Update: Playing a Small Outdoor Party

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by cal1024, May 23, 2015.

  1. cal1024

    cal1024 Supporting Member

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    Moved this thread to here after finding this section:

    So my young teenage sons and I are doing a short set during an outdoor party in our neighborhood in a few weeks. We did it last year also and there were probably 80-100 people there.

    My question has to do with getting us to sound as good as we can. I had never played outdoors until last year and the sound was definitely worse than I was expecting. People said it was good, but although I felt like we had our sound totally dialed in and balanced playing at the same volume in our practice room at home, once we got outside it changed quite a bit.

    We played on a patio with a house behind us. Our gear may not have been very suitable looking back on it, but we had 2 open-back Orange 212s and an Orange OR15 and Egnator Tweaker 15. Thought it would be good for that size area, but the Orange just got fizzy as could be whenever I put any distortion with it. We were playing Foo Fighters-type rock and the whole setup just didn't have much power at all (actually sounded pretty great inside). The guitar sound was also pretty directional for some reason and some people got a big load of that and didn't hear much else.

    This year we will be using a Fargen Olde 800 25 and a Suhr Badger 35 with closed-back Avatar 212s. I am hoping closed backs and amps with a little more power will be better. Maybe rely on less gain for more clarity outside? Still just using a fairly cheap Phonic Road Gear 260 PA for vocals and keyboard. It seems to do ok for what it is, but miking and mixing the guitars in that isn't an option.

    Do you guys have any tips on amp settings, cab placement/angulation, or anything else to help us sound as good as we can?
     
  2. Chris Hayden

    Chris Hayden Member

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    Play quieter and mic the amps thru the PA.
     
  3. modulusman

    modulusman Member

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    His PA sucks. But being a typical guitar player the OP is more worried about his guitar tone than the fact that the vocals and keyboards will sound like ass.
     
  4. cal1024

    cal1024 Supporting Member

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    Well, it doesn't really sound too bad for the vocals and keyboards honestly. It's what I have right now, so we have to go with it.
     
  5. modulusman

    modulusman Member

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    I couldn't find the specs for the phonic system but with an 8 inch woofer and only 130watts per speaker my guess is a 5 watt guitar amp would completely drown it out. If you want to sound decent rent something worth using.
     
  6. cal1024

    cal1024 Supporting Member

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    I was trying to keep it simple, but what you're thinking might be the way to go. Then miking the cabs would be an option as well.
     
  7. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    You are playing outside, possibly for 100 people, with a Phonic all in one little system? I'm going to tell you right now you don't need the guitar/bass amps to be louder.

    I'll give it a shot. PA speakers one per side, up high enough to be pointed at the audience's ears but not over their heads. Set the guitar/bass amps on stands and angle them up and point them cross stage. Turn the bass knobs down on the guitar amps and the bump the high mids. Bump the low mids on the bass amp. Set the vocals for maximum gain before feedback. Keep guitars just under that. Bass just under guitars. That's about all you can do with that set up.

    Regardless of the gear, or lack of it, have fun man. If it isn't fun it's pointless.
     
  8. cal1024

    cal1024 Supporting Member

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    OK guys. Well it seems the consensus is I need to do something different. I was thinking we could probably roll this thing out in our small space and have it be ok. Maybe I'll look at renting something. Thanks for the help all.
     
  9. modulusman

    modulusman Member

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    I would maybe try and use the phonic for monitors and rent something nicer for the main PA speakers.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
  10. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Balance yourselves (lost art) run vox thru the PA, but that PA is really not suitable for your party.

    I've done tons of small outdoor gigs like this - you don't need to reinvent the wheel. A powered mixer and a pair of decent speakers on sticks will be fine.
     
  11. cal1024

    cal1024 Supporting Member

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    Just an update guys to see if I am on the right track....

    We're playing tomorrow night. My father-in-law plays in a country band and is letting us use his 600 watt PA and two 12" main speakers. He also has a 1200 watt, but thought the 600 would be adequate (agree?). That should solve our vocal and keyboard issues hopefully. We're at about 100-120 neighbors and friends coming.

    I am back and forth on miking the guitar cabs. The stage area is now going to be in a two car garage because it might rain off and on during the afternoon. Would probably be easier to not mike the cabs, but I worry about sound getting out of the garage (although we won't be very deep in it) and out to the people. I am thinking of picking up two Senn e609's on the way home today. If so, would setting the cabs facing across the stage area be a good plan? I don't need the amp cranked, but I do like to use some feedback for a couple of songs so I need it at a decent level.

    Also, do think we need a monitor for such a small area so we can all hear the vocals and keyboards? I do have access to one of those. Part of me hates to overly complicate things for such a short set, but I also want it to sound good and am considering it a good learning experience.

    Thanks!!!
     
  12. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    Run vocals only through PA. Don't worry about monitors. Keep it simple. Have fun.
     
  13. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Member

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    I (a singer) personally would want vocal monitors for something like this. Otherwise I think the PA equipment you mention is sufficient.
     
  14. Endr_rpm

    Endr_rpm Member

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    Bass drum and snare sets the overall volume level.
    Bass drum and bass guitar at roughly equal level
    rhythm guitars/keys/horns no louder than the snare
    leads slightly above the snare
    vocals uber alles

    Most of the time for smaller shows, IME, what you want to mic is the bass drum, with the rest of the band balanced as above. Aim speakers at heads for personal monitoring, use TALL cabs rather than WIDE ones (ie set a conventional 2x12 on its side so speakers are vertical) for better coverage and projection. Agree closed back will be better, scale amp watts to desired HEADROOM not VOLUME. You can always dirty up a clean signal.
     
  15. cal1024

    cal1024 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts, guys. Keep them coming. I've never been in charge of the PA and overall band sound before. Until now just a simple guitarist that plugs in and does whatever the PA guy tells me to do!
     
  16. modulusman

    modulusman Member

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    without knowing what the PA is you are borrowing nobody can give you a correct answer.
     
  17. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    Why not do a trial run? Set it all up in the garage and see how it works. My feeling is that you won't have much problem with sound projecting out of the garage ( unless the garage is 100' deep) and you will probably want a vocal monitor. It's far from an ideal place to set up and the equipment is less than ideal. So instead of trying to apply methods used when the PA IS ideal, just set it up a week before the party, play for awhile and mess around until you get the most usable configuration. Given the circumstances I think you're probably over thinking things.
     

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