Quality portable PS systems

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by audiokid, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Now I just need a new compact PA system for fill using my new StudioLive 24.4.2. I would be showcasing acoustic music so quality high end is paramount.
    I'm totally out of touch with new systems. Its been 12 years since I shopped for PA gear. I was doing big clubs moving air. This is the opposite that I need.

    What do you suggest for small venues around 100 seats? Mixing for classical and/or acoustic music/ choirs and community events. I don't have a budget.

    Need front end, monitor options, snake what else?

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    My Yamaha StagePAS 500 keeps getting booked out from my hire stock, and on return, people say they liked it because it was easily portable, simple to use and gave a good sound. I personally find it rather "plastic-y", but then that applies to a lot of modern speaker cabinets. Unless you are in a small room, keep away from the StagePAS 300, which simply does not produce enough acoustic power before tripping.
  3. vttom

    vttom Active Member

    I love my Yamaha StagePas500. Our group uses it in a house of worship that seats ~200 (but, alas, only 10% of them are filled on any given Sunday). But I feel like we're pushing it pretty hard and we don't really even crank it very loud. Also, it only has 4 XLR/quarter-inch plus 2 2xRCA inputs. When I need more channels or more power, I break out my Yamaha EMX312sc and 12" speaker cabs. That combination puts out plenty of sound and barely breaks a sweat.

    For really big* setups, I use the EMX312 for the FOH sound and the StagePas500 for the monitor.

    * big is, of course, relative
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thanks guys. remember I have a console so I'm wanting a front end, separate power and monitor system.

    I'd prefer a stereo front loaded passive system that sounds really smooth but not sure if they have improved passive PA systems from back in my day. Passive always had a big hump in those boom and pain freq. Horns usually sounded like shrill metallic that eq's could hardly help. Maybe there are better passive systems now? Man I hope so.

    If not, a bi amp system with a couple of amps and one for monitors that feed something for side wash.
  5. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    You might look at this as being biased, but nobody can say I don't put my money where my mouth is :$)

    My live club rig consists of these JBL SRX series cabinets. You can use them passive or bi-amp by flipping a switch on the back. I can tell you this, you will have your work cut out for you doing a bi-amp set up that sounds significantly better than running them passive. It's the smoothest passive crossover I've heard to date. Most passive speakers seem to get loud unevenly and the horn either gets harsh, or gets lost once you get beyond a certain volume. The JBL 2 x 12" woofer crossing (@ 1.2 kHz) up to a 4-inch diaphragm horn sounds ridiculously smooth. I think it's especially nice for vocal and acoustic guitars, where midrange quality matters. They're fairly compact and the neodymium magnets keep the weight down to 76 lbs., which at our age is as critical as the frequency response and power handling specs. (which are also good)

    Downside: There's no socket on the bottom to accept a tripod/speaker stand. If you're the kinda guy who would be happy setting them on top of tables you find at the club - more power to ya. On the rare occasions I'm not sitting them on the matching SRX 728s dual 18" subs, I have a pair of double X-brace keyboard stands I use to get them up to a decent height. Lids from my 12-space Calzone rack make perfect shelf/platforms on top of an X-stand. I bought a pair of these deep top hat sockets, thinking I would retro-fit one pair for stand applications, but so far I haven't been able to bring myself to breaching the box. The need doesn't arise very often, and it's not like I have an assortment of smaller cabinets that stand mount if it was a big problem.

    2ยข, keep the change.
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Ya, I just missed getting a "pair of those for $250.00! A nightclub closed their doors and sold them for 250 bucks, cables, and a behringer board. A friend of mine grabbed them before the doors opened and he said, as he was leaving the building he kept thinking someone was going to stop him lol. I heard them used a few weeks back and they sounded pretty rash with the behringer but once he ran the CD player through them on a break they sounded killer.

    My last PA was all JBL Pro. All front loaded with double 18. The 2445 horns cost 2500.00 a piece back then and they have spoiled me for life. These look like a contender for sure. How would you put those on tripods Dave? They are 38 " high. Must way a fair amount too.

    The double 18'' would be a great add-on . I think this is a good fit. What else do you recommend example, ? Does' JBL make a single 12 and high end horn that will sit on a tripod, that you've heard? Might be the other solution and easier for me to toss in a single 18 for the bottom end.
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Yummy, these sure look sweet! Now I'm thinking and getting the bug again.

    JBL :: Product Family

    Are you a JBL dealer Dave?
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Now its getting fun,

    You can tell I'm dated now. These look pretty interesting too. I'm not familiar with Line Array. Does this mean you just keep adding to these in series?

    JBL VRX932LA | Sweetwater.com

    They look like they would cover wide and sound a step up yes?
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Ah, I see , forgive me as I'm thinking outloud. I get it now. I had no idea what they were called although I've heard about these but because I've been out of the live loop ...

    Definitely more expensive but I bet a few of these on each side would sound pretty sweet yes? and then a couple of double 18" a side would be a pretty killer system. Compact and killer. but then some amps, or are these self powered. Man, I never knew there were all these options for self powered.

    Man it wouldn't be hard to drop 20 grand in no time. hmm. Between love for good sound and making money back from it all doing classical and local shows. hmm In my day, no problem, yikes, spending 50 grand on a PA now... I'd definitely rather spend that in the studio. Oh, my. I'm dreaming JBL all over again.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Wow, are VerTec Series cool. Been reading. Sorry, steering away from reality and having a moment. I'll get back to reality, someone kick me please. Are these these self powered? I can't quite get what the Crown, / modular thing is on the back?
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Okay, I'm back on track lol. That was fun... My wife doesn't know my past music life and when she saw the prices of all this stuff, should have seen her eyes pop lol.

    The PRX 600 look closer to what I'm thinking (size ). How do self powered PA's sound? Would these do the trick you think and sound pretty sweet or am I going to be wishing I jumped a higher notch from average sounding high end? I don't mind spending money for smaller compact like these if they have superior highend. Its the highend that I want no compromise on?
  12. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    OK, in order:

    At $250 / pair your buddy got the deal of a lifetime. If they were installed, they might have been 722F, which would have flying hardware but no handles. Either way, big deal add some handles. I've got a friend selling a well-worn (but not abused) pair of regular 722s on eBay soon for $1000 each.

    To tripod mount those you would have to retro fit a top hat in the bottom properly braced to distribute the stress and sealed up air-tight.

    The 722 cabinets only weigh 76 pounds. That's probably about the same as your old 2445 drivers with a fiberglass 2380 horn front in a wooden box would have weighed back in the day. When younger guys help with the grunt work they say, "wow, what makes these so heavy?" When veteran guys who remember scoops, perkins, A7s, 2445s, earthquakes, W cabinets, and crest 8001/10001 amps are helping me they say, "wow, I can't believe how light your stuff is!"

    The double 18's are a very nice addition (176 lbs each). Typically we use 2 tops and 2 subs (standing on their sides) and one amp rack for a normal size club gig. I've got 2 more tops and 2 more subs and an identical amp rack, so I can play big rooms or do an outside festival with 4 of each and abuse a small-medium crowd. Or it can easily cover a crowd of a few thousand outside if they don't need their spleen kicked out. Electricity permitting, I can give the cabinets about 17,000 watts of Crest and Crown. I also got another 4800 watts of E-V amps at home that I've haven't felt the need for yet. Last year I heard a national touring act that plays mostly mid-size venues (1000 - 8000 seats I'd guess) using the exact same cabinet configuration with around to 40,000 watts of Crown iTech amps. I was at the back of the room (with my ER15 earplugs in) grinning like an idiot marveling at the thunderous power and exceptional clarity at about 120dB. It was nice to hear what my speakers would be capable of if I had the desire and bank account to pull that off. But again we go back to, electricity permitting. We had to pull 3-phase 220v for him to run his amp racks at that level. Whereas I can survive with 2 x 20amp 110v circuits with the small system.

    The SRX single 12" version the 712m is tripod friendly and it's also awesome for a low-profile floor monitor. 3-inch tweeter diaphragm, very smooth. The MRX is a very respectable option that comes in for a lot lower price than the SRX.

    The PRX 600 series is pretty new, I haven't heard them yet. The 500 series was pretty impressive and a much more serious cabinet than the powered EON. QSC powered cabinets are also worth looking at in that range. And I've done a few installations with the Mackie SRM450 powered cabinets and thought they did a very decent job in a smaller club.

    JBL dealer? yes.

    VRX would be a class (pricerange) above the SRX. The biggest differences would be most apparent outside or in a bigger venue in general. The VRX can really project the horn a greater distance. There is also a powered version of the VRX cabinets. Next stop after that, flying arena-sized arrays and Max might be a better resource comparing those.

    Line arrays strengths are in scaleable seamless vertical coverage. They're more focused and don't lobe as much as ordinary speakers - trapezoidal or otherwise. You see the big line array clusters hanging down in a continuous curve at big concerts. They're covering from the front row to the peanut gallery in the upper-upper balcony in one fairly cohesive pattern.

    We played an outdoor festival in July with someone else's PA. It was a small D.A.S. line array ground-stacked. One active sub, two active tops on each side for FOH. Very compact, but very dense (heavy), I'm told by the soundguy. He had no trouble filling the park with it, I was impressed.
  13. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    VerTec is big league stuff. Some are powered some aren't. Those that are are Crown powered and give you all the networking capability of their touring amplifiers.

    The wife must never know....

    Powered cabinets are generally very good sounding. A custom tailored active crossover and two perfectly matched amps will always be a good place to start building a PA. Unlike most passive cabinets that get loud unevenly ( as mentioned earlier ), powered speakers are much less prone to that problem. In a half-decent room with pink noise and analyzer in hand I've found them to be very well balanced and almost fool proof right out of the box.

    I have not heard the 600 series yet, but expect to soon. I'll be shocked if they don't sound really good. For the price & weight of a good speaker, you get a good amp included. You can't beat them for being scaleable. The relatively cheap EONs sound pretty sweet too if you're not going for heart-stopping volume.

    My only gripe with the powered fullrange cabinets I've used is they're awkward travelers. The subs are generally cubes, but the tops are relatively light, so smooth, and so rounded they can be tricky to pack around. If you've got other gear to hold them in place, you're good to go. Left on their own, they can topple and roll all over the place. Whatever powered cabinets you buy, make sure the controls and inputs are recessed enough that they won't be vulnerable if it rolls over. I'd buy padded covers for them for sure. I have the heavy duty covers for all of my speakers and they look almost like new after 6 years of regular use.
  14. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I've used Fishman Solo powered line array columns as either FOH in small gigs and side fill monitors every week in church. As you'd expect the bottom end isn't anything to write home about (though I've played bass through it at a country acoustic gig and been satisfied). But it's very light, stage friendly, easy to move around and set up. It's very versatile - lots of input options. Good feedback properties like most line arrays. Excellent ergonomics. Reasonable sound (good for the price point).

    Oops. I missed the posts on the second page. You're not looking in this category. This is more a competitor for the Yamaha Stagepas.

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