PA System To Attract Bands

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Pineears, Apr 1, 2018.

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  1. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    What type PA would attract your band? I’m consulting on the sound system for a bar reopening. The bar previously hired bands on a regular basis. One objective is to have a system that will attract good bands. Something easy to get a band up and sound checked. I’m leaning towards no sound man. Possibly multitrack recording capability. I’d go digital mixer but a lot of bands might have difficulty with that. Another objective is to have some control of overall volume.
     
  2. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    One with a beer tap for each member of the band.

    Not having someone to deal with the PA drastically limits your scope. You want the absolute simplest thing possible, so that even the most brain dead, technically uninclined musicians can turn it on and make it run. You do NOT want to make the manager or bartenders have to deal with the PA- they will do a bad job and hate you.

    How big is the place? What kind of PA was in the bar before? A couple powered speakers for vocal mains and a couple more for monitors might be all you need. Anything more than this requires a sound man. And even with the simplest rig possible, there will be nights where a band with no sound man plugs the wrong thing into the wrong place and can't figure out how to make it work. A good, small PA that lets the vocals keep up with the band's stage sound beats a huge, loud PA with a crappy mix because no one knows how to run it.

    This is a complete impossibility without a sound man, specifically one who knows how to operate your particular setup.

    The key to this whole thing is what kind of PA did they have before, and what did people like/not like about it? Musicians really don't care about PA as long as they can hear themselves and everyone tells them they sounded good. I've been in clubs that had a reputation for good sound that had a very simple, bare-bones setup, and others that had a bad rep but piles of high end gear.
     
  3. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    I have no idea about running.sound , and actually prefer just getting up and play with pur own gear
    Often we dont even have monitors
    Thats just me/Us....
     
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  4. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    I haven’t got into the place yet. Maybe within a couple of weeks. I should probably ask around about what bands the were having.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  5. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    You can also look at the size of room, and see what other clubs of a similar size are using and whether it works well or not.
     
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  6. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    An in-house system without a dedicated person to operate it is a mistake.
     
  7. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Not much info to go on...Don't rule out the Bose L1. It's mains and monitors all in one. Incredibly simple and very clean. We've used it to fill a 200 person dance hall with plenty of headroom left.
    As stated above, you will need someone to operate whatever you get. I wouldn't want a bunch of musicians plugging things in, twisting knobs and running cable.
     
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  8. thegeezer

    thegeezer Tele-Afflicted

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    I second this. I've played some of these places...there always seems to be something wrong or not working with their system, every one is different and there's never enough time to sort it out, etc.

    What do we do? We bring our own.
     
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  9. SPUDCASTER

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I can safely say that 100% of the venues I've played that had a house system provided a sound engineer also.

    In the long run you'll wind up with a lot less abuse of the equipment.

    After you see the venue, you'll have a better idea of what you'll need.
     
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  10. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Afflicted

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    Sorry for derailing the thread, but as a band member, I always found how much the venue is willing to pay to be a more-motivating attractant than the house PA.
     
  11. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I will just add this. Keep it simple. There is a local pub we play that has one of the iPad driven systems. All the bands hate it. You can never get it right. You cant hear yourself and you cant hear out in the crowd. I really dont know what the issue is but I ran into it one other place with that type of system. The pub has tried 3 sound people, each one sat there all night but cant get it right. Our band and at least one other refuse to use the house PA anymore. We tried to adjust it ourselves to no avail also.
    -Keep it simple . A good powerful mixer/amp that is easily adjusted on stage. or a passive mixer and powered speakers. (more wires)
    -Quality mains and monitors, including one for the drummer. Mackie, JBL etc
    -Dont mount the mains up on the ceiling, keep them no higher than 6 feet off the stage or so. (I know 3 places with mackie or JBL mains mounted up high and they are all terrible.)
    -Mark the mixer, each cord and each speaker with a visible number.
    -Put a little etched sign above the mixer with "Master volume must not be over 5, Manager" or something like that.

    I understand the bar wanting to control the volume, but the reality is it's probably not going to happen from off the stage. Control it by warning bands, then not rehiring them if they are too loud. Some songs are louder than others. You cant play AC/DC at Chet Atkins volumes. Bars need to realize that. I have played bars that want to be dance bars, but are strict about volume. Consistently, the crowd never gets moving, they sit there listening and leave on the firs break opportunity. You crank it up and "rock on" and people get excited and have another drink.
    SO what's important is for the bar to understand that, and to understand what they "want to be"! Want to be a quiet refuge with music also? Hire acoustic music, bluegrass, or jazz, or duos, or alternative music etc.
    Want to be a dance party destination? Tell the bartender she's just gonna have to deal with the volume... as long as it's not too out of control... some bands are just unreasonable. You dont need a Twin or a 100 watt Marshall for clubs. MY BFDR is on 3 and I'm often too loud, but at least can get in the rock n roll zone tone wise.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  12. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    Just heard they interviewed a bar manager that has played in a band.
     
  13. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    Sounds like if we get a house system we’d better leave room for the bands PA system.
     
  14. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I play in a joint with a house PA that the band has to run.
    It's not that big a deal. It works well.
    They even have a couple Blues Jrs and a Fender Rumble bass amp that have been going strong for years.
    I think it's an oddball mixer...or maybe I'm the oddball, but it's not intuitive (for ME) and every time I use it, it's like the first time.
    It sounds like a minor concern, but, having something that is clearly-marked...even if you have to use little pieces of tape...MAIN MASTER, MONITOR MASTER, REVERB/EFFECTS MASTER.
    Then for each channel MAIN VOLUME, MONITOR VOLUME, REVERB (hopefully LOW, MID, HIGH are self explanatory).
    Clear marking showing which channel goes to which mic.
    The less the band has to figure out, the better chance you have of not getting your equipment abused.
    Keep the cables well protected, bundled and tied...less chance of them getting stepped on and effed-with.
     
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  15. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Two powered 12" mains with small subs. Four powered monitors with 10's. Add an extra with a small sub, or a designated drum monitor with a 15" speaker for the drummer if needed. A good mixer with at least 12 channels of XLR inputs. (I hate mixers that claim to have 16 channels and four only have 1/4" inputs) Graphic EQ's on each output. Either a designated effects unit or internal effects in the mixer. And an Aux out for each monitor. Decent mics, SM 58's or better, no cheap Chinese package mics. Good quality stands that will survive being abused night after night after night. And have someone there who knows how it works to at least get the band started.

    I recently mixed for a friend's band using a house rig. Decent speakers, but a cheap mixer and cheaper mics. Luckily the guitarist had four SM 58's that highly improved things.
     
  16. scottser

    scottser Tele-Afflicted

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    As other have said, a good engineer will attract bands moreso than the PA. A small enough 2k PA with a 12 channel desk will do most venues though - it only has to provide clarity, not blow the roof off.
     
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  17. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    The No House PA is an easy option to sell. Maybe can come up with something else for band attraction. That I know of there was no problems hiring bands.
     
  18. G&Lplayer

    G&Lplayer Tele-Meister

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    As a sound person I would say if you have a PA and no tech, hire a DJ.
     
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  19. JukeJointJunkie

    JukeJointJunkie Tele-Meister

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    How large is the venue?

    What kind of music?

    What do you think the typical number of band members will be?
     
  20. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    I asked about stage size, it’s maybe 12’ deep and 20’ wide. Venue size I don’t know yet. I heard 4-5 piece band typically, but now possibly duo’s and trios as well. The previous music was described as everything.
     
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