Have to Provide Your Own PA? Don’t Panic, Follow These Steps

Need to Provide Your Own PA? Don’t Panic, Follow These Steps

February 22, 2019 11 Comments

Let’s face it: the majority of gigging musicians take PA systems for granted. Most music venues provide a PA, and all you need to do is show up, set up your gear, and get ready to rock.

So what happens when you play at a venue that doesn’t have a PA, and asks you to bring your own? This happens a lot with venues that aren’t usually venues and are doing one-off shows, as well as house parties or impromptu outdoor gigs. Before you panic, realize that choosing the right PA, whether you’re going to buy it or rent it, is fairly simple.

Here’s what you need to consider:

  1. How many members are in your band. The PA setup required for a solo singer/songwriter and a full-blown rock band are very different. The more people you have in your band, the more speakers you’ll need to accommodate the vocalists, instruments, and percussion, if necessary.
  2. How big is the venue? Just as you would opt for a bigger bass or guitar cab for a bigger club, you want to make sure that the speaker setup you choose corresponds to the size of the venue. A single 15” speaker will do fine for a small coffee shop, but in a gym or medium-sized club you may need to utilize a set of 15” speakers or even a setup comprising of two 15" inch speakers and a subwoofer.
  3. Is the venue indoor or outdoor? Similar to the above point, you also need to take into consideration that the speaker requirements vary between indoor and outdoor situations. Sound does not travel as easily outdoors, as there are no walls for the sound waves to bounce off of, and outdoor conditions such as wind will also cause more obstacles. Generally speaking, you will also need speakers with more wattage and/or power handling to accurately reproduce the bass frequencies in an outdoor environment.
  4. How much space do you have for transportation? If your band barely fits all your gear into your van or SUV as it is, and now you’ve been tasked with bringing a PA, the system you choose has to fit, while still meeting the power and configuration requirements. Fortunately, there are many compact, powerful PA options on the market today that can fit in the space between your bass cab and your drummer’s kick.

 

 2000W 15-INCH ACTIVE LOUDSPEAKER SOUND SYSTEM PACKAGE

 

Carvin Audio’s QXSYS15A is a 2000-watt, active loudspeaker system with Bluetooth that utilizes two 15” speakers that weigh only 42 pounds each!

 

Don’t forget that if you’re using an active speaker system, there is a power amplifier built in and most active systems feature multiple inputs such as the QX Series and SCx Series loudspeakers. If you opt for passive speakers, you’ll need to provide a separate power amplifier and mixer. If space is at a premium, you’ll want to opt for active speakers. 

  1. Don’t forget the cables. Lastly, don’t forget to bring the required speaker cables, and make sure they’re long enough (25 feet is usually good). By no means can you use your guitar player’s spare cable to hook up the PA, so make sure you use the right cables.

So there you have it- next time you’re asked to bring your own PA, don’t freak out and cancel the gig!



11 Responses

kurt
kurt

August 26, 2019

on the old guys needing to crank up floor monitors, go to in-ears, where you can customize the mix, you don’t get listener fatigue and can actually perform better and enjoy the clarity of the mix and then speak to bandmates and fans alike after the gig, without ringing in the ears.

Steve
Steve

August 26, 2019

I have several PA systems (and brands) that I use depending on the type of music and size of venue I have to service. It is amazing how well I can cover a small park with the 1200 watt powered mixer system you used to sell. In fact, when I was at JPL/NASA we had the surviving members of Bill Haley’s Comets playing through an OLD Carvin system (mixer, amps, 2-ways) that our audio/visual group had used for years in our auditoriums for simple vocal support to a few hundred folks! There was several thousand people in that Comet audience and the band was LOUD! I am sure that PA got a lot of hard knocks over the years and from where I was standing, it worked really well!

Band Of Friends
Band Of Friends

August 26, 2019

We are a small Garage band that plays garden parties, fund raisers, and various indoor and outdoor gigs. We use 10" floor monitors and 15"(woofer +horn) FOH speakers either stand mounted or stage level. Sometimes I used IEM for my mix only. In one hall that we play some of the older patrons complain of us being too loud so we then crank up our floor monitors and pull down the FOH speakers and that seems to fix the issue. Oh and we always provide our own PA – gives us maximum control.

Tom Flamino
Tom Flamino

August 26, 2019

I have been using a Carvin system for the last 15 years with my band and never had an issue. We have it dialed in real well for a power trio. We use 1584’s as mains JBL 18" powered subs. The 12 channel 1600 watt mixer now as I started with a PA1000 and have upgraded twice. We all sing and mike all the instruments thru the PA.I use your personal monitors for myself and the other’s use floor monitors. I am totally happy with the system and so are our fans.

Sal Iannello
Sal Iannello

August 26, 2019

I’ve invested a ton of money in quality PA gear. Why did I do it? Because I’ve been subjected to awful sound systems. I have two complete systems; one for smaller clubs (50 people and under), and one for slightly larger venues (150 – 200 people). For smaller venues, I use a Carvin powered mixer with a pair of JBL EON305s, a JBL EON 18" powered sub, and a pair of Yamaha monitors. For the larger venues, I use a Carvin power amp for FOH, A Mackie power amp for the monitors, a Mackie 16-channel mixer, the sub, and an extra pair of EON305s for FOH. Some of this I bought new, and some I bought used. Bottom line is, with cables, I only have about $4K invested. If the drummer or guitar player want their stuff mic’d, they bring their own. All I know is, my bass tone and my vocals sound great. It’s a bit of a pain lugging this stuff around, and i set it up myself (it’s just easier), but I care about sound and it’s worth it.

Doug Dickeson
Doug Dickeson

August 26, 2019

" Most music venues provide a PA, and all you need to do is show up, set up your gear, and get ready to rock."

Really? What city do you live in again? Oh, that’s right, San Diego area. That assumption is not always as cut-and-dried elsewhere in the U.S. But having said that, your advice is that much more needed.

charlie ellwood
charlie ellwood

August 26, 2019

I am an Old Rocker (69) who appreciates the additional volume needed for us to hear ourselves ! I’ve always been pro Carvin !

Amanda
Amanda

August 14, 2019

I host open mics in small bars and coffee shops and have your older powered speakers in the injection molded cabinets. I use 12’s for mains and 10’s for monitors. The monitors often have to be really cranked up for the old rockers who can"t hear anymore and makes the stage sound rather howly, boomy, muddy…whatever the term, not optimal. Any suggestions?

Robert W Keeler
Robert W Keeler

February 25, 2019

I have a 3 piece band. Drums, electric guitar and bass. All 3 of us sing. I also own a 12 channel Peavey powered mixing board. I used to use your regular pa speakers that had a 15" woofer with a horn. We also had the tripod stands for them and it worked great. I just really need the speakers that you recommend for me. We only play in small bars. Thank you, Robert Keeler

Dan Zywan
Dan Zywan

February 25, 2019

Recruit all band members to help set up P A

Dan Zywan
Dan Zywan

February 25, 2019

Recruit all band members to help set up P A

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