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  1. #1
    Baluchitherium
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    10.01.15 @ 06:45 PM
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    Default Downsizing your rig

    Hey all,

    My guess is a lot of players identify with this topic and can share their thoughts, rigs, questions and solutions.

    Sometimes the big gear we own from the past or have purchased new is too much for a gig and a downsized setup is wiser.

    I'm curious what your downsized choices and rigs are.

    Here's my situation and I have a dumb question at the end of it. Would appreciate some thoughts.

    I've gotten back into a regularly gigging band a few years ago. All I own are stacks, 3 heads, 2 Marshall, one non block pv 5150, a bunch of 4 x 12's.

    The last 4 years I've been using a half stack. Marshall jcm800 2210 100w head, 1960a cab. I toss the pv 5150 head in the suv for backup.
    We play from upscale intimate bars to large party bars where you can really crank. It may seem ridiculous but the half stack has been fine even in smaller bars where your volume can't be intense.

    The thing is...not to sound old lol but hauling and setting up this gear and knowing I can never really get the master volume past 3 lol has led me to the conclusion that I need an alternate smaller rig for smaller gigs especially the ones where the load in and out is brutal(stairs, etc)

    Stacks made sense in the past and still for some places but anymore it's really more than needed for smaller gigs. In the past it seemed the bars and clubs that hired bands were more setup for live music. So many places anymore hire bands, and they are great places to play but you're squeezed into an area.

    For me a smaller alternative had to be a tube amp, have at least 2 channels and an effects loop.

    I debated getting a 2x12 cab or cabs and sticking with a head but really that's not much of a downgrade or much easier to haul.

    I've tried out and debated 2x12 combos but imo half stacks are easier to haul than those gargantuan combos.

    I ended up ordering the evh 1x12 combo and my thought is I can use it alone, or with another 1x12 cab or even as a 50w head through a 4x12 etc if needed...so there's options. Will have the amp soon so I'll update on how it works out. I assume it will be an adjustment from a half stack but really if the volume and quality of tone is there I can sacrifice a little headroom for less hauling. Plus the 5150 3's are great amps.


    ----------------------------------------------------
    Now I have a dumb question. It concerns a back up for the combo. I haven't found specifics on the speaker in the evh 1x12 combo but I assume it's similar to what comes in the 1 x 12 cab...."The 5150III 1x12 cabinet is rated at 16 ohms and is loaded with a Celestion® G12H 30W Anniversary Series speaker".

    Is there anyway I can still use the pv 5150 head as backup by plugging it into the 1x12 combo's speaker? Will doing this blow the speaker(if at a reasonable volume)....or are their tubes or something I can pull from the pv 5150 head to drop the wattage so that I can safely use it as a backup in this way?

    To further complicate things Click for back view
    The speaker cable from the combo speaker is very short.. check the link for a pic it's on the top right...so either a head has to be backed up to it or a speaker cable adapter is needed.

    This does seem like a unorthodox backup method but I'm looking for the easiest solution in case of emergency.

    Any tips would be appreciated. Buying another combo or using a pod through the pa for backup aren't options for me.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  2. #2
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    12.09.17 @ 07:17 AM
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    Default

    Welcome to the club. You'll have to forgive me if I don't make sense. It's late, and I'm on my 5th rock glass of some Mexican Rum.

    After fucking with half stacks and 100W heads, I made a life changing discovery. You really only need a 30 watt combo to gig out live. I don't care if it's an arena, or a small bar. Here is why...

    There are three things I realized after spending a lot of money on high power rigs.

    1) You only need enough amp to hear yourself on stage over the drums.
    2) You want the people out front to hear your guitar through the mains, not from the stage.
    3) You may have a 4x12 cabinet, but you usually only mic one speaker.

    1 and 2 kind of go together. Basically, you want the sound that the crowd hears to be coming through the main speakers, mixed down from the board. As a result, the sound coming from your amp's speakers is for you on stage. Your amp really should be considered your guitar monitor. You mic your amp, and balance the sound from your amp with the rest of the band to get a consistent mix out front.

    That leads to point #3. You only mic one speaker. If you are using a 4x12 cab as your monitor, and keeping your stage level low, you are hearing all 4 speakers from your 4x12 cab. It sounds fucking great. 4x12 cabs are really cool sounding to stand in front of. Guess what. When you only mic one speaker, the sound out front is not at all representative of what you are hearing when you are standing in front of your 4x12.

