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Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size

GUEST,Dewey 07 Jul 07 - 03:09 AM
treewind 07 Jul 07 - 03:46 AM
treewind 07 Jul 07 - 03:47 AM
mandotim 07 Jul 07 - 04:03 AM
Dewey 07 Jul 07 - 08:04 AM
Leadfingers 07 Jul 07 - 08:16 AM
bigchuck 07 Jul 07 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 07 Jul 07 - 09:16 PM
GUEST 08 Jul 07 - 09:02 AM
jeffp 10 Jul 07 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,highlandman 10 Jul 07 - 01:24 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Jul 07 - 03:38 AM
treewind 11 Jul 07 - 04:15 AM
Richard Bridge 11 Jul 07 - 04:36 AM
redsnapper 11 Jul 07 - 05:53 AM
Richard Bridge 11 Jul 07 - 10:35 AM
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Subject: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: GUEST,Dewey
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 03:09 AM

I've been gigging lately at a smaller bar and need to buy a some small speakers, and a low powered amp to continue on there. (the guy that was running the sound is no longer able to do so)

I am thinking of buying a 200 watt amp for the power. I am looking for a really tight, bright sound match, with the philosophy toward the sound that less is more, and K.I.S.S. ( i.e. I am not trying to shake the walls or start a street dance while performing)

The guy that used to run the sound, had a mis-matched amp and drove too much power to his speakers, broke tweeters, fuses, starved the microphones with a cheap mixer and poor pre-amps and generally made the band sound like a big fart in a bathtub.

The instruments we play are all acoustic and the style is Bluegrass. I am looking for a system that is small in size. Has adequate but clear amplification, is lightweight, with balanced mics, preamps, mixer and properly matched speakers to reflect this.

Please advise

(especially on matching speaker size, as I would like to optimize the output in reguard to clarity)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: treewind
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 03:46 AM

Choose your speakers first, then an amp that can drive them.
Driving too much power to the speakers will damage them, but having an amp that is underpowered will also damage the speakers: if you drive the amp to clipping the speakers get a very unnatural signal that they can't cope with - in fact that's what may have blown your previous system's tweeters. The rule is to have an amplifier power rating about twice the speaker rating. This works because the amplifier's power rating relates to the peak levels (absolute ceiling above which it won't go), while a speaker rating is thermal and is therefore more related to average power, and in real music (as opposed to higly compressed recorded music) peaks are well above average levels.

The Yamaha StagePAS 500 might suit you - amazingly lightweight, and the speakers and amp are bought as a matched package.

A good alternative route to a small simple system is powered speakers. They are often no heavier than a passive speaker of similar power.

For our ceilidh band we use EV SX300s with and amp that can deliver 450Wpc.
For monitors we use JBL control 1's on mic stands and about 100W driving them. We are considering using the JBLs for small sound reinforcement jobs too - we once put a scratch band though them in a village hall party and they held up surprisingly well but they don't give you a lot of bass.

Before others ask in - how many inputs, what instruments and how much do you want to spend?

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: treewind
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 03:47 AM

Before others ask in
Er, that was meant to be "before others ask"
A.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: mandotim
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 04:03 AM

Have a look at the HK Audio LUCAS system. You can get them in any size from 350 to 2000 watts. Fairly light, portable (on wheels) and very high quality, with the amps built in to the bass speaker cabinet and two small satellite treble speakers. German built, and pretty much bomb proof. I've used one for years to amplify acoustic bands, and it's never let me down. Just add a mixer with enough inputs for your band, and away you go. Oh; and it only takes minutes to set up.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: Dewey
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 08:04 AM

Thanks for the info.

I would like to spend $1000.00 or less. Right now I trade off between 5-string banjo and lead guitar depending on who shows for the event.

Also there is a secondary rhythm guitar player who also sings, and a bass player (who plugs in) and, on occasion, we have a mandolin player as well who joins us. It more or less is an open mike, lets see who comes format, in which the players are all well versed in traditional music, but mainly it is for fun. There is never more than the four of us in all, and sometimes as few as two.

