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mccreadyisgod wrote:1) What style of music? Acoustic, indie rock, metal, variety, etc.?
2) Do you plan on running this yourself, get some idiot to run it, or hire a decent sound guy?
Awaiting those answers, here are my thoughts based on what you wrote already:
You are probably looking for horsepower over fidelity. That means we can set aside any aspirations for a flown line array and focus on some beefy, cheap ground stacks. My gut reaction says you should get a small 3-way system with two single 18" subs (one for each side) and two tops with 2x15" mids and a horn (one for each side). That should cover a 100-person club okay, and have the ability to run a full rock band without doing anything too crazy. If you could, I would double that (2x18" cab on each side and two tops per side) but you could always add to the system later; this is more about coverage than volume, so you can splay the speakers to cover the room more evenly. For main speakers, I would look at Peavey and Yamaha, or maybe JBL or EV. Peavey especially is a good fit, since they are pretty cheap and relatively bullet-proof. You can also replace components in the cabinets pretty cheap and easy if someone blows a speaker.
You will need monitors. For a rock band setup, you will need two or three across the front, and a dedicated drum monitor. For louder music, you'll want a 15" woofer and a horn; for acoustic or milder bands, a 12" is plenty. You might think this is overkill, but if a musician isn't standing in front of a monitor, they can't hear it... you can't just throw a wedge in front of the lead singer and be fine. And things without amps on stage (vocals, keyboards, acoustic/electric guitars) will rely on monitors for stage volume. You could mess around with side-fill monitors, but wedges are probably just easier. My notes about main speaker brands from above apply here, too.
The one place I would recommend spending some cash is the amps. Get decent amps and wire them right, and you will never regret it. Get enough amplification to properly power your speakers, maybe even a little more than they need; underpowering speakers can be more damaging than overpowering them. You will need to get a crossover for the main speakers. You can make the mains run on two amps (subs and tops), but if you bi-amped the tops, you'll get better results. Many tops are capable of running full-range or bi-amp, so that's a can you can kick down the road a bit. Monitors will need one or two amps, depending on the size and number of wedges/mixes.
For the mixer, you can go cheap or you can go expensive. This is where it helps to know who is running this PA. If you just have some moron running it, who doesn't really know any better, then a small analog board is fine. If you have a decent engineer, though, a digital board might be worth it. The big issue is effects; specifically, compression and EQ, plus things like reverb and delay. A real engineer will know how to use these tools, but an amateur won't necessarily be able to. You could always get an analog board and add analog effects, but having it all in the mixer can be pretty convenient. And when you start adding up prices of all the pieces, the digital board can often be cheaper than the analog equivalent.
You'll need some basic mics, at least four vocal mics (I'd get Shure SM58s), a few instrument mics (SM57s), a few DIs, and a kick-drum mic. For a 100-seat venue, you would probably mic the kick and snare but no other drums. You might mic up smaller guitar amps, but most amps will be loud enough. You will want to be able to mic/DI the bass amp, if it's too small. Then the unamplified things like keys, acoustics, vocals. You will need mic stands (which can be surprisingly expensive). And mic cables. And a stage snake. And extension cords. And a rack for the amps. And a dozen other little things that even I can't think of right now.
A power conditioner would be a good idea for your mixer, but not important for the stage gear. Ideally, you would have a proper power distribution system off a dedicated 50-amp service that would supply power to the stage, the amps, and the mixer. Having everything on a clean, shared ground is necessary; grounding issues cause everything from hum and buzz to electrocution.
You don't need any backline.
If the stage lighting goes away, you'll need some lights. Not a lot, nothing fancy. I would highly recommend LED PAR fixtures, since they use very little electricity, emit no heat, and can do color switching without gels. You can get a few PAR 56 or PAR 64 lamps and some gel, but that uses a bunch of electricity and can get hot. I'm not a lighting expert, but I can give some simple tips.
Any of these things you can find on the used market (eBay, Craigslist), go for it.
So. Pipe dream alert here.
Looking at a place in town that is up for rent.
About 2300sf (so they say, looks smaller to me, but that included a mens and a ladies room i guess).
There is a large-ish stage already build (something near 25-30ft wide, and 10-ish deep)
There are rafters in place to hang equipment, and actually the previous owners have lights mounted, PAs, there are floor monitors, and what appears to me to be a way-oversized board for the place.
Assuming i got this place, lets assume none of this equipment would stay.
What would the IDEAL (but budget conscious) equipment needs be for this venue?
I'm thinking fitting 100 people in this place is probably about as many (or more) than the fire marshal would allow.
I already know right off the bat from what I have heard around town ("sounds like poo poo", "too live", "lots of bouncing sound") that the first thing to blow money on is probably about $1500 worth of sound dampening fabric\curtains ... to be hung on all walls, and from the ceiling, I am assuming. If someone thinks foam is a better choice for either walls, or ceiling, speak now ... also maybe some bass-traps for the metal bands placed in corners.
Okay. Now that the dumb stuff is out of the way, realistically, what do i NEED to make this work?
My dumber-than-dumb assumptions:
*2 PA speakers (need these for vocals and for any DI instrument - ie keyboards - right?)
*2 Floor Monitors (i really think this is overkill in this space, but the artists will kill me without them, right?)
*Power Conditioner (a decent Furman, ??? need one for insuring the bands shit don't blow up, right?)
*Mixer - 12-16 channels (why would I want a digital mixer, and would i want a "powered" mixer??? confused)
*Some cables for microphones and a mic stand or two (just in case some dingbat forgets one?)
What else am I forgetting?
I know clubs often have a "back line" of equipment (like a bass cabinet, keyboard, drums, etc) but this is a small venue, and I would be booking small, hopefully non-needy, local bands that have their stuff locally and can just pop it in my club and pop it out.
I'm sure there is something i would want, need (besides dedicated 15amp circuits wired at the club) or what-have-you, but I can't think of it right now ... I mean, i will need some surge protected power strips as well ... but beyond that ??????????????????????????????
I keep visiting my favorite bar in town that does live music (on a very small scale) and this seems to be all they have. Actually, they don't even have floor monitors, just two PAs, a power conditioner, and a mixer. And they have a "emergency sound shut-off" red hand-button mounted to the wall that is hard wired to kill everything in case of an aural-emergency.
This is like <$5000K EASY, right???
*some DI boxes
*power amp for PAs
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