Jump to content

What I Run, Why I Run It, and What I Think of It

Recommended Posts

Guest Anonymous
CraigV here. Just posting to set expectations for this thread, really just reiterating what Mark listed below to make it 'official'.

Please do not engage in discussion of systems here. Open a new thread in the forum proper and paste or link to the post you'd like to comment about. I think this will spark more interest in your comments, as it's likely to be viewed a lot more in the forum. This will also help keep this thread on-topic and less cluttered.

As an added-value service, rather than editing your post as you update the system, add a new post and delete the old. This will refresh the post and draw attention...merely editing your posts doesn't do this. I'd be happy to delete old posts if you experience any trouble with this...just PM me.

This thread is intended to address the never ending, seldom resolved questions of "What PA for my band? Rather than the on-going shotgun approach of questions and answers, I believe it might serve the gentle readers with an offering of what real life users actually own and operate, and why.

I suggest this to be a resource for those posing the question of: "What PA should I buy?", where they can read the thread to see what other folks ARE actually running... and then decide for themselves.

I suggest the rules of conduct could be:

1) Post the gear.
2) Post the application.
3) Offer a brutally honest assessment of the suitability of the tools for the job at hand. Just humble and honest assessments.
4) Frame your report/critique with a brief description of your experience... so we know where you're coming from.
5) Nobody cuts you down or belittles you for your equipment decisions, your applications, or your assessments. No armchair quarterbacks here.

Just keep the resource at this level: Here's the gear I (or we, or my employer) own and operate, here's the application, here's why I (we, they) made the decisions I (we, they) made, and here's my assessments. Peroid.

I'm thinking for this thread that editing our origional posts to add details would be the best management proceedure. I intend to keep revising my origional post as my system changes.

And, I'm thinking "we" should deleat our posts that are not long-term "necessary" (I don't know if "necessary" is the right word) to keep the clutter at a minimum. Good housekeeping rules I think would serve the resource well.

I think it would be of great service to hear from all walks of SR folks. I'll see if I can get my nephew to post about his rig, which is a box mixer, a slave amp, a couple SP-3's and a couple CGM wedges. He plays in a metal band.
W. Mark Hellinger
The time you spend creating music is not deducted from your lifespan.
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 219
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Guest Anonymous

About me:

I'm 50 years old. I put together my first PA in 1976. I was a local, then regional sound and lighting contractor for a little more than 20 years. Now I do sound and lighting work somewhat as a research project, and to get out of the shop once-in-awhile. I'm a mediocre non-singing bassplayer... which in it'self is not particurally in demand... but a mediocre non-singing bassplayer who has a PA and van to haul it in is always a popular person. My day job is as the owner/operator of a small SR equipment manufacturing/distributing company.

The gear:

I have basically two different sound rigs I use, but I'll just explain the first one here for now:

1) My "band in a van system". The idea with this rig is: cheap and portable. This rig is an on-going R&D project to find various diminishing points of returns on cheap and portable, but still delivering some monicome of acceptable performance. This rig consists of:

A) FOH speakers: GRF bi-amped three way system. GRF is a Chinese speaker manufacture. I picked these speakers up at the NAMM tradeshow as samples to consider. The system is single 18" subs (2 ea.) and 15" & 1.5" mid-highs trap boxes (2 ea. passively crossed over).

Comments: These were represented to me to be "upper crust" Chinese speakers... and I bought them pretty cheap. The compression drivers are robust but very harsh. The 15's are ok, but I think 12's would be a better choice in the M/H cabs. The 18's are a good box, but the drivers were cheese... I promptly blew up the 400w rated (RMS) 18's with a 400w amp... way before getting anywhere near clip. The cabinets are fine.... nice size and fairly good plywood construction. I doubt I'll keep these cabinets for long though cause they're just not very smooth or punchy. I expect to replace them with some EAW's, or Meyers, or similar. I figure if I gotta listen to it and pack it around, something better is worth it to me.

B) Power: E&W, consisting of a PS-1000 (350w stereo 8 ohms) for the mid-highs and an AL-1600 (400w stereo 8 ohms) for the subs, and PS-1000 for monitor power.

Comments: They're fine amps as far as I'm concerned, but they're my house brand (I sell them and I know how to fix them). I bought them and run them cause I run what I sell, and if I wouldn't run them and wasn't satisfied with them, then I wouldn't sell them.

C) Board: Usually a Soundcraft Spirit Racpac 10 & 4

Comments: This board I bought on eBay used for about $50 (delivered). It was non-functioning when I bought it, but was easily repaired (loose/broken power supply goodies inside from being dropped I suspect). I like the board. It sounds good, it works good, and the EQ is sweet. I bought the Racpac so it could be mounted in a rack case along with the amps. Typically, all I need is 10 or less mic inputs and a place to plug in the CD player when I take this rig out. This Racpac board fills the bill. I wish the Racpac had more than 1 prefader aux send... cause it has only 1 prefader aux and 3 more post fader auxes. I wish it had master volume controls for the auxes too. The metering is lame too. Actually, I wish it had a lot more stuff, but my sister wanted a pony too...

When more inputs or monitor mixes are needed and/or a soundperson is in the mix, then I throw in a Soundcraft Spirit 24 and a 24 x 8 reel snake.

D) FX & processing: White 4650 mono 1/3 oct EQ, GRF stereo 2 way FOH crossover, GRF stereo 1/3 oct monitor EQ.

Comments: The White FOH EQ is fine. It works good, sounds real good, and the controls are very effective. I bought it on eBay for about $100. I'm happy with it.

The GRF crossover and EQ are typical cheap pieces. I'm not all that happy with either one, but for the price (probably retail somewhere in the $100 to $150 ea. range), they're tolerable till I replace them with something better.

E) Monitors: 4 ea. JBL Cabaret 4602 (12" & bullet, passive).

Comments: I bought these on eBay for about $100 ea. They all worked when I got them, and other than loading them with Speakon NL4MP jacks, I haven't done anything to them. The HF is beamy. The cabs have no low freq. oomph... but they'll punch vocals and lead instruments out fine. They're 200w rated cabs. I run them with a 350w amp and pound them... and they just keep running. They're kind-of heavy... but other than that, for being old passive wedges... which were fairly cheap... I'm happy with them. I don't expect to replace them.

F) Racks and cabling: EWI C14U slant top mixer/amp rack. Cabling is all EWI 13-4 with NL4FC ends.

Comments: I market these racks and build/market the cables. Again, I run this stuff cause it's what I sell, and it does the job fine. The slant top mixer rack works fine with this system cause the board, processing, amps, and patchbay are all in one case. It's a heavy case though with everything in it... I'd guess about 180 lbs. I don't think I'll do anything differently though.

I run all 4 conductor 13 ga. cabling with NL4FC ends cause those cables will work for any of my amp/speaker cabinets combos with this rig.

System analysis:

1) This is a cheap little throw-and-go system. I have about $3.5K invested in this system as-is, not counting AC cabling, mics, and mic stands. That's pretty cheap.

2) This system easily fits in a full sized Chevy van, along with drums, bass and guitar amps, and instruments. That's pretty small.

3) The system goes up easy. With a helper, I can set this sytem up in about 20 minutes to 1/2 hour (including mics) barring venue or band complications. Also, I ran this system last weekend on one 15A or 20A outlet/circuit, including the bass and guitar amps. That's pretty efficent.

4) This system seems suitable for basic fossil rock for crowds of up-to about 100 folks. It's an a-ok-fine rig for entry level work... with minimal expectations and a minimal budget.

5) The current FOH speakers are the weak link in this system... and they don't sound all that good IMO. With better FOH speakers the system would probably cover 150 to maybe 200 in-doors if the genra was not too demanding. Also, better FOH speakers will sound better, and make my work more enjoyable. However, I realize that significantly better FOH speakers could easily double my investment cost in this system which is probably worth it. I think I've found what really cheap gets me, and as far as the FOH speakers go, it isn't good enough (or worth consuming a whole weekend and a bunch of work for that mediocre of sound).

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

Ok I'll play too.thumb.gif

I'm a 43 yo working as a Major Accounts Exed for a large Telecom manufacturer coming from a strong technical background with a BS in computer science; I'm very much a geek as well!!

