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PA (vocals) need an upgrade...

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by herbygardener, Feb 8, 2016.


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  1. herbygardener

    herbygardener HerbyG

    Oct 28, 2013
    A Rock in the Pacific
    Hey gang,
    Time for some brain pickin'...I have been doing my own research and have kinda narrowed down the focus, so now it's time to call in the help of the knowledgeable reinforcements (you folks ;)
    I play in a rock/blues band; mix of originals and covers. Usually 2 guitars, me on bass, acoustic drums and 2-3 vocal mics; sometimes we are joined by a keyboard player and/or a third guitarist and more vocal mics. We practice/play in a small room right now with the potential of a pub tour and/or backyard parties on the horizon. We run all instruments through their own amps and have been using a Yamaha Stagepas 300 PA for the vocals.
    We played to our first 'live' audience on the weekend and we are finding that since none of our drummers seem to have a 'quieter' setting (or at least choose not to use it) the vocals are getting lost in the mix (both live and recorded). We record all our rehearsals through one room mic hung from the ceiling which goes into our interface/laptop. We have lately been taping 2 mics together for the main vocalist which seems to help a bit but not enough. We desire a 'better' vocal layer and since GAS runs rampant through most of our group the discussion of upgrading the PA has come to light...

    The shortlist we have come up with (in no particular order)...
    1)Yamaha STAGEPAS 600I (680W) Yamaha STAGEPAS 600I 680W Portable PA System
    2)Fender Audio Passport Venue (600W) Fender Audio Passport Venue
    3)Peavey Escort 6000 Portable PA System (600W) Peavey Escort 6000 Portable PA System 600 Watts

    So the long and short is we are looking for feedback from folks that have used these systems, we want to hear about the likes and dislikes, good features, weak features, overall impressions...would you by yours again? If not why?
    Any other comparable set-ups that we have not considered are also welcome.
    Thanks for taking the time. :thumbsup:
    Cheers!
     
  2. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    Forget the Peavey ... I once had to use one, and it sucked. Really sucked. Nothing to like about 'em. I'm not keen on any of those systems, but the remaining two are just OK for what they are. If you run keys through the PA you'll be disappointed ... not enough oomph in the bottom end. I think you'd do better thinking about used gear and a more modular system ... passive mixers are getting cheaper due to the new wireless gear coming out. A decent pair of powered speakers (even Behringers!) would sound better. You can add more speakers (daisy chained) and/or add monitors when you need to. You might also reconsider your mics ... and try out others. I like my SM58, but the BL has a Peavey something-or-other that is much hotter than mine (a little too shrill for my voice, though). My favorite mics are my Shure SM86 stage condensers.

    Even new ... a pair of Peavey PVxp12's would run about $700-ish, and a couple of hundred would buy a nice used 16-20 channel passive mixer with FX.
     
    s0c9 likes this.
  3. herbygardener

    herbygardener HerbyG

    Oct 28, 2013
    A Rock in the Pacific
    Thanks Rusty,
    I have read similar things about PEAVY in general but have never used any.
    Used gear is always at the top of our list, links provided just so we are talking about the same items :thumbsup:
    Although this 'Gear One'/Kustom package was mentioned by someone...don't know anything about the brand?
    Gear One PA2400 / Kustom KPC15 PA Package

    Not opposed to piecing something together, just thought a package would probably do for our limited demands.
    No keys through the PA, individual amp like the guitars and no problem cutting through the mix so far.
    Never thought about 'hotter' mics. We use Shure SM58 & SM48 and Sennheisser e835's currently.
    More inputs down the road always comes into the discussion...
    So, to be clear, you've had no issue with the Peavy speakers just the electronics?
     
  4. MakoMan

    MakoMan

    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    For the type of band and at the price range you are in, you would be much better served with a pair of decent powered speakers and a good mixer. For example, for $800 new you could get a pair of these:
    Electro-Voice ZLX-12P 12" 2-Way Powered Loudspeaker

    Used, you could possibly find some QSC K10s or 12s or some Yamaha DXRs for under a grand. With either new or used just add a small mixer and you are good to go. It seems you are only running the vocals at this point and 4 xlr input mixers are cheap, particularly used.
    The nice thing about powered speakers is that the system is expandable. Eventually you can upgrade the mixer and add subs so that everyone is plugged in. The systems you are looking at all have a limited number of inputs and quite frankly, they're getting somewhat outdated.
    I like some Kustom stuff, most notably the PA50 powered speakers, but I'm not too keen on the Gear One/Kustom system listed above. There seem to be an awful lot of broken Gear One PA2400s sold on Ebay.
     
