The PA system is primarily for vocals. It consists of the PA amplifier, speakers, monitors, and microphones.
For many years, the band relied on Jeff's trusty Behringer PMH880S powered PA head and Peavey SP12M floor monitors for rehearsals. In loading gear for a recent gig, while carrying the monitors upstairs from the secret Engine14 subterreanean practice studio, Jeff was reminded that each of those speakers weighs 48 lbs. The next weekend, the monitors and PA were off to a new home, courtesy of Craig's List, and Jeff began researching lightweight, even higher quality replacements. A Peavey PV10 10-channel mixer and a pair of Electro-Voice ZxA1 800-watt powered PA speakers now support the band's rehearsals. The ZxA1s provide great vocal clarity, and are used as floor monitors during gigs.
Nandan now supplies most of the PA gear used at Engine14 gigs, including subwoofers when needed to supplment the usual front-of-house main speakers.
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This is the PV® 10 compact mixer the band uses for rehearsals. It gives us easy-to-use features and fine sound in a small, lightweight, but sturdy form factor. Reference-quality mic preamps with a low 0.0007% THD make the PV 10 mixer excellent for live sound as well as for our rehearsals. The PV 10 mixer includes three-band EQ, effects send and monitor send on each channel. With six mono and two stereo channels, the PV 10 offers a total of eight inputs, plenty for Engine14's vocals and Jeff's Yamaha electronic drum kit. The master section includes 48 volt phantom power so Jeff can use his condenser mic with it, built-in digital effects, effects send and return, assignable tape input and a unique master contour EQ that helps sweeten the mix. Dual XLR and 1/4 inch outputs allow the PV 10 to easily connect with other equipment. It also is more colorful than most other mixers!
Microphones complete the PA setup. Jeff uses Electro-voice N/D767a supercardioid microphones like the one pictured. Very popular with professional performers, these mics use a neodymium-based magnet structure, and offer an unusually wide frequency response of 35-22 kHz to ensure vocal clarity. Jeff sometimes uses a Neumann KMS 105 condenser stage microphone which provides superior clarity and sound quality, but which can be tricky in noisy environments where feedback can be an issue.
Initially, the heart of our P.A. system was Jeff's Behringer PMH880S 10-channel stereo powered mixer. One of the most powerful of its type available, it offered some very useful features, such as two independent effects processors, dual graphic equalizers to fine-tune our vocals, and a feedback detection system. We used the Behringer for practices and live performances until it moved on to a new home in August, 2010.
The band is now using powered ZXA1s as floor monitors and as house speakers in smaller venues. The ZXA1s are powered by 800 watt amplifier modules derived from EV’s Tour Grade series – amplifiers with audio quality and reliability appropriate for professional use. They have professional-grade 8” woofers and 1” titanium compression drivers and weigh less than 20 lbs. each.
Rob uses a Audix OM-2 microphone, which handles sound pressure levels of as much as 140db. With a frequency response of 50-16 kHz, this hypercardioid mic captures Rob's singing, while rejecting the very low and very high frequency sounds that emerge from his drums and cymbals.