The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Guidance on LIVE PA gear acquisition
Old 9th January 2003
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Guidance on LIVE PA gear acquisition

New member here. Need your guidance on setting up good, no frills LIVE PA gear for combination of musical events (jazz trio; 6-piece classic rock w/vocals; and application to kids' school concerts - venues averaging 100-500 people).

Thinking -A & H GL2200-16 for board, add on later as needed;
-already purchased powered Mackie SR1530s (that's gotta bring some comments...);
-can add subs as needed;
- we have monitors for now, looking towards IEMs in near future
-Rapco or Horizon snake---any difference?;
-31 band gr eq --- any recommendations?;
-Shure mics -- 57s and 58s
- any other basic gear I should consider?

Appreciate your input. Have thoroughly enjoyed all the great information....including all the anti-Mackie posts (I'm in Mackie and Microsoft country!!) Thanks in advance.
Old 10th January 2003
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
RSMITH123's Avatar
 

SJ,
I 'll share about some stuff that has worked for me in the past(very reasonable):

A&H GL2200. I have a 32 for live stuff and it has been a good board. Definitely a step up from the Mackie (warmer) but I have heard that they don't travel well.(I'm not sure about this, anyone know for sure)

On speakers... Please take your mackies back. NO PLASTIC!

You may laugh (but you better not) about this but a very well rounded, rugged and high capacity speaker for very little money is the Yamaha Club series (I wouldn't trust the other series). I would put 2ea 15" combos on each side (300.00 a pop) and use their 18" subs. I have done some outdoor gigs with these combos(3 on each side) with Cerwin Vega subs (2 on each side) (all pushed with crown K2's) and despite the mixmatch factor, it really sounded good. I normally use EAW's and they do well but are more expensive.

On amps, Crown (my fav) and QSC have been very tried and true and I have some that are 10 years old and still push my monitors. I would try to convice you to get Crown K series amps but if you can't, they have a new line that willl do the job and is very, very reasonable.

On IEM's, Furman has had a stranglehold on the market but there are 2 companies that recently have made some new products:

One is Aviom Products
http://www.macmidimusic.com/aviomproducts.html

and it is a digital system with some impressive features like recallable mixes, sub grouping, etc. It is about a 1/3 less than the big Furman system.

The other is Hear Technologies
http://www.macmidimusic.com/heartec.html

It sits in the middle of the field in features and is significantly less than the larger systems.


On the snakes, I think most people have used both and there isn't much of a difference (unless someone corrects me here).

Peavy (better not laugh... it really is decent) makes a good EQ with pretty lights (Helps find feedback... dummy lights)
http://www.peavey.com/products/proau...ors/q431fx.cfm

I would never have bought a Peavey product until some one I trust showed me his.


I would also recommend an AKG D-112 mic for the Kick Drum and you will need some overhead mics as well - AKG, Rode, Shure, Neuman...

Get a few cases, at least for the small stuf like mics/cables, and a couple of racks for your amps and EQs. Oh yeah, you gotta have a CD player.

Hope that helps. I run 2 stages in the Midrange dollar figures. In otherwords, I don't have a Crest or Midas console, etc.

I know there are some bigwigs around here that can offer some opinions on better gear but if your watching pennies, these products will go a long way.
Old 10th January 2003
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Steve Smith's Avatar
 

Re: Guidance on LIVE PA gear acquisition

YMMV, but...

the A&H will be fine. decent pres and EQ ( moreso than the mackie stuff)

The Mackie SR1530's are the only decent sounding box they make, it is EAW designed and RCF loaded IIRC. It is a serious contender in it's price range.

As far as IEM's look at the shure wired systems, the Sennheiser wireless system rocks. but be very careful and have an experienced pro you trust help you put it together, there is a lot of damage that can be done with a mis-configured IE rig. RSMITH, I assume you are referring to the "personal mixer" setups? I have the furmans, they work really well.

Rapco vs Horizon? choose Whirlwind. It will not be as much more as you think, and the build quality is way better in my experience.

Shure 57s and 58a are allways a safe starting point


For processing, DBX makes a dual 31 band EQ that works well on the cheap ( 1231? model) I like it way more than Peavey or rane or whatever.. ( although P has apparently upped the quality lately, I am still too jaded )

If you would like , PM me and I can give you the name of a seller I have used a bunch . Cheers!
Old 11th January 2003
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Live PA Gear...

