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Thread: House System For Bar Bands

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    House System For Bar Bands

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    I'm wondering what a good setup would be for a house system to handle bar bands. A coworker of mine owns a bar and I'll like to help her get setup for handling shows. (Maybe I'll even get to play soundman).
    Beyond stereo micing the band and running through a PA, what would be an adequate system that would accomodate most bands? How many channels/monitors/speakers etc would be nice to have?
    What are a few typical setups for live shows in bars?
    If there are any good weblinks please direct me to them or post what you use/used at a venue.

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    That needs some more info.
    How big is the bar
    What type of music
    and so on.

    I have seen everything from a six-channel powered mixer and some 12"/horn boxes and on up be plenty.

    At a minimum, I'd say six-twelve channels, four each SM57 and 58, a couple of cheap DIs, a couple 15" powered speakers, perhaps, and a pair of monitors. That will get you through a lot of situations, and you can always rent a few systems to check them out.

    Be aware- any permanent installation may require a permit and inspection, depending on local codes, especially if you hang speakers. A professional rigger should be called in for this, and probably would be required for insurance.

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    It's a biker bar so typical rock bands to the best of my knowledge and the bar is a decent size (a few hundred people comfortably). Not sure if it's supposed to be a permanent installation or not (likely not), just sort of doing some research to give the owner a few options from the cheap 4 channel Behringer setup to somewhere upwards 10k.

    So lets assume the following band:
    Drummer
    Keyboardist
    Bassist
    Vocal/guitarist
    2 guitarists

    Would bands be happy with just SM57's an 58's? That's what I was thinking of for the mics. Maybe a couple Beta's too. Then something like a 14:4:2 MixWizard board with 2 15" speakers and a sub. And a few monitor speakers too. Then a T.C Electronics or Lexicon unit for reverb and possibly an EQ (or is the board EQ sufficient)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by taylorguitarman
    It's a biker bar so typical rock bands to the best of my knowledge and the bar is a decent size (a few hundred people comfortably). Not sure if it's supposed to be a permanent installation or not (likely not), just sort of doing some research to give the owner a few options from the cheap 4 channel Behringer setup to somewhere upwards 10k.

    So lets assume the following band:
    Drummer
    Keyboardist
    Bassist
    Vocal/guitarist
    2 guitarists

    Would bands be happy with just SM57's an 58's? That's what I was thinking of for the mics. Maybe a couple Beta's too. Then something like a 14:4:2 MixWizard board with 2 15" speakers and a sub. And a few monitor speakers too. Then a T.C Electronics or Lexicon unit for reverb and possibly an EQ (or is the board EQ sufficient)?
    Sounds like you are on the right track.

    Most bands will never comment or even notice your mics. Anyone who cares that much will probably bring their own mics. You may want to think about a drum mic kit, with a kick mic and a condenser for cymbals, though in many small clubs cymbals can get by just fine on their own.

    I did sound for a rock cover cover band playing in clubs just like this one for a couple of years.
    They used a 16 channel Mackie, JBL MPro 415s for tops (very very excellent speaker for the money, I recommend them highly), older trapezoid JBL 2X15 subs, model SR4715, and four Peavey wedges. Pretty kickin' little system. The newer JBL Mpro subs do okay, as do offerings from Yorkville and other mfrs.

    I would consider getting a couple cheap comps for vocals, and a cheap multigate for the drums. Don't forget eq for the monitors.

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    One thing I really want to add to my live/recording rig is a dbx Driverack PA. Takes care of compression, EQ, feedback, and crossover . . . a pretty damn clever unit. I wouldn't be looking for reverb or effects, probably more trouble than it's worth. Other than that I think you're on the right track.

    I wonder if for a permanent install anybody ever hangs mini condensers above the drum riser? Any luck with that?

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    Heres what I would do (and I ran sound for years)

    Sennheiser 815
    It's a decent general purpose live mic. MF has a 3-pack for $110 ($36 each, which is hard to beat.) Pick up 3 of these packs. You can use trhem for vocals, amps, and toms/snares.

    6 boom mic stands for $99 (MF) Get two of these.

