How much gear do you have for gigs?

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monquixotemonquixote Frets: 11460
Amongst the bands I've played with recently (both mostly playing pubs) one of them would have:

Tops on poles
A pair of subs 
A couple of big amps to power them
a big mixer
full foldback with a foldback mix
A rack with compressors and reverbs etc.
Various lights on mounts
All instruments miced up. 

The other band
Played out of amps
Shitty powered mixer into a pair of tops for vox
No foldback at all

I'm really not sure if the lack of gear of the latter band made that much difference to the audience (though how you're meant to sing without foldback is a puzzle to me)

Thinking about a new project and if it can cope with being light on gear or if it really makes a difference to the punters to have the extra stuff. 
Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • close2uclose2u Frets: 933
    Saw a pub band this weekend.
    They had individual amps for guitar, bass, keys.
    3 mics in to pa.
    2 pa speakers - 12"
    2 small floor monitors - at a guess 10"
    1 power amp
    no lights
    no backdrop or drapes etc
    sound-wise it was fine
    looks wise, no lights / drapes meant they created no image / atmosphere
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 10298
    In my last band we had a banner made and had lights and probably 9/10 times we couldn't use either/ or due to space limitations. It was a 6 piece band but unless a pub has a decent stage area once you have a drum kit set up you are already running out of room.

    We increased our PA set up over time but that seemed to just increase the amount of stuff to lump in and out and the number of things to go wrong.
    Essentially it was very hard to get the band members to understand that we could get a better balance between ourselves and not just to try to fix it with the PA.

    For things like festivals or support slots then PA and lights are supplied anyway. I appreciate that if you are playing functions you need a decent PA to get that very balanced sound across potentially quite big rooms that won't have a band style PA set up. For the pub circuit IMHO you can get away with something smaller provided you use it intelligently. The next step up is then club type venues where you don't need your own PA / lights.
    When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die. 
    Jean-Paul Sartre 
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 4391
    We have three singers, two guitars, sax, keys, bass and kick drum DI'd  through the PA, with vocals and acoustic guitar coming back through the monitors. In addition the bass, keys and my guitar all use our own amps, set at low levels so that on stage sound is a mix of PA and personal equipment. The advantage of this is that we use the same levels live and in rehearsal, and let the PA do the work. We can then turn up or DOWN to suit the venue. We tend to get re-booked because the bar staff can hear what their customers say, and the customers can talk to each other.

    12 channel PA
    3 singers' mica
    1 mic on kick drum
    Powered speakers, and if it's a largish venue then we add a sub
    2 KAM light bars set to sound activated
    Backwash and backdrop if the venue is suitable

    Next step is to add some small spots, probably PAR30s, with a controller so that we can highlight singers, sax and guitar when we feature. The debate is around how we control these, and whether we add haze.

    Where's the venue has a PA we still tend to use our own because we know it, and the sound is generally better. If the venue has lights then we still use our own, and may add theirs as well if they fit in.

    How much do we need? I'd say all of this because it's consistent at all gigs, and allows us to get the appropriate volume. I think the lights are important because they are part of the show.
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 4956
    Not that we play that often these days ....

    Done away with monitors

    2 x 12" on poles
    Backline to mixer via DIs
    Drummer seems to prefer his electronic kit these days  - which is dead easy stereo cable to mixer
    4 mics into 20 channel mixer
    Mixer -> power amp for speakers
    Mixer (4 Aux channels) -> IEM

    Lighting via 2x iColor 4 with DMX controller
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 5313
    This is gonna sound crazy but we have a lighting guy who turns up first in a small van and erects a whole load of static and moving head DMX lights, smoke and lazers. That's all controlled by a DMX desk at FOH position

    Then the band turns up in a special 4.5 ton Jumbo Transit (normal 3.5 ton van would be overloaded) We have normal backline, Marshall, Fender, AER ect but everything is mic'ed and plugged into a digital stage box. Then a Cat 5 cable takes those signals to a digital desk at FOH posiiton which has far more processing power than you could ever fit in a rack.
    For monitoring we have an IEM rack which supplies 3 members of the band in stereo and 2 members use wedges. I have an A&H ME-1 which sends all 32 digital stems to me separately so I can adjust my own IEM mix myself 

    It's completely over the top I spose and a lot of guys in other bands are always telling me it's not necessary etc ..... but they are always guys gig'ing pubs and clubs for £250 - £600 tops. We might have twice the gear but we can get twice the money 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • bluechargeboybluechargeboy Frets: 1774

    Acoustic band here. We have:

     

    Acoustic guitar --> PA

    Double bass --> PA

    Cajon/Djembe/Cymbal --> PA

    Mics / mixer / amp / 2xspeakers

     

    No vocals so we are an easy set-up! Monitors and subs if we think we need them, which we usually don't. Will use the house PA if there is one. Will play without any amplification if the venue warrants it. No lights, no smoke, no banners. I have got an exciting guitar strap though. :)

     

    If we are organising an outdoorer we may take the mighty Ampeg SVT for the double bass. It sounds AWESOME in the original sense of the word.

