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Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

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Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby BlackAngel1966 » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:38 am

Hi there. I think it’s time that my band looks into upgrading our current PA system. We are a loud 3 piece rock band (guitar/bass/and LOUD drummer), and typically play in small clubs and pubs. We currently use a Yamaha stagepas 600 which I’ve got to say is pretty good for our needs, however in certain smaller, odd shaped venues we get feedback issues and perhaps a lack of clarity and headroom. We only put 2 vocal mics through the system with nothing else mic’d up. So we need something fairly compact (similar size/weight to stagepas) but with a bit more volume/headroom and a hopefully a better sound. I’ve been looking at QSC k8.2 or 10.2 or maybe the Yamaha dxr10, with a small basic mixing desk (Mackie or Yamaha or similar). We play 40 to 45 gigs a year all of the country so reliability and portability are as important as the sound quality. Anybody got any experience running the speakers mentioned in a small, live, loud environment. Cheers and thanks in advance.
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:47 am

Hi and welcome.

Yes, I use Yamaha DXR10s as monitors with a fairly loud three piece and as a 'hired out' PA rig/engineer. They will be a large step up on your StagePas.

My FOH is a sub and a pair of QSC K12s and when I bought them I compared several 12" actives including the DXR12 and DSR12. Those three speakers fell in price order DSR, K12, DXR (£500, £750 & £900) in order of preference but the extra cost of the DSR was too much for my budget at the time.

Given the choice I'd probably go for an Allen & Heath Zed fx series mixer in preference to the Mackie or Yamaha (though I've used both the others quite happily).
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby Wonks » Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:52 am

Sam Spoons wrote:My FOH is a sub and a pair of QSC K12s and when I bought them I compared several 12" actives including the DXR12 and DSR12. Those three speakers fell in price order DSR, K12, DXR (£900, £750 & £500) in order of preference but the extra cost of the DSR was too much for my budget at the time.
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:21 am

:oops: :oops: :oops:

Thanks Wonks
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby DanR » Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:10 pm

Hi
Another vote for DXR10s. I have a pair for keys.
You probably won’t use the onboard mixing much if adding a mixer but may be useful.
QSC K8.2 or K10.2 would do fine but cost a fair bit more.
Yams are better bang for the buck.

RCF ART710 mk4 or HD10 mk4 would do well too. While Yamaha and QSC have the edge on SPL, RCF have better sound quality and it’s consistent even when pushed.
I have the HD12s and they are fantastic.

Any of the above with an A&H Zed10FX as suggested and you’re set.
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby AlecSp » Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:10 am

All the replies so far have indicated speakers that should be a step up from your StagePas system.

But do be sure that you're not spending money in the wrong place. If you're running into feedback problems at the moment, new speakers are unlikely to do much to remedy that if nothing else changes. Granted, a more even response will help, but feedback problems are likely to be either poor mics, poor positioning of kit, or that you're simply too **** loud (you did say more or less that in your opening post).

What mics are you currently using? And are you sure they're genuine, especially if they're something as commonly faked as the SM58. It could well be that a change in mics will help you, too.

You don't mention what your monitoring setup is. If it's your FOH speakers behind you, then you might be able to fix all your problems by bringing the speakers forward. But you'll then need to add monitors so you can hear what you're singing. And, if you're monitoring from FOH, are you sure the lack of clarity isn't down to being off axis - how does it sound to someone out front?
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby BlackAngel1966 » Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:58 am

Thanks all for the advice and comments here. It’s appreciated. In response to a couple of the questions... we use (genuine) SM58s, our FOH speakers are positioned in front of the mics and we use fairly decent Alto floor monitors. The main issue we have is trying to keep up volume wise with our drummer sometimes in small cramped environments where you can’t locate your FOH speakers far enough away from the mics. Hence attracting feedback. I’m guessing this will be a problem whatever PA system you use!
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:43 am

Wise words from Alec...

Small room + loud band = problems. :)

Another issue often overlooked is the sound from the floor monitors/FoH/backline hitting the stage back wall and bouncing back into the stage area. Smears the sound a treat and increases the possibilities of feedback.

In summary; upgrading the kit may not be enough. A rethink of your playing volume may also be required.
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby Wonks » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:52 am

Hanging a simple backcloth behind the band can do a surprising amount to cut down on feedback in a small space. It's something else to carry round, but it can noticeably reduce the amount of reflected HF.
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby DanR » Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:00 am

AlecSp wrote:
You don't mention what your monitoring setup is. If it's your FOH speakers behind you, then you might be able to fix all your problems by bringing the speakers forward. But you'll then need to add monitors so you can hear what you're singing.

