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PA System for Acoustic musician
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markdoucette
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#1
17th May 2012
Old 17th May 2012
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PA System for Acoustic musician

Hello everyone!

I'm currently looking in to buying a new PA system. I had purchased a Behringer system that included a Europower EP1500 power amp, a Europower PMP5000 Powered Mixer, and four Eurolive E1520 speakers. I am however selling this system to get something smaller and more geared towards my current live performance.

I'm looking for a PA system that would be geared towards a single vocal and acoustic guitar input. However, I'd like to have the option of using it for occasional band performances (meaning it would have to be able to support the increase in volume and extra inputs). I'm generally playing dinner shows at restaurants, for audiences of around 50-150 people. However, one of my primary gigs is playing on the deck of a cruise ship, which had led to problems regulating volume (which any advice on, would be very welcome).

Preferably, I'd be able to run two mains for the audience, and a monitor for myself. The acoustic I'm using is a Martin Ellipse, which has a Fishman Matrix pickup system.

A few immediate questions include whether I should purchase a powered or unpowered mixer, and whether or not I should use a DI for my acoustic. This past year I've done plenty of performances without a DI, but I'm curious if it would benefit me. Also, I'd prefer to just use onboard effects on the mixer for my guitar and vocals, but if there is a cost effect way of using a rackmount system or something similar, I'd love to hear it. I'd also like to aim for something that isn't HUGE or weighs an insane amount, as I have a medical condition with my leg, that limits my ability to carry heavy objects.

If anyone has any suggestions or input in what sort of PA system I should aim for, I'd very much appreciate it. I'm looking at spending somewhere around 1000-2000 dollars.

Thanks!
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17th May 2012
Old 17th May 2012
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There is the possibility of using a Schertler ac guitar amp. Those things have mic inputs and line inputs for the guitars - mostly 3 to 4 channels. They sound frigging great and are reasonably loud. We use em a lot around here - even as personal monitors when the stages get bigger and we got a bigger PA system running.

The Bose line array thing is the other idea I'd check out. It's a bit more money but you can do a lot with those - dending on configuration. I'm no Bose fan at all but those Line Array things are pretty whicked - easy to carry around and they sound really great.
#3
17th May 2012
Old 17th May 2012
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suzzymackenzie is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by studjo View Post

The Bose line array thing is the other idea I'd check out. It's a bit more money but you can do a lot with those - dending on configuration. I'm no Bose fan at all but those Line Arry things are pretty whicked - easy to carry around and they sound really great.
You've also got the similar modular HK Audio 'Elements' system at the Bose end of the price range HK Audio Elements. Not auditioned it myself but it was on my list when I was thinking of acquiring convenient high quality PA.
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17th May 2012
Old 17th May 2012
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Another very portable tower type PA like the Bose and the HK but without the additional base unit. Is the Fishman. 220. The Fishman was designed specifically for acoustic guitar/ vocal solo artist. The only issue with these types of PA'sisthey do not have very many inputs for band application although they can be used in conjunction with a small mixer with multiple inputs. The Fishman can be run as a single unit or in pairs they and the Bose are designed to be placed behind the performer so a separated monitor is not needed . Also the Fishman unit is about $900 so two of these units can be had for the price of one of the Bose L 1 or the HK

P.S. Check out The Acoustic Guitar Forum their "Amplification " thread has multiple posts on this subject..
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#5
17th May 2012
Old 17th May 2012
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Here is what I do regarding a similar need for flexibility:

A pair of QSC K10 powered speakers (on sturdy stands)
A pair of Mackie SRM150 personal monitors
One medium sized mixer, like an Allen & Heath MixWizard 16:2
One small mixer, like an Allen & Heath ZED10
One DBX Driverack (either PA or PX will do fine)

I am assuming you have mics, cables, stands, etc.

