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Which amp would you choose?
Old 24th November 2020
  #1
Gear Nut
 
JohnnyShotgun's Avatar
 
Which amp would you choose?

Hi everyone.

I just bought a pair of Electro-Voice EKX-12 (passive) loudspeakers and I already have an A&H ZED60-14FX mixer but now I need an amplifier to power the Evs.

Which amp would you buy? Why?

I was thinking about getting a Crown amp, I would avoid class D amps but I will take any advices and suggestions.

Ps: EKX-12 are 350w RMS 8 ohm passive loudspeakers.
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Old 24th November 2020
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyShotgun View Post
I just bought a pair of Electro-Voice EKX-12 (passive) loudspeakers
Why? Send them back and get the powered version. I'm being serious... you will not replicate the performance of the powered box with an external amp.
Old 24th November 2020 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Nut
 
JohnnyShotgun's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul o View Post
Why? Send them back and get the powered version. I'm being serious... you will not replicate the performance of the powered box with an external amp.
What? Why?

I have many reasons to go passive over powered boxes. First one is not running two cables for every box, second is chance to use a more powerful amp to make them louder, third is avoiding electric failures as they aren’t plugged into wall outlets and ruining their gimmicky built-in amps, fourth is, well, when in a pro environment have you seen a powered speaker? Those things are more for mobile djs and people who doesn’t know much about audio, and when they die, not only your speaker is gone, so does your “Irreplicable performance amp”.
Old 24th November 2020 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyShotgun View Post
in a pro environment have you seen a powered speaker?
Yes... I own a pro sound and lighting company that uses powered speakers almost exclusively... including the active version of this very speaker. My experience with these EV powered boxes is 100% positive, I have thousands of hours on a range of powered subs and tops with ZERO failures. Considering that these speakers are regularly pushed for all they are worth, not only do they not blow up they still sound good with the limiters flashing away for hours on end. This one thing by itself is not a minor accomplishment, you will blow drivers just trying to replicate this performance with the passive version.

Everything else you mentioned is silliness, it's almost 2021 already, powered speakers have been around 30+ years now.... they have it down. If you need more performance than the powered version delivers then you need to spend more money and buy better speakers, you will not squeeze more performance out of this box than the factory has managed with the powered version.
Old 24th November 2020
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyShotgun View Post
Hi everyone.

I just bought a pair of Electro-Voice EKX-12 (passive) loudspeakers and I already have an A&H ZED60-14FX mixer but now I need an amplifier to power the Evs.

Which amp would you buy? Why?

I was thinking about getting a Crown amp, I would avoid class D amps but I will take any advices and suggestions.

Ps: EKX-12 are 350w RMS 8 ohm passive loudspeakers.
depends largely on budget, appication but also on whether you wanna modify the passive box for bi-amping - the latter isn't needed if you intend using the speakers for a short throw distance; it does however help a lot if you need to cover a larger area/throw over a longer distance.

i've successfully been using powersoft m28q and m50q (with or without dsp) on smaller rigs for years: 4x 750w/8ohm or 1250w/4ohm (m50q) in 1hu and 7.5kg (plus easy option to switch between presets on the dsp version) imo ain't bad.
Old 24th November 2020
  #6
Gear Nut
 
JohnnyShotgun's Avatar
 
Haha you gotta be kidding me Paul, but I have great sense of humor.

I ain’t no pro but assuming you are, could you tell me which is your top end rig?
Old 24th November 2020
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
Paul is actually correct, Johnny. Modern powered speakers are shipped with the most powerful amplifiers that the speakers can handle without suffering premature failure. Trying to get "more power" is just abuse of components. Meyer had this figured out in the 90s. You need to catch up.
Old 24th November 2020 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyShotgun View Post
Haha you gotta be kidding me Paul,
No I'm being dead serious. Here are a bunch of the EV powered boxes being used for a Christmas party a couple years ago, a band played for the first half then a DJ took over.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyShotgun View Post
could you tell me which is your top end rig?
It's a passive Yorkville double 15+2" over double 18 rig, 8 channels of amplification 6000w total with custom DSP processing. This rig gets louder than the powered boxes and it sounds better subjectively but it's physically a much bigger system than what I typically deploy in powered speakers so it has its place in my inventory and in the type of event it's gets used for. The mid and high drivers in this system are oversized and are not being pushed too hard, and limiting is conservative. Over the 30+ years I have been involved in pro audio in some form or another this has proven to be the best method of delivering reliability with a passive speaker system, some output potential has to be left on the table to keep the gear alive not just for a single event but over the expected lifetime of the gear.
Old 24th November 2020
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
Using passive speakers and amps is perfectly 100% AOK. You are advised to power your passive speakers using the same equivalent power amps as the powered speakers made by your manufacturer if you choose to buy passive speakers that have powered equivalents. They spent tens of thousands of dollars in man hours to figure out how much power those speakers can handle and where they need EQ cuts. Take advantage of their labor and time.
Old 24th November 2020
  #10
Lives for gear
 
