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PA advice please


Nicko

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Its about time we looked at getting our own PA for gigging.  It looks like muggins will end up transporting it as the drummers car is full of drums, the guitarist has a huge cabinet and a small car and the vocalist has no transport. 

I've got a fairly large car, but limited space in the house for storage and a limited budget so looking for compact solutions and I've seen this Stagepass 400BT

Is 400W enough?  Pub gigs.

Is an 8" speaker big enough (I don't DI, the drummer might want to mic the bass drum)?

Doesn't look like theres any way to use this for instrument monitoring without sending the instrument to the speakers (no aux send control)

One of the competitors offers a "700 watt" system in similar design, but the max SPL is quoted as 114dBA, compared to this 400 Watt system at 125 dBA.  Surley the 400 watts is louder then?  Should I simply be looking for the dBA ratings?

ABS speaker cabinets - good or bad?

 

Edited by Nicko
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Personally I wouldn’t think 400w is enough, obviously depends on what type of music your band plays (you didn’t mention this).

8 inch speakers are small, I would be surprised if they would ever take a kick drum being put through them, ideally you need a good bass sub for kick drum.

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I don't see any advantage in buying that one, to buying a bunch of separate bits to put together your own PA. Firstly, do you need one or two (or more) speakers? What size venues are you looking to cover?

Secondly, how many inputs do you need and what kind?

Thirdly, how are you going to do monitoring? The singer will definitely need some, what about everyone else?

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10 minutes ago, steantval said:

what type of music your band plays (you didn’t mention this).

90s/00s rock covers.

 

10 minutes ago, steantval said:

8 inch speakers are small, I would be surprised if they would ever take a kick drum

That was my worry

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1 minute ago, paul_c2 said:

I don't see any advantage in buying that one, to buying a bunch of separate bits to put together your own PA. Firstly, do you need one or two (or more) speakers? What size venues are you looking to cover?

Secondly, how many inputs do you need and what kind?

Thirdly, how are you going to do monitoring? The singer will definitely need some, what about everyone else?

Buying a complete system is sightly cheaper and his looks like its designed for easy storage as the mixer stores in the speaker cab.  As a newbie to PAs I dont have to worry about compatability of components, but I'm open to suggestions on benefits of powered mixers vs powered speakers.

We are looking at pub gigs.  I've gigged the same circuit with  a 250 watt bass amp and a 2 x 10 and have never struggled for volume.  Mostly levels are set by the volume of the drummer, and IME most venues these days have noise meters and we strugge to keep inside the limit.

We definitey need 2 vox, and poss the bass drum but thats all unless we want to monitor other instruments though this - and as I say this doesn't look like it can monitor instruments unless they are going through he speakers.  Due to the space and transport problems I'm expecting whoever wants mnitoring to sort out some IEM.

 

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First and most important thing for you is: don't get lumbered with this, either purchase, carriage or storage.

A band is, or should be, a collective effort.

A PA system is something that can be easily split up for storing and transporting to gigs.

Surely the drummer and guitarist have enough space in their vehicle to take even one speaker or the mixer.

Nobody should be expecting one member of a band to take all the responsibility for this.

As for the system you mentioned in your OP, I doubt that it would be enough.

There are too many variables to give you a definite recommendation.

What I would say is buy used (huge selection available), get powered speakers (less faff setting up) and a mixer with a few more channels than you think you need, because at some point, you probably will.

Obviously these are personal opinions and should be taken as such.

However, I would say point one is non-negotiable.

 

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"Vocalist has no transport" ? To my old-fashioned way of thinking, a vocal-only PA (forget putting a bass drum through something like this) needs to be provided and transported by the vocalist.

The singer in my old band bought a Stagepas 400 for use on her solo Karaoke-style gigs to backing tracks and with the odd acoustic guitar accompaniment. It wasn't up to the job and she eventually replaced it with a Bose L1 system. Neither would have coped with the full band. This system does have a single monitor channel, it's the row of blue knobs. Not sure why they labelled these monitor instead of aux 1 - normally on a Yamaha mixer 'monitor' does something altogether different.

I think a better starting point would be one of those oblong mixer amps with 7 or 8 channels and stereo power allowing you to drive FOH and monitor speakers - these pop up from time to time, usually made by Peavey or Yamaha.

No particular issue with ABS cabs but cheapo powered cabs need to be treated with respect. We had a pair of Behringer 15s, one of which got dropped, and the impact was enough to separate the heavy transformer from the lightweight circuit board that it was soldered directly to.

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Have a look at these - they won't be cheap but they do sound awesome and are very compact:

https://barefacedbass.com/product-range/FR800.htm

You will still need some form of simple mixer to use them with.

They will cope with kickdrum, as they are derived from a bass cabinet, but do full range.

Edited by Marillionred
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I won't comment on whether the PA is any good, but I will tell you that the kick drum should not be put through the PA!

