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Having sold most of my existing sound gear, I am now looking at re-buying a new system as an upgrade. Total budget is $10K, excluding cables, mics, misc. I know that there are some really solid engineers on this site who can provide thoughtful input, so...:

 

Venues: Largely theater stages, seating from 200-2000. Portability is a requirement, ease of set-up/load-out is important, but not the primary factor.

 

Primary customer: Regional and community theater groups (musicals), with some band jobs (primarily 6-10 piece ensembles in smaller venues).

 

Components covered by the budget :

 

(2) stage boxes. One for the pit, one for offstage/mic receivers. Minimum 16 channels each (that may be a bit weak for the pit)

Console. Open to suggestions, iPad/tablet control of a rack unit would be usable, though I have the old-school mentality that likes physical faders. X32 Core?

(4) wedge monitors

Subs / mains. Flyable would be nice, but may not fit the budget. (Lighting and rigging for this project is being handled by someone else, but can handle the weight).

Amps, if cabinets are not powered.

 

Is it possible to put something decent together for $10K that will hold up to fairly regular use? If not, what is the minimum budget to get something like this assembled?

 

In the real world, how much acoustic output should I plan for to cover a 2,000 seat auditorium at a moderate volume (not pop/rock concert level, but "heavy" musical theater).

 

Thanks in advance for any and all input.

Edited by SteinbergerHack
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No response yet, so I'm going to narrow it down a bit. If' I assume the X32 rack/iPad console and one S16 snake box, that leave me ~$8500 for powered cabinets. If I go with the same cabinet for mains and monitors it makes things a bit simpler, so I am assuming 7 mains cabinets and two subs. The choices that initially look good are:

 

Turbosound TSP1222, iQ18B

EV EKX-12P, EKX-18SP

JBL PRX-812W, PRX-818XLFW

Yamaha DSR112, DXS-18

 

Are any of these flyable? Any good reason to go with or avoid any of these? I've had very good experiences with Yamaha and Turbosound in the recent past, but I don't want to ignore a good option for no good reason. Have I missed any other good options at this price point?

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No response yet, so I'm going to narrow it down a bit. If' I assume the X32 rack/iPad console and one S16 snake box, that leave me ~$8500 for powered cabinets. If I go with the same cabinet for mains and monitors it makes things a bit simpler, so I am assuming 7 mains cabinets and two subs. The choices that initially look good are:

 

Turbosound TSP1222, iQ18B

EV EKX-12P, EKX-18SP

JBL PRX-812W, PRX-818XLFW

Yamaha DSR112, DXS-18

 

Are any of these flyable? Any good reason to go with or avoid any of these? I've had very good experiences with Yamaha and Turbosound in the recent past, but I don't want to ignore a good option for no good reason. Have I missed any other good options at this price point?

Hi SteinbergerHack,

 

Your mixer is a good suggestion (and not just because I own one ;) ). The X32 scene control is more powerful than any mixer at this price point, and many more than double this price point. In the future, you may want to consider another stage box since you can wire in any set of 32 microphones at a time and mix them (ie you can have 64 microphones hooked up in 2 S32 stage boxes, but only have one of them lined up to mix per scene. Using this method, you can really have lots of room for expansion.

 

In the list you have, I prefer the Yamaha's for 2 reasons. The DSR112 top is the cleanest and most powerful top in the bunch by quite a margin (to my ears). I haven't heard the DXS myself yet, but people who have compared it directly to the 718XLF (not the 818) have sold their XLF's to go with the DXS18 (do a search on the web).

 

Also, for spoken word, the DSR112 is the most articulate speaker in this price range.

 

If you are willing to up your budget, the RCF745a's are a wonderful top as reported by people who I consider to be very knowledgeable.

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With you doing many different bands,groups I'd want a real control surface with faders yet small. I have a Midas M32r and its a great mixer, Midas input preamps in/out and Pro series faders. Can be had much less than seen at general Big Box stores if you shop....