    So, what changes did I make? I decided that I was going to use lower wattage amps, and use 1x12 cabs. Why? Well, I want to be able to get the power tube saturation that you get when you push your amp. If you are using a 100W head turned up to 3, you are hearing your pre-amp distortion, and you never really get the good warm gain that we are all wanting. The 1x12 cabinet thing is easy. If I'm only going to mic one speaker, I want the sound that the mic picks up to be representative to what I'm actually hearing. I know if the sound is coming from one speaker, the mic is getting 100% of the signal that I'm hearing. When I'm hearing 4 speakers and it sounds good, the mic is only picking up 25% of what I'm hearing.

    I say this is the best way to go, no matter what the venue, because it will never be too loud for a small bar, and even if you are playing a stadium it will work because your guitar sound is being mixed in the PA.

    The added benefit is that you don't have to break your back carrying a fucking half-stack around.

    I set up my 1x12 combo in front of me, pointing back toward me like a monitor. That's how I think it works best. I have two amps I use, a 30 watt and an 18 watt. On the 18watt, I've usually had it set to 5 watts, and cranked on the Master volume when gigging.

    Lastly, I would say that I've been happiest on the low wattage side with amps that were using EL84 tubes.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

  3. #3
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    I'll try to answer your question about the backup amp thingy.

    If I'm not too drunk yet, the Celestion G12H30 Anniversary is rated as a 30 watt speaker. You can lower the wattage of a PV 5150 head by pulling the outer two power tubes, BUT...

    The PV 5150 head is 120 Watts. Pulling the outer two power tubes would only lower the power to 60 Watts, which is double the power handling capability of the speaker.

    A better option for a backup amp would be an Orange Tiny Terror, or even a Micro Terror. There are a bunch of small low wattage heads out there that you could use. I think the most "brown" I've heard is the Orange Dark Terror.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

  4. #4
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    02.17.16 @ 10:54 PM
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    I have been downsizing my rig for a couple of years now. Already have the EVH 50 watt head with 2x12 and a 1x12 cabinet. Sold my PV 5150 half stack
    at the time for this. Couldn't be happier. Even played gigs with only the 50 watt & 1x12 cabinet. Sounded great!
    I still had a EVH 5150 III 100 watt amp and sold that last week because I wanted a small amp for home playing. So I ordered the new EVH 1x12 combo. I got it yesterday and I was shocked at how big (& heavy) this thing still is
    Anyway I have use it really for the next couple of days to see how it goes.

  5. #5
    Little Dreamer
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    05.14.16 @ 08:39 PM
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    Default small rig options

    Peavey's new ValveKing II 20 watt combo is my new downsized rig...great VH sound on the dirt channel with the option to run a 1x12 cab with the onboard speaker on bigger stages. We dont usually use a soundman so the clean boost is great for solos. It has a 5W setting you can crank that sounds awesome.

    I would think a qualified tech could put a longer speaker cable on the EVH that you could plug into your PV5150. As long as you stay at 16ohm you should be good. You would just have to be careful not turn up past the speaker's capabilities.

  6. #6
    Eruption
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    11.28.17 @ 10:33 PM
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    I've been upsizing. I went from a Fender Hot DeVille 2x12 to a Marshall DSL 100 and Ampeg 4x12. Then I ditched the Marshall for a Soldano Decatone. Then I got an empty Seismic 2x12 and installed two Celestion G12T-75s from that Ampeg 4x12. I now keep that 2x12 in one of my three band practice spaces. For another band practice space I got a Mesa Boogie 4x12 on eBay locally for $250. Had to do it. V30s sound awesome. Then I wanted another 4x12 for my third band, so I snagged a dirt cheap, used Soldano 4x12 at GC. Then I wanted another 4x12 for home practice, you know, because everyone needs a 100w half stack for home practice. Got an EVH 4x12 for that. I'm now alternating between a Soldano SLO and EVH 50w. I had the EVH 100w, but could no longer stand to lug it around. It was just so big and bulky and the 50w easily drives two 4x12s. Probably done with amps for a while now.

  7. #7
    Baluchitherium noise next door's Avatar
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    Default

    What I do when I want less equipment hauling,
    (works well in most cases and makes life easier!)

