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Author Topic: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band  (Read 17590 times)

Alex Magor

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2015, 05:12:37 pm »


I had a 6000 and didn't like it on my subs. I sold it and got a big QSC for them.


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Which subs and which qsc?
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2015, 06:54:51 pm »

 
 
Alex,
A linear system properly EQ'd will have equal frequency response across the spectrum at any given volume where the cabinets work efficiently. That response is not a matter of a single component, but rather the response of all components combined.

Starting with the board EQ. During the initial setup phase it will be best to bypass the board EQ, end of subject. The board EQ is used to tailor the specific channels sound to your needs.

Now comes the real trick, setting the major system components, the upper cabinets, subs and crossover. Regardless of the speaker type,  powered or passive, the crossover/DSP is and always will be the key to success. Start by turning off everything but the bandpass filters. No EQ, no, limiters, none of that shit. Work with the crossover points, the filter type, etc. using the manufacturers recommendations or presets, which once set will almost NEVER be changed. And while I'm at it, let's dispel some other myths. Very, very few subs are designed to replicate sound above 80-90hz. If you believe your system lacks punch, has no bass drum snap, etc., stop looking at the subs, because that sound should be coming from the low/mid range drivers, which to dispel another myth, will make a 15" driver a superior driver for use above an 18" sub. Once you have set the filter for the sub around 87hz (think JBL here) your next quest will be to set the filter(s) for the upper cabinets.

When setting the filters for the upper cabinets once again follow the manufacturers recommendations. Your upper cabinets will be supporting sound down to the point where the sub does not, so consider this. How good are your upper cabinets, in other words, how low do they go, and will they take the beating. Output is not an indication of long term capabilities, it is simply a statement of how loud the cabinet can become under IDEAL situations. An MRX may produce sound as loud as an SRX, but let's put them side by side for a night and see which cabinet is still alive after 4 hours of dub step.

To this point there has been no mention of EQ, limiters, etc., but that's because those are variables that you're not ready to address. The next step will be input levels, those that are controlled by the DSP (or on board amplifier). In most cases you'll be setting the input levels to the upper and lower cabinets using what? That's right, the manufacturers recommendations for the COMBINED cabinets. No such recommendations? Try setting the input level to the upper cabinets at -6db and the subs at 0db. That should get you into the ballpark.

Still not using any EQ it's time to determine if the upper and lower (sub) cabinets are getting along with each other. At this point you'll adjust the input levels of the UPPER cabinets. Too loud as compared to the subs? Lower the input level, and vice versa. I would doubt you have a SMAART system on hand so your options will be to sweep the cabinets using a signal generator and db meter, tune the levels by ear to your own taste, or find someone who can do this for you.

DO NOT adjust the crossover or cabinet levels using an EQ. That comes later.

Your next step will be amplifier sensitivity. That's an easy subject, and keep this in mind. Sensitivity is not used to produce more volume. It is an adjustment to be used in conjunction with the combined output of the board and dsp, the goal being a linear output. There should be no volume increases as components are added. In other words 0db from the board should equal 0db from the DSP with no gain at the second step of the signal path, the DSP.

So how do you set amplifier sensitivity? Easy, turn it all the way up and if you hear any hiss, back it off until the hiss is gone. Yea, I know, wicked old school, but that's the way to do it.

Now, if you have the crossover set properly, have the gain structure set, and the sensitivity set it's time to play with the EQ. That will be the SYSTEM EQ, the EQ that almost never changes, the EQ that is found on the DSP (or outboard EQ if analog). And did I say you could fuck with the board EQ? No I didn't so if you've turned it on, turn it off and leave it alone.

Find some good not compressed listening material and play the material through the system. Using the DSP EQ (or SMAART with pink sound) work the EQ slowly one band at a time until you find the best sounding response for the SYSTEM. There should be no gaps in sound, the low mids should be coming from the upper cabinets, and there should by this time be plenty of bass.

Take a rest, have a beer, let your ears rest, then go back and do it again. Forget about limiters, compressors, etc.. Set all that bullshit aside until the system response is correct. Once the system response is correct, the cabinets are working well together and you've found that the speakers you have can do much more than you thought you have my blessing and may now play with the board EQ to tailor the sound of the individual instrument or vocal. And remember, the DSP is the key to success.
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Dave Pluke

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2015, 11:08:13 pm »

That will be the SYSTEM EQ, the EQ that almost never changes, ...

Excellent tutorial, Bob!  Listen to the man, Alex.

