Band practice is all about all of the members learning to work together, blend their sounds harmoniously, and play off of each other well. While your rehearsals should replicate a live performance in certain ways, the type of sound you want to achieve is not necessarily the same. Your biggest priority when setting up your band practice space is making sure that each person can hear exactly what they need. This article will provide some of our favorite tips for how to set up the perfect band practice room including setting up amps and PA system.
Who needs to hear what?
Depending on the amount of gear you have and the type of band rehearsal space you’re working with, it’s likely that not every band member will be able to hear everyone else perfectly. Don’t sweat it. The most important thing is that everyone can hear what they need to stay on beat. Drums will never be a problem — they’re the loudest instrument in your band, and can easily be heard by everyone in the room.
Of course, the volume of sound generated by the drums will drown out the rest of the instruments to the drummer’s ear. Just make sure that your drummer can hear the parts that are most important; namely, the bass. Position your bass amp near the drum kit and experiment with the levels until you’re able to ensure that the drummer will be able to hear the bass over himself.
Bass frequencies tend to spread out widely instead of projecting in one direction, so the bass amp doesn’t need to be pointed at the drummer. It’s also imperative that the lead guitarist and singer can hear the bass, so aim it forward — just make sure it’s close enough to the drum kit to reach your drummer.
If there’s anyone in the band who really needs to hear all elements of the sound, it’s the vocalist. Determine the “sweet spot” in the room where all of the instruments can be heard, and save it for your singer. Use monitors projected back toward the rest of the band with the vocals and other instruments, like keyboards.
Arranging the space
You essentially have two options when it comes to setting up your band practice space. You can rehearse in a circle facing each other, or you can replicate a live performance, with everyone facing forward toward an imaginary audience. There are pros and cons to each option, and choosing one comes down to deciding what’s most important for your practice.
Rehearsing in a circle allows band members to see and communicate with each other easily across the rehearsal room. You can give each other feedback without stopping the song, and practice signaling to each other. This layout is perfect for learning new songs or just jamming and seeing what you come up with.
However, some bands worry that they’ll become too dependent on being able to see each other and that it’ll throw them off when they’re in a live setting. Band rehearsal isn’t just about learning new songs — it should be treated as practice for your performances too. For many bands, the answer is to switch setups depending on the focus of their rehearsal.