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Karaoke/Small venue DJ set-up Recommendations
Old 5 days ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Karaoke/Small venue DJ set-up Recommendations

Hi guys,

My wife has just been made redundant so she's looking at a new venture. Many years ago she ran karaoke nights in bars and also some local radio DJ-ing, so she's looking at setting up on her own doing karaoke and Dj-ing.

It will be predominantly small-to-medium size bars, and given that we now have no income it will need to be set-up on a relatively low budget. That said, I always promote getting the best that we can afford, so we're not looking at the absolute cheapest either.

She uses Virtual DJ and the laptop is already sorted, so it's just audio hardware we need to acquire. Often she'll be setting up on her own so something straightforward and compact would perhaps be preferable. Stands and mic's I'm not worried about, but I would be interested in advice and recommendations as far as mixer and amplification are concerned.

For ease I'm inclined to go for a mixer amp (though I'm not against a small rack set-up if it offers better price/performance ratio) and was looking at the Yamaha EMX 2 and 5. The EMX 5 would be stretching the budget, but seems to offer a lot more flexibility to me. The EMX 2 would probably be fine to start with but may be quickly outgrown if this venture takes off.

Would you recommend any alternatives to these, or a similarly priced and specced rack combo incorporating power amp, mixer and some element of vocal processing?

Thanks in advance.

P.S. I should add that where we live the market is quite saturated and bars don't like to pay a lot, so any initial outlay has to be balanced against potential returns. Fortunately, a lot of the people already doing this aren't that good and hopefully she'll build up a bit of a (good) reputation, but we have to be sensible about outlay. As much as I'd love to go out and blow a fortune on the best gear, at the moment it's just not viable. Also, transport wise, we have a SUV but no van, so another reason for keeping size down to a minimum, factoring in speakers, lighting, etc, that will all need to fit in there.
Old 5 days ago
  #2
Lives for gear
Not sure where you're located, but now would not be the time to invest in a DJ karaoke rig for bars that no one is going to. In Southern CA all bars have been ordered closed. Is this to plan when bars open back up?

You will need to ensure that whatever Bar/restaurant you play at has the appropriate ASCAP/BMI licensing paid for.

Before buying any gear, I'd recommend a business plan to understand how many gigs you realistically expect per month, how much you will be able to charge, etc. Gear would be the last thing to worry about. If the market is quite saturated as you say, you really owe it to yourself and your wife to run the numbers on realistically what's possible.
Old 5 days ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

I'm in Spain, bars have been shut down for about 10-11 days now. So we can't do anything until after life returns to normal. I mean I can't even buy any gear until things go back to normal. So plenty of time to think about it. Trouble is we're not spoilt for choice in terms of options. The two things my wife is experienced in are entertainment and travel (the latter being the industry she's just been made redundant from). Getting another job in the latter is going to be very difficult - the industry is on its a*re now, plenty of companies laid off before hers did so already a flood of people looking for non-existent jobs, and more crucially it was a UK company she worked for, so basically she'd have to try and find another position that let her work from home. Not impossible, but not easy either.

It's a peculiar area where we live. A lot of people come over here and re-invent themselves, which is why the market is saturated. But my wife actually has a wealth of experience in it, plus we have a lot of contacts in the bars and on local radio stations- she's already been approached several times but turned it down due to previous work commitments (and lack of gear). So I don't want to sound complacent in any way because I'm really not, and even if she was doing seven gigs a week we would still be significantly worse off than we were before, but like I say, not a lot of other options I'm afraid. It'll take a while to build up, I'm under no illusion there, but there are a lot of potential venues and we're hopeful that she'll be able to build up a good reputation reasonably quickly, especially if she manages to bag a local radio slot to boost her profile. With all that said, this is another reason I don't want to go crazy on spending.
As for licensing, the local town hall's are pretty strict in this regard.

I'm actually starting to think maybe powered speakers and a simple rack-mount line mixer and vocal processor might offer more "bang-for-the-buck"?
Old 5 days ago
  #4
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robsta1 View Post
I'm actually starting to think maybe powered speakers and a simple rack-mount line mixer and vocal processor might offer more "bang-for-the-buck"?
Yes.. that was going to be my suggestion, a small tabletop prosound mixer like an A&H Zed series with built in EFX and some modern self powered speakers, or if it fits the budget and operator abilities a digital mixer like the Behringer XR12 would put her well ahead of the competition with a lot more processing ability that would come in handy for Karaoke.
Old 4 days ago
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Ha, funnily enough I'd just been looking at the ZEDi-10FX. Price-wise this and a pair of Mackie Thumps comes in significantly under the price of the EMX 5 and a pair of passive JBL's, is more compact and has a lot more power. Looks like this is the way to go.
Old 4 days ago
  #6
Gear Head
 

Yes... but don't buy Mackie Thumps or any Mackie speaker, the best value and most reliable entry level powered box is the EV ZLX12p.
Old 4 days ago
  #7
Lives for gear
The last time I heard Mackie Thumps, they made Guns 'n' Roses sound like they had no guitars.

