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Okay, new topic. I am wondering what y'all use for amplification/PA in a small setting. I am considering a small portable PA system that won't peel the paint off the walls, but would work well for small coffee houses and house concerts that don't have their own system. So it can't take up much space, and if it could run or be adapted to run on batteries, that would be cool too. Just want to be able to set up/take down quick without causing a lot of hassle for the shop owner -- maybe they would be more likely then to consider adding live music?

What are your thoughts?

Tags: amplification, gigging, live, music, performing

Views: 1044

Replies to This Discussion

Yamaha stagepass is a good system, the Fishman SoloAmp is great but just has a coupla inputs
I just did a first gig last night at a small coffeehouse/bookstore with a Mackie SRM 150. It's a daisy-chain-able 2 channel powered monitor/mini PA that can get pretty loud. It has no effects, but has good clean power. It's "rated" at 150 watts, but I figure it's comparable to a 40 watt acoustic amp. Plenty loud for a small venue.

The Good
- Loud
- Clean sound
- Small and light weight (fits into a small shoulder bag with all the cables, microphone etc)
- It mounts right on your mic stand with an adapter on the top to connect your boom for your mic

The Not-so-Good
- It's designed as a powered monitor first so when mounted normally on a mic stand it's angled up bit. I've used them for trade shows in the past and I just mount them upside down on a separate mic stand and they work fine

Overall it worked nicely for the gig. I can pair it with my little mixer with effects and still fit it all into my shoulder bad.

I also have a Kustom Profile1 100W kit in a rolling bag that I use for house concerts. It has four inputs, is inexpensive and provides good quality sound.

-Rob
I played around with the Mackie and using the boom to adjust the angle and then a second boom from a desktop boom stand does a nice job of both evening out the angle, but also as the desktop boom is small it doesn't add much size to the total package.

I checked out the SoloAmp from Fishman and while I think it's a great solution, I couldn't get $999 approved by the finance committee.

-Rob
I use the fishman loudbox 100, It's only good for solo as it only has 2 channels 1 xlr for mic and 1/4 inch for instrument .But It's 100 watt so it has all the power you need for coffee shop or house gigs. if you show up and it's bigger than you were expecting it has a mixed DI out to send to a bigger PA.
If there is no house system then my trio is currently using a Bose "Pole and Bass Cab" system and it is great for what we do. I am thinking aobut getting a Fishman Solo Amp for my solo gigs...as long as you are not using a bass in it I think it is probably the best thing to come down the pike! I also have a dual speaker cabinet, mixer amp, and double monitor system taht works great but is a lot to set up for a lower poer need. We know that we are going to need more power for an otudoor gig this summer and will suse the Bose system and tap out of it into my regualr system for more power...kind of the best of both worlds! The Fishman and Bose systems have such a small footprint for a single or duo that you just can't beat them! Edward http://mysite.verizon.net/emsparks/video/video.htm
I'd suggest to get something that will do MORE than what you may think you need, because one day you may be asked to play someone's outdoor party, or perhaps a room that is larger than what you expected or even a hall. You just don't know and you can't predict it. And why turn down a nice paying gig because you're not prepared... or worse yet... show up for the gig and nobody can hear you in the back.

I use a system that can adequately handle everything from a small coffee house to an auditorium. It's light, compact and real sturdy.

Mackie 800S power mixer
2 EV 10 inch speakers
2 speaker stands.
AKG or Shure vocal mikes (have a back up just in case)
Instrument mikes or if you prefer plug right into the mixer.

It works and I've never had a bad sounding gig.

Oh... one more thing. I've played in dozens of house concerts across the US and I never had to use a PA. Most of those are done in a living room with at the most 50 people all seated close enough to hear you.

Hope this helps,

Toby Walker
Hi,

Over the years I've played places with and without PA systems of their own or ones that were pretty crappy. My groups worked with full PA and monitor systems but that is a real hassle to hall around and set up. I own a Roland SA 300 Stage Amplifier that I can transport easily since it's light and not too big. It seems to be an out growth of the Roland AC 60 and 90 acoustic guitar amps. In a pinch I have even used my AC 60 on its own; one channel for guitar and one for vocal mic. The SA 300 Mixer/Amp/speaker cab unit is about the size of the AC 90 but has four channels and lots of ins and outs. It can mount on a pole and houses two speakers just like the AC 60 or 90. The other part of the system is a bass cab that the top unit can sit on, like a small electric guitar combo amp. I've used it live at coffee shop gigs with my friend Bill who plays bass as well as guitar and we both sing and I play guitar. It was plenty for a medium sized coffee house gig. Their own system sucked so we just didn't use it. Because there were two of us, I took along a small TC-Helicon VoiceSolo VSM-300 Active Voice Monitor to let us hear the mix. Along with my guitar, it all fit in my car with no trouble, was easy to carry and set up and sounded great. I can use just the mixer/amp/speaker cab top part of the system by itself just like an AC 60 or as a mixer / monitor and patch the output into an existing PA System and play larger or more complexly shaped venues using the existing power amp and speaker arrays.

