Small Gig Sound system theory

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Small Gig Sound system theory

Postby Mississippi John » Mon Oct 02, 2006 6:43 pm

I'm part of a uo that has been hosting a regular acoustic jam session at the local pub for the last couple of months. We're not amplified, and origininally, this was part of the appeal - we were trying to capture the atmosphere of the impromptu session. Unfortunately, the background sound can be rather annoying, and it can also be pretty unmanageable if 5 players are jamming at one time! So I'm thinking about getting a PA together. Problem is, the last time I gigged "plugged in" was 20 years ago, and even then a mate of mine did all the 'brain' work, and I provided the muscle.

I've noted that there has been some discussion about systems here in the forum, but nothing really detailed. So I need help. Anyone know of a link to some basic theory in this area?

Also, If I need to provde my own sound, what is the basic minimum I can get away with to reinforce the sound of 2-4 guys playing guitar and mandolin w vocals/harp, in a small stone-walled room for about 30 people? I say 'minimum' in the sense that I'll entertain any ideas at all. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

John
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Postby 1dustyeod » Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:10 pm

Two top cabinets (1x15 and a horn), 2 monitors (1x12 and a tweeter), 2 power amps (1000 watts or better)( you can use just one but its better to have two just in case the 1st one goes down for some reason)(you can run the fronts thru side A and the monitors out of the B side), a 8- 16 channel board, 2 31 band EQ's (one for the fronts and one for the monitors), one midiverb, and a few good mikes should do ya pretty good. Thats what I use for small acoustic gigs.

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Postby songdog » Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:03 pm

Yeah, it shouldn't take much to cut beyond the noise of a small club and there are quite a few more good sounding and affordable options than there were 20 years ago.

Get some small speakers like Tommy suggested but something you can mount on tripods about ear level or higher.
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Kustom Profile One PA

Postby Mississippi John » Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:41 pm

Re: Kustom Profile One PA

For those of you who own these systems - are you running intruments through the PA, or just vocals? In your opinion, would they be able to cut through an acoustic four-piece band with bass and drum kit playing in a small setting? Do tell.

Oh - and are they 'idot proof', cause I can't guarantee I am!

Thanks,
MJ
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Postby jeffl » Tue Oct 03, 2006 2:12 pm

If you have a decent music store close to you, you may find that they have a pamphlet rack that holds small informational booklets on topics like sound systems,recording,etc. My store carries a series done by Peavey,and the pamphlets are only about $7.00 (U.S.); if you learn well by reading,you may benefit from this source of information. The pamphlets have helpful diagrams, and very basic info. that may help you understand general concepts such as identifying source of feedback,how to eliminate it, clipping,compression,etc.
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Postby allanlummox » Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:01 pm

I have a few handy referances on live sound, the one that gets the most play is the "Guitar Center Pro Audio Study Guide" a friend who worked there nicked and then handed on to me a few years ago.
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Postby 1four5 » Tue Oct 03, 2006 6:32 pm

We put everything through our Kustom Profile One PA and it works great. Tha biggest crowd we've used it for is a ballroom pary with 208 guests...plenty of volume, with lots to spare.
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Postby houndog » Tue Oct 03, 2006 7:27 pm

Welll,
I have to rain on this parade a tad :D

The best jam sessions are well organised, and that means turn it down not up.

This is based on the misnomer that jams are a freeforall interplays between like minded individuals...they are not !

Please bear in mind the simple numpty sonic formula ( NSF) wherein...the more available wattage + (noodling x players) volume = musical disintegration.

Essentially big amps kill musical abilities.

So keep it to a few players at a time...learn to respect the spaces between plays...and live with the annoying background chatter .

Nb the NSF is increased by incremental ratios of twos , as the louder the amps the louder folks talk.

adios,
Lovat
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Postby Mississippi John » Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:53 am

Thanks for all of your responses - much appreciated. And Houndog, I think your input/caution is dead-on. But we're still going to amplify :>
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Postby houndog » Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:32 pm

Oh well John,
all I can say is see what amps did for Bob Dylan and Muddy Water :wink:

The best jam I was last at was in Glasgow where the biggest amp is 15 watts

adios,
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Postby jeffl » Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:45 pm

There's gotta be a middle road, as far as volume. IMO,the less experienced the musicians,the louder they tend to play. It doesn't mean that no veteran musicians will play real loud...it's just that novices are more likely to play louder than they need to,and not listen as well. My question is, what is the purpose of the jam? It it intended to draw enough musicians that they'll significantly add to the bar's business by themselves...? Do enough other people come to listen that the bar can tell the difference in the take? Apparently, it's a jam, and not an open mic- meaning there isn't any control over who plays and when. If that's the case, it's bound to get muddy, and the less volume the better. If you don't have alotta people on stage all at once, and only have to deal with 3-5 players at a time, you can just put a good condensor mic up in the middle,and everybody can stand around it. 1dustyeod's solution is way more than adequate, and it will cost a good chunk of change to achieve that set-up. You can settle for less and still prob'ly get the job done, depending on how many musicians you got.
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Postby Mississippi John » Wed Oct 04, 2006 3:13 pm

One last question re Kustom Profile One amp/mixer or other 100w powered mixers:

I don't have a lot of $$ for this endeavour cause I've blown it on a resonator, a mandolin, an amplifer and a few other goodies! So, I am wondering if I can run this small powered mixer through a set of of 2-way home hi-fi speakers. They're Rega speakers rated at 100w, with 6" Polydax speaker cones (HIF17JS) that MIGHT be 4 OPR (hard to read). There is also a tweater in them but I can find no info on it. WOuld this work until I can scrape together $$ to buy proper PA speakers??


I agree that staight acoustic jams can be magical - but there are other issues at play in that the pub I'm playing at (my local, owned by friends) really needs to draw in people. They are hoping regular jams like this will put bums in seats and sell pints. But so far, the only extras it has drawn are players, and if the only people we're bringing in are the players, then it is no good for the pub (likely a loss since they give my partner and I free pints). Minor amplification MAY (no guarantees) assist in providing the appearance of a more 'professional' entertainment package (certainly a stretch in my case, since it will only serve to amplify my mistakes and mediocre abilities!!). Certainly, the 'electric' blues jams at the pub bring in more people.

Thanks again.
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Postby 1dustyeod » Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:27 pm

Those speakers will blow within 5 minutes of hooking them up...... Trust me.

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Postby Mississippi John » Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:43 pm

That's what I suspected. - iF you've never witnessed ti being done, it is generally because it is not possible.

Knowing why, however, would be interesting in and of itself. So, what is the difference between hifi stereo speakers and your run-of-the-mill PA speaker?
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Postby 1dustyeod » Thu Oct 05, 2006 2:24 pm

Wattage...... plain and simple. Most PA and monitor speakers are rated at minimum 300 watts. As you said, those are rated at supposedly 100 watts (probably a conservative estimate), so they wouldn't last and then you'd be very upset as you wouldn't have a stereo in your house any more. If you want a number, EM me and I'll hook you up with my brother. He can order you everything you need for cost and have it delivered (UPS) right to your door. I think he can get monitors for around $80. Top cabs are about 125 or so. They're pretty nice and get the job done. The most expensive piece of gear you seem to need is a board (8-16 channel). EQ's and a Midiverb can be had used for $50 each. Power amps can be had for less than 200 each. Gem Sound is putting out some pretty reasonable items for reasonable cost.

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