I was a happy family guy 'till my early 30's when my ex-wife decided she needed a change...me. Anyway to make a long story short, I had always had a love for music and during the next several years of seperation and divorce, I got into the local music scene and met my wife and musical partner.

I'm also a pretty decent singer (as is my wife) so together we started a band and I took on the challenge of assembling the PA.

My first PA had:

- Mackie 1604 VLZ
PROS: 16 channels, rack mounted with 4 Subgroups.
CONS: I had ribbon cable problems and the channel EQ is subpar. No inserts on the Subgroups and no Direct outs on half the channels.

- All QSC (RMX 2450 for subs, 1850 for tops and 1450 for monitors)
PROS: Inexpensive, full featured, reliable
CONS: Heavy and they draw a lot of power causing problems in most of the clubs I work.

Yamaha CLUB 15 tops and Peavey SP118 subs.
PROS: They were barely adequate for what I wanted. The Yammies are harsh when driven hard and the Peavey SP118's are just OK.
CONS: Neither cabinet offered the quality of sound I was looking for.

Bullfrog 12's and 15's (added NL4FC)
PROS: Cheap, decent
CONS: Heavy, average sounding

Lexicon MP100
PROS: Cheap, Adequate
CONS: Cumbersome interface

OK, after a couple years of gigging with the above system and not being very happy with the sound, I made upgrades the brought me to the following:

A&H Mixwiz3
PROS: Great sounding, intuitive board. Built-in effects that are decent. Six aux sends. Dual mid-sweep EQ's that really work. Direct outs on all channels. A reasonably priced board. Rack mountable. 100mm faders.
CONS: I'm hardpressed to find any.

E&W PS2000 for the mains
PROS: Good value. I know the service company (audiopile) and it is lightweight and effiecient on power. It has been a no-problem steady performer!
CONS: It lacks hi-pass filters and limiting that other value brands provide.
Lab Gruppen FP3400 for my subs;
PROS: Great AMP. Light weight (23lbs). Full featured. Very efficient on power.
CONS: This puppy was expensive!!!

Mains - Yorkville EF508 (x4)
PROS: a smooth, reliable, biampable, great sounding speaker. Arrays well with the 60 degree horn.
CONS: Heavy (85lbs) and has Rat Fur covering.
PROS: Good punchy lightweight subs. Rugged coating.
CONS: I need 4 subs to get the concert sound I want and at times in the larger clubs 250+, I could use another pair.

TC Electronics M-one and D-TWO
PROS: Very good sounding, lot's of presets and a good interface.
CONS: They are twice the price of the budget brands but are definitely nicer units.l Not much of a complaint but a factor that needs to be considered in putting together a system.

Peavy QF 431 on the mains and Peavey Feedback Ferret's on the monitors.
PROS: Good Sounding Good value;
CONS: None. I've not experimented with a lot of different FOH eq's but the Peavey sounds good and is reponsive when I move a fader.

Overall, I really like the system I've assembled with respect to sound, and power efficiency.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

I'm a Systems Engineer for a network hardware manufacturer. You can be certain that you used our products to get to this web site and every other web site you visited today.

My opinions on my club rig:

- 4 x JBL SR4719X subs
These have served me well, they're basically idiot proof. A bit heavy and tippy towards the front so I strap them down to a 4x4 foot piece of plywood they sit on with holes in it for the feet.
- 4 x JBL SR4732X tops
Harsh arond 2.7 Khz, I've got that sort of under control in the speaker processor. Unsuitable for arraying from JBL, I've replaced the original horns with 60 degree versions. Now they throw much further than stock and array better though I suspect any pro level cabinet would be much better.

Speaker Processor:
- dbx Driverack 260. It has been fine though I have experienced bugs in the Driveware software. I'd like a Xilica 4080HD. I run no analog graphic equalizer, I use the EQ in the 260.

- 4 x QSC PLX3402 on subs, one bridged per cabinet. These are limited so as to hopefully not blow up the SR4719Xs.
- 1 x QSC PLX3402 on mids, two cabs per channel.
- 1 x QSC PLX1602 on highs, two cabs per channel.
All the QSC has been absolutely reliable and I would buy them all again.

FOH Mixer:
- Yamaha 02R (not an O2R96, an original O2R). I love the 02R and I will never return to analog. I think in 5 years the available market for new mixers will be half digital and half analog, in 10 years analog will be relatively rare high end boutique products. I have Digimax LT external preamps into ADAT cards on the 02R for channels 25-40.

- Anvil shock ATA racks. They're too expensive. I have some Audiopile cases, haven't actually used them yet but soon.

- 2 x Yamaha 02R internal effects, one set up for snare and one set up for toms.
- TC Electronic M-One XL, this is set to a Short Double Reverb for vocals
- TC Electronic D-Two, this is set to a Chorused Delay for vocals.
The M-One is more or less a standard at this level. I really like the D-Two. It sounds great.

Dynamics processing:
- Yamaha 02R internal comps and gates. The only drawback here is there's one per channel. You can't have a gate before a comp. For the things that require that:
- dbx 1066, I have one of these for snare and kick.

- Sony CDRW-66, this allows us to record all the shows to CDR to listen to the mistakes later. I run it off the AES out on the 02R so it's digital to the CDR. It gets kind of hot but has worked well.

- 100 foot Proco Roadmaster something or other, this has been too short and from Proco they didn't tighten all the XLRs on the fan sufficiently so the jackets pulled out over time and I had to redo a lot of them. That sucked. The connectors on the stage box are also of a pushbutton release variety that everyone complains are too hard to release. I have other fan to fan drive snakes Proco and the ends are slightly different lengths that don't line up. I've been buying Audiopile's short fan to fan snakes lately and they seem much better so far but time will tell.

Other cables:
- Proco mic cords, no complaints
- Fan to fan snakes from FOH FX rack to FOH mixer, Audiopile stuff. No complaints so far.
- Speaker cables, Neutrik NL4s from Full Compass and 12/2 or 12/4 electrical cable from the local electrical supplier. I solder them, I think it's best when people who aren't careful are jerking cables with big connectors that catch on everything around tables and other stuff at the end of the night.

- All in-ears, I had Shure PSM400s and I believe they have a design defect that you could search for and read about over on Prosoundweb if you wanted to. I have switched everything to Sennheiser EW-300 IEM G2 and the musicians have stopped complaining about RF dropouts and they say the audio quality is better. When you hit peak on them the backlight on the LCD display changes from green to red and you can see it from across the room. It looks cool and the first time I saw them do that I think I heard angels sing. I mix monitors from FOH though I'll be moving to an O1V96V2 at the stage soon.

- Pretty much all Shure, SM-58s and Beta 58s for vocals, SM-57s and Beta 57s for instruments, SM81s for hat and ride, Beta 56A for snare because the mount is convenient to stick it between the toms up high pointing down at the snare. Beta 98s on Toms. For Kick I have a Beta 91 and a Beta 52 but I have moved away from them to an Audix D6 (boom) and an Audix D1 (tick) for kick. I use a Crown CM311 for the drummer. I tried an Audix OM5 on on musician that was muddy on a Beta 58 but it had a high mid gritty sound that I didn't like. I also have one of those EV ND/whatevers that a lot of people have, I bought it on a recommendation from someone but haven't used it yet.

- Atlas with the heavy base, they haven't fallen over much so I guess they're okay. It'd be nice if they stacked somehow because carrying mic stands is a PITA but I think the ones that stack have lighter bases and that concerns me.

- I use a distributed distro system that I built where we tie in with tails or a NEMA 14-50R and then two very small 6 circuit 120 amp panels are located at the back corners of the stage. Every circuit is served with 20 amp GFCI outlets. We need that many circuits because lighting is on that too but you didn't ask about that.

Break music playback:
- IBM Thinkpad T23, this also runs SmaartLive which has been *very* useful. I use an Edirol UA-5 for SmaartLive in and for break music out. It's fine but the wall wart power supply is huge.