    Use a Radial JDV high end direct box and split signal...

    1. Send first output to onstage amp to get the sound that inspires sonically from close proximity ... Use low headroom (small light weight) amp for breakup, or attenuate a larger headroom amp.

    2. Send second output to a POD HD500X that goes to the PA for the crowd... Gives you stereo control (balanced stereo XLR output) of many effects and even 2 amp sounds in stereo.... Plus every effect, needed gain level and or boost, and basic pedal patch control is ALL HANDLED FOR $450 AND UNDER 7 pounds of weight

  8. #8
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    Default

    I don't really have anything to add here as far as amps go, and my decisions in the past may not have been the greatest, but I remember the whole process of upsizing and downsizing all too well.

    I downsized from a Marshall 100-watt head and a 4X12 to a Fender Twin (2-channel) basic 2X12. The only thing was this was not necessarily downsizing a whole hell of a lot. The magnets on the speakers in my Twin are ridiculous. That Twin is so goddamn heavy it is really outrageous. I ended up with back problems from it. But it sounds incredible of course, and it's my gig/studio amp. But I essentially never ever use it at home because it is ridiculously loud. I had to get a repair done about a year ago, brought it home to test it out, put it through the ringer, and at one point I asked myself why in the world did they make this amp so fucking loud?! I had the thought that at full volume, you could probably hear the amp from 2 miles away. I couldn't imagine any application where having an amp that fucking loud would make any sense at all -- it's practically just an electrical engineering experiment.

    I use select Crate practice amps at home, nothing too fancy.

    Good luck with everything. One good thing about the world of amps is that no decision ever has to be final. Just keep rolling until you find what you like.

    KBD3

  9. #9
    Baluchitherium
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    Thanks for the replies and advice!

    Keep it coming...my backup solution is still undecided and this is not just a good discussion for my individual needs but my guess is a lot of stack/half stack users have debated using a smaller setup, at least for some jobs, so reading people's various setups is helpful!


    I should add a few more things about my setup.

    I'm basically using one amp and a pedal board with stompboxes.

    effects such as delay, chorus etc go through the loop. Wah, tuner etc goes through the main.

    I have no desire to buy anything else, no desire use any type of digital multi effect into a pa etc for backup or main.

    We don't mic the instruments at most gigs. No need. With the 4x12 there was never a problem being heard or having good tone. We could mic the bass and guitar at the gigs we provide our own pa(which is the majority of gigs) but we haven't truly found that necessary and have had no issues....maybe that will change using a 50w 1x12 but I'm hoping to get by unmicd.

    The idea is to keep it as simple as possible(but still have a nice tube amp for myself). Our bass player downgraded to a 1x15 tube combo after using a beastly setup the last few years and though there is less thumb and head room he's plenty loud with an unmicd 1x15 bass combo for smaller places and truly sounds great.

    This may complicate things with a un micd 50w 1x12 guitar combo only but I'm hoping to get away with it...without micing. I get the amp in two days and have a few practices before a gig next weekend so I'll experiment and see whats what...hopefully the evh 1x12 screams enough on it's own.



    As far as my back up idea....using the 5150 head into the 1x12 combo speaker for emergencies...is it a viable option?

    This would be strictly for 4 hours max in an emergency. If I can't get the combo repaired by the next gig I'd just go back to using a 1/2 stack and have a spare head for backup until the combo is repaired. I don't want to buy anything else like a small head, another amp or play through a digital multi effect or pod as backup. Hopefully the evh 1x12 will never fail but shit happens.

    Maybe the ultimate solution is to just get a cheap 1x12 cab, put in a speaker that can handle the 5150 head straight up and just leave them both in the suv for back up...still atm I'm tapped and looking for a quick and easy way to back up the small combo. It may be un realistic. Hope to find a definitive answer.


    Quote Originally Posted by RichieD View Post

    I would think a qualified tech could put a longer speaker cable on the EVH that you could plug into your PV5150. As long as you stay at 16ohm you should be good. You would just have to be careful not turn up past the speaker's capabilities.


