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  • Next PA upgrade - opinions please

    Five piece band, two guitars (rhythm and lead), Bass guitar, Drums. Two vox, lead and backup.

    Current PA (please don't laugh, I'm working on it):

    Vox - Senn e945s
    Kick - Senn e901
    Snare - SM57 (when I use it, rarely)
    Lead Gtr - Senn e609
    Rhythm Gtr - Direct

    Mixer - Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 - using mono out to feed the amp
    Power amp - QSC GX5 in X-over mode (100Hz)
    Mains - Peavey PR12s in parallel, mono, one channel on the amp
    Subs - Peavey PV118s in parallel, mono, other channel on the amp. I set them on top of each other on one side of the stage to couple them and avoid the "power alley" issue.
    Monitors - In-ears

    Music: Mostly modern country covers (Jason Aldean, Eric Church, etc.), a few classic rock covers thrown in for good measure.
    Venues: When we bring the PA, it is usually the bar/club gigs. Our larger gigs have sound provided so not an issue.

    I own the PA and run sound from stage. We have been steadily upgrading as budget allows starting with the mics and mixer. At this point we are happy with the sound, so I could stay where I'm at and be fine. But, I want to try and compact it a bit more and lighten the load.

    My first idea is to replace the subs with a single powered unit such as a PRX-618XLF. Would this provide the same output and "feel" as the two 118s? The specs seem to indicate it would, but I want to verify. This is my main question at this point since they weigh the most and take up the most space.

    I have also been checking out the new Mackie DLM Series powered speakers for both mains and subs. Does anyone have any experience with these yet, or Mackie in general? We played a gig where the house PA used the Mackie Thumps for mains, and they sounded really good.

    Any ideas on our current setup that might help improve the sound? As I said, we are happy with it but I'm always open to new ideas. I think that's it for now, but I'm sure more questions will come up.

    Thanks!

    Tad

  • #2
    Subs - Peavey PV118s in parallel, mono, other channel on the amp. My first idea is to replace the subs with a single powered unit such as a PRX-618XLF. Would this provide the same output and "feel" as the two 118s?
    Those would have about 2x the output of the PV118's - I've run both.

    "We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us" - Walt Kelly​

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    • #3
      Mains - Peavey PR12s in parallel, mono, one channel on the amp. I have also been checking out the new Mackie DLM Series powered speakers for both mains and subs. Does anyone have any experience with these yet, or Mackie in general? We played a gig where the house PA used the Mackie Thumps for mains, and they sounded really good.
      The "thumps" wouldn't be much of an upgrade. The DLM's aren't out yet but look interesting. Mackie needs to do some trust regaining amongst most folks here. If you are getting the JBL subs I'd suggest the JBL tops - PRX612M or whatever replaced them these days. The system you have is similar to one system I run (PR12D's over PV118's on a GX5). IMO the PR12D's are a significant upgrade over the passive PR12's as they are biamp'd and processed. If you just want more clarity and punch, and you're almost happy with the volume you get now that is worth a thought. That would let you use the GX5 one sub per channel which works well with those subs. Where are you? If you were local I might be able to loan you a pair...

      "We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us" - Walt Kelly​

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      • #4
        First, you have a pretty good system already.

        A few suggestions:



          Depending on where you feel your biggest weakness is, you may want to consider doing the tops or the subs first. If you are feeling that your vocals are not clear and your bass is not punching through, then the tops are where your biggest improvement is going to be made. If your kick isn't getting it done, then the subs are where it is at.
        With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

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        • #5
          With the problems you are experiencing, you might want to learn a little more about your gear and how to use it better. Is the "power alley" issue something that you have experienced as a problem or something that you perceive to be a problem because it's the new cool buzzword on the internet? You may be trying to solve a problem that really doesn't exist.
          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

          Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

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          • #6
            I agree with oneEng. I'd start off with replacing the PR12s since I once owned PR12's for a 5 piece classic rock band and pretty much ran out of gas to soon for our needs. IMO if budget is tight I know a pair of RCF 321a's with 618XLF would suite your needs being the 618XLF has DBX driverack type of 90hz fixed HPF which will HPF the 312a for ya. You can move the PR12's to monitor duties for the time being until more funding is available for a upgrade.
            Sell off PV118's which unfortunately being budget entry level gear will only fetch pennies on the dollar but it can help with off set the cost a little with tops and sub.
            I'd hit up Mike Pyle who's forum member here over audiopyle.com and have him shoot you a price quote. He's always gave the best deals I could ever find.

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            • #7
              Thanks for the responses. I agree that the speakers are our weak link at this point, but I think we are getting pretty good sound out of them, and we get asked to turn down sometimes so volume isn't a problem. That being said I will upgrade them at some point (always room to improve). For now, I just want a lighter load to move and thought the subs would be a good place to start.

