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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.

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Boswell Mon, 07/19/2010 - 10:35

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.

RemyRAD Thu, 07/29/2010 - 12:28

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

anonymous Tue, 10/05/2010 - 01:04

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. :)