0% Interest for 48 Months! Learn more »
(800) 222-4700
  • Español: (800) 222-4701
Cart
Live Sound Month!

Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Need PA just for vocals for loud Classic Rock band

auramac

My band is now without a PA we had the fortune to be able to borrow and as lead vocalist, I've been told I am responsible for getting something for practice. I am unemployed but am very picky about sound (I also record all rehearsals with my Edirol and tweak on my Mac)- any recommendations for an inexpensive PA powerful enough to let my and harmony vocalist to cut through the mix? I was hoping for something averaging $300, if that's possible. We have access to a larger, more powerful one hopefully with soundman for gigs.. this would be just for basement rehearsals.
January 31, 2010 @04:11am
Tomm Williams

For $300.00, I think you have little hope. 1 good mic will eat most of that. Go to Guitar Center Used Gear on a search. They carry tons of good used stuff at great prices.
February 1, 2010 @03:31pm
auramac

There is nothing in that price range just for vocals? It's a small room, but I've just been informed that the guitarist seems to have no intention of turning down- though there's just him, bass, and drums in a small room, I and the other vocalist couldn't hear ourselves before. I see these new "portable PA systems" being oiffered, but it seems that they're mostly for acoustic groups.
I've checked eBay and Guitar Center used- nothing yet. Maybe I'm in the wrong band. Too much of a headache. I've never been in a group that didn't have a PA, and I surely have never been in a group that broke up due to lack of equipment.
February 1, 2010 @07:54pm
Tomm Williams

If you have a member of your group who refuses to bring his equipment down to a reasonable level----You have problems beyond needing a small sound system. Chances are that once you amplify your voice, his guitar will go up too. Now maybe this is because he can't hear himself, I dont know.
If all you're looking for is something to amplify your voice in your practice room, consider a high impedance mic plugged into a spare guitar amp. It will most likely sound pretty dismal but everybody should be able to hear you.
Many young/beginning bands forget (or don't know) that the vocals should be on top of everything. If not, then you're just playing instrumentals. your band mates need to understand this or your musical endeavors will be very frustrating.
February 1, 2010 @08:10pm
auramac

They're "very frustrating." yes, we have bigger problems than needing a new practice PA. Maybe I sould just go solo.
February 1, 2010 @09:19pm
Tomm Williams

If your band cannot agree on how to conduct a practice (or performance) perhaps your local sound tech can help. If he's any good, he won't have any problem telling the guitar player to turn down for the sake of the mix. I am guessing that your band is fairly young. This is common among teens when trying to learn to play together. You can get past it if you think it's worth the effort.
Keep in mind that very few really make any money at this. Focus on having fun and playing to your potential. Some of the best times I ever had was "back in the day" with the fellas. We probably sucked but it was so much fun I didn't care.
February 1, 2010 @11:25pm
auramac

LOL. Yes, you'd think we were a bunch of young, stupid punks. We're all actually in our 40's and 50's- the guitarist insists he's not too loud, the bass player says the drummer is quiet compared to others he's played with (yet wears earplugs at practice). The big issue now is that everyone is so threatened by my suggestion to turn down a little that we're not even discussing the PA system- at least via e-mail. Someone did bring up the possibility of headphone monitors, though. We'd all wear them. of course, being the vocalist- my expense. The volume to me makes sense at a gig- but doesn't disguise the fact that we're short a rhythm guitarist and/or keyboard player to fill in the holes. We're playing Beatles and other Classic Rock as if we're the Jimi Hendrix Experience- without a PA!
Are headphone amps/monitors a viable solution?
(I've been doing this for 40 years- almost every band I've been in was too loud- then you get to a gig and they make you turn down!)
February 2, 2010 @04:31am
Tomm Williams

My oh my do I owe you an apology. I thought you were talking about a kid band----I'm sorry. I am also in a band and I turn 50 this summer!!!
In my opinon, attitudes at this age group seldom change. you got what you got. Most of us at this age are pretty set in our ways. However-------
Let's talk about one issue at a time, first you have a problem with vocal volume in a small practice setting, primarily due to the volume of your guitarist--correct? This is just my opinion, but if you do not convince him of the importance of "balance" in ANY venue, you are spitting in the wind.
Use of monitors or headphones or whatever is not addressing the actual problem. Unless the songs you play are all about the lead guitar, he needs to fit in his "role". I have played with people like this before and it dosn't matter how big of a system you have, that person manages to get louder. If this cannot be overcome, it may be time to look for another band mate.
Do you think your guitarist would be receptive to a knowledgeable outsider acting as an advisor ? If that person see's what you see (or hears) maybe the guitarist would turn down? Have you asked the guitarist why he needs to be so loud? Is he hard of hearing or is it all about "me"? At our age these situations seem weird. Iv'e been real lucky in this area. Most of the people I play with know how to correctly approach practicing and performing. Hate to suggest it but it may be time to look elsewhere for a guitarist.
Now in concerns to your sound system. I have found more good deals on craigslist and Guitar Center Used than I could ever justify spending money on.
I recently picked up a Neumann kms105 for $350.00!!! and Iv'e seen 2 others for the same price. The stuff is out there if you take the time to really shop.
You could put together a truly decent system for under a grand that should support your vocals just fine. Miking the entire band and drums is another matter but you seemed more concerned about vocals only.
Whatever you do, don't stop playing man. Life is short and opportunities to play seem to get less and less. don't miss a one!!!!!!! Good Luck TW
February 2, 2010 @05:05am
Pinhead

