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12x15 foot garage practice space

playguitar6789

I play bass with a 5 piece rock band (bass, 2 electric guitars, keys, drums.) As of now we have a two JBL EON15P-1 powered speakers along with a small alesis mixer. We usually have various singers that sing with our band, so we use anywhere from 1-3 mics for vocals, 2 mics on the guitar amps, and then the keys running through the PA also.
The problem is that we practice in my garage which is about 12 by 15 feet and we usually have some feedback issues. As of now I have the speakers on one of the 15 ft walls and the mics in the middle of the garage facing the same way as the speakers. The drums are set up on the opposite 15 ft wall in a corner but we do have a sound shield around them.
the guitar amps are also on that opposite wall.
The drums are really loud in the mix (especially when listened to through the headphones) and I think are also often the cause of feedback.
I guess my question is,
What is a good setup for the gear I am using to prevent feedback problems and to get the best sound?
July 16, 2008 @05:17am
michaelhoddy

12x15 is a very small space to be throwing that much sound into. The best thing you could do to minimize feedback and settle the room down would be to fabricate some absorptive acoustical treatments for at least 2 of the 4 walls. Since this is a garage and you're probably less concerned about the aesthetics of all of it, you could do this pretty inexpensively- anything that uses 4" mineral wool insulation or 2" Owens 703 as an absorptive surface would work well.
What's happening right now is enough sound is bouncing around off the nearby walls that you're just overwhelming the gain-before-feedback threshold of the PA. Certainly, some PA tuning might help, but that's more a band-aid than a fix.
July 16, 2008 @02:32pm
SlyFoxx

Put the JBL's on the floor facing the band.
Hang some old blankets on the side walls and the wall behind the drums.
Run the vocals and the keys through the PA. In such a small space there should be no need to mic the drums. Don't mic the guitars either unless somebody's amp can't keep up with the drums.
If your board has aux sends use them to feed the JBL's. Send 1 to one speaker send 2 to the other. That way you'll have more control over what comes out of which speaker.
If you want to record then mic everything else up but use the mixer's main outputs to feed the recorder.
July 16, 2008 @08:35pm
playguitar6789

Hey thanks for the tips.
I wasn't really 100% specific about some things...the guitar mics are not running through the mains, I just have them through a monitor mix and then to 4 sets of headphones for vocalists and the drummer.
And would just blankets help or are there certain acoustic treatment products I should buy? I'm really not looking to spend money at all but if there is something cheap that would make alot of difference I'd try it.
and as far as hanging stuff on the walls go, the walls are mostly taken up by cabinets, a refridgerator, etc. So I guess I could put some blakents or acoustic treatment things on some areas but others I couldn't.
The room is carpeted, but would blankets or carpeting on the ceiling help at all?
:)
July 16, 2008 @09:42pm
5454stevef

Hey thanks for the tips.
I wasn't really 100% specific about some things...the guitar mics are not running through the mains, I just have them through a monitor mix and then to 4 sets of headphones for vocalists and the drummer.
And would just blankets help or are there certain acoustic treatment products I should buy? I'm really not looking to spend money at all but if there is something cheap that would make alot of difference I'd try it.
and as far as hanging stuff on the walls go, the walls are mostly taken up by cabinets, a refridgerator, etc. So I guess I could put some blakents or acoustic treatment things on some areas but others I couldn't.
The room is carpeted, but would blankets or carpeting on the ceiling help at all?
:)

Blankets will help quite a bit, especially if you can lay your hands on some of those quilted kind that are used by moving companies for protecting furniture, etc in their trucks. The thicker and heavier the better. Even heavy drapes will help. There are plenty of materials around that are actual acoustic products but they are pretty expensive.
The low end acoustic ceiling panels can be had for about $0.50 a square foot, much cheaper than Auralex or similar products. They work well for general noise level reduction in the range of human speech; that's what they're engineered for. Just glue them to the walls and/or ceiling. If you don't want anything that permanent, glue them to pieces of plywood and put them away when you're not using them.
Harbor Freight tools sells the packing blankets very cheap, I looked them up online recently and they are about $7 each - can't vouch for the quality, probably nothing special but you can't beat the price.
I'm a little unclear as to how your system is set up. In a space that small I would go as minimalist as possible, just to keep things simple. I would try to get by with a few wedge monitors and no mains at all. The problem with using mains in a small room is they probably aren't pointing at anyone in particular, so you have to run them much hotter for everyone to hear. Hence feedback. If you use wedges pointed at the back of your mics you'll have much more control, I think.
As a side note, I used to be in a band that practiced at ridiculous volumes, actually pretty much the same as our stage setup - now, at 55 years of age I have significant hearing loss along with constant ringing in my ears. You don't say how loud your band is playing in rehearsal, but you might give that some thought if it's cranked pretty loud.
SF
July 17, 2008 @11:36pm
jluv

Buy some electronic drums. It solves everything for practicing in a small space because you can turn it down! Also very nice on the ears.
July 31, 2008 @04:19pm