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What Live Sound System Would You Recommend?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Auguste, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. Auguste


    Apr 5, 2012
    *** The Group ***

    Some members from two bands plus 1 (me) Morphing into a new band. Looking to improve by using best players and who are team players and not drama queens.

    Want to setup a system with IEM In Ear Monitoring

    Only keeping guitars, bass, keys and acoustic drums

    Not keeping any of the amps or cabs we currently own nor mics

    Six members, two guitars, bass, keyboard, acoustic drums, and four sing vocals

    Sometimes have a sax player or someone else join us

    Music is 95% classic rock from 60s to 90s

    *** Venues ***

    Play some outdoor venues including a number of charity events for United Way and 2 other organizations . . . Yup, we play for free for them but there over 500 people at these venues . . . Leads to many of the business gigs plus we all have have jobs, are semi retired or retired with pensions etc. so we can afford to play for free, and we all support these organizations as volunteers for their annual events

    The bands were previously playing weddings and business parties etc. These are good paying gigs.

    The also played a small number of bars . . . But usually for birthday parties and the such

    *** The Budget ***

    The group has over $20,000 available to buy the gear and everyone is willing to be plugged into the system

    Is $20,000 enough or too much?

    *** Your Recommendations ***

    What do you recommend . . . We have a large enclosed trailer to move everything.

  2. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    1. Dedicated sound guy
    2. Based on Presonus Studio Live board - and invest the time to learn it.
    2a. MacBook Pro to host the Presonus VSL, Capture and QMix software.
    3. Configurable/ modular mains so you can scale your system appropriately for the venue. Personally I really like the QSC K Series. Great audio quality AND they are reasonable in weight. The sub doesn't look great on paper but it sounds phenomenal if you like tight and deep as opposed to the typical DJ flab and boom.
    4. Good mic's. I'm liking the Audix OM7 currently.
    5. I would think about small amps... Direct electric guitars don't generally sound all that good. 12 or 15 watt tube amp makes a huge difference. Bass I could live with direct personally. And of course you'll need drum shields

    Lot's of good info on the Presonus site. I would start there and get familiar with that piece of technology first.
  3. Auguste


    Apr 5, 2012

    I will search that site.
  4. ThirstyMonkey


    Jun 27, 2011
    +1 on the studio live. Fat channel and EQ options eliminate the need for most outboard gear. The 16.4.2 gives you six aux sends for individual IEMs. Plus, since you're going IEM, you can comfortably let everyone create their own personal mix with the Q-mix App (if they have iphones, that is). Also the VSL can be run from an iPad so you can keep the board on stage and let your sound guy mix from anywhere in the room. Only drawback, is that the computer connection is firewire. Given the computer market these days, you're pretty much locked into Apple computers.

    To make life easier, you probably want to pair it with powered mains/subs. My band uses QSCs, but there are other good options on the market within your price range.

    As for guitar amps, I'd leave the decision to your band's guitarists. The guitarists in my band refuse to use digital modeling and insist on tube amps to get there "tone." While I recognize how important this is for recording (I'm a guitarist too), almost no one in the audience will be able to tell the difference between a good digital modeler and a miked tube amp. Still, part of a good performance comes from being happy with your sound. If they need amps, go quality and small.
  5. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    The SL looks nice, but a bunch of guys are having problems with them I hear. Seems to me with 20k in the budget there might be better options.

    Then again, I don't really know what I'm talking about. lol
  6. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Don't buy, hire out.
  7. This costs more than the Studiolive, and would leave you with less for other things...but it looks very, very nice: http://www.soundcraft.com/products/product.aspx?pid=180

    I'm a big fan of Soundcraft boards and how they lay things out, makes more sense to me than most other digital consoles.
  8. Keithwah


    Jan 7, 2011
    Milwaukee WI
    I have a Presonus Studio Live 16.4.2 as well and love Presonus' innovative ideas and dedication to improving the product. The recent Smaart Live addition is a god send as well.

