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Author Topic: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band  (Read 17263 times)

Alex Magor

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Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« on: December 03, 2015, 11:14:30 am »

Looking to possibly upgrade some components in my system. Current setup = drive rack PA+, JBL MRX 515 tops and JBL MRX 518 bottoms all powered by QSC PLX3602's. I just picked up a dbx venu360 to replace the drive rack pa+ since the rta mic input has a bad connection. I noticed a significant upgrade in the digital convertors. But I've seen people recommend the BSS mini drive and the Ashly Protea line over this (or even an Ashly xr1001 for just the crossover). I am the sound guy and also play in the band so I have virtually no time to do sound checks. We play a wide variety of venues. Everything from outdoors, to nyc clubs, to large banquet halls etc... I like the fact the dbx drive rack can do the auto eq program in a minute.

1) So is the sonic quality of the BSS and Ashly (analog or digital) worth it over the drive rack venu360 since I would lose the auto eq function?

2) For Speakers and Amps which of these combos would be best?

JBL MRX515
JBL MRX518
JBL SRX715
JBL SRX718

Crown Itech 4000
Crown Itech 6000
Crown Itech 8000
QSC PL340
QSC Pl380
QSC PLX3602

Or any other suggestions...


THANKS!
« Last Edit: December 03, 2015, 11:45:24 am by Diegel »
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Mac Kerr

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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2015, 12:25:47 pm »

Or any other suggestions...


THANKS!

Please go to your profile and change the "Name" field to your real first and last name as required by the posting rules displayed in the header at the top of the section, and in the Site Rules and Suggestions in the Forum Announcements section, and on the registration page when you registered.

Mac
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2015, 02:17:36 pm »

There's a significant different in performance between the MRX and SRX lines, also a significant difference in cost.

What is the purpose of the upgrade?  Need more level for larger events?  Unhappy with the clarity of the present system?

Why the questions on amps?  I used to run a triamped PLX system and other than a small improvement replacing the 3602 on subs with a Crest 9200 the rest of the range sounded fine.  Unless you go for something like the HD Crowns where you can load FIR presets (assuming you have the JBL boxes they were made for), I don't think there's much to be had in upgrading amps.

The SRX7XX line has been supplanted by the 8XXp powered line.  Lots of discussion here on the merits of these boxes and how much they improve over previous product.  It wouldn't seem to make sense to buy 7 series boxes and new amps given the availability of the 8 series.

Do you hear an improvement in the 360 processor over the PA?  I think most of the recommendations of BSS or Ashley boxes are as upgrades over the older DBX PA and 260 processors.  I haven't seen a direct shootout between the 360 and other brands but there have been a few comments that it was an upgrade from the 260.

I would either keep the 360 and use it with your MRX or take it back and upgrade to an SRX8XXp powered system (staying within the Harman family and ignoring other options) if you need more performance than what you're getting out of the MRX system.  The PLXs could either be repurposed for monitors or sold off.

It really comes down to what are you trying to achieve and how much money can you invest in doing it?
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Alex Magor

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2015, 03:45:57 pm »

I feel the current system could be stronger in the bottom end.  Want to feel more kick in the chest.  Also could use a little more clarity overall which I started to get with the newer driverack.  I tried the powered prx 700 series but they just sound very processed to me so I think Id prefer to stay in the passive world.  I am also considering simply upgrading the speakers in the mrx718 cabs to a 2242h perhaps.  Thanks.

There's a significant different in performance between the MRX and SRX lines, also a significant difference in cost.

What is the purpose of the upgrade?  Need more level for larger events?  Unhappy with the clarity of the present system?

Why the questions on amps?  I used to run a triamped PLX system and other than a small improvement replacing the 3602 on subs with a Crest 9200 the rest of the range sounded fine.  Unless you go for something like the HD Crowns where you can load FIR presets (assuming you have the JBL boxes they were made for), I don't think there's much to be had in upgrading amps.

The SRX7XX line has been supplanted by the 8XXp powered line.  Lots of discussion here on the merits of these boxes and how much they improve over previous product.  It wouldn't seem to make sense to buy 7 series boxes and new amps given the availability of the 8 series.

