Need some P.A. advice, mostly for play-along.

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
So I want to get a PA system to set up in my drum room, that I plug my iPod, iPhone, etc. into and play along to my favorite songs. At some point I'd also like to be able to mic my kit to run through the mixer as well.

I'm not really brand-loyal when it comes to this so I'm open to all suggestions. I'll look at mics further down the road, but for now I just really need something I can plug my iPhone into and start playing along to so tracks I've been wanting to play along to, but the option to be able to mic my kit at some point is a must-have.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Buying a small PA to play music through is one thing. The moment you say you want to be able to mic the kit up and pump it through the system is another. How much are you willing to spend? $2000? $4000?
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Buying a small PA to play music through is one thing. The moment you say you want to be able to mic the kit up and pump it through the system is another.
I couldn't agree more. If you're looking to put drums through the PA for future public performances, that's when it gets expensive. Buying quality not quantity always pays in the end. The problem with putting drums through a PA, is that you need a good clean bottom end that can move air, & that's the expensive bit. Not only that, but a quality mixer is an essential element too. You can buy nice mic's, powerful speakers/amps/combo active units, etc, but use a budget mixer, & it's mostly for nothing.

If you can return here with exactly what you expect the PA to do when you're putting your drums through it, & your expectations in terms of sound quality, audience/venue size etc, then we can get specific :)
 

jornthedrummer

Silver Member
I would get a mixer, good headphones and a set of mikes.

As others have mentioned, getting a good full drum sound through PA speakers is not cheap.

Think about your hearing too. Unmiked drums are already pretty loud.
So if you use headphones you dont need the same amount of volume to get a good experience.

thx

jorn
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
Good point about not even really needing speakers. Since I already wear protective headphones when I play, I suppose it wouldn't really make sense to have speakers in the first place. So I really don't need speakers for play-along.

But I've always really wanted to mic my kit and hear it through a mixer. And being able to do that while playing along to some jam tracks would be awesome.

I hope I didn't just make this more complicated. More mixer recommendations would be appreciated. And it would have to be one that has an auxiliary input, obviously.
 

drum4fun27302

Gold Member
Get some mice and run them thru a tascam us-1800. Run your headphones thru the tascam and you can also add compression , eq and what not to your drums and tada !!!!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Good point about not even really needing speakers. Since I already wear protective headphones when I play, I suppose it wouldn't really make sense to have speakers in the first place. So I really don't need speakers for play-along.

But I've always really wanted to mic my kit and hear it through a mixer. And being able to do that while playing along to some jam tracks would be awesome.

I hope I didn't just make this more complicated. More mixer recommendations would be appreciated. And it would have to be one that has an auxiliary input, obviously.
Get a Yamaha O1v96 and that will be all you need. Learn how to mix, that's a good trade to know.
 

jornthedrummer

Silver Member
If you like sound engineering recording or mixing, you could get either a recording interface or mixer with recording interface.
Presonus have good products for both. Mackie have them too.
 
I just got a Presonus 24.4.2 and am just learning to use it. Up to this point it seems very user friendly. Of course you don't need a 24 channel mixer. The 16 will do fine for most people.

The good thing is I have found lots of information on Youtube about running this board. It seems to be pretty popular.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I just got a Presonus 24.4.2 and am just learning to use it. Up to this point it seems very user friendly. Of course you don't need a 24 channel mixer. The 16 will do fine for most people.

The good thing is I have found lots of information on Youtube about running this board. It seems to be pretty popular.
I say if you can afford it, get the 24. You can never have enough channels, I say ;) You will come to the day when you say "I wish I had more channels!".

No joke ;)
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
Depending upon the number of drums you have will dictate the number of channels you need. But here are some things to consider.

You can go a LONG way for little money if you buy smart. I currently have several mixers, and have gone through some, too, including Yamaha, Alesis, and Mackie. I was recently given a Mackie CR1604VLZ. This is a great way to go to start out, and them some - if you're on a budget, even better. 16 channels is enough for most drum setups, if not too many channels. But, consider that once you go down the road of hearing your drums mic'd through headphones/earbuds/IEMs, you will NEVER want to go back.

The 1604 is dirt cheap nowadays, used. They go for about US$200-$300, and are built like a tank. Not only does it have 16 channels, it includes inputs for your music-listening device without compromising a channel, so all 16 channels remain. I recently put this same mixer into play in a 5 piece band - guitar, bass, drums, keys, and dedicated lead singer. My drums take up 9 channels, 4 of us sing, and bass, guitar, and keys round out the 16 channels. I still have an .MP3 player in the dedicated input. It's got headphones out and you can choose from several different things to listen to quite easily. You can listen to your drums and your .mp3s at the same time, too, which is what you want right now. This mixer can also be rack mounted vertically in a standard rack, which is quite convenient, as standard racks are cheap. You can even make one yourself.

When you're ready to transition to PA use, you will not have to buy another mixer. Get an amp and speakers and you're set. Sure, you can spend a lot more for a "better" mixer, but from my experience with this mixer, you can be more than happy with it for quite some time, especially if you get a used one in good shape. WAY better than even some others you can buy new. Not only did Mackie think about flexibilty when designing this line of mixers, Mackie also does a good job with their user guides, better than any other company does, that's for sure, so if you're just getting started you will learn a lot from the Mackie experience. You can grow from there if you want, but you can also do plenty with that mixer.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Depending upon the number of drums you have will dictate the number of channels you need. But here are some things to consider.

