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#1646082 - 06/25/05 08:07 PM Need some non-sales advice...
OMAL Offline
Member

Registered: 06/25/05
Posts: 8
Loc: Pittsburgh
Looking for some advice on a new (first and only) sound system.

Short version: 6 members - 5 voice, keys, 2 elec. guitars and sometimes up to 3 acoustic, bass, drums. Playing small to med. bars and some outside gigs such as small carnivals.

Doing a little shopping and salesman came up w/ "DREAM" system of:

(1) Yamaha MG 32/14 FX
(2)JBL MP415
(2) JBL MP418S
(2)JBL JRX 125
(4) JBL JRX 112M
(3)QSC RMX 1450
(2) QSC RMX 2450
(1)dbx Driverrack PA
(3) dbx 266xl
(2)Furman Power Cond.

And cables, cases, blah blah

Looking at @$9000 here when all said and done.

Now, we know this is probably way toooooo much.

Thinking we could use the JBLs in different groups per show need. ie 415 for small, 125 for med, all for outside.

Looking for some non- salesman advice on what we got here. What don't we need? What else, if anything do we need? Good stuff here? Are we crazy? etc.

We would like to do this right the first time and would like to learn from others mistakes. Any help would be great.

Thanx,
OMAL
Buc Wyld
_________________________
OMAL
These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any band, company, blah blah blah....
http://www.bucwyld.com

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#1646083 - 06/25/05 09:29 PM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
jabney Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/12/04
Posts: 113
hi Buc,

I think you'll find that most of the people who care enough to hang out here will try to give you good advice whether they sell gear or not. I know you want to eliminate bias, but non-sales people still have biases. If they have a PA system, then - surprise - they'll want to recommend what they have. If they don't have a PA system, then they'll recommend what they have seen the biggest ads for or what they've seen other people recommend.

I'm not a big fan of mixers with built-in FX, and I'm not a big fan of Yamaha mixers (although I haven't heard the latest stuff). I have Crest and Allen & Heath and - surprise - I tend to like those.

The JBL MPro series is pretty excellent all around. I have Bag End and EAW, but I would not turn my nose up at the MPro gear. One piece you may want to consider is the MP418SP which includes two channels of Crown amplification in each box. You can use one for the sub and the other for the top. Built-in crossover as well.

DriveRack PA is more limited than the more expensive DriveRack systems.

QSC amps give a lot for the money. I'd lean toward the higher end of the range, though.

I have a friend who deals with most of this equipment (except the Yamaha - although he uses some of the Yamaha effects boxes) and gives great prices, service and advice. Let me know if you'd like a link.

He also has access to OAP and they have a new low-profile monitor that I really like.

best,

John

I have a friend who
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please visit http://www.johnabney.com - free music

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#1646084 - 06/25/05 10:20 PM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
Bill@Welcome Home Studios Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/23/03
Posts: 9613
1. Don't buy the PA. Rent.

2. If you must own, own your monitor rig and mics, and rent the rest.

3. If you really, really, REALLY have to buy a system, buy used gear, not new.

your $9k does not include a lot of stuff, like mics, stands, cabling, a truck....

Where are you playing?

Bill
_________________________
"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

Steve Martin

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.


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#1646085 - 06/26/05 03:22 AM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
GZsound Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/17/01
Posts: 6074
Loc: Somewhere in Oregon
I would agree with Bill. Nine grand for just mixers and speakers is way out of line to me.

How many people are you playing for? What size rooms?

We play clubs, weddings, some outdoor small events, etc and I think I might be $2,500 in my entire PA with monitors, mic's, mains, two stereo amps, 16 channel board, etc.

Gee, I have a Behringer all in one box I use for a rental unit that has nine low Z inputs, dual nine band graphics and 250 watts per side.. and weighs 27 pounds and cost $300. I have used it in small clubs with my band. Stick a couple 15" mains up and a couple 12" sidefill monitors and two people can carry the entire PA system in and set it up in two trips.. Total cost with mics, stands, etc. for a five piece band is probably $1,500.

Carvin has some great deals on systems that are way less than nine grand and would fit your needs. I think.

I think I'm in my regular PA system about $3,000 total and we play for audiences of up to 5 or six hundred with no problem. Two amps, four monitors, four mains and a sixteen channel board.

