Building a PA, a journey.

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by powmetalbassist, Dec 23, 2013.


  1. powmetalbassist

    powmetalbassist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    So I've decided to delve into the whole pa side of music, I come across so many bands/singers without their own gear; I figured if I build a monstrosity I could have a descent practice pa (for mainly vocals), that could also double as a live pa (maybe?). Not sure what I'm doing yet, but this is a project in the making. I'd like to hear from the community and update this from time to time as I build my first PA system.

    I'll keep it simple. Each time I update I will list what I have, what I have in the pipeline (semi-agreed to purchase, but not a done deal yet or on the way), and what I am casually looking at online.

    Currently I have:

    (2x) Yorkville E12 (copy) monitors (passive) 250 watts at 8 ohms

    What is in the pipeline:
    Crown XLS1000 350watts at 4ohms per side

    Looking at:
    Mackie 1202 VLZ Pro mixer
  2. gene beauchamp

    gene beauchamp

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Location:
    Laurel,DE.
    I am 3/4 the way though building what I call the smallest system with a bang. IMO you need single 18s for subs (I like 15s but the small for cabinets the 18s bring more thump. Tops single 12 and horn. I bridge one 2000 on subs and split another on tops and monitors. I keep all rack gear in one tall case with wheel and slant mixer top. Gate the drums,behringer multigates are good for the money.Duel 31 band eq for mains and monitors and a delay and you should be good.
  3. 73jbass

    73jbass Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Ellenwood,Ga.
    I put together my pa over a couple of years. 2 JBL 15's for mains,2 18" JBL subs. 2 QSC 1602 poweramps,4 JBL 12 monitors.Allen and heath Mixwizard 16,into a DBX crossover. I run both amps stereo,one side of amp 1 is for mains,the other side for subs. One channel of amp 2 is for monitors,and I have one channel free asa backup. It's more than enough for our gigs. Typically 100 to 200 patrons. The monitors are eq'd flat except at 250hz and 2.5k which are cut. No feedback in the monitors so far.
  4. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2004
    Check out digital mixers. They save a lot of time and aggravation getting rid of most outboard gear, they flexible monitor mixes. Lot's of presets to remember settings.

    Look to build up a good IEM mix. Which is real easy with digital mixers.
  5. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Mendocino County, California
    Building a technical foundation for IEMs is a good way to go. The band will appreciate the centralized control capability for IEMs, and some members will be able to leave amps/cabs at home (like the bass player!). Quiet stage noise. No need to lug around floor monitors. Also nice if your PA system doubles as an analog-to-digital recording interface with built in preamps etc.
  6. modulusman

    modulusman

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2004
    Location:
    montana
    I would rethink it if I was you. Look for some powered speakers and forget the amp. I think the Mackie board is overpriced for its features. you might be able to find something suitable used. I bought a used Peavey FX16 mixer a few years ago for $300.00 that is a way better board than the Mackie you are looking at.
  7. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    I'd start with one powered 10" or 12" speaker. For a vocals-only practice PA, something like a QSC K10 or K12 on a stand lets you run two vocal mics directly to the speaker, w/ a gain control for each.

    Some active speakers in this class (I'm thinking Mackie's DLM here) also give you eq, reverb, and feedback control built in. I don't like the Mackie's basic voice as well as the QSC K12 and K10, but if you want to start without a mixing board, the DLM series is attractive b/c of its extra stand-alone features.

    If you decide to go with passive speakers, you might think about powering with a Carvin DCM 2004L amp. It's about $550, but it's very light; and it gives you four channels of power, which saves you from buying a second power amp once you move beyond running mains + one monitor. (Your monitoring rig should let you apply eq on each monitor speaker; so if you're using passive monitors, you'll want one power-amp channel per monitor.)
  8. morgansterne

    morgansterne

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Location:
    Cleveland Ohio
    just a note on those PR series speakers. We used to use the PR15's as mains and the 1/4 cable would pop out the back. This isn't due to a poor cable or a poor input jack. It seems to have been due to the plastic enclosure flexing when the speaker excursion was high (aka someone pushing the kick drum fader up), and the air pressure pushed it out.

