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Interesting FRFR story..

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6 hours ago, stingrayPete1977 said:

There's a lot of pub bands with a great guitar amp, bass amp, drum kit and great vocalists who then put the vocals through a Tandy PA because it's "just for vocals", if you were starting from scratch a good pa and modern desk complete with good wedges facing the players instead of backline would be perfect. 

That's partly because someone else often has to own the PA. If singers would invest as much in PA (let's call it personal amplification) as bass players do bass, amp, and cab, or guitar players do guitar and amp, or drummers their kit, not to mention modern keyboards, horns, strings, and so forth, the average PA would be something else.

As it is, damn straight my PA is a 'budget' one! To be fair, I lucked out and for what I spent, that thing is remarkably good, but why did someone with a voice like mine buy an entire PA system?! Only because half of singers think that forking out for an SM58 is a courtesy, let alone providing their own means of being heard.

Yep, touched a nerve, and yep, maybe this should be in the drunk thread, even though I was just playing with a guy with his own PA. And drinks on the house. But still, it's a principle which often holds true, in my world, at least.

Edited by Jus Lukin

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2 hours ago, Bridgehouse said:

For me, playing in a band is more than just "my sound"

It's also about portability and not having setup and tear down being a massive hassle.

It's about the other band members hearing me and me hearing them in a good mix

It's about having fun and sounding as good as we possibly can

It's about being able to adapt to any venue and any stage

Sometimes the gear can get in the way of the main reason we go out there to play..

As Carl Perkins once said; "My sound? Hell, if I can hear myself, that's my sound!"

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7 hours ago, Al Krow said:

True but...I think the whole point of this is an improvement in portability whilst maintaining sound quality and I'm not sure that going for a PA that can handle bass well gets us there?

I think the suggestions you've come up are very helpful in illustrating the point I'm making. So, comparing like with like:

2 RCF 735As new cost £1,600 and weigh 96lbs;

2 RCF 310As plus a top-of-the-range Markbass Combo e.g. the AC 121 Lite (500W) also cost, altogether, new £1,600 but weigh in less at 92 lbs combined.

So I'm not convinced that swapping the 310As for the 735As just so that I can drop the Markbass combo has actually helped?

And to be honest, as a bass player I'd rather have my own amp and cab that I've chosen as part of 'my sound' (even if no one else on the planet gives a flying f*** about 'my sound' :)) over an RCF 735A every day of the week! That would be even more true if the PA is a 'band' piece of gear and kept / owned by someone other than the bass player. Wouldn't you?

In your second scenario you still need add a PA for vocals and at least one guitar cab

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41 minutes ago, charic said:

In your second scenario you still need add a PA for vocals and at least one guitar cab

Incorrect re needing to add a PA for vocals, that is exactly what the RCF310As are. Either 735As or 310As could handle a lead guitar via a DI so I've left the guitar amp out of the equation, because it would be be same for both scenarios. However, exactly the same point about the guitarist having his own amp and cab (even more so, let's be honest) for his sound.

If you get rid of the bass combo and guitar amp then you would also need better monitors, as the back-line also provides an element of stage monitoring. 

I think at best it's going to be a 'wash' in terms of cost / weight / portability  for (a) an excellent PA that can handle everything well vs (b) a PA that handles vocals, and acoustic guitar (and also sax in our case / keys for other bands) & backline for lead guitar and bass 

So I think Alex Claber and Marc Vandkerkley and all our beloved amp makers can rest easy in their beds tonight. I don't think the need / desire for their gear is going disappear anytime soon!

 

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The desire won't go anywhere anytime soon that's for sure xD

The need went away years ago!

For my own curiosity I'm seeing how it compares

A typical band lineup for me these days is:

  • Drums (Kick and Snare minimum to PA)
  • Bass MESA D800 (2.5kg / £1000) + Barefaced 410 (25kg / £840)
  • Keys (To PA)
  • Guitar 1 (No idea lets assume midrange marshall) Marshall JVM205H 50W Valve (17.5kg / £840) Marshall 1960AX (38kg / £700)
  • Guitar 2 (No idea lets assume midrange marshall)Marshall JVM205H 50W Valve (17.5kg / £840) Marshall 1960AX (38kg / £700)
  • Vocals (To PA)
  • PA RCF310As as an example (venue usually provides PA for my case so can't compare) : (25kg / £600)

Total Weight : 163.5kg      Total Cost : £5520

Although, there would probably be an issue with the PA handling keys and drums

Modelled setup :

  • Drums (as much as needed to PA)
  • Bass Helix LT (5kg / £730)
  • Keys
  • Guitar 1 Helix LT (5kg / £730)
  • Guitar 2 Helix LT (5kg / £730)
  • Vocals
  • PA  (40kg / £2100)

Total Weight :  55kg     Total Cost: £4290

Although monitoring isn't taken into account...

