Advice on purchasing a PA for a rehearsal space?
December 28, 2005 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Good recommendations for a starter PA, liver mixer setup?

I am building a recording studio/band rehearsal space in the basement of the home I purchased last summer. I have finished the soundproofing, and the foam acoustic tile installation, and now need to move on to the hardware. I have some pretty decent (and loud) musical gear (Matchless HC-30 guitar amp w/4x12 cab + Marshall JCM 800 guitar amp w/4/x12 cab, Ampeg 200W Bass Amp, as well as a full drumset), so I will need a PA setup that can be heard over and above the other instruments. Can someone possibly recommend a good PA set that might work for me? The room is about 50' by 25', but I'd like to get something that might be reasonably portable if I had to set up for a gig outside. I have been through the usual sites for look at gear, but not sure how much wattage I need or what brands are the most reliable and best sounding. It would be helpful if I could keep the total cost (a couple of wall monitors, maybe a floor monitor, mixer and some mics) under $1,000, but am not sure what's realistic at this point. Thanks!
posted by Tommy Gnosis to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
Response by poster: wall monitors pole monitors
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 1:09 PM on December 28, 2005

Check out this EON system. A little more than $1000 but JBL are great speakers.
posted by fondle at 1:21 PM on December 28, 2005

For mics: Definately go with Shure 57s for you amp mikes and 58s for your vocal/s. They are pretty much industry standard and if you poke around ebay, you can usually get a nice package deal on them. We've used the same set for six years and they have never failed unlike some of the crappy ones we've used.

Mixer/board: Mackies are good and can be scored for a real decent price.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:25 PM on December 28, 2005

A wild alternative: buy e-drums so you can control the drum volume.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:27 PM on December 28, 2005

Best answer: I've had some good experiences with Carvin PA gear. Good price:peformance ratio. I second the rec for Shure 57/58 mics for live vocal/instrumental work, but the drumset might be a little tougher for decent mic coverage/volume/separation, especially if it's not off in it's own iso chamber. High quality vocal recording will require a decent condenser mic; the one I've been using is a Samson CL8, but if I were buying a vocal condenser today, I'd probably opt for the Studio Projects C1, which you can find online for right around $200.
posted by dbiedny at 3:58 PM on December 28, 2005

I'd go for active PA setup, JBL is decent, Mackie/RCF a good choice. Whatever fits your budget. The more you put money into it, the better it will be. A realistic budget would be somewhere around 2000$. 300W should be enough. 450W most certainly.

I can recommend Röde Microphones for your home-studio setup. A very good value for money. I also suggest that you buy one "better" "allround" condenser mic, for example this one for your recording needs. Sm57/58 are good mics for the PA, but not the choice for recording.
posted by hoskala at 4:52 PM on December 28, 2005

Best answer: You can definitely put together a PA for that money for that room, but you'll have to decide if you want to have equipment you can use for other purposes than practice. Musician's Friend is right now running a sale on Behringer stuff exactly geared toward your application. Behringer is anathema to many, as it is forcing the quality down across the industry, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. Personally, I would use their stuff for PA and monitoring, but I would not want to depend on the gear in a recording situation. If you are serious about making a working studio, you will probably replace every single item in the packages, but I can't see any other way to get a working setup in that price range.

For the liver mixer I suggest a Cuisinart.
posted by mzurer at 6:46 PM on December 28, 2005

Actually, you ought to be able to buy stuff used and keep it in your price range - that would make it more of a gamble on quality, whereas with Behringer you know you're getting functional sub-optimal gear, and if it doesn't work it's warranteed. When the cone finally falls out of the PA from the revival church down the street, you're in God's hands.
posted by mzurer at 6:52 PM on December 28, 2005

Response by poster: Wow, great advice, thanks all. I'm not stuck on limiting my budget to $1,000, I just saw this setup on MusiciansFriend, and it seems in the ballpark of what I'm looking for, so I thought I'd ask those in the know (which you certainly all are!) on AskMe. I definitely don't want to waste my money on something I can't upgrade from, or I will need to replace in a couple of years, so I think I'll try the piecemeal approach.

Unfortunately, the horse has already left the barn on the drumkit. Having purchased a beautiful Ludwig Fab Four kit only a couple months ago, I'm not going to pony up another $1,200 or so on a digital kit. I like the idea of those things, but I am always disappointed with them when I try them out. Oh well.

Thanks again for the advice on the liver mixer, mzurer. Cuisinart is a perfectly fine brand, but Krups kicks ass.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 7:10 PM on December 28, 2005


I looked at that package you linked to on Musician's Friends, and while it seems decent, I think this Carvin setup is a better deal, in terms of the specs of the speakers and mixer/amp (lots more wattage, and I'm thinking this is important because of those guitar amps you're using). Carvin is apparently throwing in free mics and mic stands, so it's price comparable to the MF offering.
posted by dbiedny at 8:16 PM on December 28, 2005

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