Yes, address that first. A loud band with a StagePas for FOH and monitoring, there’s going to be sound issues.
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby BlackAngel1966 » Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:44 am

DanR wrote:
AlecSp wrote:
You don't mention what your monitoring setup is. If it's your FOH speakers behind you, then you might be able to fix all your problems by bringing the speakers forward. But you'll then need to add monitors so you can hear what you're singing.

Yes, address that first. A loud band with a StagePas for FOH and monitoring, there’s going to be sound issues.

Hi there. Speakers are always in front of mics (sm58s), and we use reasonable quality (we are all a bit skint!) but adequate floor monitors. The feedback issues only really occur in the more confined venues/back rooms of pubs etc. And, yep...I think we are too loud to be playing such places!! My thinking is that by upgrading our PA this should give us a more clear and detailed vocal sound with better eq possibilities, hopefully negating the need to crank it up so loud thus minimising feedback? We’ve played in small little venues with excellent in house PAs/monitors etc and have not suffered with feedback issues.
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby AlecSp » Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:20 pm

BlackAngel1966 wrote:Thanks all for the advice and comments here. It’s appreciated. In response to a couple of the questions... we use (genuine) SM58s, our FOH speakers are positioned in front of the mics and we use fairly decent Alto floor monitors. The main issue we have is trying to keep up volume wise with our drummer sometimes in small cramped environments where you can’t locate your FOH speakers far enough away from the mics. Hence attracting feedback. I’m guessing this will be a problem whatever PA system you use!
So, you may well be testing the laws of physics to their extreme.

It would be interesting to know which of FOH or monitoring was your issue. It's quite possible that it's monitoring. When you next soundcheck in a problem venue, try playing with FOH levels a little to see which is most it its limit - ideally, you'd have a capable assistant to do this with you.

If monitoring turns out to be the problem, then an in-ears solution could make all the difference, but it's an added level of complexity, as you'd likely need more stuff going into your ears, as well as needing to give the drummer a feed.

You really shouldn't have too much trouble with just a 2 x vocal system.

But, if the root cause is your stupid loud drummer, then maybe that's what you need to be looking to change.

What do the (sober) punters think of what they're hearing. Are the vocals struggling? Is the mix right? Are the drums too *** loud?

Also, where are you. If local to any forum members, you might get a kind soul prepared to come and spend time with you to help identify the root cause, and even look at some solutions - noise people can be good like that.... I'm East Herts.
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby DanR » Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:42 pm

AlecSp wrote:

What do the (sober) punters think of what they're hearing. Are the vocals struggling? Is the mix right? Are the drums too *** loud?


Yes, that’s an important point.
If the band is unavoidably in close proximity to the drums, then the monitors need to come up, regardless of FOH levels.
Increases the possibility of feedback from the monitors.
Obviously, the drums need to be of a certain volume for the style of music so some venues
may just be too small for loud rock.
If this has to be the case sometimes, then in ears as suggested would help a lot.
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby BlackAngel1966 » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:33 am

Hello all. Once again, thanks for the advice and information. Seemingly I just need to sack the drummer and stop playing in small places! I’m not a sound engineer/expert in any way...I’m a guitar player that somehow got lumbered with providing the PA...but I think I’ll take more care and time in positioning the FOH speakers, the mics and our monitors. I still think that the StagePas is somewhat lacking in sound quality and perhaps headroom, and according to some commenters here, I should see a definite improvement if/when I upgrade. Thanks all...over and out.
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby DanR » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:58 am

BlackAngel1966 wrote:Hello all. Once again, thanks for the advice and information. Seemingly I just need to sack the drummer and stop playing in small places! I’m not a sound engineer/expert in any way...I’m a guitar player that somehow got lumbered with providing the PA...but I think I’ll take more care and time in positioning the FOH speakers, the mics and our monitors. I still think that the StagePas is somewhat lacking in sound quality and perhaps headroom, and according to some commenters here, I should see a definite improvement if/when I upgrade. Thanks all...over and out.

Yes, experiment with speaker positioning. Drummer sacking and turning down small gigs
should be a last resort. :)
I think more power, quality and headroom all round will vastly improve things.
The StagePas is an absolute minimum for the style of music. I know the whole band isn’t going through the PA but vocals need to be heard clearly.
Using 10s for rock FOH, they need to be very good ones.
The Alto monitors - good sounding speakers for not much money. Would be interesting to see how hard they’re working.
If no luck with what you have, a pair of DXR10s would be a good start and you could experiment using them either for monitors or FOH.
Good luck with it.
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Re: Time to upgrade my bands PA system. Advice needed please.

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:59 pm

Buy the drummer some lighter sticks for small venues, many rock drummers use telegraph poles when they really need knitting needles (or, in drumspeak he needs 7As instead of 2Bs for those little gigs).
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