The drummer will disagree because drummers are of little brain and being positioned above their bass drum while playing they do not understand that just because they can't hear it above the level of all the drums and cymbals that are pointing at them doesn't mean that the audience cannot hear it perfectly loudly

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For the price of that Stagepass set up, I would recommend going for a s/h Yamaha 512SC mixer amp. 2 x 500 watts , quality FX built in and eight channels which should see you right. Usually around the £200 region, so leaves enough in your budget for a good pair of s/h speakers. Probably a 1x15 + horn type of thing by Yamaha, Peavey etc which should be enough for your requirements. . With powered (active) speakers being so fashionable now, quality passive cabs are cheap and plentiful - usual places to look show up lots (eBay, Gumtree etc).

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5 minutes ago, grandad said:

What size venues?

What's your budget?

 

58 minutes ago, Nicko said:

We are looking at pub gigs.  I've gigged the same circuit with  a 250 watt bass amp and a 2 x 10 and have never struggled for volume.  Mostly levels are set by the volume of the drummer, and IME most venues these days have noise meters and we strugge to keep inside the limit.

We definitey need 2 vox, and poss the bass drum but thats all unless we want to monitor other instruments though this - and as I say this doesn't look like it can monitor instruments unless they are going through he speakers.  Due to the space and transport problems I'm expecting whoever wants mnitoring to sort out some IEM. 

 

OP has stated he's looking at a Yamaha Stagepass system selling for £519 according to his link, so guessing his budget is around that area. 🙂

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Beware of wattage ratings in ads - you need to know how much (in rms) the amp will actually

deliver continously - most are about 25% of the alleged output.

The 10" drivers are unlikely to be what you need, thought the Barefaced 10 might be different

(I've got BF kit)

Look around at what others are using, read up on the kit & make an informed decision,

don't just wing it..........

😎

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47 minutes ago, pete.young said:

"Vocalist has no transport" ? To my old-fashioned way of thinking, a vocal-only PA (forget putting a bass drum through something like this) needs to be provided and transported by the vocalist.

Well, we did know that when we took her on (I voiced my concern at the time).  To be fair she lives on a boat and theres no parking anywhere near the boat.

 

52 minutes ago, beely said:

First and most important thing for you is: don't get lumbered with this, either purchase, carriage or storage.

A band is, or should be, a collective effort.

I don't feel I have much choice on the transport front.  I think it would be possibe for the others to cope with a mixer and the stands.  The guitarist has offered to store but that would mean a 20 mile round trip to collect the speakers.

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39 minutes ago, Marillionred said:

Have a look at these - they won't be cheap but they do sound awesome and are very compact:

https://barefacedbass.com/product-range/FR800.htm

You will still need some form of simple mixer to use them with.

They will cope with kickdrum, as they are derived from a bass cabinet, but do full range.

Shown as no longer availabe 😞but I suspect outside our budget anyway.

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2 hours ago, Nicko said:
2 hours ago, steantval said:

8 inch speakers are small, I would be surprised if they would ever take a kick drum

That was my worry

mic'ing a kick drum in a pub would be my worry....... 

 

 

Edited by phil.c60
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1 hour ago, Nicko said:

Well, we did know that when we took her on (I voiced my concern at the time).  To be fair she lives on a boat and theres no parking anywhere near the boat.

 

I don't feel I have much choice on the transport front.  I think it would be possibe for the others to cope with a mixer and the stands.  The guitarist has offered to store but that would mean a 20 mile round trip to collect the speakers.

Just book all your gigs at venues next to rivers, that should sort the vocalist transport issues.

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1 hour ago, casapete said:

For the price of that Stagepass set up, I would recommend going for a s/h Yamaha 512SC mixer amp. 2 x 500 watts , quality FX built in and eight channels which should see you right. Usually around the £200 region, so leaves enough in your budget for a good pair of s/h speakers. Probably a 1x15 + horn type of thing by Yamaha, Peavey etc which should be enough for your requirements. . With powered (active) speakers being so fashionable now, quality passive cabs are cheap and plentiful - usual places to look show up lots (eBay, Gumtree etc).

Good suggestion. We have gigged for about 5 years with one of these mixers, and it's been great, but I don't agree about the fifteens. As I said above, who needs to mic a kick drum in a pub? We use 12's with it (Electrovoice, lovely, bought from this  site 3 years ago) to replace a pair of 15" Peavey HiSys which were just too big and heavy for pubs. We only put Vocals and Harmonica through it.  We also use a Yamaha Stagepas 400 for smaller gigs where the drummer uses a Cajon, and it's great for that but it would be a bit too small for full on gigs IMHO although we have done a gig with the 512sc and using the Stagepass speakers due to space restrictions and it was surprisingly good. One thing  would say is that the speaker leads with the Stagepassa are very thin and weedy, so I made my own proper leads as I don't think the standard ones would last long in a rough environment.

