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Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system

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jimmyt 15 Aug 04 - 08:14 PM
treewind 16 Aug 04 - 08:28 AM
Strollin' Johnny 16 Aug 04 - 08:49 AM
jimmyt 16 Aug 04 - 09:44 AM
s&r 16 Aug 04 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Claymore 16 Aug 04 - 12:07 PM
GUEST,Toenails John 16 Aug 04 - 01:59 PM
Jeremiah McCaw 16 Aug 04 - 05:50 PM
jimmyt 16 Aug 04 - 07:03 PM
Strollin' Johnny 17 Aug 04 - 07:59 AM
Grab 17 Aug 04 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,Mountain Tyme 17 Aug 04 - 01:57 PM
jimmyt 17 Aug 04 - 02:03 PM
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Subject: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: jimmyt
Date: 15 Aug 04 - 08:14 PM

I know there is no "perfect" system but I hoped it would make you curious enough to contribute. My group is wanting to upgrade our sound system. I hope to get a number of features with a new system. Here are our needs:

Inputs for 5 instruments and 5 mikes. Our instrumentation is normally 3 guitars, one of which is nylon string. One banjo, 5 string long neck. Pete Seegar model, one upright acoustic bass with a pretty decent pickup.

We have adequate Shure 58 Mikes stands, good speaker cable and cables for instruments and mikes

We presently have a KMG 270 watt amp, which has mixer built in, no preamp, no facility to run monitors except in series with speakers.

we have 2 good sounding but way too heavy Krate speakers.

We would like minimal weight, set up, and essentially an idiot proof system as we are all Technically challenged.

We would like to provide good clear sound for a room of 75 folks that are not in a pub setting, fairly quiet.

Biggest desires are ease of setup and Quality of sound, not volume of sound.

Any help would be appreciated. Again, sorry to be so dumb but I felt I could get real info here better than at a music dealer

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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: treewind
Date: 16 Aug 04 - 08:28 AM

So what's wrong with the current system?
Your only complaint appears to be that the main speakers are too heavy. Get some lighter ones...

You mention you haven't any monitors. If you want to add proper monitors you'll need a mixer than can produce a foldback mix. It will get more complicated and you want it idiot-proof!

For simplicity you could look at active speakers for both mains and monitors - fewer and less confusing interconnects. You can strap the power and audio cables together in pairs to simplify inventory. Then you'll have a system where everything else plugs into the mixer.

But apart from the heavy speakers... if it ain't broke don't fix it !?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 16 Aug 04 - 08:49 AM

Why do you want a PA in a room that's so small it only holds 75 people, and is quiet anyway? That's what your lungs are for. :0)

Totally acoustic sounds so much nicer than amplified acoustic, and it's so much less hassle. (BTW, I'm not a technophobe - my last band (which I may rejoin this year) played R&R, with Marshall/Fender/Peavey backline, all miked or DI'd (including the Druckin' Fums) through a 7.2Kw rig with 1.8Kw foldback, 24-Channel desk, Peavey Black Widow 2x18" Bass Bins, Peavey & Bose Mids/Tops, Bose Monitors, Alesis FX, Vocalist 2, in all about a coupla tons!).

If you're not playing big rooms, why not work to the KISS principle?

SJ :0)

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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: jimmyt
Date: 16 Aug 04 - 09:44 AM

We don't seem to be able to get enough sound to fill a room with more than a couple dozen folks. I know the concept of using your lungs, I have done live theater for 15 years, but it doesn't allow me to be able to play the upright bass loud enough to be heard, not to mention the nylon string acoustic guitar. We are also short 2 inputs with our seperate system, having only 8. I am not sure what foldback means, but we can't hook a preamp to our system as it is, and now when we have monitors, they have to be at the same leval as the mains since they are hooked up in series.

I guess what you are saying is that I will not be able to simplify the set up much with another system.

WHat about recommending good lightweight speakers that can handle lows from the bass as well as the vocal highs and banjo? WOuld I be better off to buy a seperate bass amp and just run the bass seperate from the rest of the system?

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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: s&r
Date: 16 Aug 04 - 11:38 AM

Many modern rigs use light (mid/highrange)speakers on a pole, with the power needed for bass provided by a separately amplified larger speaker at ground level. It does introduce some small complexity, but reduces weight and in particular the need to put heavy speakers at or about head height.

My experience with PA (a sort of parkinson's Law) is that there are always two channels less than your needs.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 16 Aug 04 - 12:07 PM

It sounds as though you only have one powered out put instead of a dual powered amp. Since you haven't given me a lot to work with my suggestions are as follows:

1. Get a dual powered amp, in the Behringer PMX2000, Yamaha EMX88S or the Samson XM910 range. All have eight channels, dual power, buses, and EQs to run a separate FOH and a monitor mix, deliver two channels of power in the 300 watts into 4 oms range (which is plenty for your use) and they are all in the $500 range, which is fairly inexpensive for what they offer. Mackies are way too expensive and Crates powered mixers are a bit too complicated for what you discribe.