mbvoxx's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Crown....clean power. QSC is another good option.
Old 25th November 2020
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Johnny, if all you know about powered speakers is what is at Guitar center, I can understand your opinion. Plastic speakers aren't ment to keep up with a band. If you check out actual pro speakers, you will find solid wood construction, with internal metal frames for flying too... that are powered. Line arrays that are powered. These speakers have built in DSP too. Saves a lot of truckspace and time at gigs. EV makes good stuff. I wouldn't expect a junk powered speaker from them if you like the passive version. I was totally anti powered speaker for well over a decade until I got a pair of UPA-1Ps. Then I understood how much sense it made when done right. They fit in the backseat of my saab and can punish a small club with some subs.
Old 25th November 2020
  #12
Gear Nut
 
JohnnyShotgun's Avatar
 
Well, then explain me why hi-end pro brands use passive enclosures powered with separate power amps
Old 25th November 2020
  #13
Passive vs active: passive system more customization, your rig becomes much more adaptable to your needs. Plus, much easier fixing when something fails. although more cables and more setup time.
active system easier and faster setup and teardown. All the loading and power figuring has been done.

One method isnt really better than another.
For instance i prefer a passive system.
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
Mike M's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
not exactly.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by coreyspencer View Post
Passive vs active: passive system more customization, your rig becomes much more adaptable to your needs. Plus, much easier fixing when something fails. although more cables and more setup time.
active system easier and faster setup and teardown. All the loading and power figuring has been done.

One method isnt really better than another.
For instance i prefer a passive system.
see bold
In my passive rigs I use 5 different racks that are pre-wired with speakon panels on the rear - easy-peazy.
One power cable from wall power to the rack
One speaker cable to each FOH cab
Speaker cables to monitors
-DONE-
**I think that having to run a signal cable PLUS power cables all over the stage to active cabs creates much more of a tripping hazard.
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Nut
 
JohnnyShotgun's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
see bold
In my passive rigs I use 5 different racks that are pre-wired with speakon panels on the rear - easy-peazy.
One power cable from wall power to the rack
One speaker cable to each FOH cab
Speaker cables to monitors
-DONE-
**I think that having to run a signal cable PLUS power cables all over the stage to active cabs creates much more of a tripping hazard.
Exactly, running two cords for every box is double trouble, and imagine spilling your drink over your active monitors while you’re on a stage
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by coreyspencer View Post
passive system more customization, your rig becomes much more adaptable to your needs.

Plus, much easier fixing when something fails.
A box like these EV powered speakers has all sorts of customizing potential built in, EV has provided presets for many of the usual deployments such as on a pole over a sub, fullrange, or as a floor monitor, as well as popular EQ presets and user tunable EQ. The powered box comes pre processed for flat response which makes the box less feedback prone and doesn't take much if any EQ to dial in for a particular venue, just getting to that "blank canvas" starting point with passive speakers is beyond many(most) end users at this level.

I'm not sure about the easier to fix claim for the passive box either, if the amp powering them dies at a gig you lose use of all speakers attached to it, if the amp in a powered box dies you only lose that box. Drivers are no harder to change or recone for either version so that is a wash, and if you're buying a new amp these days chances are it's going to be class D same as what is in the powered box. If you don't know how to repair an amp it won't matter if it's rack or speaker mounted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coreyspencer View Post
active system easier and faster setup and teardown.
For a smaller number of boxes (2-4) that can be true but as the number climbs that advantage disappears.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coreyspencer View Post
All the loading and power figuring has been done.
This is the most important thing IMO. When you buy a passive speaker you just get the basics... the box, the drivers, and a passive crossover.