Do you hear an improvement in the 360 processor over the PA?  I think most of the recommendations of BSS or Ashley boxes are as upgrades over the older DBX PA and 260 processors.  I haven't seen a direct shootout between the 360 and other brands but there have been a few comments that it was an upgrade from the 260.

I would either keep the 360 and use it with your MRX or take it back and upgrade to an SRX8XXp powered system (staying within the Harman family and ignoring other options) if you need more performance than what you're getting out of the MRX system.  The PLXs could either be repurposed for monitors or sold off.

It really comes down to what are you trying to achieve and how much money can you invest in doing it?
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2015, 05:22:48 pm »

I just picked up a dbx venu360 to replace the drive rack pa+ since the rta mic input has a bad connection.

Quite honestly, the RTA mic input going bad could be a blessing.  While using the RTA can be handy in LEARNING how your system operates, rarely does the actual result that it creates end up being the right solution for a room. Remember that the RTA mic is measuring one very specific point in space and thus the adjustments are for that specific space.  Move the mic 3 feet, and the result is different.  Heck, run the test multiple times without moving the mic at all and you will see that the results can vary quite dramatically.  If each time you run the RTA it produces a different result, how can that be BETTER than doing it by ear?

I used to have the RTA and I used that to see general patterns of the speakers in different types of venues. I could see how speaker placement affected EQ in different areas of the room, but never did I end up using the final results of the RTA.  After a few uses, I no longer even needed to run the RTA to get predictable results.
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Brian Jojade

Bill Hornibrook

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2015, 05:51:35 pm »

If you got a better sound from your current system without the Driverack and it's RTA, my guess is that it's because you weren't using RTA more than the Driverack itself - especially if you were just taking one reading and running with it. That "feature" does more damage than good.

I am the sound guy and also play in the band so I have virtually no time to do sound checks.

This just screams "Go powered!" to me. Try to audition JBL's SRX800Ps or Yamaha's DSRs - both which are highly regarded in these forums at their respective price points. And with four 18s (if you aren't getting enough punch now).

I love my SRX-715s, but this entire line is getting harder and harder to find in the used market unless they have been beat to crap. Do you have some decent ones lined up?
« Last Edit: December 03, 2015, 05:53:48 pm by Bill Hornibrook »
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Dave Pluke

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2015, 05:57:19 pm »

Remember that the RTA mic is measuring one very specific point in space and thus the adjustments are for that specific space.  Move the mic 3 feet, and the result is different.

The VENU360 (and PA2, for that matter) use a new tuning wizard that instructs the operator to move the microphone into several positions, then runs a sweep tone at each location.

But, your point is taken - the RTA results can be considered a starting point, with fine tuning required to yield optimal results.

Alex, if your VENU360 is doing the DSP, you don't really need full DSP on your amps as well.  Also important to consider the power draw of some of the amps in your list.  In my "wedding band" experience, tracking down adequate electricity can be a challenge.

Dave
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Luke Geis

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2015, 06:27:05 pm »

I would give up on 15" models for starters if your going to be running subs. A 12" top would sound a little clearer and have perhaps a little more punch when coupled with subs. These days a 12" has just about as much output as its 15" counterpart. It may not go quite as low, but you have a sub......

The SRX line your looking at is discontinued, so your looking at a used only market. Not to mention parts will be getting sparse in the future. I would recommend looking into the passive SRX800 series first if you plan on spending used SRX700 series money. They are relatively the same cost. The MRX line is a step up from the JRX line and a step down from the PRX400 line. The PRX400 series is a pretty nice line and I would not overlook them. The MRX line is discontinued too BTW.

The amps and DSP you have are perfectly fine for just about any option, so I would leave it with what you have. Going from the dbx Venue 360 to a more expensive XTA will not bring the moon any closer to you. The BSS model DSP is about even with the dbx you currently have. I would under no circumstance ever go with the Ashley analog X-over. They do not sound right and are not going to improve anything for you.