Great information so far, guys. Thanks. Keep the replies coming!
Old 13th January 2003
  #5
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I don't see any problems with that stuff. Rapco, Horizon and Whirlwind all make decent stuff for snakes and cables. For a 31-band EQ the higher end dbx stuff, Ashley, Rane and Symetrix have all been soild for me. Just don't get a cheap one, spend a few bills. As a general rule I try to keep the FOH EQ pretty flat and use the 6dB option rather then 12 or 15dB. Most good EQ's will give you some kind of option for the range, if it doesn't you probably don't want use it. QSC Powerlight amps are great. One place I do lots of work at just had one fry after three years of abuse. Turns out that (the tech thinks) the power supply was bad from day one and it took that long for it to burn up. The main board had lots of carbon scoring, all the way through and the traces had burned off. Ah well. QSC replaced the whole thing under warrenty.
Old 13th January 2003
  #6
Here for the gear
 

LIVE PA follow-up

Hey Guys, tremendous info. I especially appreciate the 'personal use' experience...adds a lot of credibility.
LiquidStrat--great idea about travelling to local clubs in town. Will be doing that over the next couple of months. (This setup will be a haul-around venture, BTW.)

I know I was looking for some clear direction on gr eq's..lot of manufacturers out there. Thanks for all the recommendations!

Now, is there any other 'must-have' gear I am missing? (Thanks RJSMITH, for the CD recommendation.)
.
Old 13th January 2003
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
wurly's Avatar
 

PA Stuff..

First, repeat after me, "I will never buy an AKG D112".

Absolutely the all-time most over-rated kick drum mic in history. If you want a kick mic that doesn't suck get an EV ND868, or an old Sennheiser 421.

For EQ and other functions I strongly suggest the DBX DriveRack. It's got yer eq, crossover, feedback suppresser, and all kinds o functions in a single space package. Oh yeah, it sounds good and can do an auto EQ of yer room that doesn't suck.

wurly
Old 14th January 2003
  #8
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Well, the D112 sucks but a 421 isn't my first choice for live stuff. A Beta 52, Audix D4 or E602 are all pretty good and more durable then a 421. The dbx Drive Rack seems like a good idea but I've never been into the idea of an all-in-one system like that or the Sabine's when your in different rooms every night. At the very least I'd like a seperate EQ if I had one of those.
Old 14th January 2003
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
RSMITH123's Avatar
 

You guys really like the Beta 52 more than the AKG? What's wrong with it?

BTW, he said "no frills". That should provide ample explaination for my suggested equipment.

If you guys are wanting to go into the "frills" range, I would strongly suggest a pink noise generator and analyzer with a separate 31 band EQ.
Old 14th January 2003
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
RSMITH123's Avatar
 

BTW,
I am setting up my furman system tonight and will using it Sunday morning. If you want any reports on it, Let me know and I will post next week.
Old 14th January 2003
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Steve Smith's Avatar
 

I second about the D112 if you like it, I find the E602 to be way better but in the same vien ( I find it sounds like a D112 that I have tweaked to sound right). As far as the DBX driverack, I have known folks who had big problems with the first run of the DBX units, I am not sure if the problems were fixed or not. ersonallly, i would just go for a quality analog EQ for the mains, you prbably have no real need for a crossover ( did you even want subs? ) and no need for system delay or limiting ( jazz, right?) My piont being, you could get a better quality dedicated unit for the cost of a multi-purpose unit that has features you dont need.

Oh, and one more thing, I would run from any "feedback eliminating" device like the plauge. None of them work properly ( IMHO) and all have audible effects on the mix.
Old 14th January 2003
  #12
Here for the gear
 

LIVE PA gear follow-up

SWEEEEET Info!

Steve, my red flag goes up with hearing about "auto-pilot" functions--- in this case a 'feedback eliminating' fxn. But have no experience with such devices which is why I am on this board.

And it sounds like the 'all-in-one' dbx DR PA may have its reliability problems...?? like many of the combo mixer/effects boards out there?? Not bashing the dbx, just surveying the user experience data thus far.

So let's say I venture into the 'frills' zone a bit.....is the dbx 2231(?) 31 gr eq a decent piece of gear? Is there better out there for about the same amount of $$ (400-500.00)?

Crossovers are not quite as important right now. Using 3-way powered Mackies for most of my applications; subs may be in the future, especially for larger venue gigs.

