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Building a PA

 
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singlepup
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Joined: 10 Dec 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:43 pm    Post subject: Building a PA Reply with quote

Any tips? I'm just starting to learn about this stuff.

Right now my band is using a generic PA supplied by the manager of our shared rehearsal space. It includes a Behringer 2000w powered mixer and two passive 15" mains.

I just bought a 10" active speaker made by Alto Professional to use as a vocal monitor. I plan on running my mic into a pair of TC Helicon Voicetone pedals into the Alto. Then I'll run the Alto out to the Behringer mixer.

The eventual goal is to move into a better studio and assemble our own PA. I'm sure I'll need a couple of mains and 2-3 more monitors. Thinking a passive mixer with a power amp might be a good way to go, but I haven't done enough research yet. Also not sure what brands I might prefer for speakers, mixer, and amp. Other than Alto, I'm interested in Yamaha, JBL, EV, and QSC.
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mickie08
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Joined: 14 Aug 2006
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Location: Carlsbad, Ca

PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Other than Alto, I'm interested in Yamaha, JBL, EV, and QSC.


Though in slightly different order, this is the path Ihave taken in PAs. Started out with Carvin/Yamaha unpowered and behringer boards. eventually moved to JBL speakers with the behringer board. Sold that and went to Presonus digital board with powered EV zlx12 speakers..

Now running a soundcraft UI24 mixer, 2 altos 12" subs, 2 QSC k10 mains, 3 QSC cp8 monitors and 1 QSC cp12 monitor...

QSC's are king until you get to some of the crazy high end stuff. That said, bang for buck altos hold their own. Mixer wise, I am so happy using a stage box type digital board (mine is hardwired to a chromebook but people can access from devices as needed as well). the flexibility it give you is crazy. Gates, limiters, compressors, graphic EQ on each channel, routing options, recording options, saving scenes (so when I show up to a venue I just click on the venue and all the settings pop up)

Takes some getting used to. The smaller soundcraft UI16 (I think it is or 12) is pretty inexpensive. Mine was 1K but it can function as a full 24 channel recording interface as well as a mixer.

Speaker wise, I always hated the idea of powered speakers...... Until I got them. NOW I wouldn't go any other way. BUT I always have 1 more speaker than absolutely necessary for the gig. Unlike with an amp (which typically has channels and when things blow its usually one channel and you can daisy chain to keep things working, When a powered speaker goes out you are just down a speaker AND an amp.

As far as which powered speakers, the altos are best bang for the buck. If you wait until they are on sale you can find their powered 12's on sale for less than 200 each. Middle options is the QSC CP series. Sound GREAT. Small, Light. 8" are 399. 12" 499. Before you stress about 8" I did a gig last week with 1 12" sub, 2 8" as mains and only 1 8" monitor for our whole 5 piece band and they held their own just fine. Obviously monitor placement sucked for some but just making the point. They crank. I am crazy person about having plenty of monitor signal.

If you really want to step up QSC K series are great. To my ear (and others I know), the K10s sound better than the k12s.

Mixer wise id you have to shave money get a behringer. They work. Nothing great or horrible about them. If you can step up to a digiital mizer you will be happy (whether its a baord based onle like a Presonus or the rack type one like my soundcraft)

Also. Mics. Keep an eye out on PSSL.com. Blue Encore 100 mics. You can get them buy one $100 get one for free about 3-4 times per year. $50 for a great sounding stage mic (I have 3 of them and each of my band members has one as well) We also have beta 57s, audix OM7, shurre 57, 58, and a sennhesier that we use at various times but mostof the times at least 2 of us are using the blu mics.

Last thing. GET A POWER CONDITIONER.
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mickie08
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since we are close (I am nin Temecula though, not Carlsbad), you are welcome to come up and try out some QSCs
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robroe
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PA THREAD!!

I has question too.

I've had the same Tosh PA since the 90s and it's perfect for my old man basement needs. Its loud as fuck doesnt feed back under 7 vol. 2 15" cabs


My question is I bought a 10" passive cab to string up behind my drum seat and now it makes all 3 speakers clip like crazy. How doz I no clipz
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mickie08
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

robroe wrote:
PA THREAD!!

I has question too.

