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Which PA speakers for my band?
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yumdrum
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13th December 2007
Old 13th December 2007
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Question Which PA speakers for my band?

Earlier today our Band leader asked me which set of PA speakers he should buy. I don't know a lot about live sound so I told him I'd give you guys a try.

I know he's looking for a dual 15" with a horn. Already has subs. I was thinking JBL or Mackie.

We normally play modest sized venues, so they won't be cranked but will run Vox, keys, harp and drums. Looking for a punchy, clear sound.

Suggestions are greatly appreciated.

And price is a factor to an extent.

Thanks,
Dave
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13th December 2007
Old 13th December 2007
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probably Nexo PS15s if you can afford them. they may be small but they pack alot of power

if you want powered then RCF
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13th December 2007
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You might have better luck posting in the Lab Lounge section of ProSoundWeb forum. That forum is a for live sound. PSW Sound Reinforcement Forums: LAB Lounge

State your budget, typical venue size, music genres, and what kind of subs you are using. Also think about size and weight and transport. Don't forget transport cases in your budget. Do you want an active or passive system? Without this info and your target budget its impossible to make a realistic recomendation.

If your budget is over US$4K per top you could try the high end forum at ProSoundWeb.

For a small step up from Mackies and JBL's (in my opinion) look at Yorkvilles. I have some of their active NX cabinets and its great bang-for-the-buck prosumer gear.

FWIW, many people prefer 12"s over 15"s, particularly for vocal clarity. Its not always a bigger-is-better kind of thing

If you can afford Nexos go for it and never look back.
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13th December 2007
Old 13th December 2007
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If you already have subs. stay away from 15" speakers in the mains if you can.

Cerwin-Vega has a powered line worth looking at too.




-tINY

amd
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13th December 2007
Old 13th December 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yumdrum View Post
Earlier today our Band leader asked me which set of PA speakers he should buy. I don't know a lot about live sound so I told him I'd give you guys a try.

I know he's looking for a dual 15" with a horn. Already has subs. I was thinking JBL or Mackie.

We normally play modest sized venues, so they won't be cranked but will run Vox, keys, harp and drums. Looking for a punchy, clear sound.

Suggestions are greatly appreciated.

And price is a factor to an extent.

Thanks,
Dave

Since you are in South Florida and so am I, please PM be because I have something that will probably interest you very much!
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13th December 2007
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I checkout out the EV and JBL's before finally landing on the Mackie SRM 450. I think they sound amazing!!!!! Great features as well, I love the automatic shut off. Plenty of power and bass, seriously, plenty. They have 12" main speaker, so add a sub if you want it thumpin.
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#7
13th December 2007
Old 13th December 2007
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Check out anything from KV2. Great sounding boxes. The powered ones might suit your needs well. if you have the budget an Meyer CQ would be great. Nexo Alpha E line.
#8
13th December 2007
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i like my JBL eon's.
#9
5th January 2008
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I think the JBL EONs sound like nasal crap, and the Mackie SRMs are dead and lifeless.

Thanks for the tip on the KV2s --will have to check them out.

TurboSound also started up a line of powered PA speakers, which I'd be interested to hear... But they don't seem to be available stateside yet.
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6th January 2008
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I have a pair of JBL EON powered 15's that have been in constant use since about '96. They work great and sound great.
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6th January 2008
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We have them all and I have used them all.

For all around good sound, price and reliability the Mackie SRM450s win.

The EONs are lower powered, are not that well made, are VERY hard to have serviced and don't sound very good. We have eight and do not send them out unless there is nothing left in our inventory.

The Nexo PS15s sound VERY good, but they are not cheap.

The KV2 stuff sounds good, but stay away from those wierd non-standard amps in a box that they have.

I won't go into detail here, but anyone who says that 12s" are preferred over 15"s for p.a. applications doesn't know what he is talking about.
15"s weight more and don't work out as well in self powered boxes.
12"s work fine in certain situations, but they are not "preferred" over 15"s.

I have only been involved in pro live audio for thirty years plus, so I know what I am talking about.
Until rather recently with the advent of proprietary design systems you have not seen many 12"s used in large p.a. rigs.
Because of size considerations large line arrays do use 10"s and smaller.
The number of drivers is larger to compensate for the small driver size.

We have thirty two SRM-450s and ship them cross the U.S. via LTL common carrier in Anvile type cases.
They rarely fail (maybe four in six years?)
We use them ALL year round.
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6th January 2008
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Hey there.

We run the EAW LA215's as tops. They sound great. These sit on top of EAW 2-18" subs. I'm constantly amazed with this rig - 'cause many times we'll have the volume turned up quite loud - and no-one hardly ever complains. Previously we owned other brands of speakers and found that we couldn't turn them up nearly as loud before they started to sound brittle & harsh...

