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Need a small PA system...

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by thudfromafar, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. thudfromafar


    Dec 12, 2007
    My band needs a PA system to cover smalltime house parties and smaller/medium outdoor parties. Like, 100 people max kind of thing.

    Would this be adequate?

    or maybe this...

    We really just need something relatively small, lightweight, inexpensive, and reliable. We've been borrowing a friend's PA or using a vocal amp for smaller areas. Only plan on running vocals thru the mains.
  2. Hi.

    Powered mixers have never been too appealing to me, so neither of those systems would be satisfactory IMHO.

    Unless You're short on cash, the "modern" route of multi function active speakers is IME the way to go. That way the speakers can be used for monitors, side-fills, mains, hell even for home/party systems.

    I have been very pleased with the performance of the Yamaha MG124CX mixer I have. The pre's are good and the one knob compressor gets the job done. The FX is really good for the money. Insert point in every channel takes care of any additional processing needs. The only down-side is that it's not rack-mountable and therefore needs a case.

    A mixer like that paired with any number of active cabs will get You there.

    The active cabs we have ATM are T-Amps (Thomann house brand) and even they're cheap, no problems so far and the sound is decent. Not great obviously, but adequate for the price paid.

  3. thudfromafar


    Dec 12, 2007
    So a mixer and say, 2 active cabs to start with? Have any more recommendations for other cabs or mixers?
  4. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
  5. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    I have used a Mackie 808S for several years with satisfying results. Paired with a couple of the C300 passives, it has been a great little rig for the small club/party circuit. Bigger venues might need more punch, but this has been much more than adequate for most of my needs. That said, I recently filled in for a few gigs with some guys that have the active speakers (450 watts in each speaker?) and a mackie board and it sounded really big. Just drums and vocals through the PA (power trio band), but it did what they needed it to do. Advantages are ease of use, lightweight, a snap to setup/teardown, and lots of features very similar to those on the Yamahas. I like the combo PA setups, as they worked for me in most of my situations, but YMMV. If you're doing medium/large clubs (200-500 folks) the combos may not be enough. From what I've read of T-Bird's posts, he has lots of experience and knows his stuff, so you can take my advice as you will. He isn't a fan of the combos, and there is most likely a totally valid reason why.

    Yamaha generally, IME, makes quality gear at a great price, has good customer service and useful features.

    If I were to upgrade today, I'd be going with the active speakers. As Mr. T says, that give you lots of alternatives for their use and for what you can use as a mixing board.

    If you can try it out first, that would, IME/IMO, be the best way to evaluate before you buy.
  6. konodl18


    Jun 6, 2008
    What I have been using for my 3 piece band and also for music playback, party/DJ type situations is a Peavey 8600 powered mixer and a pair of 15" EV Eliminators. They are not cheap, the peavey mixer is $629-ish and the EV's are $599 a piece. But they are fantastic. Period. I don't put them on poles, I stack them on one side of the stage opposite my side because I have my bass rig on my side. The clarity and power and depth I'm getting is awesome. I run them with no subs and never cry for lack of bass. The mixer puts out 600 watts per channel at 4 ohms and has separate monitor and main amps with EQ. We use some older peavey monitors for vocals and love this system. Being able to run without subs is great for simplicity and portability. Check them out.

  7. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Why would you stack these on the floor.:scowl: You should have your horns up about 7 ft off the ground. Stacked your cabinets are at about 5 ft. The bottom horn would be totally useless unless you are playing for midgets or 3 year olds.:eek:
  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    To the OP, I think either of those 2 WILL suffice if you DON'T want to spend a ton of money. I just did a gig with a lowly Kustom 2x200w 8channel powered mixer, 2 1x15 mains and 2 1x10 monitors. We played for roughly 100-200 people outside and it was quite sufficient. The Yamahas have more power. Myself, I'm planning to get one of those new Mackies with 2x800w and a powered sub.
  9. joegeezer


    Mar 9, 2005
    Northern Wisconsin
    Avatar Club#12 Eden Club Lucky# 13--USA Peavey Club#37 Carvin Club#5
    I have heard that the best two small systems makers are Peavey or Yorkville.
  10. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Are there any online retailers selling Yorkville PA's? I don't even see them in stores!
  11. I think they are still a little bit of a Canadian thing. My only experience is with a pair of these that a local rental company has. I did a show with them on top of my EAW subs and thought they sounded really, really great.
  12. Jehos

    Jehos Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    DFW, TX
    I have this exact setup. I bought it from a local Guitar Center and got them to give me 2 SM-58s instead of the 4 cheaper mics for the same price.

    I can confirm it will do anything you need it to do. Indoor, outdoor, small club--it can do the job. I'm very happy with mine. You can also buy a couple BR12Ms or BR15Ms and have a monitoring setup too.

    The 500W version with the 15s can handle running your bass through it also and sound good. That's the way I run it--makes it much easier to get a good mix instead of trying to balance out amps without getting nasty feedback in the mics.

    Edit: I agree with the posters above that if I were putting together a "better" system I wouldn't use BR15s or a powered mixer. However, you end up spending a *lot* more to get something that is a lot better sounding. If you've got $5k or so, sure, buy a power amp, a good 16-channel mixer, and some really good speakers and subs. But if you only want to spend $1500, there are worse things to buy than this system.
  13. konodl18


    Jun 6, 2008
    Modulusman, I admire your attention to detail. But don't fret!! (pun intended) I actually stack them on a Gear box that's about 2' tall and the EV boxes are tall to begin with so the bottom horn is at about eye level and the top one is at, exactly like you said, 7' or so. No coverage issues at all.


    PS. They are heavy :( I put them on stands one time only, and was scared all night.
  14. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
  15. Hi.

    Thanks for the kind words Blueszilla.

    The reason I've never liked powered mixers is that there's too many shortcuts that can be taken with that design. Granted, they will perform adequately in some situations, but any shortcomings will surface pretty quickly and if any part (power supply usually) gaves up the magic smoke, pretty much Your entire PA needs to be replaced (save a few cabs)

    If You have a dedicated soundman running the sound from the floor, that complicates things even more. The snake will have to have at least 2 speaker level feeds in addition of the mic lines. Usually this is not a problem though, powered mixers are usually operated from the stage.

    If You want any monitor feeds on stage, You have to buy either a powered speaker or a cab+amp setup anyway, if you don't use one channel for the mains running mono and the other for the monitors that is.

    Since we most probably live in different parts of the world, any specific suggestions about what to buy would be pretty much useless, but with "name" brands that have a decent reputation, You really can't go wrong. IME/IMHO of course.

  16. smitty0069


    Nov 13, 2007

    Ask for Dan Bouchard or Steve Bears. You'll be hard pressed to find a better deal anywhere.

  17. Check out Carvin. Many different sizes and configurations, quality gear, great prices.
    I'm currently using one of the 12 channel powered mixer heads. Perfect for my situation. You probably don't need that many inputs.
  18. sonserve


    Sep 17, 2009
    The Colony, Tx.
    I have been very happy with my Carvin 800 watt 8 channel. Two mains, two monitors, stands. $1400.00 and very light weight.
  19. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    A Pair of Mackie SRM450's (or similar) a 16 channel board (pick one), a couple of speaker stands (ebay $40) You can pick up some deals on mic's and cables and you are good to go. Don't cheap out on anything you do not have to. Get better mic's Shure PG's are inexpensive and better than those package mic's.

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