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Author Topic: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?  (Read 5319 times)

Richard Vasseur

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Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« on: January 28, 2011, 04:57:59 am »

Hi !!

I've been lurking on this board for years but never posted before.

I'm setting up a modern soft jazz band:
- female singer, soft voice (think Melody Gardot)
- drummer (think Joey Baron)
- guitar (think Bill Frisell)
- keys (Rhodes, electric piano)
- fretless electric bass

We are planning to not use amps on stage, everybody DIed to the PA.
Bass and keys will go DI, guitar will use an AxeFX direct.
Very low stage volume is the goal.

We plan to play small lounge clubs, essentially as background music, so we do not need / plan high SPLs.

When we play bigger stages, we will have access to big PAs along with soundmen.

So: we need to buy a PA for rehearsals and small clubs (attendance: 10-50).
Portability & budget control are our main concerns.
Max budget is €2500 (USD 3500). This must include amplified monitors, a mixing table, stands & a case for the mixing table.

Do you reckon a pair of powered 12" monitors would do the job?
I was thinking of a pair of FBT Verve 12MA (I live in France so these can be had at a good price here, since they're made in Italy).

I'll also need a small mixer.
It'd be great if the mixer had effets included (we'll need reverb for the vocals).
Even greater if it had built-in compression (for vocals & bass).

I was thinking maybe a YAMAHA MG 166CX could do? (8 MIC/Line inputs, a compressor knob on those inputs, built-in FX etc.)

Many thanks for your recommandation !!

Richard Vasseur
Saverdun, France.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2011, 05:04:23 am by Haslar »
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frank kayser

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2011, 06:24:46 am »

Your jazz band isn't going to need much for the 10-50 seat venues you talk about.  A pair if powered mains and one or two powered monitors will serve twice that, easily.

I'm not familiar with the speaks you mentioned; they may be great.  I would recommend that if they are in your price range, and available, you check into the QSC K10 and QSC K12 speakers - sound great, and are popular here (whatever that's worth).  Very clean and articulate for the jazz group.  A-B compare them with your suggestion, and see what fits best for you.

I use the A&H MixWiz3 16:2 and find it to be a very versatile mixer - decent effects; no compression, though.  I'm not sure of the quality if the comps on the Yamaha - evaluate whether you really need compression for the sound you want, and the venue sizes you're playing.  You can always add a known-good compressor as an add-on, too...

In the states, you could pick up two K12 and two K10 for about $2200us and an A&H Mix Wiz3 16:2 for around a grand, keeping within your budget.  Again, these are things I use and are happy with - the Yamaha board may do well - A-B compare things and make your move.

Sounds like fun!

frank
« Last Edit: January 28, 2011, 06:31:40 am by frank kayser »
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Richard Vasseur

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2011, 08:10:46 am »

Franck: many thanks for your informative reply!
I really do appreciate.

It is my understanding that the QSC K-series speakers and the FBT are very close cousins - they sound pretty much alike and pretty much do the same things.

I already have a powered monitor (lower-end though, an Audiophony 8MA) that can be used for onstage monitoring.

I had checked out the MixWiz 3 16:2 - that looks like a great pice of kit, but I'm concerned about it being a bit overkill for my needs (6 Auxes, 16 inputs, and $1350 over here).
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Ned Ward

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2011, 10:31:18 am »

You should be fine; at the stage volumes you're talking about it may not be an issue.


However, with no amps at all, you will need to provide more monitors since now there's no amp for the drummer to hear or the bass player. Depending on whether or not the band moves around a lot, in-ear monitors with wired packs may serve better and be similar in cost, but weight savings could be significant. I don't know what the used gear market is over in france, but over here I've had good luck with used powered Mackie SRM450s, buying them used and 1/2 of what new ones cost with no problems.


We have 2 QSC HPR 122i's for mains for our small band and are starting to look at IEMs for our lead singer and drummer; I have been using the Rolls PM55s headphone amp as a RPMIEMR (Really Poor Man's IEM Rig) out of my 01v.the K10's are great boxes and we will probably buy 2 for floor monitors. They're also very light, which makes for nice setup and teardown at the end of the night.




The Mixwiz is great and with 6 auxes, you'll find that you may need more than 1 monitor mix for the band, depending on levels. For an analog console that you're doing monitors, I'd say 6 is the minimum, since you'll want to add effects at some point. On a digital, 4 would probably be the minimum aux channels given your band size. For us we use these mixes (rock, but same band size)
Mix 1 - Lead singer mix. Lots and lots of her, some guitar/keyboards for pitch.
Mix 2 - Guitar/Bass mix with vocals - I share with my bass player and it works; we also have low-wattage amps that we can hear, but we keep the stage volume down considerably.
Mix 3 - Keyboards mix - his vocals, keyboards, and guitar/POD for those songs
Mix 4 - Drum mix




I have an older Yamaha 01v, and for our small band and the bars/clubs we play in, having built-in parametric EQ on every channel, aux and main, dynamics and effects on every channel and 4 assignable outs made me sell my Mackie 1642, dbx compressor, Lexicon Reverb and SPX90; setup is a lot faster and easier now.