    Thanks man. Do you think this could be truly kosher in a pinch? Do I need to pull tubes from the old 5150? Anyone have tips on that? Think I could get a female to male quality speaker adapter to use instead of getting a new cable installed? I know a good tech. I could get it done but I'd rather keep it cheap and simple as this is just for a out of the blue emergency. I don't want to jinx myself but In the last four years my 100w heads have never failed me and I've never had to pull out the spare head for backup...still shit happens and imo you gotta have a backup plan. Thx for the tips!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
    Little Dreamer
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    ""Thanks man. Do you think this could be truly kosher in a pinch? Do I need to pull tubes from the old 5150? Anyone have tips on that? Think I could get a female to male quality speaker adapter to use instead of getting a new cable installed?""

    To be honest AP, I wouldn't do this but to each his own...you still run the risk of smoking that speaker if you're not careful. And remember, if you're switching to your backup rig, it will happen when the dance floor is full and the band is waiting for you to get up and running. Speed is key.

    my backup is an inexpensive solid state amp that I can run headphone out to a nice direct box and send an XLR line out to the board if I'm doing a direct gig. OR, If necessary, I can mic it and use my pedals to get thru the night. I recently tested the direct thing and it works great. If I'm feeling paranoid that day lol, I'll come out of my pedalboard to a AB box and send A to my main amp and B to the spare so I can switch on the fly if needed. Haven't had to but Murphy tends to stalk my ass....

    But I'm definitely with you on the backup point. Gotta have a spare for everything or you're inviting trouble...
    Last edited by RichieD; 10.30.14 at 12:30 PM.

  11. #11
    Baluchitherium
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichieD View Post
    ""Thanks man. Do you think this could be truly kosher in a pinch? Do I need to pull tubes from the old 5150? Anyone have tips on that? Think I could get a female to male quality speaker adapter to use instead of getting a new cable installed?""

    To be honest AP, I wouldn't do this but to each his own...you still run the risk of smoking that speaker if you're not careful. And remember, if you're switching to your backup rig, it will happen when the dance floor is full and the band is waiting for you to get up and running. Speed is key.

    my backup is an inexpensive solid state amp that I can run headphone out to a nice direct box and send an XLR line out to the board if I'm doing a direct gig. OR, If necessary, I can mic it and use my pedals to get thru the night. I recently tested the direct thing and it works great. If I'm feeling paranoid that day lol, I'll come out of my pedalboard to a AB box and send A to my main amp and B to the spare so I can switch on the fly if needed. Haven't had to but Murphy tends to stalk my ass....

    But I'm definitely with you on the backup point. Gotta have a spare for everything or you're inviting trouble...
    lol It seems the one time you don't have backup that's when you need it.

    I'm not much of a amp gear head so I know my question is slightly ignorant.
    I think maybe if I keep asking someone will say" yeah fuck dude...pull these tubes...get this adapter for an emergency you're good." But it doesn't look like this is a viable option. I just don't feel like buying more shit to support a downsized gig but I guess ultimately I'll have to.


    It's in no way a snob thing...maybe it's a old school set in my ways thing but I hate the idea of using a multi effect or pod into the pa. I guess the best solution would be to suck it up and buy a used little head that has reasonable gain(i don't like distortion pedals much either) for backup to get through the night. The orange ones ARE tiny and you can likely get a good price on them used. But for next week what? Maybe I'll take a half stack as backup? lol.... I'll figure it out.


    You're right about interruptions with setting up backup gear during a gig in the event of a malfunction....but really I don't give a fuck. lol If in the rare event my gear checks out...I'd likely be quick to run to the car, grab the head or whatever and get setup quick. At least it would save the night even if there is a 10-15 min delay. In an ideal world there would be backup pre set and ready to go but truly in an ideal world I would have made it in my 20's and would have techs and roadies to worry about all this stupid shit.


    The worst part of gigging, especially if you do it often is hauling the gear. I'm looking for awesome sound and small, quick and easy... for when I can get away with it. The 100w heads and 4x12 are always ready for larger things.

    It's funny guys in their late 40's early 50's hauling their 1980's amplification. lol After one gig's pain of a load out I suggested if the band takes off maybe we could become a sponsor for Advil. lol



    Thanks for the tips and advice all.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  12. #12
    Baluchitherium noise next door's Avatar
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    Do you know that Alex Lifeson didn't even have one guitar speaker hooked up on the last tour...crazy...

    He was using Palmer speaker simulators direct into the PA

    Using a good POD into a good PA CAN sound really good... they have effect loops as well.

  13. #13
    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by noise next door View Post
    Do you know that Alex Lifeson didn't even have one guitar speaker hooked up on the last tour...crazy...

