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
youre interested in purchasing something.
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. Its
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.
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
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
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 youll
see at places like Guitar Center, or Daddys Junky Music. I also carry excellent
mixers by Allen & Heath,
along with a range of other equipment. See New Equipment.
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
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.
quality sound and lightest weight, good powered speakers and non-powered mixer
will beat most any other combination.
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 whats right for your application and budget.
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!
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.
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 harms way. Cover with small carpet sections and/or
use Gaffers Tape as necessary to protect cables (and avoid law suits).
bringing sound equipment inside from the cold in winter (when its below
freezing), allow everything to warm up out of the cases before powering up.
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 peoples hearing as well as the speakers.
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.
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, TVs, 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.
mixers and speakers inside cases when not in use. Long term health requires keeping
out moisture and dust.
Gain/Trim: Often when you hear distortion, its because of incorrect gain
structure settings. Pay close attention to this section of the Owners Manual.
I can also show you how to do this here or on a site visit.
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 Owners
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 1030 feet away from you. Ideally youd
like to raise the main speakers at least several feet over the level of the peoples
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.
Id be glad to show you these.)
against a back wall or in corners increases bass response, sometimes more than
is desired. So experiment, listen, and adjust as needed!
Monitor Speakers, you want these close to you and aimed up toward your ears (this
is why they are often wedge shaped). Dont 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.
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 dont have to turn up the gain as much.
You can also use mixer EQ section and graphic equalizers to reduce the problem
frequencies during the sound check. See Owners Manual.
If feedback is still a recurrent problem, Sabine
makes the best sounding auto feedback control units on the market (FBX 1200/2400).
But unless youre playing at loud volumes in difficult spaces, you probably
wont need to go this far.
& 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
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.)