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Get rid of the acoustic drums while you're at it and replace with an electronic kit which you can put through the PA! :D

But more seriously you're way off the mark when it comes to a 'typical band line up' for a pub gig. What you're suggesting might have been correct in the 1980s, but I really don't think it is 'typical' for the most part not now...

e.g. a 1x12 or 2x10 cab plus amp head or a simple combo for bass is much more 'typical' gear (some will be using smaller rigs some larger, for sure) = c. £1,500 / 15kg to 20kg  (mine is actually £900 / 15kg)

Guitarists like portability also and all three lead guitarists I have worked with recently use the Roland Blues cube = £600 / 14kg

If the second guitarist is acoustic, then he can already go straight into the PA

That takes the typical band line up to much closer in terms of weight / price of the modelled set up and as you say before we have taken the greater monitoring needs of a modelled set up into account, due to the lack of stage monitoring that back line provides.

Edited by Al Krow

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And still nobody mentions the improvement in sound quality when you've ditched the amps.

re:drums just for anybody interested, acoustic drums are still the preference for any drummer. A drummer that turns up to a pub gig with a huge kit and super bright and loud cymbals is the local village idiot. In terms of micing, for pub gigs a lot of the time you'll just need kick. For larger venues, you can successfully mic with two mics. I personally never mic the snare directly unless I am micing the whole kit. On a two mic setup, i would choose to mic the kick drum and a single condenser mic on a high stand behind the drummers right shoulder, pointing directly across the kit at the snare. (Assuming drummer plays right handed). This way it'll get a good coverage of the kit, (hi hats and splash included) not just the snare. It sounds great in the inears also - if you are using them.

PS - entry level wired inear monitoring can be achieved for way under 100 quid per person for somebody using ME6s. For something a lot better, for a 200 quid setup, consider something like UE900s. Read about it in the inear monitoring thead if you are interested. Also, check out the inear recording I put up in there and ask yourself if that isn't something you'd like on a gig. That level of monitoring is now affordable even in a pub band given the pricing of digital desks now. Link - 

 

Theres always going to be dinosaurs stuck in their ways. Tech has moved on. Not too long ago, PA that would take a full band going through them was prohibitively expensive. This isn't the case now as the tech is becoming a lot more affordable. Whether people choose to embrace it or not is another thing. I'm convinced that the amp route is on borrowed time now... but that's just me. I like an amp like the next guy... but the convienience of a PA doing all the work, the better monitoring that it opens up, wins it for me hands down. I don't care if people want to go the same route as me or not - I just like to correct statements that suggest a route like that is prohibitively expensive. You only have to read through the IEM thread to see what a revelation it has been for the people that have made the switch. And to be honest, you don't even have to go with IEMs... a serious wedge with your own mix of the whole band in it, with the foh doing all the real work, is another great option. The crazy thing is, nobody batts an eyelid about paying crazy money for backline but if I said the best sound you'll ever have is if you changed your say, 1000 quid boutique cab for a 1000 quid monitor that has both you and the band going through it, most people would not be interested...

Not saying my opinion is worth more than anybody else's - but I've done both routes in anger. My IEMs for example, cost more than most peoples complete backline... but that's how much I have been sold on the alternative method of getting a band sounding the best it can both in my ears and out front. The other thing is, my sound is consistent in every venue and I can hear exactly what I want. When I was at the drum show, I was having a similar convo with a drummer whilst at the IEM stand. If you were on a gig with IEMs, you can hear everything you want to hear at a volume you want to hear them. Percussion on a gig? Great! I want to hear that shaker and Indian bells they got going on. Chances of enjoying that on stage without IEMs? Zero. You'll be lucky to hear anything over the drummer. Anyway, the point is, is that this stuff is now available to all - whether it's on a stadium gig or a pub gig. - and I guarantee your audience will appreciate the band more if they can hear everything clearly through the PA. A decent PA yields better high frequency horns too - so getting your vocalist heard over the band is easier... and that is further cemented that the quieter band sound on stage means less bleed into the mics.

As I say, Dinos can be Dinos for all I care... but it's interesting to see all these old guys advocating that nothing but an amp would do are all deaf and wired up with hearing aids... but each to their own.

