I want to start gigging at local restaurants, what do I need to buy in terms of music gear?

Congrats! You are ready to get out there and start gigging! You have the drive, you feel consistent vocally and you have enough songs ready to sing for 2-3 hours!

Now you need to buy some sound equipment and you don't know where to start. Here are my suggestions for some great equipment for small venue gigs…


Any good ole dynamic mic will work for this type of gig. Most clubs and schools will keep Shure SM58 microphones on hand. They sound good with all voice colors and can handle being dropped or banged up a bit. They also have a reasonable price point. Here is a link to check it out: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SM58--shure-sm58-cardioid-dynamic-vocal-microphone

Another favorite of mine is the EV ND76 microphone. This one is awesome with bright voices as it seems to give a warmth and depth to their color. (It does not work well with baritone and bass voices though and can seem muddy for the deep low voices). It also is reasonably priced and is my personal fave: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ND76--electro-voice-nd76-dynamic-vocal-microphone

PA System:

A good PA system is portable, easy to set up, offers some sort of EQ and hopefully some kind of reverb option, and can handle your microphone input as well as a guitar or piano or aux cable. You don't need a sound system that pumps out 600W if you are only singing acoustic gigs in small coffee shops or as background music for quiet restaurants that want ambience.

I have used my Fender Passport for YEARS!!! It is a workhorse and does a wonderful job in quiet spaces. It offers a single adjustment for tone (treble and bass) as well as a simple reverb knob. It is easy to use, easy to plug in and set up, and doesn't take up too much space if you are limited in space. I have been using the Passport 150W for small venues and it honestly handles well. Now that my students are singing in larger indoor spaces or spaces with background noise, I am upgrading to a Fender Passport 600W. 

Here are links to the Passport 175W and Passport 375W: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PassConfS2--fender-audio-passport-conference-s2-portable-pa-system


If you only need a small PA that works in your room or very quiet spaces, the Roland Cube will give 30W and is great for amplifying keyboards and guitars. I do not love this for vocal because it does not have any adjustments for EQ or Reverb and is truly only going to amplify your voice. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/CubeMon30--roland-cm-30-cube-monitor

If you are wanting to perform in any outdoor settings or in larger venues for weddings, or with drums, etc…then you will need a larger more robust PA System. I chose to invest in a pair of QSC K2 speakers and a Mackie ProFX8 8 channel mixer. These speakers give 2000W each and the mixer allows adjustments for highs, mids, lows, and offers plenty of adjustments for specific frequencies! The mixer also includes some nice reverb and delay options that give just enough for a great polished vocal performance! Here are the links for the QSC speakers and the 12 channel Mackie Mixer.




Additional gear:

Don't forget to keep extra mic cables, power cable, extension cord and aux cable on hand in case one ends up with an issue. You do get what you pay for when it comes to cables and I prefer purchasing cables with a lifetime warranty…when it goes bad, I take the old one in and they hand me a new one. 

You may want to invest in a sturdy mic stand. I have found the Hercules Mic Stand to be the most flexible and sturdy stand I have owned. It can tilt to double as a boom stand, but doesn't have the issue most boom arms do with losing the capability to hold a heavy mic up in one place. I also find that having a trigger style adjustment allows for quick adjustments and is especially helpful with students! Here is the stand: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MS401B--hercules-stands-ms401b-transformer-microphone-stand-with-clip 

Finally…if you are singing long sets and need lyrics or chords to help navigate the gig, please do not hold your phone up! It looks unprofessional and is not great for audience engagement. Instead, invest in an ipad holder or a phone holder that can attach to your mic stand. This way you can hold the mic and use the stand to hold your device. Here are some of my faves for the studio: 





Best wishes to you on your journey to gig! 

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