Here is why this setup meets my needs, and might meet yours:

If it is just me and my guitar, I can use one QSC K10, maybe one personal monitor (maybe not needed), and the small mixer. If it is a full band, I can use both QSC K10s, both personal monitors (although a few more K10s as monitors would be nice), and the large mixer. I can scale everything to the size of the gig without much trouble at all. Nothing is extremely heavy when carried alone. It all fits in the back of my car.

The key is that the QSC powered speakers are very flexible, pretty small, and damn loud when they need to be (but always clear sounding). If you need more of them for a large gig, buy more of them, but you only need one for a small gig.
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17th May 2012
Old 17th May 2012
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Manfrensengensen is offline
3 PRX612m or PRX615m, a small mixer like a ZED10fx
some stands and cables and you're good.

Don't like the K series stuff for acoustic guitar. Too much hyped HF.
The JBLs are lightweight and warmer sounding. Also a button on the PRX's that eq's/reduces LF for when using as a monitor. no monitor EQ needed.

Add a bigger Mixer and some subs for a rock band and youre good.
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17th May 2012
Old 17th May 2012
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after 20 years of giging I downsized my rig with yamaha gear. when I first started out we had a rack with eq's/comps/poweramp/mackie 1604 and 3 way carvin speakers. Perfect system for a sound guy at a small festival but not very good for a giging musician who does their own sound.

Fast forward and now I two yamaha systems. Yamaha literally wrote the book on sound reinforcement and have very reliable gear. My first system is a yamaha emx512sc powered mixer and 4 yamaha club 12" speakers. I always get compliments on our sound. I absolutly love the compression on the first 4 mic inputs, so easy to set. In fact I can get to a gig 20 minutes before a gig and ready to rock by show time.

The second system I had was a yamaha stagepas 250m all in one pa system. This was basically half on the yamaha stagepas 500 system. In fact the stagepas 500 system could be perfect for your situation.

If I were you I would look into the yamaha line up, the club series can be picked up very cheaply used. On the other hand the stage pas 500 system and a msr100 monitor could be a very nice portable system within your budget.
markdoucette
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18th May 2012
Old 18th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tribedescribe View Post
after 20 years of giging I downsized my rig with yamaha gear. when I first started out we had a rack with eq's/comps/poweramp/mackie 1604 and 3 way carvin speakers. Perfect system for a sound guy at a small festival but not very good for a giging musician who does their own sound.

Fast forward and now I two yamaha systems. Yamaha literally wrote the book on sound reinforcement and have very reliable gear. My first system is a yamaha emx512sc powered mixer and 4 yamaha club 12" speakers. I always get compliments on our sound. I absolutly love the compression on the first 4 mic inputs, so easy to set. In fact I can get to a gig 20 minutes before a gig and ready to rock by show time.

The second system I had was a yamaha stagepas 250m all in one pa system. This was basically half on the yamaha stagepas 500 system. In fact the stagepas 500 system could be perfect for your situation.

If I were you I would look into the yamaha line up, the club series can be picked up very cheaply used. On the other hand the stage pas 500 system and a msr100 monitor could be a very nice portable system within your budget.
i actually took a good look at the emx512sc, and it looked like a good option. part of me is so used to the board style mixer, which makes me biased towards them. that being said, the yamaha setup looks like it might be the most affordable and versatile of the setups i've seen. i'm very partial to using a monitor - i've done enough shows without one, and if i can manage to bring one, i find it's always worth the extra effort.
markdoucette
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18th May 2012
Old 18th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manfrensengensen View Post
3 PRX612m or PRX615m, a small mixer like a ZED10fx
some stands and cables and you're good.

Don't like the K series stuff for acoustic guitar. Too much hyped HF.
The JBLs are lightweight and warmer sounding. Also a button on the PRX's that eq's/reduces LF for when using as a monitor. no monitor EQ needed.

