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What Are You Using for Live Amplification?


MusicaL

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Our band (instrumental originals) is in need of a good PA. We've been using my Yamaha MSR 100's which are woefully underpowered. We play small to medium venues and occasionally outdoors. In the small venues the MSR100's have been reasonably adequate (not great) but they are underpowered. I wouldn't mind using them as my personal monitors which I do at practice.

 

So, it's time to put on my band's collective thinking cap and start searching for a PA solution.

 

There are the powered monitors and then the amp/passive monitors option. I tend to lean toward the first option except the second option can be a little cheaper.

 

I've looked at the JBL G2 10's and 15's. The Yamaha MSR 400s and the Mackies. For me, the MSR 400's seem to offer the best of all worlds. They sport 12" woofers and are 400 watts each. That's more than enough power for us. The second option would be the JBL Eons G2 10's, I guess.

 

So, enough of my rambling? What are you guys and gals using for live sound amplification? And what would you recommend?

 

aL

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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Shoot I thought I put that info in my post... Thanks for asking Gas. It's hopefully under $1000 and the cheaper the better. OTOH, we don't want to throw money away by being too cheap.

 

aL

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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Okay, I know this is not what you are looking for...but I just couldn't resist...

 

http://jrusso2.photosite.com/~photos/tn/10_348.ts1142302985776.jpg?SSImageQuality=Full

 

http://jrusso2.photosite.com/~photos/tn/9_348.ts1142302299305.jpg

 

So, I may not be the greatest player, but at least everyone can hear it!!!??? :freak:

 

Actually, this is half of our outdoor setup. In our backyard. And, we are famous! Well, on the Mohican River. In Loudonville. Which is in Ohio.

 

Sorry I couldn't be more "constructively" helpful. :rolleyes::)

 

Joan

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For clubs we use EV 2x15'' cabs. I cant remember the model number. I've always liked the sound of vocals through EV's. I realize you are an instrumental band but my personals cabs are EV Eliminator Is and I think they sounds great. I would recommend checking the EV line out before jumping into the EONs.

Steve

A Lifetime of Peace, Love and Protest Music

www.rock-xtreme.com

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My band has been very pleased with my pair of Mackie SRM 450s and a Yamaha MG12/4 line mixer, although I'd love to add a sub to the Mackie monitors eventually. The combined tab may bust your $1000 budget, though.

 

Noah

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I too am in the market for a PA system, although I will need to have something for vocals.

In researching on the HC "Live Sound" forum, the concensus seemes to be to start with powered speakers and an unpowered mixer as you seem to be headed. Stay away from Mackie mixers and speakers according to them. Apparently they have shifted production to China and the current stuff is not as good as the original models. The JBL Eons get pretty good grades, and there are a lot that are out there used which is why I'm looking at them. I'm looking for a pair of the 15"'s, but the 10"'s may do you fine. The G2's get better reports, but I have borrowed a pair of the first generation (the G1 15"'s), and I thought they sounded pretty darn good. They can be found for quite a bit less than the G2's. In the mixer catagory the Yamaha MG series seems to be the best in the sub-$400 range, as NoahZark mentoned. I have been looking at the 16 channel with FX, which is the MG16/6FX. New $380, used around $300. I like the idea of having FX and EQ built in. The Yamis and the Peavey's (believe it or not) seem to be the best mixer value. Again, this is what I've gathered from the other group, but that's where I'm personally headed.

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Originally posted by Joan: We get excited over having 75 people at our local small town gigs!
Okay, I know this is not what you are looking for...but I just couldn't resist...

 

http://jrusso2.photosite.com/~photos/tn/10_348.ts1142302985776.jpg?SSImageQuality=Full

 

http://jrusso2.photosite.com/~photos/tn/9_348.ts1142302299305.jpg

 

So, I may not be the greatest player, but at least everyone can hear it!!!??? :freak:

 

Actually, this is half of our outdoor setup. In our backyard. And, we are famous! Well, on the Mohican River. In Loudonville. Which is in Ohio.

 

Sorry I couldn't be more "constructively" helpful. :rolleyes::)

 

Joan

Joan ,

 

you are either

 

(A)Trying to reach more than 75 people by going for distance

 

(B)Only 75 people can withstand the DBs

 

(C letting the town of Loudanville, use your system for a backup Tornado/Severe storm warning device

 

Greg :D

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We use JBL EON G2 15's for mains (FOH) and monitors in one of the bands I play in. We also have a pair of older EON subs and this has worked indoors and outdoors for our four pc. band. My only complaint about powered speakers is the number of chords to pull and wrap more than doubles since you have power chords for everything.