So, RSmith and others.....If I were to go the separate gr eq (and pink noise and RTA) what would you recommend? Can you approximate 'street' pricing as well?

And then.....how do I buy all you guys beers for your time and experience???
Old 14th January 2003
  #13
Lives for gear
 
sonic dogg's Avatar
my 2cents....mackie powered cabs...nice and thats as good as i get on any mackie stuff.....kik mics....NO D112....pleeze....ATM25 is a great mic reasonably priced and if you need a hammer for something it'll work....D4 audix is also good...i use both in the studio and get quite good results.....for a good multi efx i'd go with tc m-one or m-one xl....most of the pa companies i've checked out lately swear by em...
Old 15th January 2003
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
wurly's Avatar
 

DBX Drive Rack

Listen up here fellas. I'm an old ****er. I don't like new ****. Typing this out on a computer is about as high tech as I like to get. I hate the internet (in principle), and computers in general.

I'm a ****ing Luddite technophobe OK?

And yet, I must confess to liking the DBX DriveRack. I've got 2 of them. So far. I had to pull the analog crossovers and 31 band eq's out of my racks to use them. I only use the crossover and auto-eq features so far.

After I do the auto-eq I fine tweak it by ear , usually just 1-2 db here and there, like I said, surprisingly good for robo-eq.

In the six months that I have had them, they have been completely reliable.

I actually made the switch when I found out that the DriveRack in the system made the whole system sound better than I could do manually, and also better than an esteemed associate could do. I'm not the best FOH guy on the planet, but I have done a couple world tours in a previous life (FOH).

I don't wish to be contentious here, but I thought you should know a little more about the DBX DriveRack.

Happy hunting.

wurly
Old 15th January 2003
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
wurly's Avatar
 

Hey Jay

The Sennheiser 421 is not my first choice kick mic (that would be the EV ND 868), but I think it's the only mic mentioned in this thread that is good for anything besides low freq stuff. I mentioned the 421 more for it's versatility. Or should I say utility....YMMV.

wurly
Old 15th January 2003
  #16
Lives for gear
 
doug_hti's Avatar
 

i tried to scan through as much as possible, so sorry if i repeat what others are saying.
I would definately go for at least a 24 input console...trust me, the 16 input in live sound will get you in trouble really really quick...i promise, installs you can work with them a bit easier, but not portable, IMO.
Have you priced the Midas Venice series....really good bang for the buck, but may be a bit much.

Speakers...bang for the buck...nothing wrong with the Mackies if you get their powered subs (4 speakers, 2 subs will work for about 250 people, if you can't afford that, 2 speakers, 2 subs)....other wise you they will be gasping for air...it also settles the crossover issue (and having a nice house drive, running multiple stereo lines). In this sort of quality/price range, Mackies are brilliant for setup/teardown and moving around. If you want to go one more step up, check out EAW's LA series, great bargain, but will be considerably more.
Back to subs. I have been in a LOT (over 90 in 2002) of halls, churches, arenas, etc. the most lacking thing that most house PAs have are adequate subs. Then when they do have adequate subs, they are crossed over WAY to high and turned up way too much and it sounds so so bad, but they always think it's great and can't stop bragging about the "bass".

IEM's. I travel with an artist that always uses InEars, and most of the band does (and they are the greatest thing for consistentcy, saving hearing, and adapting to any venue)...however, this is a VERY VERY pricy thing to do right. If you're dealing with the MACKIE/A&H GL price range, in ears IMO come later. BUT THE MOST important point is the liability of these things...try and find out how many people hire out IEMs...not many, because of liability...If you get them you NEED to put Finalizer's or Aphex Dominators II's on them (expensive)!!! or some other brick wall limiting system. You will be around morons and they will blow someone's ears out.

I would also get the Presonus ACP88 for some really cheap "per channel" comps/gates.
For Efx, the TC M-One is great value(or Lexicon MPX550), the algorhythms are actually better than the m2000's. and get a d-two for delays...great values, but you can wait on the delay unit if you need to save.
If you get the mackies, you won't need the DriveRack PA, but I have used their cheap ones, and they aren't as bad as one would think for the price.
Ashley makes some good affordable EQ's. Klark and Teknik if you can afford it.
Just remember, if you're trying to make money with this, don't buy stuff that will be worthless to you in a few months.
Old 15th January 2003
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Live PA gear, continued....