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1 hour ago, casapete said:

For the price of that Stagepass set up, I would recommend going for a s/h Yamaha 512SC mixer amp. 2 x 500 watts , quality FX built in and eight channels which should see you right. Usually around the £200 region, so leaves enough in your budget for a good pair of s/h speakers. Probably a 1x15 + horn type of thing by Yamaha, Peavey etc which should be enough for your requirements. . With powered (active) speakers being so fashionable now, quality passive cabs are cheap and plentiful - usual places to look show up lots (eBay, Gumtree etc).

We've used one of these powered mixer amps for about 12 years, no problem for pub venues, we use Wharfedale  Titan 15's, wish we'd bought 12's now,, I'm the one that has to store and carry them >:(, and cheapo no name monitors, we do mic up the bass drum (along with 3 vocals mics), it doesn't boost the bass drum much but it keeps the drummer happy 😄

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My first band PA was one of these:

https://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mackie-Stereo-Mixer-amplifier-model-808S-1200watts-2-x-600W/254255797645?ul_ref=https://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-53481-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5575376664&toolid=10001&campid=5338268676&customid=EAIaIQobChMIg--7_ajx4wIVQ7DtCh2MsQRLEAQYAiABEgLj-PD_BwE&lgeo=1&item=254255797645&srcrot=710-53481-19255-0&rvr_id=2067883367674&rvr_ts=6d33521316c0ac3c6fd08598fffdf535&_mwBanner=1&_rdt=1&ul_noapp=true&pageci=2697c901-f276-4226-929c-331abb7a7ab5

We also used a pair of very old 15’s and it was great. Replaced the 15’s with a pair of passive 12” mackies and it we perfect as a vocal and occasional keys PA. Add a sub and it’d be fine for small/mediumish venues. 

 

Oh, and a powered wedge monitor which was cheap as chips. 

Edited by Jakester
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If the PA is for vocals only a Stagepas 400i will do for small pub open-mic events.

The Stagepas 600i is an excellent compact system and will do pubs and clubs for vocals. The Yamaha padded bag which houses both speaker cabs and the mixer-amp makes it an unwieldy lift. Better a couple of separate Hotcovers.

I've used EMX Yamaha mixer-amps for the last 20 years and never had a fault with any. They are excellent pieces of kit for a working band. There are others just as good and other BCers will testify to their experience.

If you want something a bit more powerful have a look at the EMX5 I have for sale on here on BC but I think the 600i sounds more suited to your requirements.

It's a bit stressful trying to decide which PA is going to the best for your band and I've spent wads working my way through various makes over the years. I ended up with an EMX5016f into EV SX300s. The best wedges I've used were Yamaha DXR10s, but recently acquired a couple of Behringer B205D which were great for vox.

You're probably getting to much information with folks throwing various make and model numbers at you.

I should have just said, having owned and used the Stagepas 600i, I think it's a great little PA and sounds like it would suit.

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I am going to make some wild assumptions (which are vaguely scientific, but mainly come from rules of thumb) and guess at a suitable PA:

bass is 200W
drums is keeping up with the bass, so 'say' 200W (of course......volume isn't actually measured in watts....)
guitar is 100W (there is a rule of thumb #1 that the bass is typically twice the guitar power)
TOTAL "500W"

Rule of thumb #2, the vocalist(s) should be half the overall sound, ie band is 500W, so vocalist needs 500W.

Now here's a smart tip: some active speakers have 2 (mic) inputs - so if it really is just for the vocalists, the mics are dynamic (not condenser - they'll need phantom power) and the band is going to not go thru the PA, then you can save even bothering with a mixer. You won't get EQ or reverb...but you don't need a mixer. This also assumes that the vocalist can "monitor" themselves by the sound from the PA, without having to stand too near it and get feedback.

If that's not possible, then its probably possible to 'chain' some kind of monitoring off of the thru/out of the speaker(s) (they typically contain input(s) and a thru/out to connect another speaker...and another...and another...if you wanted). Or you could feed the mics into something with 2+ channels which could be used for monitoring; then onto the speaker(s). For this, we use a Behringer B205D mounted on a separate mic stand - it has 3 inputs (one is RCA stereo pair) and bass/mid/treble EQ. Then onto an Alto TX212 (but this has only one input). This gives us 300W RMS, which is more than enough in our situation (but its a different situation than yours).

For your situation, and guessing at the power (I am going to guess their power claim is peak; RMS is likely to be half or less), one of these: https://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_b12x.htm or these : https://www.thomann.de/gb/mackie_thump_12a.htm would do it.

If you wanted the band to be able to monitor, or wanted more than 2 inputs, or wanted to use condenser mics then you'll need a mixer.

I am assuming you already have mics? If there is no separate sound guy (who isn't playing too), then go for ones with a switch; otherwise go for something without a switch.

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