What is a band to do about a PA?

john gerrard

Senior Member
Just as a side note be sure to consider how you are going to transport your equipment to your gigs. Keep in mind that you need to buy somethng that you have the means to transport. John
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
You need to get jobs and start buying gear. Even with crappy entry level jobs at minimum wage, each of you should be able to earn/save $1000 in a couple months.

The PA system is a collection of individual components so everyone will buy and own a couple/few pieces.

And, yes to craigslist. Just be sure to know and test ther gear so you don't get taken advantage of.
Exactly. It might take a while to save up, or even take out a "loan" from some or all of the group members' parents (you can probably work out a better interest rate than you would at a bank...).

Welcome to adulthod :)
This, especially. :)

One approach is to decide what you all want.need for a band. Then, decide how to divide it into approximately equal parts based on the number of people in the band. Each person decided what they want to purchase, based on what they might do in the future. For example, the drummer needs the most mics, so he should invest in all the mics and cables. The guitarist might wan to invest in the mixer and all mic and instrument cables. The singer, or whoever is into sound mixing, could get the mixing board, the bassist the speakers, and so on. Or maybe one person gets one of the speakers and some of the mics, etc. You each own all the things and will always have a use for them. The drawback is that there can be a lot of turnover in bands and new members probably won't have the missing component.
I like the "divvy it up" scenario. As a group, figure out what you need, and divide it up based on what works best for your group. If there is member turnover, perhaps their portion of the gear could be bought from them. Make an agreement that all the members sign, if you're going the collaborative route. Sounds kinda silly if you're in a band with a bunch of friends, but seriously--do it. I would also recommend starting a "band fund" to pay for any future advertising, promotion, or repair of band-owned gear. Whatever you do, make sure that it's agreed upon by all of the members, and there is some kind of document with signatures. You don't want things getting ugly, especially among friends.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I'm currently looking for additional solutions for a similar reason - I don't want to rely on other band members assets for my part of the project. I'm trying to source my own PA, but leave enough room so they can use it as well.

I've been searching on craigslist, but my fear is that they are selling it because a channel or two doesn't work (or something else I won't know until I try out every knob/switch/etc...).

How does one determine what constitutes a functional PA. I mean - are there certain 'bulletproof' mixers/amps, etc...?

I've seen some good deals, but I'm always a skeptic when it comes to condition of product. Behringer or other cheaper makes are at least sold under a minimal quality assurance (or perhaps even a return/refund program).

Any advice? Or is it always - buyer beware?
Very much buyer beware. Behringer stuff & similar no make black box stuff is crap straight out of the store. As for bullet proof stuff, really, it doesn't exist, but some makes are much better than others. Better to buy less high quality gear than more crappy stuff for the same money. Beware power ratings, they're somewhat meaningless, especially as they're quoted as "peak" rather than RMS. With cheaper powered speaker stuff, it's common for the amplifier section to have a (on paper) high rating whereas the speaker stands no chance of processing such power, but it makes the product look competitive. It's all about efficiency & putting quality sounds out. I'd always take quality over volume any day.

Remember, for bar/pub gigs, it's much cheaper to control your band's stage volume & go for a good quality dedicated vocal system than it is to have a PA that's capable of reinforcing the drums.

On the subject of ownership, I own our band's PA & lighting rig, then charge per gig for the use of the gear.
 

JasperGTR

Senior Member
My old band (in high school) became craigslist masters when it came to equipment..

We actually scored our Yamaha (700 watt) with 50ft speaker cables, a 12 channel powerd mixer, and stands for $325! (Regularly $870)

Your best bet would be to get something on craigslist! ;) Also- yamaha is definitely something to start on. We played COUNTLESS shows with all different sizes of rooms and they did the job. :)

-Josh
I'm currently looking for additional solutions for a similar reason - I don't want to rely on other band members assets for my part of the project. I'm trying to source my own PA, but leave enough room so they can use it as well.

I've been searching on craigslist, but my fear is that they are selling it because a channel or two doesn't work (or something else I won't know until I try out every knob/switch/etc...).

How does one determine what constitutes a functional PA. I mean - are there certain 'bulletproof' mixers/amps, etc...?

I've seen some good deals, but I'm always a skeptic when it comes to condition of product. Behringer or other cheaper makes are at least sold under a minimal quality assurance (or perhaps even a return/refund program).

Any advice? Or is it always - buyer beware?
 

sonnygrabber

Senior Member
Over the years and thru the bands I must have bought 2 or 3 full PA's. I have none of it anymore cause I got bent over, 2 or 3 times. Bands can be like marriages, you're betting half to all of your stuff that it's forever. What I do have is my own stuff for playing out, (mics, leads, etc.), and it took me years to learn that sucker....(no, I'm not the quickest on the uptake).
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
One approach is to decide what you all want.need for a band. Then, decide how to divide it into approximately equal parts based on the number of people in the band. Each person decided what they want to purchase, based on what they might do in the future. For example, the drummer needs the most mics, so he should invest in all the mics and cables. The guitarist might wan to invest in the mixer and all mic and instrument cables. The singer, or whoever is into sound mixing, could get the mixing board, the bassist the speakers, and so on. Or maybe one person gets one of the speakers and some of the mics, etc. You each own all the things and will always have a use for them. The drawback is that there can be a lot of turnover in bands and new members probably won't have the missing component.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
You need to get jobs and start buying gear. Even with crappy entry level jobs at minimum wage, each of you should be able to earn/save $1000 in a couple months.

