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  #1  
Old 10-12-2010, 06:12 PM
BigBelly BigBelly is offline
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Default I need help (sound equip/recording)

My son and I are farily new to drumming and I am wanting to start looking into sound equipment. I have researched the mics a little but was wondering about a PA, sub, amp and other equipment needed. I am totally cluless when it somes to this stuff folks. I really need good advice.

The need for sound equipment (it's really more of a "want") is more for my son (7) who has been playing a few school events or parties and I am just looking to a sound system to enhance the sound of the kit.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: I need help (sound equip/recording)

I say start simple. If you can find a small portable PA package deal that includes two speakers and a powered mixer with at least 8 XLR inputs, you'd be good to go. In fact, I think MusiciansFriend has some Yamaha packages available. Your speakers should have at least 12" or 15" woofers and a horn because you're dealing with sticking a mic in the bass drum, but for just simple sound reinforcement, that oughta' do.

You could even go super simple on the miking of the kit: just put a mic in front of or inside the bass drum, and hang a good overhead condenser mic over the kit. Then you wouldn't need a particularly big mixer or a bunch of mics and then having to find a way to mount all those mics. If you have a hole in the bass drum, you could just put the mic on top of the muffling in side, and a standard boom stand could put the other mic over head.

Yes, you can get way more complicated then this, but for what you say you want to do with it, I'd go small.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:36 PM
BigBelly BigBelly is offline
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Default Re: I need help (sound equip/recording)

Good advice! I am not at all opposed to starting small but I don't want to go cheap. That didn't sound right.... I want inexpensive but am not afraid to spend a little extra to avoid a pile of junk. I'd also like to be able to build on the set-up over time and don't want some inferior piece of equipment I bought while being a tight a$$ to hinder expansion. I have searched the archives, Yamaha appears to be pretty popular. Are most folks using loudspeakers and a sub (or two...)?
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:01 PM
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Default Re: I need help (sound equip/recording)

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Originally Posted by BigBelly View Post
Good advice! I am not at all opposed to starting small but I don't want to go cheap. That didn't sound right.... I want inexpensive but am not afraid to spend a little extra to avoid a pile of junk. I'd also like to be able to build on the set-up over time and don't want some inferior piece of equipment I bought while being a tight a$$ to hinder expansion. I have searched the archives, Yamaha appears to be pretty popular. Are most folks using loudspeakers and a sub (or two...)?
Yeah, people do use subs. But I was looking at your application for now. If you really want to go that route, you're talking about a good capital outlay to do it right. Yamaha is good stuff - they make stuff at all levels. If you want my professional opinion (I work in audio at the Disneyland Resort), I would recommend the Yamaha O1v96 mixer, a pair of their lower line B15 cabinets, and a Crown XLS 802 amplifier for the basic rig. Add an amplifier and a sub in the future if that's what you want. I'm partial to Crown amps - great stuff, and those XLS's are relatively cheap. If you do get the Yamaha O1v96 mixer, try to find a class to take on it, Yamaha offers that out here in SoCal. It's not complicated, but it's not your standard analog mixer that everyone knows how to use, either.

My experience has been that people buy subs and out-right overuse them. Too many DJs out there harping on how great it is to have them. You should experiment with a two-cabinet system to see if it doesn't give you the lows you want. Most of the time it will given the right application. But if it's not earthquaking low enough for you, then at least you can add to that later. Your heart is that mixing console though - good pro circuitry means great signals going through it for years. We leave ours on here 24 hours a day and they never go down! Absolutely stunning audio quality for a mid-level priced mixer.

So, it's up to you how much you spend, but that's where I'd start. Is $3600 too much?
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:34 PM
BigBelly BigBelly is offline
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Default Re: I need help (sound equip/recording)

I think that dollar amount is reasonable but for me, it'll have to be done over time. I really wish I could find a class or two to learn more before I bought anything. I am truly clueless with audio/electronics...
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:46 PM
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Default Re: I need help (sound equip/recording)

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I think that dollar amount is reasonable but for me, it'll have to be done over time. I really wish I could find a class or two to learn more before I bought anything. I am truly clueless with audio/electronics...
Well, that dollar amount is for just the two speakers, a mixer and the amp. It doesn't includes, mics, stands, cabling, or the extra amp and the sub, and that amp should really be in a case too.