 

An option to look at is www.Cavin.com they have powered speakers that are reasonably priced as well as regular systems. I have owned a Cavin PA for 10 years and used it in small to medium sized venues with several different bands and it worked great. It is an 8 channel power mixer and 2 15"w/Horns on stands and has 400 watts total. Easy set up rolls in on a hand truck and works great everytime. Take a look at the web site.

Jimmy

 

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho

NEW BAND CHECK THEM OUT

www.steveowensandsummertime.com

www.jimmyweaver.com

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This system has worked well outdoors and indoors. Cabinets are JBL SF25 (now JRX125), EV S181 subs, A&H GL2200 console, Carvin FET1000 power amps.

 

http://www.retrosynth.com/~analoguediehard/tour/jbl_sf25.jpg

http://www.retrosynth.com/~analoguediehard/tour/ev-s181.jpg

http://www.retrosynth.com/~analoguediehard/tour/pa-racks-console-1.jpg

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Originally posted by Trill:

 

 

(A)Trying to reach more than 75 people by going for distance

 

(B)Only 75 people can withstand the DBs

 

(C letting the town of Loudanville, use your system for a backup Tornado/Severe storm warning device

 

Oh my...way too funny!!! :D:D:thu:

 

I think I'll choose A. I see you're from SW Ohio...can you hear us now?? ;)

 

Joan

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The Real MC, what are you carrying in those three rack cases? That's a lot of equipment!

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Originally posted by Joan:

Originally posted by Trill:

 

 

(A)Trying to reach more than 75 people by going for distance

 

(B)Only 75 people can withstand the DBs

 

(C letting the town of Loudanville, use your system for a backup Tornado/Severe storm warning device

 

Oh my...way too funny!!! :D:D:thu:

 

I think I'll choose A. I see you're from SW Ohio...can you hear us now?? ;)

 

Joan

Joan,

I'm about 80 miles North of you and I think I can see the top of your stack over the horizon.

 

We used to call systems like yours the "Voice Of God" PA!

 

JC

Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. W. C. Fields
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Thanks for the replies. I hadn't thought of the Carvins... I'll definitely check them out...

 

Joan, I think I heard your band throught that PA back in the early 80's when I went to Bowling Green State University!!! :D

 

Go Falcons!!! :thu:

 

aL

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

The Real MC, what are you carrying in those three rack cases? That's a lot of equipment!

Not all of them are PA racks. I do some sound reinforcement and also maintain a studio where I do a lot of keyboard work.

 

From the right:

 

Top rack:

Korg SDD-1200 stereo chorus

Korg SDD-2000 sampling delay

Eventide 2016 reverb

Ashly 31 band graphic EQ

2x Alesis 3630 compressors with Black Lion Audio mods

EV crossover (used for variable HP filtering)

UREI 525 Crossover

 

Bottom rack:

2x Carvin FET1000 power amps

 

This comprises my minimum PA configuration. For more processing I'll bring the left racks:

 

Top rack:

2x JBL/UREI 7110 compressors (drums, acoustic guitar, bass, etc) and planning to buy two more

Yamaha E1010 analog delay for guitar haas processing

Moog parametric EQ

Moog Graphic EQ

VestaFire RV-2 dual spring reverb

 

Bottom rack:

Peavey 2x10 band graphic EQ, for monitors

 

Middle rack is not PA oriented

 

Top rack (keyboard monitor)

Bose 802-II controller (for Bose 802 speaker)

Moog Synamp keyboard mixer/amplifier

 

Bottom rack (studio)

patchbay

ART Multiverb

Roland GM70 guitar to MIDI converter

Mesa-Boogie MKIIa amplifier

 

I have more racks in the studio that are not in the picture.

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Originally posted by Blue JC:

Originally posted by Joan:

Originally posted by Trill:

 

 

(A)Trying to reach more than 75 people by going for distance

 

(B)Only 75 people can withstand the DBs

 

(C letting the town of Loudanville, use your system for a backup Tornado/Severe storm warning device

 

Oh my...way too funny!!! :D:D:thu:

 

I think I'll choose A. I see you're from SW Ohio...can you hear us now?? ;)

 

Joan

Joan,

I'm about 80 miles North of you and I think I can see the top of your stack over the horizon.

 

We used to call systems like yours the "Voice Of God" PA!

 

JC

Well I can hear you Joan , but it has a lot of delay since it's bouncing off Niagara Falls before coming back south.
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In ref to Old vs new G2 powered EONs dont' bother with the older gray ones. The are 1/2 the power and dont sound nearly as good. The EON10s actually sound better for vocals than the 15s but I love my G2 15 EON use it for my keys(great w/3ch built in mixer & eq) as a monitor or small coffee house self contained PA .Even use it for a bass amp on small gigs! It's my Audio swiss Army knife!

 

Kevin T

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First, FORGET ABOUT WATTS.

 

Use Watts to compare amps when you already have speakers, and know the rating for the speakers.