I've found that everything in your arsenal of equipment on stage will contribute to your final sound. We noticed this as we began upgrading stuff like amps, x-overs, reverbs, mics etc...

We are a duo act & all of our stuff gets put through the mains.

Good luck with your search,

SparkyCanada
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6th January 2008
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I just upgraded our tops to Yorkville U15s for our mobile rig. They're 60 degree conical dispersion boxes which array nicely 2 per side if you need 120 degrees of coverage. We're powering them with I-Tech, but they make a powered version as well. They're three way boxes with the mid drivers integrated into the HF horn, 4 ohm 15" (800W) on the lows and an 8 ohm mid/high pack (200W). A great sounding box to get so long as you have a second set of hands to lift it (80 lbs?)
If you're just after powered utility boxes, I think the JBL PRX series would be more comparable to the Mackie SRMs than the EONs. We've got the unpowered 12" MRX utility boxes they're based on, and they're fine for a durable spot monitor/fill/delay what-have-you. Apples and oranges compared to the Yorkville mains.
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6th January 2008
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Quote:
Looking for a punchy, clear sound.
This line is spectacular in my experience: SLS.

A whole different ballgame from compression horns, easily appreciated in use.

Other reasonably good choices I have liked are EV and sometimes passive Yamaha (not the powered models). Absolutely no to the EON series. And I have not enjoyed Mackie 450.

Steve
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6th January 2008
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check out the self powered b-52. 2 15-s and a horn . 1000 watts. my band had been through many set ups. going on 2 years and solid indoors and out with no blows.
#16
7th January 2008
Old 7th January 2008
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my band uses the qsc 153's heavy bastard's but the best sound we've heard
bar none,.........
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7th January 2008
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You can never go wrong with JBL
yumdrum
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7th January 2008
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Forgot to mention they need to be passive. What about Yorkville?
Thanks again for all your suggestions, I have forwarded this link to him so he can monitor it as well.
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7th January 2008
Old 7th January 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
I won't go into detail here, but anyone who says that 12s" are preferred over 15"s for p.a. applications doesn't know what he is talking about.
15"s weight more and don't work out as well in self powered boxes.
12"s work fine in certain situations, but they are not "preferred" over 15"s.

I have only been involved in pro live audio for thirty years plus, so I know what I am talking about.
Until rather recently with the advent of proprietary design systems you have not seen many 12"s used in large p.a. rigs.
Because of size considerations large line arrays do use 10"s and smaller.
The number of drivers is larger to compensate for the small driver size.

.

I don't want to accuse you of having cloth ears here.

I have not heard a 15" + 1" throat horn set-up that sounds good. If you can steer me towards a model, I'd like to know.

The problem is that the cross-over tends to be too high or too low. Too high, and the 15" cone starts getting beamy and breaking up trying to run up to 2-3kHz. Too low, and the 1" throat horn starts sounding too honky. I've heard some pairs where the XO is in the middle somewhere and you get a healthy dose of both problems.

I have heard systems with 1" and 2" horns over a 15" that sound alright, but those are usually used in larger venues.

I'm not old enough to have 30 years experience (20 years is a while, though) Maybe I have more of my hearing intact?




-tINY

#20
7th January 2008
Old 7th January 2008
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Electro Voice. EV has something called Ring Mode Decoupling. It is the way they build their boxes. They best way to explain this is for you to have someone hold their hands around their mouth like they are calling you from a far away distance but just speak normally. Up close this sounds honkey and harsh. EV eliminates this in all of there boxes in all of their lines. Most all speakers will sound honkey when AB'd next to an EV cabinet. It's a subtle difference which really separates a good cabinet from a great cabinet.

QRX is a line to look at.

You can get some XI boxes that are biamped that also have built in pole mounts.

Look at the ZX5's too. I couldn't believe them when I first heard them.

Electrovoice
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7th January 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

I don't want to accuse you of having cloth ears here.

I have not heard a 15" + 1" throat horn set-up that sounds good. If you can steer me towards a model, I'd like to know.

The problem is that the cross-over tends to be too high or too low. Too high, and the 15" cone starts getting beamy and breaking up trying to run up to 2-3kHz. Too low, and the 1" throat horn starts sounding too honky. I've heard some pairs where the XO is in the middle somewhere and you get a healthy dose of both problems.

I have heard systems with 1" and 2" horns over a 15" that sound alright, but those are usually used in larger venues.

I'm not old enough to have 30 years experience (20 years is a while, though) Maybe I have more of my hearing intact?




-tINY

Don't get all torn up!

