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  #31  
Old 02-15-2019, 08:35 AM
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ljguitar ljguitar is offline
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Originally Posted by JackB1 View Post
So if you are mostly performing solo....just you and your guitar and vocals...do you really need a mixer? Will it improve your overall sound or is it just to have more channels available if folks want to sit in? I am currently just plugging straight into my Fishman SA220 but wonder if adding a mixer will do anything for me?

thanks
Hi JB1

You're getting lots of advice. If I only played 'solo' and didn't need a PA system, then I could get by with letting the house techs handle everything. In fact sometimes I do that for church or larger venues where the house system is solid.

But since I play a guitar, and I sing, and I sometimes need to bring a PA, then I'm going to have a mixer…since I own a powered mixer which drives the speaker cabinets. By the way, my mixer weighs 15 pounds, and my cabinets only 20 pounds each. The powered version of the speakers are about 45 pounds each, and that's a lot to hoist atop a 5 foot tall speaker and then hoist 4-5 feet higher into the air.

I can think of several ways to avoid a mixer…kind of: I mean technically, you are mixing your vocal and your guitar, and if you have a dual source pickup (I have those in 4 guitars), then you are even sub-mixing the guitar.
  • Powered PA speaker with multiple adjustable inputs
  • A large keyboard amp (15"…powered 3-way cabinet with 4 inputs) which is basically ½ of a PA in a cabinet (owned one for several years). It had an XLR for my vocal, and three ¼" inputs…so the mixer was built into the amp. It was a beast, and didn't fit in the trunk or back seat of anything well.
  • Only play venues small enough for me to use my acoustic amp which can handle a single XLR plus a ¼" input and they are 'mixable' from the amp.

Sometimes for really small gigs my gigging partner and I each bring a suitable amp and our own mic and stand, and are running a dual speaker version of us with each of us setting up our own mix on our personal amp, and then matching that to the room. (It's actually a bit more work than just using a mixer and plugging both of us in). While it's less 'bulky' it requires extra trips to/from the car to load-in/out.

Maybe it's because i'm 70 yrs old and a bit smarter, but designing a small portable system is pretty easy these days. The current system I own isn't the most or least expensive gear. But it sounds great and it's solid. And it fits in the trunk of my wife's small Saturn Sedan.


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  #32  
Old 02-15-2019, 11:06 AM
1Charlie 1Charlie is offline
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Somebody help me with this.

If you are using an acoustic amp as your sole source of amplification for voice and instrument, where are you putting it on stage?

If it is low and behind you, I can't see how it gets sound to the back of the room. If it is up on a stand, how is it positioned so you can get at the controls?

And if it is behind you, how do you keep it out of the vocal mic to avoid feedback?

I'd love to go with less than I currently use (a pair of powered JBL's on stands and a small mixer) but am unclear how a Fishman would work in a loud bar.
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  #33  
Old 02-15-2019, 11:41 AM
gfa gfa is offline
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Originally Posted by JackB1 View Post
So if you are mostly performing solo....just you and your guitar and vocals...do you really need a mixer? Will it improve your overall sound or is it just to have more channels available if folks want to sit in? I am currently just plugging straight into my Fishman SA220 but wonder if adding a mixer will do anything for me?

thanks
Perhaps a better way to frame the question is "what are the pros and cons of adding a mixer?" Pros: much greater ability to shape your sound, deal with problematic frequencies, handle sit-in folks. Cons: another piece of gear to purchase, transport, and cable up, and an additional source of potential problems.

To me, the pros significantly outweigh the cons.
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  #34  
Old 02-15-2019, 12:54 PM
zhunter zhunter is offline
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Since the singer sings and I play guitar it takes two of us to make a solo act. When we do a solo act that is. We do a faux flamenco show and have had great success using my Schertler Unico for voice and guitar. Buddy of mine does sound for us when we do the band thing and does recording and sound on the side. Said the Unico sounded as good or better than any PA we used.

