PA Advice

How to recreate the Live&Loud PA system for your venue


  1. Speakers

    1. x2 Mackie THUMP 15 (TH-15) speakers.

    2. x2 Mackie THUMP 15 speakers used as front monitors.


It is important to have a good set of speakers that can handle a range of volume levels from acoustic to electric instruments. You must also consider the number of musicians you will have at one time on stage. Monitors are not a necessity for smaller venues but are always advised. It allows you, as the venue, to be happy about the volume of sound out front to your listeners and gives the musicians confidence that they can hear themselves play and provide you with the best performance possible.


There are always online music shops that provide a range of deals and discounts so be sure to have a look around before you buy.


To take a look at the Mackie THUMP ‘active’ (in-built amplifiers) range follow the link below; http://mackie.com/products/thump-series


We would suggest ordering these from an online shop. Search in google for Mackie THUMP speakers and you will be provided with a range of speakers and prices. Have a look for the best deals, you will often find companies may include speaker stands and make sure the speakers always come with power leads.


  1. Mixing desk

    1. ProFx 8 professional mac line mixer with fx - 8 channels

    2. XLR multicore or extension box


Mixing desks are a necessity for every venue with a PA. When setting up your PA system it is important to be aware of the space you have and therefore how many musicians you will have at one time. A good starting point is the mixing desk above with 6 channels. This allows space for mics and instruments to be plugged in through the PA system. Guitarists often bring their own amps and don’t always need to go through the desk (but don’t forget to ask). If you find that you need more channels for bigger bands they you can buy a separate XLR multicore which will give you extra channels to handle more inputs. This is not a necessity.


To take a look at the Mackie ProFx mixer range follow the link below;

http://mackie.com/products/profxv2-series


Remember to always search online for good deals as music shop websites will often provide a range of offers.


  1. Microphones

    1. x3 or 4 Shure SM58 mics

    2. AT8033 drum mics


Microphones are a must when performing live music with a PA, it allows all sounds to be appropriately amplified through the speakers and controlled to create the best sound for your venue. Judge the number of mics required by the size of your stage. The most commonly used mic for live music is the Shure SM58 as it is great from both male and female and to mic up acoustic instruments. Depending on the size of the venue and the quality of sound you are looking for, drum mics are great for controlling and producing the best live sound possible. Drummers will always appreciate the aid with sound. You don’t always need to mic up a full kit, just one or two can often be enough.


Click on the link below for suggestions of mic prices and packages, remember to check around for other deals;

http://www.gear4music.com/PA-DJ-and-Lighting/Shure-SM58-Dynamic-Cardioid-Vocal-Microphone/4ZW?utm_campaign=bEngine%20-%20Shure&utm_medium=paid_search&network=google&adgroup=19544534239&matchtype=b&utm_term=shure%20sm58%20dynamic%20cardioid%20vocal%20microphone&device=c&creative=86503642999&adposition=1t1&gclid=CJWPseaF98gCFecSwwodqnAA4w


If a cable is included always check its length and if it is xlr to xlr (this will be explained but is important for quality).



  1. Mic stands

    1. x6 Mic stands with holders


These are a requirement as you never know what a band requires for their live set up. When buying them always remember to ask the seller if the come with a head or holder. Sometimes companies can catch you out and leave you with a stand that is of no use. We recommend ‘boom’ stands as they are more versatile.


For example of stands follow the link below;

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=microphone+stand&tag=googhydr-21&index=aps&hvadid=28049962953&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5851530752651439101&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_6ghz5ciqjm_b


When buying mic stands you get what you pay for, the higher the price the better the quality and the longer lasting.


  1. Leads, cables and connecting equipment

    1. x10  XLR to XLR leads (minimum 6m length)

It is worth having enough of these should one give up, the longer the better so leads can be run round the back of the stage.

    1. x 4 XLR to Jack leads

These are important should you run out of channels and either mics or instruments need to be run through the desk.

    1. x4 Jack to Jack

Most guitarists and keyboard players will turn up with their own but it’s always worth being prepared, when someone forgets it can be the difference of having or not having a gig.

    1. x2 mini jack to mini jack cable

These are essential, you never know when someone needs to plug in with backing tracks or support from other equipment.

    1. XLR splitter

If you run out of space these are really useful.

    1. x2 XLR to Jack converter

These aren’t a necessity but sensible to have when hosting bigger bands.

    1. x2 Mini Jack to Jack converter

Again not a necessity but sensible to have as you never know when they are needed.


  1. Other useful equipment

    1. DI Box

These are useful if you choose to take your gig sound seriously. These boxes allow you to control the input levels of vocals and instruments and bring them to an equalised level for optimum output sounds.

    1. Extension cords

We always run out of plug-in space.


How to construct your PA


  1. Find your stage area

  2. Place 2 of your speakers on the stands either side of the stage with a slight angle into the center

  3. Find a convenient place, either a table or ledge to put your mixing desk - smaller mixing desks are usually situated near to the speakers for convenience

  4. If required leave space for a drum kit and surrounding instruments

  5. Place the required number of mic stands and mics at the front in between two speakers

  6. In front of the mic stand place the remaining 2 speakers on the sides and angle up to the mics

  7. Make sure all electrical equipment is plugged into a power supply - make sure to keep the volume low when switching on

  8. Attach your sound desk to the speakers with the appropriate XLR lead

  9. Connect your mics to the sound desk with XLR to XLR leads being aware of which mic goes into which channel

  10. Connect any other external instruments to the sound desk using the appropriate leads


How to use your PA


  1. Start by conducting a soundcheck - this is necessary for artists to arrange their sound to suit your venue.

  2. When doing a soundcheck start with the first channel on the mixing desk - sometimes it’s worth numbering the mics to a channel so there is no confusion.

  3. Have your band in their performance positions and work your way round the channel numbers to make sure everyone has sound and the fx they want (for more details on fx please read the manual).

  4. Don’t forget to test the sound all together, when you and the band are happy remember to turn the master volume control down until needed.

  5. All of the sound settings can be left and controlled during the performance - generally a band will have a clear idea of what they want for their sound and will happily help input this.


Most importantly have a play with you PA system and get to know its functions. You can create high quality live sounds with very little help which can turn the night into a success.



Useful sites;


http://www.gear4music.com/

http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk/

http://www.gak.co.uk/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/

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