My observations indicate that the higher quality (i.e. better designed) the SYSTEM is, the less adjusting the SYSTEM EQ needs.

Carry on,

Dave
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Rob Spence

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2015, 12:00:42 am »

Which subs and which qsc?

4 JTR Growlers
A QSC PL 6.0 II


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Alex Magor

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2015, 09:21:23 am »

Thanks Bob.  Ive been doing live sound for 8 years and studio mixing for 20 years so Im not a total beginner but I did learn a few things from your tutorial so thanks a lot for that.  I tried your method of eqing the system to some tracks but when I go back to playing live drums and keyboards I actually prefer the sound with the eq bypassed.  The tracks sound good but I may need a different method since I'm doing sound for live instruments vs. studio mixed records.  Or should this method work for live instruments and I am just failing at it?


 
Alex,
A linear system properly EQ'd will have equal frequency response across the spectrum at any given volume where the cabinets work efficiently. That response is not a matter of a single component, but rather the response of all components combined.

Starting with the board EQ. During the initial setup phase it will be best to bypass the board EQ, end of subject. The board EQ is used to tailor the specific channels sound to your needs.

Now comes the real trick, setting the major system components, the upper cabinets, subs and crossover. Regardless of the speaker type,  powered or passive, the crossover/DSP is and always will be the key to success. Start by turning off everything but the bandpass filters. No EQ, no, limiters, none of that shit. Work with the crossover points, the filter type, etc. using the manufacturers recommendations or presets, which once set will almost NEVER be changed. And while I'm at it, let's dispel some other myths. Very, very few subs are designed to replicate sound above 80-90hz. If you believe your system lacks punch, has no bass drum snap, etc., stop looking at the subs, because that sound should be coming from the low/mid range drivers, which to dispel another myth, will make a 15" driver a superior driver for use above an 18" sub. Once you have set the filter for the sub around 87hz (think JBL here) your next quest will be to set the filter(s) for the upper cabinets.

When setting the filters for the upper cabinets once again follow the manufacturers recommendations. Your upper cabinets will be supporting sound down to the point where the sub does not, so consider this. How good are your upper cabinets, in other words, how low do they go, and will they take the beating. Output is not an indication of long term capabilities, it is simply a statement of how loud the cabinet can become under IDEAL situations. An MRX may produce sound as loud as an SRX, but let's put them side by side for a night and see which cabinet is still alive after 4 hours of dub step.

To this point there has been no mention of EQ, limiters, etc., but that's because those are variables that you're not ready to address. The next step will be input levels, those that are controlled by the DSP (or on board amplifier). In most cases you'll be setting the input levels to the upper and lower cabinets using what? That's right, the manufacturers recommendations for the COMBINED cabinets. No such recommendations? Try setting the input level to the upper cabinets at -6db and the subs at 0db. That should get you into the ballpark.

Still not using any EQ it's time to determine if the upper and lower (sub) cabinets are getting along with each other. At this point you'll adjust the input levels of the UPPER cabinets. Too loud as compared to the subs? Lower the input level, and vice versa. I would doubt you have a SMAART system on hand so your options will be to sweep the cabinets using a signal generator and db meter, tune the levels by ear to your own taste, or find someone who can do this for you.

DO NOT adjust the crossover or cabinet levels using an EQ. That comes later.

Your next step will be amplifier sensitivity. That's an easy subject, and keep this in mind. Sensitivity is not used to produce more volume. It is an adjustment to be used in conjunction with the combined output of the board and dsp, the goal being a linear output. There should be no volume increases as components are added. In other words 0db from the board should equal 0db from the DSP with no gain at the second step of the signal path, the DSP.

So how do you set amplifier sensitivity? Easy, turn it all the way up and if you hear any hiss, back it off until the hiss is gone. Yea, I know, wicked old school, but that's the way to do it.

Now, if you have the crossover set properly, have the gain structure set, and the sensitivity set it's time to play with the EQ. That will be the SYSTEM EQ, the EQ that almost never changes, the EQ that is found on the DSP (or outboard EQ if analog). And did I say you could fuck with the board EQ? No I didn't so if you've turned it on, turn it off and leave it alone.

Find some good not compressed listening material and play the material through the system. Using the DSP EQ (or SMAART with pink sound) work the EQ slowly one band at a time until you find the best sounding response for the SYSTEM. There should be no gaps in sound, the low mids should be coming from the upper cabinets, and there should by this time be plenty of bass.

