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Powered speakers vs Passive

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by DerTeufel, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. DerTeufel

    DerTeufel Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Wildomar, CA
    I am in a 3 piece rock and blues cover band. All our gigs are at small venues. Currently our gigging PA consists of two Harbinger APS12 powered speakers and a 10 channel Yamaha mixer. We just push vocals through them. I really don't like those speakers and have heard them distort. I am currently researching alternatives to them, and am considering two different avenues.

    (A) Powered mixer and two passive speakers.

    (B) Use current board and just buy two powered speakers.

    Either way I go, I am going to try to buy used. How much power is enough, and what speaker size should I focus on? We do play on the louder side of things.

    Budget - $1000. I know that isn't a whole lot in terms of a gigging PA, and it won't buy the absolute greatest. It's all I have to work with.

  2. uhdinator


    Apr 20, 2010
    Just get some better powered speakers.

    Mackie SRM450
    Yamaha MSR400
    Behringer 215d

    Anything will be an improvement over what you have.
  3. Pokerdweebz


    Oct 26, 2012
    Lititz, PA
    I would go with powered speakers as well. Besides the ones mentioned above I would look at the Alto TS line.
  4. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I played in a few bands back in Michigan that had Big PA systems with big power amps and big mains, and a big rack, and a big mixer, and a big snake.

    I am looking to simplify and downsize for my current band. Powered speakers can eliminate the need for a big power and and a big rack. I am thing a pair of powered speakers with a horn and a 12" and 1 or 2 powered subs. Also the subs don't have to be have 18" speakers. these days a 15" or even 12" subwoofer may work fine. I no longer want the PA to rattle the teeth of every person in the bar.

    I am also considering adding a 1x12 powered sub to my bass rig to go with a 2x10 cab.

    I am also interested in the bose l1 and l2 systems ... but they get very pricey.
  5. DerTeufel

    DerTeufel Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Wildomar, CA
    Thank you.
  6. And JBL EON.
  7. lakefx

    lakefx Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    And the new EV ZLX line. I have a ZLX-12P and love it.
  8. I went with the Alto TS112 powered speaker and love it. They are 299 new. A few months ago amazon had them for 250 each. Musicians friend matched the price and gave me 10% of the difference in store credit so I had 50 bucks to put toward a mixer....
    Use your current powered speakers as monitors and a couple of Altos and I think you will be very happy.
    Good luck.
  9. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I give a thumbs up to the Alto's. Saw a band using a complete powered Alto system (2 mains, 2 subs and 2 monitors) and the sound was huge and deep! And most importantly...loud and clean! Not a sign of distortion.
  10. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    For what it's worth, here's what I bought for about $1000 and I'm stoked. It was just the right combination of portability, power, price, sound, ease of use, etc. Lot's of "bang for your buck". See THIS POST. It's great for small-medium indoor venues and smaller outdoor gigs.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  11. DerTeufel

    DerTeufel Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Wildomar, CA
    Yeah, I am familiar with your thread. I will admit that it's a nice looking system, but it'd take too much room when it comes time to transport.
  12. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY

    Ive got this same Alto rig and I'm very happy with it. Covers all small/med size gigs and sounds great. No issues in the year I've owned them. Sure, there are some speakers I like the sound of more (k12s), but you'll be hard pressed to find a better rig for the price.
  13. DerTeufel

    DerTeufel Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Wildomar, CA
    How are the two mains on their own without the subs?
  14. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    ^^^^Start here.^^^^

    My 3 piece classic rock/blues band uses the Mackies (SRM450's I believe) pole mounted. It sounded pretty good as it was. I split up my bass rig and we now use my fEARful15/sub with Carvin HD1500 power amp to help with the low end. Mackies handle everything above 75Hz, 15/sub everything below 100Hz. Now it will handle any Small to med size club we play. We also use some powered Mackie thumps for monitors. The powered speaker make it easy to chain everything together, our monitor mix is our main mix minus the sub. Really makes it easy to know what it sounds like out front. Our drummer also has some e-drums so we can all run direct and sound great at lower sound levels if the gig calls for it. Carvin also makes some powered speakers as well. Move you current speakers to monitor duty and they'll probably do fine, if not you stage volume is too loud. BTW we run everything through our PA....
  15. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    For small bar gigs (50-100ppl) I don't use the subs and usually just vocals only. Works great for that, but I wouldn't push it with kick and bass in there. I don't have limiters or compressors, just a Mackie profx board, so I'm afraid it would be easy to push too much bass through them.
  16. DerTeufel

    DerTeufel Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Wildomar, CA
    Cool..our gigging scenario is typical for your small bar gigs. The PA is for vocals only.
  17. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Wow you buy those speakers on Saturday and on Monday you can already say they work great. :bag: Maybe you should wait until the honeymoon is over before steering someone into making a bad decision.:D
  18. My blues rock band has several pairs of 15" powered mains and two powered subs. We can scale to the venue very easily that way.
  19. Stangconv


    Mar 3, 2013
    On the topic of the original post.... A powered mixer doesn't leave a ton of room to grow. Depending on your long term goals, I'd go with something you can expand.
  20. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    For me, personally, I like powered mixers as I'm not a fan of having to lug a large PA and it's components for bar and restaurant gigs. Granted the powered mixer has to have decent enough power (i.e. Yamaha 512sc; 500w + 500w). They can be used in conjunction with powered speakers and subs. Run 4 passive monitors off the mixer's amps. Some will disagree and that's fine.

    Having said that, the Alto setup I saw and heard was lovely! The subs were small and compact but were pumping! Not sure what mixer they were using but it was small as well.