Great advice, guys!!!! Wurly, you got me chuckling out loud with your recent posts --- thanks buddy.

Doug, thanks for your indepth discussion!

From my summation of all the posts thus far, it appears that the priorities are: 1) separate graphic eq ( I read your suggestion about the 24 ch, Doug... thinking hard about it); 2) subs; 3) IEMs with moron-proof limiting system; 4) comps/gates; 5) efx.

I like it. Valuable advice gentlemen, and I thank you. Please feel free to add more. I am learning a LOT in a very short time.
Old 15th January 2003
  #18
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Re: Hey Jay

Quote:
Originally posted by wurly
The Sennheiser 421 is not my first choice kick mic (that would be the EV ND 868), but I think it's the only mic mentioned in this thread that is good for anything besides low freq stuff. I mentioned the 421 more for it's versatility. Or should I say utility....YMMV.
Totally. 421's are great mics. I have a pair and could use another pair. But, I wouldn't bring them out to bar band gigs all the time. The clip's are very prone to breakage and will snap at the worst moment because they ain't all that durable. Even still, I like the D112 on lots of things but kick ain't one of them. Try it on floor tom or a guitar amp.
Old 15th January 2003
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
wurly's Avatar
 

Broken 421 clips?

Is this an urban myth? I've heard the stories forever. God damn those ****ty fragile 421 clips.....

I've never broken one. I've never seen a broken one. I agree that the clip design is tedious, complex and at least looks fragile as hell, but I haven't trashed one yet. Is this a fluke of nature? Am I missing out on something? Am I being punished? I've even got 7 clips and only 6-421's. Am I allowed to have a spare? Should I hang around with a different class of musicians who will break them for me?

Jay is right about bars not being the safest or healthiest place for 421's. Most live sound gigs that I get sucked in to lately are outdoors or places where I have total control over the stage, so safety issues don't come up as often as in the real world. All of my 421's are 10-25 years old so I should probably be more careful with them.

wurly
by the yellow snow
Old 15th January 2003
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
wurly's Avatar
 

Hey Jay #2

OK Mr. Jay,

Would anyone own a D112 if they didn't buy it for kick?

And would anyone bother to try a D112 on non-kick things if the D112 didn't totally suck as a kick mic?

I too have tried the D112 on floor tom and guitar amps. The floor tom thing worked better for me than the guitar deal.

Not trying to argue here, just wondering if you and I have made similar decisions trying to salvage what turned out to be a questionable purchase. What's the point of being a Gearslut if you take something back just because the original intended use didn't work out...

wurly
heated by pond water

oops, I just remembered the character "Mr. Jay" from Doonesbury (comic strip for you non-US folk). If that offends you, I didn't mean to, and if it amuses you, my, you're looking "fatty".
Old 15th January 2003
  #21
Lives for gear
 
sonic dogg's Avatar
one use for the d112 ive found is this....it makes a fine dracula voice-over mic....if you have no lows in yer voice and chipmunks come runnin when you sing ...then its the mic for you....and you can shout as loud as you can and never break it up.......
Old 15th January 2003
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
RSMITH123's Avatar
 

Greeeaaat!

Now I have to go and buy another kick mic. You just HAD to tell me it wasn't the best choice now, didn't you.



Oh, well.
Old 15th January 2003
  #23
Lives for gear
 
MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
not only are the 421 clips fragile..they cost alot!! the best kick i ever heard live was Dire Straits....421..160Vu...Martin UK...horn loaded 15's..in your chest!
Old 16th January 2003
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Steve Smith's Avatar
 

Re: DBX Drive Rack

Quote:
Originally posted by wurly
Listen up here fellas. I'm an old ****er. I don't like new ****. Typing this out on a computer is about as high tech as I like to get. I hate the internet (in principle), and computers in general.

I'm a ****ing Luddite technophobe OK?

And yet, I must confess to liking the DBX DriveRack. I've got 2 of them. So far. I had to pull the analog crossovers and 31 band eq's out of my racks to use them. I only use the crossover and auto-eq features so far.

After I do the auto-eq I fine tweak it by ear , usually just 1-2 db here and there, like I said, surprisingly good for robo-eq.

In the six months that I have had them, they have been completely reliable.

I actually made the switch when I found out that the DriveRack in the system made the whole system sound better than I could do manually, and also better than an esteemed associate could do. I'm not the best FOH guy on the planet, but I have done a couple world tours in a previous life (FOH).

