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PA help

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Guest pop-notmyface

okay, i was wondering if anyone could give me a simple lowdown on how to set up a PA system for a small venue...ie. minimum requirements, set-up, wiring. please?

nothing too complicated though, just a PA for starters guide...or a site if you know something useful. thanks.

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Guest pop-notmyface
If its a really small venue then all you will need is a vocal pa which is a powered mixer and a couple of speakers....

Very easy stuff....

What size of venue?

mmh, 200 people max, pretty small though.

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Absolute minimum? Yeah, what Van-Hell said.

Whats the deal, is this a one off thing or are you in the market for a system for yourself?

What type of band, how loud do you play? What do you hope to achieve? Is there a budget?

Sounds to me like you'd be better off hiring in the meantime.

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mmh' date=' 200 people max, pretty small though.[/quote']

Hmm...probably reckoning still a vocal pa just because you might get lost setting up a bigger rig....how decent are the amps gonna be? Actually what sort of music are you playing?

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Always get a much more powerful PA than you need!!! When we were young and clueless (ie. 12!) we thought as our amps were 100watts then the PA should be aswell. This is a good way to blow a vocal PA at a soundcheck....a 300 watt PA at least (with capable speakers!!!) is recommended, although prefer an 800 watt!!! This means the vocals can potentially be the loudest thing, which is what is usually desired, it also means if the drummer hits like a pussy you can back him up with a kick and/or snare mic. Don't bother with micing amps and Di'ing the bass if its a small setup, these things are usually loud enough....a monitor or two may be a useful thing, especially if the vocal speakers are gonna be way out front (you would normall put the vocals out in front of the band to avoid feedback, and to make that shitty 50 watt carlsboro PA be heard!!) You can get powered monitors, or run a seperate power amp off your mixer and hang some passive monitors off it. We always used active monirors (well..monitor)

As for equipment, go for a powered mixer, very simple to set up. Plug speakers in to the correct sockets, plug in mics, turn on, adjust the volume, if it has a master EQ, ram the volume until you get feedback then try working out which frequency is causing the trouble. Don't count on the volume being at full whack though, get it where you can take down the master volume and eliminate the rest of the feedback, else you'll be scooping out a complete frequency range, and probably the frequency the human voice makes! :)

As for monitors, most powered mixers will have a MONITOR out. This usually is just the same signal as would be going to your speakers, although some better models may have a seperate control for how much of each channel goes to the monitror. Experiment until eveyrone is happy.

Reverb/effects...always nice but not always necessary, if its a small mixer (100-300w) reverb probably isn't going to be heard anyway and I personally always find you lose some headroom when applying it. I always think delay sounds better live, although some singers hate it. If your mixer has an internal effects, try it, else..forget it. Forget the spring reverbs aswell...unless the band want to pick up and drop the PA to make the springs rattle for a certain effect :D

Set and forget usually works best. Go for a "club-style" mixer...(the ones that look like a guitar head) chuck it in the back somewhere convenient enough to get to change in emergency (feedback, no vocals) but not somehwere where the singer will keep changing every setting every 2 seconds. For a vocal PA, theres really no need for someone to be operating a mixing board!!! It berates me to see this!! "Great sound last night!" "Thanks man, but my index finger is sore from riding that one fader the whole night...." Set and forget!!! Its not wembley. Its not rocket science. If you can set up a guitar amp and head, you can set up a vocal PA and speakers.

Get the speakers up high, preferably on fixed stands (5 beer crates may look cool but come on....) Head level with the audience is the idea.

Listen from the very back of the venue, and every other possible place, and strike the right balance. Guitar amps and bass amps can be turned down, but drummers can't, so if you have Keith Moon or animal on the drums, you're gonna have to crank up those amps! :D If you have Ringo jnr on drums, you'll be safe with 10 watt practice amps and parking cones for the mics.....