    Kicks (get a pair of ATM pro-25's. Look for them on sale.)

    It's a bar, you won't need overheads.

    Mixer: I would go with a Mackie 1604 Vlz Pro. Why?
    Because it will allow you to have 4 monitor sends from the house - you can use the 4 submixes as effects sends.

    Don't worry about "stereo" live. Most people ruun what is called "dual mono" Which is where the sentire system is set up in stereo, but nothing is panned except the effects. The reason for this is, if you hard pan stuff to the left, the people on the right won't be able to hear it as well...and vice versa.

    PA speakers: There's a whole slew of them out there. Personally, since this is on a Budget, I'd go with Peavey Black Widows. They can deliver ass pounding low end, and survive. Unless you're kicking out the bucks for SRX JBKL's, you are not getting "Real" JBL drivers. Think about it for a moment - you can't actually expect that speaker cabinet that costs $400 to contain "real" JBL drivers that sell for $350 each.
    At least if you get Black Widows, you are getting a top of the line driver.
    I would go with Front loaded boxes, rather than horn-loaded boxes. Generally, the "gains" fro ma hornloaded box, get EQ'd out, because they sound kind of "honky" (cup your hands and talk through them - that's also what a horn-loaded speaker box does to a speaker, and usually that "honk" gets EQ'd out. So, there is no advantage to using a hornloaded box. Plus, A hornloaded box is trying to deliver sound 200 feet away, when you want to deliver sound in the 25' to 100' range.

    Peavey got a bad reputation becaue people underpowered their systems. Most people have no idea what kind of power ratios to use - if the speaker says 400 Watts RMS, they power it with 400 watts, but thge best amplifiers on the market are rarely better than 75% efficient. So what does that mean? It means for every 100 watts, you have 25 watts of distorted signal.
    so a 400 watt amp, is really only delivering 300 watts of clean signal.
    So, how do you get around this?

    For top boxes, I go 1.5X the RMS rating. For subs, I go 2X the RMS rating.

    So if your top box is looking for 400 Watts @ 8 ohms, you need an amplifier that delivers 600 Watts @ 8 ohms.

    For starters, I would go with two 18" Speakers (stacked), with a 15"+1" Horn box on top of that on each side. You're gonna want a lot of low end to make sure you can deliver that AC/DC chest pounding thump (you said this is a Biker Bar) and that generally means Southern & Hard Rock -which means chest pounding low end.

    For Power, don't play around...Crown, Crest, QSC, or my favorite Yorkville.Yorkville Amplifiers are not very well known, but let me tell you - they will compete with Top of the Line Crown and Crests, for a fraction of the cost.
    Actually, if you're buying NEW gear - I would suggest you take a Serious look at Yorkville PA cabinets as well. You can get a great deal on them.
    http://www.musiciansbuy.com/YORKVILL...AP6040KIT.html

    This Amp (The AP6040) kicks SERIOUS Butt! 2000Watts per Channel @ 4 ohms for $1,250. One of these is great for driving four 18" speakers.

    Now, you need to remember the inverse law. For every doubling of distance, the sound drops 3 db's. So if you're at 120 db's @ 3 feet, @ 6 feet - you've got 117, @ 12 feet - you've got 114, 24 feet- you've got 111 db's, 48 feet -you've got 98 dbs.

    Also, get decent wedges.

    I would get a pair of Stereo 31 band EQ's (Behringers would be fine)

    A couple of compressors.

    At least a quad gate for the drums.

    and 2 effect units (one multieffect for ver for the drums) and a delay unit or multi-effect for vocals. (Behringers are fine here as well. I've got a pair of their multi-effects and they are great for every thing, and you can get them new for under $150.

    Cables: Make sure you budget enough for the cables.

    Go with 12-gauge speaker cables with Speakon ends.

    Snake: Do NOT, I repeat - Do NOT buy a cheapo snake. It weill cost a little more now, but you'll get a good life out of it.

    Tricks of the trade:

    Buy some "bike" hooks like you would hang a bike from the ceiling of a garage with, and put them in the joists in the ceiling, and hang the snake that way. It gets it out of everyone's way, and you won't have to worry about anybody tripping over it.