I don't wish to be contentious here, but I thought you should know a little more about the DBX DriveRack.

Happy hunting.

wurly
Hey, Thanks for the heads up, Like i said, the units I ran across were first run, maybe they got it worked out.. I will have to check em out again ( sigh... a gs work is never done... )
Old 16th January 2003
  #25
Lives for gear
 
sonic dogg's Avatar
GAWD...I do love those martin sub bins....they should make it law that these are the ONLY subs allowed in any venue...imagine your rib cage moving in time to every kick beat and you dont even realize it.......SOLD
Old 17th January 2003
  #26
Here for the gear
 

dbx Driverack

After using a 481 for a couple of years (someone elses) we got a Driverack PA for ourselves. We haven't had any problems with it at all. The feedback eliminator section uses 10 bands which are split between locked and floating. The default is 5/5 which means you crank up the PA until the 1st 5 filters lock onto feedback rings then leave the other 5 to catch the nasties later. This thing works zillions of times better that the original Sabine units - although a quick hand can still win the race (assumimg the hand is on the fader). After setting the filters the vocal presence from the PA can blow you away - clean, in your face and not a hint of a ring.
I certainly recommend trying one if you can. It's taken our 10K rig to a new dimension.
BTW they aren't THAT expensive and if you need active crossovers they are the way to go ( IMHO of course )

Cheers
Old 17th January 2003
  #27
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Re: Broken 421 clips?

Quote:
Originally posted by wurly
Is this an urban myth? I've heard the stories forever. God damn those ****ty fragile 421 clips.....

I've never broken one. I've never seen a broken one. I agree that the clip design is tedious, complex and at least looks fragile as hell, but I haven't trashed one yet. Is this a fluke of nature? Am I missing out on something? Am I being punished? I've even got 7 clips and only 6-421's. Am I allowed to have a spare? Should I hang around with a different class of musicians who will break them for me?
Your lucky. I've snapped a few. Once on my own putting the mic on, twice with a solid hit from a drum stick and once when a stand got knocked over. Hey, at least it wasn't a U87 being used for talkback. I almost grabbed that but it was about two feet farther away.

Re: D112 on kick. Yeah, it's ok. On maybe 1 out of 25 or 30 kits it's the right choice but it's never my first choice. The key to making it work on guitar is to put it on the back of the amp or use it on the front with another mic. It sounds like **** unless you have something else for the mids and highs. The D112/SM57 combo is great for heavier music. One time the D112 was even a great vocal mic. There was one singer where NOTHING sounded remotely close to right and I was going through everything I had. I looked at the D112 and thought, **** it... can't sound any worse then anything else I've tried and wouldn't ya know it? It sounded great. Go figure.

BTW, I do know Doonesbury. Don't sweat it.
Old 17th January 2003
  #28
Here for the gear
 

LIVE PA gear....

Hey guys---- what ARE the true sonic differences between the dbx Driverack, the dbx 3231L, the top of the line Ashly, and the top of the line K and T unit?

In the LIVE performance application, do you really hear a significant audible difference? Do you really experience a significant difference in functionality (i.e. time to eq the setup/venue is dramatically different)?

And bottom line, does your listening audience recognize the audible differences?

Thanks for your comments!
Old 17th January 2003
  #29
Lives for gear
 
doug_hti's Avatar
 

Re: LIVE PA gear....

Quote:
Originally posted by SeattleJazz
Hey guys---- what ARE the true sonic differences between the dbx Driverack, the dbx 3231L, the top of the line Ashly, and the top of the line K and T unit?

In the LIVE performance application, do you really hear a significant audible difference? Do you really experience a significant difference in functionality (i.e. time to eq the setup/venue is dramatically different)?
Yes there are sonic differences! Considerable differences. HOWEVER, you're cosidering running lower end boxes and amps. If you were running Clair Bros., Meyer, ADAM, Martin, top line EAW, top line EV, or top line JBL cabinets, with top line crown amps, from a Midas XL4 or H3000, then I definatley WOULD NOT strap a Driverack PA in front of them.
But in your scenario there are other things that could be upgraded before the DR PA (i.e. cabinets).
Just remember you're system is only as good as it's weakest link.
Old 17th January 2003
  #30
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Totally. Invest in amps and speakers first. Everything else matters less and is easier to upgrade later.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump