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Audio Equipment & Consulting
What is a PA System? | Professional PA EquipmentTraining Workshops for Live Sound
ConsultingAudio Main | Services & Fees | Used Equipment for Sale

Professional PA Equipment
allen and heath mixer
Allen & Heath PA Mixer

Night Heron Music is a dealer for several lines of high quality sound equipment. They range from mixers and power conditioners to some of the best speakers made today. Follow the links below to learn more. Please give a call at (603) 464-4321, or email if you’re interested in purchasing something.

New Equipment Available
Used Equipment
PA Systems & Powered Speakers
PA Operating Suggestions
Speaker Placement

New Equipment Available

Here are some product lines I recommend.
• Allen & Heath (excellent mixers)

qsc speaker
QSC K10 Speaker

RCF (amazing speakers)
FBT speakers
QSC Audio (Pro & Consumer)
Furman Sound (power conditioners and more)
SKB Cases
Brauner microphones

Shock Proof Mic Clips (unbreakable!)


Used Equipment for Sale, CLICK HERE
Currently the following used and demo items are available. All are in mint condition, with original boxes & owner’s manuals.

fbt speakers
FBT Maxx Speakers

PA Systems & Powered Speakers
As a performer doing around 50 shows a year, I have a keen interest in sound equipment that is light weight, built to last, and really lets the music shine through. It’s also a big plus if it fits in my car! Folks frequently ask about my own PA systems, enough that I've started carrying some of the equipment as a sideline. All the advice here is free. And you won't find the overhead (or the noise and pushy attitude) of most “Music Stores.” I take the time to understand your specific needs and make sure you understand how everything works. For organizations, I can even come and do a group training on how to run sound.

There are many choices for portable sound systems these days. Many of the best new systems utilize powered speakers, with the amplifier built right into the speaker instead of the mixer. Powered speakers range WIDELY in size and weight... from tiny 8 lb kittens up to 150 lb gorillas. More weight/size doesn't necessarily mean better quality.

The main speakers I use for smaller shows (up to 200 people) weigh only 26 lbs and sound terrific. The smaller monitors I use are about 15 lbs. For bigger concert settings or outdoor events, I usually bring larger ones.

Some of the best powered speakers are made by RCF. Their TT Series speakers are truly exceptional. Pound for pound, dollar for euro, I also recommend speakers made by an Italian company called FBT. Take a look at their Maxx line and ProMaxx line. Much better than the Mackie, Behringer and JBL Eon stuff you’ll see at places like Guitar Center, or Daddy’s Junky Music. I also carry excellent mixers by Allen & Heath, along with a range of other equipment. See New Equipment.

All powered PA speakers share several advantages:
•   The amp is built into the speakers, with minimal extra weight. When done properly, this matches the precise characteristics of the speaker and the amp for the best sound quality.
If something happens to one of your amplified speakers (say it falls down the stairs or out of the canoe), you can still do a show through the other one. Having two powered speakers is like having a back up amplifier with you at every show.
In a pinch, you can plug a microphone, keyboard, or CD player directly into most powered speakers without any mixer at all. Talk about truly portable!
The speakers can be mounted on poles (for the audience) or used as a floor monitor (for you).
A corresponding non-powered mixer is lighter, smaller, and generally of much higher quality than the typical powered mixer. Some are no bigger than the Boston Yellow Pages! A good mixer gives you more options for really nice reverbs and effects, connections for high quality phantom powered microphones, better rejection of radio and CB interference, and better EQ and rumble filters.
For quality sound and lightest weight, good powered speakers and non-powered mixer will beat most any other combination.

Having said all this, anything can be executed well... or badly. There is a huge range of quality and price for all these speakers and mixers... anywhere from $200 to over $2,000. The key is to figure out what’s right for your application and budget.

For example, acoustic instruments (and classical music and jazz) have a lot of transients. Transient response and clear midrange matters more if you sing and play acoustic guitar or piano than if you are a top 40 DJ. A rock band or DJ, on the other hand, wants a LOT of bass response and sheer POWER, more than they may need accurate transient and midrange response. They might want a powered sub too... definitely not something a solo guitar player wants to lug around!

Give a call or send an email to let us know more about your situation and needs. If you like, we can set up a time for you to come over and see/try some different combinations.