    He was using Palmer speaker simulators direct into the PA

    Using a good POD into a good PA CAN sound really good... they have effect loops as well.
    I read that and think there was a rig rundown with his tech about it. But I didn't understand how that worked. He still had that Lerxt head made and ran them off to the side of the stage. Sounded uneffingreal live. Loved it. I'd definitely want a wall of 4x12s behind me with a head like that.

  14. #14
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    Hey AP, I don't know if this is the solution you are looking for, but it's the one I came up with.

    Since I'm currently sober and more coherent, I'll take a stab at addressing your backup situation.

    Let me start by saying that I am very sensitive to the idea of having a backup amp. It stems from the very first gig I played with my first band. I'd practiced for months with a Peavey Ultra 120 head and 4x12 cab, and at the first gig I turned it on, and nothing. Would not work. The sound level was at about 10% of what it should have been. No backup amp. Luckily, I'm friends with the local guitar shop that stayed late and let me rent an amp from them. Since then, I've always had a backup in one form or another, none of which I've been really happy with until now.

    I've used direct boxes, small solid state amps and multi-effects pedals. The idea behind the backup that you use would be that the switch would be relatively quick, seamless, and sound comparable to the main rig that you were playing. None of my previous options would accomplish sounding as good as my main rig.

    I'm currently using a PRS SE30 combo as my main amp. I determined that if it fails to work, I needed a small tube head, and plug it into the internal speaker of the combo as my backup. Luckily, there are a lot of good micro heads out there.

    My first acquisition was an Orange Micro Terror. It is a 20watt hybrid head. Tube preamp and solid state power amp. It looks like a toy, but produces some no-shit tone. I got it because it was small, portable and cheap to buy. It was intended as an emergency head, and an improvement over plugging my multi-effects pedal into the board.

    As it happened, a used Orange Tiny Terror came available, and I snagged it. It has a really great tone. I plugged it in for the first couple songs to see if it would work as a backup, and ended up playing through it the whole night. The problem with it was that it has no effects loop, and I was unable to boost my leads sufficiently without having the second channel.

    I ended up trading it for a Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 18. This is the one that I would highly recommend for an emergency backup amp. Used, it was priced at $400. The feature set on this amp makes it perfect for an emergency backup. It has a built in Redbox, so you can go direct to the board, without even having it plugged into a speaker cabinet. Now, I think it sounds better on higher gain stuff to go through the cabinet, but it's an option. It has two channels, and can be set for 18W, 5W, 1W, or 0W outputs. It has some kind of tube bias management system that constantly checks the tube current and adjusts the bias to extend the life of your tubes.

    The amp sounds best with a 30W speaker or less. Tried it through a 100W speaker, and it didn't sound great. Got a WGS Reaper 30, and it made a huge difference. Sounds good through my 60W Vintage 30, but better through the Reaper.

    Anyway, the H&K makes a great, affordable, lightweight backup amp. It can also be a main amp if you like. Has an effects loop. Change out with your main head could be done in about 1 minute.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

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    Top Of The World WDFA5150's Avatar
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    You could always get hold of an axe fx- you just need to morgage your house and there you go!

    I have a 6505 head and cab- there was no stereo option for the cab and I like to run a wet/dry rig. I ended up wiring two speakers to one output and swapped that weird other plug for a canon jack for the other two. The result was a very focused sound.
    I downsized to that because I was originally running two Marshall JCM 900 quads- one wet one dry. I was loud but I found that the size and separation of having two cabs in the size of the rooms I use was too spread out and unfocused.
    At one point I had one of those Music Man amps- (112hd- or something?) It was 120 watts and was really a copy of a Fender. It had two 10inch speakers. The weight of this thing was ridiculous! It had casters but sat low to the ground so was a pain to drag and because it was low it made it harder to lift. I can't believe the one shitty handle they put on top was enough to support lifting it!
    To me- it's easier to have a quad with handles and a head than a combo that is too heavy.
    I can crank the 6505 to about 3 and be deafening- if I put it on 4 it's just plain painfull! Ed used to run his on 6!!!!!!!!!

    If things like guitar rig 5 keep improving we might just need a laptop, footcontroller and guitar then let the sound guy do the heavy lifting.
    I used to be 'sean112' but lost all my details!

 

 

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