  5. herbygardener

    herbygardener HerbyG

    Oct 28, 2013
    A Rock in the Pacific
    See why I love this place!
    Now I get to go research and compare powered speakers and mixers (when I should probably be practicing ;))
    Recommendations welcome obviously...
    As for the mixer; we are bumping up to the limit with 4 mic inputs as we are all being encouraged to add more vocally (myself included, ugg, but that's another thread) so will probably look for a few more XLR inputs.
    And for the speakers; 10's vs 12's?? Bigger is better, no?? :cool:
    Cheers!
     
  6. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    With the proliferation of powered speakers you can now pick up powered heads and passive speakers very reasonably. Don't overlook them. They work just fine and don't require stringing AC cords all over the stage.
     
    carl h. likes this.
  7. herbygardener

    herbygardener HerbyG

    Oct 28, 2013
    A Rock in the Pacific
    Thanks Tom, that's kinda the spin I'm in...powered mixer w/passive speakers or passive mixer w/powered speakers??
    Powered mixer/powered speakers sounds like something will blow up?
    Less confusion is another reason us old dudes were leaning towards a packaged system.
    This seemed like a decent unit...
    Yamaha - 12 Channel MG Series Mixer
    Just scratching the surface here so tips/suggestions are welcome...
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  8. herbygardener

    herbygardener HerbyG

    Oct 28, 2013
    A Rock in the Pacific
    BawanaRik and s0c9 like this.
  9. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I'd say yes.. :D
     
    herbygardener likes this.
  10. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    Here's a promising $400 digital mixer
    Soundcraft Ui16 Digital Mixer
    It's actually fairly thin and can lie on a table.

    Many benefits to digital. It does has all the knobs and busses of an analog mixer, and high quality built in effects.
    You get more features per $ as you're not paying for a bunch of knobs and circuit boards.
    Many of the digital let you plug in a thumb driver to record to.

    Somebody in the band must have a tablet or smartphone to use as a control surface.

    There's a lot of good digital mixers starting from $250.
     
  11. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    .................... oooooops!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  12. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    I like most Peavey gear ... we use an early 80's XR600C mixer and a pair of 2x12 Peavey mains in our country band ... vocals only, like you. This rig was bought new and used at least six times a month since! You can pick up the XR600(c-f) for small change on the used market. Peavey speakers are pretty good ... PR12, PR15 (passive or powered) and the newer PVx PVxp are a new look, but pretty much the same speaker. I wouldn't touch the Kustom stuff. We have a pair of Kustom floor monitors in my trio, and they have been quite unreliable, in fact, I usually pack a pair of Behringer B212A's just in case. (Think about that ... Behringer more reliable than Kustom!). When looking for "giggable" gear, reliability is the #1 criterion.

    Any Yamaha, Mackie, AllenHeath, Soundcraft passive mixer with FX (you'll want at least a little reverb) and at least 8 XLR inputs will do for you. Match that to the best powered speakers your budget can handle. Mackie SRM350 or 450, the EV ZLX's, Peavey PVXp, JBL Eons, and many more. Keep your mind open when looking on the used market. That is, don't set you mind on a Mackie XYX when a Yamaha ABC comes up for sale. Either will do the job, one is available, the other not. Just say no to Behringer mixers, Thump speakers (good for DJ, not so much for live music), anything from NADY, and all the bargain off-brands that have attractive prices and features and are featured in those package deals from the big retailers ... remember the #1 criterion!

    Digital is cool, but overkill for most weekend warriors.
     
  13. Bullitt5135

    Bullitt5135

    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    I just retired my Kustom KPC15 speakers. They did the job when I needed something quick and cheap, but ultimately the sound quality was pretty mushy. I upgraded to a used pair of RCF ART315A powered mains, and the sound quality is night and day better. If you're looking for new, cheap, and decent...I've also been reading good reviews of the Alto TS112A (check Ebay for deals on factory refurbs from Alto). The ZLX-12P as others have mentioned sound nice to my ear as well.

    Keep your eyes open for a used 16-channel mixer on Craigslist. I've used both Mackie Onyx and Yamaha Mixers with good success. I also have an inexpensive Behringer EQ to take care of feedback problems with the monitors.

    For mics, I started out with an SM-58, but ultimately found the Electro-Voice N/D767A to have a clearer sound.
     
  14. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    I'd argue the opposite. Many big advantages for "most" and they should be considered. There's less complexity with digital. More bang for the buck. Less setup (i.e. no snake). Less re-setup when knobs get pushed while packing and unpacking a mixer.