Lemme se if I got this right. As the lead vox you are responsible for the pa needs of the band?!?! That's a real pickle you're in. You already record the rehearsals soooooo...what are the other guys responsible for?
I do live live sound and when somebody is too loud at a gig I don't have a problem asking them to turn it down. If they don't, then I plead with him/her to help them see it's for the benefit of the performance and the audience; if that doesn't work then I enlist the rest of the band members as a diplomatic tool. The guitarist can place his amp at head level so he won't have to turn it up so loud. Also, he can stand away from the drummer so he won't have to turn it up louder than the drummers rattle. Drums make a lot of noise so ask the drummer not to play so loud, if that's the case; this is not Metallica at Wembley stadium.
You can put together a decent, used 16 ch pa with headphones for monitors for about 1 grand. Hope this helps.
February 2, 2010 @06:24am
auramac

My Sweetwater sales rep recommended this:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PassPro150/
However, the situation is more serious than just the guitarist. He currently is angry that I suggested the band turn down a bit so I don't have to spend a grand that I don't have. His excuse is that he needs to turn up to fill the gaps in songs that exist because we are currently without a rhythm guitarist or keyboards. The worst culprit is the drummer, but the bass player tells me he is at the correct volume, he's "heard louder." Even when we had access to a large PA for practice, the vocals would feed back and my harmony singer would barely be heard- partly her fault- she is young, and is working on projecting and also her self-confidence.The band expects us to "rise to their level." I've been playing with the guitarist for 15 years, the new guys have changed the dynamics of the group. I poured out my heart and soul and opinions in a (too long) e-mail that the bass player ridiculed- guess he doesn't like to read : )
The PA I am looking to buy is meant for only practice. I've been told we can borrow something else for a gig. But, in retrospect, there have been several gigs over the years where people would come up to me and say they couldn't hear the vocals, or the club would ask the band to turn down (even though they loved us).
February 2, 2010 @07:08pm
Tomm Williams

Gaps in songs are not filled with volume. They are filled with--fills. I'm not in your shoes nor do I see eveything you see but I've already heard enough bad stuff --I'd bail.
February 3, 2010 @03:01am
Lmf

LOL. Yes, you'd think we were a bunch of young, stupid punks. We're all actually in our 40's and 50's- the guitarist insists he's not too loud, the bass player says the drummer is quiet compared to others he's played with (yet wears earplugs at practice). The big issue now is that everyone is so threatened by my suggestion to turn down a little that we're not even discussing the PA system- at least via e-mail. Someone did bring up the possibility of headphone monitors, though. We'd all wear them. of course, being the vocalist- my expense. The volume to me makes sense at a gig- but doesn't disguise the fact that we're short a rhythm guitarist and/or keyboard player to fill in the holes. We're playing Beatles and other Classic Rock as if we're the Jimi Hendrix Experience- without a PA!
Are headphone amps/monitors a viable solution?
(I've been doing this for 40 years- almost every band I've been in was too loud- then you get to a gig and they make you turn down!)

You might be able to deal with the sound by throwing money at it, but "ego" by one person in the band can break it.
February 4, 2010 @12:21am
byeager

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/StagePas300/
Check this one out too. It's a little more expensive, but it's a nice system. We occassionally do shows at a local Shriner's Children's Hospital. They have one of these and it sounds great!
But the volume issue really needs to be addressed. One of the best ways to remove yourself from a venue's rotation is to play too loud. You're not an asset if people leave due to your volume. Our first comment after our sound check is, "how's the volume...too loud...not loud enough?" If it's too loud, we make adjustments. Anybody can play loud. It takes talent to be able to get your sound at a comfortable level.
The good paying jobs around here are the casinos. SPLs are checked and if you can't perform within their limits, you're outta there! I count my blessings every day because I have a lead guitarist that I have to tell to turn up a little! Good luck!
February 13, 2010 @01:58am
Bugzie

A lot of powerd speakers now have a minimal mixer built into them. Check out a 12" JBL eon online and see if that would work. they're not awfully expensive and do a decent job for what they are.
October 3, 2010 @05:26pm
auramac

I'd rented the 250, which worked great, then got a great price ($549) from the dealer for a brand-new 300.
At first gig with it, I had to involuntarily throw a temper tantrum (and feel like a fool) because the drummer and guitarist were too loud. We'd hired a sound guy- and simply said- "tell them to turn down." Which they did- reluctantly. The guitarist feels he sucked because he never got the tone he wanted. The vocals are still drowned out on the recordings, but the gig was a success and since then he tries to turn down, though it always seems to fluctuate.
In any case- I strongly recommend the Fender Passport 300. Way more power than I'd expected. And it's absolutely beautiful at home with just me and an acoustic. You can also transport it with one hand. It's like one of those BOSE radios- you look at it and go "nah," then this big sound comes out.
October 3, 2010 @06:08pm