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Author Topic: Questions about PA systems...  (Read 2314 times)
jmhyer
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« on: July 26, 2006, 09:17:46 PM »

...for those of you with knowledge in this area.

I'm thinking of purchasing a portable PA system for use in a small venue with two or three instruments and two or three mics (i.e.- four-to-six channels).  There a lot of options out there at various pricing points.  Many of the less-expensive ones are brands I've heard nothing (or very little) about.  What kind of quality (in terms of both of sound and reliability) can I expect from less-expensive or less-well-known brands such as Kustom, Soundcraft Gigrac, Phonic, Nady, or Behringer?  Would I gain a lot from spending more on Yamaha, Peavey, Alesis, or Mackie components?  I'm primarily talking about powered mixers and cabs, though I reaize that mic quality is important, too.

Thanks in advance for your input.  I'm pretty ignorant in this area.   :UND>
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2006, 10:35:24 PM »

sent you an email....
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jmhyer
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2006, 12:35:18 AM »

Thanks, Todd.  You've got mail now.
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Jerry  #698

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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2006, 03:05:04 AM »

in my experience, the room is a big question. i have been at gigs in front of fifty people armed with an acoustic amp with two chanels (guitar and vocals) with the same for the other two people. In bigger gigs of 100 or so people, (never really needed anything more than that) I got by with a 400 watt powered mixer with 8 channels (not all used) and 2 12" two way speakers. sounded good. Overkill will only give you more headroom-too little will make your equipment work too hard...imho.
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2006, 03:53:40 AM »

Always better to have too much power than not enough, Mackie is great if you can get into that price range...
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aaronjnoone
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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2006, 02:05:26 AM »

You know you're safe using Mackie.

That said, I use a Crate DLX700 (300 watt) powered mixer to my Community speakers (12's). I have no problems playing most bars and outdoor parties. If I need to, I go to the Mackie board and powered speakers, but usually the Crate/Community gets the job done.

Good luck,
Aaron
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2006, 03:10:30 AM »

Personally not a big fan of Mackie consoles, but the Mackie 406m for the money the best PA I've seen. digital effects are pretty decent, has a compressor built in for the level spikes, monitor capabilities, little graphic eq's individual channel EQ, get the 6 channel one that`s really all you need, I've actually also used this as an "emergency preamp" at a studio once, I was really surprised! easy to carry too, get you a pair of Yamahas s12e to go with it very inexpensive but complimentary to this PA. Good luck.
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aaronjnoone
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2006, 04:57:23 AM »

Quote
Personally not a big fan of Mackie consoles, but the Mackie 406m for the money the best PA I've seen.


This is true. It's got practical features you expect from a high end board, in a handy, affordable package. Monitor send is one of said features. Useful.
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love2play21
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2006, 07:11:23 AM »

http://www.soundpro.com/index.asp
 
Give these guys a call, they will answer your every question and are a heck of a lot cheaper than anyother place i have researched. I bought a new soundsystem from them for my youth ministry program and they were considerably less expensive than anyother place I have found! I hope this helps.  By the way I have had great luck with the Yamaha EMX5000/20, and a A&H i have used quite frequently.
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aaronjnoone
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2006, 08:48:48 PM »

I myself am curious about the Gigrac. It looks like quite a handy little unit. I've heard the 300 and the 600 are mono only, though. The 1000 watter is the stereo model. If you're just playing solo and duo acoustic gigs though, I don't see this as a problem.

I'd like to hear if someone has used one. I keep looking at buying one.

Aaron
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2006, 07:31:33 PM »

How small do you want to go?  Is portability very important?

Do you want control at the stage or do you have a sound tech?

What is the size of the room you are using?

These are all questions I would ask myself when selecting.

You could even do something as simple as a keyboard amp with a small format mixer like the Mackie VLZ series; maybe a 1402 if you want sliders for the faders.

One of the best setups I've heard recently in a small venue was a guy using one of those Bose cylindrical setups with his MIDI keyboard rack, and a couple of mics.  And I'm a person that doesn't particularly care for Bose.
http://www.bose.com/controller?event=VIEW_STATIC_PAGE_EVENT&url=/musicians/index.jsp

I would also highly recommend loudspeakers from SLS.  No fancy website, but I can vouch that their claim of wide dispersion drivers does seem to be true.  If you play gigs in wide but short spaces, these are very nice for keeping levels reasonable without blasting those directly in front of the mains.

http://www.slsloudspeakers.com/content/view/69/59/

So many questions to answer when selecting a PA system.

