Which type of combo amp for live gigs: congas, bongos, cymbals, etc. - diyAudio
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Old 10th May 2006, 08:42 PM   #1
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Default Which type of combo amp for live gigs: congas, bongos, cymbals, etc.

I'm playing congas, bongos, djembe, cymbals, and miscellaneous small percussion in small local gigs. But I'm having trouble hearing myself play over the other guys -- need an amp!

Because of time constraints, I don't know if I'll be able actually build the amp, but if I need to buy one in the short run, I'd like to know what the most appropriate type of combo amp to buy:

1. Keyboard Amp. Big frequency range, but no compression or chorus, which I'd like to have. I suppose an effects box could be added.

2. Bass Amp. Probably too light on the higher frequencies to capture cymbals, slaps the quinto or djembe drums, but maybe not -- manufacturers seem to have no information on this.

3. Guitar Amp. I like the Roland AC-60, but it is optimized for acoustic guitars with a fairly narrow response. Not clear if it could handle deep thumps from a large tumba drum and cymbal strikes.

Has anyone gone down this road? Thoughts?
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Old 11th May 2006, 01:08 AM   #2
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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What you are looking for is a mini-PA system, so the keyboard amp comes closest. But if you are using microphones on the instruments, the line level inputs of the Keyboard amp might not be best suited.

Guitar amps are not a good choice because if the limited frequency range, and the lack of clarity. "Acoustic guitar" amps are becoming popular, and they tend to be cleaner and more like what you want, but with only one mic input.

I think your thoughts on the bass amp are correct.

I think a nice keyboard amp with maybe a piece or two of outnoard gear might work for you. There are some nowdays that include a mic channel for the small acts.

A small mic mixer which then feeds into the keyboard combo might work well too.

But if it were me, I might consider a small powered mixer and speaker. A few mic input channels, enough to cover your needs, and if you need effects, a single multieffect unit such as those from Behringer or others should suffice. Mixers more and more often are including effects now.

My ideal setup might be a powered speaker like a JBL Eon or a Peavey PR15P and a small mixer on a stand next to me. Every major speaker maker now has something similar - the plastic body powered speaker. SOme powered speakers even have a small mixer right on the rear panel. But such a speaker can mount on a pole or sit on the floor leaning back - flexible. And having a small mic mixer next to you means you can adjust it whenever you want without having to move across stage.

You can also then run a line out from your small system over to the main PA system. If you already have mics in the PA, then you ought to be able to run a send from the PA to your position and run a simple powered speaker as a stage monitor using the PA mix.
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Old 11th May 2006, 08:24 AM   #3
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As suggested, a keyboard combo would be the only one suitable for you - I actually use a Fender 60W one for guitar - this only has two fairly low impedance, balanced, line level inputs (I use a DI box to feed it from guitar). So it doesn't have a mike input, and you would need a little mixer to feed it.

As also suggested, I would advise a small PA amp and a pair of speakers - you can get them quite cheap, a little amp with four mike inputs and around 100W. It will be enough for what you need, and also give you vocals if needed - I presume you don't already have a vocal PA?, or you could go through that?.
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Old 12th May 2006, 02:20 PM   #4
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As mentioned by Enzo I would also suggest you to have a look at some Active Monitor.

Depending on the money you want to spend, maybe something like this:

Click the image to open in full size.

12" speaker / 90x 45 horn 70 - 18 kHz 101 dB 1W/1m* 50 x 34 x 41 cm (19-5/8" x 13-3/8" x 16-1/8") 19 kg (41.8 lbs) Amp: 120 W RMS @ 4 ohms XLR Mic Input, 1/4" jack Line Input

Look at the panel of the built-in Mixer
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