This is what's required to compete near the top of the market for a cover band in Madison, Wisconsin. Some guys around here have JBL SRX, some have Turbosound Flashlight. The norm here is the band hires or carries complete production. Production skills vary widely, the crowds don't seem to notice much after 15 or 20 beers. We're in festival season now and this rig covers beer tent type engagements well too. All in all I'd say it has served me well though I'd like things that were more of a pro level. If some money fell out of the sky and hit me on the head I'd like KF650s and some other sub, I think many of EAWs sub offerings are of a poor form factor for efficient packing at this level. I see the guys with the Turbosound Flashlight stuff and I like how it packs easily and is very stable but TFL-760s are so commonplace it makes me want something else.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

I'm an electrical engineering student at Villanova University, as equiptment manager I will post for the VU tech crew, even though there are others that post here regularly.

-Community XLT-E, 4 x XLTE46 (15"+5"+1"), 4 x XLTE55 (dual 15")
These work for our purposes, the subs can be lacking and we often have issues with the poor quality drivers. I would not recomend these to anyone buying new, maybe used at a good price though.
-Generic (community maybe?), 4 x single 18" subwoofer, eminence kilomax loaded.
We droped some kilomaxes into some boxes, didn't tune them. We blew one to hell pretty quickly. They will be tuned in the future hopefully.
-JBL JRX monitors (12" + 1") x 4
I don't like these at all. Not loud enough.
-JBL TR wedges.
Not fantastic, not too bad.

-Crown microtech 1200 x 6, microtech 2400 x 4
Don't sound bad, haven't broken. I don't put a lot of faith in them, but pretty much everyone else in the organization does.

-A&H MixWiz 14:4:2
Is broken, we never get around to using it because we really don't ever need it, so it hasn't been fixed. From prior expirience I can tell you that it is great. For our needs though it is too big for the small stuff and too small for the big stuff, so it never gets taken out. I wish we had the 16 channel.
-Mackie SR32
Is decent, but features and construction aren't that great.
-Mackie 1402
Nice little mixer for little gigs. Asshole DJ spilled orange juice in ours, circuit board was machine riveted to the front panel so there was no getting in there to clean it. from the sides it looked as if the board was clean though. I was dissapointed in the riveting.

-Ashley 4x8 speaker proccessor
probablly almost the same as a driverack, a little older though. i like it and would probablly buy one for my own system one day.
-Ashley Protea 4 channel EQ
it's digital, but other than interface issues (buttons to control an eq?) it's good.
-PreSounus SCP-88 8 channel compressor/gate x 2
i like these alot, they sound good and look good.

Other stuff:
-Proco 24x4 stagemaster snake
isn't great IMO. we have a broken one hanging on the wall, no idea why someone would replace something that broke with the same brand and construction. is doing ok right now
-audiopile cables and racks.
what can i say, great all around. im comtemplating adapting one of his cases to become the ultimate in portable/disguised beverage refigeration. i wonder if i could get the inards of a minifridge to do this.

we have other stuff but this is what we use most.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

I am a bass player that plays the local club circuit in my area, average room is approx. 200 person capacity.
My system I put together is simple enough for me to run from stage while playing, it is a big plus that everyone I play with is a great player and has a good sound. This makes mixing from stage a LOT easier.
We play R&R from Classic to current.

Here is what I got,
(4) Yamaha CM15V monitors
(2) QSC PLX2402 power amps
(2) DBX 1231 EQ's
(1) SKB 12-space rack
(1) Furman PL-Plus power conditioner

PROS: sounds very nice, clean and clear.
CON's: Monitors are heavy

(2) Carvin TRX153
(2) Yamaha CW218V
(2) QSC PLX3002 power amps
(1) DBX 2031 Eq
(1) DBX 266xl compressor
(1) Lexicon MPX200 fx processor
(1) Ashly XR1001 X-over
(1) SKB 12-space rack
(1) Furman PL-Plus power conditioner
(1) A&H MixWiz3 16:2

PRO's: Simple setup, good sound, easy to control
CON's: The cabs are heavy

I run (4) seperate monitor mixes, this way everyone gets who, what, and how much in there monitor. The 31 band EQ's make tweaking for feedback very simple. The FOH system seems to be pretty potent for how it is powered, each sub gets 900 watts and each TRX153 gets 550 watts. I may end up bridging the power amp on the TRX153 cabs if I find I am pushing them too hard, then I will just have to watch how much gas I give them.

This entire setup can be up and running in twenty minutes, all racks are easily connected with a few cables, and as fast as it sets up it equally as fast breaks down for a quick load out at the end of a night.

All band members have there own mic's, cables, stands, etc. whatever they need to connect to the system (I bought enough) I would like to add a quad gate to use with the drum kit and that will be about it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members
Originally posted by Vinny D
I may end up bridging the power amp on the TRX153 cabs if I find I am pushing them too hard, then I will just have to watch how much gas I give them.
If you are pushing them too hard w/ 550 watts... what do you think will happen if you bridgeeek.gif . Classic example of where more cabinets AND power is a better choice.
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

Ooh...Ooh....Let me play!

I'm a house tech for a bar, but the PA is owned by the company that I contract through, which means that I have NO money invested in the PA, which is very very nice.

FOH Console:

A&H GL3300-40

Good: Not a bad sounding board, it's pretty much the Ford Taurus of middle-level consoles - rarely the coolest thing to drive, but everyone knows how to work it and it'll get you from point A to point B reliably. Good EQ and flexible routing.

Bad: The faders seem to attract dust and smoke more than the Soundcraft K2 that used to be our FOH console. Preamps really like to be run relatively hot (+2-+4 dBu).

Monitor Console:

Peavey Mark VIII 32 Channel

Good: 32 Channels, 8 Auxes, quite a bit of headroom, haven't had it fail in 15 years of service.

Bad: It isn't the best sounding board and by now, the pots have started to get a bit scratchy. When our power supply died a while back, it took the Mute and Signal LEDs with it, so we only have PFLs to make sure things are working.

FOH Processing:

Presonus DEQ 624 EQ
DBX DriveRack PA
2 x Behringer Quad Comp
2 x Behringer Quad Gate
1 x DBX 166A
2 x TCE M-One

Good: I like the M-One as a mid-level FX unit, and the fact that we've got 2 verbs and 2 delays in 2 rack spaces is really nice. The Behringer stuff is all older Behringer, and it's not really that bad. Just don't use it on anything really critical (like voice). I use the 166A for lead vocal and bass guitar, so that I have good compression on both.

Bad: The DriveRack EQ sounds sterile, and the Presonus isn't much better. For me, the key is to use as few cuts as possible.


Lows - Crest 10001
Mids - 2 x Crest VS1100
Highs - Ashley MOSFET
Center Fill - Crest VS900

The lows in this room stomp, and that 100 lb battle tank of an amp helps that along. Crest amps seem to be plenty reliable, and we've got more headroom than we really need.


Mids/Highs - 2 x Peavey DTH4s loaded with Black Widows/side
Lows - 2 x Custom built double scoops from the JBL design (Dual 15" in a semi-horn load per cab)/side

Good: The DTH has a very nice midrange character to it and the double scoops are perfect for the room we're in, as a front load would kill the people up front and a horn load would kill the people in the back.

Bad: I don't like having a 15' speaker reproducing both mids and lows, but it's nothing a quick cut on the EQ can't take care of.

Overall, this PA is great for what it's intended to do (install in a 550 person bar). There are little things I'd like to do, but working within the budget that we've got, it's an easy enough PA to run and I've never blamed the PA for a bad mix.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members
Originally posted by Vinny D
No matter what I post on this forum something I do is always wrong or not good enough for all you so called fucking pro's.

Someday I wish to be perfect like all of you

So long!
Wow, this is a refreshing attitude confused.gif

I was just pointing out something you obviously haven't thought through I guess.

Since I have a recone shop, and see this kind of stuff all the time, I was offering advice from a fuckin' professional's point of view but since you already know it all than maybe you will be happier on another forum?
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

I'm a 50 year old computer programmer who has been gigging for most of the last 15 years or so. I have a blues band consisting of two guitarist/vocalists, harmonica, bass & drums. Typical gigs are playing to 100 people or less, though we occasionally play a festival with sound provided by a "real" sound company (or a reasonable fascimile thereof). The only thing we run through the PA is vocals and a mic on the harmonica amp, so I'm much lighter on equipment than all the posts so far. I have an EV 457 and a 457a for the vocals, and I used to mic the harp amp with a Shure SM57 but recently started using a Sennheiser E609 that I use on my Pro Jr. for another gig. I have a Soundtech Megamix powered mixer that supposedly puts out a bit over 400 watts at 4 ohms, and a Soundtech PL602M monitor amp with 9 band eq that puts out slightly more. The mains are Yamaha Club IV 112s and the monitors are PV TLM 112s.

PROS: Not much money invested, easy to setup and breakdown, and people tell us we sound "awesome".

CONS: - I can hear a bit of harshness when we have to push and would love to upgrade speakers sometime, but I would prefer not to have any items heavier than 45 lbs, which is the case with my current gear. I also am intrigued by the thought of a powered sub and micing the bass drum, but we seem to get plenty of dancers with the current setup.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members


These posts could turn out to be an informative thread. I'm a 43 year old medical professional weekend warrior audio guy. Here's my little bar rig:

FOH cabs EV QRx 153/75 (2), EV QRx 218s (2).
After much research and listening tests, I chose the QRx based on size, price, sound quality, and rider acceptability. Most of the rooms I do are long/narrow rooms with capacity of less than 500, so the 75 degree horizontal dispersion of the 153/75's work well. The 35 degree down angle/15 degree up angle on the HF helps when ceiling height is an issue. The horn-loaded MF seems to throw pretty hard, and is very clear. Vocals are full, clear, and crisp, without harshness. EV did a decent job with the internal HF/MF crossover. The LF section of the 153/75 has a bit of trouble keeping up with the HF/MF, but a bit of corrective PEQ and a bit more power than the specs indicate seems to clear the issue. The 153/75's are light enough to move comfortably. The "Futura finish" will mar easily, and outright peel off if one is not careful when moving/transporting the cabs. The grilles will deform with even the slightest pressure during transport. Covers are a must-have item. The 218s sub is a "compromise" sub. I have strict size requirements due to truck pack issues, and the 218s' fit the bill perfectly. The performance of the subs are pretty good, but a bit of corrective PEQ is required to get decent extension in the lower frequencies. The 218s seems to perform well without requiring tremendous power, although I sometimes jones for a bit more "push" when the system is run hard. The finish/grille issue is the same as the 153/75's. The built-in wheels are conveinent, but could stand to be a bit larger. Overall, I am happy with the FOH cabs for the money spent. I plan on purchasing two more of each cab within the next few months to gain coverage for the larger rooms.
FOH processing dbx DR260
The DR260 is a good unit. If the unit had a third input and multiple DR260's could be run within one instance of Driveware, the DR260 would be much more flexible. Complaints aside, the DR260 works well. I have the DR located with the FOH amps, and a control line returns through the snake to access the processor via laptop.
FOH amplification Crown MacroTech
HF/MF: MA-2400, stereo, 12 ohms, approx 350w/ch
LF: MA-3600, stereo, 8 ohms, 1120w/ch
SUBF: MA-3600, stereo, 4 ohms, 1565w/ch
I'm happy with the performance of the MA's, although the weight of the amps is a strain. Power draw is an issue occasionally. Proper cleaning of the filters at regular intervals is a "must".
Monitor wedges Radian RMW1122 Microwedge (4)
Of all of the gear I have aquired over the years, the Microwedges have proved to be the best purchase in terms of quality, reliability, and performance. The coaxial design seems to eliminate a lot of the smear experienced with traditional wedges, and allows increased GBF. They do seems to require a bit more power than the specs indicate. The bass port at the "toe end" of the wedge doubles as a handle and allows for the NL4 connections to be recessed, preventing cable/jack damage. The wedge is a bit heavy, but the weight is evenly distributed, allowing a center of gravity that works well with the handle design. The Duradian finish is among the best I have seen. The grille is bullet-proof. You can stand on it, jump up and down on it, whatever, and it doesn't affect the grille. The design allows the wedge to shoot the signal in an "upwards" fashion. This allows the wedge to be placed in null areas easier without compromising the artist's ability to hear them. They are small and unobtrusive, and don't interfere with sight lines. They are the first wedges I've owned that musicians will consistently ask for the foldback to be reduced. The only complaint I have with them is that they have a 90 degree conical dispersion. This can sometimes be problematic when trying to control monitor bleed into various microphones on stage, as well as negative interaction with FOH, if monitor placement causes phase cancellation. However, the 90 degree dispersion is also an asset at times when trying to cover a large number of musicians on a large stage, so YMMV, application dependent.
Monitor processing Sabine Graphi-Q
EQ-wise, the units sound great, and are very smooth, without a lot of phase shift. I use Sabine's software to control the EQ's, as using the software enables the use of the FBX filters as dedicated, adjustable parametric EQ's (twelve of them, per mix). Having that much parametric control, along with adustable slope HP & LP filters, a graphic, and delay makes for a comprehensive set of tools. The comp/limiters are not to my liking. The units do not allow simultaneous front panel and software control, so it's an "either-or" sort of thing. Settings made to the units parametric filters cannot be saved to the unit and then the unit reverted to front panel control.
Monitor amplification Behringer EP 2500 (4)
I run four EP2500's in bridge-mono @ 8 ohms, 1300 watts, one per wedge. Many people have reported issues with these amps, I have had none save the clip lights being lit on power-up, and they go out as soon as signal is applied. They are heavy. I recently bought a Crown XTi 4000 and I have used it to drive a pair of Microwedges, one wedge per channel. XTi's may replace the EP's.
FOH console Yamaha O1v96v2
The Yamaha is one impressive little console. I have a 16 channel ADAT card installed, along with some Behringer ADA8000's. These low cost additions enable me to address 32 incoming channels, while allowing an adequate number of outputs for FOH, monitoring, and multitrack and/or two-track recording. I installed the REV-X plug-in and it is a winner. It also has VCA-like capability (DCA?) to control groups of faders (very useful). I tend to live in the user defined layer most of the time. The board is well though out and very easy to operate. The sound is very clean and defined. Shows can be set up in advance, either on the console itself, or using the Studio Manager software. A very handy feature when doing multiple bands. Niggles include no matrixes, and the lack of a built-in cappuchino machine. I wish the gates were frequency adjustable, but they are functional. The O1v96 is a wonderful alternative to a huge, heavy analog console and racks of outboard/cabling, and is very cost effective.
Outboard gear Alesis HD24, Alesis Masterlink, Toshiba laptop
The Alesis units allow multitrack and two-track recording. Both are sturdy, easy to operate units that sound very good. I have various test tones/files stored on the Masterlink HDD, as well as about 3 hours of "background noise" music. The laptop serves as a file server (MP3's etc), a manual library, technical document library, etc, and allows control of the console, FOH DSP, and monitor DSP.
Mics consist of varying numbers of the following, both wired and wireless: AT 4050, Audix D4, Audix OM5, CAD M39, CAD CM217, CAD KM212, CAD SN210, CAD TM211, EV RE20, Octavia MC012, Rode NT2, Sennheiser E865, Sennheiser MD405S, Shure B57A, Shure B91, Shure SM57, Shure SM58, Shure SM81, Shure WCM16, Shure WH20
DI's consist of varying numbers of the following:
Radial JDI, Radial J48, Whirlwind IMP2
The mics I have were bought with varying purposes in mind. I love mics and will probably never have enough. Each of the mics listed have strengths/weaknesses. What mics I carry are gig-dependent, with a few spares/alternates. Some are there to be destroyed occasionally (the CAD drum mics). The Radial DI's are great, but the IMP2's are appropriate sometimes (along with the CAD drum mics).
XLR stuff is Whirlwind or Rapco. Too many to count.
NL4 stuff is Rapco. I'm gonna try some EWI when I have a need.
32x8 150' Whirlwind Medusa snake, 16x4 100' ProCo snake, 8x4 100' Rapco snake, 12 pair 30' EWI dual fan end drop snake (drums), 8 pair 15' Rapco dual fan end drop snake (amp rack/main snake interconnect). Whirlwind turnarounds, lifts, etc. I plan on trying some of the EWI offerings here as well. TrikTags amp rack interconnect, one per rack. They include multiple Powercon, Speakon, and XLR per panel. Each connector has a clear lexan tag that identifies the purpose of the connector. Highly recommended. Power cabling is all SO 12/3 and SO 14/3, black, with appropriate ends. I bought a case (8) of 16/3 SJ (?) 15' extension cords, black, from Home Depot to handle backline.
Amp racks are EWI 12 space shock racks (2). Excellent gear.
FOH rack is an extra deep Cadence slant top/12 space below carpeted case. I hate this rack. I plan on having R&R Cases build me a pullover rack to specs.
EWI medium road trunk houses all cabling/snaking, etc. Great kit. Heavy as hell when loaded.
EWI mic case. I need a few more...
Folding hand truck/cart with pneumatic wheels. Mine is extruded aluminum, very lightweight, and gets used more than anything else. I wouldn't be without it.
Sony MD 7506 cans. I have six pairs. They are decent headphones, but the leatherette padding on the cushions flakes off at an alarming rate, leaving bare foam.
Tablet PC, UBox usb/lan, decent WAP. More $$$.