The active box contains so much more, in addition to the box and drivers you get..
- a 2ch amplifier
- a multiband parametric EQ some user editable some locked.
- a 2ch active crossover
- a 2ch multimode limiter(peak, thermal, driver excursion)
- time and phase alignment
- All of that custom tuned to provide near bulletproof protection of the drivers while sounding good right out of the box.
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyShotgun View Post
and imagine spilling your drink over your active monitors while you’re on a stage
Yeah that happens but it hasn't damaged any of my powered boxes.
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyShotgun View Post
Well, then explain me why hi-end pro brands use passive enclosures powered with separate power amps
What highend pro brands are you referring to?

The truely highend pro brands.. those that provide large scale SR across the globe figured out decades ago that it was in everybody's best interest if they minimized the opportunities for end users to muck it up.

When this industry blossomed in the 70's and 80's they quickly ran into problems with consistency of performance with every operator having their own idea of what sounds good and many of them not having a damn clue about some aspects or setup, a performer travelling around would get vastly different results from the exact same PA system from venue to venue. So the first step was to offer black box processors for the amp rack, that worked better but still left a lot of room for errors. Then some manufacturers started offering and recommending packages, you want our speakers you should use our amp racks and processors, some made this manditory. When line arrays came along things got much more complicated and when the technology allowed it they started putting the amps and processing inside the speaker cabinet with limited end user control options, owners and operators got training on how to correctly deploy and setup the rig and then finally, consistent repeatable results are possible.
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul o View Post
What highend pro brands are you referring to?

The truely highend pro brands.. those that provide large scale SR across the globe figured out decades ago that it was in everybody's best interest if they minimized the opportunities for end users to muck it up.

When this industry blossomed in the 70's and 80's they quickly ran into problems with consistency of performance with every operator having their own idea of what sounds good and many of them not having a damn clue about some aspects or setup, a performer travelling around would get vastly different results from the exact same PA system from venue to venue. So the first step was to offer black box processors for the amp rack, that worked better but still left a lot of room for errors. Then some manufacturers started offering and recommending packages, you want our speakers you should use our amp racks and processors, some made this manditory. When line arrays came along things got much more complicated and when the technology allowed it they started putting the amps and processing inside the speaker cabinet with limited end user control options, owners and operators got training on how to correctly deploy and setup the rig and then finally, consistent repeatable results are possible.
this - although there are indeed still many (if not most) pro brands which use passiv speakers all the way - mainly for weight considerations.

many manufacturers make their own or a specific dsp/amping 'mandatory' but technically speaking, there's absolutely nothing which stops you from using adamson, d&b, clair, l'acoustics, martinaudio, turbosound etc. with whatever kind of amp you wish - some then sound horrible while others can easily get driven by either lake/lab or armonia/powersoft without much tweaking - at the same time, i've come across settings in 'system amps' which i think are faulty...

also worth noting that making specific gear 'mandatory' makes some folks rather go with another brand!
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
Mike M's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Yes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
this - although there are indeed still many (if not most) pro brands which use passive speakers all the way - mainly for weight considerations.

many manufacturers make their own or a specific dsp/amping 'mandatory' but technically speaking, there's absolutely nothing which stops you from using adamson, d&b, clair, l'acoustics, martinaudio, turbosound etc. with whatever kind of amp you wish - some then sound horrible while others can easily get driven by either lake/lab or armonia/powersoft without much tweaking - at the same time, i've come across settings in 'system amps' which i think are faulty...

also worth noting that making specific gear 'mandatory' makes some folks rather go with another brand!
See bold (above).
At my age I would like to keep my options open to provide rigs and deploy them by myself (especially small/one-off's).
To that I have been looking for a small rig to "lighten the load" a bit.

I've been seriously looking at active cabs.
Subs can be rolled so active is fine, but the weight of an active 12" mid/high cabs (of anything that sounds decent to me) in-my-price-range is hard to come by.
Call me old-school but I find a big difference between the sound of a solid wooden cabinet and a plastic one....passive OR active.

Plastic sounds - well, for a lack of better words: plastic. Wood sounds better to me.

The problem with going active 12's is that they weigh more than a similar unit's passive version.....and yes, a 7+ lb difference is alot when you're a 60 y/o putting them up on sticks.