    That being said, nothing wrong with analog mixers. Analog will be around a long time as some just can't break out of the paradigm. And some digital are actually digital control of analog
     
  15. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I'll second that.. run many analog consoles (small->large) over the years - even own 3 of them - was hesitant to move to digital.. Having worked a few digital consoles now (own 1) - and current band runs an X32 Producer and is full IEM using Android/iDevice wireless interfaces - I can't imagine going back to analog.
    I you have any experience on analog at all, the move to digital is a huge step - given all the features, etc.
     
  16. herbygardener

    herbygardener HerbyG

    Oct 28, 2013
    A Rock in the Pacific
    Thanks for chiming in folks, much appreciated.
    It sure is fun learning about and looking up all this stuff and then trying to determine a path...now throw digital in the mix...but part of the beauty of the 'used gear hunt' is you can set some rough parameters but you never know what you'll come across in the wild.
    I think 'for now' we are leaning towards a passive mixer with at least 6/8 mic inputs and powered speaker(s).
    I've read and heard alot of good things about Yamaha and Yorkville mixers.
    The Yorkville 8-Channel Passive Mixer is a popular rental model locally so they sell them used from time to time.
    Those EV ZLX-12P powered speakers keep getting mentioned and I haven't read/heard anything negative about them...

    Now for noob question of the night...
    That speaker above is rated 1000W and the Stagepas we currently use is 300W...
    Would we not get a substantial volume increase with just one of them??
    It seems strange to be thinking about one speaker instead of a pair but it would be more financially prudent at this time.
    Another could be added when necessary perhaps?

    Regardless, before thinking about purchasing any 'new' gear, the hunt for 'used' begins in earnest!
    Thanks again for the direction and education!
    Cheers!
     
  17. Bullitt5135

    Bullitt5135

    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    I would seriously consider something with more than 6/8 inputs. That way you have some channels to work with if you decide to mic guitars and drums. I'd also recommend something with 4 AUX sends -- that'll give you a little extra flexibility to customize monitor mixes.

    Depreciation sucks on new gear. Take a look at used gear (Craigslist, GC Used, ProAudioStar). I've had pretty good luck flipping used PA gear once I've outgrown it. In a couple instances, I've even made a small profit.
     
  18. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    If you're looking for 6 or 8 inputs make sure they're XLR inputs - sometimes (usually) companies will count stereo inputs as 2, which they are technically, but a pain to work the pan control if you're mixing from stage. 4 aux sends is nice (why not 6?!) but even 2 is a big upgrade from a single mon channel. I've had decent low-end boards from Peavey, Mackie, Yamaha, and Carvin over the years that all got the job done. I think Yorkville's in that range. On that topic, of course, you'll get as many opinions as you will responses.
     
  19. BJMtz

    BJMtz

    Oct 18, 2010
    Tucson, AZ
    I'm in the same boat as you. I have a small PA that I bought used but now that we are gigging it looks to be too quiet for us. We are a loud band but we only run vocals through the PA. It's a power amp/passive speaker setup with a Peavey CS 800s power amp, 6 channel mixer, and two Peavey 112tls speakers. The speakers seem to be the weak link as they are not very loud and feedback when they get pushed. I'm looking to upgrade these in the near future.

    I don't want to spend a ton of money but I have learned my lesson that buying quality first is usually cheaper in the long run. Had I spent more money in the PA initially I would not need to upgrade right now. I'm looking at Carvin PM15s both new and used in eBay. These seem to be the highest quality speakers at the lowest cost. I think 15s will be better than 12s for me.
     
  20. JohnMCA72

    JohnMCA72

    Feb 4, 2009
    You can never have enough input channels! Something always comes up that needs another, plus every now & then you might need a spare. Figure out what's the most you may ever need, then add 50%.

    I own several and I won't say anything negative about them! They're very flexible & sound pretty good, especially with a subwoofer. The only thing I wish they had was an option for some delay.

    Power rating has nothing to do with volume. 1000W vs. 300W is totally meaningless in terms of volume. Max. SPL tells you how loud it can get (at some frequency) & a frequency response graph tells you how much of the spectrum it covers within some tolerance. Your ears tell you if it sounds good. One of the great benefits of powered speakers is that somebody a heck of a lot more qualified than you or I has done the serious engineering, matched the amp to the speakers, probably added limiting for good measure, & we don't have to worry or care how many Watts it takes to get the sound we need. Not only do we not have to worry about matching impedances between amps & speakers, but we can daisy-chain them pretty much indefinitely.
     

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