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Author Topic: "Best bang for the buck" line-array system for 12-15k  (Read 39467 times)

Jamin Lynch

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Re: "Best bang for the buck" line-array system for 12-15k
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2011, 06:46:40 pm »

Best bang for the buck line-array system for a maximum of 800-1000 people which incorporate the following characteristics.
Powered Cabs
Budget 12-15k
Portability is high Priority
Clean Crisp mids & highs
Must have more of a "power punch" for bass rather than a vibratory shake.
Would prefer used for the purpose of depreciation savings but New is fine also.
Thanks for your help.

I don't think there is a true line array system that I would call "highly portable." Line arrays take a bit more effort and know how to set up than a typical ground stack system. Although the right team can deploy a line array system pretty quickly....but they know what they are doing.

For your described application, I would take a look at the VRX or JFL gear. You can put those on stands. You're going to eat up your whole budget on lifts and/or truss for a suspended line array system.
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Bob Leonard

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Re: "Best bang for the buck" line-array system for 12-15k
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2011, 07:25:15 pm »

I don't think there is a true line array system that I would call "highly portable." Line arrays take a bit more effort and know how to set up than a typical ground stack system. Although the right team can deploy a line array system pretty quickly....but they know what they are doing.

For your described application, I would take a look at the VRX or JFL gear. You can put those on stands. You're going to eat up your whole budget on lifts and/or truss for a suspended line array system.

Exactly !
 
15K isn't what I would call a large sum of money to be spending on an array. The VRX line is fine, and I like the sound of those boxes, but they have to be deployed properly and deploying an array properly requires much more precision than a traditional front loaded rig.
 
It's also critical to understand that an array is NOT the perfect system for all jobs, or is any system for that matter, BUT, you'll find that a front loaded system will fit the venue more often than not, especially if the crowds are 1500 or fewer waterbags.
 
My last point would be that an array will require a certain number of cabinets per side. Now, I'm no expert on the subject, but my old ears have taught me that smaller arrays seldom sound decent with fewer than three (3) cabinets per side, PLUS subs. That being the case I'll state you'll not deploy any type of decent array with the required processing, mounting hardware and lifts for much less than 30K.
 
For the crowds you're talking about four (4) SRX 725s and four (4) SRX 718s will do the job just fine and you've already spent 10-12 grand without amps or processing and a decent board.
 
 
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Jonathan Collins

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Re: Help & Advice Needed - Thanks in Advance
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2011, 08:48:03 pm »

Jonathan, it probably would help if you broke out the specific questions you have so they were easier to identify.

Overall, I'd say that one challenge you face may be that you've apparently used the good stuff so now you have that as a reference.  Another is that 'bang for the buck' is about value and value is in the eye of the beholder.  In other words, people may need to know a lot more about your gigs, the audiences, your budget, etc. to know what might represent the best value for you, which may differ significantly from what is the best value for someone else.

Perhaps you could start by addressing the purpose of the system and who is running it.
The purpose is to employ a FOH system in what will mostly be clubs that includes the the following.
Consistency- Years ago, when we were playing a lot of clubs we never knew what we were walking into with equipment nor the sound person provided which was frustrating to say the least. It was not only the clubs but there were shows where the local sound contractor provided was just as bad.
Portability- I want this system to be as small in size and weight as possible but not at the peril of sound. As mentioned ease of setup is preferred also. Not only because of having to physically lift equipment but I would strongly prefer not to pull a trailer this time.   
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Is this going to be used exclusively for your gigs or may it be rented out? 
We will use it exclusively.
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Are there any goals relating to size, weight, transportability, ease of setup, etc.?  Who is going to be mixing, they may have some strong opinions on some of the gear? 
A sound tech has not been hired but will be. One reason i posted in this forum was to get various options from those who are the best in their field.
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How many inputs, aux sends, etc. do you need?   
Unless something changes I've decided on a Presonus 24.4.2 console.
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When considering budget have you thought about power distribution, cases, DIs, stands and all the little things needed to make the system work?  You note "...I do not expect to throw 10k down for turn-key" but do you have an idea of how much you do want to spend?
I have a lot of the little things like stands, some cases, cables etc but haven't thought much about power distribution options yet. The 10k was used only as a generic example of my understanding the price of pro quality equipment.
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I'm curious as to why you say this since there is nothing presented that necessarily suggests a line array being a good option, but this is also a good example of the envisioned venues, typical audience size (you say "crowds up to 1000", but what is the typical gig setting and size?), people involved in setting up and running the system and so on having a great impact on the potential value of any options.
The main reasons I like the line-array option is partly because of the portability and scalability options. I used the 1000 number as a max number but if I do the deal that has been offered the average club will be approx 400.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 09:43:59 pm by Jonathan Collins »
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Jonathan Collins

