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Full band PA for fast and light self setup?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by jumblemind, Mar 17, 2019.

  1. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    Looking to upgrade a PA for private gigs. I've been searching and reading, and most of what I see here either involves minimal stuff for cafes or lots of components for bands with dedicated person to run sound, neither of which are what I'm after. We have a powered head and passive mains/monitors right now that has served us well enough for over 15 yrs, but we've always known it could be better. One guitarist recently bought a pair of off-brand powered speakers that he's brought to a couple of gigs after insisting we needed subs for forever, and it's made a big sound difference: much better bass for the DJ'ing between sets and much more clarity for speaking in boomy rooms. This has got me thinking about upgrading our PA more comprehensively.

    If you were to set up a new PA for a self-serviced 4-piece, 4-vocal band playing small to medium private parties in all sorts of rooms and situations with a focus on small footprint that can still keep up with amps/drums...what would you do?

    • Something modular for:
      1) adapting to a variety of room sizes and acoustics
      2) flexibility of gig types (speeches, auctioneers, etc that need to use our PA)
      3) ease of load-in (multiple small pieces are easier to tote across a field or up back alley stairs
    • Fast setup and teardown
    • Aux input for iPad (DJ'ing between sets)
    • Enough channels for 4 vocals, 2 keyboards, kick drum, and ideally my bass signal (right now the keys and kick are in the PA but not the bass, which is problematic)
    • Rugged...we play lots of outdoor stuff, places with sketchy power, etc.
    • Self-service...we run our own sound for most gigs (for big places we hire out pro sound)
    • Medium budget...our current PA setup works "fine" (makes sound) so I need to make a case for investment with the band
    • Old and rugged Peavey 10-channel 300w powered head
    • 2 x JBL EON passive mains
    • 3 x JBL passive rat fur monitors
    • PROS:
      - Can setup fairly quickly with one person
      - Drummer can DJ/run sound from behind the kit
      - Only need to worry about power to the head
      - Handles mains and monitors
      - Aux input
      - Fairly lightweight and modular
    • CONS:
      - Not a lot of headroom
      - Can get very muddy in certain rooms for speeches
      - Jacks are starting to get loose/worn
      - Looks pretty rough
  2. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    I've read the Turbosound IP2000 threads. I'm intrigued but concerned about ruggedness as well as the cost of still having to invest in powered monitors and a mixer. Maybe that's just a planning thing.
    musicman7722 likes this.
  3. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Time to upgrade!!
    Well, you definitely need a digital mixer, so you can save/recall settings for each venue - that reduces setup time dramatically.
    For a 4-piece, I'd say something like the Behringer XR18.
    You can also go wireless and run IEM's and control your own mixes via tablet/phone. Of course, you can do the same with wedges.
    Which brings us to active speakers..
    You'll need tops as well as wedges (assuming no IEM's).
    Here's where budget factors in.... until I have some idea of what that is, it's pointless throwing out suggestions, as choosing speakers without a budget is like asking which bass?

    PS: Played in a band with those same Eon's as tops powered by a Behringer powered mixer, that ran tops and wedges. ZERO head room and really NOT enough rig for the gig. Headroom is good :)
  4. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    I prefer an analog mixer with onboard effects
    Powered subs,mains, & monitors
    There are many brands out there, but the key is knowing how to setup your system in each room.
    The biggest thing I see when I go out to hear live music is everything is over EQd
    We always start with all settings at 12 o’clock
    and go from there
    It works for us with minimal tweaks
  5. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    16 channel digital mixer, 2x powered mains, headphone amp splitter for wired IEM. Wiring harnesses for fast setup. Rent subs for outdoor gigs. Light, easy to deploy, as flexible as you’re going to get today. Wired IEMs are easy on the budget/stage and transport space/stage volume.

    Take your pick on brands - they all make similar products and competitive price points.

    I went with a Mackie mixer, EV main, ART headphone amp/splitter with funds left over for decent stage lighting.
    MakoMan likes this.
  6. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    That's kind of what I've been thinking since it's the most direct analog to what we have today. Do your mains stack on your subs? Really wanting to reduce footprint, even visually, if possible.
  7. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    I'm wary of digital because of longevity (hard to beat the current head's nearly 16 yr track record), but saving setting for venues does seem extremely valuable.

    I get the budget statement, which is why I tried to say "medium". Most capital investments are shared by the band, and you have one end of the spectrum that wants to pay for quality stuff and the other end that wants the cheapest knockoff possible. We got burned the last time we went the cheap upgrade route, so I'm thinking I'll have a good case for something at least in a middle range (higher than Behringer, lower than Bose, maybe even lower than QSC).

