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advice on medium outdoor gig

Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 30
Topic starter  

This has been posted on other sites, but I need all the help I can get.

I play with a small acoustic group: a guitar, mandolin, harmonica, bass, with three people doing vocals. No drums, so sound set up is simple. We get by very well at small and medium events using a 2 x 400 watt powered mixer and a small outboard amp to power 3-4 monitors. We use two boxes on sticks (15 inch + horns) as mains. Total wattage available is 1200 watts @ 4 ohms.
Recently, however, we were asked to host a charity fund raising event, probably outdoors, and probably for 100 to 200 people. We'll be joined by a ska band (full drum kit, guitars, bass, and sax players) as well as another band with similar line up.

Here's my dilemma: We have a very small budget. Hiring pro sound is out of the question. I am trying to be smart so I'll use my regular rig to run monitors and rent the rest.

Here's what I THINK I need to rent:

1. More mains, but not sure what size or how many.

2. Mixing board--I think 16 to 20 channels should work.

3. Amplifiers to power additional mains.

4. Splitter snake so I create separate mixes for monitors/mains.

With my small acoustic group, I've never had the need to use subs or to learn how to use crossovers. Also, I've NEVER HAD TO PUT SAXOPH0NES IN THE MIX. Should I rent special mics for the saxes? Any advice you pros can give me on what I need is very appreciated. I'm sure I've overlooked some things.

Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 394

lol....sounds like u just need to call me and i'll come do it....

ok all joking aside here is what i think.

For a gig like this with a SKA band and another similar band renting is going to be interesting.....

for mains i suggest either (2) pair of 12" + horns
atleast another pair of monitors
and for a SKA band since they going to have some low end u will need two subs (4 would be better).....

a 20 channel board
about 3000W of power (RMS) (this varies)
a 16-20 channel snake with sends (6 preferable that way u can have seperate monitor mixes)..
of course all the cables and stands to make this all work....

as far as mics get a few SM57's that will be good for instruments (MIC THE SAX WITH ONE OF THESE)
vocal mics. i like senhieser but they are expensive, another good brand is AKG and of course the ever popular SHURE 58


now for advice. have the bands get there early so u can run a check on them and get it all sounding good. (if u mic drums be sure not to have them over powering) get a good overall balance then try to get the most volume. if u can push it above 0 will probalby never run it that loud but atleast u know u could if needed too.... as far as the subs i can show u but ic an't tell u maybe Wes or Laz can help here?????

my best advice ever given to me: "never ever think it will be perfect the first time, never think you won't have any mistakes..........TAKE YOUR TIME"...... joby

No matter where you go.... There You are! Law of Location

Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5599

I am no expert on outdoor gigs, but Leear's advice seems very good to me.

I would check around and see how much sound would be for the day. You will be busy enough playing. A prosound person will have all the gear you need. You will not have to worry about setup or breakdown, and you will have a pro present to insure everyone sounds great.

I would check at Scotts PA Tutorial. Besides excellent advice, I believe one of the regulars there lives in Austin.

We played an outdoor gig last summer. There were probably 200-300 people present. We just used our regular gear, two 15" mains, two 18" subs, and four 12" monitors. We powered the monitors with a 2 X 250W @ 4 ohms powered mixer (Behringer PMX2000 10 channel), and powered the mains and subs with a single Behringer EP2500 (2 X 750W @ 4 ohms) amp. Each main and sub got about 375 watts each. We were plenty loud, no problems at all.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis