Such is the life of a musician, am I right? You spend all day tearing through catalogs, and online forums about which gear is best for what and you tell yourself, if only this, then maybe that. If only I had this gear, that guitar, those mics. Sooner or later, you amass a full sonic arsenal and still you hesitate. But the time must finally come when you take all that time of practice and put your gear to use and start playing some gigs. But how do you start? What do you ACTUALLY need? These are great questions; so, I reached out to my new friends, The 90’s Band, to see if they’d help me out. Here’s what happened.
After conducting the interview, and hanging out with them, this is what I took away from meeting The 90’s Band:
Love what you do, and put on a great show.
You’re there to be entertaining, and your energy will be infectious to the crowd.
They got together in a rehearsal studio and got their playing up to a good standard before they ever stepped foot onto a stage. That takes dedication and determination.
Advertise if you can.
Phil’s marketing background certainly helped out the band. He had people calling him saying there’s buzz around town about The 90’s Band before they ever played a show! That’s incredible.
Play what you want to play.
You need to give the crowd a good show, but don’t feel pressured. Love what you do, and play what you love.
So, what are they actually using? Did it surprise you at all that there are no guitar amplifiers? Here’s a list of the awesome gear that we went over.
Let’s connect those Beta 58As to something. The QLXD4 is an incredible wireless receiver that offers amazing ruggedness and sound quality.
The guitarists don’t need amps when they have in-ear monitors, a killer mixer, and the amazing helix from Line 6.
The in-ears of choice for The 90’s Band are the Shure PSM300s. They offer crystal clear audio, and unparalleled quality.
Bianca wanders through the crowd with the Shure Beta 58; meanwhile, Phil goes back and forth between the 58, and the Beta 87.
Joe uses a few effects to his taste (as you would as a bass player), but it all comes into the Tech 21 VT Bass DI. Bass is one of the awesome instruments that sounds great direct. Plenty of instruments are improving their usefulness in going direct; acoustic guitars, electric guitar amplifiers, etc. However, there’s something about bass that has just been working in the direct game for years now.
Finally, there’s Luke on drums. As we heard Phil say, in a world where most everything is going direct and then being pumped out of the PA, the drums are one of the only real instruments that you hear live coming from the stage. So, the sky is the limit here. Whatever beautiful kit that your drummer has put together (and doesn’t mind lugging to the gig) is fair game. Technically speaking, you could look into electronic kits that could go direct into your rig, but that of course depends on your sonic needs, and you’ll know it if you need it. It’s just something to think about.
You’ll recall that Phil mentioned that he wanted to show up at a gig, hit one button, and have everything turn on. He achieves that with the help of a Furman rack power unit. There are plenty of outlets in the back to hook up all of his components, and then there’s a large, satisfying power switch to throw at the end.
This is where the magic really happens. Seeing this mixer in their rig was like saying hello to an old friend. When I saw Pat in the crowd with an iPad, I had my suspicions. But the UI24R has been confirmed. Why is this digital mixer so rad? Because it’s a completely connected solution. Pat stands in the crowd and can mix in real time while the show is going on. He has the mixer right at his fingertips as he slides the faders up and down.
Why does this mixer feel like an old friend? You may recall that we made a launch video for the Harmon Connected PA which showcased this awesome technology and how easy it is to mix, add effects, save presets, and so much more. Check it out below.
Harmon Connected PA
Receivers, Wireless Microphones, and In-Ear Monitors (IEM)
Let’s talk about in-ears for a second. I was surprised to find out that the Shure PSM300, and QLXD4 come in a few flavors. So, which is right for you? Well, I can imagine this question comes up a lot with most wireless transmitting devices. This has to do with which frequency range is right for you. Depending on your location, you may have a radio or TV station nearby that could interfere with your performance. What a drag! Luckily, there are very cool companies like Sennheiser that have online tools to help you out. Before you buy, check out this link here: Sennheiser Frequency Finder. It’ll show you what’s going on in your area and help guide you into making the best decision for your wireless solutions. Finally, you’ll also have to be careful with which versions of the wireless mics that you buy since these also have different frequency ranges.
The 90’s Band is without a doubt one of the most regularly gigging bands on Long Island. New York is a pretty tough market in general; so, I’m glad we could get some great advice from among the best musicians out there. I’d like to give a special thank you to my new friends, The 90’s Band, for taking the time. And as I said before, I hope this inspires you to get out there and gig.