A mixer is handy for handling situations as pointed out earlier. But my experience says I don't really need it until the room gets bigger and I need more power/spread or we go full band and I need more inputs/control.

hunter
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  #35  
Old 02-15-2019, 12:54 PM
Rmz76 Rmz76 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackB1 View Post
So if you are mostly performing solo....just you and your guitar and vocals...do you really need a mixer? Will it improve your overall sound or is it just to have more channels available if folks want to sit in? I am currently just plugging straight into my Fishman SA220 but wonder if adding a mixer will do anything for me?

thanks
The mixer built into the SA220 should be fine... Adding a mixer in front of the SA220's mixer could degrade or improve the sound depending on your preferences and the type of mixer used. The mixer is going to have a built-in preamp which on a very nice mixer could supersede the quality of what's built into your Fishman, but for most small mixers this is likely to not be the case. You'd have to spend quite a bit and then the question would be how much that improved quality difference would shine through on the SA220's speakers.

Budget mixers might give you more control over the EQ, but may add more noise to the signal chain.

Keep in mind Fishman is a well established, quality vendor. Their amps and pickup technology frankly some of the best gear money can buy with a long list of top players to back them and the SA220 isn't really designed to put a mixer in front of.
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  #36  
Old 02-15-2019, 01:05 PM
SongwriterFan SongwriterFan is offline
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Originally Posted by 1Charlie View Post
Somebody help me with this.

. . .


I'd love to go with less than I currently use (a pair of powered JBL's on stands and a small mixer) but am unclear how a Fishman would work in a loud bar.

This is not from the perspective of somebody who performs, but from somebody who LISTENS to a lot of singer/songwriter acts (just guitar and singer, or sometimes piano, or occasionally a duo).

I've never heard the Fishman used in a situation like you've described, but I have heard the Bose system used.

IMO, even the cheapest Bose (the Compact) is perfect for a bar/restaurant, even up to say 100 people. If it's just YOU, you don't even really need a mixer . . . just plug into the two input jacks (one XLR for the mic and one 1/4" for the vocal). However, there is no overall volume control (you'd have to turn both up/down to do that), and the EQ is very limited, and no reverb/compression/etc.

This system is VERY compact/luggable, even for just one person (even a gal). I have a couple of friends who use this all the time. And a couple who use one of the more powerful Bose systems.

And, yes, you really CAN use this system is both monitor and mains. And the volume really DOES drop off much more slowly with distance than a single speaker. The physics to explain this is pretty simple. A single speaker puts out the music in the shape of a sphere, so the power/volume drops off as the CUBE of the distance. These "sticks" or "arrays" put several speakers in a vertical row that basically turn the output into the shape of a cylinder instead of a sphere, so the power/volume drops off as the SQUARE of the distance. This means that the volume drops off significantly less with any of these array type speaker systems (Bose or not).

If it were me, I would use this Bluetooth mixer from Mackie (I own one, plus the Bose Compact)

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...-digital-mixer

If you're by yourself, you can now control your mix/volume (along with simple EQ/compression/reverb) from your iPhone. And if you happen to have a friend in the audience you trust for sound control, he can control it for you (it's VERY simple to use). The only real drawback to it is that there isn't any real gain control. You have to use the faders for that. The gain is set automatically (it chooses one value for 1/4" inputs and one for XLR). I've had to put in an XLR pad before for one guy who sings REALLY loudly and also "eats the mic".

I would get the 8-channel version (it's really 6 combo XLR-1/4" inputs) just in case you ever want to add a second or third person to perform with you (or in the round).
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  #37  
Old 02-15-2019, 01:16 PM
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KevWind KevWind is offline
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In when I started performing solo, some 40 + years ago lugged around a 12 channel Mackie mixer and a pair of Mackie 450 powered speakers, but about 15 years ago I sold that, and got a good front end with a 2 channel combo mic pre, EQ, and limiter, A good stereo reverb processor, all in a rolling rack and a Fishman 220 SoloAmp and never looked back

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  #38  
Old 02-15-2019, 01:50 PM
SongwriterFan SongwriterFan is offline
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Originally Posted by 1Charlie View Post
And if it is behind you, how do you keep it out of the vocal mic to avoid feedback?
I forgot to address this in my post above.

