Live sound....what to buy

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majortom
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Live sound....what to buy

Post by majortom » Wed Apr 11, 2007 1:32 pm

So The band I play in has been making money, doing well etc... we play mostly shows to 200-350 peolple in clubs and also getting more into festivals both out and indoor.

we come across many clubs with crap sound systems and people running the board that are not so great either.

We would like to start buying our own rig (and hiring a local guy to run it, he knows his stuff but no longer owns a PA)

I need suggestions on where to spend the money, I do not know much about what is good,bad,middle of the road. Any/all suggestions would be helpful. For instance, do we go powered mixer or non powered...what things can I go cheap on and where should I not go cheap etc...

Our starting budget for this is about 2 grand with more to come. Thank you, Tom

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Post by GooberNumber9 » Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:43 pm

1) Choose between either renting or more than doubling your $2000 budget.

2) Head on over to prosoundweb.com and check those guys out. They are more live audio oriented than tapeop.

3) When I built my PA I started with a Yamaha 01V96 because for around 2000 you get a great mixer AND almost all the effects and processing you'll need (just add feedback elimination or graphic EQs on the monitor outs and crossover on the main outs). It's easier on the back than a large mixer and outboard effects, sounds great, and fits into small cars and bars. You should be able to get it for less than 2000 on e-Bay.

Then you'll need a snake, FOH speakers and power amps, and monitor speakers and power amps. Oh, and mics, stands, and cables.

Todd Wilcox

majortom
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Post by majortom » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:07 pm

So you're telling me good sound can't be had for under 4000.00$ come on work with me here...tom

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lapsteel
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Post by lapsteel » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:59 pm

http://www.carvin.com/soundsystems/

Carvins sound really good and there are some in your price range, depending on how big you need.

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thunderboy
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Post by thunderboy » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:07 pm

majortom wrote:So you're telling me good sound can't be had for under 4000.00$ come on work with me here...tom
You are correct.

Suppose you bought the very best turnkey system Carvin offers. There's $2k right there. Assuming you are a rock band of some variety, you'll probably want subs. That costs extra, to the tune of at least $1k. Next, you'll need mics, cables, mic stands - you are well above $4k for a system that will sound unremarkable.

The LS world is similar to the recording world in that there is a very real lack of product between low-end "consumer grade" gear and hi-end "professional" gear. Sure, some of the cheaper stuff can actually sound pretty good, and maybe that's good enough for your needs. But compare a turnkey system to a comparable "pro" system and you will be quite surprised by the difference.

Personally, I'd look for a small local sound co. to work with. Otherwise, head over to the Lab Lounge - it's a far better forum for this kind of thing.

As we say in the live sound world - "Buy once, cry once."

jt
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mikeyc
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Post by mikeyc » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:56 am

If your local guy is any good, he may be able to work with existing house systems and get something good out of them. I know a lot of venues in my area that have total garbage for PA's, but with a little tweaking, it can work. Maybe just focus on some mics and a mixer you can trust and maybe a monitor system that you can carry with you. Plug into the existing house system and go from there. You can use the monitor system for rehearsals and have the same system you practice with on stage with you. Also--this is obvious-- buy used.

I'm not super well-versed in the live sound area, and by all means I'd defer to folks with experience, but $2k seems like it could easily work for smaller venues. 200-person clubs don't need to have their faces melted off.

When I first started playing clubs, I went into my local "pro" audio store and inquired about a PA for gigs in 200-person clubs. He told me to take out a loan because it wouldn't happen for less than $10k (mind you this place also charges $250 a day to rent a $600 PA system). I then went to my local 250 cap. bar and watch a great sounding band play through a $700 portable PA. I guess it depends on your preferences...

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Sean Sullivan
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Post by Sean Sullivan » Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:56 am

If you are playing clubs that can accommodate 350 people, I'm sure they have a better sound system then you can afford on $2000. Also, I don't think any venue is going to be happy with a band that makes them take down their sound system and takes a lot of extra time to set their own up. I would just have your local sound guy work with the clubs exsisting sytem, if he knows his stuff he'll know how to make a sub-par system sound better.

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Post by majortom » Thu Apr 12, 2007 7:06 am

Thanks for the info, as i said in my initial post the starting budget is 2k with more money to follow.
I have no doubt or delusions that more money can buy better gear BUT I question if that means better sound.
Just as great recordings are made on lower budget gear I 'm sure that there are live systems that can be good and over time be made much better by adding upgrades, and we have a good guy running sound for us, he's just been out of the market for a while as far as buying, so he had some ideas of gear but was'nt sure he was aware of what else might be out there.

