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How to Set up a PA System for a Live Band? 2021 Guide

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No matter the music genre, we all love to hear our favorite song or band performing live, and going to concerts to listen and look at them perform is just a unique experience, as no concert is the same. From the organizational point of view, setting up everything to provide the audience with the best performance they have ever witnessed is challenging, especially if you need to set all things up for large performance venues. That difficulty is mainly because of many things that need to be placed perfectly so that one thing doesn’t interrupt or overlap with the other. Yes, when we look at the stage, it all looks quite magnificent and breathtaking, but behind all that, there are miles and miles of cables, various devices, splitters, and a large number of personnel, just to make sure that everything works the way it should be.

The importance of PA systems

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Among all these necessary jobs when setting things up for a live band, one aspect is crucial. The looks of the stage, surroundings and all other things about the show are not that important if the sound quality is exceptional, and that’s where the PA system takes over. Namely, the PA system is the essential element for organizing any type of live performance, no matter if that performance is karaoke, small concert, or a large venue, as the main difference being about the number and power of these systems. Of course, setting the PA system for a live band takes some time, as everything needs to fit ideally so that there is no feedback, as it is one of the main problems that can occur, which can negatively affect the entire show. Luckily, there are several tips that can help you with this.

How to avoid feedback?

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Probably the most fundamental part is avoiding feedback, which happens because the mics pick up their own sound, which can further lead to creating loops. The best and most efficient way to avoid this is to simply not face mics and speakers directly to each other. The way to do so is to bring speakers in front, away from the main mics, so that the mic will not accidentally pick up its own sound. For large venues, not only will you need more speakers so that even those far from the stage will get the sound of the best quality, but you will also need the best PA systems which can support that. The feedback is something one has to take into account when setting the stage, and by doing so, you will have control over it so that you can prevent it by taking some of the actions mentioned above.

Setting it up

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There is a difference between setting the PA system for one single performer and a bigger band, and we will better explain the solution for every situation when we need to hear someone’s voice loud and clear.

  • Presenter and karaoke singer

The simplest setting of the PA system is for the situation when it is necessary to hear the presenter loud and clear or have fun during a karaoke party. All we need to do in that situation is to use one loudspeaker with a built-in mixer and connect the microphone to it, and the party can start. With the advance of technology, many speakers have Bluetooth connections, so the mic does not need to be close to them. Another big plus is when the speaker has the built-in EQ because we do not need to think about additional equipment.

  • One performer

The main difference between setting up the PA system for one performer and karaoke night is the mixer which is not built-in into speakers. The reason for that is simple. Since one performer needs at least two mics, one for the voice and the second one for the instruments, we will need more channels to avoid mixing the sounds. For a bigger audience, we will need two main speakers to make sure that the quality of the sound is on a high level. With the external mixer, we can adjust mics and find the perfect balance between them. We should place mics about 5″ from instruments and 2″ from the singer to avoid feedback.

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  • Smaller group

Setting up the PA system for the smaller band has the same basis as for one performer, and because it needs more mikes, we will need the more powerful mixer. It needs to have enough channels for every microphone and aux inputs for stage monitors, and because of that, we need to pay attention to avoid the feedback. If we want to avoid feedback, it is necessary to put the mics away from stage monitors and point their bottom at the speakers since it is the least sensitive part of them.

  • Big concerts

When it comes to a big concert, having a powerful mixer and a lot of mics is not enough, and we will need more speakers so every person in the venue can hear the sound loud and clear. We will need special speakers, which are called subwoofers, because of the low-frequencies that need to be reproduced, and place them properly for the best sound quality. Keep in mind that placing subwoofers and speakers near walls may provide a louder sound, and it is most likely that it will not be well-balanced. Another great tip is to use two mixers – one for singers and instruments and the other for stage monitors to prevent feedback.

The bottom line

As you can see, setting the PA system for a live band can and will take some time, but the more effort you put to be sure everything runs like clockwork, the better the show you will get, which is, in the end, what we want in the first place. When searching for PA systems, we all want the best of the best, and even though the more powerful the system, the better the quality will be, there are some pretty affordable background music systems that provide great sound quality. Music moves and motivates us, it connects people, and live performances just take all that to another level.