    I'm just a Maserati in a world of Kias.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 10298
    That's the point ^ I guess. If you are going to be playing pubs for beer money how much do you want to invest and what's the point in a truck load of gear that fills half the pub?
    On the other hand if I'm paying £1500 for a band to play my wedding then I expect more than a drum kit and everything else through a 1974 Carlsbro two channel PA head.
    When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die. 
    Jean-Paul Sartre 
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 11460
    The more I think about it the more it seems like the two best approaches are diametrically opposed so either:

    Play out of amps with some basic vocal PA

    DI everything (perhaps not even have amps) and use IEMs

    Anyone doing the latter?
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 3240
    I used to think Joe Public didn't notice if you had a shit PA, but the difference between a powerful rig on tickover and a small outdated rig on the edge is night and day. Listening fatigue sets in quite fast with the poor quality sound, you could be louder and not get accused of it by using a crystal clear sound as long as the rig doesn't 'look' loud.

    I'm always more comfortable performing with a well spec'd sound system (I sing and play) but can perform with lesser rigs. Since I do this for pleasure (aparantly) why would I subject myself to difficult conditions and my audience to an ear bashing.

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  • bluechargeboybluechargeboy Frets: 1774

    Having played in loud electric bands I am now in an acoustic outfit without a full drum kit, and I would not go back to a stupid high on-stage volume. In my youth sound engineers used to tell us to use 10W amps and mic them; we thought they were idiots.....they weren't.

    I like the idea of an IEM mix so you don't have to crank a 50W Marshall to keep up with the drummer.

     

    This may be the least rock and roll thing I've ever written. :D

    I'm just a Maserati in a world of Kias.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 10298
    TBH I'd ask a more basic question - who is going to pay for this?Is the new band is being funded by a joint ( or an individual's) pot of money where you can invest in PA, lights,etc, or is this a bunch of people bringing what they have to the band ( bass gear, drum kit,etc,etc) with no funding for shared gear? Once the band starts earning does that money get re-invested in band gear or go to the individual members?
    Often the amps+ basic vocal PA approach is there because it is the simplest way to glue together a bunch of people who have invested heavilly in their own gear but not in band gear.
    When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die. 
    Jean-Paul Sartre 
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 11460
    edited May 2014
    TBH I'd ask a more basic question - who is going to pay for this?Is the new band is being funded by a joint ( or an individual's) pot of money where you can invest in PA, lights,etc, or is this a bunch of people bringing what they have to the band ( bass gear, drum kit,etc,etc) with no funding for shared gear? Once the band starts earning does that money get re-invested in band gear or go to the individual members?
    Often the amps+ basic vocal PA approach is there because it is the simplest way to glue together a bunch of people who have invested heavilly in their own gear but not in band gear.
    You've absolutely hit the nail on the head. 

    In one of the bands I'm in this has been a crippling problem from the start. No one owns a PA and most members of the band are in multiple bands and don't have a vast amount of money to invest upfront so we haven't bought one in advance, but because the band has multiple vocals, brass and keys it requires a decent PA which means we are always scrabbling around borrowing stuff and not getting the gigs we might otherwise get (which in turn leads to lack of commitment and funds to invest in new kit)

    So for a new project I need to get it right from day one because it's caused me such a headache.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 4391
    edited May 2014
    You've absolutely hit the nail on the head. 
    In one of the bands I'm in this has been a crippling problem from the start. No one owns a PA and most members of the band are in multiple bands and don't have a vast amount of money to invest upfront so we haven't bought one in advance, but because the band has multiple vocals, brass and keys it requires a decent PA which means we are always scrabbling around borrowing stuff and not getting the gigs we might otherwise get (which in turn leads to lack of commitment and funds to invest in new kit)

    So for a new project I need to get it right from day one because it's caused me such a headache.
    About 10 years ago I had the same problem. My solution was to haunt eBay until a sensible PA came up. Ideally something little used from someone who'd overbought, or started a band which folded. Actually I picked up desk and speakers separately, Made the cables myself, and added other bits as I needed them. It's difficult to assign it a pay back period. It was more "if I don't do this then the band will never get off the ground". 