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Re: "Best bang for the buck" line-array system for 12-15k
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2011, 09:25:56 pm »

Good to see you took the advice on being more concise. We stall are going to ask the question why line array? Describe your exact use of this system and why line array would be better than point source for this use. I'm unsure about that being 12-15k USD?
My interest in the line array stuff is mainly the portability and scalability. I'm willing to spend more money, however, I'm cognizant of just of easy it is to slip off the edge of the pro audio back hole.
You will probably want to look at the JBL VRX stuff since this is "line array" and 4 a side should be pushing coverage for 1000 people but unsure about the price range. I've heard the new eaw boxes and they sound great(better than the VRX imo) but again unsure about the price.
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Spenser Hamilton

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Re: "Best bang for the buck" line-array system for 12-15k
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2011, 09:49:48 pm »


Exactly !
 
15K isn't what I would call a large sum of money to be spending on an array. The VRX line is fine, and I like the sound of those boxes, but they have to be deployed properly and deploying an array properly requires much more precision than a traditional front loaded rig.
 
It's also critical to understand that an array is NOT the perfect system for all jobs, or is any system for that matter, BUT, you'll find that a front loaded system will fit the venue more often than not, especially if the crowds are 1500 or fewer waterbags.
 
My last point would be that an array will require a certain number of cabinets per side. Now, I'm no expert on the subject, but my old ears have taught me that smaller arrays seldom sound decent with fewer than three (3) cabinets per side, PLUS subs. That being the case I'll state you'll not deploy any type of decent array with the required processing, mounting hardware and lifts for much less than 30K.
 
For the crowds you're talking about four (4) SRX 725s and four (4) SRX 718s will do the job just fine and you've already spent 10-12 grand without amps or processing and a decent board.

I have to agree with Bob here, although I'd probably opt for 728s because a) easier to get the 725s where they need to be height-wise and b) it's more (and more is always better, right guys). You could realistically start with a pair of each and get pretty damn passable results with the right amps and processing, I do 200-400 crowds all the time with that setup and just a rack of XTi amps. Throw some real iron behind the SRXs and they'll surprise you.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Help & Advice Needed - Thanks in Advance
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2011, 10:41:41 pm »

Portability- I want this system to be as small in size and weight as possible but not at the peril of sound. As mentioned ease of setup is preferred also. Not only because of having to physically lift equipment but I would strongly prefer not to pull a trailer this time.
The main reasons I like the line-array option is partly because of the portability and scalability options. I used the 1000 number as a max number but if I do the deal that has been offered the average club will be approx 400.
Thanks for all the additional information.  Perhaps it is terminology but I don't see a line array being a good choice in terms of portability, ease of setup, etc.  Line arrays would typically mean having to do some advance planning to match the array configuration to each venue and then flying multiple boxes in each array.  Scalability with line arrays would usually mean having a larger number of boxes but typically not using all of them.  It sounds like something more along the lines of the JBL VRX, EAW JFL, Mackie HD, QDC KLA, L-Acoustics ARCS/ARCS II, Renkus-Heinz CF101LA, etc. may better fit your goals and may be what you had in mind, however those are not line arrays.
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Randall Hyde

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Re: "Best bang for the buck" line-array system for 12-15k
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2011, 10:44:12 pm »

You will probably want to look at the JBL VRX stuff since this is "line array" and 4 a side should be pushing coverage for 1000 people but unsure about the price range. I've heard the new eaw boxes and they sound great(better than the VRX imo) but again unsure about the price.

I was told by the JBL people at the NAMM show that three cabinets was the limit of what you'd want to do with the VRX932LA. Beyond that point the curvature was too great and the lower-end Vertec cabinets were probably a better fit. The advantage of the VRX is that they actually work with (one?) two or three cabinets per side -- the smaller Vertecs need three or four stacked together IIRC.

That said, I was once considering VRX 923 or 928 cabinets for a show (that actually starts this Friday). The size is perfect for this application (flying from a truss with a roof). Then I looked at the specs and discovered that the VRX 932 only has a 90 dB SPL @1w/1m. Compare this with the 99 dB SPL the SRX 725  cabinets produce; in theory, it takes almost 10x the power to produce the same SPL with the VRX line as it does the SRX 725 (and the VRX 932LA doesn't have the same max power handling capability as the SRX 725, so applying 10x the power isn't an option). 

People love the VRX 932 cabs, so I won't go around bashing them too much. But unless I've misread the specs, they are probably too inefficient to handle medium-sized crowds without a whole lot of them stuck together (which is probably why the JBL salesperson recommended Vertecs rather than going beyond three cabinets with the VRX 932).