I've had the same Tosh PA since the 90s and it's perfect for my old man basement needs. Its loud as fuck doesnt feed back under 7 vol. 2 15" cabs


My question is I bought a 10" passive cab to string up behind my drum seat and now it makes all 3 speakers clip like crazy. How doz I no clipz


Are you daisy chaining speakers or do they each come off their own send from the mixer (I assume its a powered mixer)

while not an expert, when you daisy chain it changes OHMS and and if you are not int he right range it will cause issues. I doubt that is the issue if they are separated but if htey are daisy chained that may be it. If you unplug the 15s and just plug in the 10 does it clip? Maybe the speakers are making the PA work to hard and it just doesn't have the power to push all 3. Not sure as I would need to know the specs of the speakers and the mixer to make much of a guess.
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dots
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is a great thread.

mickie, you've got the real-world experience to challenge most of the live engineers out there i'll bet.
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mickie08
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dots wrote:
this is a great thread.

mickie, you've got the real-world experience to challenge most of the live engineers out there i'll bet.


Hvent done under 150 gigs in a year running my own sound in probanly 7 years.. plus sound for the theatre. Plenty I don't know due to my limited world (I dont often do sound for others). But I know the workhorse gear pretty well....
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singlepup
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Mickie... awesome response and very helpful!

Yes, my research has also pushed me toward Alto and QSC powered speakers. I like the idea of powered stuff so that I have the option to run my monitors separate from the main PA at a gig. I figure Altos will work fine as monitors for the time being, especially considering I can get 5 powered Altos for the price of 4 Yamahas or JBLs. When I need my own mains (which won't be for some time), stepping up to QSC seems like a good idea. Obviously I want the audience to hear us clearly, whereas the band can get by with a more budget-friendly tone. If I'm ever near Temecula, I would love to check out your system!

Also, I've been looking at the Soundcraft stuff for years, but I never considered them for live use. Great idea! I'm more drawn to the signature series because I like the classic faders, but I could be convinced to use a laptop. The idea of creating saved presets for different venues is brilliant.
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singlepup
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mickie, a few more questions if you have time...

1) Where do you buy your speakers on sale? I got my Alto TS310 on Amazon for $199. It just arrived and I haven't tried it yet, but assuming it's as good as all the reviews say, I'd like to buy a few more.

2) This is probably a stupid question: having all powered speakers eliminates the need for a PA amp, correct?

3) It's not crazy to combine powered speakers with a powered mixer, is it? Can this create problems? I would like to temporarily use my Alto with the free PA in my rehearsal space. I was thinking to run the speaker to the mixer's input because I want vocals only in my monitor.

4) Any power conditioners that you'd recommend? I feel like this is the secret sauce.

Thanks again my friend! Cool
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mickie08
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

singlepup wrote:
Mickie, a few more questions if you have time...

1) Where do you buy your speakers on sale? I got my Alto TS310 on Amazon for $199. It just arrived and I haven't tried it yet, but assuming it's as good as all the reviews say, I'd like to buy a few more.

2) This is probably a stupid question: having all powered speakers eliminates the need for a PA amp, correct?

3) It's not crazy to combine powered speakers with a powered mixer, is it? Can this create problems? I would like to temporarily use my Alto with the free PA in my rehearsal space. I was thinking to run the speaker to the mixer's input because I want vocals only in my monitor.

4) Any power conditioners that you'd recommend? I feel like this is the secret sauce.

Thanks again my friend! Cool


1. I like PSSL.com in Orange County. They have some killer deals at times. I also like that if needed I can drive and pick up. I believe they have 21" powered altos for 219 right now.

2. Yes

3. Most powered PAs have unpowered outputs as well (but maybe not as many). You can not send a powered signal to a powered speaker though.

4. Any one is usable but I tend to use Furman or Live Wire

Anytime you want to come up or come by a gig (I am playing pretty much every weekend night somewhere) let me know.
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robroe
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daisy chain.

It went

CH1 out PA > 15"
CH2 out PA > 10" behind drums > 15" over by guitar


Like how do clubs have like 10 different speakers going without daisy chaining? Do I need to buy another piece of equipment that Ch1 and Ch2 both go into then has more outputs on the other side? I have no idea what I'm doing
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mickie08
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

robroe wrote:
Daisy chain.

It went

CH1 out PA > 15"
CH2 out PA > 10" behind drums > 15" over by guitar


Like how do clubs have like 10 different speakers going without daisy chaining? Do I need to buy another piece of equipment that Ch1 and Ch2 both go into then has more outputs on the other side? I have no idea what I'm doing



Shoot me a pic of the mixer outputs and back of the speakers. It sounds like the pa may just be too weak to daisy chain speakers


Could be lowering the effective volume so.you turn up to the point its overloading. Could be bad cables.
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NickS
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

robroe wrote:
Like how do clubs have like 10 different speakers going without daisy chaining?
100v line? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constant-voltage_speaker_system
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robroe
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NickS wrote:
robroe wrote:
Like how do clubs have like 10 different speakers going without daisy chaining?
100v line? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constant-voltage_speaker_system




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dots wrote:
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