I suppose I would ultimately use about three vocal mics for singing, and about 3 instrument mics for playing.

Thanks for the info and for sharing your answers. Really decent speakers is my main obsession here. I would like to get some expert opinions/testimonials on which might sound best for a small acoustical setting such as the above.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 08:16 AM

The Fender Passport is a neat portable system - Though its only four effective inputs , so a small unpowered mixer may well be usefull if there are more inputs required . 'Over There' - USA - you get for dollars what we pay in pounds in UK - And check Music 123 - they have a sale on at the moment !


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: bigchuck
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 08:34 AM

Don't overlook Behringer. their quality has come a long way, and their new stuff is great value for the money. they make a neat powered 12" speaker with I think 450 watts and great sound for a street price of $199 each. Put that together with one of a number of unpowered mixers from Behringer or Alesis, and you've got a pretty nifty little system for around $750 or so. If you need monitoring, Roland makes a monitor cube that mounts on a mike stand (30 watts, 3 channel mixer, 10"/side) that delivers amazing sound. I use mine as a PA for smallish rooms. $175 or so.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 09:16 PM

Balancing a NEW SYSTEM from scratch is an SOB - for anyone outside the amplification industry - (90% of those who say they "know" "DON'T")

Ask around your local area, contact churchs and schools with new systems. Find the RIGHT man and then pay the money. The entire field has been changing every three years....but a good technician from thrity years ago still knows the electrical rules....IN-Out-Out-In-Out....

Get one component too large and you fiddle with the whistles for years trying to compensate.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

been whistling the fiddle-stats for over 30 years because I was too cheap to get the input right.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jul 07 - 09:02 AM

There's a lot of great new gear on the market, these days .... that means there's a lot of really good used gear on the market too. There good advice here
already; match the power to the spekars carefully, consider the stes made by a good name manufacturer, etc. Based on your price and performance preferences listed here, I would look first at the used JBL EON speakers, (some are powered) - and the similar designs made by Macke and maybe another name or two. These are good, built to last designs with the "really tight, bright sound match" you are looking for.

You might just spend an hour or two cruising EBbay (pro audio and PA gear) - see what's available, then look at the websites of the manufacturers that catch your your eye ....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: jeffp
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 12:21 PM

I just put a system together with a Soundcraft GigRac 1000ST powered mixer (8 inputs, 2 500W amps) and a pair of Peavey PR12N Speakers (12 in. 2-way). With a pair of speaker stands, it was under $1000US. Very nice sound. They have lower powered systems as well. Very portable. I can carry the whole mess to the car in 2 trips.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: GUEST,highlandman
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 01:24 PM

+1:
We just started using a new system built around the Soundcraft Gigrac 600 and Peavey PR12Ns. They work together beautifully. For relatively cheap speakers the Peav's have impressive clarity, which you most likely want -- we were looking for something that just reinforced the sound volume without coloring the "acoustic" feel, and it can be done on a budget -- almost.
The PR12's are also quite lightweight and easy for Mrs Highlandman to tote around. The mixer is built like a tank. I recommend either the powered speaker or powered mixer route for a small system; a component system is just too much shtuff to mess with when transporting and setting up.
On the disappointing side, we put in a Kustom 10" wedge for a floor monitor. It absolutely sucks compared to the Peav's and will be replaced as soon as possible.
Some other tech points: you really don't need (or want) stereo for live sound, and yes, amp rating at twice the speaker rating is about right.
Garg is correct, building up a component system from scratch is a SOB, I've done it (sometimes well, sometimes not so well). A prepackaged system (powered speakers or powered mixer) gets you past some of these pitfalls. Beware the package deals at the discount houses, though, they tend to sell you speakers that are too large (in power handling) for the amps.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 03:38 AM

Fender Passport is horrid. The Peavey equivalent is not too bad, but not enough inputs for your needs. JBLs are usually nice speakers but are not usually cheap. The Mackie powered speakers have a reputation way above their actual quality of sound - they are very coarse and abrasive in the high midrange, although they seem pretty reliable. Here in the UK they are way too expensive.   