So that's my small slice of the live audio world. It isn't the best, it isn't the biggest, but it's mine. I can unload it/set it up by myself in less than an hour and strike it in less. I like it and so do my clients, and if I need more, I can rent the exact items I need from a local regional. If I were to give advice to "what PA ?", it would be to get the best mics, FOH enclosures, and monitors that you can possibly afford, and make sure the system is upgradable. Fill in the rest as cash flow allows, preventing the nasty and needless upgrade cycle. Would I do it differently if I had all of the cash invested back today? Probably. I'd buy a house and rent gear thumb.gif


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members
Originally posted by Adam Mottley
So that's my small slice of the live audio world. It isn't the best, it isn't the biggest, but it's mine.

Good review. Your rig sounds very well thought-out.

For the few times I have to do wedges I'd love to be able to justify the Radians, the reviews I've seen in various places are all fantastic from a GBF perspective.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

Here's my humble offereings:

I'm 40 and have been primarily a guitarist playing in bands for 26 years and am a partner in a small music store.

We needed something compact, easy to set up /tear down with good sound for small / medium clubs. Wanting to have as much stuff prewired as possible a rack mounted mixer with all our FOH stuff in it seemed the way to go. We play rock and I do sound gigs once in awhile for other bands.

Mixer:Mackie 1604VLZ. I got this used from a friend. It had the right amount of channels and features. Looking to upgrade it in the near future.
PROS: Rackmountable, subgroups and easy to use.
CONS: Periodically have to dissassemble the mixer and clean, tighten the ribbon connectors. The EQ isn't very useful and the mic pres don't have alot of headroom like they claim. Only two montior mixes.

Crossover/FX stuff: Mostly budget stuff.
DBX Driverack PA. It works for what we need (x-over, main eq, anti-feedback).
CONS: wish it had a mono out

SAMSON 4 channel comp/gate: Use it for drums and it works.

Behringer Multicomp and Multigate: Used these before getting the Samson. The gate really isn't very good (audible clicking when opening/closing). The comp is ok, it works thats about it.

Digitech TSR 24: Use it for vocal fx. We know how to use it and it does ok for what we need.

Alesis Quadraverb: Use it for backing vocals mostly.

Alesis Midiverb: Preset 05 for drums!

Peavey Deltafex: For a basic fx unit, it does ok.

Mains: 2 Yorkville EF500PB. Great cabs! Very smooth and clear sounding. would like to have another pair.
CONS: They are heavy.

SUBS: 2 Yorkville LS800PB. Great subs! We never run out of gas with these. We previously had a pair of JBL MP418SP then moved up to a pair PV SP218X's. It was always a fight for low end, now its never a problem!

Monitors: 2 JBL MP412 for fronts and 1 JBL MP215 for drums. The 412's sound really good and go LOUD when needed.

1 CS800S power amp for monitors. One channel for MP412's and the other for the MP215.

Ashley 31 band eq for MP412's

2 Peavey Feedback Ferrets: One for each monitor mix. They work great.

That's what we run. I like the powered cabs, we get alot of output and clean sound for its size. We can set up the system in about 45 minutes, it fits in a van and I am happy. In rooms that are wider than long, it would be nice to have another set of tops.

Probably going to get a MixWiz soon.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

My PA system is a fast growing boy. I've ditched recording, bass, electric guitar and now acoustic guitar thanks to it. Whenever I find I have enough money to buy gear -it goes straight to the system. I figure once I am completely satisfied with my system (will I ever be???) I will probably invest in up to date recording gear as I still sport an ol' Boss BR8 and maybe buy a digital piano so I can learn the keys. In the meantime I find live sound to be the most addicting and dollar consuming -but also it brings back by far the most money. Its cool having my own lil' business.

I started at harmony central in the recording forum a while back but then veered here as I wanted my band to have more show scheduling freedom... ummredface.gif yes, my first post here was the "PA for around $400" thread... But instead I ended up spending around 7 Gs or so on this stuff:

FOH Cabinets: 2 MTS Bullfrog PR1512 cabinets. 1 15" eminence delta driver, 1 12" eminence delta driver and a 1" compression driver. 94 lbs.

PROS: Got them for VERY CHEAP as MTS was just at the end of closing out their stock of all speakers. Push good SPL strong high end, very solid for the price I paid -even my coworkers were impressed by them when they heard them. Quite compact too -as they are only 13.5" deep.

CONS: High end is strong, but seems to get a bit broken up/harsh at HIGH volumes (which I guess could be expected to a degree.) They are relatively heavy for their size, the side handles on them are very cheap and alone, without subs dont have the greatest bass response, but thats no biggie because I do use subs after all.

Subs: 2 MTS bullfrog B215s. 2 15" eminence delta LF drivers. 105 lbs.

PROS: Also got for very cheap. Very strong SPL, definitely delivers that "kick in the chest." Everyone was very surprised and impressed with what they did. Quite compact for a dual 15 sub. Cannot be beat for what I paid.

CONS: Could be a wee bit tighter in sound I guess. Did not come with corners. They are solid subs -its hard to find a good weakness.

Monitors: 2 Sonic D12 wedges. I use them for mains when I do small events such as speeches.

PROS: Again, good price point. Very smooth sounding and lightweight. Seem to be well constructed.

CONS: They are a little quiet. We used them along with an EV force 12" monitor and they were a bit quieter than the EVs even though they were a little smoother in sound.

Amplification: All three be QSCwink.gif.
RMX 1450 for FOH (450w@4 ohms)
RMX 1850HD for subs (600w@4 ohms)
RMX 850 for monitors (200w@8 ohms)

PROS: Sound great, will run all night and keep cool -in fact after running them all night , the air coming out of the amps feels cooler than the outside air -like a nice cool breeze. They also offer alot of flexibility for their price point. NEVER ran into a problem with them.

CONS: They are heavy!!! especially when you stuff three of them together in a mixer case and you live on the 3rd flooreek.gif !!! Thank goodness I took care of that problem.

Mixing console(s)

1: Allen&Heath Mixwiz3 16:2. Everyone knows this one by now.

Pros: Superior reliability, sound and flexibility at its size and price point.

Cons: Sometimes I wish it had RCA inputs on it somewhere -even though its a problem thats easily solvedsmile.gif .

2. Behringer Eurorack 2004A. small board 8 XLR inputs.

PROS: I can fit it in a SKB dj 2 space mixer rack with an RMX 850 and have a little "powered mixer" to use for speeches and real small stuff. I also now have a back up board God forbid anything happens to the Mixwiz (it would seriously take something quite drastic to render that board useless).
Another pro is that the Eurorack is easier for people who rent the PA for real small stuff. It also has RCA inputswink.gif . It also still works after 6 years.

CONS: It lacks headroom, and I dont like the way the faders feel. Only really useful for small occasions.

Rack Case: Odyssey 14 space mixer rack.

PROS: I can put everything in it. Look professional, has good wheels.

CONS: I put everything in it. The cats tear up the carpet on it no matter what I try to do to. The wood doors are warping on it a little. With everything in it ---it wieghs over 200 lbs and I have to get it up and down 3 flights of stairsfrown.gif ...

Snake: Proco 16/4 100 ft.

