PA using one speaker

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by grendel, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. grendel

    grendel Active Member

    This should be an easy question:

    I have a PA with rather large speakers but will be playing a very small venue. For the sake of easy transportaion, is it possible to use the PA with one speaker? Any potential problems that anyone can see? It will be just voice and acoustic guitar. I am thinking I shouldn't have any issues as long as nothing explodes, bursts into flame or gets transported to another dimension.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You say you want easy transportation, but if you can transport one speaker to another dimension, that would imply you have the skills to get both there with only modest additional effort.

    It should work fine as long as you are not using a valve (tube) amplifier. As a precaution, pan the input channels all the way over to the side that you have the speaker plugged in to avoid driving the unloaded output.

    Instead of using the one large speaker, you might consider borrowing a pair of smaller ones to give a more even distribution of sound. Getting acceptable sound and coverage can be surprisingly difficult in a small venue, and you would not be making it easy for yourself by trying to achieve it with a single large speaker.
  3. grendel

    grendel Active Member

    Thanks for the quick reply!

    Good to know. And I will take your point into consideration regarding using two for even coverage
  4. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    If the room is long and narrow you may actually get better sound with only one speaker. If the room is wide then you may need two to cover the audience.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Most amplifiers perform best and provide its rated power output with a specified load of 4 ohms, 8 ohms. Some are even good to 2 ohms. Not all PA amplifiers are stereo. And so your amplifier may deliver full power when both speakers are plugged in and are in parallel. With half the load, half the amount of speakers, you may also get only half power of the rated power output. You generally don't want to run a power amplifier without a load. And so if your PA amplifier has 2 amplifier outputs, you don't want anything going into the one without a speaker load. But most general-purpose PA gear is designed to be abused and survive. So, no problem. In fact sometimes, a single speaker PA can actually sound better. 2 speakers not placed correctly can actually cancel more out than it can amplify. So you're cool.

    Break a leg
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. grendel

    grendel Active Member

    Awesome advice guys. Thanks for your help!
  7. casemaker

    casemaker Guest

    I did a similar 'gig' a few years ago... just me and my acoustic guitar and my voice. I'd been playing in my basement (studio) with two crate speakers (3-way, 15" woofers), and a yamaha monitor. I didn't get out much, but I sure spend a lot of time at home, fine-tuning my equipment to get just the right sound. Long story short, the "gig" I played was a coffee shop. I planned to scale everything back to a single speaker and one amp, which turned out fine.... except my own ear was used to hearing the music in the more intense way, and it threw me off for a few songs. Lesson learned: be sure to try out the setup you are planning on running at your own home (or practice area) before you dive right in. :)
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    And you should try making some recordings at home before you start to charge $50,000 per recording you produce at Ocean Way. Just to make sure you know how? It's okay, you don't need anything more than a Sound Blaster & Audacity.

    I know the directions to Carnegie Hall
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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