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PA Setup Help

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by bassburner, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. bassburner


    Dec 8, 2008
    I'm designing a PA for my band for the first time. In all the 15+ years I've been playing I've never had to deal with anything other than a small coffee-shop or practice PA so I want to make sure I'm on the right track. Any larger places on the east coast that I've played have house PAs. Apparently it's different here in Colorado. Around town it seems like other bands are using in the 4000-6000W range to power everything and run all the instruments through the PA.

    Since funds are limited my goal is to build the PA to initially handle vocals and the kick drum and then as funds come in, we'll add on to handle everything. I have the monitors (aka practice PA on it's side), mixer and effects handled for now.

    1) 2x Yamaha S115V powered by a Crown XLS2000
    Power conditioner
    2) 2x Yamaha DXS15 15" Active subwoofer
    BBE Max-X3 Crossover
    3) duplicate step #1 + whatever splitter thing you need to send signal to both amps

    I think this will give me a nice incremental way to work up to what we need. Thoughts?
  2. My thoughts? Ditch the power amp and the xover and go straight to powered speakers. I'm a QSC guy, but if you're into Yamaha, I hear good things about their active line.

  3. bassburner


    Dec 8, 2008
    I thought about going straight to powered since I don't have anything significant yet but was concerned with the extra cost.

    What wattage are the powered speakers comparable to? The RMS or the peak of the unpowered?

    I'm particular to no specific brand. I've seen the QSCs around but didn't know if they're quality.
  4. modulusman


    Jan 18, 2004
    Buy powered cabs, you could get yamaha dxr12s to go with the subs. The price difference is about $150.00 compared to the amp and passive gear you mentioned. You wouldn't need the crossover. The power conditioner is a waste of money also.
  5. bassburner


    Dec 8, 2008
    Yeah, I'm leaning towards a couple DXR12s.

    And a power conditioner isn't necessary? Is that because of the powered speakers or they just not worth it in general?
  6. I use the Furman power strips. Six outlets on a 15-foot cord, surge protection, claimed EMF/RF isolation. About $34, IIRC. Run one to each corner of your stage, plug in your speakers, and you're done.

  7. Keithwah


    Jan 7, 2011
    Milwaukee WI
    I don't care what the reason, you need quality surge/spike protection if you have anything of value that needs power. Do not listen to anyone that tells you anything of this sort. I install A/v systems in houses of worship and I've played stages of all shapes and sizes for over 40 years. I've saved 1000's of $ of gear from brown outs, surges, etc. by using good quality power products by Surgex, Furman, ETA, and Juice Goose. Always protect your investment, even if all you own is Berhinger gear, it is still worth protecting.

    The QSC's will give you far more pleasure than the Yamaha powered boxes. But if you can't afford some type of power conditioning, but the cheaper Yamaha gear so you can at least afford a used Furman PL-8 to run the extension cables from your new powered speakers into. Remember, if you value it, protect it.
  8. modulusman


    Jan 18, 2004
    Whatever, IIRC guys like agedhorse who actually design musical gear have said it isn't needed at least for good quality amps.
  9. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    If you can swing the dough, the QSC K series stuff sounds really good. I keep hearing coments like 'it sounds like my stereo but bigger...'. If you swing yet more... The Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 sounds amazing with the K series. No way I'm going back to passive stuff... And no way I'm going back to racks full of outboard EQ's, Comp's, Crossovers etc... Over the years, I spent more on outboard gear alone that I did on the Presonus board... And the digital board sounds better...
  10. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    To the OP: Nothing wrong with the gear you've listed provided it's within your budget and serves the purpose. Don't sweat the passive vs. active enclosure issue...either way, watts be cheap! One nice thing about using separate power amps is that you can "shuffle" them about or re-assign as your needs change.

    More importantly, read, research, and study so you can get the most out of your existing arsenal. Best wishes on the project. Sidenote: my brother-in-law lived on Galena Dr. there in the 'Springs. The Academy provided the Community Chapel and Honor Guard for his funeral.

  11. bassburner


    Dec 8, 2008
    I'm not doubting surge protection. I'm just wondering if the Furman surge protectors are good enough as opposed to a single power conditioner.
  12. bassburner


    Dec 8, 2008
    What are the thoughts on Mackie? It's at the price point between Yamaha and QSC.

