Acoustic musicians, any tips on my setup?

Yer Blues

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I have a duo going and it has been pretty fun so far. As of now the set up is 2 PRXs for mains (one being a little back to act as a monitor) and ZED 10FX with 2 vocals and 2 acoustic guitars. I've seen some videos from gigs and it sounds good out front, but without monitors it is a lot different on "stage" than how I am use to playing live. The volume is pretty low, so on stage we are essentially acoustic.

I guess ideally I'd bring another speaker for monitor, but so far the footprint at places we play are really small. We're basically off in a corner at these places. I think it would be helpful if we could get some type of monitor sound though.

The only ideas I've had so far are:
1) live with it - Accept the fact the acoustic thing is going to be different than the full band thing. I can still walk out front and if it sounds good then it sounds good. Maybe I'm trying to create a solution for a problem that is not there.

2) bring another speaker for monitor - probably ideal, but as I said the footprint is really small and adding another speaker on the floor in front of us will make it even smaller.

3) only use one speaker for FOH and one for monitor - this would clear some floor space as one of the speaker poles wouldn't be out front so we could arrange things a little differently

4) put both speakers behind us instead of out front - not sure if we would run in to feedback issues



Also, just curious how you guys doing the acoustic thing are running it? Are you using monitors? Where do you have the FOH speakers (i.e. out front or behind you)? This is definitely different than running sound from stage for a (loud) rock band.
 

Totally Bored

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9,676
I use a Fishman SA 220 with a small mixer as a sub mix. Works great for 2 vocals and 2 guitars. Also run a BeatBuddy Drum pedal and a IPhone for backing tracks. Small, portable and light. It's a great sound. I can bring everything into the gig on one trip and setup in 10 minutes. Been doing this for 4 years now.


Not me in this video ... lol ... but it explains it all :aok

 

EricPeterson

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48,885
In our duo we run TC Helicon Play Acoustics for both us, on our respective pedal boards. We each use a variety of pedals, as we see fit, typically I have a phaser (waylon) and a Boss eq to have a different eq curve for my mandolin, my partner typically has a tremolo and occasionally an overdrive or a EQ. we can both get delay, reverb and chorus from the Helicon for guitar. I made mounts in our pedal boards for Mic Stands and music stands. ,The Helicons also processes the vocals. Then we each send a a single XLR to a powered 12, set up on a poll, generally behind us.

This gives us a really small foot print and allows us to play small to medium coffee house, brewery style gigs. If we need more power we can diasy chain another 12, if we need a monitor, we can daisy chain it as well. We have not had issues with feedback or anything, we basically hear the mix the audience hears, it makes it simple to trouble shoot.
 

tribedescribe

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859
I also perform as a duo quite often. Most of the time I can get away with One main/monitor but It really depends on coverage needs. Places I play are fairly narrow so one speaker covers the floor well. I have tried the speaker behind thing and most of the time it makes a lousy monitor because its pointed away slightly to avoid feedback issues. This can make it hard to hear and I end up overplaying.

I do understand space issues but I wonder if you could set up a monitor leaning agains the speakers stand? I would avoid those mini mic mount monitors. They don't have enough low end headroom for a guitar.
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
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I use a 10fx too, nice little mixer. Have you looked into in ear monitors? Better than lugging a wedge around just for monitoring, and with acoustics you don't want to point a speaker at yourself anyhow.
 

stratrat2000

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289
In-ear monitors. Take up no space and help avoid the feedback problems that are so often a part of the small, cramped, acoustic gigs. I also enjoy the clarity and precision of the sound, regardless of what is bouncing around the venue. If you play seated or with little movement, you can go wired, which are a lot less expensive to buy and run than a wireless system.
 

RustyAxe

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3,012
I happened upon a used Behringer B205 (for cheap!) and thought I'd give it a go. It works great for our duo/trio winery gigs. We like to put two mains out for coverage (not volume) and the B205 between two singers works well. Again, we're not talking about high volume here, just something to let us hear ourselves. I've been using it in my full country band too, for vocals. I don't regret the $80 it cost me.
 
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1) live with it - Accept the fact the acoustic thing is going to be different than the full band thing. I can still walk out front and if it sounds good then it sounds good. Maybe I'm trying to create a solution for a problem that is not there.
This. I play in a 4-piece bluegrass band - mics only, no pickups. we went monitor-less 10 years ago, and after a short adjustment period I realized that no monitors is the way to go for small-space gigs. adding a speaker onstage, or moving one behind the musicians, both will reduce your headroom before feedback, and subtly mess with the overall EQ and sound the audience hears. Have one band member sit out in the audience area while you sound check all the mics, adjust levels and EQ accordingly, then just trust it will sound good out front. and work on playing/singing louder acoustically.
 

eddie knuckles

Silver Supporting Member
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1,787
You can get away with a lot with a smaller setup.

Also - I swear by this vital piece of equipment for guitars:

You sound bigger, cleaner and there are others out there that do this, but nothing wrong with enhancing your signal.
 

Tim Bowen

Member
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3,481
I work with different duos & trios, so it varies.

For standard bar/club/restaurant work, my main duo uses my Mackie 808S powered mixer, and my partner's old Fender 10" mains, on poles. A couple of years back, he started bringing a little monitor that is placed between us. We worked for many years with no monitor though. Unlike with full bands, I really don't require monitors when there is no rhythm section. I should say that I do require monitors for large outdoor stages, such as for festival work, and those are sound-supplied jobs.

We place the Fender 10" mains on the poles right beside ourselves, just slightly behind us, a little higher than ear level, pointing somewhat toward the center of the room, but not quite at that acute of an angle. We can hear well, no feedback. We both use feedback busters in acoustic-electric guitar sound holes, but I've gigged without them and without feedback issues.

My partner runs to his board and then to the PA. I do that as well, but also split my signal to a little 100 watt SS amp called a Phil Jones AG-100 Cub. This amp is there to push a little air behind me so that I don't have to dig in so hard through the mains, therefore maintaining dynamic nuances; I use the minimum amount of volume from this little amp, just enough so I don't push so hard.

We can both hear our instruments and vocals very well. We can make adjustments between tunes at the Mackie if needed.

We carry a boatload of instrumentation, which is sort of our calling card. We occasionally play some tunes at coffee shop volume levels, but we're not really that type of an 'acoustic' duo. We can do "background music" with no issues, it's just that we don't usually hire out for such. Most of the rooms we play are on the larger side, and we play some material that sees us being louder than is usually associated with typical coffee shop/small restaurant duos.
 

Cuthbert

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2,493
One Alto 12" for the guitar and one 12" on a pole for vocals. You don't really need a monitor for small acoustic gigs but i always sing better with a 10" alto speaker on the ground facing me for a monitor.
 

rangerkarlos

Member
Messages
5,774
One K10 on a pole and one as a wedge. I slave one off the other and hear exactly what is going out. I can adjust room volume on the pole speaker.

I'm sure it would be fine for duo, at least with K10s. They have great 90degree dispersal and decent throw.
 




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