 

Use Watts when you already have an amp, with a rated output, and are looking for speakers in the right power range. But you look at the speaker efficiency rating to see how loud they'll be.

 

Of course, volume isn't everything. But to figure the volume (and why else to care about watts?), you need to figure the SPL level.

 

The watt rating on a powered speaker is the most meaningless spec ever posted. (But everyone asks, so of course they include it.)

 

On a powered speaker, the only meaningful spec concerning loudness is the SPL level.

 

Twice as loud takes 10 more dB of SPL.

 

Twice as loud takes 10 times more watts.

 

Ergo, PAY ATTENTION to speaker efficiency, much more than total watts.

 

So, when comparing different options, consider both amp and speaker together. Apart they have no meaning because you get no sound!

 

For a powered speaker, the max SPL level should be listed. If it's not, ask.

 

For an amp & speaker combination:

 

Take the speaker's efficiency rating. This is in dB SPL at one meter at one watt.

 

If your amp is 10 watts, that's ten times the power so 10 more dB. If it's 100 watts, that's another 10 dB: add 20dB. If it's 1000 watts, that's 30dB.

 

The formula is

 

Max SPL = ER + 10 * log(power)

 

Where ER is the speaker efficiency rating in dB SPL at one meter at one watt.

 

I think I need to add this to a wiki.

 

Cheers

Jeff

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OK, I did it:

 

How LOUD will it be?

 

I use a Yamaha EMX5000-12 powered mixer for my monitor, with JBL JRX112M floor monitors as speakers. They soung GREAT for my keys, and it was more cost effective than powered speakers plus small mixer. Plus the floor monitors can be pole-mounted at two angles, and could be used for small PA speakers. However, being only 12", they won't shake the floor with the bottom end. On the other hand, the woofers are more agile for a clearer midrange than you get with 15" speakers of the same quality.

 

If you only use your PA for vocals, a system like this would be fine.

 

Frankly, we can't help you pick a good PA for your purpose without knowing what you use the PA for. Do you feed keyboards, and mike guitar amps and drums through the PA? If so, you need way more PA than just for vocals. Do you need to feed the bass through the PA? If so, you need 15" woofers and/or a subwoofer.

 

What do we all think is a medium sized venue? 1000 people? I'd say small is under 250, so medium must start around 250 or so, but up to how big? If we don't agree on terms, everyone will be throwing darts at different targets.

 

Also, what kind of music and how loud do you need to be? Acoustic trio, pop/rock cover band, or metal death match?

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Jeff,

 

What an informative post!!! Thank you!

 

The music is instrumental original (a cross between Jeff Beck and the YellowJackets, with some Steely Dan influences). We're a four piece band (keys, bass, guitar and drums), occasionally may be adding a vocalist or sax player. We do not need to be loud and yes small venues would be anywhere between 100 to 300 people and we do play outdoors, but don't need to be very loud at all.

 

We would feed the keys and mic the guitar. Probably not mic the drums or the bass.

 

Thanks again for your very informative post.

 

aL

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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If you don't already have a mixer, I highly recommend the EMX5000, which comes in 12- and 20-channel versions (the 12-chan would be good for you). Excellent feature set with only one flaw IMHO -- "PF Listen" doesn't send to meter, but I have a simple idea to fix that.

 

Another question I forgot is whether you want to run stereo or mono, and whether you have a keyboard monitor already.

 

The internal stereo amp puts out 500W per channel into 4 ohms, so if you have 4 JRX112M's and daisy chain two per side you get 1000W of total power (oops! when I get home I'll add up the SPL, but IIRC, it's about 129dB SPL at 1 meter -- pretty loud.)

 

BTW, I need to find and add the calculations to account for multiple speakers.

 

With the EMX5000 and an external stereo amp you can drive stereo mains plus 2 independent monitor feeds. This is in addition to 2 FX sends, with 2 internal 24-bit FX units. I don't use the on-board FX, but I doubt they're stellar. You wouldn't really need them, but if you want a special effect you can also set up a foot switch to turn one FX unit on or off.

 

The power is clean and clear and sweet, and it's a good match with the JBLs, and the JBLs are quite affordable. You can get the powered mixer for $550 on ebay or $600 at a shop, and the JBLs go for about $280 each.

 

Subwoofers with stand holes, to use as bases with single poles up to the monitors might make a nice and pretty portable PA system.

 

The mixer has a mono line output intended for use with a powered subwoofer.

 

If you already have a mixer you like, I'd check out the Carvin power amps like Jim recommended, and I'm very happy with the relatively inexpensive JBLs.

 

Again, if you want deep bass, you'd need either bigger speakers or a subwoofer. Playing keys, I get plenty enough bass for my taste for patches like piano & Rhodes. I don't play Hammond pedal parts. But I can't quite replace the bass player for bottom end. With 15" I could.

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