Need a Good Cheap Monitor Amp with EQ!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Brewdork, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    I rock a PV14 mixer (among other junk) with both stereo and/or mono outs. I currently monitor either through headphones, or occasionally through a pair of 2 little Kustom (i know, go f- yourself) passive monitors powered by a Crate power block amp (hell of deal)...this rig works, but is obviously not giving me a great sound.

    I'd like to upgrade by powering my monitors with a real stereo amp (2 1/4" L/R ins, at least 2 1/4" out jacks, and maybe a subwoofer out). Does anyone know of an affordable one that will work for me...perferably with an equalizer?? I'd like to keep it within the 200$ range if possible...I will never need more than a bar-room's worth of power.

  2. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Just to add...I call this a "monitor" setup, but it also doubles as a PA speaker setup...because the guys I play with can't handle/don't need/don't deserver separate monitoring unless we are recording...which the headphones are for.
  3. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Scotland, UK
    Sounds like you need more of a crossover-EQ-amp setup than a single box.

    Subwoofers will need their own amp unless you have an active one. If it's active it'll probably have it's own filter/DSP and so I wouldn't worry about it yet unless you actually have one.

    Do you want to run these in stereo/dual-mono mode where the signal in each speaker is separate or parallel/mono mode where it's all the same signal?
    I know you say you want 2 outputs but this doesn't necessarily mean you wanted stereo.

    BTW most professional level amps use either binding posts (which can be wired to the tip/sleeve on a 1/4" cable) or Speakon connectors which may need wiring differently.
  4. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Thanks, Monk'. I had some heavy gauge speaker wire made that ran me more than I'd like to spend again. They end in 1/4" tip/sleeve, but I suppose I could snip and rig them to whatever works best...speakons, I read, are solid.

    Anyhow, yes I'm going for stereo amping. My mixer has L/R 1/4" balanced outs for either monitors or main. Currently, I use the mains because I use the "monitors" more for listening to playback or live rockin'. So, separate signals would do my stereo mixing justice for now...but the capability to monitor dual mono (if we were to actually use these as monitors) would be good to have as well...meaning...stereo for now, dual mono for the future when I actually have enough gear to dedicate these as monitors.

    Make sense?
  5. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Scotland, UK
    Dual mono and stereo are essentially the same thing anyway, just that people (mainly budget amp manufacturers) like to mix the terms about.
    Essentially the L and R are separate mono signals but panned hard left/right.

    I haven't got the experience to recommend any particular gear, but we can work out what power you need.

    Basically you need to (roughly) match the power handling of the speakers (written something like 300W peak/150W RMS but with different numbers) to an amp, but per channel. It might say "continuous" instead of "peak".
    If your speakers are 8 Ω/ohm each, you need an amp that does however-many watts _per channel_ at 8Ω. Same with 4Ω.

    You CAN underpower or overpower, there is a level of tolerance. It depends mostly on how good the speakers are. So don't worry about getting one exactly on the dot, the figures are mostly made up marketing crap anyway.
  6. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Cool. Thanks! I'd like to prepare a bit for the future with this amp, so we should push the high end of your recommended tolerance range. "Currently", my speakers are 8 ohm with 75 w rms/150 w peak each...tiny, but great for a small room especially if I can equalize them a bit and actually control volume with more than just my mixers main outs ;p
  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Scotland, UK
    OH, forgot about the EQ.
    As I said you'll really need a separate unit - an amp may come with a basic low cut but that's about it.
    The EQ will probably cost about $150 or more in itself (not sure; UK prices are different). You just need to connect the mixer to the inputs, then the EQ outputs to the amplifier - so all you need is 2 more short 1/4" patch leads.

    I recently found that a single 300W speaker is enough to crank about 95dB in a large-ish hall although there's more to it than simple numbers. Based on that and some guesswork, since you're only in bars (but not behind them), I reckon 150-200W per channel is plenty to be getting on with, and won't fry the speakers, unless someone with more experience has a better solution?
  8. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Thanks, I'll start shopping.

    Hey, for my project space, what's stopping me from using my house speakers as additional "monitors" for the room? They are 100w pioneer house speakers with standard wire terminals...not sure what they are called, the springloaded clamps for pos/neg.

    Am I missing something, or can I just redo the ends of the larger gauge speaker wire and tie the pos/negs into the house speakers?

    On that same thought...can I just use a home stereo receiver/amp with unbalanced rca inputs for playback from my mixer??

    I may be overthinkin' this if I am looking for simplicity and some means of eq control on such a basic setup.
  9. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Also, If I do this, I'll have to run from my TRS outs (either ctrl room or main) to unbalanced RCA inputs on the stereo receiver...will that suck?
  10. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Scotland, UK
    Hifi speakers in a PA setup... I remember an anecdote about that.

    Someone on here took a band to a church, and set up several hundred watts of speakers, a pair of subs, etc. along with the drum kit and bass/guitar amps etc.

    The in-house PA was literally a pair of hi-fi speakers, which were promptly drowned out about 10 times over as soon as the drummer showed up.

    Pro gear mostly uses these connections:

    The ones at the top are Speakon, the bottom are Binding Post/Banana plugs. The BPs are essentially the same as on the back of your hifi and you could use that, I guess.
    But I would expect the adjective "ass" to be used in conjunction with how it sounds.

    As for the TRS in this situation, if you run it through any more than about 5 feet of cable you'll start getting a lot of buzz/background noise.
  11. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    buzz from the TRS? you mean the unbalanced RCA would cause the noise, i assume. that's what i'd figured, so I'll keep it on a short run until i find a deal on an EQ and Amp combo with balanced TRS inputs, etc.

    would it really sound that bad? would the advantage of the eq and amp just be more power? i mean, if the power is the same, the signal is essentially the same...i'm just not sold.

    Thanks for keeping me hopeful.
  12. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Scotland, UK
    Yes, the issue is because you're going into an unbalanced output - if the TRS is plugged into a balanced input it can run for a few thousand feet and not pick up much noise.

    I don't think it'll sound awful but it won't sound great either.

    I would hope someone will know for sure if you can actually use it in the first place, the connections might not even be the same (just look it).
    I can't say with any certainty so I will stop talking waffle.

    However I am pretty sure that I've never seen a power amp with built in EQ, and if such a thing does exist it'll likely be a simple pair of bass/treble controls, and not be cheap.
  13. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    well someone should make one.
  14. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Rainy Roads WA USA
    I was thinking maybe what you should look into is powered PA monitors....plug them into your PV mains...don't know what you have for a budget, but they would give you good sound without all the eq/amp/crossover hassles...
    just a thought
  15. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Peavey made a mono amp with a 9-band EQ for monitors (years ago).

    If it's multi-function lo-fi you seek scour eBay and/or Craigslist. It should easily meet the 'cheap' requirement. I'm less optimistic about the 'good'.
  16. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    yeah, powered monitors would obviously be great, but I'm trying to see what I can do with salvaged stuff. it's a small space, my gear is all balanced but not pro caliber...and moreover, I can only spend 1 night a week on this.
  17. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Carvin makes a 2-channel power amp with a built-in 15-band graphic EQ (seperate EQ on each channel), probably a bit better quality than the Peavey...

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