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  • Need Help Deciding What PA Equipment to Buy

    Hi, I've been put in charge of researching PA equipment to buy for a new acoustic music festival in its first year. The festival will take place in a large field. I would say the area we need to blanket in sound is about 1/3 to 1/2 the length of a football field. So far, the gear we have picked out from research while still being able to afford it (on about a $7000 max budget) is as follows:

    Peavey SP2 mains x2 - $1000 total
    Crown XTi 6000 power amp x1 for mains (stereo) - $2000
    Peavey PV118 subs (already have 1000 watt amp that could run these) x2 - $500
    Allen and Heath Mixwizard WZ3162DX mixer - $1000
    Shure SM58s and SM57s (already have 3) split evenly among 16 channels-around $1000-1200
    Pro Co SM1604FBQ50 stage snake - $329
    Mic stands (already have 3)- $250
    Mic cords - probably an extra $300-500
    Other cords and power cables - we already have some, but we haven't researched this completely yet

    Total - around $6500

    Okay, so that's what I have picked out so far. We already have an EQ and some monitors, but we're potentially going to get new monitors as well. We currently have 2 power amps, one Crown 1000 watt and one QSC 850 watt. Our monitors are two 200 watt peavey monitors we bought a long time ago. The stage is going to be 12 feet by 20 feet. Do you think two 200 watt monitors can get us by for this year? We're mostly trying to bedazzle the crowd and just "get by" with the musicians this year, since we know all the musicians and know they'll be cool about it (and we're actually one of the bands too). Also, if we got better monitors, could we bridge our current QSC RMX850 and power them without having to get a new amp?

    Now, what I'm trying to figure out is if we could save money on the power amp for the mains by going bridged-mono instead of stereo and getting a less expensive amp so that we could get potentially better subs than I have listed as well. Where I get confused is with all this impedance stuff. The Peavey SP2 speakers are 8 ohms. If we have 2 of them and wanted to bridge them, what power amp would you recommend getting? Also, could we bridge our current Crown CE1000 to run better subs than the PV118s? If so, what would you recommend? Also, if we get subs, we also need a crossover, which isn't on the list yet.

    So to summarize, I need help with these things:

    -Power amp for bridged SP2s
    -Monitors and power amp, whether our RMX850 bridged or a new power amp, preferably the RMX850 bridged, OR if our current setup will be fine
    -Subs that would go well with SP2s, and power amp whether our Crown CE1000 bridged or a new one, preferably the CE1000
    -Do this in a way where the total doesn't greatly exceed $7000

    - OR do you think we would be better off not getting subs in order to afford all of this and not exceed our budget? If so, would SP2s cut it?

    Thanks very much for the help in advance. We are running out of time and have been trying to figure this out for a while. We really need to have this gear before the start of June.

  • #2
    If you are just doing this once a year. RENT. OR hire a SR company.

    Really what you listed is not enough for something the size of a football field.

    I understand you want to "blanket" the area, but it would be better to rent and have 2-3 times the amount of speakers...... Or like a said hiring an SR company. I also understand that it's an acoustic music festival. But what happens if the organizer decides to book a full band to play? Drums, Keys, Bass, etc.... A pair of speakers on sticks just isn't going to cut it.

    And I've also seen some acoustic music groups/duos sometimes use guitar and drums, or some sort of percussion.



    If you're set on buying take a look at package 6 and 7 from audioeast.

    http://www.audioeast.com/yorkvillesystems.htm

    Comment


    • #3
      X4 the number of cabinets would be a start.
      Thanks,
      Bill Cronheim
      Entertainment Systems Corporation
      Back stage since 1965
      Equipment specialist since 1973

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Tsaldana3. We kind of felt the same way about it not being good enough, but we can't really afford much more than that and thought that it would be at least passable. I"m not sure I'm accurate on exactly the amount of space we have to cover, as some of the field will be taken up by cars and the like. Anyway, we ARE the organizers, I am just the son of the main guy organizing it. We are an acoustic band and I'm a member, and one of the people organizing the festival. Everything is in place besides this dang PA system, the most important part. All the bands we have booked we know exactly what instruments we're preparing for, so this shouldn't be a problem.

        Anyway, thanks a lot for that link you gave. Also, we thought about renting at first, but it seems somewhat like a waste of money considering we could also use this equipment we're buying for our band so we could run better sound for ourselves the rest of the year than we currently are able to do. But if you think there's absolutely no way we can pull this off with this equipment, it's going to get even more frustrating, and we're going to have to start all over trying to find someone to rent off of or hire, and we are running out of time.

        EDIT: Just spoke with my parents, and they seem to think that only about 1/3 of the field will have people in it, and the other 2/3 will be for parking. Sorry for the misunderstanding. So basically I need to re-ask the question. Do you think this is good enough for an area 1/3 the size of a football field?