 

 

I like the turbosound tops but the subs... eh so/so.

 

http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/1418135/25745247/1417987820850/M32+Review.pdf

 

As it stands it has the same 16 xlr and 6 aux inputs as the X32 rack and can be used as a stand alone unit. To keep the same quality preamps you'd have to add a DL16 stage box but it would be worth it. It is rack mount ready as well. I use the M32 Pro Mixing station app. and mix in the room and have other tablets for the band members monitor adjustments. The "Pro" version is well worth the $5-6 dollars extra as you can configure it to work as you like and it has more features as well. 95 percent of the time I mix via tablet but I really like having the board setup side of stage to have available or out front when I'm doing a new band. I setup the user buttons for monitor mixing and effects via the layer function available in it.

 

The wireless mixing of the M32 / X32 is handy but its still nice to have a board there when your doing a one off and are unsure of the bands requirements or get the "Hey we have 3 extra inputs and 2 more singers tonight" gigs.....

 

Doug

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With you doing many different bands' date='groups I'd want a real control surface with faders yet small. I have a Midas M32r and its a great mixer, Midas input preamps in/out and Pro series faders. Can be had much less than seen at general Big Box stores if you shop....[/quote']

 

That's where I started, and the budget pulled me back to where I ended up with the rack version. You make a good point, though, that some aggressive shopping might allow me to get a physical console. Honestly, I'm more comfortable with that approach to begin with....I'm a bit old school at heart.

 

I like the turbosound tops but the subs... eh so/so.

 

Thank you for the input - that's what I'm looking for.

 

As it stands it has the same 16 xlr and 6 aux inputs as the X32 rack and can be used as a stand alone unit.

 

Yes, though this would mean I have to run a physical snake, run all the wireless mic heads at the console, etc. Would get local inputs at the console for break/intro music, announcer mics, etc, too, though. There's both good and bad with this approach.

 

I use the M32 Pro Mixing station app. and mix in the room and have other tablets for the band members monitor adjustments. The "Pro" version is well worth the $5-6 dollars extra as you can configure it to have available or out front when I'm doing a new band. I setup the user buttons for monitor mixing and effects via the layer function available in it.

 

Hadn't thought about that. Could run the actual console at the stage, use a tablet at the house location....hmmm....that solves the snake and wireless mic range issues..hmm....

 

Thanks - you've given me some good stuff to think about.

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In the list you have, I prefer the Yamaha's for 2 reasons. The DSR112 top is the cleanest and most powerful top in the bunch by quite a margin (to my ears). I haven't heard the DXS myself yet, but people who have compared it directly to the 718XLF (not the 818) have sold their XLF's to go with the DXS18 (do a search on the web).

 

Also, for spoken word, the DSR112 is the most articulate speaker in this price range.

 

If you are willing to up your budget, the RCF745a's are a wonderful top as reported by people who I consider to be very knowledgeable.

 

The budget is probably fixed. In fact, it may have to drop a bit, as we lost one of our funding sources over the weekend.

 

Thanks for the comment on the Yamahas. I've spent a lot of time with their club series, and they really do a great job for that price point, IMO. I need to step it up a it, though, for the gigs I'm starting to work.

 

Thanks again!

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It wouldn't hurt to look at Yorkville products for your needs. I have *NO IDEA* what you need for a 2,000 person theatre, but I have been renting PS12Ps as FOH outdoors without subs for my rock band and have been very happy with the results at 200-300 people. Maybe the PS15P would do the trick for you? What I like about this series is the multiband limiter....the limiter can limit kick without destroying vocals.

 

For stage wedges, the NX55P is pretty hard to beat. They are durable as heck and flat as a rail.

 

5 * 850 + 2 * 1350 = $6,950

 

And yes, they can be flown. I would expect a set of PS15Ps to be comparable to the DSR112 + DXS18.