I love this thing and best of all, while it sounds great, it is also less expensive than the Bose system or even using a Mackie powered monitor and a small mixer. Sure, I'd love to use the Bose system but the speaker array and the bass module are pretty expensive, same with the Fishman Solo amp. The Roland SA 300 works great for me and is worth checking out.
Reg Hayes said:
Hi,

Over the years I've played places with and without PA systems of their own or ones that were pretty crappy. My groups worked with full PA and monitor systems but that is a real hassle to hall around and set up. I own a Roland SA 300 Stage Amplifier that I can transport easily since it's light and not too big. It seems to be an out growth of the Roland AC 60 and 90 acoustic guitar amps. In a pinch I have even used my AC 60 on its own; one channel for guitar and one for vocal mic. The SA 300 Mixer/Amp/speaker cab unit is about the size of the AC 90 but has four channels and lots of ins and outs. It can mount on a pole and houses two speakers just like the AC 60 or 90. The other part of the system is a bass cab that the top unit can sit on, like a small electric guitar combo amp. I've used it live at coffee shop gigs with my friend Bill who plays bass as well as guitar and we both sing and I play guitar. It was plenty for a medium sized coffee house gig. Their own system sucked so we just didn't use it. Because there were two of us, I took along a small TC-Helicon VoiceSolo VSM-300 Active Voice Monitor to let us hear the mix. Along with my guitar, it all fit in my car with no trouble, was easy to carry and set up and sounded great. I can use just the mixer/amp/speaker cab top part of the system by itself just like an AC 60 or as a mixer / monitor and patch the output into an existing PA System and play larger or more complexly shaped venues using the existing power amp and speaker arrays.

I love this thing and best of all, while it sounds great, it is also less expensive than the Bose system or even using a Mackie powered monitor and a small mixer. Sure, I'd love to use the Bose system but the speaker array and the bass module are pretty expensive, same with the Fishman Solo amp. The Roland SA 300 works great for me and is worth checking out.

Sounds good Reg,
I know what you mean about places haveing lousy system! Been there, done that! At one coffeehouse, the next time I came back to play I brought MY system and set it up and played and then ran sound all night for everyone else! Made me a popular guy! I even got a free CD from a couple of performers that night! Edward
I use a Roland Acoustic Chorus 60. It's tiny, comes with shoulder bag, has just the right effects (a little chorus for your acoustic guitar and a great -- i.e., not obnoxious -- reverb for the vocal channel, including phantom power if you need it). The thing sounds amazing for how small it is. You can also mount it on a pole if you want it to be a little higher, plug it into a larger PA (so you can control your own sound) if you have a larger venue, or add powered extension speakers and/or a sub if you need to cover a larger area. Also has a line in for an iPod or anything else with an audio out. Very well-thought out amp for the guitarist/singer. I don't work for Roland. I just really like this amp.

http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Roland-AC60-Acoustic-Cho...

The Fishman SoloAmp is also a great sounding system, though I've only tested it in stores. I don't have any real-world experience with it.
I'm loving my LR Baggs Acoustic Reference Amp. After some shoulder and knee troubles, as well as being an only 5'3" lady, many of the systems out there were just too big and heavy. It puts out great volume, especially with my preamp in larger settings, and it's very easy to use. I can get set up with just a couple of trips to unload, which is a huge benefit when doing weddings or gigs in private homes.

I have a couple of Mackie power speakers, too, but lately the Baggs has been it for me. Simple, lightweight, and great looks and sound.

Jody
I use Fishman's old Acoustic Performer Pro. It has up to four channels: 1, Aux 1, 2 and the 1/8" Tape/CD jack. The CD jack has to be controlled via the master volume, and you need to remember it isn't muted when you mute the system. Then I use a mic for my voice, and just pickups on my guitars (6+12). If I'm playing with someone, I A/B switch my guitars, put theirs on Aux 1, my voice via an adapter into the CD jack and their voice into Channel 2.

If there's room, I have a tripod to stick it on. If not, I just put it on either a table/chair near me, or on the floor, angling it up towards the room. I never tried to run it off a battery, but I have done a wedding on a cliff in Idyllwild, CA, running 3x100' extension cords out to it....
I've got a mid size PA that I use with the band but is way too cumbersome for solo gigs so I bought a Mackie desk, a DFX-12. It's a great sounding mixer that's a little low on features but fine for small venues. No midrange EQ but the preamp is so sweet I'm not needing to EQ as much, eventually I'll get an outboard one for the vocal, Presonus make a small one. Then I just use the active monitor from my big PA, a Quest QSA150. It's a bit more of a setup than just an amp but still has a small footprint. I find that this gives me more versatility to add a stompbox or a guest vocal, I can have a few guitars all plugged in and ready to go, I've got the option of micing my guitar and it's expandable. I can also plug other people in and jam which is always fun.

I think it's worth learning how to use a desk although after reading the reviews I'm salivating over the new LR Baggs Acoustic Reference Amp. One day.

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