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Old 11-01-2009, 10:24 AM
Ichthyoman Ichthyoman is offline
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Default PA advice for acoustic guitarist in an alt-country trio...

Hey all

Sure would like to hear your advice/opinions on my set up with a rocking roots-rock trio. It's what I currently have vs. what I want it to be--I'm just not sure I'm there yet. First, a bit about the band. We are a trio (drums, electric guitar/banjo, acoustic guitar/voice--me). We play in bars, at wine tasting rooms, small festivals, etc. Our guitarist plays nice stuff--Gretsch and Fender guitars, Mesa amp, Bose L1 for his on-stage monitoring. Our drummer is almost never miked, and he's a loud, aggressive drummer--at times. He'll also play with brushes when needed.

Me? I play with two guitars--a Collings 000-2H and a deep body C10. Both are outfitted with K&K PW mini. Behind me, I've got an AER Compact 60 on a stand, and out in front, off to my left, is an AER AG8 satellite speaker also on a stand. That's really about it.

The issue? Well, most of the time, things sound fine, but we do hear comments about how you sometimes "can't really hear the vocals", "it needs to be a bit louder", etc. Also, as you might expect, the low end is on the light end. With no bass player, the band relies on me for some low end, and I'd like a bit more punch in my set up. I consider portability, weight, and great sound all important. I'd love to hear your comments and advice on a good system for me to get the sound out there in this band environment, yet on occasion play solo or duo. If what I have is fine, maybe I just need to add this or that, let me know. I'm thinking more sound dispersion and more bass response would be good things--but I'm just thinking.

Sorry for the long post, but this is a topic I'll be chewing on for awhile.

Cheers

Matt
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:12 PM
Pida Pida is offline
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Hi,

I like AER products, but most of their guitar amps cannot compete with a PA. The Compact 60 is ok for your needs, but it's not a _good_ solution.

You could try the Compact XL and/ or the CX-8 (not sure about the name of the speaker) if you want to keep a similiar setup, but that's expensive. I recommend using the Compact 60 as your personal monitor and add a bigger PA speaker for the audience. An 8" or 10" woofer is enough as it is only used for guitar and vocals: RCF ART 310, FBT MAXX 2a, QSC K-8, QSC K-10, ...
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:36 PM
Roxy Roller Roxy Roller is offline
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I know this may seem obvious, and I don't mean to be a wiseguy, but if you can't hear the vocals and you are playing smaller venues, the solution is not getting more power to your vocal mic for more volume, it's turning everything else down so that the vocals can be clearly heard. The best way,as you know, to lose this type of gig is to be too loud. If you're good, people will usually shut up and listen (not always though). Playing louder will only result in a volume war with the talkers. I'm thinking about your wine-tasting gigs here specifically. After years of playing with countless drummers and in fact being one myself, I know it's hard to control your volume sometimes. A solution that I use for this is to lay a thin towel or cloth across the top of the snare. This will take away some of that top end "crack' that is usually the culprit when a vocal is struggling to be heard.
I would also be careful not to have the monitors blasting too loud. Just because they are facing you doesn't mean that the audience isn't hearing them as well. In small venues the monitors play a big part in the over-all sound of the room. Make sure your monitors are mixed and e.q.ed nicely as well, complimenting the front of house speakers.
Also, regarding getting more bottom out of your acoustic, be careful. It's important to keep in mind that a guitar doesn't naturally possess real bass frequencies (300hrz and lower). That is a bass guitar's job. If you try to boost these frequencies, you will only muddy up your sound and rob yourself of headroom causing the instrument to be more prone to bass feedback.
The only real bass you have is the bass drum.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:43 PM
Ichthyoman Ichthyoman is offline
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Hey Roxy--good advice, you're not a wiseguy, and much of what you say is true. Our trio is a bit odd in its make-up. I guess for me, basically, it boils down to whether the dual AER system is the right thing for me to be playing in a trio with a drummer and an electric guitar player. We get mostly positive feedback from folks, in all honesty, but I wonder whether a Bose system would be the best thing for me to have. More dispersed sound, a bass module, perhaps a bit more punch, etc. I don't know, just thinking.

Thanks for the advice.

Cheers

Matt
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roxy Roller View Post
the solution is not getting more power to your vocal mic for more volume, it's turning everything else down so that the vocals can be clearly heard.
I like this idea generally, but the OP is playing a _very_ small system (Compact 60 -> 60 watts). Are you familiar with AER amps? Even though I prefer small setups, I'd still repeat my recommendation if the OP didn't play with a drummer. In both cases, line array systems (Bose etc.) might even sound better because of better dispersion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roxy Roller View Post
It's important to keep in mind that a guitar doesn't naturally possess real bass frequencies (300hrz and lower).
The low E string is 80 Hz in standard tuning. Quite a challenge for the AER at higher volumes.
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:11 AM
jackweasel jackweasel is offline
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When I first read your post and saw that your other guitarist uses an L-1, I thought "That's what you need." Honestly, you might want to consider it because it puts you on a more "even keel" with the other musicians. Vocals would benefit greatly, I beleive, and your overall sound might be a bit more balanced. A trio with two L-1's should sound great. Set them up behind you and you've got all you need.
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:47 AM
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Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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I agree that a Bose L1 with a bass module (The Model 2 can only be bought with a bass module, with the Classic it is an option) would probably be the best solution, along with getting the drummer to lower his volume. In fact having two performers with their own L1s is a great way to go in terms of audio imaging.

