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Best sounding live PA/monitors that are *lightweight*
Old 13th October 2013
  #1
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mooghappy's Avatar
 

Best sounding live PA/monitors that are *lightweight*

Hello

I have a friend who just started doing gigs as a solo cover singer with backing tracks. I have some QSC K8's I've lent for her first show, but they are on the heavy side (~25 lbs each) and eventually she'll be doing the setup and sound alone. Also we only set their levels to 3 out of 10, so we really don't need loud output. She is doing jazz, lounge and some uptempo songs in small wine bars and restaurants (5-30 people) where patrons can still hold conversations at normal levels without needing to raise their voices over the music. The QSC sound quality is really good.

Anyone have a suggestion for hi-end sound for live use, comparable in quality to the QSC, but instead of weighing in at 20lbs, something closer to 10lbs? Bonus if they have a standmount option.

It doesn't have to be aimed at Live PA market, I imagine the right studio monitor could work too. I have no experience using anything besides the QSC K series live. Budget doesn't matter too much, the sound quality is the important part.

Appreciate any thoughts.

Thanks!
Old 13th October 2013
  #2
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As much as I dislike them, for her the easiest option is probably the Bose tower.
Old 13th October 2013
  #3
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I am not a Bose fan myself...how are they soundwise?
Also it seems quite heavy, do you happen to know what the actual weight is of each piece (i.e. carrying the smallest piece at a time).

On amazon it says the shipping weight of the whole package is 90lbs!!
Old 13th October 2013
  #4
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The Bose towers are bright and edgy and overkill for her application... A left field suggestion is to just use a single KRK Rokit RP8 or better studio monitor, if you have the cash. PA speakers will all be designed to be bullet proof at high volumes which you don't need, and are much more colored. I've fitted out a couple of the KRKs with a handle on top and a single wire arched over the tweeter for protection, for people in your position and they do the job beautifully with a lot more finesse than most PA speakers. strange but true... you'll need a small mixer or mic pre of course...
Old 13th October 2013
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
The Bose towers are bright and edgy and overkill for her application... A left field suggestion is to just use a single KRK Rokit RP8 or better studio monitor, if you have the cash. PA speakers will all be designed to be bullet proof at high volumes which you don't need, and are much more colored. I've fitted out a couple of the KRKs with a handle on top and a single wire arched over the tweeter for protection, for people in your position and they do the job beautifully with a lot more finesse than most PA speakers. strange but true... you'll need a small mixer or mic pre of course...
This is great advice and very creative. It will be a lot less expensive, and much easier to move around (which is ironic). I've considered doing similar things, I'm glad to hear that it works. Wouldn't be much more work to bring a small sub as well to add some nice depth.
Old 13th October 2013
  #6
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deng's Avatar
I bought this recently for multifunction studio use. Great sounding little stereo PA/mixer and only 10kg. Might be the one for her.

Product link
Products - LUCAS NANO 300 - HK Audio
Old 13th October 2013
  #7
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The heaviest part of a Bose stick is the sub followed by the base, and I would guess the base is about 25 lbs region and the sub maybe is close to the same. Without the sub I found that the stick is very thin - no lows, even on vocals. Probably 10 lbs is a very light target, 25 lbs is pretty close to 'really light' when you include a box, speaker, amplifier.
Old 13th October 2013
  #8
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Thanks for the replies. KRK might work, though probably have to be Rokit5s for lighter weight and get some stands for them.

The Lucas Nano looks really awesome, and with the bag on wheels could be great. Curious to try them.

Anyone try the Fender Passport 150?
Old 13th October 2013
  #9
Registered User
For such small rooms (5 to 30 people who want to talk) these are all too big and too loud.

I would look at the small Roland portable stuff - or you could even use cheap computer speaker sets with a very small sub.