Seriously.

I implore you to buy anything else.

Something like Yamaha DXR10s over the matching 12" subs would have plenty of grunt for smaller venues, and sound streets ahead of the Mackies.

Chris
Old 4 days ago
  #8
Lives for gear
used Mackie SRM450s V1 (grey plastic) were made by RCF in Italy and were good. After that, quality went downhill. The Thump series is very low quality and I'd avoid.

Not sure what the used gear market is like in Spain, but I'd go for used to get better gear for your budget. Mixers don't really get bashed that much in studios, and people are always upgrading to new gear.
Old 4 days ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 

I do love the ZED (in fact, one is sitting arms length from me while I type), but for less money, the XR12 is a way better deal IMO and has WAY more options that would put her above the crowd. As an example, for Karaoke, she could buy a bunch of cheep USB sticks and for customers that want, she could record their performance. There are lots of people out there that would pop out a $20.00 for a recording of themselves and a cheep USB stick can be had for a few bucks.

Another example would be the ability to stand out front with a phone or tablet and adjust the mix and volume as you move around the crowd.

The XR12 is also smaller and lighter than the ZED making setup even easier.

As for speakers, the DXR10's mentioned would be really really nice, but they are $800.00 each. The Alto TS310's are only $250 each, the TS312's are $300 each. I would likely go for the 12's for more bottom.

The EV's mentioned are also a decent speaker.

I would also add to avoid the Thumps. Not a very good speaker.
Old 4 days ago
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate it.

Well that's definitely the Mackie's out then. The Yamaha's are out of budget I'm afraid. The EV's look tempting but maybe stretching it a bit still, but that depends how much I can keep the costs down elsewhere. The Alto TS312's (or even the 315's) are right on budget though, so they're now top of my shortlist.

Regarding the XR12, I had a look at that when it was mentioned earlier. I think I'd have a job of convincing the wife into using that, she's very much old-school. It's absolutely the kind of thing I would buy, but probably not for her despite the potential benefits. That said, a lot of the local clientele begrudge buying more than one drink when they go in a bar for the evening, so convincing them to part with money for a recording of themselves would be a hard sell! There's a young bar/small nightclub that we've got our eyes on trying to get into though, that's the kind of thing their clientele probably would probably be into.
Old 2 days ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robsta1 View Post
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate it.

Well that's definitely the Mackie's out then. The Yamaha's are out of budget I'm afraid. The EV's look tempting but maybe stretching it a bit still, but that depends how much I can keep the costs down elsewhere. The Alto TS312's (or even the 315's) are right on budget though, so they're now top of my shortlist.

Regarding the XR12, I had a look at that when it was mentioned earlier. I think I'd have a job of convincing the wife into using that, she's very much old-school. It's absolutely the kind of thing I would buy, but probably not for her despite the potential benefits. That said, a lot of the local clientele begrudge buying more than one drink when they go in a bar for the evening, so convincing them to part with money for a recording of themselves would be a hard sell! There's a young bar/small nightclub that we've got our eyes on trying to get into though, that's the kind of thing their clientele probably would probably be into.
Yea, the Mackie is a bad sounding speaker. Better to leave it where it belongs .... as a foot stool at a frat party

If you can't get the wife to buy into a digital mixer and its benefits, then there is always the ZED mixers. They are built like a tank and will hold up for years and years. I went through 2 behringer mixers in my little Karaoke rig before I finally bit the bullet and purchased the ZED 10Fx. It sounds WAY better and will not let you down when you need it most.

The only thing I can say about the Altos is that they are not as robust as the Yamaha's. Just don't do silly things with them and you should be OK.
Old 2 days ago
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Thanks mate.

The ZED 10FX was top of my shortlist, but then she tells me she wants faders on all channels (?) so I'm still looking. The most likely candidate at the the minute is the RCF F 10XR, but I can't find much user feedback on it.
Old 2 days ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 

The Zed60-10fx is a Zed10fx with faders on all channels (and mute buttons, which frankly I think are a more important advantage). Faders do look cool and are handy when you need to adjust a bunch of channels simultaneously, but with a total of six channel strips it's quite rare that you'd need to adjust more than a couple simultaneously. However, if faders are what the boss wants, then faders it is...

