Do we really need an external set of sound system for live bands?

From time to time, we have clients ask if an external sound system is necessary for a performance if there is an in-house PA system at their wedding venue. Our answer is always yes! But first, let us share the only 2 venues in Singapore we would reply with, “Yay you’ve got a great deal with the venue, you don’t have to hire an external set of sound system!”:

1. Nosh

Located near a residential area in Holland Village, Nosh’s management has no choice but to enforce a policy that requires live bands to only utilize their in-house sound system (the sound system has a compressor to ensure that the volume of the music does not go above a certain level that will disturb the nearby residents). But most importantly, the restaurant does provide the necessary for a band’s performance, namely music score stands, microphones with stands, and a feedback monitor, all of which are suitably supportive for a 2-piece band. We have to applaud their dedication to make live music possible for their clients!

2. Chijmes Hall

High ceiling at any space is usually a challenge for any soundman because of the sound reflections involved. At Chijmes Hall, there is a dedicated soundman who is used to tweaking the sound for the events held there year in and year out. Most importantly, they do provide all the necessary equipment for a band’s performance, namely music score stands, microphones with stands, and a feedback monitor, all suitably supportive of a 2 to 5-piece band.

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Unfortunately for many of us, the sound systems in most venues in Singapore are PA systems more suitable for speeches, and for playing of music from CDs/laptops, and will not support ‘live’ music well (without giving feedback or muddy sounds, especially if they are using those white ceiling speakers!).

If you intend to spend $1k – $2k+ to engage a ‘live’ band you fancy for the evening, it really is worthwhile to top up a few hundred dollars for a good sound system so that your guests get to enjoy quality sound.

Warning

While it may be tempting to save cost by having a sound company bring in parts of the equipment to compliment the existing in-house system, what you may not be informed of is the risk of liability should things go wrong. For instance, if the in-house speakers blow (for whatever reason), who would be responsible for the financial damage? Would it be the external sound vendor who has kindly agreed to bring in the extra equipment to tap into the in-house sound system; or the venue who agreed to the arrangement; or the client who requested for it? Nobody really wants a finger-pointing session after a happy occasion!

This explains our recommendation of always hiring an external set of sound system for a peace of mind….unless your event is at Nosh or Chijmes! J

Other Exceptions

There are exceptions to the engagement of an external sound system. These are the rare circumstances, and they are usually at the cocktail area (if the area is not too big, and you are ok with a diminishing sound level across the area)

  • A pianist using baby grand or upright piano; with or without a saxophone
  • String Trio/Quartet

If vocalists, and instruments like digital piano, guitar, bass and violin are required (depending on the configuration of the band), then  typically at least a small speaker is required to amplify the sound (or the music will easily get drowned out with your guests’ talking).

Check with us at [email protected] if you need clarifications with regards to the sound system needs for your ‘live’ music!