Cheap PA

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Skotosynthesis, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. Skotosynthesis

    Skotosynthesis Well-Known Member

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    I'm posting this here, b/c I don't want to infringe on everybody's guitar-talk.
    ...but it is an amp-related question.
    Amp-related, b/c I'm starting a side-project and we're trying to help our vocalist get a cheap PA that can be heard over my 100 watt full stack,
    a full drum-kit and a bass rig.
    We are placing a great deal of emphasis on volume and power for this project...
    however, we don't have much money to work with. Budget = <$500.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks everybody!
     
  2. Blisster

    Blisster New Member

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    We sometimes use a 70W Peavey Combo amp and plug a mic straight into it with a XLR to TRS adapter and then set it on top of the bass rig.
    Its down and dirty, but it works for practice.
    If you're looking to mic up more than one person, though you will probably need a mixer.

    We also use the knock off GLS Audio ES58 mics, for $29.00 they're durable and work great.
     
  3. Skotosynthesis

    Skotosynthesis Well-Known Member

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    Cool, thanks.
    We have a 45 watt Peavy Pacer floor combo, but so far it can't cut. I've considered slaving it out into my Epiphone Valve Jr., running it out of channel two from the Peavy and into the Epi input (so both amps are running simultaneously,) but I'm worried that vocals might damage the 75watt guitar speaker in the Epiphone's cabinet (I don't care a/b breaking the old Peavy, but I like my Epiphone and don't want to break it,) especially if it were dimed, like we would have to do. And I'm also concerned a/b vocals making a tube amp microphonic so it starts squealing... that 5 watt Epi is loud, but it doesn't have much headroom at all.
     
  4. Blisster

    Blisster New Member

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    have you tried stacking the peavey up high on top of one of the guitar/bass rigs? The combo we use is a total POS SS 2x12 something or other, so we're not worried about damaging it.
     
  5. thetragichero

    thetragichero Well-Known Member

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    i would also suggest getting stands for the speakers... if they're on the floor, it'll be drowned out by the other instruments
    up in the air, our 40watt pa isn't terrible with my 100w amp (plus 40watt on the other side of the stage), 350w bass amp, and drummer
     
  6. tonefreak

    tonefreak New Member

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    behringer stuff is good for cheap.
     
  7. LesPaulopolis

    LesPaulopolis New Member

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    +1 on getting the vocal speaker up to ear-level. Much easier to hear when it's not on the floor.

    You can get some decent stuff used on Craig'sList...

    That being said, you have a full stack, how about hooking the Epi to your top cab and only using the bottom when practicing?

    Or go buy a used jcm900 4100 and run the mic into the fx return and the poweramp into your 4x12.
     
  8. rustyrat

    rustyrat New Member

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    You should be able to get a 4channel powered mixer and 2 cabs off CL for about 500 clams.
    Hell i bought a 2500 watt power amp, a 4 channel mixer and 2 wedges for 500 bucks and the power amp was new!
    dont use a guitar amp, thats soooo wrong and will sound like shit.
     
  9. rjohns1

    rjohns1 Well-Known Member

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    I use a Mackie powered mixer, and two cab with 12's and horns. I elevate the speakers on stands, and you can peel paint off the walls when our singer hits the high notes. I have to look at the model number when I get home, but it 300 watts per channel. Works great.
     
  10. Skotosynthesis

    Skotosynthesis Well-Known Member

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    Awesome, thanks for all the suggestions!
    I'm going to look into them.
     
  11. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    i've used a fender deluxe reverb on an angled amp stand w/ an old mxr delay & it sounded fine.

    that being said,you could find a new fender passport 150wt p.a. w/ fx for around $399.

    Buy Fender Passport 150 Pro Portable PA System | Live Sound Packages | Musician's Friend

    personally i'd buy used locally if possible. here's mine & what i paid.

    behringer 8ch board-$100 new m.f.
    qsc 300wt pwr amp- $35.00 ebay
    2 peavey sp-5 cabs-- $300 used local from a friend
    BEHRINGER DUAL 32 band eq- $100 new m.f.
    ALESIS QUADRA VERB GT -$35 used local.
    ttl cost-$570.
     
  12. tubes

    tubes Well-Known Member

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    scot, just my 2 cents...
    ...you have to start looking for bargains.

    Here's what I have picked up for a cheap PA.

    (But I see blues_n_cues got some similar solutions for even better prices.)

    Mixer
    8 channel mixer, new, Chinese, no-brand import, approx. US$150.
    I didn't expect neither hi-fi, nor reliability nor long life from this.
    But 18 months on, with weekly use for rehearsal, it has absolutely no problems. Phantom power and on-board reverb included.

    Power Amp.
    Generic hefty solid state power amp up to 400 watts. US$150.
    I see a lot of these for sale as people upgrade their PAs.
    I got mine for about US$150.
    What brand? "QSC USA 400".
    Don't know much more about it, but it's USA built, company has a website and looked credible - and I downloaded a manual for it.

    This amp does something like 100 watts stereo into 8 ohms, 200W stereo into 4 ohms, 400 watts mono bridged.
    Seems to me that items like this are boring utilities: you pay a lot to buy one new if it has the specs you want. But then when you want to re-sell it... nobody really knows what it is. Seller just hopes to get a hundred bucks or so just because they don't need it any more and it's clutter.

    Speakers
    Years ago I bought some cabs that I suppose you'd call 'party speakers'. Made in Korea I think. Cost about US$300. Not too hi-fi but lots of power handling. I think they are mainly intended to make your music low-fi but wicked loud for your backyard party.
    I knew they wouldn't get the best from my home stereo, I just thought they might turn out to be useful at some time.

    Since then I have seen lots of better PA speakers selling for cheaper.
    But that Korean gear is what I bought at the time when I needed something in a hurry.
    Also it's in small cabs with 'road case' style construction. Just the type of thing you can throw into a van.

    Three bits of cheap stuff. But it turned out to make a PA that is definitelty 'good enough for now'.
    We put four vocalists and keys into this cheap stuff and we haven't found it's limitations yet.
    The speakers can handle all the bass that the synth might produce.
    The vocals are not putting any strain on the system - lots more headroom there.
     
  13. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    QSC is a good brand imo. i believe mine is a tube pwr amp but i'll have to tear it apart to see.

    crown is the best pwr. amp i've ever used but you will pay for it & people tend to hang on to them because they last forever.

    for new & good industry standard pwr. amps you can expect to pay about $1.00-$2.00 per watt u.s. dollars.

    i use my p.a.3-5 times a week & for recording or just plugging in the tv for nascar or concerts. it rocks the frikkin' walls.
     
  14. tubes

    tubes Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the extra info blues,

    I don't know anything about PA gear - but for some reason the duty fell upon me to get our group equipped.

    That's not really a job for the guitar player - but somebody had to do it.

    As for that QSC amp, I was just VERY happy to see that one of the used amps on our local auction site was a USA built brand with a website - and they talked as if they took pride in their products.
    Made me think I could buy with some confidence.


    Yes: that's how it looks to me too - even though I'm thousands of miles away in another country.


    Well this was more about my worries than skot's
    Don't mean to hijack - hope it all helps skot.
     

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