My name is Tom and as the name suggests i am from the Emanuel Stage Dept. Head Sound Techie. Every year on the fifth of november we have a bonfire and fireworks night. I know im a bit ahead of time but i wanna make this the best. I want to set up a big P.A system on our large field. Basically i want to provide for annoncements, music, and live bands. The equipment we have is:

1 X Mackie 1604VLZ Pro 16-Channel Mixer
2 X Mackie 300 W speakers
1 X Alesis Effects
1 X Mackie Amp
C.d player
tape player
2X 20 M Speakon NL4 (speaker cable)
Array of mics
Array of mic stands
2 speaker stands
30 metres of XLR - XLR
40 metres of XLR - JACK

What other stuff do you think I should hire?, a picture of my field can be found at - we obviously need more speakers because if we dont a) We dont have much power and b) There is an incredible echo. Anyway the company we will hire from is thames audio - - look through there online hire catalogue and choose what u think i should do , post them here! Oh and another catch is we only have £200 (although if you have to u can push over a bit! :!: :!: :p LOL

Tom C
That picture implies to me that you have one big ass field and equipment to cover a corner of it. Are you planning to cover the whole thing? You're probably going to need to arrange speaker clusters around the field, what dispersion I don't know, but, it's going to take more than a couple of 300W speakers to run the show.

You'll also need amps, possibly a bigger board to mix live music & announcements, etc. I think 200 pounds is about US$350, and, you're looking at more than $350 in rental gear, I'd bet.
Yeah i mean it is one mother of a field. Our hire company do 600Watt mackie powered speakers maybe if i get 3 of them, and have them around the field, linked via xlr. I have used one of these before to Pa the field but there was SOOO much echo. This is why i want to get more speakers. The 600W will set us back £45 which means if we get 3 then we have another hundred to hire 1000m xlr!

Thanks for your comments nice talking - keep em comin!
I'm not really a sound guy, but, you're going to have to split the mono output from your mixer to each of the amps to even make that work in theory. I don't think three speakers is going to do it. You need clusters in the middle, ideally. Just running them along the permieter or something is useless, as eveyrbody at the other end is SOL.

I'd have your rental company send an audio guy out and he can estimate the equipment needs better than I can, certainly. It's not going to cost that much to borrow a kilometer of XLR, especially if it's only 45 pounds for the speakers.
From looking at the pics, you've got a couple options, both have been mentioned already but I'll just state them again. You can set up on one side and throw the sound as far as possible, even with some delay stacks (we'll talk about the delay unit in a sec) placed in good spots. Or, you can setup in a central location, given that it will probably be a little in the way, in the middle of the field.

Some more stuff you'll need:

Subs, if you really want to push your the headroom in your amps, get some mackie 1501's or something. You only really need them at the stage, any more would really be a waste of money. (You might lose alot of the throw with the mackies though, might need to think about some bigger alternatives)

More speakers - again, since we're into mackie, the SRM450's are solid and you don't need a seperate amp, however, they'd need to be rested everyonce in awhile, those mackies throw thermals like they're in some sort of audio hell.

Delay unit (on your suppliers site, the one "2 IN 4 OUT" specifically). Some of the "echo" you're talking about could very well be delay problems between the stage, your mains, and any delay stacks you have farther out. Any soundman worth his pay will know how to set these up properly.

If you're doing live bands as well as anouncements and DJ, a bigger board might be in order.

....And I just saw your budget :p So, the subs, the board and the delay aren't necessary, but would be really nice.

To help with the reverb, don't point your speakers straight at any big hard surface.

From looking at the stock of this company, stick with the Meyer cabs when renting speakers, the place should be able to recomend the best amps for them, as i'm not awake enough to look myself :p

You're not gonna be able to get a BIG pa system with 200 pounds from the looks of things. You might want to aim more for quality than quantity in this scenario.

I mean sure if we had the money then i would say yeah f** it and we will get everthing. The thing is that the eveining is in aid of charity and our department has just forked out on new dimmers for all our drama areas so we are left with £30 ! Thanks for your help and please please keep them coming as i need as much help as poss. I was thinking would it be worth instead of putting the speakers on standard stands, hire out a couple of small bar rigs and put them on them
Another option is to talk to area high schools and see if they have any equipment they can lend you for a small donation.
Trusses are good to get the speakers up high enough so less sound is absorbed by people.
try and find a local tour company that would be able to sponser for the night and lend their system, i would say you could use mine but i would have to get it over seas and thats hard to do around the end of tour season. email me if you need help with contacting a local tour company and i will send them something and see what i can pull.

