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Author Topic: Starting out...PA Advice  (Read 3610 times)

Grant Dow

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Starting out...PA Advice
« on: April 22, 2011, 05:54:51 am »

Hi everyone,

i've been thinking about getting together a small PA system for small club, pub gigs, etc, roughly around 150-200 people size places. What has made me think about the possibilities of doing this is that i've decided to cut down on my day job and i'm looking to get a little more involved in the live show, audio business.
I've been recording local bands for years, demos, small indy label releases, etc. I've been cutting down on these projects though over the last few years since i became a dad. Now i have all this gear that isn't getting much usage...more than enough mics for a live band, cables, snakes, outboard compressors, efx and an Allen & Heath Zed R16 mixer. I've had this though about buying some active speakers and a couple of stage monitors and trying to get some live gigs locally. I know a few people in the business and am sure they might be able to help too.
I'm basically looking for some advice of what kind system to go for, size, etc. Actually any advice about this idea i've had in my head for the last week or so would be very grateful.

Thanks.

Grant
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Brad Weber

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Re: Starting out...PA Advice
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2011, 07:20:49 am »

i've been thinking about getting together a small PA system for small club, pub gigs, etc, roughly around 150-200 people size places. What has made me think about the possibilities of doing this is that i've decided to cut down on my day job and i'm looking to get a little more involved in the live show, audio business.
I've been recording local bands for years, demos, small indy label releases, etc. I've been cutting down on these projects though over the last few years since i became a dad. Now i have all this gear that isn't getting much usage...more than enough mics for a live band, cables, snakes, outboard compressors, efx and an Allen & Heath Zed R16 mixer. I've had this though about buying some active speakers and a couple of stage monitors and trying to get some live gigs locally. I know a few people in the business and am sure they might be able to help too.
I'm basically looking for some advice of what kind system to go for, size, etc. Actually any advice about this idea i've had in my head for the last week or so would be very grateful.
It might help if you used your real name as required by the forum rules and stated toward the top of every page.  IF you don;t change that the thread will be locked.
 
As far as gear, you might want to look at the "Quick and Dirty Bar Rig" here, http://www.bennettprescott.com/.  You might also want to look at this current discussion, http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,2035.0.html.  And if you search here and the old forums (http://srforums.prosoundweb.com/) you'll find numerous discussions related to startup and basic bar/club rigs.  But beyond the equipment there are also probably some important business decisions to make.
 
What are you looking to do?  Are you thinking of trying to get bands to hire you or of trying to get a house gig?  Are you going to be open to other events such as private parties, civic events, corporate events and so on?  Are you a legal business and do you have all appropriate licensing, property and liability insurance, etc.?  Do you have a good way to transport and store your gear?
 
Your experience is apparently on the studio/recording side and while that will definitely be beneficial, live sound also has some significant differences, many related to having the microphones, performers, house speakers and monitors all in the same physical space with the resulting relationships and interactions.  You may also find that in a live club or pub type situation that some of the nuances that may have been critical to a recording don't have matter nearly as much or translate that well due to factors as simple as dealing with high ambient noise levels and/or a poor acoustical environment.  The differences can also affect the gear used, many people would not subject the mics they might use in a studio to a bar or club environment.
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Grant Dow

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Re: Starting out...PA Advice
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2011, 09:48:27 am »

It might help if you used your real name as required by the forum rules and stated toward the top of every page.  IF you don;t change that the thread will be locked.
 
As far as gear, you might want to look at the "Quick and Dirty Bar Rig" here, http://www.bennettprescott.com/.  You might also want to look at this current discussion, http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,2035.0.html.  And if you search here and the old forums (http://srforums.prosoundweb.com/) you'll find numerous discussions related to startup and basic bar/club rigs.  But beyond the equipment there are also probably some important business decisions to make.
 
What are you looking to do?  Are you thinking of trying to get bands to hire you or of trying to get a house gig?  Are you going to be open to other events such as private parties, civic events, corporate events and so on?  Are you a legal business and do you have all appropriate licensing, property and liability insurance, etc.?  Do you have a good way to transport and store your gear?
 
Your experience is apparently on the studio/recording side and while that will definitely be beneficial, live sound also has some significant differences, many related to having the microphones, performers, house speakers and monitors all in the same physical space with the resulting relationships and interactions.  You may also find that in a live club or pub type situation that some of the nuances that may have been critical to a recording don't have matter nearly as much or translate that well due to factors as simple as dealing with high ambient noise levels and/or a poor acoustical environment.  The differences can also affect the gear used, many people would not subject the mics they might use in a studio to a bar or club environment.

Hi Brad, at the moment i'm holding off from any business decisions as it's really not necessary at the moment, i'm not that far down the road yet. I have to do some research around my area, South Switzerland, first, start to build up contacts, etc. I've been involved in the local music scene for years so that shouldn't be too hard. I'm a drummer and have played 100's of gigs over the years so i do have some stage experience although i've never done FOH.

Thanks for that quick and dirty bar rig info, excellent...i'll be going through the numerous threads in the forum too so hopefully i'll pick up some more info.