    It's usually difficult for one person to fund the whole lot. In that case I'd rather that each person buys part of it, rather than "the band shares it" because then it's totally clear what happens if the band folds or someone leaves.
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 11460
    Roland said:
    About 10 years ago I had the same problem. My solution was to haunt eBay until a sensible PA came up. Ideally something little used from someone who'd overbought, or started a band which folded. Actually I picked up desk and speakers separately, Made the cables myself, and added other bits as I needed them. It's difficult to assign it a pay back period. It was more "if I don't do this then the band will never get off the ground". 

    It's usually difficult for one person to fund the whole lot. In that case I'd rather that each person buys part of it, rather than "the band shares it" because then it's totally clear what happens if the band folds or someone leaves.
    I'd really like to do that as there is a real "PA is power" thing in bands, but unfortunately at the time I joined this one I was broke with a baby on the way and with a house too small to store it and a car too small to shift it.

    The situation is slightly better now and I've just discovered that the prospective drummer has access to a basic PA so it's looking up for getting up and running fairly quick.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • bobblehatbobblehat Frets: 276
    edited May 2014
    1 x guitar amp
    1 x bass amp
    1 x  25 year old Peavey mixer amp.
    2 x 12" pa speakers (tops?)
    2 x 10" monitors

    nice and simple !

      

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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 5313

    The startup costs can be a problem. One solution is maybe  one band member can take out a loan for 3K or whatever and the first 10 gigs have to pay for it. From then on your fine but obviously you need to know your gonna stick together and not split up 4 gigs down the line 

    All our gears paid for but there's still the running cost of the van, so £50 or so is put up every month to cover insurance, mot etc. The thing is there is a big profit in gigging and it's very enjoyable so it's worth the effort in the long run
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 11460
    Danny1969 said:

    The startup costs can be a problem. One solution is maybe  one band member can take out a loan for 3K or whatever and the first 10 gigs have to pay for it. From then on your fine but obviously you need to know your gonna stick together and not split up 4 gigs down the line 

    All our gears paid for but there's still the running cost of the van, so £50 or so is put up every month to cover insurance, mot etc. The thing is there is a big profit in gigging and it's very enjoyable so it's worth the effort in the long run
    I've seen that work in the past with the "Invisible Member" in a previous band the band as a whole owned the PA, but you didn't get a share of it if you left it stayed with the band and a share of the take went into the PA/other expenses fund.


    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • koneguitaristkoneguitarist Frets: 3273
    I think it depends on what you call a shitty PA, small and compact doesn't have to be shit.
    Learn how to use your gear that you have, and play accordingly. 
    Too often people equate amount of gear with quality, you can have best PA, but if you play too loud, you will still piss landlord or client off. 
    I used to play on country circuit where money is better than pub circuit, but I used to take a full EV rig with bins, tops, power amps and rack stuff, plus all the monitors. It used to take an hour to set up and sound check, plus a long time to pack up. And at the end of it all, who really notices? 
    As long as the sound is good and you are loud enough, job is done.
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 5555
    we're totally ghetto. We have a 4 channel behringer mixer goign into a QSC power amp driving a pair of peavey missions, this handles vocals only.

    Then cos our drummer is deaf as a psot we run a tiddly "kustom" PA which takes a aux send from the vocals along with mic signal from the 2 guitar amps so the drummer can hear us, using the second speaker for a bit of vocal foldback.
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  • RocknRollDaveRocknRollDave Frets: 4232
    Just an aside, really, but i never see why bands would turn up to your average pub, function or wedding with two subs. You only need one sub, surely?

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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 5313
    Just an aside, really, but i never see why bands would turn up to your average pub, function or wedding with two subs. You only need one sub, surely?
    Generally today's systems are designed to be sub - pole - top speaker per side without using any tripod stands

    Also although we call em subs they are really handling frequencies from 50Hz to around 100 \ 120hz ...  so unless you can put one slap in the middle things can sound uneven. Also some weddings can be in huge venues or outside events which can require a lot of power. 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 2535
    Both my gigging bands use a similar set up - a couple of T bars of lights,  2subs, 2mid/high cabs a couple of power amps, 12 ch desk, 2 or 4 active monitors and mic everything - it doesn't have to be loud but it only takes an hour to rig everything up and soundcheck - usually less as we're used to working together and everyone chips in. Sunday night we packed everything up in 30mins.   