        Also, I need to know less about how good it is for the area we're covering and I need more help with the impedance situation and what power amps and things I should be getting, and if those subs need to be upgraded to something better and if it's possible to power them bridged with CE1000, etc.

        Comment


        • #5
          Acoustic festival? You're way over your heads here. Who will be running the board? Will the people running the system be able to deal with potential problems that may arise? It's a lot to ask and it's not just about buying the gear, you have to know what you're doing too.

          ASSuming this... Don't bridge ANYTHING. Start there.
          Mixwiz, fine
          Need 31 band EQ's on FOH and 2 mixes each
          4ch comp
          external FX recommended
          CD/tape player
          rack cases for all of this

          Snake (audiopile is great) 16x4 100' minimum

          Amps, CE1000 and Usa850 are similar. Use the 850 for monitors 1/2 in STEREO. XTI 4k or 6k with subs ch1 and tops on ch2

          Mains: SP2 (newer?) 2 per side on sticks minimum
          subs: Peavey 118s. Well, you are waaaay outrun by the tops even with 6 or more

          monitors: what you have will work unless you have a band with a drumset

          Mics: 58's (4+), 57's (4+), small diaphragm condensers (4ish), drum mics if needed (check with the talent), 4+ channels of DI, mic case

          Stands: 4+ round base, 4+ tripod, 3+ shorty

          Mic cables (not including patching gear together, this is mics to snake only) 16-20

          6+ instrument cable, keyboard amp, bass amp, carpet, 10x10 canopy, table, lawn chairs, beer (optional), 10x10 artist changing tent, AC to pull from waaay far away.

          I hope you do ok with this, it's a lot to deal with, I'd recommend having 2 people on site at all times who can fix problems as they happen. This can be a lot of hard work but also fun and boring and sometime all three.
          www.rock-bot.com
          Live-Band-Karaoke

          bassist and sound reinforcement

          Comment


          • #6
            It's always hard to answer as to what it takes to cover what. It depends on your expectations. I'm sure people can hear the speakers at that distance but it will resemble background music. I think you're gonna need a lot more speaker system and then build from there. Last outdoor system I did involved about 40 speaker cabs for FOH and about 200,000 watts of power amps to drive them ... of course we were pumping screaming metal at about 118 dB+ at 100 feet on average.

            If you want to save some $$$ on speakers and amps buy self contained. It's setup and dialed in which sounds like another problem you are about to walk into. If you're bound and determined to go with SP2s (which isn't a bad thing) I'd get 2 pair and get the PV1600 BiPak amps to run them. The PV118 subs will suck for your application ... get SP218s as a minimum and a PV3800 amp to power them. All the electronics you need are built into the amps. BTW ... what's the plan for AC power to drive all this gear?

            Of course you could probably hire a sound provider for $500 - $1500 and just stand back from the whole probelm (highly advised). It's one thing to have all the gear and another to hook it up, dial it in and run it.
            Don Boomer

            Comment


            • #7
              If its a festival, you can get a hell of a lot more once a year for 4000 bucks renting than you can for buying with 7000 bucks. Plus, when its all said and done you won't be paying a storage fee for it for the rest of the year.

              Comment


              • #8
                We are running out of time and have been trying to figure this out for a while. We really need to have this gear before the start of June.


                You are running out of time but are still figuring out what equipment you need? Frankly, this indicates that you are not ready to do the show. Equipment-wise or skill-wise. I'm sorry. Not trying to be an a-hole, but want to save you the embarrassment I went through.

                I STRONGLY suggest what people here have been saying: rent the gear and hire a sound engineer. You have no idea what you are in for, for an outdoor venue of that size. The equipment you have listed is not going to be nearly enough.

                When I first started, I made the mistake of taking on an outdoor gig. I severely under-estimated everything that would be needed: SPL, throw, low end, etc. My system was way underpowered and the result was complaints, complaints. And I used more gears than what you have listed. (4 JBL 4719x double 18" subs and two EV T252 double 15" tops per side. The EVs were bi-amped. No matter...it was no match for the SPL and coverage needed.)

                If you really want to get into live sound, people here will be more than happy to recommend a good rig. But now is not the time to do it, just before a show. You need to plan well ahead of time and build up your system, learn it, test it, finesse it. It would be prudent to plan for NEXT YEAR's show at this time, not for this year's.

                Comment


                • #9
                  +1000 for hiring out for this one. If you want this to be your first of many festivals and not your first AND last, make a good impression and call a professional. Where are you located? Maybe someone here can help you or at least make a suggestion as to someone who can help.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I don't have 3/4 the knowledge of a lot of people on here, but I think I can offer a different perspective.

