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Is There a Musician in the House?

07/16/2013 4:53 PM

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My organization sponsors/puts on/supports outdoor events in our downtown area.

We recently purchased a sectional stage for performers that can be up to 12x20 feet in size, or smaller.

Now I have to purchase a generator to support this activity. Never having sized a generator for band support, I'm somewhat at a loss. A typical amp can run from 100 to 400 or more watts each. The number may be as few as 1-2 all the way to 6, or more. Our bands might have as many as 6 members.

Noise is an issue as the size of the generator goes up, so I want a small, quiet generator that can run the amps and a few lights.

My initial guess is that I need 4,000 W for this.

Any thoughts?

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Anonymous Poster #1
#1

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/16/2013 5:15 PM

Have you searched online first? What will you think if all responders reply anonymously?

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#2

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/16/2013 5:53 PM

At first blush, I would guess your estimate is low.

The "few lights" in particular... While not a ravenous outdoor concert attendee, I have seen many of these smaller stages set up with LOTS of lights.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/16/2013 6:13 PM

We are not equipped for light stanchions or overhead lighting.

Large events, needing stage lights are farmed out to pros with their own generators.

The biggest problem for me is predicting how much power I really need, without buying more capacity than I need. It's better to over buy, I know, but with power comes noise.

I'm also looking at the Honda EU gen-sets, but not sure they can carry the load, that will never get smaller with time.

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Anonymous Poster #4
#18
In reply to #4

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 4:22 AM

Get an a capella group to sing by candle and moonlight !

Less power, noise and cost...

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#28
In reply to #4

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 12:30 PM

Okay, I'm with ya.

As I read thru all of these responses...

<sigh>

... never mind.

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#3

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/16/2013 5:56 PM

This one is used. But cheap.

Honda EX5500

Fully enclosed, electric start, liquid cooled engine.
Ideal for standby applications.
AC Output - Max @120 VAC5500 W - 46 A / 23 A
AC Output - Rated @ 120 VAC5000W - 42 A / 21 A
Run time per tank @ rated load5.4 hours
Noise level @ rated load65dB
L x W X H56.9"x26 x31.3"
Weight393 lbs
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#32
In reply to #3

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/18/2013 6:35 PM

Fire it up and listen....I've always been impressed with honda noise levels...not sure about that model. One could run a couple of 10 ga. or larger cords ( expensive as copper prices are up) and place it behind the crowd. Watch out for scrappers as cords with plugs cut off bring about $2.60 a pound here and I've lost a few along with welding cables.

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#5

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/16/2013 7:17 PM

Is it possible to set up or turn up to a full or partial rehearsal and just measure the current?

Hey, they got to practice sometime right?

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/16/2013 7:37 PM

No. We have no bands, just the desire to have quiet power for many different ones, in the future.

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#6

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/16/2013 7:24 PM

Found this.....inverter generators are the way to go....

http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/power/6000-watt-quiet-generators.html

PTO generator should be quiet, and they are much cheaper.....you furnish the tractor...and plenty of power....

http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/power/6-15-kw-540-rpm-pto-generators.html

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/16/2013 7:44 PM

Yes, inverter generators are the way to go.

I've been to electricgenerators.com, the Honda web site and many others.

I'm not sure I need inverter quality power for amps, maybe I do, but they also seem to be quieter.

58dB vs 65 for the one Honda I posted.

Thanks.

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#9

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/16/2013 9:31 PM

You kids with your homework questions, google it first!

How about this one?

http://powerequipment.honda.com/generators/models/eu6500is

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/16/2013 10:13 PM

Thanks.

Seen it many times in the last 3 days.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/16/2013 10:57 PM

lyn:

Generators are rated in VA, not Watts. Watch the efficiency. e.g. Efficiency

Most amps will likely be Class AB. I would reccomend inverter technology.

I think it would be wise to consider two Honda EU3000i generators with a parallel cable option.

Therefore when you need the extra power, you can parallel a second generator. These generators are very quiet.

EU3000i paralleling cables

You may have to ask the band to not turn on all of their amplifiers at once. The generator must have a VA rating to handle the turn-on surge which can be quite substantial assuming a transformer/bridge rectifier supply.

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Anonymous Poster #2
#12

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 12:07 AM
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#13

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 12:15 AM

Hi - well not a musician, but a sound guy. First off, if I had to run my full system off 3kw, I'd be pretty worried. Outdoor sound takes a LOT more power than sound in a club, or even a large gym. There are no reflections. There is only the path from the speaker to the listener. All the rest of the sound heads off to space.
But - it does not sound like you are looking for 120+ db off the stage. A small three piece band, with an integrated mixer/amp would be doing good to draw one KW from the genset. Given a couple of fairly efficient speakers, this will fill a small park just fine. Add 6-8 LED Pars on some small stands, and there you go.
One other consideration is grounding. Get a ground rod at the local hardware store and drive it in all the way where the generator will be operating. There is a lug/bolt on the generator. Hook this to the ground rod with at least 10 ga wire.

