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The New Pa Works!


The little PA works! Ran a music clip from “Lazarus” the laptop into the “CD/AUX” ports on the little amp and it broadcast quite well. These are nice, powerful little speakers. I was able to do a voice-over with the mike, too, which is precisely what I need for square dance calling.

The whole thing—amp, speakers and (for when I need it) laptop—measures less than a foot deep, less than 18 inches high and less than 18 inches wide—very compact. There are cables—around 50 feet of speaker cable, power cable, and the odd cable that connects the laptop to the amp. The equipment, cords and all, fits in a suitcase I’ve got (a modern one, with wheels) and looks quite professional.

The 6-channel mixer (5 of the channels work) has its own cable from its “Line Out” port to the same “CD/AUX” port on the amp, plus its Japanese-to-U.S.power adapter. It does not fit in the suitcase; it does have a case of its own but the case doesn’t have any room for the cable and adapter. (I have a laptop bag that might work, though.) And of course I have cables for the microphone, which has its own case.

The speakers should have mounts; it’s easy to rig up hang-on-a-hook mounts, and those would work in a lot of situations, but I am going to need stand-alone floor mounts too. Mike stands with real heavy (and therefore stable) bases will work. (Made one—had the parts in the garage.) I suppose I could buy another—but I’d rather find a broken one I could get for free. I’ve been determined all along to put this setup together for as little money as possible. My only immediate investment has been the $10 for the speakers; I already had everything else.

Next step is to try it out. For the “concert” test, my best bet is to take the setup to the Arts Center and play through it, both with and without the mixer, and see what it sounds like; it would be nice to videotape myself doing it, to see (literally) how well the system fills a hall. If I could film myself playing a song for which I’d want footage to incorporate into a video later, so much the better. For the “caller” test, I’ll want to take the setup to a square dance session—I have a group of dancers that have offered to let me practice my moves on them, and instructor Daryl says I should be practicing with amplification to get the hang of it.

Square dance callers have this neat attachment on their mike cables that incorporates both an on/off switch and a volume control. Neat tool—but they cost over $100 from the only company that sells them. (Square dance callers are a limited market.) Could I make one? I have an adapter that has a volume control in it, and I can get the part I need to mate it up to my microphone (which already has an on/off switch) for under $10. Then again, I don’t really need it; I can control my volume the way I usually do on stage—by moving closer to or further away from the mike.

Music Thursday and Friday was good. I was told “Spend the End of the World with Me” is a “keeper” (nice when other people say that): audiences like it, and musicians seem able to follow it easily even though it’s ragtime. Fiddle part should get recorded Sunday. Then I can send it off to England, and then do the video.

I’d like the “Spend the End” video to incorporate some of the tricks I saw in the Angler’s Mail video, which was a nicely-done mix of still shots and film footage. Would be good to get some footage of both me playing guitar and Jane playing fiddle for that. The library may have Armageddon paintings I can photograph.



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