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Author Topic: Assembling a PA from a pile of ****  (Read 1676 times)

Mike Monte

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Assembling a PA from a pile of ****
« on: May 09, 2019, 09:15:49 am »

pile of junk :)
At times I like the challenge of assembling a working (or semi-working) PA from a "cobbled-together" pile of junk.
(when it's not my gig)

This past fall I started playing sax with a start up band.  They are a bunch of kids in their late 20's (I am old enough to be their father) that are passionate about what they do and actually sound decent at times...

For the past 20 years I have been playing mostly symphony music so it's fun to play some Steely Dan again...
back on point:

We rehearse in a small basement studio....
well....
We have our first gig coming up this Friday.

The leader has told us all along that he has a PA from a former band...

Last night (at my suggestion/insistence), we rehearsed at the hall where the gig is to take place.

I show up and there is a "cobbled-together" pile of gear (?)...
The bandleader doesn't know how to wire it up... (What a surprise).

Amongst the pile were a pair of Berhinger 8212XL speakers, one Berhinger Europower PMP 1680S, several no-name mics, plus a tangle of cords/cables...

There was a DJ there (he's on the gig Friday for break tunes) that brought an active Mackie rig (two 15/2 tops and one sub), I do not know the model #'s.

Ok, we are under a time constraint as the hall has a specific close time.

I decide to drive to my storage unit (15 mins away) and get a mixer.  Since the fiance of the chick singer will be running the board (I don't know his experience) I dug out my Mixwizard.

First: The gal singer had brought an active 12/2 Peavey speaker for her keyboard.  I DI'd her keyboard and used her wedge as a vocal/keys monitor (Aux 1).  I then patched Aux 2 to a channel on the Ber mixer and used the Ber speakers as monitors (the EQ on the Ber channels were all at 3:00...I set them to noon).

I slowly got the band mic'd up...the gal singer's monitor (mix 1) sounded pretty good, mix 2 (the Ber stuff) sounded like someone talking into an empty can... 

Once I got the gal singer/keyboardist up and running I told the band to just run the sets (without me in the horn section) but they had to wait...(why?).

We got through the sets and the PA limped through it ok...  When I tech a band I always make sure that channels aren't clipping but I could not monitor things as the mixer was off-stage....

A couple of times I went off stage to listen to the mix and really noticed the difference in mic quality.  The singer brought a Shure beta 58.
The other mics were a collection (nothing matched) of RadioShack quality mics...

Th gal singer was crystal clear but the other two other mics used for vocals were stuffy to say the least (all vocal mics were set at the same level).

Well....

The event on Friday is a sold-out (275 tix) dinner/concert fundraiser.  The dinner is a Portuguese buffet (yum!).  I am sure that the wine will be flowing...  (The attendees will hopefully 'drink up" - lol)
btw:  I don't know how everyone will fit in the hall....

At the end of rehearsal we powered everything down and left the band set up.

This should be interesting...


 

 




 
« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 09:19:21 am by Mike Monte »
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Rory Buszka

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Re: Assembling a PA from a pile of ****
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2019, 10:41:33 am »

That sounds like basically my whole audio career (except for the church where I ran an LS9 - and I did most of the install minus speaker hanging - and the other church where they had a budget, a nice FBT Modus FOH system with QSC amps, and I ran an M7CL.) Send pics of the gig.
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John L Nobile

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Re: Assembling a PA from a pile of ****
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2019, 10:58:21 am »

We've all had our share of junk PA. But it's very satisfying when you put in some work on that pile of crap and it actually sounds pretty good when you're done.
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frank kayser

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Re: Assembling a PA from a pile of ****
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2019, 11:45:44 am »

You made lemonade, not excuses.  Ya done good!  ;)
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Steve Garris

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Re: Assembling a PA from a pile of ****
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2019, 12:03:46 pm »

At least you know and have time to bring some better mic's!
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Steve Ferreira

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Re: Assembling a PA from a pile of ****
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2019, 12:28:59 pm »

You had me at Portuguese food.
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Mal Brown

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Re: Assembling a PA from a pile of ****
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2019, 12:48:09 pm »

You had me at Portuguese food.
No kidding. I would provide gratis and I donít do the Vino tinto....
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Barry Reynolds

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Re: Assembling a PA from a pile of ****
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2019, 04:05:36 pm »

No kidding. I would provide gratis and I donít do the Vino tinto....
The wine may prove to be your best gear on the gig.
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Steve M Smith

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Re: Assembling a PA from a pile of ****
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2019, 03:55:18 am »

We've all had our share of junk PA. But it's very satisfying when you put in some work on that pile of crap and it actually sounds pretty good when you're done.


