he P.A. system is the largest and most expensive equipment you will need to buy if you intend to work as a 'self-contained' entertainer. Whilst some genres of music are fortunate to work in venues that have in-house systems, the majority of working singers and musicians cannot rely on clubs, pubs and venues to have adequate equipment, so its worth taking the time to learn what is the best set up for your requirements and how to use it to its best effect.
For the complete newcomer we have an easy to follow guide to equipment required for public performances, basic set up instructions, advice on how to use a mixing desk and tips on getting the best sound for your performances. If you already have a basic understanding of P.A. Equipment and require more advanced information and advice, there are plenty of excellent sites that offer technical explainations and diagrams. Details and links to these can be found in our Equipment Links. Visitors with relevent sites are welcome to send their details for inclusion.
If you are an experienced singer or musician you will not require the info, however, you may find the wavelength calculator, links to equipment retailers, online speaker design applet and technical advice helpful, and there are extensive links to musical instrument manufactures, musical, sound and pro-audio equipment manufacturers, dealers, support, advice and more at Electric Blues Club Equipment section and why not browse our Free Music Software Downloads Page which has tons of useful programs for singers and musicians
Newest additions to this section are 'Sound Advice' which provides some basic instructions on how to use a mixing desk, how to get the best sound at acoustic and electric gigs, plus the new Wavelength Calculator for the techies!!
P.A and Musical Equipment you will require and basic set up advice is only a small part of this section, which may take some time to construct so please pop back often!!
The amount and type of equipment you will need, depends on where you intend to perform and the size of your act. Of course you can be completely acoustic and sing unaccompanied, but even the most powerful singer needs amplification for a band or orchestral performance. If, like many musicians, you are unable to afford a P.A. System, there are other options available:-
When purchasing any type of musical equipment it is worth aiming for
the most powerful and best quality you can afford. If possible try to
make sure you have spares available for the inevitable unforseen
breakdown - extra mic, speaker and power leads are a 'must have' and
should be included when calculating your budget.
Most Solo's and Duo's work with backing tracks. The following list gives a few 'player' options to help you choose which is best for your act:
A full P.A. set up is not as daunting as it sounds. Most people have a music centre and a P.A. is a larger version. You will need a minimum 100 watt system if you intend to work in public, however, a larger system (150 - 300 watts for solo performers, duo's, trio's and small bands) is preferable and will suit most indoor or outdoor events. You should always try to purchase the highest wattage of the best quality that your budget can afford but unless you intend to play at Wembley Stadium, this set up will last without having to upgrade for many years. The following is a list of all the necessary components you will need:-
Self Accompanied Artists, Duo's & Trio's, i.e., guitar or keyboard players, will also have to take into consideration wether to have instrument specific amplification or Direct Input into the P.A. (DI boxes are relatively inexpensive) but do check that the amplifier is suited for Instruments and not just a Vocal P.A. before plugging in or you could overload it & repairs are expensive!!
P.A. & Equiment Hire Companies
These vary in size from the one man band to tour equipment hire, some supply an engineer with the equipment, others do not so ask before making arrangements. Hire costs vary considerably from $30 to $5000 per night depending on the amount of equipment and personnel needed, most companies require a deposit in advance.
This is just a small selection of books and audio books available in our Books For Singers
which include technical equipment, singing exercises, music theory,
vocalises, sheet music, audition repertoire, and tuition books for
singers of all standards and styles.
Live Sound - P.A. for the Performing Musicians
Future Music - 'Essential reading for any gigging musician'
The Band - 'Covers just about every live playing subject'
Home & Studio Recording - 'Clear and concise'
Whether you are an engineer working with a large sound system, or just a gigging band using a few amps and a mixer, you'll get more out of your sound system with this book. Its hands-on approach covers choice and use of microphones, direct injection, mixing, monitoring and foldback, automation and MIDI, and use of effects - EQ, compressors, reverb and delay. There are sections on multimedia, troubleshooting, minimising mains interference, hum and feedback, and some welcome advice on safety aspects of a live gig. It includes case studies of a rock concert, a classical concert, a cabaret show, and a musical production in a theatre. With a chapter on connectors and the principles of sound, the whole thing is nicely rounded off with a glossary of terms and a useful list of industry contacts. Explains how to build an efficient sound system, and gives advice on monitor mixing, avoiding feedback, and using effects while recording.
Live Sound at Amazon UK
Live Sound at Amazon USA
The Home Studio Guide to Microphones
Reviews - The author, Loren Alldrin , 13 April, 1998
Here's a hint: it's not in your latest 24-bit effects processor or whiz-bang digital recorder. Instead, great recordings start with the right microphone positioned well. Sound simple? It is.
In The Home Studio Guide to Microphones, you'll learn how mics work, how they differ and which mic to use when. Plus, you'll learn how to best record dozens of popular instruments. Finally, an extensive buyer's guide gives you specs and application info on over 70 popular mics.
Home Studio Guide to Microphones at Amazon USA