 

Their PSA1 (etc) might be more theatre-appropriate with the wider horizontal dispersion and ability to be flown in a line array, but I think that would be out of your budget.

 

Wes

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Yes, though this would mean I have to run a physical snake, run all the wireless mic heads at the console, etc. Would get local inputs at the console for break/intro music, announcer mics, etc, too, though. There's both good and bad with this approach.

 

*** If music is played through the boards USB input and recorded at the same sample rate you are running the board at you can start and stop USB playback with the M32 Pro app without going on stage.*** Same with if your using the USB stick input to record the L/R as an example. You can start/stop recording as well****

 

 

 

Hadn't thought about that. Could run the actual console at the stage, use a tablet at the house location....hmmm....that solves the snake and wireless mic range issues..hmm....

 

*** I work side of stage with the desk 95 percent of the time. Makes it easy to do the monitor mixes and setup/tear down is a breeze as well. Kind of the best of both worlds. As with the other boards in this line you can always add stage boxes as needed and they would be close at hand.****

 

Thanks - you've given me some good stuff to think about.

 

I run a Yorkville system as well as EV SXA250's and the Midas makes them sound great!

 

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OP,

 

To be blunt, the budget difference for a sound system to meet your requirements for a 200 person theater versus a 2000 person theater is pretty big. For $10k, you can put together a competent system for 200-300 folks indoors, but more than that requires a great deal more budget.

 

In your shoes, I would have a $10k 'basic' system for smaller shows and then rent mains as needed for larger shows and venues.

 

My suggestion:

- 1 x X32 compact mixer - $1500

- 1 x S32 stagebox - $1000

- 2 x JBL PRX 818XLF - $2200

- 6 x JBL PRX 812 - $4500

- Case for mixer and stagebox

- Shielded Cat5e cable from mixer to stagebox

 

With some judicious shopping, you should be able to keep this well under $10k. Keeping the mains and monitors the same model gives you flexibility should something fail. Other option for tops/mons would be Yamaha DXR112 or DSR112. The DXR sounds great, I am told the DSR is even better.

 

If you do live music of any complexity - musical theater, for example - you will want to have a physical mixing surface,

 

Just my $0.02. Full disclosure, I work for a JBL and Behringer dealer and also own/use this same gear frequently, so I am just a tad biased. ;)

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Update: I listened to PRX, EKX, DXR and DSR, and ended up getting a pair of DXRs to try for a few weeks before getting the whole package. The PRX wireless DSP feature came close to winning me over, but the DXR just seemed to be a better value while being lighter weight, and probably the least expensive flyable option.

 

Thanks to all for your input!

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I run a Yorkville system as well as EV SXA250's and the Midas makes them sound great!

 

a side note

Dookie: One of your pics shows a discman near your mixer... I thought that I was the only person left in the world that still uses one of those for break tunes.

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Final update:

 

I ended up getting (7) DXR12s and (2) DXS15s. Three of the 12s go across the front (L/C/R) with the L/R subs, then 4 12s act as wedge monitor for stage and pit.

 

I went with the rack X32, and it functions well for the $$$.

 

Observations:

 

The DXRs are very convenient, light, flyable, and easy to configure. They don't sound as good as my old Club series did, though. They seem to have WAY too much low mid/high bass, and the DSP setting don't help. I end up turning it off and having to EQ the snot out of them in the console. If they already have a DSP in the box, why on earth do they not have a setting for "FLAT RESPONSE"?

 

The PC-based remote X32 app is not nice. Not user-friendly and absolutely will not let you make a small tweak to a level. It has a default deadband that is WAY too wide, IMO, which means that you can't just sneak in a minor adjustment without it going noticed.

 

The third-party 'Droid app is much better, but missing a few functions. As a result, I end up having to use both, which is a pain.

 

Summary - get an iPad if you want to use the X32, and be prepared to use a lot of EQ effort on the DXRs....but that still beats hauling the amp rack for passives.

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