I haven't used a speaker with 15" and a 1" high end driver in a long time.
In fact I can't remember the last time.
I can't even THINK of one!
The Mackies are 12"s but they have a 1.5" HF driver.
Wait? Do the JBL EONs have a 1" HF and a 15"?
That won't help any argument because the EONs aren't too wonderful!

Everything I have used for A LONG TIME has had 15" LF drivers and 2" HF.

I hate to sound shitty, but anything with a 12" and a 1" HF is going to be too small for serious p.a. work.

Other than our line array stuff.. I haven't used anything that didn't have 2" HF drivers in years.
My friend has a decent p.a. that has four Yamaha tops and they might have 1" HF drivers.
The problem with them is that they won't reach more than about 65 feet before they fall off!
1" horns have tiny throats and not much horn flare to project the sound.
He has 5K of subs and then those on top.
It is kinda' un-balanced.
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7th January 2008
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I guess I imagined venues that were less than 250 seats. A lot of designs for cabinets in that market have to hit a price point. That means 1" throats and often stamped frame drivers.

But marketing gets involved: 15 is bigger than 12 - marketing dweebs get this. What they don't get is the big price increase going from 1 to 1.5" thoats on drivers (especially when the front of the flange looks the same.....).




-tINY

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7th January 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

I don't want to accuse you of having cloth ears here.

I have not heard a 15" + 1" throat horn set-up that sounds good. If you can steer me towards a model, I'd like to know.

The problem is that the cross-over tends to be too high or too low. Too high, and the 15" cone starts getting beamy and breaking up trying to run up to 2-3kHz. Too low, and the 1" throat horn starts sounding too honky. I've heard some pairs where the XO is in the middle somewhere and you get a healthy dose of both problems.

I have heard systems with 1" and 2" horns over a 15" that sound alright, but those are usually used in larger venues.

I'm not old enough to have 30 years experience (20 years is a while, though) Maybe I have more of my hearing intact?




-tINY

i have been doing regular work in a venue that has mongoose double 15" and they sound pretty damn good and with 4 earthquakes per side the system has plenty of punch. these are old designs and its no portable PA. i think some of the the old Mayer's 15" aswell, its been a few years since we used them because they are just to heavy, but they always sounded damn good when tuned right.

its easier to match 12" and crossovers and they are usually better when you have some good subs but these is nothing wrong with 15" either aslong as you have a decent cross over. the overall cab design also has much more to do with how they sound than the size of the speaker anyway.

anyone who says a wackie SRM sounds good hasnt used a real PA, but for small and portable they do fine if you like the wackie-ness .

yumdrum you will get much better recommendations if you give a purpose and budget.
#24
7th January 2008
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Befor I was a GS, I was a PA type of slut. I have in my possession for almost 5 years now,a pair of EAW LA325's and JBL SRX series dual 18in subs with Yorkville AP AMPS. I used them a wopping total of TWO times! They have resided in my apartment stacked along the wall.I am SELLING them this year.If you are interested..PM me. BTW, I heard these boxes in a live outdoor venue and they sounded everything I thought they would.Perfect for venues of 2000 people.
#25
7th January 2008
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If you already have subs and are interested in portability, try the Carvin single 12s with a horn. These two way (plastic or wood boxes) stand mountable speakers are nearly identical to the JBLs, but less $$$. Kinda crispy too, as I recall. I've been using 'em as monitors for just under a year.

My FOH faves (for most clubs) are still an old pair of Fender 1205As. Very loud and smoove!
#26
7th January 2008
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They're not fashionable, but I was quite impressed with some Yamaha Club series speakers I heard... think it was S115V or something. Good, balanced sound. Think they're quite cheap too.

The Cerwin Vega's I heard had a very nasty top end, but I have a particular hatred for the sheet metal tearing tweeters that seem to be popular in PA rigs around here.

I worked with a hired Peavey Ti range (or something like that) a while back. Looked beaten to a pulp, but sounded good to my ears (although a bit light on bass - a sub was definitely needed). Again, not a fashionable name.

But take my opinions with a pinch of salt, since I don't do PA for a living. I'm keen to check out the Yorkvilles myself.
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19th March 2008
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Since you're looking for unpowered, if you go JBL, steer clear of the JRX range - no good. I know there's the SRX and MRX, but haven't heard from people how much of a step up those levels are above JRX (besides better).

I didn't think I saw, but how much are you looking to spend?
#28
19th March 2008
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Nexo PS-15. There are no alternatives.......

WT - Has 24 of them at work.
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19th March 2008
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BAG END makes awesome boxes. I also like the new QSC powered speakers vs the JBL or Mackies.
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19th March 2008
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For my money, nothing you will buy at a typical music store like Guitar Center will beat JBL and Crown. Good news is that you get both in one package: JBL PRX535
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