    FWIW, I'm totally fine with Behringer mixers and even mics, as I've had very good experience with those. Would prefer a different brand for speakers.
  8. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    While I get the advantages of IEM, we won't be going that route any time soon. We often enough end up sharing our PA with clients and/or have them sit in and play our instruments for a couple of tunes.
    s0c9 likes this.
  9. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I suggested the XR18 because it's about the "cheapest" digital console out there, and is based on Midas designs. Sure, for TWICE the price you enter higher-grade/quality Mackie, QSC, Soundcraft and other Behringer consoles domain :)
    I would NEVER suggest Behringer for speakers.... too many others like QSC, EV, JBL, etc.. out there.
    And, I don't mean to split hairs, but "medium" is relative.
    Medium active speakers to me is NOT Meyer, and not Harbinger, Behringer, and other "budget brands".
    There's a whole host of medium out there.
    EV (EX, EKX series), QSC (K series), JBL, Yamaha and many others make GREAT 12/15" tops.. for a price.
    So does ALTO but for less. There is no "best" in that range.
    Do you want to spend $500 or $1500 per speaker?
    You DO get what you pay for.
    You'll be VERY surprised at the difference in audio quality between what you have now and your upgrade.
    Even the XR18 will give you EQ, compression and effects per channel, and able to apply the same for all of the 6 AUX and L/R output busses.
    That's FAR more than your current mixer. For $500 !!

    I DO understand where you are coming from.. been in your position more than once.
    Skillet likes this.
  10. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    I want to spend what needs to be spent to fit the needs, and the need is what I'm still feeling out. I guess I'm trying to figure out format first, then look at price ranges. If I can articulate the need, we can save up to get whatever meets that.

    If I look at the Turbosound ip2000, that would essentially be two subs and two tops for ~$1500, which would be great if it covered most of our situations (and I love its footprint for our use). It's hard for me to think it wouldn't be adequate, given how we're getting by with our current 300w rig that's actually running one more speaker than it should. We would then need a mixer and one to three monitors, depending on how much sound you get from the sides of those ip columns. However, if it makes more durable sense to go more traditional sub/top and monitor route, then I'll get a gauge for those ranges.

    PA shopping has changed a lot in the last 15 years.
  11. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    @musicman7722 Wondering if you have any thoughts on the matchup of the ip2000 with these needs/use.

    Also, for anyone else's reference I attached a few pics that show some sample gig setups. Nothing out of the ordinary. Most gigs are in the 100-200 person range in medium-ish spaces. Even outdoors we're usually under a tent where it doesn't take much volume.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  12. Alto TX10 (or above) powered speakers. Simple 10 channel Yamaha mic mixer, Speaker stands, Shure SM58's. Light portable, affordable, quality sound. Suitable for anything less than deafening volumes.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
    DWBass likes this.
  13. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    Yes there are pole mounts in each piece
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  14. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    EDD01379-6552-49E3-BC45-4065D65549D8. Duke
    DWBass likes this.
  15. DirtyDuke

    DirtyDuke Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 13, 2012
    guelph ontario
    Partner Southampton Pedals, Partner CCP
    We've been using a presonus 16.4.2 with 2 15" presonus powered tops . 2 18" presonus powered subs and 4 12" presonus powered monitors for 5 years without issue

    U can use the App for monitor mixes . An ipad to dial in front of house .

    We also have an additional 2 15"s and and additional sub if needed .

    Works great
    Lowendtech likes this.
  16. kittywithabanjo

    kittywithabanjo Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2014
    Coquitlam. BC
    I really think once you go digital you will never look back, the XR18 is an excellent value, I have a x32 system here and it works very well. I recently did a 3 night stint 1st night was a jam and I used 1 IQ15B sub with house provided Yorkville NX55s for tips, it sounded good, next night I brought my IQ12s and another IQ15b, the difference was huge. I really think it's worthwhile to invest in decent quality speakers for your front end, looking at your set up you should probably add a sub or 2 for that size of event. As others have said there are lots of options Yamaha, Qsc, Turbosound and others, maybe go the cheaper series (like qsc k) for monitors. But dont skimp on your front end.
    jumblemind and tradernick like this.
  17. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    I'd go X18 plus EV powered speakers (plus an in-ear monitor system, if budget permits...)
    kittywithabanjo likes this.
  18. Our band has been using a Bose "L" series for at least 5 yrs. I'm not sure which model, I apologize. 24 speaker linear array on the main module, and 2 powered subs. It sounds great no matter where you stand, has an extremely small footprint, & is very compact & portable when it's broken down. Setup is a breeze as well.

    I use a Mesa Venture 2x12 combo, so I almost never need FOH help. Our drummer can get really loud when he wants/needs to. The Bose has always done right by us. We are a 3-vocal band, & we run acoustic guitar, & the occasional banjo & harmonica through it as well.

    Our singer owns it, & my apologies again, I don't know what he paid for it.

    Hope this helps your search

    Attached Files:

  19. DLVlad


    Jan 17, 2009
    Yeah I would agree that a Bose L1 Model 2 System with the B2 subwoofer goes a long way in throwing out clear music and vocals. There's a tone match 4 channel mixer that you can buy with it but for more than that you'll have to pick up an extra mixer to send down one channel. For the Bose stuff about $3300 for everything as I recall. We're basically sending 2 vocals, bass guitar, electric guitar and moog Taurus through it. You would just have to test it out and let them demo how loud it is. Very easy set up.
  20. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    The Bose system is perfect for our needs, but given the abuse our stuff takes I’d be a little concerned.

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