Assuming a guitar is tuned the A 440, the approximate frequencies of the open strings are (5 of the 6 are below 300 Hz):

6th string =...82.41
5th String =.110
4th string =.146,83
3rd string =.196
2nd string =.246.94
1st string =.329.63
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:20 AM
Ichthyoman Ichthyoman is offline
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Hey all

I hear you, and quite frankly, have been thinking the same thing. My guitarist has an L1 model 1, but I'll admit I'm more interested in the model 2. Either way, the points about one Bose on each side of the stage are relevant. Also, I would still be able to use the Bose for solo or duo gigs, of course. I guess the question really revolves around what is a really versatile, personal PA system? One that you can use with a band, solo, etc.

Getting the drummer to quiet down? Ha! We have a lot of fun up on stage--we all tend to rock out at times--and the drummer adds a lot to this. I wouldn't mind if he lightened up a bit, but it's all good.

Thanks for the advice, much appreciated.

Cheers

Matt
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:24 AM
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I advocate, in most cases, placing a Bose L1 behind each guitarist in order to achieve proper imaging.
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:29 AM
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Grab a Bose L1 and a sub, set the level between you and the banjo player properly and make the drummer play appropriately to the rest of the mix.

I agree with the other posters, the AER is not enough. Since you already have the band in the Bose family, stay there.
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:33 AM
TerryAllanHall TerryAllanHall is offline
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Having used both an L1 and a real PA system, for the kind of gigs you mentioned, it'd be a better use of the $$$ (and your sound quality will be enhansed) to go w/ a real PA.

The L1 is just too limited for that usage in a "real world" gig situation.
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:57 AM
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Default Dump the drummer and get a bassist

Hey, I sing in a very similar band, with similar music in similar venues: me on acoustic guitar/vox, a bassist, and another guy on harmonica...with friends sitting in on guitar etc.

Although we know some great drummers, I've made a conscious choice to avoid playing with drums as I know that just inherently takes the volume up past what anyone wants to hear in the small and even intimate venues we play. ...this was true with a previous band I played with -- keys/vox, acoustic, and me on mellow electric -- when that band incorporated drums, suddenly everything became to "big" for coffee shops, restaurants etc. What I'd really like to find is someone who'd just play brushes on a snare and high hat...ah, someday....

Of course ditching band members isn't really usually an alternative.

I've tried small acoustic amps (Fishman Loudbox 100) and have experimented with 10" PA speakers, but in the end I always really miss the fullness of a 12" speaker. I have not tried an AER amp, however, or the Bose stuff, and someday would love to give that eqpt a spin...but till then setting up a couple 12" PA speakers, one a foot behind my left ear, really seems to fill a space without blasting anyone away.

Where exactly in WA are you? I'm in Moscow, Idaho.

td
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:58 AM
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A good drummer will make it work.
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:14 AM
Ichthyoman Ichthyoman is offline
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Yes, a good drummer will make it work, and this guy is awesome. We all get along great (which is sooo important), we all like this style of music, and, although he can get loud at times, he does add a lot to the music. We all kind of like having a "bassless" trio--no one else around here is doing that. And, he will alter his style depending on venue--if the situation calls for it, he'll go with brushes or the "twigs" and use a lighter touch. With mostly original tunes, the trio fits--we can do what we want.

Regarding the classic PA system, I hear what you're saying, but I've been there, done that. I'm through hauling amps, speakers, mixers, etc.--it's just not gonna happen. My goals are like alot of folks--good sound, portability, light weight, easy set up. My drinking days aren't over, but the days of the full PA system are over!!

BTW--I'm located near Hood River, Oregon, in the Columbia River Gorge. Check out www.myspace.com/levellandmusic for more info.

Cheers

Matt
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:39 AM
Joseph Hanna Joseph Hanna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryAllanHall View Post
Having used both an L1 and a real PA system, for the kind of gigs you mentioned, it'd be a better use of the $$$ (and your sound quality will be enhansed) to go w/ a real PA.

The L1 is just too limited for that usage in a "real world" gig situation.
Where I know where you're driving with this comment the comparison is awkwardly skewed.

The Bose is designed to be set and left alone (at least for the most part)
It doesn't require much attention once a sound and level is agreed upon. That may or may not work for everyone but it IS how it was designed to be used.

A "real world PA" assuming we can agree on what that is, is fraught with major obstacles. They very seldom run themselves well. That would mean a component in any Bose-vs-PA comparison must include a soundman. It also must include monitors and as I think someone else has mentioned a LOT more schlepping. Then there's competing with ever rising monitor mixes and the worse of it all is never really knowing what's going on out front anyway.

I get what your saying but the Bose IS a viable alternative to some who may not want the traditional headaches that often are associated with PA's
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