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Help upgrading a small system

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Terry McNeil:

--- Quote from: Seth Frick on March 04, 2011, 12:42:15 PM ---Hello everyone, this is my first post here at ProSoundWeb and I'm looking forward to hearing from you guys. Here's the deal: I've slowly been doing more and more mobile DJ work on the side (I'm still in college), and putting together all the equipment I need to do more of it. I currently do 6-8 gigs a year, but I'm trying to improve what I can offer so I can comfortably do larger gigs and get more work. My gigs now tend to fall into the range of 50-100 people indoors at higher volumes (small college dances, larger house parties, etc) or 100-200 people outdoors at lower volumes (grad parties, birthdays). My current sound system is a pair of off-brand 2-way tops with 15" woofers (not very proud of them, but they were a birthday present from some friends a few years back) and a single Yorkville YX18S sub that I picked up for 200 bucks. For the smaller events I do, I've been able to get the volume I need out of this system, but it's obviously lacking in quality.

I want to upgrade my system over the next year and a half or so, in stages. I plan on ditching the old cabs completely, and for the first stage of my upgrade I want to get a pair of tops and a pair of subs. After this stage I'd like to be able to do events of up to 150-200 indoors for higher volume EDM stuff. In the second stage of my upgrade, I want to add another pair of tops and another pair of subs, and would like to be capable of doing events of up to 300-400 people indoors at medium to high SPL (proms, for example).

My original plan, since I'm on such a tight budget (again, still in college), was to build Bill Fitzmaurice cabs. I would build a pair of 3012ho-loaded melded array OmniTop12s and a pair of 3015lf-loaded Titan 48s for the first upgrade stage, and another pair of each when I can for the second stage. Each pair of cabs would cost about $550 in materials, plus the time and effort required to build them. I am confident in my build skills. Also, I bought two Crown XTi2000s that I was planning on using to power the BFM cabs (one for subs, one for tops).

However, recently I've begun wondering if the BFM cabs are a wise choice. It seems as though I may be able to find some good quality used passives for about the same price as building, and get equal or better performance (at least for the subs). I'm inclined to still go with the OT12 tops, considering I'll be using the best driver available for that design, they're easy to build, and I should be able to get quite a lot of output from them for the money. If there are some good used passives tops that could outperform them in the same price range though, I wouldn't mind saving the effort.

Here's where you guys come in. Considering my budget, should I just go with the BFM cabs? If not, then what are some good used passives to look out for that can offer equal or better performance? I have a maximum budget of $1500 for this first upgrade stage (not including amps, I already have the two XTi's), so I'm thinking I could just build a pair of OT12s for around $500-550 and then get some used subs. Here are the subs I'm currently considering or have heard good things about:

A pair of used JBL MRX518S
A single used JBL MRX528S
A single used JBL SRX718S
A single EAW FR250z (a new one even fits the budget)
A single Wharfedale DLX-218B (I've heard it's the best bang for the buck in intermediate-performance subs)

These are mainly the ones that I've been able to actually find deals on. Like I said, though, I'm not really sure what to look for. If I stuck with the OT12s I'd have about $1000 to spend on a sub or subs.

--- End quote ---

Hello Seth. I am currently redoing a club in Miami that has the EV Tour X line in it and it really sounds good for some of thing that you want to do. I've also used PROEL NEOS and these speakers are great. The powered version uses Powersoft amp modules. Components are by B&C and 18Sound.

If you'd like to chat more about it send me a PM.

Daniel Maki:
Dual 18s are a beast to transport on your own anyway.  I'd stick with single driver subs unless you have a helper monkey.
I'm currently using 212 OTops w 3012s and melded arrays.  I'm really impressed with how they sound, but they *are* right at the edge of being manageable from a size/weight perspective (I don't have a helper monkey).  In most cases, the regular single 12 would be plenty for me at the size of gigs you are talking about.

FWIW, I'm sporting 4 x JTR Growlers for subs.  The output for size/weight to me is among the best-of-breed.  And I do not need helper monkeys.

Seth Frick:

--- Quote from: Daniel Maki on March 15, 2011, 03:29:10 PM ---Dual 18s are a beast to transport on your own anyway.  I'd stick with single driver subs unless you have a helper monkey.
I'm currently using 212 OTops w 3012s and melded arrays.  I'm really impressed with how they sound, but they *are* right at the edge of being manageable from a size/weight perspective (I don't have a helper monkey).  In most cases, the regular single 12 would be plenty for me at the size of gigs you are talking about.

FWIW, I'm sporting 4 x JTR Growlers for subs.  The output for size/weight to me is among the best-of-breed.  And I do not need helper monkeys.

--- End quote ---

Haha thanks Daniel, as far as "helper monkeys" go, I always have at least one other person with me on gigs. Usually two other people. I'll get a taste of lugging around a 2 x 18" seeing as how I booked a rental on a pair of EAW FR159z tops and a JBL SRX728S for two gigs I have coming up. Regardless, I'm leaning towards an LS808. One now, and another later.

As for tops, I'm still not sure. I think I'll probably still just build a pair of OTop 112s (and another pair later when I add a second LS808). However, I'm also considering a pair of EV ELX112's to save myself the work, although I'm worried they won't have enough output. I'm also considering selling off one of my XTi's and getting a pair of RCF 312-A's or EV ELX112P's. The ELX112P's are enticing because they have a built-in 100 Hz HPF, but again I'm worried they wouldn't have enough output compared to the RCFs. The specs say 132 dB max but it's calculated, so I'd probably only get ~125 from them (being generous). The RCF specs say 127 dB max, which I'm assuming is measured, not calculated (though it doesn't say).

Any other good tops (used or new) to look out for? I'm looking at ~$600 a pair for passives or ~$950 a pair for actives. Seems like the RCFs can't be beat in that range but I'm just wondering.

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