IWS Generator

Generator Sales

Phone Number: 01172 541069

How Many Watts Does A Live Band Use

  • Posted by:
  • Admin
  • Tags:
  • Posted date:
  • 25-03-2022
How Many Watts Does A Live Band Use

Power & Electrical Safety On Stage

How many watts does a live band use? If you have a live band playing at a wedding or music concert, it is essential that you provide the correct power supply to support the band requirements.

Staying safe while you are on stage is highly important. It's more than just a matter of ensuring that there are willing participants to catch you when you go for your end of show stage dive.

It's vital that you know how to properly handle the mains power that we all use on a daily basis. It's not only important so that you can deliver a great performance, but it is also vital for your health.

No matter the size, cost, or complexity of your live sound rig, the first thing that everyone thinks when they arrive at the venue they are performing is, where do I plug this in?

Depending on which venue you are attending, the answer can vary from a single wall socket all the way to a completely dedicated and professionally installed supply that is exclusively there for the use of performance.

These dedicated units should be fully tested and certified, and hopefully, you will have an appropriate connector that will allow you to hook yourself up to the system.

Whatever you encounter in a venue, you need to know the essentials to ensure that you keep yourself and other people safe.

How Many Watts Does A Live Band Use?

For portable live-sound systems, this means that you need to make sure that you are always using a suitable electrical supply. Secondly, make sure that you are using suitable equipment. Then finally, be completely competent with the connecting and usage of all that equipment, all while doing it safely.

How Much Power Does A Live Band Use?

Working Out Power Requirements

One common mistake made by live music performers is that the audio output power is the same as the mains power required to operate the gear.

If amplifiers were always 100% efficient, then, in theory, it would be possible to use the mains power as audio output power.

Unfortunately, this is not exactly the case.This is because some of the power used by the amplifier is wasted; it disperses as heat.

An average active full-range speaker, along with built-in amp modules that are rated around 240 Watts audio output, would have a mains power outage of around 350 Watts.

A helpful rule to use if you do not have the manufacturer's stated figures to hand is to multiply the audio output figure by 1.4. This should give you a general idea of how much mains power will be needed. Then divide this number by 230 to find the current consumption.

Below is a table that gives a rough guide to the supply needed for a band who are using three backline amps and a vocal PA. This is all based on UK voltage.

You should consider that equipment may demand a much bigger supply when it is first switched on. This means you shouldn't turn everything on from a single socket.

How Much Power Does A Live Band Use?

You should also think about the power you can run through your system safely; it may not be enough to realise its full potential. If you want your system to deliver powerful bass power, it will need to draw a lot of energy from the mains.

2 x 240W active PA Speakers
480W x 1.4 = 672W 
672 / 230 = 2.92 Amps
100W (stated)
100 / 230 = 0.44 Amps
2 x Rack Processors
20W each (stated) = 40W
40 / 230 = 0.17 Amps
3 x 100W Backline Amps
300W audio x 1.4 = 420W
420 / 230 = 1.83 Amps

TOTAL = 5.5 Amps

ROUNDED UP = 5.5 Amps

It is always worth a reminder that the electrical current, in all of its forms, is a highly dangerous beast. A small current of only 50 Milliamps can be fatal. That is 0.005 Amps. The rig described above uses over a thousand times more current than this. 

This means that safety needs to be a major consideration. Using a suitably rated supply is only the first step in ensuring your series. The best way possible to stay safe is to keep aware and only use equipment that has been well maintained. 

This includes all cables and connectors. Ensure the equipment you are using is designed for the job you are using it for. It is also important that you use the equipment you have acquired as the manufactured intended.

If you have never performed at the venue, you are attending before and providing and operating your own PA. Ensure that the supply you are asked to use is suitable. 

A 13-Amp socket is not necessarily capable of supplying 13 Amps. It could be DIY installed as a spur from a domestic ring main, with the original intention being for lighting a small area or running to a kitchen for an appliance. 

If you are operating in business or commercial premises, then they should always have up-to-date electrical safety certificates. Have a quick look at the distribution board or consumer unit. 

This will show you the current rating of the circuit that you will be using, as well as let you know if they are using old-style wired fuses or modern Miniature Circuit Breakers. The latter reacts quicker when the rated current is exceeded.

Once you have found a suitable supply point, you can now feed it into all of your equipment. For venues where a reliable supply is available, we would recommend using a professionally made portable distribution box. 

For example, one with a single 32-Amp inlet and 32-Amp breaker. These can feed through to four 16-Amp outlets, all through separate combined RCD/MCBs.

Though it may first appear like you would have 64 amps due to the four 16-Amp outlets, in actuality, you would be limited to 32 Amps overall. 

Front of house speakers need to be run through two of the feeds, as well as monitors and the desk from the third, and the stage backline from the fourth. Composing your setup this way will split up the load and ensure that each feed is RCD protected.

All equipment, leads, or connectors should be thoroughly checked before they are used. In some cases, this can just be a visual check to ensure that there are no obvious signs of damage. 

If you are using your own gear, then you should know that it is all correctly fused, but it is always good practice to check if there is some doubt. Along their entire length, cables should be completely undamaged. Their plugs should be fully clamped onto the end. No conductors should be visible.

Cables with moulded plugs are common these days, but it is important to remember that these plugs can never be reused. If they are damaged or removed for whatever reason, then they must be disposed of. If you are going to throw away one of these plugs, it is wise to first destroy the plug. 

This is done so that an unaware person doesn't find the plug and then attempt to use it themselves. This can lead to injury. If you are examining your equipment and believe that something looks damaged, then it probably is. 

Stop using the item and then ensure that it is not used again until it has been fully tested and repaired.

How Does Wattage Relate to Speakers?

Non-powered speakers, also known as passive speakers, do not have power amps. When discussing the topic of wattage rating on passive speakers, what you are actually discussing is the speaker's power-handling capability.

There are two values connected to power handling. The RMS (root mean square) value is how much continuous power the speaker can handle. 

The peak value is the maximum level of power that the speaker can handle in short bursts. If your speaker is rated at 50 watts RMS and 150 watts peak, then it can handle 50 watts of continuous power, with occasional small bursts of around 150 watts.

Do you need a live band generator?

If you are looking for a generator to power a live band? Call us today on 01172 541069 for help choosing the right generator for you. 

 Get in contact to find the right generator for you.

Alternatively, see our range of generators here;