I've only seen/heard the Bose feed back once or twice. And it was when the unit was DIRECTLY behind the performer. All she had to do to fix that issue was move it a couple of feet off to one side.

I've also seen friends of mine play with the system a bit IN FRONT of them (and off to the side). There's often enough sound level coming from behind the system to let them hear. One guy puts it up there but uses an in-ear system to listen. To me that's overkill, but he likes it that way.
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  #39  
Old 02-15-2019, 02:05 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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I go back and forth between 6- and 12-string guitar and need separate EQ/gain settings/effects levels for each - in addition to a vocal mic - so yes, I do need a mixer for solo performance...

Also real handy to have an extra channel or three ready to plug-in-&-go, when (not if) Murphy and his seven leprechaun brothers decide to foul things up in the middle of your set...
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  #40  
Old 02-15-2019, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by bufflehead View Post
In small venues I do fine with my Fishman Loudbox Mini. I don't need a mixer
So what do you do when you encounter a difficult room that needs more extensive EQ? Sound bad, or just not realize it?
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  #41  
Old 02-15-2019, 04:32 PM
lodi_55 lodi_55 is offline
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For my AER 60 and Shertler Roy, I don't need anything else.

It depends what you have onboard with your amp and if you're happy with the sound.
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  #42  
Old 02-15-2019, 05:02 PM
zhunter zhunter is offline
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Originally Posted by SongwriterFan View Post
And, yes, you really CAN use this system is both monitor and mains. And the volume really DOES drop off much more slowly with distance than a single speaker. The physics to explain this is pretty simple. A single speaker puts out the music in the shape of a sphere, so the power/volume drops off as the CUBE of the distance. These "sticks" or "arrays" put several speakers in a vertical row that basically turn the output into the shape of a cylinder instead of a sphere, so the power/volume drops off as the SQUARE of the distance. This means that the volume drops off significantly less with any of these array type speaker systems (Bose or not).
Remember the Bose L1 models are not true line arrays and cannot achieve that theoretical level of performance. Also remember that for a true line array to perform at/near those theoretical levels, they have to have a free sound path. No performers, audience or other obstructions in the line of fire.

hunter
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  #43  
Old 02-15-2019, 08:39 PM
The Kid! The Kid! is offline
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Originally Posted by zhunter View Post
Remember the Bose L1 models are not true line arrays and cannot achieve that theoretical level of performance. Also remember that for a true line array to perform at/near those theoretical levels, they have to have a free sound path. No performers, audience or other obstructions in the line of fire.

hunter
Thank you so much for this.
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  #44  
Old 02-15-2019, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by The Kid! View Post
...
PLUS: it will give you the ability to put the speaker where it makes the most sense sonically and still be able to reach the controls for adjustments...
^^^This...

...is a bonus. You don't need one but having mixing knobs within arm's length is a def benefit. But if it's a small room and not many people, an intimate guitar-vocal listening, once you get it set, you might not need to touch anything once you begin.
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  #45  
Old 02-15-2019, 09:53 PM
ManyMartinMan ManyMartinMan is offline
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The "need" for a mixer is to allow you to control your sound. If you have the limited performance possibility that gives you the same exact set up for every performance (never seen this) then you may not need one. However, my mixer is part of my pedal-board set up so no matter where I show up, and no matter whether I'm using my own speaker set up, or a large-venue house system, my sound stays the same. My sound guy sets up my board so it is maximized for what I am plugging in and running through. Therefore, when my line out is run to a house snake or speakers, or house PA or.... my sound can be easily tweaked by me or the sound person in a couple of minutes. Consistent high-quality sound quality is the goal.
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