PROS: I got this for REAL REAL cheap. Like any snake, it allows me much more room to work, and it allows me to take my amps out of my mixer case!!!thumb.gif I just got it though, and havent tried it. Still a few more cables and cases I gotta get before I do this.

CONS: Not the most flexible snake in the world, but I cant complain too much for now considering I didnt pay much for it.

Other: Dont really have processing yet, but I do have a dbx266xl compressor, 223xl crossover and 231 EQ I use for my monitors... they work fine -dont have much more to say about them than that.
Mics: not many... 3 SM57s and a Beta 52 among various other random drum mics. Looking to get a set of Samson Q7s or Q8s -very very solid mics. In fact I think they are the best things made by Samson.

Future Dreams: Ehh, I'll get processing sooner or later -I'm looking into the TC MOne.
In the distant future I would like to get a EV QRX setup. Perhaps the 212s and 218 subs...thumb.gif
I also am thinking about going powered on my monitors and putting some EV SX250As or SX100As down for that. If I ever get those QRXs though it will be after I've got plenty of use out of my current speakers. I'll also have to get rid of all my RMXs and replace them with either PLX or amps made by EV. $$$

As for now -my PA makes me happysmile.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

I'm 40, and I do a variety of work (mostly office & shop) for a high-quality sound company in the Chicago area.

I still do have some of my own odd stuff which I can cobble together for a PA:

MIXER: A Soundcraft Spirit RacPac, just like Audiopile's. Great little board, though I'd be a lot happier if it had channel mutes. Bought used (and not especially cheap) maybe 8-10 years ago, and I've only had to replace a couple input preamp parts in all that time. Fits nicely into one of the old Samsonite suitcases I use for hauling around stuff. I've also got a big DDA console I got used, which has a few more channels and much better EQ than the RacPac.

SPEAKERS: A pair of EV "Force" 1x15 cabinets, originally purchased for playing upright bass. Tall and square, great low end. Not especially good at the power handling, though. Better-sounding than anything else I looked at on the cheap end, though.

AMPS: For quiet stuff I've got a 3-channel 100 watt amp I built out of a couple salvaged chassis from a now-defunct power speaker company (Red Acoustics). For loud stuff I've got the classic QSC RMS 850.

PROCESSING: A dbx Driverack 260 for system EQ and such - great swiss-army knife box, I can get extra outputs with separate parametric EQ for other feeds, solve various routing problems, etc. A dbx 1066 dual compressor, which I bought used last summer and really haven't used all that much. Also have a FMR "Really Nice Compressor" which is great for vocals, terrible on bass.

EFFECTS: A TC Electronics M2000, bought used a year or two ago. Wonderful reverb, plus a bunch of other effects I never use. Completely different from the Yamaha reverbs I'd grown up on.

MICS: A real odd lot, since I got more interested in trying out various mics instead of building a working inventory. I've got an SM-57, SM-86, Sennheiser 421 and 441, a pair of the original CAD E-100 mics, three of the CAD C-195 condensor vocal mics, and several Oktava MK-012s. Plus the mics I build myself, several "Alice", "Audrey", and a couple "Earl" mics. All of my own mics are condensors built more for acoustic stuff than loud sources - the Earl is specifically built for doing the live bluegrass "one mic" setup. The CAD E-100 mics are interesting, and I almost always use one for kick drum.

DIs: A pair of EWI actives (LDB-101) from Audiopile. They sound great on bass guitar, plenty good enough on everything else I've tried, and have a ground lift switch which actually works.

CABLES: Assorted cables, sometimes built as needed.

I never really set out to build a show rig, I just accumulated pieces as needed for various odd jobs. Not really interested in making a living from hauling a PA around - mainly I don't like bars, but also because I'm more of an electronics and computer guy. With my current job I work the occasional show, but mostly I'm in the shop dealing with repairs, rentals, and other odd jobs like IT and website management.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

33 years old, I work in law enforcement. I am primarily a bass player in a local 80's/ 90's pop-rock cover band on the Northshore of New Orleans. We are a fairly popular band who plays most of the good clubs and all the fairs / festivals. Until recently, we had been renting a good PA system for our club gigs at a very reasonable price ($300) that included an outstanding "sound man". This PA guy is no longer available to us and we have been scrambling for PA for the past month or so. Some of the guys are good and others are so so; however we are finding ourselves to be paying $400 and more on a consistent basis. What I have noticed is that these sound companies 9 times out of 10 are providing us with a system that is serious overkill. I have PA experience and owned a Peavey system that I used in a previous band. I made the decision to put together a simple but effective compact system that would work for "most" of our club gigs. I have purchased the following:

Mixer - Allen & Heath Mixwizard 3
Subs - JBL MP418S x 2
Mains - JBL MP412 x 2
Monitors - JBL EON 15P x 2 (note: 3 of us use IEM's)
Power Amps - QSC PLX2402 (mains) and QSC PLX3002 (subs)
Racks - 14 space top X 4 space bottom custom made mixer rack and 8 space custom made amp rack
In addition I purchased a DBX crossover, DBX compressor limiter, and DBX EQ for FOH. (still need to get an EQ for the JBL monitors)
Snake - 24 X 4 bought used not sure of brand but all channels work.

I have not yet had a chance to use this system, July 8th, will be the first time. I believe it will suffice; however, I am a little concerned about having enough "low end". I'm starting out with the single pair of MP418's. I have read alot where people love these cabinets but usually need more than 2 to get the sound they want. I will purchase another pair and another QSC amp but only if needed.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

About me: I'm a 24 yr old software engineer-turned-audio guy. I don't own any gear aside from a 57, some headphones, and an RNC, but I work for a regional provider.

The Gear:

Vertec 4889s
Yorkville LS1004 subs
Crown MacroTech amps
Driverack 480
Midas XL-200 (FOH)
Midas XL-250 (Mon)
K-T graphic EQ
ART & DBX comps
Drawmer gates
Lexicon PCM 81 & 91
TC Electronics 2290
some other fx, I forget

A-rig speakers, amps, & processing
Midas Verona (FOH)
Midas Sienna (Mon)
K-T graphic EQ
DBX comps
Behringer gates
Lexicon PCM 91
TC M-One & D-2

Yorkville TX2M w/ QSC power
Ashly Graphic EQ's

Yorkville TX8's w/ Yorkville power

Racks: New stuff is all R&R - great racks & caddies that truck pack nicely and are practically indestructible. Old stuff is a mish-mash.

Cables: Whirlwind snakes, miscellanious cables - we've pretty much sworn off custom-built stuff from CBI. Too many incorrect & poorly-built shipments.

Bar rig:
JBL 4732 tops
Yorkville LS1004 subs
Yorkville amps (4040 & 6040)
Behringer comps & gates
TC M-One & D-2
Alto graphic EQs
Mackie 24-4 or 24ch Yamaha M3000
JBL XR-100 or Mackie SRM-450 monitors

Other stuff:
A&H ML-5000
Yamaha M-3000A
Yamaha M-2000

Opinions: It's hard to complain about the expensive stuff. It sounds good and it works. I doubt that a line array is the best solution for all of the shows in which we employ them, but we don't have anything in between 4732's and Vertecs, and having only one system that's scalable makes it easier to keep things straight in the shop.

The Verona & Sienna are both brand new, so I haven't had any trigger time w/ them. The Verona seems to have a few quirks - all channels look the same, but some are stereo and some are mono. freak.gif

Regarding the bar stuff... The boss doesn't spend much money on outboard gear - his attitude is that if he can get it to sound good with a certain rig, then that rig should be enough for anybody else. I can't say that I disagree with him, but it would be nice to have some better eq's. Those alto units are shit.

Wishes: Most of my wishes deal with the organizational side of the business. I realize that rock-n-roll has an inherent amount of flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, but I think we take that a bit beyond what's necessary.

For gear, I'd like a digital console to replace the 24 ch M3000, which is used with only one band. There's 10 of them and 8 have IEM's, so we need something with enough auxes.

Originally posted by Axisplayer
ABOUT ME: I am a 53 year old computer geek for NASA.
Houston, Florida, or elsewhere? My brother works for USA in Houston.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderators

I've got a small system and for about the past ten years or so, I've hooked up usually w/a steady band, for extra income to supplement my main gig as a recording engineer.