As for getting more power from your subs there is a couple ways to do that. To snag about an extra 3db you could put the subs together in the center of the stage, or together on one side of the stage. You could get two more and get the same 3db and configure the subs however you like. Or you could ditch them while you still can and get a set of real subs. The MRX subs are rated at 133db ( half space ) and are good down to about 40db. Now  subs are touchy in that low and loud is really expensive. So the newer PRX400 line is pretty much a parallel step, but they do go lower and appear to be measured in full space? In other words they get the lower, but not the louder. To get louder you would have to go with the passive SRX800 series which will get you down to about 40hz ( so not lower really ) but acquire 135db in what I believe to be full space rating ( 138db half space ). If it was still half space rated it would be 3db louder than what you currently have. It would in essence be that same as adding another pair of subs that you currently own. Or you could say that one SRX800 sub alone is as good as the two you currently own.

I would also consider selling the farm and starting anew. If you can get what you need with what you currently have, then the newest EON line would suffice well. The tops are rated to 126db in the 12" model and the subs are rated to 134db. This is pretty good considering the average price for each box is right about $450! The other cool bit is that they are blu-tooth enabled and you can remotely control them with an ipad. For a guy on the stage this may help? I bet you could sell all that you have and have enough money to buy a whole new EON system outright. They are lighter than what you currently have, there is no amp racks to carry and you can still save the setting for each venue with the app. Not to mention I would venture a bet that the EON's will sound better than the MRX stuff you have any day of the week. The EON's also have a unique feature to them. 100deg. wide coverage.

I know you mention being akin to keeping with passive operation, but in terms of speed of setup and tuning, quality of sound and outright performance, powered is the only way to go. If your going to throw money at something to make it better, then you have buyers remorse and you know you should have gotten better to begin with. If it were me I would look at what I get for the money I spend vs. the goals I have. If what I have does the job fine and I just want to improve the overall quality of sound and ease the setup, then a newer powered rig is that answer in your case. Passive speakers require that the operator be the one to get the most out of it. This is great as it tests your ability and knowledge. It also takes more time and you have to do all the grunt work. A powered speaker does all that stuff for you. All you have to do is worry about taking the room out of the PA. The limiting, crossover settings, and speaker optimizing is already done for you. Powered speakers are inherently lighter, use less energy and often have other helpful options ( like blu-tooth control ) that make them easier to tune and deploy.

I own more passive rigs than I do powered rigs and what I can say is that the powered rig I have always does what I need it to easier. The passive stuff I own is amazing and has its place, but I have designed those system to get there. I use digital amplification so I can save settings and I bought passive stuff that works well together with a single amp option. So I don't have to have multiple amps in differing power options. Food for thought anyway.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2015, 07:22:16 pm »


I own more passive rigs than I do powered rigs and what I can say is that the powered rig I have always does what I need it to easier. The passive stuff I own is amazing and has its place, but I have designed those system to get there. I use digital amplification so I can save settings and I bought passive stuff that works well together with a single amp option. So I don't have to have multiple amps in differing power options. Food for thought anyway.

Luke,

Why didn't you tell me that 2 years ago? 

What he said is prophetic.  I love tinkering with the powered rig, processor, amps and getting every last bit of performance I can out of it.

Problem is the client is paying for that and the extra time and expense to set up the passive systems rarely yields a better show. 

They also buffer abuse better and and much less likely to get an inexperienced engineer in trouble with far less gain knows to destroy the gain structure.

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Alex Magor

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2015, 07:36:33 pm »

I hear u guys on the powered rigs but I have a JBL PRX718 + PRX715 I just picked up sitting right next to my Passive Rig and I am telling you I don't like the powered rig and all.  It sounds very processed.  The Passive rig on the other hand sounds crystal clear, very open and natural sounding.  Again I'd prefer to stay passive.  On this note I just picked up a crown itech 4000 and I'm barely getting any low end in the subs compared to my PLX3602.  Surely from all the things I read about the itech4000 I must be doing something wrong, right?  Also testing on mains I think I also prefer the QSC over the Crown Itech 4000.  Maybe I should go with the QSC RMX or power light series. 

Also as for tuning the EQ are you guys saying I am better off bypassing the AUTO EQ altogether and simply play a track and adjust the master graphic eq by ear?  Any tips on that?  I'm very comfortable using master EQ's in the studio when I'm mixing and mastering but generally those are broad strokes.  Any more tips on using a graphic eq to tune to the room?  Thanks.  I think that was a good tip as far as eq'ing to a track.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2015, 07:40:12 pm by Alex Magor »
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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2015, 07:36:33 pm »


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