Are you the PA guy in your band?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Dismalhead, Jul 27, 2021.

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Are you the PA guy in your band?

  1. Nah, that's for other people to do. I play guitar and make weird faces.

    4 vote(s)
    5.6%
  2. I do help with setting up the PA when I'm done with my own rig.

    10 vote(s)
    13.9%
  3. Yup, I'm the main PA guy, and it's my PA.

    38 vote(s)
    52.8%
  4. Yep, I'm the main PA guy but it's someone else's PA.

    11 vote(s)
    15.3%
  5. Nah, but I'm helping out my bandmates with their stuff.

    6 vote(s)
    8.3%
  6. Sometimes I'm PA guy, sometimes I'm not.

    4 vote(s)
    5.6%
  7. I don't play places that don't have a PA.

    3 vote(s)
    4.2%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Since the mid '90s I've been PA guy in most of my bands - the guy who has to set up the PA and mics on top of their own rig at PA-less venues. Pretty sure it comes from being the one who owns the PA and is less technically-challenged than the rest of the guys in the band.
     
  2. Mowgli

    Mowgli Tele-Meister

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    For those who wish to learn the basics there are several instruction texts. I find Rudy Trubitt's "Live Sound for Musicians" to be a very useful and gentle introduction. It's geared towards small and smallish medium-sized venues using portable PAs.

    Other useful and more advanced texts are those by Bill Gibson, Scott Hunter Stark, Eagle & Foreman, Yamaha texts by Riche as well as Davis & Jones. Backbeat Books put out "the live sound manual" that you may find helpful, too.
     
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  3. meric

    meric Tele-Holic

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    Hmmm...never thought about it before. I have been the PA guy in almost every band that I have been in. What does that say about me....
     
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  4. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I know. Are we door mats? Just give me some acknowledgement for my extra band duties occasionally, or even better, help out.
     
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  5. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    I should not be trusted near a PA board...
     
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  6. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I am, and I hate it. I have to focus on everyone's PA requests etc..... and carry gear. I'm also band manager, printer of posters, maker of set lists, arranger of rehearsals, booking agent and etc. I HATE IT.
    I just wanna be a musician.

    SO several years ago i quit having a band and joined another band. It was good being a side man for a couple of months, then it turned out the deaf-bassist-band leader and I didn't get along well.
    So he met with me for a beer (I already knew he was going to fire me) I told him what the problem was with his band and I asked him if he was sure he really wanted me to go?
    Once he confirmed that we shouldn't play together I informed him that his entire band was going with me....... :lol:

    We've been together 7 years but yes, here I am... band leader again! :mad:
     
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  7. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    In high school, I was the only guy who could figure out our Peavey PA head. Then, other bands who couldn't figure out their Peavey PA heads asked me for help. Then some idiot let me behind the faders of a club PA (something I was absolutely not qualified for), and after I did that a few times people figured I knew what I was doing and gave me money to do it for them (not much mind you, my first paid PA gig in 1993 was a princely $35 and a few beers). My funniest audio story happened during this period- I got my girlfriend fired from her mixing gig because I subbed in for her one night and pushed the PA harder than she did. The band asked if I was available regularly, but I was smart enough to say no (a $100 weekly PA gig wasn't worth losing a girlfriend over), but two weeks later they fired her anyway. I never told her about the band trying to poach me, and she never connected the dots. I probably would have been better off if she had, but that's another story.


    Not long after that I got referred to a guy who owned a real PA company (they had a touring system out and did regional gigs with a second PA). He figured out pretty quickly that I knew basically nothing but was trainable, and off I went on the "mud & dust tour". Nearly 30 years later I'm still in the production business but no longer a regular mixer guy. However, a couple weeks ago a friend who owns a regional PA company called to ask if I could sub in at a gig at an art museum- I did, and it was great. I was relieved to discover that after a year and a half of The Thing We Can't Talk About On TDPRI, I still had my mixing chops. Whatever chops I'd started with, anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
  8. Buzzgrowl

    Buzzgrowl Tele-Meister

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    I distrust sound engineers, in general. The ones that are good cost money I don't have and don't want to spoil their hearing with my band.:(
     
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  9. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was, the last band I was in I split with in 1994, and I took it with me. The band soon split thereafter, bunch of loser's, in particular the singer, who pushed his luck with me so many times, that he got the full force of my SG on his head. I admit it was a stupid action on my behalf, but the guy ground my gears so close, and with personal comments too. I just lost it. Sold most of my gear there after, had a lay off for a few years, apart from the SG and a combo.
     
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  10. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    did it for years and years. keep it simple. be fair. be direct with your band about what they ARE doing or NOT doing.

    on the gigs with sound guys (like festivals) I always appreciated them. I'd always feel like maybe it wasn't going to sound good, then I'd get a board recording and realize, they were better than me.
     
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  11. Mr. St. Paul

    Mr. St. Paul Tele-Holic

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    I was, for years. Now it's limited to supplying the p.a. for our practice space. We currently play venues that supply production, because nobody wants to invest in or haul around sound and lights.
     
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  12. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm the caretaker of our band's PA ( small) as I gig a lot with other folks too. But our harmonica player owns it.
    We just play smaller gigs, so the only thing we use it for are vocal mics, and acoustic instruments ( when used), or occasionally, bass drum mic.
    We just have 2 powered Mackie speakers/stands, one powered monitor, and a 10-channel board.
    Very minimal, but perfect for us.

    ( I'm the soundman, which means I sit, with the board to my right, and I turn it ON- and that's about it!)