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Guest pop-notmyface

thanks that's some good advice.

basically, i'll do what is in my powers (and budget) to see if i can rent out 62 Shiprow, re-vamp it and get some kick ass bands.

physically, it's still in good shape, but it looks absolutely awful. it hasn't really been looked after properly in the last few years. some things need to be stripped out and replaced completely, like the ceiling fans which don't actually work. i'm aiming to take out a loan for about 10000-12000 and make an offer. it's really not much, as i would only be trying to rent it for a few months and see if it is taking off at all.

so i will either have to buy a PA system including a mixing desk and a lighting rig. it's pretty ambitious.

i can't guarantee anything, and there are plenty of odds to fight against, but the plan is to make it completely different from all other aberdeen venues. so any advice would be well appreciated, i need to find out as much as i can.

i've also been asking round, and bands such as Kill Kenada and The Murder Of Rosa Luxemburg would be quite willing to play.

but one question, would YOU go and see a band play even if the venue has no alcohol, or is it all about the booze? i know that the most money is made from bevarages, but i want to take a different approach...

oh, and if i don't get the chance to make anything out of it, it will become a Gay Bar :p

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......but one question' date=' would YOU go and see a band play even if the venue has no alcohol, or is it all about the booze? i know that the most money is made from bevarages, but i want to take a different approach...

[/quote']

Good luck with your venture!

Now the beer / no beer question!!!! Personally I go to gigs and don't drink 'cos I'm usually driving, so a venue with no beer wouldn't really affect me........BUT......I would think that you would need something else on offer to attract the general public. I would guess that the people who attend gigs by the majority of local bands could be broken down into several areas:

10% - band friends and followers who know the band

20% - other musicians looking to rip off riffs (!!!) or people who are interested in hearing new groups

70% - people who go out to socialise and have a beer and the band are a really just a bonus for them

The chances are that a lot of people would visit the venue for a short while to see whats happening etc. but would probably move on to a more traditional "beer and a band" venue unless the band were extremely good / popular.

Just my ramblings,

Mike

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Guest pop-notmyface

mmh, so it's not really about the music then, right?

well, i guess i would only have to book straight edge bands ;)

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but one question' date=' would YOU go and see a band play even if the venue has no alcohol, or is it all about the booze? i know that the most money is made from bevarages, but i want to take a different approach...[/quote']

Good tip in this respect would be to make life as simple as possible - instead of wasting beer by having to clean the lines every week, just sell cans/bottles and provide glasses if people want them. What else? hmm...sell a limited range of spirits and again, only sell cans of juice so you don't have to worry about the..fountain breaking for whatever reason. You could have big 2 litre bottles for people that want a dash.

What else? Make all the prices easy - don't bother fucking around with 1.85 or whatever, just charge a range of flat prices for things, meaning you save time serving the drinks. I'm sure if done properly, no-one would object to paying a flat 2 for a can of beer or a bottle.

I wouldn't worry about being sophisticated - as long as people can have a few drinks, I'm sure they'd be happy with whatever is on offer. There's no point trying to compete with established bars in that front - especially as The Moorings is just down the road for anyone who might want to sample obscure (and usually lovely) vodka or whatever..

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Guest pop-notmyface

lol, do you think people would be up for milkshakes and smoothies?

no really, i wouldn't want to get into trouble of selling alcoholic drinks.

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Could be an interesting concept, but I dare say it would require a fair bit in the bank to let you establish the concept in the first place - so it would be a matter of being able to sustain a big loss for the first few months while people got used to the idea of a place that was "about the music".

You have to consider essentially whether you can survive without selling alcohol - would people happily pay 5 on the door instead of 3, just because you didn't sell alcohol? Or would they refuse to go because not only they're paying more on the door, but they can't even get a drink?

You have to consider the market too - such a "dry" place might go down amazingly well in London, because there's a huge market and you only need to capture a tiny percentage of said market in order to succeed - but here, there's a small market and if the choice is between seeing band #1 at the dry venue and paying 5, or seeing band #2 at the other venue and paying 3 (and having money for a pint), you might find people wouldn't want to come to your venue for that reason.

It's a tricky, but interesting one - I think potentially, it offers a completely different take on things, but I'm not sure if it's commercially viable - might be best to go to a few local gigs and do some market research to see if people would be affected by the lack of alcohol?

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Guest pop-notmyface
Could be an interesting concept' date=' but I dare say it would require a fair bit in the bank to let you establish the concept in the first place - so it would be a matter of being able to sustain a big loss for the first few months while people got used to the idea of a place that was "about the music".