Edited by EBS_freak
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1 hour ago, Al Krow said:

Get rid of the acoustic drums while you're at it and replace with an electronic kit which you can put through the PA! :D

But more seriously you're way off the mark when it comes to a 'typical band line up' for a pub gig. What you're suggesting might have been correct in the 1980s, but I really don't think it is 'typical' for the most part not now...

e.g. a 1x12 or 2x10 cab plus amp head or a simple combo for bass is much more 'typical' gear (some will be using smaller rigs some larger, for sure) = c. £1,500 / 15kg to 20kg  (mine is actually £900 / 15kg)

Guitarists like portability also and all three lead guitarists I have worked with recently use the Roland Blues cube = £600 / 14kg

If the second guitarist is acoustic, then he can already go straight into the PA

That takes the typical band line up to much closer in terms of weight / price of the modelled set up and as you say before we have taken the greater monitoring needs of a modelled set up into account, due to the lack of stage monitoring that back line provides.

I was using my last few bands to build the "model" as it were xD

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9 minutes ago, charic said:

I was using my last few bands to build the "model" as it were xD

When did you last gig? The 80s?

:-p

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11 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Hey - why crazy Luke? If our fellow bassists want to spend their money on an excellent amp and cab (or a £1,500 bass), which brings on that smile and gets appreciative nods from band-mates and audience, surely that's entirely their choice and their priorities? I certainly don't begrudge them! Other people will blow the same amount on a car, a foreign holiday, or a packet of 20 cigarettes a day...

Our pair of RCF 310As plus small Allen & Heath mixer handles vocals and acoustic guitar really well, but no way will it be able to handle bass, even for a pub gig, as well as my 500W Markbass combo which takes no time to set up. 

I suspect that a PA that can handle the full sonic spectrum from top end lead guitar and female vocals down to a low end B string on a bass is not going to be particularly portable and likely to involve £££s? I just don't think a most single PA speakers are going to be voiced to do that? 

Turning it around, when we were packing up the PA from Saturday night's function gig we played some Spotify tracks though a guitar amp (which had sounded great with a lead guitar). The guitar amp sounded crap for vocal tracks and nowhere near as good as when it went through the RCFs.

Horses for courses?

As end says it depends on the speakers, my full range PA (735s) is no larger physically than yours but we could leave the guitar and bass amps/cabinets at home or as I said if starting from scratch not even buy them, that's cheaper and less storage space, stage space, quicker setup etc etc, to top it off it will sound better and be more controllable volume wise.

There's a reason professional function bands operate that way.

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I suspect that there's more than a little by way of crossed wires here.

Some are talking about how to achieve the best sound for the band, some are talking about achieving the lowest weight and/or cost, and some are talking about other things entirely.

If I was in a professional functions band where we all earned (most of) our living from playing in that band, then the PA-based route would clearly give the best results for band sound, the cost could be offset for tax purposes against the band's gross income, and I would expect the entire band to buy into that solution.

But I'm not. I'm either an enthusiastic amateur or (at best) a semi-pro, earning what amounts to pin money for indulging in my hobby. I play in multiple bands, sometimes for years and sometimes for weeks. Whether or not I might like my entire band (whichever one we're talking about just now) to go through the PA, I have absolutely no choice but to own a bass rig.

If that makes me a "Dino" then I'm cool with that. In truth, though, I think that makes me quite sensible. Turn it on its head. How would you describe a drummer without his own kit, or a guitarist with no combo? I suspect that the word "idiot" would be one of the milder terms. A bass player who can only function in an environment where five grand's worth of PA is supplied is of limited use.

Now me, the "Dino", I can function in an environment where five grand's worth of PA is supplied, AND I can function in any other bloody environment too.

What's not to like?

And this isn't just about me, the bass player. What about the rest of the band? If I become a PA-based player, am I really going to have to find a PA-based guitarist, a PA-based keyboard player, and a PA-based drummer to play with? That rather limits the opportunities, don't you think?

Just because something is a really great idea in theory (and a PA-based band is a really great idea, I like it) doesn't mean it will always work in practice, still less that it will be a better solution than the one you already have.

 

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2 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

When did you last gig? The 80s?

:-p

A few weeks ago xD

I'm generally playing on the metal circuit at the moment where frontline and monitoring are provided

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I wouldn't even need the helix,  I gig pre eq most of the time, that's £730 saved, the xair digital mixers have guitar and bass amps built in too, I'd never go back now.

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19 minutes ago, Happy Jack said:

Turn it on its head. How would you describe a drummer without his own kit, or a guitarist with no combo? I suspect that the word "idiot" would be one of the milder terms. A bass player who can only function in an environment where five grand's worth of PA is supplied is of limited use.