                    1) You stated you can use the gear throughout the year with your band... IMO, what is needed for a typical gigging band vs. what is needed for a festival is completely different. Either way you're going to be facing a major compromise.

                    2) Are you doing the festival for free, for charity, are people paying for tickets, are you paying the other bands, etc? If you're charging for tickets I think you have no choice but to rent. People are paying and expecting a professional show, that includes a sound system large enough to cover the entire area. If people aren't paying and the bands know they're doing it for free then I think you have some leeway... it's more for fun and exposure. Why it would be better to sound good, you can probably slide by... hey you get what you pay for and if nobody is paying for anything they can't expect much.

                    Just for a reference, I checked out Audioeast and it seems like you could rent something that would work for you for under $1000. That should give you a starting figure... others on here will be able to help you more.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Please considering hiring someone to provide sound. What you spec'ed out would be just fine for a typical bar band rig but nowhere near adequate for a festival.

                      It doesn't make any sense to me to buy a severely undersized PA that's only going to get used once a year (and maybe only once ever if the festival fails). That's what sound reinforcement companies are for - they can provide a PA that's sized appropriately and provide people to set it up and run it properly. Take whatever money is left over from your PA budget this year after you hire someone and put it towards the PA expenses next year and budget for it every year.
                      basses:
                      ~1986 pearl white fretless Fender Jazz Bass Special | 1978 black on black, maple neck Fender Precision | dark shadow grey Fender Power Jazz Bass Special | Novatone Precision!? | a couple of uprights

                      equipment:
                      Sunn 1200s & 410h cabinet | too many other bass amps to list
                      Akai Deep Impact | Akai Unibass | Ashly DPX-200 | Korg DT-10 tuner | a few pedals I don't use

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        . Also, we thought about renting at first, but it seems somewhat like a waste of money considering we could also use this equipment we're buying for our band so we could run better sound for ourselves the rest of the year than we currently are able to do. But if you think there's absolutely no way we can pull this off with this equipment, it's going to get even more frustrating, and we're going to have to start all over trying to find someone to rent off of or hire, and we are running out of time.



                        Actually, what you are doing is thinking illogically.

                        You are't going to be able to pull this off - because you don't know anything about sound. If you did - you would know that Renting is your best option.
                        It might seem like a waste of money to you to rent sound, but that is because you are thinking selfishly rather than doing what is best for the FESTIVAL. But go ahead - cheat the audience by attempting to provide cheap sound yourself.

                        You think it's frustrating now. Hahaha Wait until your festival gets started up and your gear doesn't work. Murphy's Law does exist, and it is times like these that it applies.
                        You need to go ahead and get a sound contractor lined up because if you don't give them enough time- they are going to jack the price up on you. (Hiring somebody at the last minute is a sure fire way for them to take advantage of you - because you will have run out of time and have no choice.)
                        Support your fellow HC members!
                        PTD-1
                        For Cables & Racks, Roadcases and Case Hardware : Audiopile.net
                        For Vocal help: Vocal Forum Moderator Al Koehn's The Secrets of Successful Singing,









                        Originally Posted by agedhorse


                        You can't bridge these amps (yay).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I also second what everyone is saying with regard to renting the gear and hiring someone to run it, for all the reasons already listed.

                          Definitely do your homework and really check the prospective person or company out, like get references, etc, trust me there are a ton of hacks out there who will BS you with how great they are and how much experience they have but in reality not know a damn thing, and will completely ruin your event...there's also people (and "companies") who will jsut take the money and run...don't let that happen to you, as I said really research whoeever you are thnking about using. Good luck!
                          Originally Posted by co&cafan808


                          chevybusa ****************in delivers the lulz!!!



                          Using and abusing Reason 4.0 (with tons of ReFills) and Logic 9 (with tons of soft synths, VSTi's and plug-ins)
                          via
                          a Yamaha S80 (with 2 FC7's, an FC5, an FC3, and a BC3a) and a Behringer BCR2000
                          on
                          a 4GB 2.53GHz Intel Core Duo Mac Mini
                          with
                          AKG K77 headphones or M-Audio BX5a Deluxe monitors.







                          Originally Posted by OldGuitarPlayer


                          Ahhh...John Cage. The ultimate troll.









                          Originally Posted by Anderton


                          Just remember...machines don't kill music, people do.

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                          • #14
                            Please considering hiring someone to provide sound. What you spec'ed out would be just fine for a typical bar band rig but nowhere near adequate for a festival.



                            Not even, PV118's are 200 watt RMS toys. Come back 4 advice on a bar rig. For this HIRE SOUND!

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                            • #15
                              Hire Out

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