A&H Mix:Wiz 16:2, Series II

Ashly 15-band graphic, Comp/Limiter 1RU thingie for FOH - might like to upgrade to a Driverack...

Ashly 7-band parametric EQ for monitors, works fine, but you've got to know your numbers.

Lexicon MPX100 in dual mode for 'verb/delay, on two sends.

dBX 166 comp/limiter, inserted on lead and main BG vocal channel

Alesis D4, to trigger kick (my secret weapon)

The rack stuff is racked in a 6RU Anvil shallow rack.


JBL SR-4722 for highs

EV S-18 front-loaded subs. Small, and sound great in small venues. Someone in the band carries these for me, in exchange for a small fee reduction.


EV S-200 molded plastic ones - small and sound GREAT. I've also got 3 EAW 2x10 + HF horn wedges, but I can only fit one in the car. The drummer uses this.

One mix, presently, but I may go to two soon. I've got another Ashly Parametric EQ and a space in my rack...


QSC PLX-3002 for mains
QSC PLX-2402 for monitors

LOVE 'em. One 4RU shallow Anvil rack, 42 lbs.

Mics, etc.:

EV 457s, Shure SM-57s, Shure Beta 58, AKG D880.

Whirlwind Medusa 16x4 100' snake

Whirlwind speaker cabling, mic cables are a variety. I wind them carefully and have only had a couple go bad in ten years of heavy usage.

Cables go into two Rubbermaid tubs, which seem to be indestructible. Over ten years of HARD use and no problems. Hard to find now, tho.

Walmart -28dB earplugs. I've worn these for years, and after the first song, in they go.

I run the mains off of "R" buss, and the subs off of "L." This allows me to blend different sources. Both are run full-range. Not sure if this is a great idea, but it's worked for years for me - I've never blown a driver.

Except for the subs, the whole rig fits in my Ford Escort sedan. Many are dubious when they see how small it is, but they usually like the way it sounds. I've put a great deal of thought into optimizing all the components for greatest performance/size ratio.

Sometimes I wish it had a little more kick, as I have to run everything right on the edge at some shows. I also would like to be able to get a little more out of my monitors, there's a certain midrange freq that just will NOT go away, and it rings sometimes. Other than that, I've made thousands of dollars over the years and had some good times.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

I have much less of a system than most people, but seem to have something closer to what people seem to ask advice on frequently.

I'm a guitar/bass player who just wanted decent vocal monitoring for rehearsals so I got :

16-channel MixWiz

QSC PLX 1602

2 Yamaha Club V 12" monitors


It's a very simple setup but works fine for what I wanted it for.

I originally expected to have buy a 31-band EQ to deal with feedback, but haven't found one to be necessary at the volumes we usually rehearse at.

The board is definitely massive overkill for this setup, but it will come in handy if I ever feel the need to buy FOH speakers and use it as a performing PA. Most places around here have a house PA, so it hasn't been an issue yet.

The speakers & amp aren't the absolute cheapest things available like most people seem to want to buy, but they have worked well without any hassles, so to me the price has been worth it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

Age: 25
Day Gig: Consultant for Big Blue
Fun Gig: Cobra Sound - A/V Systems Contractor and SR Provider

Disclaimer: We are dealers as well as end users for most of the items in our inventory. Like Audiopile, we don't sell or recommend anything that we wouldn't use ourselves.

On the live events side, we do mostly acoustic music festivals and civic events (aka street fairs). Most applications are large coverage area but lower SPL. However, we also handle some DJing and club work.

Yorkville EF500PB's (up to 3 per side). We now have 8 of these available so we may try 2 over 2 for a large event. Speakers are usually stacked on scaffolding or speaker poles on the subs. The EF500PB's pack incredible bang for the buck, excellent throw from the HF horn, good output, nice looks, reliability/durability, etc. For their size and price it's hard to beat.

If we make a move from these, it will probably be to something of the Tom Danley SH-50/EAW KF-650z/QSC Wideline Caliber. Crowd size is anything from 100-2000 people mostly outdoors.

Yorkville LS800PB subs (up to 2 per side). Great subwoofers for the money. Ditto on everything said about the EF500PB's. Again any changes would probably be to upgrade to Danley's/BassMaxx/LAB Sub/etc.

Smaller events make use of FBT Maxx4A cabinets for mains/monitors. We recently added the FBT line and picked up some of these cabinets after reading glowing reviews for so long. These are the best plastic 12" cabinets that we have heard yet. 'nuff said.

Monitor duty is tackled by another FBT Product, the PSR212MA. I think anyone looking at Microwedges (especially those on a budget) should check these out. We just used them on their first bluegrass festival over the weekend and EVERY band that took stage commented on the excellent stage sound. These are a BIG step up from the Mackie SRM-450's that were on monitor duty. GBF and clarity is excellent.

Mackie TT24 for larger events. We love the mic pre-amps and EQ. The Effects are OK and useable. I love the layout and I/O. However I wish it had a few of the features from the 01V that we moved up from. Definitely a very capable console and NO outboard processing racks needed (at least for our events)!

Allen & Heath MixWizard for smaller events. Great sound,good layout, reliable. Considering moving to a 01V96 for it's greater processing capabilities.

System Processing:
Our DriveRack 260 has been replaced by a Sabine Navigator 3600 3*6 DSP. We run L/R stereo and aux fed subs. They sound great and are fairly easy to use with the software. Operating the unit without computer assistance is a little cumbersome but doable. We use a second Sabine NAV-3600 for the monitor mixes feeding the FBT PSR212MA's. The DriveRack has more flashing lights and minor features but the sabine sounds great and gets the job done without fuss. Bonus points for Ethernet control too.

Amps and Racks:
There aren't ANY! Everything is self-powered! smile.gif The Sabines and some FOH storage drawers are in an EWI rack from Audiopile. Very nice case for the money.

Vocals - Beta58A's or Audix OM6's
Instruments (acoustic/electric/overheads I haven't had them sound bad on anything yet) - Audix Micros 1290 and CX-112
Drums - Audix D Series (Micro-D's on Toms, D4 on Floor Tom, D6 on Kick)
DI's - BSS AR133's and Whirlwind Directors
Snake - Whirlwind Medusas
Cables - Homegrown Neutrik/Canare or Whirlwind MKQ Quad

Power Distro:
1 - Motion Labs RacPac w/50 Amp 240 volt Twists
1 - 10 ft tie-in Tail
1 - 25 ft 6/4 SOOW extension
1 - 60 ft 6/4 SOOW extension
Tons of 10-3 and 12-3 SOOW extensions and quad boxes.

1 - ThinkPad T30 running SMAART with a Sound Devices USBPre
1 - ThinkPad T40 running Sabine Navigator and Mackie TT24 control software
1 - PC running Adobe Audition for multi-track recording straight off the TT24 ADAT Outputs through and RME Audio HammerFall soundcard

8 - ETC Source Four PARS
1 - NSI MC7300? Console
1 - Innovate Show Controls PC based DMX controller

It's taken me years to assemble this system and we have progressed through several different FOH mains configurations. We're pretty happy with how things are at this point now though. It's scalable from SOS gigs to festivals and sounds great. The next step up from this would be a large one (note Danley/EAW lines above) so we'll probably have to be comfortable here for a while until we break into a large market.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

Great thread idea Mark!

In an effort to provide equal representation to the "just above entry level PA on a Stick" end of things, I'm going to post my humble little PA, as well as comment on how we arrived at owning what we now have.

I'm 38. By day, I manage/sell exhibit space and event sponsorships for major Association based professional trade shows. When I'm not taking care of my wife and new baby girl, I sing lead vox and play poor rhythm guitar in two bands by night, one "party" cover band w/ some originals and another jam/roots rock band with all original material.

From 2003-2005, We were running a 8 channel powered mixer (Mackie 808m then a Yorkville m1610) for vocals, bass and kick only into some Yorkville nx350's and one Yorkville ls700p via a rolls xover and having some headroom problems and channel shortages, as well as not having to mix to the guitar amps stage volume etc. Finally this year we moved the Yorky m1610 to rehearsal duties and bought a 16 channel passive board/powered speaker set up. MAJOR inprovement.