You have to consider essentially whether you can survive without selling alcohol - would people happily pay 5 on the door instead of 3, just because you didn't sell alcohol? Or would they refuse to go because not only they're paying more on the door, but they can't even get a drink?

You have to consider the market too - such a "dry" place might go down amazingly well in London, because there's a huge market and you only need to capture a tiny percentage of said market in order to succeed - but here, there's a small market and if the choice is between seeing band #1 at the dry venue and paying 5, or seeing band #2 at the other venue and paying 3 (and having money for a pint), you might find people wouldn't want to come to your venue for that reason.

It's a tricky, but interesting one - I think potentially, it offers a completely different take on things, but I'm not sure if it's commercially viable - might be best to go to a few local gigs and do some market research to see if people would be affected by the lack of alcohol?[/quote']

well, i would of course sell some drinks and provide free water, but yeah, i haven't figured it out yet.

in terms of money, i wouldn't concentrate on putting on local bands (no offense) as often as the other venues do, but get more out-of-town and from across-the-pond. well, to be honest, i'm not sure if putting on local bands all the time is profitable or not...but i was considering maybe one "famous" band with local support and one night of local bands in one week. though i reckon club owners from the Tunnels are shaking their heads right now because they have bands 3 or 4 days a week if not more. yes, it still needs a lot of research...better get cracking

the effect might be less drunks and trouble ;)

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well' date=' i would of course sell some drinks and provide free water, but yeah, i haven't figured it out yet.[/quote']

Yeah, I do like the idea, I just wonder if it could replace the alcohol side of things. I reckon such a place (if viable) would get the support of people with money to give away, because the concept of a club that doesn't sell alcohol is so innovative.

in terms of money, i wouldn't concentrate on putting on local bands (no offense) as often as the other venues do, but get more out-of-town and from across-the-pond. well, to be honest, i'm not sure if putting on local bands all the time is profitable or not...but i was considering maybe one "famous" band with local support and one night of local bands in one week.

You have to consider size/etc - I think the crammed-to-the-rafters capacity of the place was 140, though i'm sure someone else can correct me on that. I don't know what the fire capacity was, though.

Local bands are indefinitely more profitable - a touring band might agree to play for 250 with 5 tickets, right? So they'll pull 50 people and you break even - but local bands might pull 25, but you only have to pay them 40-50, meaning you make 75-85 profit on that one band. I've also found that local bands effectively subsidise the touring bands - there's always exceptions, but a place like there will rely on the local bands bringing enough people through the door to pay for the touring bands.

though i reckon club owners from the Tunnels are shaking their heads right now because they have bands 3 or 4 days a week if not more. yes, it still needs a lot of research...better get cracking

Well, look at it this way. If the rent is still 15k a year, ignoring *all* else, you have to make 1250 profit per month to cover the rent. Or just over 41 per day - just to pay the rent. You've then got to consider the cost of the loan - say it's 10000 at 10%...if my maths isn't flawed, you'd be looking at paying 300-ish a month back. That's 1550 profit you need to make *per month* just to cover the costs of staying alive. That's before you take any other costs into consideration, such as staff or the upkeep of equipment or stuff like phone bills.

I guess the moral is that you can't do enough market research :)

edit : taking on what reject_monkey says, if you could do 3 gigs a week that were the hottest place to be in town, you'd probably make more money than being open for 7 days a week. It's a question of cashflow really - can you afford to keep paying the bills while building up the nights, or do you need the money to be coming in from day 1?

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I think a comfy, intimate enviroment with small/acoustic gigs in the evening would be good, I'd be happy with a coffee.

Your only problem could be your lack of casual punters and 'passing trade' at the weekends, as a lot of these people could see an alcohol-free gig at the weekend as a waste of drinking time, which is a shame. However, you could do pretty well during the weekdays, when people fancy seeing a band but don't want the noise of a pub/club/bar enviroment.

You could even stick some rugs on the floor and make everyone sit cross-legged, Donovan-style.

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Yeh I did think of that, and they are both very nice venues (although I haven't been in Kilau for awhile), but that kind of venue is nowhere near as saturated in Aberdeen as the Rock-Club/Pub format.