(I have been looking at the Yorkville Elite passive EF12 @51 lbs and active EF12P @59 lbs. Both are birch cabs but the 8 lb. difference will be a factor as I age.
Please note: I purchased four E152's when I was 45 y/o ('still got them - they sound excellent for specific applications) but at 77 lbs I definitely can't put them on sticks like I used to back then...it became a 2-person lift for me at 50.

Back to my active/passive dilemma: my head says "go active" with the EF12P's but my back tells says "stick with the passive" EF12.

My thinking is that I still have a few years left in me....
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
See bold (above).
At my age I would like to keep my options open to provide rigs and deploy them by myself (especially small/one-off's).
To that I have been looking for a small rig to "lighten the load" a bit.

I've been seriously looking at active cabs.
Subs can be rolled so active is fine, but the weight of an active 12" mid/high cabs (of anything that sounds decent to me) in-my-price-range is hard to come by.
Call me old-school but I find a big difference between the sound of a solid wooden cabinet and a plastic one....passive OR active.

Plastic sounds - well, for a lack of better words: plastic. Wood sounds better to me.

The problem with going active 12's is that they weigh more than a similar unit's passive version.....and yes, a 7+ lb difference is alot when you're a 60 y/o putting them up on sticks.

(I have been looking at the Yorkville Elite passive EF12 @51 lbs and active EF12P @59 lbs. Both are birch cabs but the 8 lb. difference will be a factor as I age.
Please note: I purchased four E152's when I was 45 y/o ('still got them - they sound excellent for specific applications) but at 77 lbs I definitely can't put them on sticks like I used to back then...it became a 2-person lift for me at 50.

Back to my active/passive dilemma: my head says "go active" with the EF12P's but my back tells says "stick with the passive" EF12.

My thinking is that I still have a few years left in me....
that's indeed a dilemma as we get older...

...but then, there are some large live sr companies which fly even their amp racks?!

___


(many) wooden cabinets have an edge over (most) plastic cabinets - we call the latter 'joghurt cups' here :-)
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyShotgun View Post
Well, then explain me why hi-end pro brands use passive enclosures powered with separate power amps
i have some EAW NT series tops and subs that are powered and sound better than anything you are likely to ever own. The speaker you bought isn't bi-ample as far as I can tell. Without spending money on a decent processor it will never sound as good as the active version.
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
See bold (above).
At my age I would like to keep my options open to provide rigs and deploy them by myself (especially small/one-off's).
To that I have been looking for a small rig to "lighten the load" a bit.

I've been seriously looking at active cabs.
Subs can be rolled so active is fine, but the weight of an active 12" mid/high cabs (of anything that sounds decent to me) in-my-price-range is hard to come by.
Call me old-school but I find a big difference between the sound of a solid wooden cabinet and a plastic one....passive OR active.

Plastic sounds - well, for a lack of better words: plastic. Wood sounds better to me.

The problem with going active 12's is that they weigh more than a similar unit's passive version.....and yes, a 7+ lb difference is alot when you're a 60 y/o putting them up on sticks.

(I have been looking at the Yorkville Elite passive EF12 @51 lbs and active EF12P @59 lbs. Both are birch cabs but the 8 lb. difference will be a factor as I age.
Please note: I purchased four E152's when I was 45 y/o ('still got them - they sound excellent for specific applications) but at 77 lbs I definitely can't put them on sticks like I used to back then...it became a 2-person lift for me at 50.

Back to my active/passive dilemma: my head says "go active" with the EF12P's but my back tells says "stick with the passive" EF12.

My thinking is that I still have a few years left in me....
If you are buying subs then maybe look at a 10 inch top instead of a 12.
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
also worth noting that making specific gear 'mandatory' makes some folks rather go with another brand!
Yes... unfortunately as the saying goes... you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Those "horses" are stubborn beasts, if they find their own way to the same watering hole they invariably find it to be fresh and glorious.

As for the weight of powered speakers, that is getting better all the time and yes I too like the sound of wooden cabs over plastic, the wooden EV EKX and ETX boxes do sound more controlled than their plastic cousins for example.