Of course I don't buy high dollar, big name stuff either, so it's all Behringer and Peavey or Yamaha or QSC stuff, but hey, it works for us.

I especially like our $25 mics..
_________________________
Mark G.
"A man may fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame others" -- John Burroughs

"I consider ethics, as well as religion, as supplements to law in the government of man." -- Thomas Jefferson

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#1646086 - 06/26/05 11:15 AM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
OMAL Offline
Member

Registered: 06/25/05
Posts: 8
Loc: Pittsburgh
Thanks so far....just what we are looking for.

To add a little more to the story,

$9000 included some other stuff (racks, cases, cables, snake, 2 more mics etc) and tax too!!!

And, we do own some of the smaller things you all refered to, Sennheiser wireless and wired mics, stands, cables, Lead singer has wireless ear monitor etc.

And of course, we play Country, so we all have trucks :rolleyes:

We are looking to cut this system down to what we need and not what we are told we need.

I mean 5 amps for the shows we play is insane, in my opinion.
Do we need 3 compressors?
Is buying all those speakers now smart, or just buy the 125s and use them for everything?
Drop down to a 24 board?

And as far as renting, again analize our thoughts here. We are playing shows for $300 - $700 and we are renting equipment and sound man for $300-$400 each time. Now we aren't in this to make a lot of money, but...
Our thoughts are, buy the equipment, more like $5000 not $9000, play 3-4 months to it pay off, and then move on from there. And I should mention that we have a sound guy willing to join as a 7th member of the band.

And again, thanks for lettn me pick your brain. We are new to this, 6 months together and half the guys are in their first band, and we are looking for any guidance you all have.

Oh ya, and Bill, exploring used stuff too, thanx.
_________________________
OMAL
These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any band, company, blah blah blah....
http://www.bucwyld.com

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#1646087 - 06/26/05 11:49 AM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
Curious_G Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/09/01
Posts: 247
Loc: Gulph Mills,PA,UNITED STATES
Travel as light as you can. I wish we'd gone for the in-ear monitoring. Less is more! Used PA gear has a remarkably low value... check ebay!

We have JBL marquis series mains that we really like. Listen to a lot of systems and see what you prefer.

With a system like you describe... what does your soundman think?
_________________________
Got Twang? http://www.DeSotoRust.com

"Interesting fact: the more gear a band brings in, the less people show up. This rule is almost universally true." JJ the Blue Moon

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#1646088 - 06/26/05 02:50 PM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
GZsound Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/17/01
Posts: 6074
Loc: Somewhere in Oregon
I may be the lone voice here but if you are making that kind of money, it would be silly to rent a PA. And if you are making that kind of money, it would be silly to spend nine grand on a PA system.

We have a kick butt country band here in the Portland area. Drums, two guitars bass and a lead singer. They play clubs and small festivals with their own PA and larger venues almost always provide a PA.

They have a small 16 channel mixer and two stereo amps. They bought 2 Carvin 1588 speakers at $600 each, four 12" floor monitors at $200 each and their board and amps cost them another $1,200. Total with mics, stands, speakers, amps, mixer..around $4,500. And they kick ass.

They recovered the Carvin speakers with a blond carpet and I had to ask them what they were using..but they sounded amazing at a club that held a couple hundred folks. They told me they play small outdoor venues with several hundred folks using the same system with no problem whatsoever.

If you are a country band, perhaps a little perspective would help. Think of all the beer you could buy with the extra $4,500.

I typically use two small 15's on speaker stands (Peavey SG5's) driven by a stereo Soundtech single rack space 450 watt per side amp and a dual 15 band graphic. We play at one or two clubs and mostly parties, weddings, corporate gigs and with audiences of up to four hundred with that system. We get between $1,200 and $2,000 a gig.

I have never understood the need for massive PA equipment for small crowds. It must be an ego thing. I'm old and decided it's just too much trouble to pack all the shit around, keep it working and have it just because somebody says I should.

Why not invest in a Freightliner semi to pack it all too? Think how impressive THAT will look? Of couse you won't get paid one dime more for all that extra investment, and like I said, larger venues (we are doing a show for 4,000, and a show for 3,000 in August) provide a 20,000 watt system and our very own monitor mixer etc. So why bother? It all fits in my Plymouth Voyager van..