    I'd rather have a consistent rig you know inside out with plenty of power in reserve than be driving a tiny rig too hard and getting a harsh sound, fighting feedback.

    The whole PA rig could be bought for the price of just the guitars I often gig with so it's not a huge investment - I hate shared ownership tho - much better if people own bits of the rig, ideally the singer.    I usually find that storing and working out who is carrying the gear is more of a hassle...
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  • 1nten5e1nten5e Frets: 243
    Just recently we've upgraded from a 6 channel mixer amp for vox/acoustics/mandolin, with 2 reasonable 12"s on stands


    we're now running a QU16 with powered 12" EV bottoms (these power some passive 12" EV tops) everything goes through the PA now and we run 3 powered monitors (all with individual mixes), plus the singer uses his own mix from the desk into his in ears......we've never had so much control and the comments coming back now are that we've never sounded so good
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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 1422
     We would all rather sport a grand on a Les Paul than couple of Mackie SRM' 450s likewise £80 on a pedal than an SM58 
    The question you have to ask yourself is are you doing it to make some money or just for fun and how much disposable income do you have ? .



    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • mike257mike257 Frets: 260
    When I joined my function band two years ago they had the most horrific PA, cheapest cabs and amp they could get hold of and the whole thing was woefully below the required standard.  Was a two subs, two 15" tops setup but couldn't get the vocals up above the backline.  After struggling through with it for a while I finally convinced them to spend some cash so we put about £1500 into PA kit.

    Ended up with a system we can scale up and down - two EV Force i25 2x15 tops and four EV Force i subs, plus a couple of hefty Cerwin Vega amps powering it all.  It's not the fanciest or the lightest, and we've yet to use all four subs, but got a good deal on it at the time and was night and day from our previous kit.  I replaced the cheap Carlsbro desk with a used Yamaha O1V that I got for a ridiculous price because of a minor and inconsequential fault.

    The amps, crossover and a power distribution unit are built into a 12U rack that also has a large rack drawer holding all of the speaker, power and interconnect cables for the PA and a rear mounted four way that powers the mixer, laptop for DJing and also my guitar gear if we're short on mains sockets.  It's all cabled out to a nicely labelled patch panel and important cables are all labelled too so despite the size of the rig it can be set up and making a noise in under five minutes, even by the non-technically minded band members.

    As someone who makes their living as a sound engineer, I'd still like nicer gear, but I'm not sure I can convince the band to make another big spend.  I'm borrowing a HK Actor DX system (like @Danny1969 uses) this weekend from a PA company I freelance for while I wait for a replacement driver for one of our cabs and hoping to pinch a Behringer X32 Compact and some nice mics from them while I'm there - thinking once the band hear what another couple of grand can get you they'll be swayed.  We're doing around 40 weddings/function this year and growing each year so I want to get the overall production standard as high as possible.

    Having said all that, if we're doing a small room or a pub gig, we'll take the JBL JRX tops and Yamaha powered mixer from our rehearsal room and just run vocals through that - there's definitely a time and place for small rigs too!
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  • thomasw88thomasw88 Frets: 1876
    Main band use a couple mackie thumps 15s, yamaha mixing desk with built in fx and compressors, couple of small pole mounted behringer monitors. 4 vocal mcs, mic up the kick drum and acoustic/electric guitar. Couple of party bar led lights. Sound wise its good. Sounds better and easier to put up/De rig than the heads/subs rack full of stuff I used to lug around.
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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 1422
    thomasw88 said:
    Main band use a couple mackie thumps 15s, yamaha mixing desk with built in fx and compressors, couple of small pole mounted behringer monitors. 4 vocal mcs, mic up the kick drum and acoustic/electric guitar. Couple of party bar led lights. Sound wise its good. Sounds better and easier to put up/De rig than the heads/subs rack full of stuff I used to lug around.
    Got one of those on the bench for monday morning  clip light coming on the moment you power it up will let you know what I find 
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • IanSavageIanSavage Frets: 1319
    Fortunately we're only a three-piece so when we're playing relatively small places two active 15"-ers and a basic Soundcraft mixer does the job; bigger gigs tend to have in-house PA. 
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 5313
    edited May 2014
    Found these pics, all the gear stacked neatly while van went off for MOT. Quite compact and most of it on wheels which makes loading in and out of venues a lot easierimage

    image
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 5313
    Modern FOH for one of my other bands, small format cheap digital desk, laptop is allowing remote control from iPad as well as tracking the gig in multitrack to Reaper

    image
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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