Some of these don't have mic inputs, but I would suggest a little voice processor such as TC Helicon or Roland. It's nice to have a stereo reverb and some compression and a bit of harmony is a very cool trick that will get her noticed.
Old 13th October 2013
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mooghappy View Post
Thanks for the replies. KRK might work, though probably have to be Rokit5s for lighter weight and get some stands for them.
The Rokit 5 might be a bit too light duty, and you'll likely only need one. A stand would be nice but mightn't be necessary... could just put it on a chair or even on the floor angled up if you wanna travel light... and no need for a sub, especially if you go for the RP8.

and again, no reason to stick to KRK if you have the money for something better, though they're plenty fine for the job...

and forget computer speakers...
Old 13th October 2013
  #11
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Carvin S400D

100w and runs on rechargable batteries!
Old 14th October 2013
  #12
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I just went through this myself, need a small PA for a school, being used by school teachers, so had to be low weight, easy to use. Ended up buying powered EON 10's, weight 17lbs. Not going to have a lot of low end, but is ideal for voice and non critical music playback. Simple enough with a mic pre, line input, loop through on a class d amp in back of the speaker.

The best sounding and smallest I could find was a bit heavier, the new JBL PRX710; sounded amazing compared to the other speakers around the same price point.

Brad
Old 14th October 2013
  #13
Registered User
5 people trying to talk to each other in a bar don't appreciate the awesomeness of your sub woofer or the SPL of your tops. I'm an all or nothing kind of guy - and I would advise that you plan for the big time and spend your money on on awesome PA rig once you start getting the gigs for parties and dances where you need to move a lot of air.

I would be looking at at least an 18" sub woofer that can crank out 130 dB. But your girl will need a man to lug that around.

For the money that you will lose in depreciation on a decent speaker, you could buy a computer speaker system that can fill a room with and may need to be turned down. If you are just playing back mp3 backing tracks, there is no difference to playing commercial mixes. For background music you would be amazed at how little wattage you really need. Or you can spend a bit more and get a keyboard amp which isn't too different, which is still a big compromise but works for small venues.

But if you have the cash and are prepared to lug a lot of hardware around, and are prepared to have to seriously upgrade if you need to do parties then get something in the middle.
Old 15th October 2013
  #14
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We're going to try out the Lucas Nano, those look like the easiest to setup and most lightweight portable ones around. When they arrive I'll chime in on how they sound.

Thanks for all the input.
Old 15th October 2013
  #15
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dont know where you live but here in middle Europe i would suggest:
SR Technology Mon X, or even the SR Technology Baby MON. (
many of us over here favour AER Stuff.
Old 16th October 2013
  #16
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I wasn't super happy with the Lucas Nano when I tried it, kind of strident highs and hyped bass and weird in between (playing a Beatles mix from my iPhone). It IS really light.

If money's no object and light weight is the factor, the Bose L1 is worth looking at-slightly lighter than the earlier versions and the sub is built into the base.

If you're going to compromise on sound quality anyway, some of the amps intended for acoustics can make cool little PAs. For example, the ZT Lunchbox acoustic is only 11 pounds. The Fishman Loudbox isn't supposed to be too bad. I've seen the Quilter amps used for this as well.
Old 16th October 2013
  #17
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Hmm, we will have to see what the Nano's are like when they get here. No place local to test a pair out, but if I don't like them I can always return. Lightness is key here, as is the ease of setup.

Prefer to avoid any computer speakers / guitar amps since they won't look too professional, which is part of the problem of taking studio monitors without having good stands for them.
Old 16th October 2013
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
dont know where you live but here in middle Europe i would suggest:
SR Technology Mon X, or even the SR Technology Baby MON. (
many of us over here favour AER Stuff.
These look nice but from what I've heard they sound thin. Maybe if it had a compression-driver instead of a soft-tweeter it would sound beefier and I'd imagine the Lucas will be the same. I don't know really but I'd prefer a JBL portable rig over this device. I tried using studio monitors in a live sound application once and was not happy with it at all, they worked but its hard to beat a compression-driver for full mid-range response in sound reinforcement applications.
Old 16th October 2013
  #19
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Mackie SRM150s...small,flexible i/o

Check out K-Array...if you wanna think outside the box
Old 16th October 2013
  #20
Old 26th October 2013
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drbob1 View Post
I wasn't super happy with the Lucas Nano when I tried it, kind of strident highs and hyped bass and weird in between (playing a Beatles mix from my iPhone). It IS really light.
drbob1. that is a perfect assessment. Our Lucas Nano arrived. We were initially very happy with the sound at home, but after trying them at a gig last night, we did find the mid's to be missing. While it fooled the average listener, anyone trying to hear detail and lyrics would have trouble. It also has a strange tone knob on each input channel that doesn't seem to do some much besides dull the high end a bit, and even the manual gives a vague explanation of its operation.
It is a great little package, very easy to setup and transporting is a breeze. It's too bad the sound isn't better. We'll be returning them and just use the QSC K8's for now (which sound fantastic).

