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  #1  
Old 09-04-2023, 08:50 PM
tennesseeboy tennesseeboy is offline
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Default 5 Piece Bluegrass Band Sound Help

Hi, we have a 5 piece bluegrass band (mandolin, banjo, guitar, fiddle, and a Stagg 3/4 stand up bass). We are all micíd except for the bass and currently use the HK Nano 600 in stereo mode, but it runs out of steam on bigger shows, especially outsdlide. We normally gig for anywhere between 50 to 250 people.

Weíre looking to buy a new ďcompactĒ system and Iím down to deciding between 2x Evolve 30Mís (sound really good on the videos), or 2 Everse 8ís on top of the ELX200-12SP (sub), or possibly a pair of the latest Bose S1 Pro+ on top of the Sub2, although the stories about Bose ducking out at higher volumes kinda scares me.

What would you guys recommend?
Iím most worried about how the stagg 3/4 bass (not pictured) will come though and not lose its clarity and punch.

Thank yíall ahead of time.

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  #2  
Old 09-05-2023, 05:39 AM
Eastbound Eastbound is offline
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Why not just some powered speakers and a mixer? 15 inch powered speakers should throw plenty of volume.

If you're micing all instruments, you could probably get louder if using pickups.

Ive seen some folks do the one mic thing pretty well, but I think separate amplification of each instrument is generally better
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Old 09-05-2023, 05:52 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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We typically use dynamic mics and some small lightweight powered speakers on poles (i don't know the brand as the system is our fiddle player's but it's equivalent to the lower end Kustom brand). We mostly play outdoors at farmers markets and some festivals. The festivals have their own sound systems though.

I play a '46 Kay 3/4 size bass with a JJB 330 SBT - 2 heads under the soundboard with one opposite each bridge foot and the 3rd on the bridge. It comes through the PA fine using my RedEye, but really what works best for the bass is a good acoustic amp. I use a (no longer available) Carvin AG300. It's essentially a 3 channel powered speaker with effects. Everyone else has been using an instrument mic and a vocal mic into the PA.

Some of the issues we face are getting everyone to use their mics correctly, and running out of channels on the board. Recently we tried to go the fewer, well placed wider pattern condenser mic route but that brings another set of issues trying to get everyone to use those correctly.

IMO the linear array systems don't work well (and aren't really intended for) a 5 piece ensemble. They're for duos and trios. Even if you get a pair of them most only have 2 or 3 channels (for a total of 6, and you need to mic instruments and vocals for a 5 piece band). So you're still going to need a multi-channel board.

I think powered speakers with a good multi-channel mixer is the way to go. Get more channels than you think you need. We are frequently struggling and often fall back to two players sharing a mic and that doesn't work well with directional dynamic (or directional condenser) mics.
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Old 09-05-2023, 06:35 AM
Mobilemike Mobilemike is offline
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IMHO those compact systems are cool if you have a small enough band that you can set just one up and be done with it. However the moment you start trying to run a couple of them together, you start getting into issues like not enough inputs, balancing the speakers out, and because they have such wide dispersion patterns, you can easily get phase issues between the speakers in smaller rooms.

Iíll echo the previous recommendations for powered speakers and a good mixer. Iíve regularly done sound for bluegrass bands with similar lineup and used a pair of QSC K12ís and a Yamaha digital mixer and it worked perfectly. The K12ís had plenty of power even for outdoor gigs, and the bass never suffered.

-Mike
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  #5  
Old 09-05-2023, 07:19 AM
tennesseeboy tennesseeboy is offline
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Default 5 Piece Bluegrass Band Sound Help

I see what yíall are saying. I was kind of originally leaning towards to 2x Everse 8ís connected with the EV EXL200-12SP sub (see photo).

Would the 2x QSC K12.2 be better than those and handle the lower bass frequencies as well?

BTW we have a Behringer XR16 mixer already and it works great!


Last edited by tennesseeboy; 09-05-2023 at 01:46 PM.
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2023, 10:39 AM
L20A L20A is offline
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My 6 piece Folk/Grass band has 2 PA systems that we use.
For smaller indoor shows,[up to 100 people] we use 2 Bose S1 Pro Speakers and the Bass is supported by it's own pickup and amp.
For larger shows, we have 2 QSC 12" speakers.
For the larger shows, the bass runs through a DI and into the mixer.

In each case, we use a 12 channel mixer.
Monitors are optional and used on about 1/2 of the shows.
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  #7  
Old 09-05-2023, 11:33 AM
tennesseeboy tennesseeboy is offline
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Default 5 Piece Bluegrass Band Sound Help

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Originally Posted by L20A View Post
My 6 piece Folk/Grass band has 2 PA systems that we use.
For smaller indoor shows,[up to 100 people] we use 2 Bose S1 Pro Speakers and the Bass is supported by it's own pickup and amp.
For larger shows, we have 2 QSC 12" speakers.
For the larger shows, the bass runs through a DI and into the mixer.

In each case, we use a 12 channel mixer.
Monitors are optional and used on about 1/2 of the shows.

Thanks! Do the 12Ē QSCís have good clean bass? Iím assuming you run the bass through them instead of the dedicated sub setup?
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Old 09-05-2023, 01:28 PM
L20A L20A is offline
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We are very happy with our setup.
Most of the time, the stand up bass just uses an amp but when we do plug it in, it sounds fine.
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  #9  
Old 09-05-2023, 02:18 PM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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I'd rather see you run bass through a bass amp. Powered speakers are down to what you can afford and what you wish to haul around. QSCs are fabulous if you can afford them. Do you use monitors? That would add more complexity.
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2023, 02:25 PM
Mobilemike Mobilemike is offline
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The K12's have fantastic bass. The bass player in the band I do sound for runs a dual source pickup with a K&K Bass Max and a DPA condenser into a Felix preamp and it sounds amazing through the QSC's.