    ** btw, I keep things light too, as everyone actually carries my PA stuff on load in/out for me ( bad back), so I try to keep all very portable
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
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  13. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

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    I am a recording engineer by trade. Bands and churches look at me like I'm a tasty little morsel when they find that out. I learned to dodge that one pretty well during a time when I was dubbed "Mr. Tech" for bands. It started when Ken the bassist had another cord die on him. The vocalist came over and said, "Ken's cord just died. We are going to need to borrow one from your rig." I protested that I only had enough for my stuff so the band took a vote. I lost. Never again.

    So, I started carrying a spare cord. Then Ken quit bothering to keep his working because he knew I had a spare. That made it two spares. Then the other guitar player's amp fizzed before a gig and I diagnosed and fixed it with a small toolkit I carried, rather than warming up. Once. Or so I thought. Then there was a P.A. problem and I was voted Mr. Fix-it. So, I took the band's amps and P.A. home and maintained them so I wouldn't have to deal with it at the last minute on gig nights. But the problems don't go away. I woke up one day carting around a road case full of spare cables, jacks, tubes, knobs, pots, picks, capos, batteries, etc., and a twenty pound tool kit with volt/ohmmeter, soldering iron, etc. Then band members started complaining if I couldn't revive their neglected gear at the last minute. I got fed up.

    These days when I'm in a band, I take good care of my OWN gear and carry minimal tools and spares.

    Bob
     
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  14. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I always set up the PA and usually the lights. We have powered everything.

    I recently switched to digital with a Soundcraft UI mixer and I really like it. Although everyone could create their own mix, they don't know that. It really keeps other hands off the faders.
     
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  15. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Depends, but yeah, most of the bands I play with the other guys are from Maryland.
     
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  16. Rockinvet

    Rockinvet Tele-Afflicted

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    I am not a sound tech by any means but just a few years ago we kept losing band personnel and gigs being downsized. So, we went down to a trio with tracks (Yuk). We had no choice but the one thing I did was buy a proper PA so I could control the tracks. Anyway, I got drunk with power, just kidding. Truthfully it did give me more control of what we did and I actually enjoyed that for a time. No longer did I have to make suggestions, I controlled the sets and the sound! But, it was wearing on me after a while trying to control the sound while playing. NOW I know why a sound tech is THE most important gig in the band. Needless to say we were pretty successful until this thing that hit us in 2019.

    My hats off to sound techs. The other band I played in has an incredible crew and top notch gear. But social distancing protocol put that on hiatus too.
     
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  17. dougstrum

    dougstrum Friend of Leo's

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    In my current band, I'm the PA guy. We have been together for 10yrs now, everyone knows the basic setup, mics, stands and cords:) They leave the board connections and settings for me.

    Sure is nice to play an event where sound is provided!!!
     
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  18. nedorama

    nedorama Tele-Meister

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    Since college, I've been the guy with the PA who runs the PA. It just worked out that way, but also having gear for recording meant I could double purpose it.

    College - ancient Toa MX106 mixer - back then we would be adjusting the Foldback knobs, not realizing they did nothing without a monitor plugged in (foldback was the old term for Monitor send).
    Business school - Mackie 1202 mixer, Alesis RA-101 amp, and whatever speakers we could find. 4 vocal mics, and keyboard and my stereo rack guitar went into the mixer direct. And... had a Yamaha 4 track with a Radio Shack PZM mic taped on the wall behind the drummer.
    2000 - Mackie 1202 Mixer, QSC RMX850 amp, crappy speakers I bought on closeout when MARS Music was going out of business.
    2004 - Mackie 1402 Mixer as we added more band members, QSC RMX 1850 amp, JBL JRX115 speakers, effects, EQ.
    2006 - Mackie 1642 Mixer, Mackie SRM450 powered speakers, dbx 231 EQ, Driverack PA, effects
    2011 - Yamaha 01v digital mixer, QSC HPR122i speakers. Way more control and way less to pack.
    2014 - Mackie DL1608 digital Mixer, QSC HPR122i speakers, KW181 Sub. Snakes, full mics for drums, etc. Better control, easier to use with iPad, smaller packing.

    After that, we played less with my PA, and then in 2018 the speakers were stolen out of my Public Storage locker.

    Now, I'm down to the Mackie DL1608 mixer, a QSC K10 powered speaker, and mics and DI's. If we're playing somewhere a PA is needed, I'll rent the speakers and monitors - no need for them to be sitting in a garage/locker. Benefit with the Mackie is also I can set up a rough mix on the iPad ahead of time in terms of channels, prelim EQ settings, etc. so that during showtime there's less stress involved. While it can be wireless, I still haven't used it as that. Someday will have to get an iPad stand for my mic stand...

    For super stripped down gigs I also have a Mackie 402 mixer - 2 mic channels and 1 stereo channel. Great for when I have to play music from an iPod/phone for kids school events, etc. and as a backup mixer.
     
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  19. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Friend of Leo's

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    I've done both...the band PA guy and also worked for a pro sound company. Please don't feel bad if you (band PA guy) don't sound as good as the sound company who did your latest festival gig. You shouldn't expect to. Sound company is paid WAY more than you are when you show up to your bar gig with your PA from Banjo Barn. Not saying your Banjo Barn PA (I own/operate one too) doesn't also have it's place...it's just a different place.
     
  20. nedorama

    nedorama Tele-Meister

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    Agree it's great when someone else is running the PA - if they know what they're doing. We had one fundraiser we did 4 years in a row and for the first and 4th year were assured they had a full PA and someone who knew what they were doing. First year the "PA" was a 2 channel microphone thing, so we unpatched and patched in our mixer. Brought in my PA the next 2 years, and the 4th year was told they had a full PA and someone who knew what they were doing. They had a full PA - but no one there knew how to run it, and they were running the power off of the same circuit as way too many other things, so we tripped a breaker mid set...
     
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