PA system. Who pays?


Platinum Member
Take it easy on 'em can't be easy bowling up 5 mins before a gig and plugging a mic into a lead......come to think of it, I've never actually met one who was advanced enough to tackle that task. :)
Hee hee...the singer in one band that I was in made it a point to leave her mic stand and mic with me at the practice prior to a gig so I could bring it and set it up for her! Foolishly, I said that it was alright and did it for about a year...she never lifted a finger!


Senior Member
Well these are all interesting opinions and sugestions. Thanks to all for that.
I think the guy is just being a dick frankly. I'm getting increasingly annoyed by it as well. I'll do the next show and fire him I reckon. Problem solved. Or maybe I'll fire me.
The other guys have offered to pay HIS way. I dont think thats right either but shows how they feel about it.

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I am in a cover band full of mostly old guys. 5 to be exact. I provide the jam/rehersal room. I got a powered PA for the room. Eventually we went on the road and I bring the PA. Between hardware, FOH speakers, floor monitors, stands bla bla bla I probably have about 2 grand or better in it. Plus upkeep and transportation, and I also run it from the drum kit. Not the optimum setup obviously but it works and we get no complaints.
I also provide the practice amps and the bass amp for shows. I'm not a cheapskate. But I'm not rich either.
Well I figure that when we do paying gigs, that the PA should get a cut of the pay. I'm saving us the cost of renting or paying a sound guy, and it gets done reasonably well.
It's not much money, trust me.
Our older guitar player thinks otherwise and I should just provide it because I have it. We all sing. Everyone else is fine with it.
Obviously this doesn't come into play when we do a gig with a house system, though I seem to do a better job of it for whatever reason. Too many dials maybe.
What I am wondering, is what is proper etiquette in this situation?
I apologize, I haven't read everyone else's responses, but myself being the sound guy and drummer, I give myself a higher rate on every gig because I'm providing the system for the rest of the guys. I don't provide amps for the individuals, but a full blown PA and monitors that everyone gets to use? And your guitarist doesn't think you should get paid more? Then perhaps he should provide the PA system.

It's weird, some guys don't do this, others like me, do. But the proper etiquette would really be for the person providing the sound system to get paid more, period. You're the guy who has to show up even earlier to unload, set-up, sound check, and then set up your kit? Then play all night doing double-duty, and then strike it all to get it out of the venue and back home? While the rest of the band just shows up, plugs in and plays? You're definitely getting the short-end of the stick here. They are taking advantage of you.

It's just business, that's all there is to it. Usually all it will take for them to get it is to provide the PA system for once. Even at a rehearsal.


Junior Member
Personally, there are very few instances where I would agree to "renting" a PA system off a band mate. I look at this way. Even If you are charging only 50 from the group as a whole, eventually you are going to be profiting off that PA. I don't think it is ethical to use your band in such a manner.

What I would agree with and push for if I was your guitarist would be to outright buy my share of the PA and upon departure from the band that portion would be owed to me. I would assume proportionate responsibility for any and all repairs needed on it as well, so long as said repairs were not needed due to negligence. I would also help load and unload this "grouped owned gear" as it is just outright fair. I do realize that equipment such as a PA can be viewed as a depreciating asset and that should be accounted for in some way when buying the share. Example: 4 piece band purchases a PA at 2000 dollars new, each pays 500. You gig for 3 years and now you can only sell that PA for 1000. Everyone is entitled to 250. Please excuse my need to lay this out in such terms but it something for you to think about and apply as your group sees fit.

Basically I really agree with Witterings post and reasoning behind what he posted!

Now, the issue of you pulling "double duty" so to speak should be addressed in some way. I think you deserve compensation for that, or at least a sharing of duties, maybe a rotation would be in order, if it is agreeable. Maybe you don't want others running the board, maybe others don't want to do it?

Sorry if anything I said was already covered in this thread. I solely wish to speak my thoughts even if it was redundant.
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Silver Member
..In my old band,

I provided the space, the PA, and the beer. That was my choice. For the two gigs we played out, the PA was provided.

I am slowly upgrading my PA gear for my jam room, but my motives are purely selfish. If I want to play my drums in my house at a comfortable volume, I need enough horse power for the vocals and other instruments. It is not very likely that I will have to worry about using my gear outside of my jam room so my advice may not really count for much.

It sounds like your guitar player is a bit of a selfish prick. Unless his name is Jimmy Hendricks, or he knows where you burried the bodies, why would you put up with such a blatant lack of respect? Somebody should introduce your friend to a little concept known as "gratitude".

I don't have to state the obvious, how you are going above and beyond for your friends, and how some of them get it. I don't get how it is that they can't bring this other guy around. You should not have to.

One of the reasons that I quit my band was because I got tired of having my good nature used against me. As I said, what I supplied was my choice, but when one guy started to take it for granted to the point that he became disrespectfull to me, in my own damn house no less, it was either pull the plug or get out the shovel.

Sorry about the rant. Looks like I still have some issues of my own.

Good luck and good drumming.



Gold Member
I was in a band recently that lost a singer over the PA issue. We had a collective PA that everybody pitched in for except him because he joined the band later. During a soundcheck he broke one of the sliders when adjusting the volume and refused to fix it. His exact words were "Its not mine, why should I have to fix it?"