The Yamaha systems are fair, and for people who don't want to become gear junkies usually work well-ish together, but for some reason since the EMX3000/3500 powered mixer series way back in the 70s (which were stupidly heavy but sweet, tough, and punchy) the Yamaha watts seem to me to be smaller than they were, so get about twice the power you expect to need. There is a nice-ish powered mixer they do at the moment with 12 mic inputs and 500+500 rms (but I think no internal amp for the monitors so you's need powered monitors) called the EMX5000 but I'm not sure if it will suffice on power.

Thomann own brand stuff is pretty fair too.

If you are on a budget, I have used and was favourably surprised by the Phonic box mixer-amps, (I think the one was called the 740 or something like that) but the rated 375+375 watts is into 2 Ohms and again there is no third internal power amp for the monitors. It is my recommendation (but I am worried about whether it will be loud enough) if money is a major major factor.

Speakers I recommend building. Eminence kappapro woofers (4 ohm ones), Motorola Powerline piezo horns (use two to each kappapro, put them in series with each other and in parallel to the kappapro), and eminence sell a book of speaker cab designs. No crossover to go wrong, very clean and un-splashy for piezo horns, and quite hard to blow up! Eminence are cheap as chips in the USA, and USA purchasers (but not the rest of the world, discriminate, discriminate) get a limited lifetime warranty.


Microphones are often a bugbear. The more mikes, the more likelihood of feedback, and the more everyone is in eveyone else's mic as well as their own, and the more muddled the overall sound gets. Get the intruments to fit internal pickups. Headway snakes are best (IMHO) but in the USA you can also try PUTW although they are too dear here in the UK. LR Bags nice sound too, but I-beam very prone to feedback in guitars. B-band fair (I have them in several guitars). Headways are the only ones people come up to me and ask what pickups I am using because they sound so good (liquid gold, one bloke described it as). But in a live band a bad pickup will still give you less overall mess than a good mic.

Vocal mikes - Shure is the industry standard for a reason. They sound OK and they are survivors. AKG will give you a better (sweeter and truer if that is possible) vocal sound for your money and the series one D880s are lovely (series two crap) but avoid the 3800s.

With reasonable speakers and a reasonable mixer-amp (oh, I forgot, the little Carlsboro powered monitors are OK) mics will make more difference to your sound than anything else, and the more average (or worse) your singers are, the more improvement a good mic will make to their sound, with a bit of tweaking at the desk.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: treewind
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 04:15 AM

I'm glad somebody posted about the Fender passport. I've used one and it is horrid. It's clever the way it packs into a single suitcase format, but if you want a 1-case PA I've also used one made by Peavey (I think, it was at one of the venues at last year's Cornwall festival) that wasn't too bad, with only 4 mic inputs.

If you want to spend a little more on vocal mics, I've read glowing reports of the Rode S1 - a condenser mic that's apparently being sold as a poor man's Neumann KMS105 at half the price. If I was in the market for a vocal stage mic, that's certainly one I'd like to try.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 04:36 AM

Rode S1 likely to be out of the price bracket of someone who wanted a whole rig for under $1,000!

THere are cheap condensor mics out there that are usable on stage - but not all the cheap mixer-amps will have phantom power, and those that do may have it on(on all channels) or off (on all channels) which is about as useful as a bike to a fish.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: redsnapper
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 05:53 AM

I would second Anahata's suggestion of the Yamaha StagePas.

I use a Yamaha StagePas300 (300W rms) which is excellent quality in a tiny and highly transportable package. I can also run my stereo guitar through the stereo channel.

RS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Matching P.A. Speakers to Amp Size
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 10:35 AM

The reason I am iffy about the power of the Yamahas is that I think it was Cliff Bayliss used one in one of the pubs in Tenterden, and he was pumping a kilowatt of mandolin (it must have been like being inside a boiler being rivetted) and still was not louder than two rows of Henry and Harriet braying at each other in front of the speakers....


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