One of the groups I play in is a Celtic group that consists of acoustic guitar (me), hammered dulcimer and flute.
Last Friday was the first gig we played with the PAS. I hadn’t told the other members of the group that I had purchased the system… I wanted to surprise them. (Every small group has a ‘gear guy’… that’s me… the one who has the equipment and always has to get there an hour and a half early to get set-up and sound-checked… the other members tool-in 10-15 minutes before start-time).
The venue is a small basement lounge in an upscale restaurant. The stage is very small… enough room for a solo act, but really cramped for a trio. We typically set-up in a triangle shape… hammered dulcimer out front (needs the most room) and guitar and flute on the other corners. With the old PA system, we always had trouble hearing the mix; the ‘main’ speakers had to be placed on either side of the stage (on stands) and you always just hear a kind of muffled sound when set-up that way… no monitors.. the stage is too small for them.
The stage also has a small alcove in the back… that’s where I put the PAS… just far enough back to give us about 4 feet between the dulcimer player and the PAS. This set-up gave us much more room on the stage, since we didn’t have the old PA speakers on either side of us.
After the initial “Where are the speakers?” and “What’s THAT thing?!?” questions, we set-up the mic on the HD and tweaked the sound a little… his response was “That sounds great!” Did the same thing with the flute player’s mic (a high intensity clip-on) and started the first set. We could all hear the mix perfectly (not too surprising, since the PAS was so close). The only issue we had was getting the mic placement on the flute so that the wind noise was minimized. (My wife also said she could hear the keys on the flute operate… sometimes the PAS sound reproduction might be TOO good… she said it wasn’t objectionable, though).
The funny thing was that people started moving up closer to the stage… not because they couldn’t hear in the back, but because the sound was so much more clear and pleasant. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the sound or not, but they seemed to stay longer, too.
My wife (who usually goes to all of these gigs and hates ‘loud’) made the following comment at our first break: “You know, when you brought that BOSE system home, set it up and played through it, I kept asking myself ‘What’s the big deal?!?’, but after listening to it here, it is so much clearer than the other PA… and its not too loud… everything sounds acoustic and you can hear everything fine”.
The second gig was a solo I did yesterday in a small park (the park has a band shell) as an opener for a gospel singer (she’s a friend). I volunteered to do this so I could try the PAS outside. I got there as the gospel singer’s sound guy (her husband) was just starting to set up. His gear came in the back of a full-bed pickup w/a topper (full). He had boxes and boxes of gear… amps, cords, snakes, etc… I’m sure everyone knows the drill.
I set up the PAS like I wanted (took about 15 minutes)… even with the front center of the band shell dome and back about 12-14 feet from where I would be on the stage.
45 minutes to an hour later, the gospel singer’s gear was set-up and ready for sound check… another 15-20 minutes (and lots of feedback) later, everything was good to go.
The sound guy asked if I wanted to plug into his system so that I could be heard, but I told him I wanted to try the BOSE system by itself. Long story short… The PAS performed great… It was loud-sounding to me on the stage and I had some guitar feedback issues early on, but turning down the base seemed to take care of it.
Everyone that I talked to in the crowd (after my set) said they could hear everything fine and couldn’t believe that the sound was coming out of ‘that tall, skinny thing’.