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Hi All,
I have been playing guitar for years but have recently got back into playing licve gigs in pubs as a 2 piece. It is all acoustic so sound is quite important! My question is, I have 2 500w speakers with built in amps, the problem is there is not enough control over the sound with them on there own, but it is difficult to use a PA with them as all PA's have amps also. so without running the risk of double powering does anybody have any suggestions of how to maybe bypass the amps in the speakers and just use the PA? Another problem is the speakers have to be plugged in they won't seem to run off the PA usin LXR cables as other speakers would.
Any help or suggestions would be very much appreciated.
Mark K

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moles Fri, 06/17/2011 - 11:38

Question: These pubs that have their own PA's - do they not also provide the speakers?
If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to use your powered mains with an existing board, you'll have to look at the mixer and see what the output options are. You ideally want to go from and Aux out, or something similar on the board, and use the power capabilities from your speaker cabs. Even if it's an all-in-one powered mixer, there should still be an option to get signal out from a point in the signal path before the power stage.

dvdhawk Fri, 06/17/2011 - 12:03

Unregistered, post: 372896 wrote: all PA's have amps also.

This just isn't true. It's true there are countless powered mixers, but a quality PA system usually consists of a mixer that does not have any internal amplifiers. And that's what you should be looking for, to add to your self-powered speakers. A professional system will have the amplifiers in a rack(s) on-stage near the speakers - or the latest trend is to build the speakers with internal amplification custom-tailored to the speaker box and components.

For an acoustic duo something small and clean by Allen-Heath, Mackie, Soundcraft, etc. would do nicely and they don't have to be very expensive. Something with a built-in reverb might be worth looking into for an acoustic duo.

Unregistered, post: 372896 wrote: ...does anybody have any suggestions of how to maybe bypass the amps in the speakers and just use the PA? Another problem is the speakers have to be plugged in they wont seem to run off the PA usin LXR cables as other speakers would.

If you're stuck with a powered mixer AND powered speakers, it's going to be much more practical (and sound better) to find an output from your powered mixer that bypasses the amp section. Most have a patch-point or output somewhere for a non-amplified signal.

As far as plugging the speakers in to the wall to power them - that's a necessary evil you'll have to deal with. The XLR cables provide only a few milliwatts of audio signal and have nothing to do with the electrical demands of the amplifiers inside the speaker.

Worst case scenario: Sell either the powered-speakers, or powered-mixer, and buy whichever solution you're most comfortable with.

Good luck. I hope that helps.

anonymous Sun, 06/19/2011 - 16:48

There are cheap non powered small 4 or 6 channel mixers out there that would suit your set up.

The biggest problem for me when gigging is controlling the acoustic guitar sound.
A grahpic eq is good to have to help control your sound, I have one dedicated to the acoustic guitar
that is handy for the different rooms , and means I dont have to radically change my guitar channel on the desk.

The powered speakers are the way to go for gigs because the amp and speaker are made to complement
each other and you wont blow the speakers.

If you must use your powered desk , bypass the amp as Hawk said.
What powered desk do you have?. There are a few options to get a line level output for your speakers
or sometimes there is very limited options ( especially on the brick type).

anonymous Mon, 06/20/2011 - 14:14

Hi mate. If there isn't a switch marked 'BYPASS' or 'PASSIVE/ACTIVE' then the only way to bypass the amps is to unsolder them and connect another amp directly to the speaker terminals.

This might not be in the Health and Safety manual and I wouldn't mention it to your insurers but say what? TWO, (count them) Two 500w PA's hanging off the end of what? A microphone of sorts? Poor little mic!

Listen, the tonal dynamics of an acoustic guitar are so important, you would probably do anything to ensure nothing is going to interfere with its ability to emit perfect tones, pass them across a few centimetres of air, into a microphone, along a wire and into a box, into which is bolted a girt chunk of amp and a speaker.

Firstly, buy an amp then buy a speaker but never in the same box. To be certain, by each in different shops, in different streets... or towns even.

To prove my point, it is impossible to construct a sentence using the words amp, speaker and acoustic guitar. Try it. Amps, speakers and acoustic guitars should be kept well away from each other and separated by leads. 10w, 100w or 1000w. It doesn't matter. You should go on stage with at least two other things other than a guitar and a microphone. Not one, but two things. An amp and a speaker. Four things if you're in stereo!

Amplifiers in speaker cabinets for acoustic guitars. It's not big and it's not clever. Don't do it.