Gear Suggestions for Solo Performer
rmarr_logoRobert Marr
Singer Songwriter
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When I was researching what was required to get back into the market, so to speak, I looked high and low for websites that described what equipment the entertainer used. There weren't many, so I decided to spell out what I was using. I hope this helps some young acoustic entertainer, somewhere. If not, it helps me remember what I bought!

A simple description of gig requirements for the acoustic entertainer follows:

Acoustic Guitar, preferably with a pickup. Otherwise, you have to mic the guitar. This is kind of a catch 22. The sound reproduction you can get from a mic is really good, but there are a couple of negatives:

1. you're tied to a certain spot on stage. However, If you sit, it's not a problem.

2.Whether you use a condenser or dynamic mic, you'll need to crank up the gain sufficiently  to get a decent sound. This always introduces a strong feedback potential, so beware!

PA System - The choices are many, as you might imagine. I started out with the Bose L1 system which sounds very good. However, as I got older, it became a physical nightmare to carry the 4 pieces, 35 pounds each, in and out of the venue. I then opted for the Fishman SoloAmp. One piece at about 35 pounds was the ticket for me. You'll need a minimum of 2 channels, mic and guitar on whatever amp/PA you choose.

Microphone- Although there are a few performers who bring a condenser mic to the gig, they are few and far between. If you decide you want to use a condenser, make sure your amp/PA has phantom power as the condenser needs a 48 volt supply to work. Otherwise, go with what most folks do, a dynamic mic. There is always the old-tried and true, Shure SM58. It's road-worthy and should last for a long time.

Cables - Don't scrimp here. They are the life-line between you and your PA. without them, you need to pack up and go home. Spend a few extra bucks and get something decent. I got a bunch of give-away cables in an order for something else. Not a single one of them worked worth a poop. They either produced dead-silence or various degrees of snap-crackle-pop. At minimum, you'll need an XLR cable for the  mic and an instrument cable for the guitar. Personally, I never go to a gig without at least one extra set.

Mixer - If you are plugging in more instruments or vocal mics than your PA can handle, you'll need a mixer with two XLR outputs. The big mixer I use for an Open Mic I host is a 12 channel Mackie. I pan all the vocal mics to right, and the instruments to the left. Then I take the left XLR output to the left input on the SoloAmp and visa versa for the right. The mixer gives you all the capabilities you need for EQ, gain and other stuff on a per-channel basis.

Mic Stand - If you buy junk, you'll be replacing them more often than you need to. Make sure you get the boom style, which makes it a lot more comfortable for a guitar player to get to the mic. Also, when I forgot my stand for a gig, I had to go to a local music store to find one. All they had was one with the heavy metal base, as opposed to tripod legs. Two things were wrong with it, a) no boom and b) very unstable. I'm sure there are different values of metal-base stands, but this one was garbagio.  Consequently, I only use  those with tripod legs.

Music Stand - Unless you memorize all your tunes, you'll need a music stand to put your book on. Do not get a flimsy music stand. They will not hold up to a 10 lb lyric book. Be sure to also get one of those gig lights because generally, the lighting is very low on stage. There are several very good LED lights on the market that are designed for music stands.

Tablet - If you want to bring your lyric book into the 21st century, you'll load all your lyrics/chord sheets on a 10 inch tablet. You could spend $500 on an iPad, or $350 on a matching Android tablet. There is absolutely nothing the iPad can do that an Android can't. In fact, an Android such as the Samsung Note 10.1 has a lot more capabilities than the iPad. To name just a few things; the A500 has a USB port, SD card slot and an HDMI Output, all shamefully missing on the iPad. If you choose the Android, get a lyrics-reading app such as Lyric Pad. It scrolls the lyrics up the page as you sing.. Pretty cool, huh? If you choose the iPad, OnSong is likely the app you want.


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Last Updated 01/01/2016


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