The Zed 12fx is also worth looking at; it's a little different design than the Zed60-10fx internally (different signal routing and form factor), probably closer to the RCF mixer in that regard. The 100mm faders are a significant improvement over 60mm ones in my estimation; it's noticeably easier to make fine adjustments and little tweaks to the mix.

The built-in effects on the Zed mixers that have them are nothing special. They're usable for basic live use, including karaoke in my estimation, but a far cry from the current state of the art. The RCF's may be better; I have no experience with it or basis for a good comparison.
Old 2 days ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewE View Post
The Zed60-10fx is a Zed10fx with faders on all channels (and mute buttons, which frankly I think are a more important advantage). Faders do look cool and are handy when you need to adjust a bunch of channels simultaneously, but with a total of six channel strips it's quite rare that you'd need to adjust more than a couple simultaneously. However, if faders are what the boss wants, then faders it is...

The Zed 12fx is also worth looking at; it's a little different design than the Zed60-10fx internally (different signal routing and form factor), probably closer to the RCF mixer in that regard. The 100mm faders are a significant improvement over 60mm ones in my estimation; it's noticeably easier to make fine adjustments and little tweaks to the mix.

The built-in effects on the Zed mixers that have them are nothing special. They're usable for basic live use, including karaoke in my estimation, but a far cry from the current state of the art. The RCF's may be better; I have no experience with it or basis for a good comparison.
Haven't heard the RCF mixer, but the Soundcraft Signature 10 has a decent lexicon reverb that I thought was better sounding than the ZED's built in one. It has 60mm faders and runs around $300 ish (same as ZED).
Old 2 days ago
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewE View Post
The Zed60-10fx is a Zed10fx with faders on all channels (and mute buttons, which frankly I think are a more important advantage). Faders do look cool and are handy when you need to adjust a bunch of channels simultaneously, but with a total of six channel strips it's quite rare that you'd need to adjust more than a couple simultaneously. However, if faders are what the boss wants, then faders it is...

The Zed 12fx is also worth looking at; it's a little different design than the Zed60-10fx internally (different signal routing and form factor), probably closer to the RCF mixer in that regard. The 100mm faders are a significant improvement over 60mm ones in my estimation; it's noticeably easier to make fine adjustments and little tweaks to the mix.

The built-in effects on the Zed mixers that have them are nothing special. They're usable for basic live use, including karaoke in my estimation, but a far cry from the current state of the art. The RCF's may be better; I have no experience with it or basis for a good comparison.
I don't know what her fixation is with faders to be honest, especially with mutes. But she gets things in her head and it's hard to convince her otherwise. She refuses to watch Terminator 2 on the basis that she didn't like Predator. Unfortunately, both those would be way out of budget, just because we've got so much gear to get (unless I could find a used one at a good price).

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneEng View Post
Haven't heard the RCF mixer, but the Soundcraft Signature 10 has a decent lexicon reverb that I thought was better sounding than the ZED's built in one. It has 60mm faders and runs around $300 ish (same as ZED).
That was on my shortlist but I'd ruled it out on the basis that it didn't have USB, but I think she's now coming round to the idea of using a DJ controller so that won't be an issue in that case.
Old 1 day ago
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robsta1 View Post
I don't know what her fixation is with faders to be honest, especially with mutes. But she gets things in her head and it's hard to convince her otherwise. She refuses to watch Terminator 2 on the basis that she didn't like Predator. Unfortunately, both those would be way out of budget, just because we've got so much gear to get (unless I could find a used one at a good price).



That was on my shortlist but I'd ruled it out on the basis that it didn't have USB, but I think she's now coming round to the idea of using a DJ controller so that won't be an issue in that case.
From your earlier posts, it seems like she is not that into learning new technology. I would suggest the following:

1) A simple analog mixer.
2) A simple DJ software that has automatic cross-fading and simple list creation features.
3) A simple Karaoke software
4) An allowance for a cell modem unlimited data plan to use as a backup should the venue not have wifi (or don't have wifi they will let you use).

I think a DJ controller is just going to be more things she has to learn and another interface that can be setup wrong and not do what you think it should.

The setup I suggested is just a laptop and a simple mixer. It is much harder to get that wrong.

What software were you planning on using for your DJ and Karaoke?
Old 1 day ago
  #17
Here for the gear
 

She's already got Virtual DJ and is well used to that. She uses it for her karaoke set-up that we've got in the house, and though she's never really bothered with my DJ controller, she's come round to the argument for using one, which was basically the same as her reasons for her not wanting to use a digital mixer - that she prefers physical controls. In fact I think I'm going to donate mine, as I don't use it that much to be honest. So yeah, from an audio point of view that's pretty much going to be it - laptop, DJ controller, simple analogue mixer.
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