Need advice on how to set up PA system for a gig

Need advice on how to set up PA system for a gig

Postby shadowboxer » Sun Nov 17, 2013 7:55 pm

Our practice band has got a show to do in about a month. First timers on this so we need some advice.

We've got 2 electric guitars, a bass, and drums. When we practice, we mic all the amps and the drums and use in-ear monitors. Our mixer is connected to an amp with floor monitors and 2 mains but we haven't used them very much since the move to in-ear monitors. Im one of the guitarists and I do most of the settings on the mixer.

We're playing a fairly large restaurant space for an after hours party. The question is should we be micing up all the amps and drums and sending that mix to the mains for the audience? If we do that, I assume we could use the in-ears or the floor monitors.

In the alternative, do we just need to keep it simple and mic only the vocals for the mains and the floor monitors (i.e. no in-ears in this scenario)? Then we just play to a volume to match the drums. Let us know your opinions.
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Re: Need advice on how to set up PA system for a gig

Postby strumminsix » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:47 pm

shadowboxer wrote:In the alternative, do we just need to keep it simple and mic only the vocals for the mains and the floor monitors (i.e. no in-ears in this scenario)? Then we just play to a volume to match the drums. Let us know your opinions.

Closer to this ^^^

The other thing to consider is what it sounds like 20' in front of the stage. Things you'll notice:
1) the kick drum disappears especially when folks start dancing
2) brighter guitars throw further
3) some amps really bloom at distances, others fade

So, I'd start with vocals and kick only with mics on amps ready to reinforce if needed (reinforce is the key word here). And be sure to have ONE person giving you advise and they give you trending advice. Not to nitpick small variants in volumes. Find what's wrong for a an entire song or two before making changes.
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Re: Need advice on how to set up PA system for a gig

Postby tcsned » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:54 am

What he said ^^^
As far as adjustments go, a lot of it depends on how many people you have in the audience and how wild those people are. Folks sitting at tables being low key don't create the same din as people up dancing and being loud. Also if folks are packed around the stage lowering amp levels and putting them in the mix might be best as those folks can knock down the stage sound. Also you won't be killing folks up front and dispersing the sound some.
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Re: Need advice on how to set up PA system for a gig

Postby Charlie » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:41 pm

I would generally agree with the other posters. I would only mic the vocals for a sit down crowd and the kick and maybe the snare for a dance crowd.

Unless it's a kick arse crowd I would start with a reasonably low stage volume. You can always turn up and most bands I play in, the levels tend to creep up during the night anyway. If you start really loud you may end up alienating some of the people in the room.

If you do decide to mic everything up, are you gonna have a soundman out front to control the mix?
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Re: Need advice on how to set up PA system for a gig

Postby shadowboxer » Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:29 pm

The soundman during practice has been me, one of the guitarists. So we really don't have any one who can monitor and change settings off stage.
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Re: Need advice on how to set up PA system for a gig

Postby tcsned » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:32 pm

We do our own sound too, got tired of paying mediocre sound companies. I'm assuming you'll have some way to do some sort of sound check at the beginning or earlier in the day. That's usually in an empty room. It's going to sound generally louder and brighter than when people get in there. Without having any idea of what kind of crowd your going to have - if you know it's going to be kinda crowded and wild, I'd go a little louder and a little more treble. Once you get going if you start have trouble hearing vocals in the monitors because the crowd noise then you probably need to turn everything up a little and consider adding instruments to the mix. Also, keep an eye on the crowd. They'll let you know pretty quick if your too loud or if they're having trouble hearing, look for body language, facial expressions, and the like. If you know anyone there, ask them to listen to a whole song for volume, volume balance, and tone.
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Re: Need advice on how to set up PA system for a gig

Postby strumminsix » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:24 am

More good advice above! Also, watch where people dance. 2 reasons folks aren't in front of the stage (assuming good music):
1) too few people and shy
2) band is too loud
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Re: Need advice on how to set up PA system for a gig

Postby tcsned » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:12 am

oh, and I'm sure this is obvious but . . . go ahead and mic everything up before the show so you don't have to set anything up once things get going if you need to add some stuff in the PA.
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