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Old 04-21-2009, 10:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What kind of sound setup should I get for my first gig?

I'm playing a backyard gig this weekend, and the only sound equipment I've got is a small practice amp for my guitar. I need something to support two inputs (keyboard and guitar) and two vocal inputs (one may be used for micing an acoustic guitar or close-micing my practice amp).

I've been talking with people at the local music shops, but I just get the sinking feeling they're just trying to sell me something. I've got a Mackie Onyx Satellite for recording to my PC that I can use as a mic preamp.

Salesmen have been talking about the pros and cons of passive mixers and active speakers versus passive mixers and speakers, and an amp rack. I'm not sure what to use and was hoping someone could shed some light on the subject.

Can you suggest something that would be loud enough to fill a backyard, that I can expand upon as the band grows, and won't break the bank?
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Old 04-21-2009, 02:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You need a PA amplifier/mixer and two speakers.

You can use the mixer inputs on it to plug in your microphones and your line-input instruments and control the levels and EQ's on each channel.
For your guitar amp, you mic it running to the PA mixer so that your guitar's audio will come out the main speakers. Doing this will allow you to use your guitar amp as a monitor for yourself, and you'll have the benefit of loudness from the main speakers.

Your main concerns should be:
- How many inputs do you need / how many inputs does the PA mixer offer
- How many watts is the PA mixer capable of delivering
- What sized PA speakers can you get that will be effectively driven by the PA mixer

Here's something I found on musiciansfriend.com that may suit your needs:
Phonic-Powerpod-620-Plus-S712-PA-Package

If you think you'll need more wattage and larger speakers, its big brother is the 740/S715, which gives you 100 watts more and has 15 inch mains, and is only about 100 dollars more.

Those aren't top-of-the-line PA setups, but they're affordable and will fit your application. See if you can find something like what I've suggested at your local shops. If anything, use the specs to serve as a guide when browsing through gear and don't let the salesmen sell you on something you're not completely sure about.

GL
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Last edited by Freebase Dali; 04-21-2009 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 04-21-2009, 07:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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VF is right, a simple PA is all you really need. the example provided would be fantastic for a small two piece, but if you plan on expanding your band in the near future it might be better to spend some of that cash on a rental and save for a bigger unit in the future.

most local shops offer rentals. SPECIFY that you want a rental. don't dump good cash on anything major yet. especially where your show is in a few days, now is not the best time to be buying. use this gig as a learning exercise. see if you can rent something similar to that example PA, that way you'll have a good idea of whether or not that system can push enough sound for the crowds you'll be drawing.
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Old 04-21-2009, 09:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My bandmate just invested in a keyboard amplifier that we've been told will serve our purpose. Plus, he needs a good amp. I've also been informed that a friend's relative has some stuff we can borrow.

I am definitely looking to buy in the future, and these recommendations have helped look at what is available. As far as power goes, is it a better bet to get passive speakers and an active mixer, or active speakers and a passive mixer? I've also heard talk of amp racks and passive stuff for the rest. Any of you have insight or experience with these?

Last edited by Zachary Lewis; 04-21-2009 at 09:25 PM. Reason: Typos, lol.
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