Good questions, and I will respond in order of what I feel will make the most difference.
Another vote for Mackie here. Their preamps are a huge leap up from what you're using now and will most certainly make an immediate, discernable difference. This is your most important step.
I use compression in my live rig. I have a PreSonus Blue Max in my keyboard rack just to keep things on an even keel, and I use a PreSonus ACP88 for vocals and any strange guests like horns, percussionists, whatever. Compression keeps the audience from being annoyed with you if you lean too close to the mic or suddenly belt out a line, and that's always a good thing. If you have no one running the faders for you while you play, it's a must IMO.
I'm still a big fan of the Aphex Aural Exciter in a live rig. I feel it does wonders. I'll be darned if I understand exactly how it does what it does, even though I've seen it explained a hundred times. All I know is when you turn it on, every individual sound suddenly seems like it's in its own "space" while your EQ remains unchanged. The difference is dramatic but very easy on the ears. Of all the units out there that claim to do this, I prefer the Aphex. This may be the least important step to take, but all I know is we sound much better with it than without it. Good is good but better is better, as they say...
Last edited by MichaelK; 04-15-2002 at 08:57 PM.
Peradam Productions, Atlanta GA