My current PA is meant to provide decent and managable sound with minimal fuss to small rooms holding no more than 150-200. There are 4 of us in the cover band and this PA is pretty much used exclusively by that band. Anything bigger and we rent a whole system and techs or the venue provides.

2 x Yorkville nx55p. These are relatively new to me, and I am extremely pleased with them. They sound excellent to my ears, very clear and crisp but still smooth with plenty of SPL for my applications. They are also a breeze to haul and store in the closet I rent at my rehearsal space.

2 x Yorkville ls700p. Much like the nx55p, these are very solid bang for buck subs which can be hauled and stored with ease. One guy can carry one of these subs as they are less than 100lbs each. I find them to be a very good match for the nx55p power wise and they deliver nice bass for the classic rock/blues type music we play in rooms approximately 25' x 75' (typical Chicago tavern foorprint).

Mains are telescoped on top of subs in most cases, but I can couple the subs and place tops on separate speaker stands if desired.

Peavey RQ2318 16 channel board. Reliable, light and simple to operate mixer which I purchased used for $300 including a road case and shipping. OK sounding pre's, intuitive/simple layout. Major downside is only 2 auxes for two monitor mixes. I also have a little Mackie 1202 for submixes, extra channels if needed, but I have yet to use it for this purpose.

2 x Yorkville nx350 and 2 x EV FM1202.
The nx350's used to be my mains until I bucked up for the nx55p's a few months ago. Incredibly light but seemingly sturdy speakers. Thus they are not quite as efficient as a ply cab, but we knew that going in. Very nice sounding monitors which are plenty sufficient for our uses as we really don't play that loud at all. Wish they had two speakon connectors in the back of each one for daisy chaining though.

The EV FM1202's are some older 1x12 heavy ply wedges that I scored on craigslist for $75 each. Compared to the old Yamaha club IV wedges, I find them a bit more bulky but much clearer and smooth sounding. More watts RMS and better sensitivity I believe. But they are heavy and take up a lot of space. No pole mounts is another detraction. They do have 2 speakons per speaker though.

Monitors are powered by one QSC EX1600 amp (which I got for $150 from the same guy who sold me the EV wedges). Given the limit of two monitor mixes, we daisy chain the speakers off of the one QSC. (2 yorkies in channel 1, 2 EV's in channel 2). The guy soild me a second one of these amps, which we use to power some EV subs he also sold me in our rehearsal room.

Processing (and rack):
Super basic here as this rig is my step up from the powered speaker world and I'm a newbie to outboard processing. No gates or comps etc. 6 rack heavy duty C-stock Audiopile case containing 1 dbx 223 crossover, 1 dbx 231 dual 31 band eq for FOH, 2 Rane ME30, 31 band EQ's (1 for each monitor mix), T.C. Electronics M300 FX processor (for vocals only)

All of my XLR and speaker cables come from our friend Audiopile. For XLRs, I have 2 50', 8 10', 10 20', 8 30' and few each adapters M/F to 1/4" trs as well as splitters and longer trs-trs cables. Probably have about $500 in cables alone. Excellent quality to price ratio and have been very reliable. Liz and Mark are a pleasure to deal with. I also have one of Audioeast's CMI Multi-outlet extension cord that is 50' with outlets every 10' feet. This item is solid, heavy duty 10 ro 12 guage and is invaluable for backline (and sometimes FOH speaker) power in some of the dives we play in. Black extension cords from Audioeast and a bunch of quality Tripplite power/surge strips

All boom stands, short and tall for micing drums, vox, guitars etc. Some or higher end, heavy telescoping booms and others I got from MF on the 6 for $100 On Stage stand deal. I much prefer to play using booms - straight stands get in the way of my guitar. Yorkville telescoping speaker stands and Audiopile's regular tripod speaker stands. I have a SKB tube case w/ wheels to carry all the stands, which is useful to keep them tidy (but a pain to lift!) Audiopiles speaker stands are heavy but very solid and built well. The Yorky telecopes are well built but dont fit into the pole mounts as snug as I'd like.

2 x Shure Beta 57 (great mics for vocals and many instruments. I use one for my lead vox and one for my guitar amp)
2 x AKG D790 (reasonably priced mic, good hot signal, sound OK, I use them for 1 spare dynamic vocal mic and my soft singing lead guitarist)
2 x Shure sm58 (backing vox, the workhorse standard)
3 x sm57 (1 for snare, 1 for lead guitarist's amp, 1 for backup/general instrument use, guest horn etc.)
Audiopile's new 6 piece drum mic kit for drums. These work very well for the price, and it's all my drummer would buck up for. We may mocve to the Audix kit when he gets more cash and keep these for sloppy outside gigs etc.

I also have some condensors (2 Octava 012's, AT3035, CAD E100, 2 AKG c1000s etc.) but these pretty much stay in my rehearsal space along with our Spirt 24 channel board, Aesis HD-24, powered mixer, 2 Sonic t-15 mains, crate monitors, 2 EV subs, Audix mics, stands, cables etc.)

1 75' 12x4 Rapco snake. Another clist buy for $100. The casing is a bit flimsy and "light feeling" but it's been OK for us so far
1 75' 8 insert snake for use to mic drum kit. CHEAP MF purchase (Jade?) and a piece of crap. I really need a 16x8 snake, but that will come later.

And last but certainly not least, we have added to this rig a dedicated SOUNDMAN!! No more mixing from the stage and I can't stress enough how much more pleasurable it is to set up/ tear down and how much better we sound because of this addition. Probably the biggest improvement vs. investment we make now.

So, that's about it. We're definately bereft on distro and a bunch of other areas, but for our purposes, this is the rig we plan to stay with for a while. Does a nice job for the small rooms/crowds we play in/for and for our style of music. Definately a HUGE step up in quality from our old powered mixer set up - to make a major understatement. Now everything is miced and we sound a ton better. The result? We're getting booked more often for more $$$. So we're happy for now.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous
Originally posted by Mark G. Hinge
aha... sorry I missed/forgot about that.

So my joke didn't make any sense... freak.gif
Your correlation to the analogy is correct.

There's a lot about the analogy that relates.
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Members

I'm another 50 year-old non-singing bass player but I'm mainly a woodwind man (hence the moniker). I have a db Fifty Line pa (3Kw active in three boxes a side) and a couple of db 405 actives for smaller gigs or for use as floor monitors (I'll be getting another pair soon). For rock bands, we rehearse with the 405's, and occasionally put them through the bass boxes of the Fifty Line to simulate what it'll be like on stage a bit better.

We mix through my ancient spirit folio 10:2 or Alesis studio 32 - neither perfect but they work. Both reasonably quiet with the knobs set right.

Vocal and instrument mics are a mixture of SM57s, SM58s (not often) and Beyer M201s, with a couple of others for special needs.

Keyboards are DI'd into the mix and the players use their own amps for monitors. We don't usually bother miking guitar amps but I'll get onto that sometime. Ditto drums - though I might give the drummer a monitor to keep him happy and help keep the balance. I DI the bass as well (why carry a PA and a bass amp?).

Being an all-active system, mains distro has been a problem now and again and I've made up a Powercon-based system that seems to be working fine and avoiding the noise problems I got with people plugging extension strips in all over the place.

I have two 12 in 4 out snakes to cut cable clutter and try to work with a front line and backline snake or a left and right snake, depending on the venue. Either way, the middle of the stage should be fairly cable free.

What's it like in performance? The band likes it, the db 405s make lovely floor monitors though they sound better with bits of carpet underneath on a hard floor. The Fifty Line mains have been plenty loud enough (and very clean) for everything we've done with them and even with three guitars and two keyboards going we can get good, clear vocals (the M201s help, too). Being all active, set-up is straightforward and we can run safely on two sides of a UK twin 13-amp socket. We could probably get a tighter sound with a touch of compression on the vocals, but we've kept everythng fairly simple as we don't have a separate sound man and being infrequent performers a complex setup is not good for us.

I should say I bought the Fifty Line PA for reinforcing bands and orchestras, so it's more than I would have otherwise have spent for a rock setup (UK

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...