need to make a simple sound rig on the cheap


so i have very little sound experience... i know how to hook it all up and all that stuff, but i know very little about brands, etc

i need to help design a sound system for the "church" here on my college campus
the church is actually the furnished basement of a ranch-level house. it's a big open room, i donnt have exact measurements yet but if i had to venture a guess i'd say maybe 50x20. the room is set up lengthwise, that is people are parallel with the longer walls

what we need is:
one microphone for a reader podium
one table mic on the altar table
a microphone to amplify a standard stand-up piano
possibly a fourth mic if there will be someone singing by the piano
a mixer board
an amp
two to four speakers

i need to stay within a fairly tight budget
i dont know the exact amount, this is only a proposal i have to create

any equipment suggestions?


i dont know the budget, i wasnt given the exact numbers. just that it's not big.

the solution is permanent, as i said it serves as a church for daily + sunday mass, it isn't going anywhere

wireless isn't needed, it's an open room and the mics will all be stationary.
Ok buddy, here what i think you should buy. For your house speakers get a pair of cabs with one 12" speaker and horn. Buy a Berhinger sound board (they are cheap and great.) A set of sure SM58's for vocals and SM57's for the piano or what ever els other then vocals. A set of cheap monitors for more renforcment. Next, get your self a nice Power AMP and all the cables you need. Then if you have money to spare buy a lock box for the mic (the like to get up and walk away :wink: ) and make sure you buy plenty of XLR's and 1/4" cables. Good luck to you man.....thats the best i could of to do cheaply....remember, it's just a church...the sound doesn't need to be perfect, just enough to get the word to the people.
I'll second the Behringer board idea, cheap, you get what you pay for but they work well. As for speakers I'd say get a couple mackie srm450s if your budget can hold it (appx $1500 cdn each) But they are powered so you don't need to worry about an amp. If you can afford two of them I recommend using only one as a main, use the other as a monitor for your singer. The mackies pump out more than enough juice for your room size.

As for the Mics, see if you can get a package deal on 4 sm58s and a whole bunch of xlr and 1/4" cable. Phone around a bit and tell the stores you're purchasing for a church and they might go easy on you.

This system will cost you somewhere between $2200 - $2500 cdn. And it's portable if you do any outside stuff or youth events or something.


to relative's reply -
using only one srm450 as a main speaker? um...hes got ppl sitting lengthwise in the room, so i'm not sure only having 1 speaker to cover a 50' wide area is the best solution...


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Hmmm, why does a 50x20 room need amplification anyway?

The SRM-450's are sh*t, they are prone to failure. Get the Behringer powered speakers, they are way cheaper and (amazingly) are better built. Get a little Behringer board, a few of the behringer vocal mics. There is your cheap system.
Why do you need to mic the piano?
There cant be more than 50 people in there anyway.


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I was in a similar situation almost a year ago. Except, its a small sized theater touring system. So, a snake, cases/racks, and other necessities were needed. I ended up spending a cool 5.5k on the system, closer to 6 due to secondary purchases. For the mains. Ev Sx300s (300 watt, 12" 2-ways), sound fantastic. Best bang for the buck in the price range, best frequency response and power too. I choose to power them up with a QSC PLX3402. Now this amp is a little bit more due to it's lower levels of THD and smaller size/light weight (which makes a difference when you have to hall this stuff around. The amp drives all 4 speakers with more than enough power, and I can drive two speakers if you switch the resistance loads around.

Sounds like you have a wide area to cover but not too deep of an area. Many 12" cabs are over kill for that depth, you'll be blasting the people to death. Before I got my system last year I was "stuck" with JBL Eon 12" 2-ways. For the app which was CD playback, it wasn' too much of an issue. At the largest performance which was around 1000 or more (It could have be more people were practically sitting in the aisles it was fire hazard. It was 11 productions from 11 different schools in a single space, friends and family came to support) and we seemed to do just fine with the underscoring musical interludes. There was no reinforcement so it wasn' an issue

If you want clear coverage you'll be spending money on a series of lower powered speakers due to the room size. Since your covering 50' horizontally and you only have 20 depth you'll need muiltiple speakers for decent coverage. You could probably get away with two if you had more depth, but considering you'll have some sort of stage area the mains will most likely be right in there face. And you can't set the mains behind the stage to increase horizontal coverage. Depending on volume and placement 10" or 12" will do the trick, I'd stick with 10" to save dough. And it is a church in a small place, you'll be blasting people if the mains are placed too close. I'd say get the Ev Sx 10" 2 ways, 4 of them. They match nicely with QSC, but any amp will really work in this app.

Since your not neccessarly going to be mixing the services with demanding and complicated gain structures, I'd go with a behringer. Esepecially since it's mostly all speach you'll be fine, it's like you'll have a bunch of open mics picking up a wealth of instruments. No more than 6 mono channels, just incase an extra mic is needed. Plan for playback with stereo channels for a CD player, and maybe a tape player. I'm not too familar with the behringer models but you'll be able to figure it out by channel need. However if you can afford a mackie VLZ pro, go for it. Either the 1202 (4 mono, 3 stereo) or 1402 (6 mono, 4 stereo). I really like the 1402 due to the wealth of channels.