    Presonus kicks the Soundcraft's butt in the iPad app department for sure. We run all IEM's with a set of JBL PRX boxes. We use the 3-way top and the XLF version of the subs. They kill. QSC is good too for sure. We run without a live operator, and when we do he gets an iPad. All have iPads for IEM control as well. The boards are tanks, you won't have any moving faders crapping out. And they sound amazing. And we run Capture on every gig. Why not? This was our answer to running from the stage for most of our shows, and when its practical we take our guy along to iPad mix it. Works very nicely.

    The Sic32 is no slouch. It's easy to get around, sounds great, It has an insane amount of outputs (16 total) four Lexicon stereo verbs, nice compressors (though I prefer the Presonus dynamics) and an amazing scene recall for hands on operators. This is not a run it from the stage board yourself. You could...but, its scene recall features make it a dream for the live operator. You can program each song in the set, muting mics that don't get used for increased gain and a lower live noise floor, turning mics on, adding effects for songs or even specific cues. It has a sweet button called "NEXT" that advances the scenes without any scrolling. But the scene recalls have some quirks and you will want to get to the "isolate" page to turn off changing EQ settings and monitor sends, etc. Soundcraft has a very crappy iPad app. In time it will improve, but that's what shows Presonus' dedication to improving their products. I have tons of issues using ViSi, and none using SL-Universal Control. These should be around $5,800-$6000 for the 32, about $500-700 cheaper for the 24. If you are buying a 16 channel, just buy the Studio Live 16.4.2. You'd love the Capture software (free w/ board) for recording and archiving shows.

    I use the AT M-2 IEMS and am very happy, the Shure are excellent, the Sennheiser may be the better sounding. Once you buy them, buy everyone a set of UE Triple Fi 10's as a great starter. You can find them on Amazon or Ebay for around $150-165 a set. Triple drivers deliver the best off the shelf bass sound around. Biggest problem with ear buds is if you don't use good ones, you will never really love your IEM's. Make sure you buy an inexpensive condenser mic and route just through the IEM's in order to hear the room/crowd response. And make sure you use the Comply foam pads, they do a great job of isolating the outside sound which is essential with IEM use.

    I have stopped using my stage amp. The UE Triple Fi 10's kill, I feel the deep vibe from the PRX subs, I hear what I want and how I want to hear it and everyone else is responsible for their own IEM mix. Its far more relaxed with the less worries in set-up and tear down. The PRX boxes are crazy lightweight. If you intend to mix from stage, go Presonus, if with a soundman, and want to pop the extra few thousand, the Soundcraft will not disappoint.

    I do agree good mics are also important. But with a digital console and the effects being very good and internal, we don't have an effects/drive rack. Everything includes main and monitor output EQ & dynamics is built into these boards. We keep our 16.4.2 in a slant top Odyssey case with our IEM transmitters in the lower 8 space rack portion of the case. No more carrying speaker cables, just mic cables now. So we got to leave the speaker cable case behind.

    Something else to consider is lighting. You can find good pricing on inexpensive LED fixtures. Well worth it. You can get a pretty decent show for around $3,000.

    But in order of importance are:

    A) Powered Speakers
    B) IEM Systems & Earbuds
    C) Microphones
    D) Console
    E) Lighting

    Here's why, your main house speakers are the most important part of the rig. Your system is only as good as your weakest link. Buy the QSC or PRX. Best of this variety out there for the dollar. The IEM's are next, they are also speakers..and so are the earbuds. Spend you money for good stuff here. Then microphones..GIGO..garbage in garbage out. Got to have good ones. And SM-58's are just fine for vocals. There are better but these or Beta-58's or E/V N/D767's are great mics, for a decent dollar. The Audix OM vocal mics are also great. Direct boxes for all the direct musicians are also "mics" category. Good drum mics aren't cheap, but look at the Audix drum packs, stay away from the $200-300 packs, look at the $500 and up type packs. Now what do you have left over? Do you have enough to buy a Soundcraft SiC? No? Buy the Presonus.