    You can set an amplifier to "bridge" mode, and connect the speakers op using a pair of banana plugs on the amplifier, but revers the polarity on the B channel, and it will give you more than the amplifer is rated to deliver. Why? Too long to go into it, but it works.
    Dave Rat from Ratsound wrote an article about it. (look for Ratsound online - they started out as Black Flag's sound guys, and now they do bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers. They have a decent amount of info on their website.)

    The key is, you have to think "how will this gear work as a SYSTEM", and not "I'll just buy whatever I can afford", because you might just be throwing your cash away if you do that.... some speaker designs don't work well with others.

    for example: Idiot design of the century goes to the 2x15" with a 1" Horn in one speaker box. Why? It just doesn't work well together.... mainly because people tend to think "I don't need subs if I get that!"

    WRONG!

    Those boxes won't deliver the same kind of low end thump that a dedicated sub will.

    Also, Youcan run your subs from an effects send, and only turn the bass guitar and kick drum up through them (guitar and vocals don't need to be in the subs anyway. Ask any soundman - we usually are rolling off or high-pass filtering the guitars, because they are fighting the bass guiatr in the low register, so for definition - we'll hi-pass the guitarists and vocals. Actually, I tend to hi-pass everything but the bass guitar and kicks, and sometimes- depending upon the size of the kicks, I'll even hi-pass those to help get a tighter kick sound...i.e, lose some of the floppiness because some drummers tune their drums way too low.)

    Sorry for the mega shopping list, but if you want to put in a house sound system for a 200 person bar - this is what you're basically looking at. This type of system would rent for about $200-300 a night, depending upon the variables (where you are, and if you went above and beyond for extra's , like D112 kick mic's, etc. BUT - keep in mind, the ATM pro-25 will worjk great, I actually prefer it over the D-112's.)

    Also, you could buy ATM pro-25's for the entire drumkit, and virtually do away with the noise gates because they are hypercardioid mic's. I would still want a gate for the kick to make sure the mallet strike is clean.



    Tim

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    just a couple of side notes on Tim's post...

    Graphic EQ- i would go with the best EQ that you can afford. the behringers are very limited. with out getting into alot of details, they sound bad. they are almost useless for doing monitors with, and forget about running FOH through them. i think it would really be a bottleneck in your system.

    also, invest in sm58's and 57's. guys in bar bands who play the circuit often expect to see those mics, and can be thrown off when tere is something else. as boingoman said, if they want to use something else they will bring it.

    Yorkville amps can be an ok value for the money, just watch out for the limiters...they are very noticable, and they kick in 6db before maximim output. i'm going to have to disagree with Tim here, they will not compete with highend crowns or crests. they are a decent midprice amp, but they are nowhere near something like a crown macrotech, or a QSC EX4000
    and don't forget about LIGHTING! thats a whole other can of worms

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    Also, amplifier efficiency is how much power an amp can put out per watt it pulls from the wall, not what Tim said. A 75% efficient amp will pull say 1000W out of the wall, and be able to put 750W to the speakers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boingoman
    Also, amplifier efficiency is how much power an amp can put out per watt it pulls from the wall, not what Tim said. A 75% efficient amp will pull say 1000W out of the wall, and be able to put 750W to the speakers.

    Hmm, I had been told that efficienicy had to do with how much it put out, and never heard a word about how much it drew (and that came from a soundman who worked for both Judas Priest and Yes) but what I said is true. There's not a commercial grade Amplifier out there that does a whole lot better than 75% output of clean power. The K2's are good, but I don't trust them for Hard Rock/Metal.


    Tim

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    a decent power amp is going to give you clean power right up to it's maximum output. however, as you approach the maximum output, transients are going to activate the amps limiters (or if it is a poor design, it will just clip).

    for live music, operating at about 75 - 85% of the amp's maximum output is a good range because you don't have to worry about limiters/clipping. recorded music is much less demanding, because it's (hopefully) been mastered, and it will have much less transients because of that.

    Efficenicy is the relationship between the AC line power, and the amps output.

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