My choral director's audio rig is similar to your room, wide w/short depth. There are 12" 2 ways mounted on the walls and they cover the room nicely. They give both sides of the room a good perception of stereo. There is a mackie vlzpro 1402 in the room. 4 channels are used for the hanging condensers used for recording, other two mono are unused. The remaining stereo channels are used for a dual cd player/burner and dual casette deck. This brings up a good point, if you have the ability to place your mains above and away from the stage you just may get fairly nice coverage.

As far as mics, stick the 58s if your on a budget. You can later upgrade to mics more ideal for alter and podium apps. Mic'ing a piano is very hard to do...tonewise. Many professional engineers use as many as 2-3 mics along with a piano pick up. You may just find that the piano will be loud enough acoustically, but if you have to mic'll be spending some cash to get a decent sound. SM57s really don't cut it at getting an even, projected piano sound. You'll usually get muddy results, and most of the time it does more bad than good. It would sound a bit phased out, with little projection and no distinct tonal characteristics. Since I have nor the time or money to perfect my piano reinforcement I just go closed lid (gotta keep that bass in, sometimes open it if things are sounding too muddy depends on the piano. Some pianos sound more balanced close range while others futher ranges) and stuck to a good ol' PCC160 or two taped to the lid, plus it elminates any needs for stands. I don't own enough condensers anyway to really implement an in-depth experiment on piano mic'ing. It's such a difficult insturment to reinforce due to it's ambient sound the range of pitches. I have always have had delt with grand pianos so they're probably a bit harder in terms of SR, but an upright would be nice considering the directivity of the sound coming from a much more compact space. But things still could get muddy.

As for wireless, consider it as a future option later down the road. Sorry if this was all a bit scattered and sloppy, it's a little late. I felt a little guilty about not contributing, especially since I have experience with this stuff. If you have any questions, fire 'em away.


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nuggetman said:
here's what i've come up with:

JBL Eon10 speakers -
Shure SM58S (3) for the non-table mic -
A Behringer Eurorack MXB1002 mixer -
I still don't have a table mic or an amp picked out

You won't need an amp unless those JBL Eon's aren't active (powered). PCC160 work nice for table apps, you need some sort of boundary mic (a condenser). The PCCs will probably break the bank for ya, but take a look at lower models. You won't need a top notch boundary mic for a table app, the performer is just so close. You get more out of nicer boundary mics if you plan to use them on a stage to pick up performers from longer distances. They usually allow you to run them hotter versus others. But you can get away with most boundary mics in podium/table apps. But keep in mind that you won't be up the voice like you would if the performer were to talk directly into a dynamic handheld.


I'd stay far away from behringer. It's true, ya get what ya pay for, and these things cannot take much abuse. My 2 newest boards are both behringers, and both developed problems. Now I'm using the mackie I started with, and it hasn't failed me yet. I'd go with mackie..on the board at least. Still not the best, but for your purpose it'll work and it's less likely to just stop working one day.

Go for powered speakers since this is a church deal. Not a lot of church sound people know much about sound, and matching power amps to speakers and dealing with all the stuff that comes with it can be too much for some. Plus this is a permanent install, so you don't need to worry about weight.

I'd get a few 58s and that's it. I highly doubt the piano will even need to be mic''ll be busy trying to get the vocals over that thing. Maybe get a DI just incase they ever decide to switch to a keyboard.

For speakers I'd look at peavy...they do make some good stuff. I personally think the mackie powered speakers work great too.


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Some of the yamaha packages online are pretty good deals, they'd most likely work find in your situation. Nice prices.


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Yorkville makes some decent powered mixers and speakers at pretty reasonable prices. They're a Canadian company, but they've got a pretty good network of dealers in the States. Then there's Peavey, also with decent, reasonably-priced gear. The biggest problem with either is that they're priced low enough that beginners can afford them, buy them, try to use them when they don't know how, and then blame the poor sound on the gear. I've used both and gotten good reliability and excellent sound.

More important than the equipment brand is finding a dealer who knows his gear and how to use it. A good dealer will come out to your church, scope out the room, ask what you're trying to do, then help you plan a system for it that's within your budget. He knows that treating you right will bring you back when you're ready to expand - that's more important to him than selling you stuff you don't need.

ec44 said:
to relative's reply -
using only one srm450 as a main speaker? um...hes got ppl sitting lengthwise in the room, so i'm not sure only having 1 speaker to cover a 50' wide area is the best solution...

I never said it would sound good :p One thing you have to keep in mind here is that the pastor isn't gonna be talking over a crowd. They're all gonna be listening and staying quiet for the part they really need to hear. And for worship the Mackie would still pound considering how little piano you'd have to put through if the piano was set at full stick.

JasonH said:
The SRM-450's are sh*t, they are prone to failure

Definetly don't agree with you there bud. The cabs you were using must've had defects or some sort of wear and tear problems if they were cutting out on you. I've been using 450's for years and I have nothing but respect for the size/weight/sound quality and pricing of the things.

The SRS1500 subs however are a different story :p But the tops have never been anything but excellent for me.

The_Guest said:
For the mains. Ev Sx300s (300 watt, 12" 2-ways), sound fantastic

You might even want to look into the SX80 line, They're 8'-10' woofs (can't remember exactly which) but they still pound up a storm like nothing I've ever heard. They're prolly only 150 watts 2-way but they'd be more than enough for your room size I think. I used 4 of them spaced fairly close to cover an outdoor patio about twice the square footage of your room, and they were cutting through like mad, only had em at half power too.

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