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  #1  
Old 01-15-2013, 02:23 PM
Jeffrey99 Jeffrey99 is offline
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Default Question on size of PA we need

The female singer of my old band and I are wanting to get together and do something. I currently have a crappy 60W Harbinger PA that's used for nothing more then self practice with my vdrums. My question is what size PA would we need for the new band? We will be a country/top 40 cover band, playing mostly country. Guessing starting out, atleast 300W? Or do we need more? Or even less? I know it's always better to buy more and not need it, then to buy less and end up needing it, so was just wondering everyone's thoughts.

Thanks,
Jeffrey
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Question on size of PA we need

The size of PA you require will be dictated largely by what you expect it to do, & the size of venue you intend to play in. Are you just using it for vocals, or do you expect to put your drums through it?

Power ratings can be deceptive, and are often manipulated to give the impression of superior performance. Although the amount of power you have available is a consideration, it's trumped by quality of gear every time.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:49 PM
Jeffrey99 Jeffrey99 is offline
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Default Re: Question on size of PA we need

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Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
The size of PA you require will be dictated largely by what you expect it to do, & the size of venue you intend to play in. Are you just using it for vocals, or do you expect to put your drums through it?

Power ratings can be deceptive, and are often manipulated to give the impression of superior performance. Although the amount of power you have available is a consideration, it's trumped by quality of gear every time.
My plan is this: Figure we will be playing small enough venues that if I mic drums at all it'll be kick and maybe a overhead or kick/snare and overhead. I don't plan on individually micing each drum. As of right now guessing it mainly be vocals. Maybe my Vdrums if I need those to practice due to noise. Due to venues I expect we will be playing, guessing guitarist & bassist would be using their own amps. Figure if we start playing the bigger bars, they will probably have their own sound but could be wrong.

Unfortunately I know nothing about sound and neither does she. In the last band we were in together, we used the guitarist's PA, believe it was 200W and it seemed to work pretty good for practice/small venues with 2 mics & guitar running through it. But wanting to get something that I can run all instruments into, if for nothing less then just so they are all in one mix for my in-ears.

I really need to start learning all this stuff. LOL
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: Question on size of PA we need

One piece of advice is for you to get as much power as you can afford. What is your budget?

Two powered Mackie Thump speakers (15" and horn each side) and a small mixer sounds VERY good and clear and is powerful. I believe they're 400 watts per side and like $300 each.

I own these speakers and they are really nice and can cover any small/medium sized gig. You don't have to just put vocals through them either. They work great with guitars, bass drum, etc...

PLUS, they would make a KILLER electronic drum amp(s).
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:48 PM
Jeffrey99 Jeffrey99 is offline
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Default Re: Question on size of PA we need

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Originally Posted by SgtThump View Post
One piece of advice is for you to get as much power as you can afford. What is your budget?

Two powered Mackie Thump speakers (15" and horn each side) and a small mixer sounds VERY good and clear and is powerful. I believe they're 400 watts per side and like $300 each.

I own these speakers and they are really nice and can cover any small/medium sized gig. You don't have to just put vocals through them either. They work great with guitars, bass drum, etc...

PLUS, they would make a KILLER electronic drum amp(s).
Our budget at this moment is around $500-$600. This is one she was looking at http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-a...package#review

She likes it because it also features two monitors. Would something like that be any good at all? Or would it be better to piece it together?
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: Question on size of PA we need

The package you're looking at will certainly get you guys started, but I'm not keen on how long that stuff lasts before you start to have problems from overdriving it.

I would recommend piecing it together. For instance, I got two Yamaha A15 speakers (15" speaker and a horn), and a Crown XLS1500 power amp (300W per side at 8 ohms), and that serves as my power base, then I couple that with a mixer (currently I'm using that little Allen&Heath ZED10fx - love it!). Granted, the speakers were $400 for the pair, and the amp was $300, and the mixer cost me another $300, but it's money better spent. Powered speakers are cool, but it gets replaced as your mains if you want more power - so I always recommend getting good-sized passive speakers, and coupling that with as much amp power that you can afford. It leaves you open to being able to upgrade just those things you need to upgrade.

Of course, this doesn't include monitors, but you could get smaller powered speakers for that. Or, get another power amplifier and two smaller wedge speakers.

But what you need is good circuitry - that's what you're paying for. If you eventually want to mic up drums, you need a mixer that can handle the input from the mics. I wouldn't go any less than a Mackie VLZ mixer (I used to own the 1604VLZ), but I wholeheartedly recommend the Yamaha O1v96 as a small band mixer. It's all about signal routing.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: Question on size of PA we need

*Chk-shhhhhh* (the sound of a can of worms being opened)

Okay, so the thing to worry about with power/wattage is to make sure that your PA head is workable with the speakers you use. You don't want to use a 100w amp to try to power a pair of 800w speakers, for example. More power doesn't directly translate into more volume, but a cleaner signal. You'll want to anticipate the needs of your band. Sure, you might just need it to practice and play smaller gigs now, but do you ever plan on playing outside? Do you ever plan on playing larger venues that might not have a PA? If you say "yes" to either of those possible scenarios, you will need to make sure you have the inputs to support all the vocals, all the instruments, and what you want miked of your drums.

Also, reputable construction and durability trumps power any day. That PA you suggested is on the cheaper end of the spectrum for a reason. You can find a used PA for the same price that will probably last you 5 times as long, and sound twice as good, even being used. But, the prospect of a "new" system, all packaged together IS appealing. I would encourage you to do some more research, like maybe visit some forums where they talk about PA systems and such, and get some opinions of people who have actually been where you've been, and can now look back and say, "I wish I would have done ________ instead."
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