I like to keep it simple.  I've done many gigs with just a keyboard amp (keyboard amps are the secret inexpensive small format combined amp/speaker systems) and a small mixer.  Keyboard amps are required to have decent frequency response whereas most guitar amps are quite mid-range biased.  Put some casters on the bottom of a keyboard amp, toss a little Mackie VLZ 1402 on top

http://www.mackie.com/products/1402vlzpro/ 

75 W Peavey keyboard amp:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=key/product/reviews/base_pid=703371/rpp=10/

And you'll be surprised at how nice of a sound you can get in small clubs.  And relatively inexpensive.  And fewer pieces of equipment to haul around which is ALWAYS a good thing.


-Scott
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2006, 02:12:37 PM »

if you're not experienced with setting up & tuning a PA system, might I suggest taking a different route and getting a Bose PAS system or two.  I used one for about a week and it
is amazingly easy to get great sound out of with almost zero hassle.  You can tear down a system and have it packed in your trunk in about 15 minutes.  Leaving more time for beers and picking up chicks.
Cheers
Dan
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rayintherockies
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2006, 03:42:29 AM »

I recently picked up a bose ps system with two bass units and it's worth every penny.  I don't think there's anything that touches it.
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sdelsolray
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2006, 04:05:23 AM »

I recently picked up a bose ps system with two bass units and it's worth every penny.  I don't think there's anything that touches it.

There are many systems that will blow a Bose PAS out of the water.
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drmlabs
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2006, 05:44:26 PM »

There are many systems that will blow a Bose PAS out of the water.

I never said the Bose PAS was the best-sounding system available.  It does sound great & the "spread" is the best I've heard, ever.  Clear, even, full sound from far left seats to far right, and all the way to the back.  Non of the 'spot-light' effect most PA's are prone to.
Also,  how many systems are 1) Extrememly easy to setup  2) extremely easy to get great sound 3) extrememly easy to packup.  From my experience, most working musicians don't really want to become live-sound engineers just to play gigs.  WIth the Bose PAS, it's as close to Plug & Play as anything I've seen or used.   But maybe you know some equally easy to set up systems?  If so, please tell.

I used the Bose PAS at an outdoor bluegrass show & the sound was amazing.  And it took my all of 15minutes to pack everything & load my car.  I used to run sound for a 6 piece rock band and it would take two of us over 2 hours to pack everything.  So the Bose PAS is like a miracle in this old sound-guy's opinion.  YMMV  of course


ps- http://bose.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x  is a link to the official Bose PAS forum.  Looks of good info there
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sdelsolray
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« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2006, 01:59:21 AM »

I never said the Bose PAS was the best-sounding system available.  It does sound great & the "spread" is the best I've heard, ever.  Clear, even, full sound from far left seats to far right, and all the way to the back.  Non of the 'spot-light' effect most PA's are prone to.
Also,  how many systems are 1) Extrememly easy to setup  2) extremely easy to get great sound 3) extrememly easy to packup.  From my experience, most working musicians don't really want to become live-sound engineers just to play gigs.  WIth the Bose PAS, it's as close to Plug & Play as anything I've seen or used.   But maybe you know some equally easy to set up systems?  If so, please tell.

I used the Bose PAS at an outdoor bluegrass show & the sound was amazing.  And it took my all of 15minutes to pack everything & load my car.  I used to run sound for a 6 piece rock band and it would take two of us over 2 hours to pack everything.  So the Bose PAS is like a miracle in this old sound-guy's opinion.  YMMV  of course


ps- http://bose.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x  is a link to the official Bose PAS forum.  Looks of good info there


My comment was directed to what rayintherockies said, not you.  You make some good points though - ease of use, setup, wonderful dispersion.  When I said "blow the Bose PAS out of the water",  I meant sonics, realism, authenticity, and yes, dispersion (of all frequencies).  Still, for $2k, the Bose PAS is a good product.  I don't care for the way it sounds much at all - it's too Bose - artificial, strident, no guts and lack of a full frequency response (where's the mids?).  It gives the smiley curve new meaning.  On the feature side, there are some interesting items (remote, power amps), but some glaring ommissions and design flaws (no 48v phantom, Bose's "we know best" eq settings, the main unit is on the floor awaiting a beer spill).

I'll take a high quality PA setup any day of the week. 
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aaronjnoone
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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2006, 02:21:41 PM »

Quote
Bose's "we know best" eq settings

funny, cuz it's true.

Oh yeah, hey, anybody know anything about the Soundcraft Gigrac? May have been buried in discussion....
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