You can go a LONG way for little money if you buy smart. I currently have several mixers, and have gone through some, too, including Yamaha, Alesis, and Mackie. I was recently given a Mackie CR1604VLZ. This is a great way to go to start out, and them some - if you're on a budget, even better. 16 channels is enough for most drum setups, if not too many channels. But, consider that once you go down the road of hearing your drums mic'd through headphones/earbuds/IEMs, you will NEVER want to go back.

The 1604 is dirt cheap nowadays, used. They go for about US$200-$300, and are built like a tank. Not only does it have 16 channels, it includes inputs for your music-listening device without compromising a channel, so all 16 channels remain. I recently put this same mixer into play in a 5 piece band - guitar, bass, drums, keys, and dedicated lead singer. My drums take up 9 channels, 4 of us sing, and bass, guitar, and keys round out the 16 channels. I still have an .MP3 player in the dedicated input. It's got headphones out and you can choose from several different things to listen to quite easily. You can listen to your drums and your .mp3s at the same time, too, which is what you want right now. This mixer can also be rack mounted vertically in a standard rack, which is quite convenient, as standard racks are cheap. You can even make one yourself.

When you're ready to transition to PA use, you will not have to buy another mixer. Get an amp and speakers and you're set. Sure, you can spend a lot more for a "better" mixer, but from my experience with this mixer, you can be more than happy with it for quite some time, especially if you get a used one in good shape. WAY better than even some others you can buy new. Not only did Mackie think about flexibilty when designing this line of mixers, Mackie also does a good job with their user guides, better than any other company does, that's for sure, so if you're just getting started you will learn a lot from the Mackie experience. You can grow from there if you want, but you can also do plenty with that mixer.
It's good to hear others touting the effectiveness of the Mackie 1604VLZ. I loved that console. There's so many inputs and outputs on that board that once you get the hang of how things are routed there, it's not too much of a stretch to apply that to other bigger consoles. But I also love the original Yamaha O1v, and I managed to find one in excellent shape on eBay for only $350! I had to buy it just because! That's a console that usually runs in the $550-800 range used. A new O1v96 can you run you $2200 these days.
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
In one of the bands I'm in, I run sound from behind my drums. While I love the "scenes" capabilites of digital mixers, they are not easy to adjust while playing. I mean, you have to press a button numerous times, and then scroll to get into the area of the program, which is hard to do when you're mid-song.

Before someone jumps in and says you can't get a good mix from the back line, yes, you can, you just have to be smart. In fact, I run 4 mixes, main live mix, recording mix, and two separate monitor mixes, ;-)
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
Can somebody explain the differences between powered and unpowered mixers, and how they relate to drums. My main purpose is to be able to mic my kit and record myself.

I'm so lost in all this mixer stuff I don't even know where to begin. Understanding the pros and cons of powered vs. unpowered would be a great start.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Can somebody explain the differences between powered and unpowered mixers, and how they relate to drums. My main purpose is to be able to mic my kit and record myself.

I'm so lost in all this mixer stuff I don't even know where to begin. Understanding the pros and cons of powered vs. unpowered would be a great start.
Powered means you can run speakers, unpowered means you need the power to run speakers. We usually prefer unpowered mixers because I like to keep my power separate - and besides, you gonna need more power anyway.

But in your application, it doesn't sound like you need a powered mixer because you're not running speakers to get your sound into the house. If you're just recording yourself, and listening through headphones, or even small self-powered speakers on your desktop, then you do not need a powered mixer.

If you want a good primer on mixing consoles, do a search for the Mackie guide to small mixers (not sure of the title) but its a fairly well-known booklet and even though it's selling you on Mackie mixers, the theory is good that can be applied to most all analog mixers. That would be a good place to start because it's not written for engineers, it's written for guys who know nothing.
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
Powered means you can run speakers, unpowered means you need the power to run speakers. We usually prefer unpowered mixers because I like to keep my power separate - and besides, you gonna need more power anyway.

But in your application, it doesn't sound like you need a powered mixer because you're not running speakers to get your sound into the house. If you're just recording yourself, and listening through headphones, or even small self-powered speakers on your desktop, then you do not need a powered mixer.

If you want a good primer on mixing consoles, do a search for the Mackie guide to small mixers (not sure of the title) but its a fairly well-known booklet and even though it's selling you on Mackie mixers, the theory is good that can be applied to most all analog mixers. That would be a good place to start because it's not written for engineers, it's written for guys who know nothing.
Man, thank you so much. That's exactly what I was needing to know.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Man, thank you so much. That's exactly what I was needing to know.
Just to quickly chime in.

Don't confuse 'phantom power' (or +48v) with the concept of a 'powered' or 'unpowered' mixer. They are totally different things. Phantom power is used to charge condenser (capacitor) microphones and should be available on every mic channel of a desk that you're going to use. If not, it's a real headache.
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
Also, almost any Mackie User's Guide will do; they all speak English. I've read the 1202VLZ, 1402LZ, CR1604LZ, M1400, and others. I like these particular manuals because they not only tell you what each function does, they also offer example applications for each feature, which is a huge benefit. I've read Yamaha and Soundcraft manuals, too, but they are in no way close to being helpful in this regard, and are often not very helpful at all.
 
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