Much to think about.
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Richard Vasseur

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2011, 10:59:53 am »

Ned: thanks for the info !

You're obviously right about ading monitors.

However, I was thinking that maybe we can use our mains as monitors, provided we place them behind the band.
I know this is far from ideal, as the vocal mic might get into feedback, but is it a reasonable solution provided we don't play loud?
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frank kayser

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2011, 11:19:48 am »

Richard,
I've seen mains behind being used as monitors - it can, and has been done. Gain before feedback would be quite low - appropriate for the small 10 folk venue you speak of - maybe for something a little larger.  You'll find the limits quickly enough.  Anything you do, such as putting the speakers farther out on the wings, would give you more sound in the mains, but be much less useful as monitors - especially once the crossover kicks in for the high freqencies.

frank
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2011, 12:47:29 pm »

Ned: thanks for the info !

You're obviously right about ading monitors.

However, I was thinking that maybe we can use our mains as monitors, provided we place them behind the band.
I know this is far from ideal, as the vocal mic might get into feedback, but is it a reasonable solution provided we don't play loud?

Since adding PA for all the instruments is going to add costs, bigger mixer, more mics, more monitors, why aren't they using amps? Small amps for the piano, bass, and guitar, and let the drums play acoustically. I think in a small venue, having the individual instrument source be the individual instrument rather than the PA is a much better idea. A jazz band should know how to play together.  I would just get a small PA for the vocalist, and one monitor for her. The rest of the band will hear her vocals from her monitor, and they will hear each other acoustically, just like jazz bands have been doing for 100 years.

Mac
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Ned Ward

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2011, 08:00:26 pm »

Excellent point Mac. I usually have a 20 watt Princeton Reverb and our bass player has a small Ampeg B50R combo amp - not loud at all, but helps vs. trying to hear everything in the monitors - you then end up with the challenge that your monitors may be louder than your mains...

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Arjan van Gog

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2011, 04:29:34 am »

I was thinking of a pair of FBT Verve 12MA (I live in France so these can be had at a good price here, since they're made in Italy).

I don't know what you pay in France but I live in the Netherlands and I got my FBT speakers at a price far below what any local dealer could offer from these guys in Italy:

http://www.italiastrumentimusicali.com/Scheda.asp?txtRic=fbt&idCat=0&idSta=0&idProd=973
(link to your FBT 12MA's for just EUR 611 including VAT).

Shipping is very reasonable too: I paid EUR 100 for 2x FBT10sa and 2x FBTMaxX4a, that's over 100kg shipping weight.

Good luck,
Arjan
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2011, 07:12:50 am »

Since adding PA for all the instruments is going to add costs, bigger mixer, more mics, more monitors, why aren't they using amps? Small amps for the piano, bass, and guitar, and let the drums play acoustically. I think in a small venue, having the individual instrument source be the individual instrument rather than the PA is a much better idea. A jazz band should know how to play together.  I would just get a small PA for the vocalist, and one monitor for her. The rest of the band will hear her vocals from her monitor, and they will hear each other acoustically, just like jazz bands have been doing for 100 years.

Mac

Exaclty. Plus the thought of a jazz band without a mix on stage just screams "no feeling. no expression" as loud as one can scream.
 
If you have to hear the vocalist through a monitor than a pair of 15" boxes on poles behind the band and as far left/right as possible will work fine at the levels your going to work at. As a matter of fact I routinely put a pair of 722s for vocals behind my band in smaller clubs with levels of 110db at 50 feet and have no issues at all.
 
The real point is box count and budget though and you'll have a much nicer sound with much more feeling if you use the voice of the instrument on stage, obtain the correct mix and levels on stage, then use the PA / FOH for vocals only. You may or may not even need a monitor(s) and a small 12 channel board of good quality will do the job just fine.
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Roland Clarke

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2011, 08:04:34 am »

Not that it particularly needs saying, but I would also fully endorse what Mac and Bob are saying above.  With a band that size, in the sort of venue you are describing I would be aiming to produce a great balanced sound on stage with small amp's and possibly a couple of monitors for vocals (sidefills would probably work well) and to fill in any gaps, possibly a little keys/guitar.  Alternatively, if cost is a real issue, you could place the speakers to the back of the band (left and right) and just use them, not as ideal, but workable if you are careful with the setup.

