First time live play -need audio setup help

I’ve worked hard many years on guitar skills and finally feel I’m at a place to move to the next level. Started with electric, but switch to acoustic 4 years back. For example, I’m competent to play Blackbird (level 6). Last night I played, for the first time, a few tunes in an intimate setting (15 people). That’s the setting I foresee. I also want to record for improving skills, as mentioned in a Justin vid 2 years ago. Start with acoustic (Martin non-amped).

Could someone be kind enough to help me achieve my goals. What else do I need for a decent setup. The acoustic set is primary but I also want, in the future, to be able to use my electric (Strat, Fender Vibro Champ amp, Blue Angel - mesa boogie) plus a foot board with effects.

I’m sure I need a mixer.

Here’s my stuff:
Focusrite Scarlett Solo
Dell XPS 16gb ram
JBL EON 610 x 2 (amped speakers)
Instrument mic stand
Vocal mic stand
Rhode NT2-a
AKG d 320 S
Lots of cable.

Thanks in advance, Lewis

1 Like

You may get plenty of mileage out of the kit you have?

A quick google shows your speakers have two mic inputs - this will allow for vocal mic and acoustic mic. Just as a mixer would allow, should be ample for performing.

Amp should be good for small gigs if you wanted to go electric? Using speakers for vocals.
I have an amp-in-a-box pedal simply for convenience, but folk at our local open mic events do turn up with their own amps.

Any pedals would just be added to the signal chain, so no more outputs needed unless you are doing stereo effects or wet / dry etc.

For recording, I’m assuming acoustic doesn’t have an electric output so would need mic for input into Solo.

Then, I guess, the choice is:

  • a mixer will give you the option of adding and combining multiple inputs, the output of which could be sent to speakers or pc via solo or to headphones - this is the feature I like best about a mixer, the ‘live’ mixed sound can be listened to via headphones as well as being sent forward to speakers or PC whatever. I also add in backing tracks or drums via phone into mixer.

  • a DI device with more inputs would allow separate inputs to be sent to the PC as separate channels. This is advantageous if recording or adding effects within the PC, as each mic / instrument can be kept separate then edited / shaped independently.

No experience with the multi channel PC setup so would take advice from others on this.

  • An electro acoustic guitar would allow both vocal mic and guitar input into your existing Solo DI, you can get passive pickups that fit into the sound hole in a non destructive way.

The first google hit as an example: Fender Cypress Single Coil Acoustic Pickup at Gear4music


Excellent info. I didn’t think about the inputs on the speakers - duh… Thanks again.



I have a couple if thoughts as I’ve been in the same position recently of putting together gear for small live performances… In my case, my setup is in my house but others who have actually gigged may have a better take.

  • A small analog mixer will allow you more control (volume and eq) of the individual inputs and mix. Eight or twelve channel mixers are reasonably priced and will give you enough inputs for your vocals, guitar (via the SM57 I assume) and even backing tracks if you wanted to include them. Some mixers, like the PreSonus StudioLive Arc8 (about $475 new but available used for less) are compact, have USB connections to your computer for recording and include the ability to record your performances or practice sessions from the board to a SD card (all built in). I recently bought the 16 channel mixer from PreSonus and it’s really nice (not perfect but given its price point, very good). You could purchase a straight analog mixer (no computer interface or recording) for even less and it would be a good addition to your audio toolbox.

  • If you want to play electric guitar, you’ll either need a good amp or a an amp and effects processor like the Line 6 Helix family that you can run through JBL’s. My experience is with a Line 6 Helix Pedalboard and it sounds great throughout my QSC amped speakers. You won’t need pedals if you go with something like the Helix (but can always use them in conjunction with an amp processor).

  • Finally, you didn’t mention any pedals but for live vocals and acoustic guitar a couple of pedals for each would help. I received as a gift a TC Helicon Harmony Singer pedal. Amazing little device that can manage reverb, eq, compression for your vocals but also includes the ability to add a variety of harmonies to your live performances. It will handle thirds, fifths, sixths, upper and lower voices etc. to your vocal track. It uses a guitar input to control major/minor keys. Really works quite well! Not to mention chorus and reverb for your acoustic guitar.

You didn’t mention it but if you add a modern mixer with USB outs and multitracking software (DAW) to the setup, you can really have fun recording through your Scarlett Solo or the mixer, adding vocals, multilayer guitar parts and even get plugins that will handle bass lines and drums to your songs. Endless ways that could distract you from learning the guitar but fun still.

My two cents. Good luck in your quest!


It all boils down to what is available at the venue. Every time I’ve played live all I really needed was my guitar.

What you need for acoustic and electric are two separate things and a lot as @CT says depends on the type of event and the venue.

Personally if you are just at the start I’d get along to some open mics in your area as all you’ll really need then is your guitar and possibly a mic (you probably don’t want to share a mic with others). Ideally have an acoustic with built in electrics so you can just plug in to the PA. if you don’t then no doubt the organiser will hookup another mic on a stand for you. On the mic front I’d just stick with a bullet proof SM58. For live you only ever want a dynamic mic. I guess your Rhode option would be nice if recording at home but even then it can be tricky.

If you are doing your own gigs as you’ve said you’ll need a pa setup of some kind (and there are lots of options out there) incorporating mixer/speakers. That though could be as simple as a single speaker with two channels and the ability adjust volume on each…it doesn’t need to be full fledged PA setup. I’ve got something like a Laney duo that works perfectly in a small environment. That said if you are going to record as well then you may as well get a mixer with a USB interface (then you really don’t need a separate AI like the scarlett).

In thinking about my reply, my focus was on equipment for your home studio that could be used in a gig. Lots of good advice on this thread!