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buil my new PA


RetroVintageOld

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I've been at the mercy of other people's PA systems as long as I've played. I want to purchase my own system and I'm willing to spend whatever cash is nessesary (within reason).

 

My main group is a 3 piece. We have a sax sit in now and then as a fourth. We play medium size gigs (think sports bars). I'd like to carry only whats nessesary but be able to expand for the rare larger gig.

 

The main concern is, what do I need to get so everyone can set thier own monitor mix?

 

Thanks

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Don't have a recommendation for speakers or amps, but for the mixer, I would go with the Presonus Studio Live series mixers. I've heard nothing but great things about them, and plan to get the 16.4.2 AI mixer (2nd gen, latest version) for my soul band. You can also get the 1st gen series new and used for really good prices right now.

 

These mixers support mixing with and iPad/iPod Touch/iPhone. The new AI versions have a network port you can plug a wireless router right in to; the 1st gen models only have firewire so you need a computer hooked up to it to connect to a network.

 

So, with 6 aux outs, each person in the band (assuming no more than 6) can have control of their own monitor mix via his/her iDevice. Pretty sweet :thu:

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Individual monitor mixes is a high bar; it takes a good bit of gear to make it work. As mentioned above, if you go that far you might as well also use IEMs (in-ear monitors -- everyone uses things that are like earbuds except they fit way better and block out more of everything else.) Not cheap but if everyone pays for their own IEMs it defrays the biggest unit cost.

 

A popular mixer for the task is the Allen & Heath MixWizard, which has lots of aux busses that can be set up for pre-fader&eq (monitor) or post-fader&eq (FX) sends.

 

But RichieP's idea above is a killer, for each person to be able to control their own mix from wherever they are. *IF* they have an iThing. Which I don't, and don't plan to. Any chance PreSonus will do an Android app?

 

[edit]Just read their blurb. They support iOS, Windows, and Android. :) [/edit]

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The 5 piece I'm in uses a Presonus, the small one, I think it's a 16.0.1 or something like that. It has 4 aux sends that can be used for monitor mixes. Our drummer mixes on stage and uses the headphone out for his in ear. I take a send and run it into my line mixer to have my own mix either in my K10 or my IEMs. We use another mix for the singer and her monitor, and a 3rd mix can be used for the guitar/bassist if we need it, but normally we just use the one vocal monitor and it covers everyone. My plan is to use the K10 as the 3rd mix for the other side of the stage when I use my IEMs so they can get keys an vocals as needed. (so basically, going to IEMs doesn't let me carry less gear, it just sounds a lot better)

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

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I've used at one point or another probably everything listed here. Let's back up just a little.

 

It sounds like you need 3, sometimes 4 monitor mixes. Is that correct? What about effects? Are you wanting reverb or other effects for vocals or drums? 4 sends is kind of a magic number in that there are a whole lot of budget mixers with 4 sends, which would get you enough monitor mixes IF you don't need effects. If you need more than 4, the mix wizard is the best, most economical option with 6 sends, internal effects, each send configurable pre/post fader and pre/post EQ. It's about $1000. For double that, you can step up to the presonus which offers just a ton of additional features, especially if you have an iDevice. And the newer models don't require a computer hooked up to use with wifi.

 

So that's what's going to guide the mixer selection. For monitors, you're looking at either small powered monitors or an IEM system. You'll spend about the same either way.

 

Unless I missed it, I don't think you discussed style of music. Something like the QSC K12's, Yamaha DXR12's, Line6 model with 3 drivers (forgot the model), etc would be good. If you're doing something that needs a little thump to get folks dancing, add subs.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Yup. Here come the IEM folks. My 5 piece rock band uses the Behringer Powerplay system. There is also an excellent Axiom system. Both provide a mixer for each player that is connected by CAT5 cables. With IEMs, you eliminate the floor monitors and the amps that power them. Also, we noticed that without floor monitors, our sound is much cleaner, since the stage volume is lower. And we look better with less stage clutter. IEMs do take a bit of getting used to and don't use cheap earbuds, get good in-ears. The sound is totally dry, and a bit unnatural at first, but don't let that put you off. We are much tighter because we can hear each other much better.

 

You could also use powered floor monitors instead of IEMs and still have a mixer for each player.

 

But, the best part of a good sound system is having someone mix live for you while you play. I don't know any substitute for that. I think mixing yourself from the stage is impossible to do well. Our sound improved immensely when we added a sound man. We pay him as a sixth player, he's that important.

Kurzweil PC3-76
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I would love a dedicated sound man. But it's hard enough to pay ourselves these days.

 

I should modify my requirements by saying, I'm willing to spend what it takes, but I'm not willing to carry around a ton of gear.

 

I was hoping by now someone would have invented a system that is an all-in-one, easy to carry solution.

 

Maybe I should take another approach. At one of the small clubs we play there is a house Bose tower PA. Everyone loves it, but from what I understand it's not loud enough for larger venues. So, my next questions is, how easy is it to integrate a Bose tower with other speakers? Like, we would have the tower behind us for a single monitor but then add more speakers in front of the band for the crowd?

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Just add more sticks and bass modules....

 

..and for the cost of each dual module L1 system, you can hire a sound guy to bring his own system and run it for you for 10 shows.

 

Ok, you want compact... do what my old band did. Get something like the MixWizard along with IEM systems. Mount all the IEM transmitters in the rack with the mixer and a patch panel for all your cables. In our case we had a splitter snake and dropped the snake for FOH. In your case, Just have an XLR out that you can daisy chain to your powered speakers for the PA. No speakers or wiring for monitors, just battery powered beltpacks. IEM's are pretty compact. So you plop your mixer rack down and plug the cables into the front, XLR to a pair of active speakers and you're done. Not really much less compact than a couple bose systems, and everybody has exactly the mix they want.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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OP: you need a d.

 

he's trying to keep the title compact and light weight. :rimshot:

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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