    2x Yamaha DXR12 12" Mains 1100W $700
    2x Yamaha DXS15 15" Subwoofer 950W $800
    Total: $3000

    2x Mackie HD1221 Mains 1200W $800
    2x Mackie HD1501 Subwoofer 1200W $900
    Total: $3400

    2x QSC K12 12" Mains 1000W $850
    2x QSC KSub Subwoofer 1000W $1000
    Total: $3700
  13. IMO, stay away from Mackie. Every Mackie product I've used has caused me problems. I think, and many others I've talked to, are more impressed with the QSC stuff you're comparing.
  14. Tuned


    Dec 6, 2007
    Don't get a Presonus StudioLive before getting some hands-on time on both it and the Behringer X32. I'm no Behringer fan, but the reports that the X32 is actually a Midas design and build are pretty tough to refute when you use one. Behringer would have made it like the StudioLive - small & simple. The X32 has a lot more under the hood yet has been laid out to be a simple as necessary. The B212D powered speakers are also great value for monitors, just get power and mic cables with right-angled plugs (good idea for most powered monitors).

    For mains the QSC K12's are fine, but I'm no fan of powered subs. Powered speakers use 2-ohm drivers to get the most out of the tiny cheap amps. That's passable for mains, but subs suffer more from that. There's also no powered horn subs, they're all direct-radiating (just a woofer and ports), which isn't an efficient configuration. Test drive a pair of Yorkville LS608's, 1400W reflex horn design, great punch and extension, they really kick the crap out of every powered sub I've used, including the QSC KLA's. The LS808's are a little better but you'll want the smaller size. Even better, slap a pair these monsters in there: <- 3000W neodymium drop-in replacement, more output, less weight. Can't wait to get a pair for my LS808's. Imagine needing a separate power circuit for each sub... *drool*
  15. modulusman


    Jan 18, 2004
    How many bar bands do you know that need a 32 channel mixer? Wrong tool for the job. The X32 would be more suited to a small sound company.
  16. Vinny D

    Vinny D

    Jan 9, 2007
    Warwick, RI
  17. bassburner


    Dec 8, 2008
    I tried doing research on passive vs active subwoofers but it's too overloaded with home entertainment information. Have others found what Tuned said above to be true, that active subwoofers don't pack the punch that passive do? I would think that it would be the opposite since the amp in the active sub is tailor made and suited perfectly for that cabinet.

    If passive subs are the way to go than I would be tempted to just stick with all passive, not just because I'm a little OCD about that sort of thing, but you're now back into needing a crossover again and the cabinet for all the amps and crossover.
  18. Vinny D

    Vinny D

    Jan 9, 2007
    Warwick, RI
    A good quality active sub will outperform *most* equal quality passive subs.
    The reason why I say *most* is because with a passive sub there are other variables that will contribute it to being better...or most likely worse sounding then a quality active sub.
    A *pro* sound engineer will properly power, tune, limit a passive sub to get the best results from it.
    Some one who *thinks* they are a pro soundman will most likely fail to setup a passive sub to get the best results possible from it.

    This is why if you are unsure of your abilities then your best option is to go with a quality active sub.
    The power, processing, and limiting is already done for you.
    Can you still make it sound like crap...sure, but you would have to try really hard to do so.

    If you decide to go active, look for a JBL PRX618xlf, Yorkville LS801P, QSC KW118.
    Those are the best bang for the buck sub out there being used in the local club/bar circuit.
    If you can only afford (1), it is still better then (2) crappy budget active subs.

  19. bassburner


    Dec 8, 2008
    That is the best reason I've read yet on why I should go with powered speakers.
  20. And it's a damn good one. When a team of audio and electronic engineers have gone to the trouble to figure out how their speakers should work optimally, and build in safeguards to make sure they don't get ruined, ordinary folks like us win.

    As for the 2-ohm argument posited before, I've never heard or read anything about that. Maybe AgedHorse can weigh in, but I can tell you that I've played (and been to shows in) pretty big rooms with powered subs, and I've never heard anything that made me think they were in any way inferior.