That was pretty much the flood that broke the dam. After a very heated argument about his lack of financial involvement in the band he left and never returned. The funny thing is I got the slider fixed for free by a friend at a music shop. Money can be a real dividing point a lot of times, and in a band where everybody is not friends, it can be a very difficult thing to overcome.


Silver Member
Well these are all interesting opinions and sugestions. Thanks to all for that.
I think the guy is just being a dick frankly. I'm getting increasingly annoyed by it as well. I'll do the next show and fire him I reckon. Problem solved. Or maybe I'll fire me.
The other guys have offered to pay HIS way. I dont think thats right either but shows how they feel about it.
As your mind now seems quite convinced he's being unreasonable rather than sacking him or you leave the band yourself offer him choices and let HIM decide what he wants to do - explain that fine you've done it up until now to help out but you're no longer prepared to carry the cost of repairs and depreciation and I can't see what his gripe would be with that unless he's prepared to do the same himself !!!

A - Stop using your PA and rent one

B - You continue as you are with a nominal charge and he chips in along with everyone else

C - He buys a PA and you all pay him a nominal fee.

D - You all put in a higher rate and then the band owns the PA when you've been repaid your oultlay less your contribution and continue with a slush fund for maintenance

E - The band outright buy a "Band PA" between them (what you then do with yours is totally your choice after that) and a small amout is then put into a kitty each gig for maintenance

The big thing here though is let HIM choose - not you - I think it'll come down to he just doesn't want to put his hand in his pocket and won't be happy with any of those as they all mean he'll get less after every gig and he doesn't give a damn if anyone else is out of pocket !!!!!!

I know you said it was a nominal charge but if I felt the band was being used to generate income for 1 person that really wouldn't sit well with me and maybe that's how he see's it but he does need to accept you need a PA and that shouldn't sit on 1 persons shoulders to carry the cost ???


Platinum Member
The two main points with the PA are:

1. the cost of the PA (initial cost, potential maintenance/replacement issues, and recoupment of costs if it's a mutual investment by the band and there's a split)

2. the extra grunt-work of hauling around/setting up/tearing down/soundchecking/maintaining the gear

As long as EVERY member of the group is comfortable with the arrangement (yes, there needs to be an official "arrangement", even if it all seems hunky-dory at the moment), then all is good. If one person owns the PA outright and is completely happy doing all of the grunt-work themselves, then more power to them and no problem...the problem comes when one person starts out with that attitude, and it quickly diminishes when they feel as though the other members take what they do for granted, or they suddenly realize that they are doing more work than they originally thought they would be. That's human nature. Coming up with a fair arrangement for all parties involved BEFOREHAND is key, so you can avoid these issues. It's like settling a divorce. I've heard stories from my friends about their friends getting a divorce and trying to be accommodating to their ex in the arrangements: While it seems like a selfless and generous act at the time, fast-forward 3 years or so when you don't still have that attachment and involvement with that other person, you've moved on, and you still have a huge bill to pay. It's kind of the same...look out for yourself long-term. You can always offer to do more when you feel like it, but don't set it in stone with your arrangement with the band, or else bitterness might creep in eventually and bite you in the end...
Hi All,
I have been off line for a while so it is good to catch up again!
In our band, we hired PA gear for a few gigs until we had enough cash to buy one without being out of pocket. Now the whole thing belongs to all of us. We just agreed to put in most of our gig fees until we had enough.
"Normally" when we are booked to do a gig, we give the venue two prices; one with a PA system and one without. If they choose the second, they have to provide the gear!
As for having your sound man on stage; you are never going to get a good sound. If he can`t hear what the crowd hears, how can he balance everything?? When your reputation depends on your sound, you should never leave it to chance. A few bucks out of your fee to guarantee repeat bookings is a small price!!!


Junior Member
Hi - not a drummer - just passing through. Nice forum. I am one of those much reviled lead singers (at least I play guitar too - so I have some saving grace).

My 4 piece rock band invested in a $6,000 system this year. We did it as a group with the understanding that we each have 25% stake in the ownership of the specifically delineated shared items. We have a formal agreement and an equipment ledger showing who has paid what towards their comittment. So far we have put all of our gig money towards paying the system off and it has worked out swimingly. We are over half way done paying it off (took delivery in July).

Each member owning a percentage of the gear has many benefits - and in my opinion - little if any down side. We all take great care with the system - nothing gets tossed around or abused.

We opted for the Bose L1 system (two model 1s, eight B1s and two packlite amps, one T1 Tone Engine). This means that set up and tear down take almost no time. The whole system and my guitar fit in my Infiniti G35 with room to spare. One guy can set the whole deal up in about 30 minutes. The venues that we play absolutely love the system. Best money I have ever spent. Also - it holds its value tremendously. Used systems go for around 80% of new systems. If we had to buy a member out - it would be no problem figuring out the value of his portion.

Before the Bose purchase - I told the other guyst that I would forgo a large chunk of gig money if I didnt have to fool with owning or setting up/tearing down a PA. Around here - a rock band gets an average of $400/night. I am obviously not in it for the money. I am pushing 45 years old - and my days of loading a 400 lb amp rack into a van and chucking a 73lb guitar amp into my trunk at 2:30 AM are officially over.

We have also all gone direct - with no guitar amps on stage any more. It is pure unadulterated heaven. Our drummer only has to focus on his drums for the set up and tear down - and he usually has help from the rest of us since the PA is so easy to set up.

You can see some photos of our system on our facebook page. The band name is nine 8 central.