2. Monitors do not need to be expensive and are often the most wasted money new bands spend. They do not exist to allow you to hear yourself in all your glory, but only to provide cue, volumne and timing to your music. A couple of Peavy 112M monitors (around $180) will do nicely and if turned upside down on the 45 degreee angle will reduce the feedback from your acoustic guitars. They also have seperate volumne controls to reduce the sound to one or the other of the monitors (helpful if you have one or two folks who are hard of hearing).

#3. Get a separate small amp for your bass and then throw out every piece of advice your have ever received about a "back line". Any bass amp behind you will (due to the rounded characteristic of lower pitched sounds) feedback into your vocal mics, making your vocals muddy, and your classical guitar humpy. Even the use of 80 to 100 hz high pass filters won't solve the problem. Set the small bass amp (no more than 10 or 12 inch speakers) at the corner of your FOH speakers aimed mostly at the audience but with a little back towards the bass player. If he's playing a doghouse, he doesn't even need that, but in no case "behind the line". It will project enough bass into the crowd, without overcoming your monitors,, the FOH and your vocals. The Fender Bassman 25 at $270, works nicely with a "line out" back to the board if your need to project more power through the front of the house. If the bass sounds boomy, get the amp off the floor, and onto a folding chair, if necessary.

4. With all of the advice you may get, focus on creating a sound system which incorperates much of what you already have, is flexible to allow other components to mate up (your band will not last in its present configeration forever), can be resold at not a great loss, or bought up by one band member, and doesn't add much to your present gear assembly.

5. At some point you might want to get smaller FOH speakers, but wait until your have a good sound coming out of your present speakers (which you say aready sound good) and then using your final set up try different and smaller speakers into the mix until you hear what you want, at the size you can carry. Actually, you may be able to trade your Crate 15" speakers (my guess as to what you have) into Crate 12"s, which is what I did years ago with excellent results.

Good Luck!

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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: GUEST,Toenails John
Date: 16 Aug 04 - 01:59 PM

There is one brand that Rang in my head in reply to your question, that being HK AUDIO. I will admit that we no longer use the brand ourslves having upgraded to a mackie rig, but HK AUDIO make fantastic rigs, for fantastic musicians, who aint fantastic scientists, Basically, what they refer to as their "active systems" are amp built in jobs, only drawback (if you can call it that) is the need for a seperate UNpowered mixer of your choice, then you simply wire your mic's, instruments etc into the channels as norm, run your two output leads from the desk to the powered unit,usually sub on the floor, and two leads from that in to the two speakers, plug in the power and play! simplemo!

We used the HK L.U.C.A.S for severel years without hassle, speakers are about the size and maybe a touch heavier than the average HI FI speaker, Don't laugh coz they pack a punch, or you can go up in size or down to the E.L.I.A.S as suits your needs or your pocket,

Anyway Thats my suggestion, WELL WORTH A LOOK, check out for their range and hope this is help to you!

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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: Jeremiah McCaw
Date: 16 Aug 04 - 05:50 PM

Thanks for the HK recommendation, T.J.
The L.U.C.A.S 600 looks like it might be just about right for my trio.
The HK site doesn't have too much info about availability here in Canada, or prices either.
Might anyone know of a Canadian (preferably Ontario) dealer where I might audition one of these systems? (Toronto/Hamilton/Kitchener-Waterloo area, ideally)

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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: jimmyt
Date: 16 Aug 04 - 07:03 PM

same here TJ I think it sounds like a good solution to my situation but would like to find a dealer within a 100 miles or so. Thanks for the input

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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 17 Aug 04 - 07:59 AM

I can vouch for the HK rig also. One of our club-members has the 600-watt version (300w bass bin and 2x150w satellite tops). It's surprisingly powerful for such a small rig and the floor-standing bass bin gives a nice round sound. Don't be put off by the small pole-mounted satellites - they're loud, crisp and punchy. The only drawback (apart from the need to buy a seperate mixer as TJ mentioned) is that you also need Arnold Schwartzenegger standing by, or a small crane, to load the bass bin into/out of your car - weighs lots!
SJ :0)

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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: Grab
Date: 17 Aug 04 - 10:24 AM

If you're only playing in small places and you've got lots of dosh, there's AER instrument amps for sound reinforcement. I can't afford them, but I saw a guy using one recently and the sound was phenomenally clear. It's basically just the instrument louder - no colouring of the sound at all. Only problem is the cost. But for the size of place there (particularly since you say it's quiet), it's only really sound reinforcement you need, not serious amplification.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: GUEST,Mountain Tyme
Date: 17 Aug 04 - 01:57 PM

I have assembled a "perfect" sound system for out of doors concerts. Took a long time and much study. To "heavy" (weight & sound)for indoors.
Bought the Peavy all in one light weight boombox looking system. Works great indoors!!! Peavy did their homework! Use one mike (Sure 55) on a very light tripod stand. Five Bluegrass musicians can work the mic just like the old days adding much to the visual appeal of the act. The stand up bass remains six feet to the rear with excellent results. The Peavy unit retails for ~ $700 but it can be had for $500. The one mike is the answer to many problems not room enough here to address. IMO "Working" the mic is just part of a good musicians duties. cheers MT

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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with the 'perfect' sound system
From: jimmyt
Date: 17 Aug 04 - 02:03 PM

Thanks grab and Thyme for the info. Lots of very good information to mull over!

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