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Author Topic: What's up with musicians and PA buying?  (Read 4444 times)

Geert Friedhof

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What's up with musicians and PA buying?
« on: March 01, 2018, 12:48:41 pm »

A guitarist has no problem paying $4000 for a guitar, 2000 for an amp and another 2000 for all kind of noisy pedal stuff.

A drummer has no problem paying $6000 for a drumkit, and another 2000 for cymbals which are way to loud.

A keyboard player has no problem paying $5000 for some synths, and another 2000 for his own monitoring.

But when it comes to buying a PA they ALWAYS wanna buy the cheapest, crappiest stuff.

Why, oh why?
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: What's up with musicians and PA buying?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2018, 01:06:19 pm »

A guitarist has no problem paying $4000 for a guitar, 2000 for an amp and another 2000 for all kind of noisy pedal stuff.

A drummer has no problem paying $6000 for a drumkit, and another 2000 for cymbals which are way to loud.

A keyboard player has no problem paying $5000 for some synths, and another 2000 for his own monitoring.

But when it comes to buying a PA they ALWAYS wanna buy the cheapest, crappiest stuff.

Why, oh why?

Because sound is invisible and musicians don't "play" the PA.  It's an appliance like the home laundry machines and unless you get into the dirty details of cleaning clothing, there is no difference between the $400 washer and the $1000 washer - if they both do basic cleaning why pay more?  Not that I agree with that mentality but it's pervasive in all types of capital equipment purchases.
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: What's up with musicians and PA buying?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2018, 02:03:45 pm »

I think it can also be because a lot of musicians only think about themselves. Same reason why I can't get the guitarist to turn down even though he is ruining my mix. He only cares about what he sounds like, not the entire band.
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Art Nadelman

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Re: What's up with musicians and PA buying?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2018, 03:04:15 pm »

I think it can also be because a lot of musicians only think about themselves. Same reason why I can't get the guitarist to turn down even though he is ruining my mix. He only cares about what he sounds like, not the entire band.

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Stephen Kirby

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Re: What's up with musicians and PA buying?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2018, 03:19:05 pm »

I think Tim has it.  Folks touch or hear their own equipment.  But the PA is playing out to the audience and they don't really hear what it sounds like in the same way they hear their amplifiers behind them.  You'd think that would push them to buy ace monitors but unless they're really devoted to their singing they don't care.  Most bar players consider singing secondary to playing their instrument.  Unless there is a separate lead singer.  And then it's their problem.  ;)
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Tom Roche

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Re: What's up with musicians and PA buying?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2018, 03:34:08 pm »

I agree with Tim. 
To expand a little...  In my experience, few working musicians possess more than a basic working knowledge of PA gear.  Their entry to mid-level MI gear gets the job done and they get paid.  Similarly, I've seen a couple of bands that had good PA gear, but had no clue how to deploy or provide a good mix.
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Lyle Williams

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Re: What's up with musicians and PA buying?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2018, 04:01:52 pm »

The guitarist probably had a Squier before learning that better stuff could be better.

Now they are repeating the process with PA gear.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: What's up with musicians and PA buying?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2018, 04:30:24 pm »

A guitarist has no problem paying $4000 for a guitar, 2000 for an amp and another 2000 for all kind of noisy pedal stuff.

A drummer has no problem paying $6000 for a drumkit, and another 2000 for cymbals which are way to loud.

A keyboard player has no problem paying $5000 for some synths, and another 2000 for his own monitoring.

But when it comes to buying a PA they ALWAYS wanna buy the cheapest, crappiest stuff.

Why, oh why?


Same reason an electrician like myself will have Klein tools and a Fluke meter, etc and a Harbor Freight jack in my garage while the mechanic down the street will have a Snap On or Mac set of tools and a Harbor Freight meter...
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Steve Swaffer

Dave Garoutte

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Re: What's up with musicians and PA buying?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2018, 04:30:50 pm »

That's also why the sound guys gets paid so little.  They aren't actually DOing anything, right?
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Bob Leonard

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Re: What's up with musicians and PA buying?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2018, 04:41:34 pm »

Fact of the matter is this. Most musicians will pay what they can for good hardware. A guitar player such as myself will not hesitate to spend $6K on a good Gibson, or two, or three, or four. And I won't hesitate to spend good money on the amps I need to make that guitar sound as it should. Then, being an exception to the rule, I put whatever I can into whatever it takes to make the PA sound as good as it can, BECAUSE IT'S MINE.

So, when "the band" buys a PA it's now what the group can afford, and because no one in particular owns the PA it will be comprised of the lowest cost shit money can buy that will make loud sound. Not good sound, but loud sound.

Any serious player with a vested interest in good sound will pony up for the real deal. Any player who doesn't expect to be around for more than a year or two won't. In over 55 years I have never asked anyone in any of my bands to contribute to the cost of the PA, which relates to everything said above. Abuse my hardware, piss and moan about silly shit, and I'll show you the door in a heart beat. And no problems paying you for what you contributed to the sound system. Nothing.
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