I have searched. Not sure if I understand any of the answers that come up.
I am a complete noob when it comes to PA sound systems.
Here's my problem.
I play guitar in my church occasionally, until now I have been repositioning one of the mics to pick the guitar up, which I was fed up with because my guitar is an electro accoustic. I bought a lead and a DI box and planned to just unplug the mic from the socket and plug my DI box in before I began to play but was told nothing can be plugged or unplugged while the kit is switched on because it will blow the amp. The amp is quite old and there are no spare inputs into the mixer, and no spare ports on the Amp to connect another mixer, the church is practically bankrupt so I don't want to blow their kit as I will have to replace it myself.
I am exploring the cheapest way of getting the sound system over the PA.
There is an XLR socket that one of the Mic's plug into, I have seen some XLR splitters that will allow me to connect both the mic and the DI box to that one socket with zero fuss. Will this work though? Or is there another way? If this won't work then would I beable to connect another cheap mixer to connect the mic XLR and the DI box XLR into then a lead into the XLR socket which goes back to the mixer?
Other points to note are the mic is extremely unlikely to be switched on at all while the guitar is being played, while setting up this morning I noticed the pre amp volume on the guitar had to be as low as number 1 otherwise is was too loud. This could also be turned to zero when not in use.
Any help would be greatly recieved, I am at my wits end, I just want to make it work and as cheaply as possible.
It is not likely that you will blow up the amp by switching inputs while the system is live, but you will probably cause a very loud click - buzz which could blow the loudspeakers. If the mixer volume control is turned right down or the mute switch pressed to kill the sound on the relevant channel while plugging, it should be quite safe to swap cables on the input. The only situation which could stress the mixer is if the equipment being plugged in were powered from the mains and had a serious earthing fault which allowed a high voltage to develop on the XLR. If the mic and DI box are self-powered, i.e. not connected to power supplies from the mains there should be no problem.
However I guess the person responsible for the PA still might not be happy about about this solution in which case another simple mixer is required to combine your mic and guitar. XLR splitters are usually configured to send one signal to two places rather then mix two signals to one place.
As for the Guitar pre-amp being turned down to "1", it sounds like the mixer input is set to the "Mic" position when it should be set to "Line" to be matched to the guitar/DI box. Does the DI box have a gain/sensitivity/attenuate/pad switch which can changed?
Many thanks for your response, they definitely don't want any buzzes and clicks during the service.
No one is able to control the mixer during the service because it is set up too close to the alter, I had to sneak up before my bit to turn it off and swap it over today.
From your response I guess I am best going for a cheap mixer, will this connect into the main mixer ok or do I have anything else to worry about?
They need a new Radio mic for services too, but they haven't got any spare channels, I guess if I was to connect a 4 channel mixer in before the mixer that would free up another channel I suppose that they could use for a new radio mic.
I've also seen on ebay some cheap radio guitar set ups, I guess you get what you pay for, but because of how infrequent I currently play then this would also eliminate running another lead in for me to connect to and give me freedom to set up and play where is comfortable as opposed to dodging the elderly who are pottering about.
Thanks again for the reply. I hope you can clarify about the mixer and then I can convince the vicar/PCC to let me go shopping or if I get the cheap kit I can get it as a gift to the church I suppose.
Seems like a new 4 input mixer is your simplest solution. It should work fine, but set the input channel on the "main" mixer for Line level input - unless the "new" mixer has an output pad (typically -14dB) to reduce it's output to mic level. Using line level is always preferable from a noise/interference point of view.
I have little experience of modern affordable radio mics/links, but I would only recommend using them over as short a distance as possible anyway, say less than a quarter of the "published" specification range. Published specs are often very optimistic in cost conscience gear, and nearby interfering equipment can come and go unpredictably on the public frequencies used. It doesn't matter how often you use it if it farts, stutters and drops out the one time you've got a live audience! When cheaper radio links go wrong they can sound worse than unplugging live cables.
Afraid I have no recommendations for which mixers or radio kit to look at, but maybe some of the more knowledgeable and helpful souls on freesound can offer suggestions? It might help them to say what country you're in.
Thanks Wibby, you've been great.
I think I will go for a 4 port mixer. I presume if I get one that takes 6mm Jacks instead of XLR a simple adapter/converter lead would work just fine?
The radio Kit I have been looking at states:
- Modulation : FM
- Frequency response : 50~12500Hz
- Output Impedance : 600 ohm
- Effective Distance : Approximately 50M
- Frequency used : 170～250MHz
- Manual tuning of channels are not required.
- 6.3mm (1/4 inch) connector
- uses one AA battery
-3.5mm type input suitable for electric guitar and bass.
- uses one 9V battery
- 6.3mm to 3.5mm cable allowing users to connect the electric guitar to the transmitter
I didn't think FM would be a good idea as other things transmit on fm, but the church is probably more than 200m from the road, is surrounded by farmland and the town is so small I would class it as a village.
I suppose for the price of the one I am looking at if it doesn't work then I won't have lost much.
If it were to suddenly stop transmitting then it wouldn't be the end of the world as the guitar is also acoustic and has a decent range, plugging in just gives it a nice depth and gets me heard a bit better above the organ.
Glad if I've been helpful.
These days cars and taxi radios are less of a problem than they used to be, but modern digital gear, like computers, low energy lights and lighting dimmers/control units have come along to take their place. Still if you can place the receiver less than four or five meters from the transmitter it should work fine. I also live in a small village and help out as sound man for a local theatre group (because I have some kit rather than because I'm a good sound man) and sometimes I've had to put a radio mic receiver (the artists, not mine) on the stage and cable it through my 5 metre multi way to the mixer to stop the signal breaking up. It was Okay since the artist (Violin) got the wire-free mic they wanted and I had a spare circuit in my cables anyway. In my case the main problem was due to the digital stuff in the stage lighting desk (I think) and somebody's mobile phone going diggidy-diggidy-diggidy once or twice on incoming texts....!
Anyway good luck, and let the forum know how you get on. Your experience might be useful to other people. - although this place is really about recording stuff rather than PA.
(edited once for terrable speling)
I know what you mean about mobile interference, the Vicars iPhone keeps interfering with his radio mic.
I've just had a brief chat with him about what best to do, he wants a complete new system, amps/mixers the lot but admits there isnt the money to pay for it. So I get the impression rather than add a few channels and get the guitar easily connected in and have a spare port for a new radio mic he's content to do nothing.
I forgot to mention I looked at the mixer this morning and there are actually 5 channels on it but one has 'not used' scrawled on it, so I am guessing it's faulty. I would really like to test it though but I doubt he will let me.