Now - hire a blues band to rock the park - not gonna cut it. One of the first issues I noticed about the honda eu3000i series is no 220 power. Several of the larger pro amps, often used to drive subs, are often wired for 220/240 AC. One Crown Macro Teck 2400 can draw 1300 watts. The MA-3600 can draw up to 30A when wired for 120 operation. This is just one amp. Add the mid/hi stacks, monitors, mixers, effects, the bands equipment, and two of those hondas are all done.
But - again, if this sort of thing is being hired out - no sweat - let them worry about it.

And whatever you buy - take care of the gas. Be sure to put some sort of gas treatment in it. The generator, what ever you get, is likely to sit idle for a long time. Modern gas deteriorates fast. Protect your investment with some sort of gas stabilizer.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 12:44 AM

GA

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#15

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 1:57 AM

@oldfefan

I was proposing two units or a total of 6 KVA which should be plenty. 3 KVA might be OK for a small stage. In any event you have a spare which is always a good thing for an event and you have capacity.

If one breaks, well it's just not as loud, but you don't send everyone home, Now if someone contaminates the gas, that's another issue.

A ground rod may not be a bad idea, but only if the generator supports it and it may not. The correct way of installing the rod would be to break the ground-neutral bond at the generator and wire the ground to the ground rod and the neutral to the ground rod.

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Anonymous Poster #3
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Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 4:06 AM
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#17

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 4:14 AM

My son-in-laws band use 2x 2kWh generators, they have 2x guitar, drums & 2 singers. They have a couple of lights but not high power.

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#19

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 4:37 AM
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#20

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 5:56 AM

Something along these lines might save you a lot of trouble. If you put it out for bid and hire one company exclusively, you could probably get a decent deal, and do the contract on a yearly basis.

http://www.eleccommpowerservices.com/powerforoutdoorevents.html

As one of our esteemed members often says...hire a pro.

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#23
In reply to #20

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 8:25 AM

PS- I'd also look into potential liability issues, with having your guys rig the electricity.

A loose wire and a lawsuit could be quite shocking.

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#21

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 7:29 AM

Regardless of what size you get, go to an RV shop and look at their exhaust systems. They are designed for larger gen-sets with excellent noise reduction.

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#30
In reply to #21

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 1:02 PM

here is a link to cummins/onan RV gen-sets. 4KW and larger, really quiet

http://www.cumminsonan.com/www/pdf/rv/f-832.pdf

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#22

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 8:11 AM

Can the generator be located away to avoid its noise from interfering?

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#24

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 9:14 AM

Wait- this guy's being nice! Did someone hack into Lyn's computer??

Don't know about using them with amps but I've got a couple of portables that I use sometimes at sites (Generac & Honda); I actually prefer the larger Generac both for noise & consistency but would say you should be looking at inverters for this- if you start running close to full load the noise definitely goes & the power quality down on these or any other ones I've used, up to any 80kW diesel. Get 2 smaller ones and only use 1 if needed. (Course it's easy to say- not my money!!)

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#25

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 9:34 AM

oldfefan,

Thanks. Very comprehensive response. We have some bands that simply plug into a standard 15 amp receptacle and play all night.

To the rest of you:

As I said, large events will have commercial power, supplied by pros. Lighting is also supplied by vendors for larger events.

Foreign as the concept may be to some, I have done a comprehensive internet search already and have identified several candidate generators. Yes, Honda EU's are quiet.

Every generator I've seen in the last two days is rated in watts, that's why I used the term to describe capacity.

We do not rig the sound equipment. We will simply provide a power source for bands to hook into. There's more liability exposure in supplying the stage than in supplying a power source. We have all the necessary insurance etc.

Thanks!

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#26

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 9:43 AM

My amp was used by poor bands in the 70s & 80s because it was massive and a great value if you built it yourself. The stereo is in my family room. The room has a 15 A breaker for all the outlets in the room. If the amp was at half volume and you hit a low note you could blow the breaker. When used for a band they were set at least at 2/3s of full. My speakers can reproduce 4 Hz and require a great deal of power to produce those notes.

The power requirements may be more complicated than you suspect. Experiance is the best teacher.

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#27

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 12:16 PM

okay, serious answer(somewhat rare for me here) you need to do a little homework, you need to do a bit of an energy audit on several of your more popular bands/performers and add up the watts...you have to do this, as far as lighting and other loads I'd keep them off your dedicated generator so you have fewer overload issues that stop your show, rember you sure can size your generator too small to handle your shows, you cant size it too big

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#29
In reply to #27

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 12:54 PM

There's the rub.

At this point we have no bands, just a dream.

It's looking like 3kW is about it for quiet operation.

We go from 59 dB for 3kW to 65 dB, or higher for 4kW and up.

My inclination is to go with at least 4kW and use an additional muffler or baffle for noise abatement, if needed.

I'll let you all know when we've settled on one.

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#31

Re: Is There a Musician in the House?

07/17/2013 7:53 PM

I visited with, "Arizona's oldest and largest music retailer" today and talked to their guy who does equipment rentals.

I'm now going to go with a Honda EU3000is, and if I need more power, I'll rent another one and parallel them.

We've already got a 2.5kW gen-set that I can hide some where and use for lights, etc.

I thought I had already posted this, but I guess not. I'm just getting old I guess.

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