Budget PA Systems

05WideGuy

Senior Member
In an attempt to have my place more inviting for practice/jam session I am thinking about purchasing one of the $200ish PA systems from GC or MF. Can I expect anything worthwhile in these low cost PA's? Guys I need your opinions! Thanks.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Harbinger-HA80-Portable-PA-System-105014757-i1428885.gc

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Phonic-Powerpod-410-S710-PA-System-630485-i1395799.gc

http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Kustom-KPA100-PA-Package?sku=489252

http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Squier-4Channel-PA-System?sku=608003
 
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05WideGuy

Senior Member
Man, 56 people reviewed this but not one response. Is it a rediculous question or what. I'm going to give you all one more chance to voice your opinions (on the systems; not me) I know some of you have bought these systems or something similar or have worked with a band that had one. Thanks in advance.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I haven't used any of these makes specifically but you get what you pay for, and that's not much. They're not much good at anything really except maybe announcing the lottery draw. Forget trying to put your kit through one of these, it'll just be embarrassing.
 
B

BigSteve

Guest
Hi 05WideGuy,

I checked the links you posted and think that you would be disapointed with all of those even for a garage practice situation. You will need more than 100W Stereo even for modest vocals and outputs for at least two monitors. I would look around your area for some used PA gear. I bet you could find some great deals. Find something in the 250/300 Watt range per channel....remember you need headroom so the system sounds decent and not maxed out all the time. Hope this helps a little.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
i don't know about those particular systems, but i've worked with little PA systems before. the problem is that your drums will drown out the vocals and everything else that's going through them. you'll be forced to play with brushes or light rods just so the vocals can be heard. if you don't mind that, then no problem.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
Agreed. for emphasis 05WideGuy. You, nor your guests will be satisfied with this stuff. get at least 250 watts.

I would be looking at something like this. Peavey Amp

You just need to buy the speakers to match the practice room.

This will provide enough power for your needs, and, it can be used in live settings too. A little more versatile...
 

05WideGuy

Senior Member
I appreciate your replies guys. I'm just using this in 15x27 room, in a place where we would have to practice a little "volume discipline" anyways. But I don't want to just throw $200 bucks away, just to let it go for $125 on CL a month later.
 

denisri

Silver Member
Hi
I suggest the following approach..this way you are not buying poor equipment. You do this in small steps..and you can use the equipment for gigs.
8 channel stereo Mackie board(has both mains and monitor channels)
2 monitor speakers
Have others bring mic's and stands.
Then buy main speakers and stands....
At the end of this investment you have a system that you can use for small and med size gigs.
Denis
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
i'll tell you what we did. we bought a used yamaha pa on craigslist for $400 and set it up in the practice room. i wish i could tell you all about its specs, but i don't know much about it. i do know that it's plenty loud enough to be heard above my drumming, even when i'm really going at it. we take it to gigs where the venue doesn't have a house pa. sometimes i mic my bass drum through it and that works fine.

all i'm saying is that buying used is an option, and you could probably get more bang for your buck that way.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
You should never need to mic your drums during practice. That's just overbearing.

For years, I have used a 12-inch 50-watt Yorkville keyboard amp for guests. It has a mic input and several instrument inputs. If you play respectfully and considerately, a little amp like that should be sufficient for vocals and one instrument. It is good to keep an amp like that for guests who come by.

For practice sessions, I would expect bassists and guitarists to bring over their own amps.

What do you really want amplification for?
 

elpol

Senior Member
I agree w/ Ken. If it's just to have something 'convenient' laying around for those impromptu jams - there are several brands that make combination keyboard amps on the market - Yorkville is very reliable for this, so is Roland. Peavey used to be... (still might be?) I think even Behringer products might be worth a look, except that they can be unreliable and not very rugged. I have an old Peavey KB100 in my room that I use for vocals, keyboards, even acoustic guitars. It's not a big room, so very little is often needed, and my musical friends and I always try to keep the volume way down!
 

05WideGuy

Senior Member
You should never need to mic your drums during practice. That's just overbearing.

For years, I have used a 12-inch 50-watt Yorkville keyboard amp for guests. It has a mic input and several instrument inputs. If you play respectfully and considerately, a little amp like that should be sufficient for vocals and one instrument. It is good to keep an amp like that for guests who come by.

For practice sessions, I would expect bassists and guitarists to bring over their own amps.

What do you really want amplification for?
I want the PA for voice mics only, I expect each player to have his own equipment.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I want the PA for voice mics only, I expect each player to have his own equipment.
If that's the case, you can get a keyboard amp. That should work just fine for vocals. In fact, it's good to have a keyboard or similar general purpose amp around for when someone comes over. You can just plug them in and it's pretty handy.
 

KBadd

Silver Member
Hey 05, I own that system. I used it again last night at an outdoor wedding reception. We rocked it!! It is way loud and has great features. Good choice. We ALSO plug in another PA system to it, plus monitors.

Before I read that you bought that I was going to say "If you are spending 200 then spend 500! Way more worth it".
 

mcbike

Silver Member
I would get a powered main like this http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Behringer-EUROLIVE-B208D-Active-PA-Speaker-System?sku=620523 for 179 bucks. it's 200 watts and you could get by with just one for now you don't even need a mixer if you just want to plug one mic into it. Later on you can get another one and use it for live shows. powered speakers are really versitile you can use them as monitors, mains, etc. I've done rehearsals with just a mic plugged into the back, I've also used them for my sampler in live shows.

my band practice with two jbl 8" powered monitors and we use our regular mixer to mix it.

I wouldn't reccomend any of those pa packages you posted. btw if you really want one of those powered mixer heads with 4 channels and two speakers there is usually a ton of those in pawnshops.


another tip for practicing is to put your speakers on stands or on a bar stool or something so they are closer to you. the closer you get your monitors the less volume you need to hear them.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Just to let you all know I made a decision based on your recommendations. I bought this system:

http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Phonic-Powerpod-780-S715-PA-Package?sku=630490

I must say it's got more than enough volume, I don't know how it all operates, the operators manual is very vague, it barely give enough guidance to just set it up. I'm going to need a powermixer for dummies book.
Gawd, how I hate 15" 2ways. Especially cheap ones. But you got it, so go ahead and use it. As long as it keeps working.

From the link you provided, it looks like there is an amp mode switch in the lower right. Since you just have the two speakers, you can ignore the monitor stuff. Just switch it to stereo and plug one speaker in to A and the other into B. Individual channel eq and effects to taste.

One cheap trick is to put a bunch of mics around the room and turn it up just until it starts to feed back and adjust the eq (dropping a couple notches on each band from the zero point) to minimize the feedback. This kind of balances out the speakers, mics and room. It at least gets you in the ball park.

Later on, you can get another pair of speakers to use for monitors and then those controls will come into play.

Try to resist the smile curve or substantially boosting frequencies.
 
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