Add a bigger Mixer and some subs for a rock band and youre good.
my only issue with this idea is, i'd rather have one larger mixer, rather than worrying about purchasing two separate units. it just seems like it'd be worth the extra space and money to buy one unit that does both jobs well. i don't mind using a bigger mixer at smaller shows, if it means it can handle a bigger show when needed. any thoughts on a single unit that would work in both situations?

i've heard good things about the JBLs you mentioned - the option of foregoing a monitor EQ sounds rather convenient also.
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18th May 2012
Old 18th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoucette View Post
my only issue with this idea is, i'd rather have one larger mixer, rather than worrying about purchasing two separate units. it just seems like it'd be worth the extra space and money to buy one unit that does both jobs well. i don't mind using a bigger mixer at smaller shows, if it means it can handle a bigger show when needed. any thoughts on a single unit that would work in both situations?
Like I mentioned above, the Allen & Heath MixWizard 16:2. You can buy an SKB 12 rack space ratcheting tilt-up case for it; fits the MixWizard perfectly.
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18th May 2012
Old 18th May 2012
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I play in a few bands using "standard" PA gear and own a fair amount myself - but for solo/duo gigs the Bose L1 is pretty hard to beat - they can sound amazing and they fill a room in a very different way than standard PA speakers. do. But one of the nicest things about them in many situations, including some that the original poster mentioned, is that they are very non-threatening. You can be seeing up a traditional PA and putting speakers on stands out in front and people are ready to ask you to turn down before you turn the thing on. With the Bose system, I find you can be actually quite loud and nobody is freaking out - perhaps because it's a bit hard to even see the PA on a stage - just some little pole in the back. They are really quite amazing.

I also do duos with a friend who has the above-mentioned Fishman tower, which works very well also - although it's different - not a line array set up. But the Fishman has a really nice rich midrange and puts out lots of sound too.
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18th May 2012
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Something worth considering is the automotive/marine 12V mobile stuff. You can buy multichannel 12V power amp modules, and speakers and configure them any way you want to. Some are designed for marine use, so they are safe and waterproof. Charge up a sealed lead acid battery and you won't need to be limited to mains power. Solar panels are an option too - get the green vote.

Build them into a flight case maybe ... you could put your whole rig into one large case that doubles as your pedalboard ...

These amps tend to have RCA consumer line inputs - ideal for a lot of musicians toys. You can get multichannel amps - maybe have some monitors that flip up pointed at you.
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18th May 2012
Old 18th May 2012
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I've plugged my acoustic straight into a K10 based system and it sounded great. Even in a hard room. My small system is a pair of K10s and a Gigrack head which drives small monitors. The Soundcraft has plenty of power for the monitors and sounds good. And it's small and easy to transport with the lid protecting things. I have gig bags for the K10s. If I need more, I have a small rack with a MixWiz, TC300 fx and an Ashley eq. Run the K10s as tops over a pair of Cubo subs. These have 18Sound LW1400 drivers which I run off a small rack with a Crest Pro9200 and a Driverack in it. Remnants of when I had a large system. I have two more of the sub drivers sitting around, but the combo goes ungodly loud. I can do small outdoor gigs with it and if I need more it's time to hire out (tired of filling a trailer and dragging everything in and out on dollies and trunks). Plenty of flexibility. I have an old HotSpot but the newer TC monitors are nice. For small gigs I have a pair of these plastic snap together Peavey things that came with a cheap 10 and piezo. I swapped the guts out for Eminence and they sound fine in small rooms. EV300s for when things get louder.

Plenty of flexibility. From small wine tasting rooms to street fairs. The less I carry the better. I get the small system and my drum kit into a Mazda 3 hatchback.
markdoucette
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2nd June 2012
Old 2nd June 2012
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so, i've been talking to someone about a partial trade for my system. he's offering me a fender passport 500 system, new. i'm still looking for around 2000 on top of that system, which would leave me money for a powered mixer and some new mics and such.

i was wondering if anyone had any experience with the fender unit though. so far i've read quite a few mixed reviews.
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