We're checking out some of the JBL's online...the PRX looks interesting but it's even heavier than the QSC's. The Eon 510 might do it at 17lbs each. Can anyone comment on their sound? Are they good over the entire low-mid-hi range? Better than the Lucas I hope? Close to as good as the QSCs?
Old 26th October 2013
  #22
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If weight is such a concern, why is she using 2?

(P.S. spend the money on a gym membership!)
Old 26th October 2013
  #23
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Check out the Alto TS110A, at best for small coffee gigs it should be more than enough and sounds just as good as the JBL EON 510 for less.
Old 26th October 2013
  #24
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We tried one speaker, it didn't sound so good with the backing tracks since they are in stereo, it felt like something was missing. Also the coverage for a large space works better with two.

Just looking for that one perfect setup for weight vs sound quality!!
Old 26th October 2013
  #25
The best thing about the Bose system for this type of application is that it is basically a line array design. Therefore the sound carries more evenly across the whole listening area at a lower volume than a traditional speaker setup. I agree with you on the QSC sound quality. I have both a Bose (for smaller, solo applications) and a QSC Line Array for larger applications. To me, they have very similar sonic profiles..especially if you use the T1 tone match system on the Bose.

Weight wise they're not bad at all. She can opt for the smaller table top version if she's not playing large rooms. Because of the line array technology she may be able to get away with using no monitor at all. Several solo acts I know do this.

If she has a problem with the weight it might be worth getting her a gym membership.
Old 26th October 2013
  #26
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Casti's Avatar
I suggest an Electro Voice zx1A ACTIVE speaker, it's a very good light System.
Old 26th October 2013
  #27
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I saw a small group of acoustic musicians do a pop up gig using a set of there the other day.

LD System

It's a small semi array type system. Was sufficiently intrigued to hang about and watch them set up. Took seconds to set up. They each carried their own instruments and a bit of PA.

I though it sounded decent too. Remembered the name and looked it up at home. ~£600 street price looked impressive. Seek a second opinion though.
Old 26th October 2013
  #28
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In the thread nobody mentioned that there are different types of the Bose L1.
From what you wrote, the small L1 compact will be more than sufficient.
Most people don't like it because it doesn't deliver a Rock'n'Roll sound and many here need more power.
But for acoustic/jazz/country in small venues i think the compacts are the best choice.
In THAT KIND of application i prefer them by far to the smaller QSC or EV speakers, and i prefer QSC and EV to EON and PRX.

The L1 compacts are most easy/quick to setup, have a wider dispersion (even NOT beeing a line array), you don't need a monitor and they should deliver sufficient volume and lows also for playback.

At least you should try them.

And now i make the place free for all Bose haters.
Old 27th October 2013
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post
I saw a small group of acoustic musicians do a pop up gig using a set of there the other day.

LD System

It's a small semi array type system. Was sufficiently intrigued to hang about and watch them set up. Took seconds to set up. They each carried their own instruments and a bit of PA.

I though it sounded decent too. Remembered the name and looked it up at home. ~£600 street price looked impressive. Seek a second opinion though.
I certainly hope the "Max SPL (peak)" number is a typo... I'm just sayin'...
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Old 27th October 2013
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
I certainly hope the "Max SPL (peak)" number is a typo... I'm just sayin'...
WOW! There goes the touring market! I'd expect people to sell their line arrays cheap to get their hands on these babies after seeing the specs!

Kidding aside, I personally hate the "column array" speakers. Overpriced and under-deliver, just like the BOSE L1 line, all hype and you're just paying for the badge.

For the price of one BOSE L1 compact, you can get one decent powered speaker, hook up an A&H ZED 10 and still have money left over for a decent mic, cables and stands.
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