To the OP: I've done crowds of up to 2,000 with (4) JBL SRX 725 and (4) SRX 728s cabinets. If you don't need chests caved in (which I infer from your posts), then a pair of 728s cabs (or 4 718s cabs) would do just great. However, the 728s cabs need a *lot* of power. I used to run each cabinet off a bridged XTi 4000 amp; that was pathetic. They started singing when I ran a pair of them off a used ITech 8000 amp.

The 725 and 728s cabs are ground-stacked. But you don't have the liability associated with flying them (btw, the 725F is a flyable version of the 725 if you really need to fly the speakers; I just went to Home Depot and bought a couple of scaffolding units, $200 ea, to get the speakers 6' higher; a bit safer and a whole lot less expensive than flying the cabinets).

$15K would be reachable with SRX+Itech. New SRX 725 cabs are around $1,800 each (4x = $7,200). SRX 728s cabs are probably around $1,600 each (so you're at $10,400 with just the speakers).

Used ITech 6000 or 8000 amps can be found, occasionally, in the $1,600 to $2,250 range. You'd need three of those (two for the 725 cabs, one for a pair of 728s or four 718s cabinets).

However, you'd have to wait for the (used) amps to become available and you'd have to shop around for the new JBL cabinets (I'm not a big fan of buying used speaker cabinets; amps seem to be fine used, though).

Of course, at some point you'd probably want a couple of smaller amps so you could bi-amp the 725 cabinets. That, however, could wait.
Cheers,
Randy Hyde
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: "Best bang for the buck" line-array system for 12-15k
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2011, 01:26:29 am »

People love the VRX 932 cabs, so I won't go around bashing them too much. But unless I've misread the specs, they are probably too inefficient to handle medium-sized crowds without a whole lot of them stuck together (which is probably why the JBL salesperson recommended Vertecs rather than going beyond three cabinets with the VRX 932).

The VRX932 rigs I'm familiar with have been powered by I-Tech 6000.  When used beyond their design, they sound like a small box pushed really hard, i.e. they sound stressed.  Sticking a whole lot of them together doesn't result in more direct SPL at a given spot.  These aren't like the old days of "pile 'em high and wide" for more SPL.  Jean-Pierre is right on about the 1,000 peeps; the area that you can put 1k pax in is about all you can cover with a 4 box array (which presumes a 60 vertical angle of the audience plane), and there's a limit to how loud that will get.

Now, about that 3 box thing you were told about...  that comes from the constant curvature.  Adding elements increases the vertical coverage of the array rather than contributing to HF & MF summation.  Why spray the ceiling or, alternately, have a bottom box pointing straight down?  Also, from my observation, 3 boxes of 932 is where there is enough LF coupling to match up with the HF.  At 4 boxes the LF starts to outrun the HF and requires some LF shelf EQ.  Either way, you'll run out of LF & HF at the same time and it's not pretty when it does happen.

The constant curvature vertical array isn't *the* answer to many types of uses but it can work well for others.  If you can get them up in the air and don't ask more of them than they can realistically deliver, they'll work...

That all said, I agree that doing a vertical array *right* is going to pretty much blow the budget and be labor intensive.

$15k will buy a decent conventional rig that will do well for several hundred punters indoors and 300-400 outdoors.  I think SRX with I-Techs would be sweet... easy on the AC outlets for the output, common configurations available as Device and/or Preset files from JBL/Crown.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim "aligning SRX728 w/KF850ef" Mc
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Bob Leonard

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Re: "Best bang for the buck" line-array system for 12-15k
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2011, 01:50:44 am »

Tim,
So now three or more of us have told the OP pretty much the same thing, and I see a trend. Obviously those of us using the SRX line are happy with the results. The right power, the right processing, toss in some 725s, 718s or 728s and bada bing, it's show time.

I have no problem feeding crowds up to 1500 with my SRX system, and keep in mind, I still run the dual system. It must be the TAC-551P low end units that make all the difference.   ;)
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Jonathan Collins

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Re: Help & Advice Needed - Thanks in Advance
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2011, 10:16:04 am »

Thanks for all the additional information.  Perhaps it is terminology but I don't see a line array being a good choice in terms of portability, ease of setup, etc.  Line arrays would typically mean having to do some advance planning to match the array configuration to each venue and then flying multiple boxes in each array.  Scalability with line arrays would usually mean having a larger number of boxes but typically not using all of them. 

It sounds like something more along the lines of the JBL VRX, EAW JFL, Mackie HD, QDC KLA, L-Acoustics ARCS/ARCS II, Renkus-Heinz CF101LA, etc. may better fit your goals and may be what you had in mind, however those are not line arrays.
After reading this post I spent several hours reading up on each of these specific speakers and have decided to take a strong look at EAW's JFL210 enclosure. What would be the ideal amp configuration to use with these?
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Re: Help & Advice Needed - Thanks in Advance
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2011, 10:16:04 am »


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