It's even more satisfying when someone (who in my case happened to own a PA hire company) says "I would never have believed that pile of gear could sound so good".


Steve.
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Mike Monte

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Re: Assembling a PA from a pile of ****
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2019, 07:24:56 am »

pile of junk :)
At times I like the challenge of assembling a working (or semi-working) PA from a "cobbled-together" pile of junk.
(when it's not my gig)

This past fall I started playing sax with a start up band.  They are a bunch of kids in their late 20's (I am old enough to be their father) that are passionate about what they do and actually sound decent at times...

For the past 20 years I have been playing mostly symphony music so it's fun to play some Steely Dan again...
back on point:

We rehearse in a small basement studio....
well....
We have our first gig coming up this Friday.

The leader has told us all along that he has a PA from a former band...

Last night (at my suggestion/insistence), we rehearsed at the hall where the gig is to take place.

I show up and there is a "cobbled-together" pile of gear (?)...
The bandleader doesn't know how to wire it up... (What a surprise).

Amongst the pile were a pair of Berhinger 8212XL speakers, one Berhinger Europower PMP 1680S, several no-name mics, plus a tangle of cords/cables...

There was a DJ there (he's on the gig Friday for break tunes) that brought an active Mackie rig (two 15/2 tops and one sub), I do not know the model #'s.

Ok, we are under a time constraint as the hall has a specific close time.

I decide to drive to my storage unit (15 mins away) and get a mixer.  Since the fiance of the chick singer will be running the board (I don't know his experience) I dug out my Mixwizard.

First: The gal singer had brought an active 12/2 Peavey speaker for her keyboard.  I DI'd her keyboard and used her wedge as a vocal/keys monitor (Aux 1).  I then patched Aux 2 to a channel on the Ber mixer and used the Ber speakers as monitors (the EQ on the Ber channels were all at 3:00...I set them to noon).

I slowly got the band mic'd up...the gal singer's monitor (mix 1) sounded pretty good, mix 2 (the Ber stuff) sounded like someone talking into an empty can... 

Once I got the gal singer/keyboardist up and running I told the band to just run the sets (without me in the horn section) but they had to wait...(why?).

We got through the sets and the PA limped through it ok...  When I tech a band I always make sure that channels aren't clipping but I could not monitor things as the mixer was off-stage....

A couple of times I went off stage to listen to the mix and really noticed the difference in mic quality.  The singer brought a Shure beta 58.
The other mics were a collection (nothing matched) of RadioShack quality mics...

Th gal singer was crystal clear but the other two other mics used for vocals were stuffy to say the least (all vocal mics were set at the same level).

Well....

The event on Friday is a sold-out (275 tix) dinner/concert fundraiser.  The dinner is a Portuguese buffet (yum!).  I am sure that the wine will be flowing...  (The attendees will hopefully 'drink up" - lol)
btw:  I don't know how everyone will fit in the hall....

At the end of rehearsal we powered everything down and left the band set up.

This should be interesting...

Well, the gig happened and no one got hurt - lol.
I brought a vocal mic for the bassist and that cleared up some of the mud.
The gal singer's fiance (a jazz bassist) showed up to run the board.  I guess he mixed it well....I couldn't tell as I was playin'.....food was good, too.

A funny note: I got to the gig early (doors opened at 6:00, I arrived at 5:00).
When I arrived, there was a guy (not the DJ, or a band member) fiddling with the PA.  He was trying to get a wireless system up and running through the board.
It was a two channel unit (one receiver with two mics, each on separate frequencies).
Frequency one: 720mhz, frequency two: 750mhz.....

I introduced myself and told the dude that those mic frequencies were illegal to use as of 2010....his response: "really?"..but he kept on trying to get it to work.

I suggested that he go straight to one of the PA cabs to make things less complicated for him...he agreed....connected the unit to one of the DJ's cabs....and I walked away.

The attendees seemed to have a good time as they were dancing to the band.
We played one set, the DJ did his thing during our break (why are DJ's so damn loud...?) and then we finished the night.

After breaking down the PA, I ended up leaving the hall at 12:45am.  I woke up at 6:00am and left at 7:00am for a festival near Boston.

The next time that the band gets together I will ask the leader to bring his Behringer PA.  I'll take home, set it up the back yard, and see what he has to work with...



 






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Re: Assembling a PA from a pile of ****
¬ę Reply #9 on: May 13, 2019, 07:24:56 am ¬Ľ


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