Think of all that beer....think of your back..think of the setup and tear down time...think of the maintenance..think.
_________________________
Mark G.
"A man may fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame others" -- John Burroughs

"I consider ethics, as well as religion, as supplements to law in the government of man." -- Thomas Jefferson

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#1646089 - 06/26/05 08:27 PM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
Bill@Welcome Home Studios Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/23/03
Posts: 9613
Quote:
Originally posted by OMAL:


We are looking to cut this system down to what we need and not what we are told we need.

I asked where you were playing, because I am familar with a lot of the rooms in town.

"Our thoughts are, buy the equipment, more like $5000 not $9000, play 3-4 months to it pay off..."

Okay, look a little further... first you're paying too much for sound for small local clubs. Granted, if you are in a big room, the PA needs to be big, (AND you need to be dragging down more than $400 a night.) but most of the Pittsburgh clubs are small, and most PA gigs are under $200, often closer to $100, depending upon the room and your demands.


Now, you got a 10:30 gig at Excuses, The Blue Note, or etc. You're showing up at 9:45 with your amp and your axe, playing until 2, and leaving at 2:20 with your guitar and amp.

Or, you show up at 7 to 7:30, unpack the truck, set everything up, stink like a pig, change into your stage gear, do the gig, tear everything down, pack the truck, and leave the joint at 3:30 or 4AM. If you have worked a full day at your day gig, this pretty much sucks. It REALLY sucks if you have to be back at the day job by 7:30 or 8 AM. Oh yeah, then you gottta unload the stuff back at the house.....

So that 7:30 start ends up being a 9 or 10 hour gig, for $400, verses a 4 hour gig for $200. And all that you are worried about is your own gear and playing.

If you are smart, you can also often work a deal with the sound guys that they carry your drums and large amps, but that would require more money.

"I mean 5 amps for the shows we play is insane, in my opinion. "

Depends upon your requirements.

"Do we need 3 compressors?"

as above.

"Is buying all those speakers now smart, or just buy the 125s and use them for everything?"

Don't buy.

"Drop down to a 24 board?"

I'm really into 'less is more'. You don't make an extra penny for carting 16 guitar cabinets than you do for carting a small Fender combo. Same with drums, keys, bass, etc. The audience really doesn't give a shit, so if you carry a lot of gear these days, you're only impressing yourself. The audience is impressed by how well you play, not how much gear you drag around. Van Halen with Sammy Hagar was using 20 channels. I figure I don't need more than that.

Having a sound guy that is a part of the band is a great plan, when you are playing out and other people are providing the production. I even recommend it. But in your current situation, it's not practicle.

Bill
_________________________
"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

Steve Martin

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.


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#1646090 - 06/26/05 09:52 PM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
OMAL Offline
Member

Registered: 06/25/05
Posts: 8
Loc: Pittsburgh
mmmmmmmmmmmmm Beer.....

No need for sound system, must have BEER \:D

Mark, much smaller agree, Ego agree, and don't tell my lead singer about the truck idea, or I will be at the Peterbuilt show room next week (See Ego).

Bill, Places like RPM's in Bridgeville (who has in house sound, unless such as on our website, it is a deck show), Auggie's in Washington, The Brickhouse in Butler, etc. 200-300 ppl per. But we have scheduled some gigs such as a Poker Run in July, and some Fire Department Carnivals, which are outside shows for a few hundred ppl. And I'm on your side w/ the less is more. I am mostly trying gather some ammo here so we don't go crazy w/ this sound thing and end up w/ a system to rival Star Lake. Just tonite at rehersals we pushed this issue back a few weeks to investigate further.

Thanx again, and keep it coming.
_________________________
OMAL
These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any band, company, blah blah blah....
http://www.bucwyld.com

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#1646091 - 06/27/05 05:04 AM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
Bill@Welcome Home Studios Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/23/03
Posts: 9613
Given the places that you play, (200, 300 people) I'd be looking at little more than PA on a stick (four cabs). The outdoor gigs should pay for production, or you should adjust your fee to account for production costs like lighting, sound, and power distribution.

I know that it is popular among suburban bands to carry a lot of PA, but if you look at coverage and specs, it is really dumb. Of course, the music stores make a ton selling you guys gear designed for 3,000 seat rooms, for you to use in 300 seat rooms (or less, as is the case with most Pgh venues.)