The PA system is a collection of individual components so everyone will buy and own a couple/few pieces.

Welcome to adulthod :)


And, yes to craigslist. Just be sure to know and test ther gear so you don't get taken advantage of.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
My old band (in high school) became craigslist masters when it came to equipment..

We actually scored our Yamaha (700 watt) with 50ft speaker cables, a 12 channel powerd mixer, and stands for $325! (Regularly $870)

Your best bet would be to get something on craigslist! ;) Also- yamaha is definitely something to start on. We played COUNTLESS shows with all different sizes of rooms and they did the job. :)

-Josh
+1 ^ This.There are lots of bands out there that form and break up at the drop of a hat.And lots of them have PA systems.Sometimes a member buys out his bandmates,but most of the time,the gear is sold cheaply,and divided between members.

Usually the price is fairly cheap to facilitate rapid sale.Get some cash in hand ,and start looking,ot like Harry said...those self contained Yamaha systems are pretty good stuff.

Steve B
 
My old band (in high school) became craigslist masters when it came to equipment..

We actually scored our Yamaha (700 watt) with 50ft speaker cables, a 12 channel powerd mixer, and stands for $325! (Regularly $870)

Your best bet would be to get something on craigslist! ;) Also- yamaha is definitely something to start on. We played COUNTLESS shows with all different sizes of rooms and they did the job. :)

-Josh
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
You simply do what you can afford. About $500 will get you into an "entry" level PA. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/yamaha-stagepas-300-portable-pa-system/480818000000000?src=3WWRWXGP&kpid=mf480818&gclid=CNXfi9nG7bQCFUqoPAodzRsAbw If you can get more cash together, then buy a bigger rig.​
You could certainly do a lot worse than this Yamaha system. e.g. the dreaded Behringer, or Phonic or house brand no-name carpeted junk. If this is enough for you to sing though at the local rec center (certainly much better that what I sang though when I was 16) and you can afford to buy out a disaffected band member, then go for it. Remember you need mics, stands and cables which will add another few hundred. Shure PG mics are around $50. You can sometimes get a great deal on a 3 pack of Sennheiser 835s which will last you most of your career.
Check out Orange County Speaker Repair for cables. I've had really good luck with their cables holding up as well as the standard Hosa or Whirlwind fare. And the GLS mics they sell are actually pretty good imitations of Shure Betas. They just don't have good isolation so hand holding them or being on really wimpy stages doesn't work as well. Their version of a Beta 57 is now my preferred snare recording mic after comparing it to a real SM57, a Sennheiser e609, and some AT drum pack mics I have.
Having been though the band thing in my youth, I would just really caution you against getting in deep for a big PA at this point. At this point you are trying to get established and have a little spending cash on the side, not pay the mortgage. Which is why I recommend hiring out the sound to someone with good gear who knows what they are doing. Doing it right is a significant investment, and a craft as involved as any other. I still have a business license for running a small sound co although I've pretty much sold off the large stuff and shut things down. Schlepping all that stuff is a young and hungry man's game. I had a enclosed ramp trailer with everything on dollys and trunks, and I was still the first to arrive and last to leave. Sound people get a bad rap, but there are folks out there at all levels who know what they are doing. You just have to seek them out. Just as you would another band member or gig.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Try to find someone with good PA gear who can provide the service for some percentage of your pay. It takes a long time to pay down a PA system, and for a bunch of youths just getting started a band owned PA can be a real problem when conflicts develop. Also, cheap entry level PA stuff sounds bad and will make your band sound bad. You may be giving up half your pay, but a good small provider will make you sound as good as you can and ramp you up to better paying gigs.

At your level you may be dealing with someone who's come into some money and bought a bunch of stuff that they are still learning to use. Try going to some shows and talking to the sound folks that are doing good work. They may know someone starting out, maybe that they are mentoring, and you can get a good deal.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I'd say you need to book more gigs where that stuff is already provided
I don't know, but I'm guessing if the OP is talking about playing pubs, he's in the UK. If that's the case, very few venues have a house rig outside of music clubs & upwards. Pubs certainly don't, or on the rare occasion you find one, it's crap.

Good suggestion on saving as a band though.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I'd say you need to book more gigs where that stuff is already provided and make a band pact that at least half of the take from each gig you do now will go towards a PA and mixer setup.
 

nitrokid

Member
yeah we will get paid but where we live we have looked around and we cant find anywhere in reasonable distance away to rent the PA from
 

nitrokid

Member
Hi Guys,
This is a problem that i think many people will have had so i hope you guys can help me. So we are all about 16 and this is our first proper band for all of us so none of us have the right equipment. We have played loads of festival gigs but all we have to bring is our instruments which we all have. But now we are getting asked to play at private gigs and pubs where we will need to bring our own PA and lighting. We have had a look but even second hand and cheap its still a lot of money that none of us can afford and we don't want to buy it as a band because this is very unlikely to be the last band we ever play in. So what would you guys suggest to do and have you ever been in a similar position.
 
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