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Author Topic: Looking for advice on monitors for small PA system  (Read 2323 times)

Andrew Biehl

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Looking for advice on monitors for small PA system
« on: November 20, 2015, 07:52:45 pm »

Hi all,

I am one of two sound guys who take care of sound for a new church plant.  Neither of us have much experience.  Our set up is pretty simple - we have a Fender Passport 300 Pro PA system and a few mics, cables, etc.  At this point we do not have monitors, and the musicians have said that they aren't able to hear themselves (no surprise). 

The PA system has two speaker outs, and a sub out.  It also has a 1/8" output which has a gain knob separate from the master gain knob.  I did a little bit of googling, and found that some people use this 1/8" output (with an adapter) to connect a powered monitor. 

Does this seem like a good approach?  Is there a better one?  Any recommendations on a good powered monitor (we are relatively cost constrained)?

Thanks for the help!
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Corey Scogin

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Re: Looking for advice on monitors for small PA system
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2015, 09:13:47 pm »

The Passport system isn't made to hook up monitors but you can do it with the 1/8" jack or the Left/Right Preamp Out / Power Amp In jacks if you wire up a custom adapter.

Typically, you would have a different mix for the monitors. This system does not allow you to do that. It only provides the main L/R mix. I would recommend spending a little money on a dedicated mixer and a few powered monitors if you want to do it right. You can still use the Passport system as a main PA if you wish in that scenario.

If you want to try out feeding some powered monitors from the L/R outputs or the 1/8" output, there are plenty of cheap options available but the Alto SXM112a is a great value.

What are your future plans? It would be better to make sure you buy things that can grow with you. Folks here may be able to offer a suggested upgrade path if we know how far you're going with the PA system.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Looking for advice on monitors for small PA system
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2015, 12:27:28 am »

Tell us more about your worship team and your worship space.

How many microphones?

What instruments?

What music/worship style?

Dimensions of room? Size of stage? Size of congregation?

There is no "one size fits all" product out there. By knowing more about your church (both the building and the people) a more appropriate recommendation can be made.

If you can get by with only a couple of monitor mixes, in addition to some powered monitors, I'd recommend a small format mixer with 6-8 microphone inputs and 2-4 line inputs. It will give you better control over the sound for only a few hundred bucks. It won't give you much room to grow, however.

Don't sell yourself short thinking you don't have the budget. If you come up with the BEST plan, and can demonstrate to the congregation that it really is the best plan, they might be willing to support the project.

You can usually scale back a proposal that's too expensive, but it's really hard to expand a proposal that ends up being inadequate.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 12:14:03 am by Jonathan Johnson »
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Andrew Biehl

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Re: Looking for advice on monitors for small PA system
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2015, 10:05:18 am »

Hi guys, thanks so much for your thoughtful responses and questions.

Our set up is very simple.  We typically have one or two guitarists, one or two vocalists and a djembe (unmic’d).  Our worship team will likely grow in the future.  Our worship style is a blend of contemporary music and hymns.   

We only recently moved from meeting in someone’s home with no PA system to meeting in a hotel ballroom (tomorrow will be our second Sunday there).  We are actually “pre-launch” at this point, because we are trying to work out any kinks in the service, in the children’s ministry, etc before we actually launch (start inviting people), so numbers going forward are hard to predict.  At this point we have a core group of regular attenders of about 50, but once we start inviting people, my guess is that we will jump up to about 75 immediately.  After that, it’s tough to know.  The room we are renting can hold about 250 chairs I believe.  There is no “stage”, just the front of the room :)

I appreciate both of you recommending that we focus on future plans.  My thought is that as long as we can add a monitor, we will be able to make the passport system work for perhaps a year.  I would like our next step to be more of a “quantum leap” than an incremental step like adding a dedicated mixer just for the monitors.  I’m envisioning a system with a mixer that has 20-30 inputs (with the capability for separate monitor mixes), 2 monitors, and amps for both the monitors and the speakers.  I’m hoping we can put together a system that will work for us for the next 5-10 years. 

But… that could be my inexperience talking.  Maybe the system I’m describing is too expensive.  I honestly have no idea.  Like you said Jonathan Johnson, I think if I came up with a well thought through plan, and could make the case that we could use this system without needing to upgrade for years to come, I could probably get buy-in.

What are your thoughts on the "quantum leap" approach vs. the incremental steps approach?  Am I way off base? 

Thanks again for the input! 
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Taylor Phillips

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Re: Looking for advice on monitors for small PA system
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2015, 02:07:04 pm »

I wouldn't recommend a quantum leap - they're expensive and might not suit your church down the road. With the  current band that small, you might look to rearranging the musicians to hear each other without monitors before spending any money. What I think may be recommendable is that you buy 4 good powered speakers along the line of the QSC K12 or similar and use to for mains and two for monitors, and later you can use all 4 for monitors after your band grows and/or you get main speakers that are better suited for your specific need.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk

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Irvin Pribadi

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Re: Looking for advice on monitors for small PA system
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2015, 01:34:31 pm »

First off welcome to the forum :)
I came from a small church as well <50, with a very simple setup which now has grown to a larger setup for 150 people.
For me what's important is down the road planning and taking one good step at time.
Example of things to consider:

1. Your passport system - perhaps reuse for monitor duty later
2. Passive vs. active speakers - we did passive but in retrospect I recommend active so you're not stuck with amplifiers which may not be optimal for your future speakers
3. Popular brand-model-type of equipment is easier to sell for more money
4. Nothing wrong in buying used: costs way less, and later resale is still good
5. Better buy less equipment but good ones, if you can't afford it then put it off for later.
6. As soon as you can afford, go digital: less cables, snake, DI, effect modules, etc.

These are just my general thoughts to help maximize resources and allow you to learn as you go.
A sudden "quantum" upgrade is very high risk.

For your monitor needs on the Passport, I'd skip it. Like someone said, try moving the stage setup around.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 01:47:57 pm by Irvin Pribadi »
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Looking for advice on monitors for small PA system
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2015, 01:34:31 pm »


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