There's only really those two, and from what I can gather from the types of bands he's mentioned (The Murder of Rosa Luxemburg etc), he'll be putting on very different shows to the kind of thing put on in the Belmont/Kilau etc.

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Although I got bored one third of the way into Clouds post I have to agree... Mucho Market research... Or have a quick squint around town and see that the market is too small, at the moment... Commendable spirit though...

J

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Always get a much more powerful PA than you need!!! When we were young and clueless (ie. 12!) we thought as our amps were 100watts then the PA should be aswell. This is a good way to blow a vocal PA at a soundcheck....a 300 watt PA at least (with capable speakers!!!) is recommended' date=' although prefer an 800 watt!!! This means the vocals can potentially be the loudest thing, which is what is usually desired, it also means if the drummer hits like a pussy you can back him up with a kick and/or snare mic. Don't bother with micing amps and Di'ing the bass if its a small setup, these things are usually loud enough....a monitor or two may be a useful thing, especially if the vocal speakers are gonna be way out front (you would normall put the vocals out in front of the band to avoid feedback, and to make that shitty 50 watt carlsboro PA be heard!!) You can get powered monitors, or run a seperate power amp off your mixer and hang some passive monitors off it. We always used active monirors (well..monitor)

As for equipment, go for a powered mixer, very simple to set up. Plug speakers in to the correct sockets, plug in mics, turn on, adjust the volume, if it has a master EQ, ram the volume until you get feedback then try working out which frequency is causing the trouble. Don't count on the volume being at full whack though, get it where you can take down the master volume and eliminate the rest of the feedback, else you'll be scooping out a complete frequency range, and probably the frequency the human voice makes! :)

As for monitors, most powered mixers will have a MONITOR out. This usually is just the same signal as would be going to your speakers, although some better models may have a seperate control for how much of each channel goes to the monitror. Experiment until eveyrone is happy.

Reverb/effects...always nice but not always necessary, if its a small mixer (100-300w) reverb probably isn't going to be heard anyway and I personally always find you lose some headroom when applying it. I always think delay sounds better live, although some singers hate it. If your mixer has an internal effects, try it, else..forget it. Forget the spring reverbs aswell...unless the band want to pick up and drop the PA to make the springs rattle for a certain effect :D

Set and forget usually works best. Go for a "club-style" mixer...(the ones that look like a guitar head) chuck it in the back somewhere convenient enough to get to change in emergency (feedback, no vocals) but not somehwere where the singer will keep changing every setting every 2 seconds. For a vocal PA, theres really no need for someone to be operating a mixing board!!! It berates me to see this!! "Great sound last night!" "Thanks man, but my index finger is sore from riding that one fader the whole night...." Set and forget!!! Its not wembley. Its not rocket science. If you can set up a guitar amp and head, you can set up a vocal PA and speakers.

Get the speakers up high, preferably on fixed stands (5 beer crates may look cool but come on....) Head level with the audience is the idea.

Listen from the very back of the venue, and every other possible place, and strike the right balance. Guitar amps and bass amps can be turned down, but drummers can't, so if you have Keith Moon or animal on the drums, you're gonna have to crank up those amps! :D If you have Ringo jnr on drums, you'll be safe with 10 watt practice amps and parking cones for the mics.....[/quote']

You're really looking at 1KW minimum. The guitar sound is pretty compressed compared with the vocals, usually over driven, and you're going to have the guitar(s), bass, and drumkit(!) to overcome... and the vocals has to be preceived as being 50-100% lounder than those in order to be properly heard. Thus you need something at least 10x the power of your guitar amp(s).

Also I would like to see 200 people fit into 62 Shiprow!!! It might be possible with dead bodies racked and stacked, but living people might find that sort of density quite uncomfortable. And the fire warden might object to have to drill/hack through people in the event of a blaze!!! I'd probably aim for 70 people and expect to see a fair bit less!

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Guest MDP

as far as i am awaire, aye, it is! which im told had a capacity of nearly 200 in its hayday...im probably wrong...bye

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Not that I know anything business, but I'd suggest raising the 10k without the use of a bank loan before you go throwing money down the drain...err...I mean investing. Once you realise you can't do that, get a job in a bank, or a bank job.....:D

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