    If you use these as mains, chances are good you will eventually fry the tweeter. You can buy replacement drivers at about half the cost of the peavey HF driver. I installed one myself which is not too hard, and the replacement sounded better (definitely louder) than the original.
    We still use those PR15's at rehearsal and for that it works fine.

    If you are only running vocals/acoustic guitar through your speakers, I bet you'll be happy with those, otherwise probably not.
  9. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Wow - I thought we were the only ones who had that problem:D Not my speakers - PR-15's owned by the band leader. We started taping the 1/4" plugs to the speaker.

    For my own PA I have Carvin PM-12's. Have only used them once so far but they worked fine.
    http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/PM12
  10. modulusman

    modulusman

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2004
    Location:
    montana
    You forgot the third thing to watch out for. They sound like crap even on a good day. If the OP is going to waste his money on cheap passive speakers then he should get some Yamaha clubs and call it a day.
  11. rocksmoot

    rocksmoot

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Location:
    Ozark Country - Rogers, AR
    Good thread! I'm also looking to do this, currently have two JBL EONs for mains and looking to add a JBL EON 18 sub. Right now though, we're in the mixer phase of the journey. Anybody have any input on the Mackie Pro FX22?
  12. powmetalbassist

    powmetalbassist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for the heads up about the PR's
    .
  13. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    QSC stuff is out of my price range - however, I saw a band recently that used K-10 or K-12 tops with two K-Subs - the quality and volume of that system for it's size was unbelievable!
  14. troy mcclure

    troy mcclure Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I have rebuilt my pa a few times and always wish I just could start from scratch. It is tough to do financially though. Those QSCs are on my if only list.
    If you have a decent size vehicle or trailer, you can buy some decent used stuff and go old school. Non powered speakers and amps and outboard stuff. I don't want to be a sound man I want to play bass so I would go with a digital bd if you can.
    I have an early yamaha ( they are cheap used) and while it isn't state of the art it eliminated my need for all out bd effects/compressors except a crossover.
    good luck
  15. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2002
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Columbia River Gorge
    I'm definately on board with powered speakers. The Preamps in the VlZ Pro series Mackies are actually pretty good. Audio quality wise, the vlz will smoke that Peavey, hands down. Not a fan of the Peavey FX boards...

    Then again, I would go digitial and be done with it. A used 16.4.2 guves you everything you will likely everned in a board and all the outboard gear you could want.

    In my case size matters. I have to pack PA, lights, rig, basses, wife... In. Subaru Outback... kSub, K10's plus, JBL PRX612m's as monitors. 16.4.2 in a flight case, cable bag and stands. Is about as small as a really good sounding system can get. It is also super easy to setup. I have EQ curves setup for most of the venues I play and scenes setup for the different groups I play with or do sound for.

    Small places where I don't meed the sub, I put the 612's up as mains and run the 10's as monitors. The 612's are warm but clear and the bigger box has a more natural low end. The K10's on Ksub setup rocks though. It's good to have options...
  16. powmetalbassist

    powmetalbassist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Going to take a look at the Mackie board today. He wants $150 for it.
  17. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    Newport News, VA via NYC
    Disclosures:
    Kohlman Bassworks
    What's your budget?
  18. jongor

    jongor

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    Location:
    Maine
    I put together a PA for small rooms using EV ELX112's and a Carvin XP1000L powered mixer, sounds great, easy to transport and relatively inexpensive!

    If you have a mixer already the EV's are available powered too.
  19. powmetalbassist

    powmetalbassist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    My budget is in the 500-1000 range at the moment. Buying mostly used/boxingday sales (Dec 26th for those not in the know). More obviously as time passes.
  20. powmetalbassist

    powmetalbassist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Decided to go old school. Picked up the Mackie for $120

    Update:

    Currently I have:

    (2x) Yorkville E12 (copy) monitors (passive) 250 watts at 8 ohms
    Mackie 1202 VLZ Pro mixer
    Crown XLS1000 350watts at 4ohms per side [for monitors]

    total spent so far = $550.00

    What is in the pipeline:


    Looking at:
    Crown XLS1000 525 watts at 4ohms per side [for mains]
    Another set of Monitors?
    Set of Mains?

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