Regards


Roland
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Guy Morris

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2011, 11:19:07 am »

Check out the HK Smart system. I have a couple of these systems and they are excellent for 'intimate' events up to 50 persons if you are playing jazz or even blues (solo). I think Mac is correct on suggesting that  the instruments and backline do the work with just the PA handling the vocals, but on a few occasions where a room has not been best suited I have elected to mic the kick drum /bass (acoustic and electric) and keys with brass in a subtle way and had very sweet results. The Smart comprises 2 x 6" + Dome tweeter satellites and a 10" sub bass with input controls which you can go direct into (solo) or use the XLRs L/R line in from a mixer. The benefit of  the system is that it performs really well sonically (can go loud) but is so small in size that you do not notice its there (unlike a couple of 15" boxes!)  which really puts the focus back on the musicians. Having control of the kick and bass really helped underpin the brass whereas without it the lows did lose out to the brass in balance terms. I also have used and bought for similar events the HK Elements system which is a scaleable micro line array system,this also is great for non intrusive PA and gives a 100 degree horizontal  dispersion so the idea of using FOH as reference works well! I used one 10" sub and 2 x elements tops a side for 50 noisy people in a pub with a jazz quintet who ramped it up in tempo and it did the job without being overbearing. I'm sure there are similar systems available they are the two I have used and now own however. The Smart is about £1100 gbp so may suit your budget the Elements wouldn't but worth checking out, and there is always BOSE L1 but try and get a demo of whatever you prefer first so everyone is happy with the purchase.

With mixers there are so many small compact formats available its down to personal choice I would suggest S/craft,Yamaha MG series or A&H Zed (I use the smallest Zed 10fx for this type of event where really there is not room for anything bigger!)

good luck

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David Buckley

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2011, 07:33:10 pm »

You might also want to consider checking out the RCF TT speaker range.
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duane massey

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2011, 12:12:54 am »

I have used 2 speakers on sticks with a jazz quartet, no amps, no monitors, and it was perfect for small intimate rooms. We were using a small powered mixer and 2 12" Yamaha's, and it was ideal for the 10-50 people range. Keys, guitar, bass, small drum kit, and 3 vocals, stuck the speakers directly behind us and could hear ourselves quite well.

Now these were all pro-level jazz players, not smooth/r&b stuff, and we played mostly standards (Real Book-lite), but it can work IF the talent is there.
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Duane Massey
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Guy Luckert

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2011, 05:00:16 am »

Another vote for small stage amps and NOT putting everyone through the P.A.
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Richard Vasseur

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2011, 11:19:29 am »

Ok thank you everyone for your kind help !!

After a few weeks of rehearsals, we've tried various options and it seems you guys were right about having small amps onstage.

Our keyboardist told me he has a pair of powered EVs, so that could do for amplifying vocals I suppose.
I just have to find myself a good little mixer.

The ALLEN&HEATH WZ³16:2 looks great, but might be overkill for our limited needs. The price (€979 over here) is also a bit discouraging.
What about the ALLEN&HEATH ZED-22FX? It's €666 (the number of the beast!), so that could do.
Its specs:
16x mic/line inputs
3x dual stereo inputs
4x aux sends


There is also the SOUNDCRAFT MPMI 20, even cheaper @ €544. This one looks good as well.

What do you think?

Thanks !!

Richard
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Paul Dershem

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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2011, 10:49:41 pm »

Ok thank you everyone for your kind help !!

After a few weeks of rehearsals, we've tried various options and it seems you guys were right about having small amps onstage.

Our keyboardist told me he has a pair of powered EVs, so that could do for amplifying vocals I suppose.
I just have to find myself a good little mixer.

The ALLEN&HEATH WZ³16:2 looks great, but might be overkill for our limited needs. The price (€979 over here) is also a bit discouraging.
What about the ALLEN&HEATH ZED-22FX? It's €666 (the number of the beast!), so that could do.
Its specs:
16x mic/line inputs
3x dual stereo inputs
4x aux sends


There is also the SOUNDCRAFT MPMI 20, even cheaper @ €544. This one looks good as well.

What do you think?

Thanks !!

Richard

I've played lots of small clubs as a bassist with jazz trios and small combos, with and without vocalists. Overamplifcation has been the bane of my existence, serving little purpose other than to raise the noise floor and SPL for everyone involved.

In small kinds of venues, I have two goals:
Make sure everyone on stage can hear each other clearly at a reasonable volume; and enable the audience to hear the nuances without inflicting ear fatigue or more volume than necessary.

I recommend the KISS method.
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Re: Is a pair on amplified 12" monitors enough for my jazz band?
Ā« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2011, 10:49:41 pm Ā»


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