    Got a couple thousand after all that? Buy some nifty LED lighting. If not, hire it out.
  9. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
  10. Auguste


    Apr 5, 2012

    Thanks for the in depth information and comparison

    Greatly appreciated!
  11. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    +1 on everything said so far.

    I know a bunch of people who are using the Presonus, and haven't heard anything that suggests reliability problems. Sound-wise, it's jaw-dropping. Much better converters and preamps than you ought to be able to get for that kind of money.

    The interface is much, much less intimidating than any of the current competition. I'm sure there will be something better along soon, but right now, it's the class champ for any band that can get by with 24 inputs. And Presonus is great about firmware updates. We've had our board for less than a year, and it's already got a bunch of new virtual rack gear, interface improvements, etc., all free...

    It's definitely worth getting the Mac and iPad for remote control. Aside from allowing the operator to adjust the mix as they move around the room, this lets you leave the mixer sidestage, and saves you the cost (and weight) of a 100' snake. If you want to get really slick, and have the $$$ left over, get a couple of short, custom stage snakes made up, to reduce clutter.

    For personal IEM mixing, there's also an iPhone app. This could save some of your band members from having to either shell out for an iPad, or rely on the sound guy.
  12. Vinny D

    Vinny D

    Jan 9, 2007
    Warwick, RI
    With that much money to spend.....keep it! (or most of it).
    I would never....ever tie up that much money on gear that is owned by a group of people.
    It never EVER turns out well.
    As a group if you all decided to invest in a IEM system with a board and splitter snake, I say fine. At least that way if/when people decide to leave they can take there own IEM system and the group of people that are left can come up with a buy-out figure for the mixer and splitter snake.
    Not to painfull!

    Then look local for a soundtech with a system that you can work a deal with...in todays world EVERYONE is looking to make a deal.
    The money you save will be better in your own pocket then tied up in gear that you only own a part of.
    Either buy ALL the gear yourself, or rent a system.
    NO BAND PA SYSTEMS!!!(especially when that kind of money is involved).
  13. Rick Cruz

    Rick Cruz

    Jul 21, 2012
    I would highly recommend Yamaha DXR15's for your mains. I used to own QSC K12's and was pretty satisfied with them; however, many of my friends who used to have K12's started replacing them with DXR12's or DXR15's. One friend lent me his DXR's for my gig, and wow... They had all the clarity and low-end that K12 did not have at higher volume. So I sold my K12's to get the DXR's. You better try them out if you have a chance!!
  14. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    I'm with Keithwah on this. Presonus 16.4.2 as long as someone in the band can learn how to run it. I would also go with the PRX speakers he suggested. They sound good and are lightweight. I use the AT M3. you will need to upgrade the earbuds the stock ones suck.
  15. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Has anyone else heard about power supply issues with the SL series? Intermittent "Dropouts", etc..
  16. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Mine froze up at an outdoor gig. It has been fine since then at rehearsal. I havn't used it on a gig since then because they are high $ weddings. I have a bar gig next month that I will use it for. Hopefully it was just a one time deal.
  17. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I do a lot of lurking at another forum ( a pretty well known Pro Audio forum) and there are several people over there who have reported having this problem. I really hope it is a simple issue because so many people really like the SL consoles. I know nothing about them other than they are digital and extremely flexible. Eventually I could see myself upgrading to digital ( although having not too long ago upgraded to a Mixwiz which makes me very happy, it might be awhile) and I see some pretty good deals on the Presonus boards. There is a SL 24 channel on my local CL right now for $1500.
  18. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    That is a great deal. I bought my 16.4.2 used with SKB case for that price.
  19. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    I had high hopes for this console, but for my wants, they dropped the ball in a number of areas.
  20. Mind explaining what areas? Just curious.

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