-Mike
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  #11  
Old 09-05-2023, 03:43 PM
tennesseeboy tennesseeboy is offline
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Default 5 Piece Bluegrass Band Sound Help

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Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
I'd rather see you run bass through a bass amp. Powered speakers are down to what you can afford and what you wish to haul around. QSCs are fabulous if you can afford them. Do you use monitors? That would add more complexity.

No monitors. Iím kind of looking for an all-in-one setup because I donít have $10k to spend. I want something that will handle small 50 people coffee shop shows, and also handle 200 people max outdoor farm-to-table shows. I know o need two separate setups but we donít make that much money. The Bose S1 Pros on top of a Sub1/2 looks inviting, but so does two QSC 12ís on top of a separate sub (for the double bass). I love the simplicity of the EV 30M/50M, but thereís no way to make them stereo for a 4 or 5 pc band.

Last edited by tennesseeboy; 09-05-2023 at 03:53 PM.
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  #12  
Old 09-05-2023, 04:25 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Since the bass is complicating your rig choice I'd suggest you pick up a Fender Rumble 100. Very lightweight, compact, and it will handle your needs easily. I use mine for larger outdoor park district gigs as well as mid-sized bar gigs.

Since bass is omni-directional you can place it behind you and the band, the bass player, and the audience will be able to hear it plainly and you can turn your attention to focusing on the other instruments and vocals.

A small mixer and using one or two powered pole mount speakers (depending on how large of a coverage area you anticipate) will handle your other needs.
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  #13  
Old 09-06-2023, 02:50 AM
shufflebeat shufflebeat is offline
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Apart from my own musical projects I do sound for a loud-ish country/Celtic rock band. Their own system is the Dynacord A-series, 12” on top and 15” subs either side. The system is good, punchy and clear and has paid for itself many times over.

However, I was able to compare the band system to my own at rehearsals not so long ago and the results might be of interest.

I use EV elx200-sp subs (the ones you mention) under Yamaha dxr8 tops and the difference was very apparent. Electric bass and kick drum were tighter, with less of the “overhang” (that I hadn’t really been aware was there - I had been EQing out some flabbiness in the bass and losing some useful Hz’s in the process), mids were much less cluttered, focus was higher up the spectrum which gave much more breathing space for flute/whistle, fiddle and vocals to operate. Reverbs were clearer and more effective with less applied.

I initially thought the was less actual volume until I tried to hold a conversation while the music was playing, then I realised what I was listening to was just a more relaxed, cleaner sound.

Some of the improvement was down the the EVs just being excellent and some was the difference in audio profile between the 8” and the 12”.

Also, very much easier to move around.

Hope that helps.
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Last edited by shufflebeat; 09-06-2023 at 03:03 AM.
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  #14  
Old 09-06-2023, 06:28 AM
Eastbound Eastbound is offline
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I say get some pickups instead of using mics. It'll be an investment but you'll be able to get louder without feedback and no problems with getting mic placement right for everyone. Also the overall mix will be easier to blend. Most acoustic bands are using pickups these days

I dont really care for pick-ups with tiny mics inside instruments as I always thought they sounded thin. Go for the transducer style pick ups and use a preamp that has eq and notch filter

Lots of dudes will use a mic in conjunction with a pick up, where they lean into the mic more when taking a break. Also, the blended sound of a pick up and mic can come out sounding pretty sweet

Dont forget you gonna need some powered monitors in front of you on stage, probably 2 or 3 with 5 people
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  #15  
Old 09-06-2023, 07:52 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Quote:
....I want something that will handle small 50 people coffee shop shows, and also handle 200 people max outdoor farm-to-table shows.....
I would suggest that a 5 piece bluegrass band is going to need very little kit for those types of events. What you need and what you are thinking you may want being two different things! I'd say that your 50 people coffee shop is often going to be a no p.a. at all situation. I'll be singing/playing to 75+ tonight at a hotel - just me and a D-18.

You could get away with single mic'ing at a farmer's market. Two speakers on stands placed well forward, and the band standing close together so you don't need monitors. A single large diaphragm condenser centre stage - the Rode NT1a will do the job for not much money. The bass can play through a kick back bass amp placed behind the band. You will hear it on stage and it will bleed into the single stage mic'. The thing with bass is that it carries a bloody long way. In terms of balance it will be louder at the back than you are getting on stage.

You can rehearse unamplified standing in a semi-circle - and play using the same configuration when either going sans p.a. or when using a single mic' to "lift " the band.

If you do decide to try out the single mic' route then I would suggest getting a 15 band e/q (Behringer make some cheap but good ones) so you can e/q the stage for feedback. There are resources on-line on how to set-up a single stage mic' for a bluegrass band.

When I was in a bluegrass band (playing dobro) we went down the route of a flat stage line, individual mic's for each voice and instrument, monitors etc. But actually switching to a single stage mic' was the best thing we did. It was so much more relaxing, we played and sang better standing in a close arc, had a lot more fun - and got booked more! It was just an attitude change to see the p.a. simply as providing natural support for your acoustic sound. The type of audiences/venues you are playing are unlikely to complain that the band is too quiet - it is normally the reverse!

Perhaps now is a good time to review your whole strategy and try out a few options before you buy.
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Last edited by Robin, Wales; 09-06-2023 at 08:07 AM.
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