Mike, if you're looking for a powered box with a large format CD and a wooden cabinet the 45lb RCF NX32a would be a good option.
Old 27th November 2020
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Pro Sound Guy's Avatar
 
Typically with higher end passive boxes the manufacturer also includes a loudspeaker controller with them that does PEQ/GEQ delay of drivers and so forth.
With a self powered loudspeaker this is all done for you. Also, they now have FIR included and can get them phase aligned as well.
This is a pretty big deal because you will never get this by plugging into a passive xover alone in a loudspeaker.
One can purchase a DSP loudspeaker controller and a power amp and attempt it to get it right.
So considering you want to purchase an external amp I would go with a [email protected] or up to 2X RMS which would be [email protected] amp.
However , I would recommend Paul's advice and go with a self powered loudspeaker which also has thermal limiting and peak limiting built in as well as a "built in" loudspeaker controller and bi amp setup.
Old 29th November 2020
  #26
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyShotgun View Post
Hi everyone.

I just bought a pair of Electro-Voice EKX-12 (passive) loudspeakers and I already have an A&H ZED60-14FX mixer but now I need an amplifier to power the Evs.

Which amp would you buy? Why?

I was thinking about getting a Crown amp, I would avoid class D amps but I will take any advices and suggestions.

Ps: EKX-12 are 350w RMS 8 ohm passive loudspeakers.
I'm going to agree with those saying "get the active version". The active version has the following benefits which you won't get with a stereo amplifier:

- Bi-amping - eliminating the passive crossover means they can implement usefully steep filters to protect the HF driver
- Correct EQ on individual drivers
- Correct limiting on individual drivers - this is basically impossible to pull off if you're running through a passive crossover


You mention that you don't want class D amps, but these days they're easily some of the best in the world. Look up Powersoft, Linea Research, etc.

If you were to use a really good amplifier (Powersoft T304, for instance) to bi-amp your EV speakers, and then spent a while with a measurement mic dialling in the EQ, limiters, etc, you'll get something about as good as just buying the active version.

Chris
Old 29th November 2020 | Show parent
  #27
S21
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S21's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by modulusman View Post
If you are buying subs then maybe look at a 10 inch top instead of a 12.
10's over subs can sound pristine, but some people expect the 12's over subs sound.
Old 29th November 2020 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
I can tell the you the new RCF HD 10-A MK4 sound absolutely phenomenal. Amazing amount of bass for a 10'. With subs they can easily handle a full band in a room with 150-200 people.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=RCF+HD+10...ref=nb_sb_noss
Old 30th November 2020 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris661 View Post
- Correct limiting on individual drivers - this is basically impossible to pull off if you're running through a passive crossover
Actually lemme point out a handy thing you can do with many digital mixers including X/M32's, even XR18's. You can set the compressor on the aux sends or master channel to act as a limiter only on the HF frequency range. The limiter will affect the full range, but won't be triggered by LF content. Set the attack/release low and it's a reasonable protection measure.

Assuming the amp has limiters that prevent overloading the LF drivers, it makes things quite safe. It's less pleasant when you're slamming them than proper limited bi-amp but that's not great either. For monitors it's great for stopping feedback from killing the horn diaphragms, and the loud non-feedback treble there tends to just be esses anyway.

So yeah, go ahead and tell everyone active speakers are the only way to go, drive down the price of used passives, works for me! My passive rig is 1990's Yorkville M600's over LS808's, so dual 10's a side, 600W 4R [email protected]/1m each, 100x30 phenolic horns, 800W [email protected]/1M reflex horn subs. The rig competes with 2x KLA12 over 2x KW181's per side, throws just as far (300'), and mine sounds better because they're all RCF drivers with upgraded Solen caps in the crossovers (big improvement btw).

4x KLA12 + 4x KW181 = $14000
My passives and amps cost me $1600 and weight less. They ain't sexy, but they gots teeth.
Old 1st December 2020 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
Any whole-band limiter won't act correctly to save the drivers while maximising performance, but you knew that already.
There's also the fact that the EV engineers have the option to burn out many many drivers in order to find the perfect limiter settings.

My rig is also passive, but I use some nice Powersoft amps to squeeze everything I can out of the speakers. I can lift each box with one hand, and with a 2x10+HF main speaker and 2x 15" ported subs per side, I'm cruising along at 103dBC peaks (85dBC-slow) at 280'.

Setting up active crossovers, limiters, etc is non-trivial, which is why I suggested active speakers for this particular poster.

Chris
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