              Agedhorse - all of my study on speaker placement tells me that stacking the subs together would be best for my configuration so that they couple together. Being on stage, I have not experienced the power alley issue myself, but reading indicates that it is an issue that is addressed by this arrangement. Is this not the case? I honestly want to know.

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              • #8
                Power alley is, by itself, not a bad thing. It depends where the audience is, and isn't, in relation to the subs. There are also boundary issues that differ with each venue and vary with placement. If the audience is primarily between the subs you may very well benefit from a "power alley" with underperforming subs.

                As far as being asked to "turn down", this tells you nothing about sound other than it's offensive. It may be too loud, but it also may be a harsh, brittle, unpleasant sound .... the sound of cheap speakers being pushed to their limits. Trust me, better speakers will help.
                www.nextexitrocks.com

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                • #9
                  Interesting, I will study on it more. As far as being asked to turn down, when that happens I always ask if the sound is bad or just too loud, and I let them know they won't hurt my feelings by being honest since i cant always tell from the stage. The response is always the same: it sounds good, just too loud.

                  We solved our harshness problem by finally convincing our lead guitarist that while he is an excellent player, his tone was terrible. Got rid of his 6000W Marshall and put him on a 30W tube amp, and everyone agrees it is 10X better.

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                  • #10
                    Interesting, I will study on it more. As far as being asked to turn down, when that happens I always ask if the sound is bad or just too loud, and I let them know they won't hurt my feelings by being honest since i cant always tell from the stage. The response is always the same: it sounds good, just too loud.

                    We solved our harshness problem by finally convincing our lead guitarist that while he is an excellent player, his tone was terrible. Got rid of his 6000W Marshall and put him on a 30W tube amp, and everyone agrees it is 10X better.
                    I can be WAY too loud onstage with a 30 watt tube amp as well. Regardless of amp size you need to care about and be able to judge how your instrument is fitting into the overall sound of the whole product. I could do that whether I was using a 100 watt stack or a small 10-15 watt combo.
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                    • #11
                      Power alley is, by itself, not a bad thing. It depends where the audience is, and isn't, in relation to the subs. There are also boundary issues that differ with each venue and vary with placement. If the audience is primarily between the subs you may very well benefit from a "power alley" with underperforming subs.


                      Correct, it's something that CAN happen, and CAN be an issue but often it's not at all a problem. It depends on many things including boundery as well as room size and shape factors.
                      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                      Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

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                      • #12
                        Got it...so the majority of gigs where I provide the PA are smallish bars/clubs with the stage in a corner. I put the subs on top of each other and next to the wall (when possible). The reasoning is not just for the power alley, but also so that they couple with each other and the wall (boundary). As I said, I started doing this based on various articles that I read, but before that I would use the "standard" configuration, with one one each side and the mains on sticks above them.

                        Now that I think about it, I can never tell much of a difference so I am only assuming that the stacked configuration works better. One side benefit is shorter cabling which can help with power delivery, but this is probably only marginal. Do you guys think this is correct or am I off base?

                        Regarding the lead guitarist his problem wasn't volume, it was tone. He had that "buzzsaw" distortion going on that everybody hates (except maybe metalheads). The tube amp gives him a nice warm overdrive tone that really smoothed out our overall sound. Even he likes it much better, he just never had anyone tell him about it (until he met us).

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                        • #13
                          I think that you have taken some "potentially valid in some cases" information and made an assumption that may not be accurate much of the time, or not meaningfully an improvement much of the time.

                          It's easy to become educated beyond your own intelligence. That's the point of no return.
                          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                          Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think that you have taken some "potentially valid in some cases" information and made an assumption that may not be accurate much of the time, or not meaningfully an improvement much of the time.


                            And so here I am, hat in hand and willing to admit I might have been mistaken. I am also asking for assistance from the pros so I can get it right.

                            It's easy to become educated beyond your own intelligence. That's the point of no return.


                            Ah yes, I see this every day working with people who think they know what they are doing, and really have no clue. In my case, I understand the concepts around the subs and how they are placed, but I am lacking in real-world practical application skills. Again, at least I can admit it and am willing to listen to and apply any advice given by those who do have such experience.

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                            • #15
                              Philosophical discussions on where to place them aside, the obvious upgrade is your speakers. You have a decent mixer with plenty of headroom and processing built in. You have a name brand quality amplifier. Your speakers are the lowest line Peavey makes and solidly an entry level offering. Like tires on a car, the speakers are where the rubber meets the road and the last place you should skimp. Presently, you're driving a sporty little car with snow tires. "Thumps" are equal to or below what you have now. If you want a real upgrade, you're going to have to spend considerably more or your just going sideways. JBL PRX, QSC K (but not the sub), Yamaha's new powered stuff, RCF Art Series, are all a nice step up.
                              www.nextexitrocks.com

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