Derek Gaul
D.M.G. Productions
[email protected]
emanueltech said:
...hire 1000m xlr!
i assume you mean a snake. [i dont kno if you say snake over in your parts of the world] but them multi-core xlr things.

i always used to run out of return channels to, 4 was never enough to run amps [under the stage] and monitors on stage + a comm. channel [we couldnt afford to hire a comms setup so we used to make one through the mixer to a tiny mixer up beside the stage with headphones off that].

i only skim-read, but, have you got plenty of monitors organised for the stage.
we always used to have a speaker beside the drummer on a seperate monitor mix for him + the wedges at the front of the stage.
you got to make sure your drummers monitor doesnt get picked up in your drum mics thought.

thats just what we used to do with our severely limited setup anyway.
I have done a few outdoor shows but nothing quite the size of your field. One thing I tend to do now, is get to the area during the time that I would be doing the gig (preferably the night before) and also chat to the people there to see which direction the wind is coming form. I have found it is much easier to have the wind coming from BEHIND your speakers rather than in front of them.

Yes - I know that this seems a common sense issue, but it took me a couple of gigs to figure that one out. But in the absence of the optimal set up (in which case you would be creating the wind) it does provide a little help.

Some places have a set area for you to set up in but most are flexible if they understand that it can affect the quality of the show. You still have to be on your toes for those sneaky little wind gusts but where would the fun be in being able to sit back and relax!
I would say 4 MACKIE ART500 SELF PWRD and stands for mains, 4 NEXO PS15 for monitors, and a SHURE BETA 52 for the band's bass drum. Plus all cables.
good thing you're planning so far in advance for this...since this sounds like quite an undertaking. but looking at that field....i think you really need to hire out a sound company to do this show. you're always going to need a ton more power outdoors. because it's outdoors, the inverse square law applies in full effect. this means that for every doubling of the distance from your main speaker stack (assuming you don't do delays), the sound pressure level will drop by 6 decibals.

now i don't know any of the specifics here...but since you are obviously shooting for all mackie stacks, the most powerful speaker i can find from them (that is powered) has a max long term output of 130 dB @1m. average rock concert is 110 dB, but i think you can get away with 85 dB towards the far reaches of the coverage. it's been a while since i've had to do any calculations, but if my math is correct....that will get you 35 meters before the sound drops below 85 dB.

a 16 chan mixer may make it for what you're doing. i rarely go over 16 channels on my shows..but you'll likely need to share inputs with the DJ and speakers (i.e. channels 16 and 17 used by the DJ, and then by the speaker when DJ is not going). of course your speakers can just use the vocal mics you put up...or at least they should.

how big of a production is this supposed to be? you're already talking about flying the speakers from a truss. first, that's complicated..don't do it if you don't know what you're doing. think about how bad it would be if a par 64 falls from the truss and hits someone on the head. now imagine how bad it would be if it's a 100 pound speaker. i have a pair of mackie 1530s...they are not light. and you shouldn't even be flying something without the proper hardware within the cab to facilitiate such use.

since you've got a band, outdoors, and a DJ, you will definetly need way around it. it's just going to sound flat...and DJs always like to have the bass thumping.

but back to my production question......if you're able to be flying truss for the lights, then i would assume this isn't a small event. you should really hire someone. can you squeeze out any more money for a production budget? you got a while to go, try to find a corporate sponsor. i know the festival my city has on the 4th is a huge huge undertaking, and would cost tons of money....but their top sponsors also pay $50,000. if you're looking for something on a smaller/medium could hire a smaller sound company. i think you could get something adequate for your needs for $500USD...that's not including lighting, staging, or power.

let us know how this works out...even though it's months away...i'm curious to see what you go with.
and one more thing i just thought of.........get those horns over the peoples heads. if you get subs, you can stack the tops on the subs, which should get the horns over the heads of the audience. putting the smaller speakers on sticks will help too...though you should really go with something big. if you have the horns buried in the crowd, your sound won't make it far and people 50 meters out won't be able to hear the vocals.

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