At Excuses on the South Side, on any Thursday night jam, their PA on a stick with only 2 cabinets never gets beyond warm up when the place is packed. The Blue Note, with it's extra-high stage, the 2 PA on a stick cabs hardly get cranked up at all. These are common sized rooms in town, longer than wide, and holding about 200. If you go to Fat City, you'll see that they fill two floors with less PA than most bands carry, for bands like Joe Grusheky, the Clarks, etc... and over at Rosebud (whatever it is called today) they fill 1500 seats with about as much PA as most bands carry to play 200 seats, and they are hosting national acts a couple of nights a week.

Tell you a secret... I was at the tent to see Donnie Iris and a few days later for Kenny Wayne Shepard, and of the big stacks of Turbosound cabinets on each side of the stage, more than half were unplugged. They were just there for looks. and that was for 5,000.

Oh, on the website... the individual photos are awful, in that the cowboy hats, pulled down low on the head, with a dark shadow under the brim... well, yunz guyz could be anyone. Only one of the photos shows a face. Witness protection program? Goverment agents? Ninja cowboys? Hair Club for Men? If you are going to show me a portrait, get in a little closer and light it better, so that we can see your faces. Otherwise, the photos have no point.

I've worked with Larry Lee Jones, the Gashouse Band, and a handful of other older country bands in the past. Most were not into carrying a ton of gear, trying to maximise their profits and minimise the bad back syndrome. (Of course, Larry Lee, in his home venue, stacked up a lot of gear, but they never moved it.)

Bill
_________________________
"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

Steve Martin

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.


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#1646092 - 06/27/05 11:00 AM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
OMAL Offline
Member

Registered: 06/25/05
Posts: 8
Loc: Pittsburgh
Thanx again Bill, you keep proving my points, now I need some others in the band to agree.

And, you just gave me a bullet for another gun. The Pix on the website have been a sore spot for the last month. Don't won't to bother everyone w/ our dirty loundry, but they are getting fixed, I guess later then sooner.

And while we are on the subject, open for any other comments on our website from anyone else.
_________________________
OMAL
These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any band, company, blah blah blah....
http://www.bucwyld.com

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#1646093 - 06/27/05 11:14 AM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
PBBPaul Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 07/31/02
Posts: 3083
Loc: Wonderful World of Cheese - Wi...
You guys may laugh but for 90% of the gigs where we provide the sound, we use one of these into a pair of these. This system's been in use since 1985 and won't die. For monitors, we run one something like this and as many 12" or 15" floor monitors as we need depending on the gig. Granted, we rarely mic anything but 4 vocals and maybe the kick drum.

We have a larger 24-channel 1200W Mackie/Crown rack system and a boatload of cabs for the rare occasion that we need it but that seldom happens. Most of the bigger shows that we do provide the sound and our big stuff collects dust in our various basements.

The best part - we can comfortably set up / tear down in about 20 minutes.

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#1646094 - 06/27/05 01:56 PM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
Curious_G Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/09/01
Posts: 247
Loc: Gulph Mills,PA,UNITED STATES
Our big-ass system stays home almost all the time, nobody wants to haul it. PBBPaul's system is very similar to what we use to use before we got the JBLs and a litlle Mackie board. Sometimes we leave the monitors at home. That being said, 90% of our shows have in-house PA and many have bass cab and drumkit backline provided.
_________________________
Got Twang? http://www.DeSotoRust.com

"Interesting fact: the more gear a band brings in, the less people show up. This rule is almost universally true." JJ the Blue Moon

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#1646095 - 06/28/05 01:21 AM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
GZsound Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/17/01
Posts: 6074
Loc: Somewhere in Oregon
Now we're getting somewhere!! I agree with both the above posts. It takes us no more than an hour to set up drums, lead and bass guitar, keyboad rig, wireless lead vocal system and sax mic. We mic everything, with a kick and an overhead on the drums, direct in from the bass cab and direct keyboards (three stereo inputs), and a mic on the guitar plus five vocal mics.

Takes us about forty minutes to tear down pack up and head for home..