Thanks.

Grant
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David Parker

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Re: Starting out...PA Advice
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2011, 09:56:47 am »

Hi everyone,

i've been thinking about getting together a small PA system for small club, pub gigs, etc, roughly around 150-200 people size places. What has made me think about the possibilities of doing this is that i've decided to cut down on my day job and i'm looking to get a little more involved in the live show, audio business.
I've been recording local bands for years, demos, small indy label releases, etc. I've been cutting down on these projects though over the last few years since i became a dad. Now i have all this gear that isn't getting much usage...more than enough mics for a live band, cables, snakes, outboard compressors, efx and an Allen & Heath Zed R16 mixer. I've had this though about buying some active speakers and a couple of stage monitors and trying to get some live gigs locally. I know a few people in the business and am sure they might be able to help too.
I'm basically looking for some advice of what kind system to go for, size, etc. Actually any advice about this idea i've had in my head for the last week or so would be very grateful.

Thanks.

Grant

I don't know about your area, but here in Houston clubs that size are paying $500-$800 for bands, and they have to bring their own PA. Not a lot of money to pay for PA in that "business" plan. If you are doing it because you love music and want to be a part of it, cool. If you are doing it to make money, you really need to do your homework. Find out what others in that field in your area are doing and how much they are making. As others have said, live audio is a very different animal from recording. Contrary to what someone might think going in, cabling is WAY more a part of live audio than you'd ever think. Also, a pair of speakers on sticks wont get it in a club that size. You're gonna need some serious subs.
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Scott Bolt

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Re: Starting out...PA Advice
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2011, 02:23:39 pm »

IMHO, all you need is a pair of PRX612m's and a pair of PRX618XLF's.  For monitoring, I would buy a pair of RCF310's.  That should do it for you ;)
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Starting out...PA Advice
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2011, 02:33:46 pm »

Hi everyone,

i've been thinking about getting together a small PA system for small club, pub gigs, etc, roughly around 150-200 people size places. What has made me think about the possibilities of doing this is that i've decided to cut down on my day job and i'm looking to get a little more involved in the live show, audio business.

{big ol' snip}

Thanks.

Grant

Invest in a hobby like cooking or cigar band collecting, you know, something with a future!

Seriously.

At the bar level it's almost impossible to have a genuinely profitable business; hell, it's hard enough to have positive cash flow.  There is satisfaction from doing a good job under difficult circumstances but there's precious little income.

If you're cool with that, you need to walk yourself through the entire signal chain, first input to final output device (speakers), and include all the copper and mechanical things... cables, cases/material handling, transportation, storage, maintenance.

Bennett Prescott wrote a nice article about what it takes to put together a nice bar/club rig.  It came out to around $30,000.  Less nice/less stuff will still eventually tip the balance at $12,000-15,000.  How much of that day gig are you walking away from?

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Starting out...PA Advice
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2011, 02:46:59 pm »

Grant.....

Let me paraphrase your post.

"HI.  I've been around music for a while now and have decided that I want to play in a band so I can cut back on my day job and still make a living.  What instrument should I learn to play?"

There is a learning curve in addition to the $$$$$ investment.  Recording and live sound are different animals......WAY different.   
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 02:57:28 pm by dick rees »
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Dave Neale

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Re: Starting out...PA Advice
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2011, 01:12:31 pm »

Hi everyone,

i've been thinking about getting together a small PA system for small club, pub gigs, etc, roughly around 150-200 people size places. What has made me think about the possibilities of doing this is that i've decided to cut down on my day job and i'm looking to get a little more involved in the live show, audio business.
I've been recording local bands for years, demos, small indy label releases, etc. I've been cutting down on these projects though over the last few years since i became a dad. Now i have all this gear that isn't getting much usage...more than enough mics for a live band, cables, snakes, outboard compressors, efx and an Allen & Heath Zed R16 mixer. I've had this though about buying some active speakers and a couple of stage monitors and trying to get some live gigs locally. I know a few people in the business and am sure they might be able to help too.
I'm basically looking for some advice of what kind system to go for, size, etc. Actually any advice about this idea i've had in my head for the last week or so would be very grateful.

Thanks.

Grant

Get a job with a company that already does those gigs.  There is a lot of gear in the world and a lack of truly talented mix engineers.  If you've got what it takes any employer will be happy to put you in the driver's seat...

AFTER you wrap several thousand miles of cable, push tons of cases, and endure many long hours of boredom waiting for the show to come down so you can push it out and get three hours of sleep before you go to that day gig you still need.

There is a lot more to doing a show properly than just jacking your home studio mixer into some active speakers and letting it rip.  You may not have any idea what you are getting yourself into.  I am certain you have no idea how to price the services you intend to offer.

Also, the live production world is fairly close knit and if you discover you have the aptitude to have a career in the field, you will get a lot farther in your corner of the world if you build some relationships.  Much preferable to throwing a system out into the market and being the new ankle biter in town.

FWIW
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Starting out...PA Advice
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2011, 01:12:31 pm »


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