However, if you do an Amazon search, I believe there is a book called "Basic Sound Reinforcement for Musicians" or something like that. The copy I saw was written in basic english and wasn't hard to understand at all. Mix magazine also has books on the subject. Good luck!
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:50 PM
BigBelly BigBelly is offline
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Default Re: I need help (sound equip/recording)

I think that's getting a bit expensive for me at this stage... I was hoping to get everything for somewhere near that number...bummer.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: I need help (sound equip/recording)

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I think that's getting a bit expensive for me at this stage... I was hoping to get everything for somewhere near that number...bummer.
Well, you can. It just won't be that stuff. You were talking about not getting a pile of junk, and things cheaper than that aren't piles of junk, but not top-notch. It will get the job done, though. Start small. The good thing about going components (separate amp, and mixer, and speakers) is that you can upgrade only what you need. Get a fairly good mixer, but get cheap speakers and amp to start. You can always upgrade those later, but like I said, the mixer is the key. Take a look at those Yamaha MG series mixers, not bad for the price. Mackie makes nice cheaper mixers too. Some people here love the Behringer stuff, but at that pricepoint, I haven't had good luck with those (too noisy). Soundcraft is breaking into the entry-level mixer market too.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:18 PM
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Default Re: I need help (sound equip/recording)

If you are new to drumming, I would put the money into lessons, not gear, especially gear you may never use.

Amplified drums at parties are just overbearing and threaten hearing health. I've been playing for 27 years, usually without amplification, and no one has ever, ever asked me to play louder. If you are at an event and need amplification, there will usually be a PA and mics there for you to use.

I have a PA and drum amplification equipment and mixer board. I have been collecting this stuff over 10 years. I've traded time for money but I can now take care of my own needs. You might want to take this path as well.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: I need help (sound equip/recording)

You can look in your local ads, craigslist, pawn shops, etc. to find used (but not abused) gear for cheap. On my local craigslist, there are several complete PA systems for sale (complete with stands/cables/everything needed). But, it sounds as if you want to understand the basics, first.

The basics:

1. Some way to pick up the sound = mics
2. Some where to send the signals and mix it down to 2 speakers = mixing board
3. Some way to amplify the signal = power amp
4. Some way to turn the signal to sound = speakers
5. Some way to carry the signal between all of the various components listed above = cables

The main fixtures that you have to construct in relation to each other are the mixing board, power amp, and speakers. You can buy a powered mixing board (so you just have one piece of gear rather than two). You want to make sure that the power amp and speakers are rated as compatible, otherwise you'll end up with speakers that either will receive too much or not enough signal, and either situation will damage them (or blow your power amp). Once you have those things squared away, everything else is preference...kinds of mics, kinds of stands, kinds of cables, etc... Basically, just make sure that if you need a stand/clamp and a cable for it, you get them. It's best to figure out what your need/want is (what you want miked--kick drum? snare? how many toms? overheads? hi hat?), and then ask somebody at a music store to show you what you would need for your setup. Thank them, and then piece together what would work for better prices (whether used or online deals).

Hopefully this helps...
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  #11  
Old 10-12-2010, 10:48 PM
BigBelly BigBelly is offline
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Default Re: I need help (sound equip/recording)

Thanks for all the help guys! I thought it would be much more simple than it is. It's starting to look like understanding the audio is damn near harder than the drumming itself. There is definately a lot to learn.

There was a recommendation to put more money into lessons rather than this sound system. That's not a bad idea. Really, what I am trying to do is build a decent system for my son so I can keep doing all I can do to enhance his journey in drumming. For me, I want to be able to record (with good audio and video) so I can crete a video diary for him. I have become incredibly addicted to drumming myself and while I do play (a lot), the drum throne is all about him and the audio/video is more for me.

Any specific suggestions about a cheap way to accomplish this? Is there such a thing as a lesser expensive "package deal" that would work okay?
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