The point is, with a FRFR solution, you can use it as either backline or FOH! The FRFR is their combo. The FRFR solution is your rig.

So the guitarist turns up with a modeler and a FRFR cab/s. The bass player turns up with a pre/modeler with FRFR cab/s.

The drummers do what they want anyway... usually turning up with a completely inappropriate kit for the gig.

Edited by EBS_freak

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7 minutes ago, stingrayPete1977 said:

As end says it depends on the speakers, my full range PA (735s) is no larger physically than yours but we could leave the guitar and bass amps/cabinets at home or as I said if starting from scratch not even buy them, that's cheaper and less storage space, stage space, quicker setup etc etc, to top it off it will sound better and be more controllable volume wise.

There's a reason professional function bands operate that way.

SRP completely take your point and as my bands start doing more functions we may need to follow you down the 735 route.

But equally there's a reason that most pub / club bands continue to use back line and it's not simply down to the rest of us all being dotards: there isn't nearly quite so much of a weight / cost / quality benefit to ditching backline as you might think (provided you're not stuck just playing Duran Duran* and Bananarama with a backline to match :) ). I hope my examples make that clear? And I stick by my point, which for me is actually a pretty big one, that whilst it may be less 'pro', it's a lot more fun and satisfying having an amp & cab you love and can tailor to the rest of your signal chain, than an anodyne bit of PA gear. Wouldn't you agree?

I've just rechecked the factual position: a 735A is double the volume and 70% heavier than a 310A (and I'm not proposing to reopen the passive / active PA speaker debate here...that's for another thread entirely :) )

*although I'll have to 'fess that John Taylor is a bass player I admire a LOT :)

 

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1 minute ago, Al Krow said:

And I stick by my point, which for me is actually a pretty big one, that whilst it may be less 'pro', it's a lot more fun and satisfying having an amp & cab you love and can tailor to the rest of your signal chain, than an anodyne bit of PA gear. Wouldn't you agree?

You haven't played with a Helix, Kemper or AxeFX have you?

Actually, scratch that... the amp modeler on the Behringer mixers alone is far more tweakable than an amp.

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Fair riposte. But do they also nail the small matter of EQ with equal perfection in the way that something as unpretentious as a GM 800 + VK 210 or BF BB2 will do; and also provide you the same 'real time feedback' and ability to adjust 'on the fly' without dedicated monitoring?

 

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1 minute ago, Al Krow said:

Fair riposte. But do they also nail the small matter of EQ with equal perfection in the way that something as unpretentious as a GM 800 + VK 210 or BF BB2 will do; and also provide you the same 'real time feedback' and ability to adjust 'on the fly' without dedicated monitoring?

 

yes

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1 minute ago, Al Krow said:

Fair riposte. But do they also nail the small matter of EQ with equal perfection in the way that something as unpretentious as a GM 800 + VK 210 or BF BB2 will do; and also provide you the same 'real time feedback' and ability to adjust 'on the fly' without dedicated monitoring?

 

Err yes.

 

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You could display a 31 band EQ on a tablet next to your drink with  a real time analysis graph jumping around during your gig of you want, how much more adaptability could you want? 

 

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Or you could use a preamp/eq pedal pre EQ if you still want to cling onto something outside of the PA...

Graphic or Parametric EQ, whatever your bag, it's there on pretty much every digital desk... and unlike your standard analogue, thats on all outputs, whether it's for a monitor mix or for front of house mix. Why wouldn't you want that flexibility?

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The options are both endless or actually really simple, I'd sell my rig and keep my RCFs if the band folded, xair and the RCFs stacked using the mixer as my head would out perform virtually anything, one speaker and my bdi or Genz head di would be portable and an ampeg slayer anyway, lol.

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4 minutes ago, stingrayPete1977 said:

The options are both endless or actually really simple, I'd sell my rig and keep my RCFs if the band folded, xair and the RCFs stacked using the mixer as my head would out perform virtually anything, one speaker and my bdi or Genz head di would be portable and an ampeg slayer anyway, lol.

When you getting your NX15SMA?

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The biggest difference not mentioned in the comparisons is the fact that yes both systems will work in a pub but the full range PA and small/no backline option can go bigger without hiring/buying/borrowing/storing/transporting more kit, I've never been in a band that rigidly sticks to one size of venue, large function room, marquee, small pub, big pub and outdoors have all been done on the last few years, sometimes at short notice,  two RCF tops and a bag with the mixer and leads in combined with a combo for monitoring and I'm set for anything from the tickled trout to a 500 capacity marquee. 

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