When you can put your entire PA system plus guitar amp, mic stands, monitors, keyboard, two saxes, keyboard stand and lights in the back of a Plymouth Voyager van you know you have got it down to a minimum..
_________________________
Mark G.
"A man may fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame others" -- John Burroughs

"I consider ethics, as well as religion, as supplements to law in the government of man." -- Thomas Jefferson

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#1646096 - 06/30/05 06:46 AM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
picker Offline
10k Club

Registered: 06/13/04
Posts: 13340
Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
IF you are playing stadiums, go for BIG. If you are doing the gigs most of us have done(clubs, small outside gigs, etc), maximise your profit, lower your costs on vehicle wear and tear (not to mention personnel), and make everyone feel better after tearing down at the end of the night by carrying only what you need to get the job done. A set of those Sonics PBBPaul linked or something similar(with decently constructed drivers), and maybe a pair of medium sized subs for outdoor gigs, a 24 channel Mackie (or Behringer if you wanna lower cost), two or three power amps (mains, monitors, subs), a couple of 32 band graphics, a crossover(yes, DO bi-amp when ever you can, it improves PA efficiency and saves you a lot fo speaker reconing costs), maybe a multi-FX if you need it, monitor cabs, mics, stands, cables and snake(or go wireless with headset mics and you eliminate a lot of hassle with shorting cables, space for stands, etc). Keep the number of monitor mixes down to one, consisting mostly of vocals, and go go go! Setup and tear down is as minor as you can make it, and you are coming home feeling like you've been playing music instead of moving your home.
Oh one other item can be included, but isn't really a must; a frequency spectrum analyser w/ pink noise generator(and the necessary flat repsonse mic to go with it). You can avoid a lot of feedback problems and get a more linear response from teh PA with one, but a lot of guys can tune a PA by ear, so it's maybe unnecessary.

If you can't get it donw with no more than that, you need to be making a lot of money...
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Always remember that youíre unique. Just like everyone else.




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#1646097 - 07/04/05 06:18 PM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
Dr. Ellwood Offline
10k Club

Registered: 06/07/02
Posts: 16337
Loc: MoTown
WHY? the heck does anyone NEED a sound man? What ever your sound system ends up being - everybody in the band should KNOW the basics of sound reinforcement (especially the singer/singers after all its THEIR instrument!) we split it up some guys run cables.. some place monitors, some make initial and final amp/mixer/outboard effects connections..and ONE puts on his wireless guitar transmitter and walks out into the listening area and LISTENS during sound check activities! I have played for 30 years this way and never had a dedicated sound man as an added member of my groups! not even when they are FREE! You cannot put the over all mix of your group into the hands of anyone else but YOU!!...AND you do NOT have five or six people ..e.g.. other band members,people from the audience ... your friends..your Uncle Fred should not give advice or make suggestions for improving your mix... NO ONE!! but you! When we play large gigs with other bands and there is a provided system and sound technician THEN they run the show! but any other time YOU are in the drivers seat for better or for worse! Make it your responsibility to LEARN it all! there is no reason that a fantastic musician cannot and should not be a very good sound man especially when itís YOUR sound and your product going out to YOUR audience! When you get a good mix in a certain room ALWAYS make notes of your settings, a rough overhead plan of the mains position in the room, figure the sq. footage of the room and keep a log (you WILL gig there again!)..remember how critical a good bass/drum mix is for dancers aloneÖ (an no Iím not a drummer or bass player!) you know that people will dance and react to ONLY bass and drums before they react to keyboards ..guitar or a singer! Ö. As the room fills up walk out again and make small adjustments to the mix because of warm bodies filling the room volume. NEVER ask the audience how your mix is!! Or you will spend the next ten minutes reacting to the loudest and most drunk band wanna bees out there Ö you are the PRO NOT THEM! Good luck and keep smiling this is fun isnít it.
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#1646098 - 07/06/05 10:19 PM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
Bill@Welcome Home Studios Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/23/03
Posts: 9613
"WHY? the heck does anyone NEED a sound man? "

Because you're not out front and no matter hwat you -think- you know, you have no idea what it sounds like out there.

Bill
_________________________
"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

Steve Martin

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.


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#1646099 - 07/07/05 09:42 AM Re: Need some non-sales advice...
Curious_G Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/09/01
Posts: 247
Loc: Gulph Mills,PA,UNITED STATES
but it sounds great on stage Bill! \:D \:D

Actually about half the shows we play have no FOH mixer... it's auto pilot time and unfortunately there's simply no $$$ for a professional.
_________________________
Got Twang? http://www.DeSotoRust.com

"Interesting fact: the more gear a band brings in, the less people show up. This rule is almost universally true." JJ the Blue Moon

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