06:04 AM        

There's a weird thing that happens in small rooms when playing a 12" combo, even at low volumes: it's harder to hear the guitar because it lacks cut and punch. It gets buried, so you have to turn up. And then the volume wars begin. <br /> <br /> A 6" or 8" speaker on the same amp at the same volume level sounds louder because it sits better in the mix. It doesn't get lost in the low-end "mung" that makes everybody have to turn up in order to stand out in the mix.<br /> <br /> The easy rule is this: Small room--small amp. Large room, large amp.<br /> <br /> I discovered this over years of playing small gigs and practicing with bands in basements. A Fender Champ (five watts) has absolutely no trouble keeping up with a drummer and bassist in a small room. There's no reason to be super loud anyway.



Peegoo

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Oct 10th, 2017 06:07 AM        

Another great way to be heard in a small room is to set your amp about a foot from the wall, and have the speaker facing the wall. That causes the sound to disperse smoothly throughout the room. It also serves as a monitor because you get the bounce hitting you in the back of your head.



Tony Wright

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Stillwater, OK

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Oct 10th, 2017 06:30 AM        

The "backwards facing the wall" works great!<br /> <br /> If you do that in the corner of a room, you might get different results.<br /> <br /> Taking a subwoofer and setting it so that the sub is exactly 12 inches from each wall in the 90 degree corner will actually increase the low end effect of the subwoofer. It uses the entire room and the flat wall surfaces as a "horn loaded subwoofer".<br /> <br /> Good "tool in the box" but if you are concerned about volume...face the instrument amps towards the flat surface of the wall for dispersal of sound.... <br /> <br /> ...and leave "corner loaded sub" for big rooms where you don't have enough subwoofers.



Peegoo

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Oct 10th, 2017 08:46 AM        

Tony, I have a combo cab in work that has a rearward-firing speaker. The "front" of the amp will have grill cloth over a 3/8" ply panel and perhaps a small slot or two in it. It will look like a normal combo, but it won't be :o)<br /> <br /> Years ago I built a small dual 8" combo cab with one speaker firing forward and the other firing rearward. I connected the speakers out of phase, and it worked really well.



Tony Wright

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Stillwater, OK

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Oct 11th, 2017 06:10 AM        

I don't recall anything specific about one speaker facing forward and the second facing the rear. Now that I think about it, I seem to recall a subwoofer that was released with that arrangement. Possibly EV or Peavey? <br /> <br /> If it worked for you, then that is evidence enough for me. <br /> <br /> I recall we played a club one time where we got a lot of complaints about "ice pick volume". About the same time, I had read a few things about sound from the back of the amp and the "beaminess" of sound from the front....so I suggested all the guitar players turn their amps around and I miced them up (front mic like normal) and it was a good gig. But the guys refused to do that at the next gig....<br /> <br /> I still think that a Plexiglas shield in front of every guitar amp on stage is a good idea. One or two pieces of 2x4 about one foot long with a slot to slide the Plexiglas in for a base and you have an inexpensive amp shield. Put your instrument amp mic between the shield and the speaker cloth and mic it as normal. That one helps you get the natural sound and overdrive that guitarist seem to like...but it also helps to protect your hearing.



gdw3



LA-la-land, CA

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Oct 11th, 2017 02:14 PM        

I have to disagree about needing a monitor. Even just one on the floor is preferable to none. You may be able to hear something coming out of the speakers, but you're going to strain and not sing your best if you can't hear yourself well enough. One monitor does not take up much room and is easy to set up. House concerts generally sound horrible no matter what, so if you can help it out with a little addition of a floor monitor, it's worth it.



mroulier

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Suburban MD.

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Oct 11th, 2017 02:38 PM        

Better to have too much volume and turn it down then not enough and strain the speakers. <br /> Something like a Yamaha EMX or Peavey Pvi 6 channel powered mixer and 2 full range 12's would be plenty. And if it's too loud, use the 'main' knob and turn it down!<br /> And the EMX has a separate monitor channel if you wanted to add a single monitor for the singers to hear themselves.



langford

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Toronto, Canada

Oct 18th, 2017 03:08 PM        

"A 6" or 8" speaker on the same amp at the same volume level sounds louder because it sits better in the mix."<br /> <br /> I agree. Another one of the guys in this circle uses a regular Champ for gigs in small bars. Works just fine in a rockabilly set up with an upright bass, snare drum/cymbal and two or three voices.<br />



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