Thanks for all the comments/help. Tom

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Post by jaguarsg » Thu Apr 12, 2007 1:21 pm

countryman makes a hell of a DI ...

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JWL
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Post by JWL » Thu Apr 12, 2007 2:05 pm

Think about it. Here's what you'll need:

Mixer
Snake
Main Speakers
Monitor Speakers
Subwoofers
Amps
DIs
Mic cables/speaker cables/connector cables
Microphones
Mic stands
Outboard FX

Now let's price it out, using mid-level gear.

Mixer
I'd probably go with a Mackie Onyx 1640.
$1300

Snake
$300

Main Speakers
Subwoofers
Amps
I'd combine the above and get Mackie SRM450 powered monitors, and add the subs down the road to save money.
$1400 for a pair.

Monitors
at least $700 for monitors plus an amp to drive them

DIs
Start with a couple of cheapies.
$75

Mic cables/speaker cables/connector cables
$200 minimum for cheapo cables

Microphones
Cad drum mic set, a few vocal mics and guitar amp mics, etc...
At least $500 if not $1000 or much much more

Mic stands
Get a 10-pack of cheapo booms from MF
$100

Outboard FX
Compressors, verbs, delays, EQs, etc
$500 minimum for cheapos

So right there, you're already over 5 grand, and that's before subs.....

Now, you can cut back... eliminate the snake and keep your mixer onstage. Get a much cheaper mixer, possibly with some FX built in.

But realize that at this level of compromise you most likely will NOT sound better than a house PA, presuming that the house guy knows his shinola.

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Post by dsw » Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:20 pm

Having a sound guy with you that is good and can work with the club PA is the best way to go. That way you don't have to haul the stupid thing around, fix it when it breaks....You end up being a trucking company if the PA is big enuff for 350 people.
Having ears out in the room that you trust to make you sound as good as the club PA will allow is money well spent in my book.
Then again if loading subwoofers and monitors and snakes and wires and all at 2 in morning after 5-10 heinekens is your idea of fun....
(sorry that sounded snarky didn't it?)
Really though, a good sound guy that knows you and travels with you is truly a great thing. Expensive sometimes.....

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danielalittle
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Post by danielalittle » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:00 pm

no club wants to go through the hassle of tearing down their entire system and setting up yours. save your money and spend it on your own engineer plus some supplemental gear. perhaps some iem's (a good tailored monitor mix will go a long way to improving your sound) and your own vocal mics. you could blow $2k on just the iem's without even blinking. (i really like the shure psm600 w/ e2 ear buds)

the point is: a good engineer is invaluable and the extra gear you bring along should easily tie into the house system.

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JWL
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Post by JWL » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:45 pm

I think in your situation, with your budget, I'd consider a kickass monitor system, so the band can hear itself well. You might be able to go in-ear for that budget, I wouldn't know.

That way, you can have the house PA send you some auxes and build headphones up from that.

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Scodiddly
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Post by Scodiddly » Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:23 am

I'd rent, maybe buy a handful of crucial mics or processing.

It's not just the cost of buying a system, because you're into transport, maintenance, and the ever-tricky problem of who ends up doing the most labor setting up and tearing down. Plus if the band breaks up, who owns what?

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Post by blakbeltjonez » Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:02 am

Scodiddly wrote:I'd rent, maybe buy a handful of crucial mics or processing.

It's not just the cost of buying a system, because you're into transport, maintenance, and the ever-tricky problem of who ends up doing the most labor setting up and tearing down. Plus if the band breaks up, who owns what?
there is a good reason that a sound company very often winds up making more than the band does.....

i would just develop a rapport with a good live engineer to work with the band and shitcan the idea of a half-decent self-contained PA, unless somehow the cost can be justified and built into the booking to make some additional money. as Scodiddly said, the whole black hole that surrounds the PA is what gets you. the musician part really stops being fun once you have to load out a PA and your bandgear. there is something to be said for picking up your guitar, pedalboard and amp and walking off to get a drink and talk to girls.

the whole idea is a bit pie in the sky. not that it can't be done, but if you are trying to do it on the cheap you're going to have a mountain to climb. and if you don't want to do some hard work yourself and deal with the stress that goes along with a PA, you'll have to pay someone to do it.

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