PA Operating Suggestions
©Steve Schuch / Night Heron Music

  • Read and save all the Owner’s Manuals!
  • Damp mop performing area before setting up sound system. Place mixer on a clean table surface only. You want to keep dirt and dust out of cables, connectors and mixer.
  • Allow ample time for a sound check. Locate cables out of harm’s way. Cover with small carpet sections and/or use Gaffers Tape as necessary to protect cables (and avoid law suits).
  • If bringing sound equipment inside from the cold in winter (when it’s below freezing), allow everything to warm up out of the cases before powering up.
  • When powering up the system, connect all the cables first, then turn on keyboard, mixer and
    effects next. Turn on Powered Speakers (or amplifier) LAST. When shutting down, do everything in reverse order, i.e. power down the speakers before turning off mixer and keyboards, in order to prevent surges and pops through the system. Loud surges can damage people’s hearing as well as the speakers.
  • Always have Master Volume and Monitors all the way down when turning system on/off and when plugging microphones, CD player, keyboard, etc. into or out of system.
  • Use a quality surge protector (such as Furman) and be sure outlets are properly grounded.
  • Do not store microphones in direct sunlight, on top of speakers, TV’s, computers, refrigerators, or other sources of magnetic fields.
  • Coil all cables gently the same way each time (wire has a memory) and secure with velcro ties (available at Staples). This way cables are easier to work with and last longer. Store in closed container to keep dust out of the connectors.
  • Keep mixers and speakers inside cases when not in use. Long term health requires keeping out moisture and dust.
  • Setting Gain/Trim: Often when you hear distortion, it’s because of incorrect gain structure settings. Pay close attention to this section of the Owner’s Manual. I can also show you how to do this here or on a site visit.
  • With EQ and bass, remember less is more. Too much sounds muddy and is hard on speakers. Cutting problem frequencies is usually better than boosting others. See Owner’s Manual.

Speaker Placement
Each room and space is different acoustically. Allow time to experiment with speaker placement and EQ. In general, you want to aim the Main Speakers at the audience, not at you and your microphones (leads to feedback problems) or the ceiling (wastes power and muddies the sound). In a small setting, you might only have the main speakers 5 feet off to either side, or even get by with just one speaker. In larger settings, you might set speakers on each side anywhere from 10–30 feet away from you. Ideally you’d like to raise the main speakers at least several feet over the level of the people’s heads out in the audience. In some settings it helps to angle the speakers slightly downward, so the sound goes directly into the audience instead of bouncing around off the ceiling and back walls. (Product Suggestion: Ultimate Support makes terrific speaker stands and a nifty adapter for speaker angle. I’d be glad to show you these.)

Putting speakers against a back wall or in corners increases bass response, sometimes more than is desired. So experiment, listen, and adjust as needed!

For Monitor Speakers, you want these close to you and aimed up toward your ears (this is why they are often wedge shaped). Don’t make them louder than you need, as this leads to feedback problems and muddies the sound. It often helps to turn down the bass in the monitors too.

Avoiding Feedback
The best way to avoid feedback is by doing a thorough sound check ahead of time. Proper microphone selection and set up are essential. If howling/hum begins during a concert:

1) Pull down master volume at once.

2) Long term solution is to set speakers further away from microphones, use better mics and/or set them closer to singers/instruments so you don’t have to turn up the gain as much.

3) You can also use mixer EQ section and graphic equalizers to reduce the problem frequencies during the sound check. See Owner’s Manual.

4) If feedback is still a recurrent problem, Sabine makes the best sounding auto feedback control units on the market (FBX 1200/2400). But unless you’re playing at loud volumes in difficult spaces, you probably won’t need to go this far.

Services & Fees
I work with clients both near and far (from simple PA for local musicians to an elaborate Kv2 system for clients in Norway). We can ship anywhere! If you just want to pay for consulting time or a training workshop, that's fine too. But please understand that any reputable dealer who puts considerable time into assessing your needs, then making careful recommendations, needs to be paid for their time. Good advice is a rare thing. If you have a good local dealer, support them. If you'd like me to be your dealer, then support me.

Audio Equipment & Consulting
Payment for Services

I charge $50 for initial phone consultations or email recommendations. There is no charge for folks who schedule an appointment in person. Clients may deduct this $50 from the cost of any equipment purchased from me. This covers my initial time and advice. (Without this policy, the number of requests for free email advice have become overwhelming.)

If you're interested in Training Workshops, visit our Training Workshops page.

To get started on putting together a sound system, here are the things to let me know:

•   Where are you located?
Are you looking to come by here in person, make a mail order purchase, or hire me for phone/email consulting?
Would a site visit or demo be helpful?
What kind of music and instruments are you playing?
What is the size of your audiences?
What settings/venues are you performing in?
What sound equipment are you already comfortable working with?
Do you use monitors? Any problems with feedback?
Are you interested in effects units and compressors?
Who besides you will be running sound?
Is sound equipment left set up or taken down after each use?
If equipment is moved about, how will you be moving it? (This relates to weight, size and complexity of system.)
What approximate budget range are you looking at?
What is your preferred Payment Option: PayPal online, bank wire transfer, check by mail, check or cash in person?
Are you interested in a Training Workshop?
Any special requests?

Please give a call or email if you’re interested in purchasing something.

Musically yours,

Steve Schuch / Night Heron Music
(603) 464-4321

*I’m often on the road, but will look forward to getting in touch when I return.
Services & Fees

Night Heron Music • 72 Meeting Hill Road, Hillsborough, NH 03244 • USA
• ph (603) 464-4321 •

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