How much PA do I need for practice?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Promit, Apr 8, 2015.

  1. Promit

    Promit Member

    Mar 10, 2013
    Baltimore, MD
    I need a single self contained active PA box that can get vocals and keyboard over:
    * A rock drumset playing fairly aggressively
    * A guitar tube amp running ~20 W (either a 20W turned up or a 50W turned down)
    * A bass amp keeping pace with the other two

    This is for practice so I don't need it to fill a big room with lots of bodies soaking up sound. It's also just for fun so I want it to be simple and inexpensive. Smaller is better but I don't really know exactly how big it needs to be. I was thinking maybe an Alto TS112? I feel like the 110 wouldn't manage it.

    Also looking at the Harbinger or Behringer options...
  2. lschwart

    lschwart Member

    Dec 15, 2010
    In one sense that should be enough volume for your vocals, but that doesn't mean you'll actually be able to hear yourself in a small practice room with all that racket. You are probably going to have to tell your collaborators to bring their levels down a bit to accommodate your vocals and get a decent balance that lets everyone hear everything. If not, your going to 1) shred your vocal chords trying to hear yourself, 2) find yourself dealing to no avail with a lot of feedback, 3) going deaf. More volume for the vocals is not the solution in a situation like this.

    There are things that can be done with speaker and mic placement, sound treatments, and with some mics that are designed for loud stages, but the key is finding an appropriate balance for making music in a given room and learning to play for an in a way that results in an overall, balanced sound.

  3. jonnytexas

    jonnytexas Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    My buddy has a powered behringer he uses for keys at a lot of gigs and it's plenty loud.
  4. stevel

    stevel Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    Hampton Roads, Virginia

    How many people are singing?

    If it were just one, I'd say just get a powered speaker - 12" or even a something designed as a powered monitor would be fine (10" or 12" with or without a horn - 15" too much to lug around unless you're leaving it there).

    Something you can just plug a mic in and be down with it.

    And I'd say get a keyboard amp for the keyboard.

    Then, set your vocals where they can be heard, without feedback, without anyone else playing.

    Then, everyone else brings up their volume so the vocals can still be heard.

    Then you'll have a GOOD band ;-)

    Players who listen to each other and not just blindly bang away (drummers) will always end up being much better sounding.

    I know that we often play music that needs to be "aggressive" but too many people have gone down that road - it's a recipe for disaster. If it's a "band" it needs to be a "band", not 5 soloists fighting each other.
  5. shawnshack

    shawnshack Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2008
    I use Alesis powered 112 for this. It's the same as the Alto that you mentioned. I have 3, but we usually only use one for practice. I'm running vocals into a Yamaha mixer. It works perfectly, even when our drummer plays aggressively.
  6. loudboy

    loudboy Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Sedona, AZ
    Get some used Yamaha Club Series 12" monitors and a Yamaha or Peavey powered mixer.
  7. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

    Jul 2, 2011
    St. Louis, Mo.

    This. I'd guess a EMX512 and 2 pair of Club 12s could be had for less than a grand used.
  8. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

    Aug 30, 2005
    Kansas City
    one or two of the Altos would be fine if you want stereo for your keyboard. If not one would do fine. If you kick bass sometimes you might want the 15" version.

    AXEnGEAR4J Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2009
    And one of the biggest headaches is speaker placement to vocal mic in order not to feedback, it can get tough in a small venue or room especially when the PA speakers have to be behind the vocals.....I've had to turn speaker backwards sometimes to keep the feedback out and also a good mixer will allow you to bring down those frequencies that cause feedback.

    Sometimes it's better to go a little bigger than you expect, may not cost any more or is any larger in size per say.
    A great cheap practice set up would be a Behringer EP amp and a small Behringer mixer or a powered mixer probably best. There are a lot of great PA speakers for cheap on CL. JBL, EV's get something decent there, cheap speakers will make vocals sound like crap! It's hard to push up the volume and headroom with under powered stuff when you need it but it's easy to turn down the volume on something with a little more beef to it.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
  10. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Member

    Mar 18, 2015
    If everyone can exercise self control with regards to instrument volume, you should be fine with a single powered speaker or similar.

    One of my bands (classic rock...Stones, Petty, Beatles, etc.) has been practicing in my living room with a single 100W powered speaker (Kustom KPC12MP...just for reference), and it is more than adequate. I think it was $120 on clearance from GC several years ago. We run three vocal mics through a small unpowered mixer and then on to the powered speaker. Drums, bass, and two electric guitars provide their amplification/volume. I'm not sure you can plug a mic straight in to this particular speaker, but there are plenty that provide that option.
  11. Digitalman

    Digitalman Member

    Mar 8, 2006
    St Petersburg, FL
    Yeah, generally your drummer dictates how loud you need to be. I've been in many bands with maniacal drummers. I got a long way with a used Yamaha MS400 I found used on Craigslist.
  12. rangerkarlos

    rangerkarlos Member

    Dec 1, 2012
    The Frozen Hellhole That Is Wisconsin
    If it's just rehearsal/jam room a couple Altos or equivalent placed at your group, like monitors on a stick should be fine. Work some with speaker/ mic placement to address feedback.

    I'm literally a few feet from my rehearsal mains (no monitors) but correct mic placement does the trick.

    (IMHO) a cranked 20watt guitar in a small space is redonkulously loud

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