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Powered tops

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by NickFromNY, Jul 25, 2012.


  1. NickFromNY

    NickFromNY Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    I am thinking about going in a different route with our PA. I would love your input...

    Our band is made up of male and female lead vox plus 2 background vox, acoustic guitar, elect guitar, keys, bass and drums (and sometimes a fiddle player). I use an A&h zed 12fx for small shows, and a mixwizard 16 for bigger ones. Board goes into Driverack PA. I have been using JBL Eon1500s as mains for a while now with either 1 15" yamaha sub or 2 EVSb122s as subs (when se use subs). Have an assortment of power amps (qsc plx3402, plx1804, crest ca6) I just feel like i am mixing and matching from show to show and i am thinking a out going the powered speaker route. Ive heard great things about the Qsc stuff. I used to use the Mackies when they came out. Id like to sell off the power amps, mains and subs and grt all powered stuff
     
  2. Biggbass

    Biggbass

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    We've had good results from both Passive and Powered speaker systems. Currently we use a system similar to what you've described...drive rack, JBLs, Subs, QSC amps, 16 channel mixer. It's a bunch of gear and the amp rack is heavy...but it is a workhorse of a system. Going with powered speakers will reduce your load in but you also have to run power to each speaker, which is kind of a hassle...lots of power cords, extensions, etc. I'd say it's a toss up....six of one half a dozen of the other.
     
  3. NickFromNY

    NickFromNY Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    Would it be better to simply upgrade the tops from the Eon1500s to something better? I know that would be the easiest route, but our gigs arw getting higher in profile and I want us to sound as good as possible. No.. Hiring a soundman is not an option at this point.
     
  4. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    montana
    I would look at JBL PRX612ms over the PRX618xlf subs
     
  5. Keithwah

    Keithwah

    Jan 7, 2011
    Milwaukee WI
    Agree! I I have the three ways with the same sub and have loved them. Would have gone to the two ways, but we said heck with it and dropped the extra few hundred. They are so stinking light to haul around as well.
     
  6. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    montana
    I have the older PRX535s and they are a great sounding cab.
     
  7. uhdinator

    uhdinator

    Apr 20, 2010
    Maine
    I have the PRX415's and they sound so smooth and punchy. And soooo light weight!
     
  8. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I've gone back and forth on powered non-powered. Finally settled on QSC K Series Mains, Mackie Thump 12's as monitors. Studio Live board. I carry no outboard gear except iPad, laptop & router. Maybe 5 extra extension cords & outlet bars.

    No way I'm going back to the dinosaur days...
     
  9. We use a traditional system, primarily because of cost and ease of repair/replacement if a component goes down. My best friend's band went the power speaker route, and he claims it's a never ending nightmare trying to find enough power for the speakers, powered monitors and all of the instrument amps, ect. I can see where at some venues this could be a problem, we play places where having live music, let alone a PA, is definitely an afterthought, and you're lucky to have 2 15A circuits to run everything. But the powered stuff sure makes a lot of sense if you can afford it and the getting power to it isn't a problem.
     
  10. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    montana
    That is what they make power strips and ext cords for. Most powered speakers don't use much amperage. BTW not sure in Wyoming but here in Montana code calls for 20 amp circuits in commercial buildings IIRC.
     
  11. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Never had that issue. Did a couple of shows off generators last year with 4 sm450's, QSC 2402 driving subs, yam power for monitors and a pair of Mackie 1530 3ways - plus the back line... We draw a lot less than you'd think before you add in lights... Sound level is of course an issue...
     
  12. Had a few problems with power issues, but most venues were able to put us through several circuits to alleviate it. The JBL monitors with the 1000watt Crown power amps do seem to add to our amperage draw.
     
  13. That would be true of NEW construction, but most of the places around here were built long before building codes were adopted. The county I live in only started to issue building permits about 7 years ago, and inspections later than that. Montana is practically cosmopolitan compared to Wyo in most ways; I believe there are still people here that consider fire a new-fangled invention. Most power strips are only rated at 15A, anyhow. And how many people carry 12GA or heavier, depending on length, extension cords to handle 20A power? I have several because I'm a contractor, but I rarely see them outside of a construction site. Heck, plenty of places here still have ungrounded receptacles. And we also don't have clean power, so I run a power conditioner on all the PA gear, which gets tougher and/or more expensive with a lot of powered speakers/monitors. But again, I'd do it if it weren't for the upfront costs of building a new PA.
     
  14. uhdinator

    uhdinator

    Apr 20, 2010
    Maine
    pros and cons of powered vs passive.

    powered=need more power outlets 1 each cab:bawl:
    powered=no racks/amps/heavy cables to schlep around:hyper:
    powered=easy to daisy chain more :hyper:

    Passive=1 outlet for 4 speaker cabs:hyper:
    passive= heavy amps/racks/cables:bawl:
    passive=more cables needed:bawl:
     
  15. jad

    jad

    Aug 29, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I would add DSP as an advantage to powered tops, although some at the bottom of the quality scale might not have it. And I think of passive as fewer cables needed since power and signal are combined.
     
  16. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    montana
    Your power conditioner isn't doing anything but draining your wallet. Most newer amps have the same protection built in. My band carries 10-12-14gauge ext cords and a power distro if we need it.
     
  17. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    For the sake of comparison, assume whatever power amps you're racking are modern ultralight designs.

    Given that, depending on the setup, the total rig can sometimes be lighter with passive speakers. Carrying multiple long, heavy-duty extension cords for powered tops (and monitors) adds bulk and weight pretty quickly.

    Also, one of my least favorite parts of tear-down is coiling long cable and cord runs to the mains & monitors (especially after outdoor gigs, when they're likely to be wet). With active speakers, there are twice as many cables to hook up and tear down.
     
  18. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    montana
    Well decent speaker cables are not exactly light. I usually can run an ext.cord with a built in quad box or 6 way to the back of each speaker stack. It usually take me less than 5 minutes to run the extra power.
     
  19. Yeah, we run 12GA speaker cable, so it's not much lighter than a good extension cord, or cheaper, either. The next step is bound to be wireless powered cabs (WiFi perhaps?). Then just plug them into AC and you're done.
     
  20. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Yes, my point is that, in contrast to several posters here who praise the portability of PAs built around powered speakers, apples-to-apples comparisons are pretty much a wash. And in some common circumstances load in and setup are actually more convenient with passive speakers.
     

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