Take a rest, have a beer, let your ears rest, then go back and do it again. Forget about limiters, compressors, etc.. Set all that bullshit aside until the system response is correct. Once the system response is correct, the cabinets are working well together and you've found that the speakers you have can do much more than you thought you have my blessing and may now play with the board EQ to tailor the sound of the individual instrument or vocal. And remember, the DSP is the key to success.
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Alex Magor

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2015, 11:58:10 am »

So just an update on what I've tried so far:

Original setup - Driverack PA+, MRX 518, MRX 515, QSC PLX3602

1) Swapped Driverack PA+ for driverack venu360 = improvement in clarity and tightness in bass

2) Swapped PLX3602 for PL380 = improvement in bass response and clarity

3) swapped MRX518 for srx518 = improvement in clarity and tightness in bass response

4) swapped srx518 for MRX518 w/ 2242h speaker = biggest improvement in bass response HOWEVER the speaker doesn't fit perfectly in the cabinet so it was not securely fastened all the way down so above a certain volume you could hear a basketball like recoil of the speaker.  Ugh and I'm afraid to make the hole big enough to fit because I can't undo it if it doesn't solve the problem.  Which leaves me looking at a few options:

1) Stick with the SRX 718

2) STX818 (100 lbs. - don't think my partners will be happy about the 28lb. additional weight over our MRX cabs)

3) Take a gamble and make the hole 1/8" larger on the MRX 518 box to fit the 2242h

4) Evox RCF 12 pair - Heard these in store and sounded great but would have to deal with possible restock fees if I need to return them.

Any advice?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 12:15:57 pm by Alex Magor »
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Luke Geis

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #36 on: December 06, 2015, 05:45:11 pm »

Well if the 2242H is that big of an improvement over the stock speaker??????? It's just a box after all.....

However I am not a fan of hacking things. While the improvement may be noticed at the levels you were playing them, there is no way to really know how it will perform at full volume? I would imagine that you could get the old speaker back in without issue even after adjusting the hole size? Without knowing all the dimensions of the box myself or the exact thiele small parameters and technical info of the speaker, there is no real telling how well the cabinet and speaker will play together? There are calculators that you can use to help with that.

It's always nice to have a sleeper, but the STX818 comes with the 2242H speakers in it, which seems to be the speaker you want? 28lbs is not what matters if the sound is what your after. Or save the money all together and use the SRX718. It is not the loudest sub, but it gets pretty darn low. It is also not a bad sounding sub.

You seem to be all over the place with this honestly. You likely have listeners bias. Now I'm certain the better speakers sound better and that the better processor sounds better in this case, but the hunt for new mains is going to be tough without sticking to a goal. You want what? Loud and linear come at a price. One of my favorite speakers to work with is the Meyer UPJ-1P. It is small, very linear and gets reasonably loud for it's size. It is not light for a 10" speaker. It has a very sweet neutral sound and I love it. The UPJ-1P would be only just loud enough to do a rock band in a small venue and would walk all over the MRX  in clarity and purity of sound. It costs about $4k apiece and it doesn't include the stand adapter. So what is it you want??????????? I gave an extreme example of similar performing speakers ( they produce roughly the same specs ) so you can see the huge disparity in price vs performance ratio. If you can only afford to buy once, then you have to pick some parameters and a budget and stick to it.

The big issue is that going from the pro-sumer/entry level pro gear to the actual pro level stuff is HUGE...... The JBL SRX line is entry level pro and is more pro-sumer than that. The JBL VP series is pro level and for portable sound is as good as one can expect to get. The difference in price for like spec. speakers is THOUSANDS. The SRX is about $1,200 a speaker and the VP line about $5k per speaker! There is only one line between the SRX and the VP and that is the VRX which is not really a standard design. Most other brands have this same jump. The entry level pro stuff is affordable and the next step up costs THOUSANDS more.

I feel that most any speaker at the $1k - $1.5K point is as good as it is going to get until you have real money to play with. If you go and get every $1k speaker on the market that is similar in spec, they will all perform about the same. Yes they will each sound different, but none will sound bad. Now lets not confuse this with some of the newer dash array designs like the RCF EVOX, the Renkus Heinz Iconyx and Bose L1 ( Nady and Fender have a new line like these too ) as they have a different application and cost due to the driver count and multi box design. If you have a $2k per box budget your in for some headaches. There really isn't a box that is in that price point that blows away others sitting nearer the $1k mark. You can't get d&b Auditechnic, Meyer, L'Acoustics, Martin and other higher end designers with entry level money. RCF and EAW are the slight oddballs. They are pricier for the performance level you get, but do make very nice stuff.

My suggestion as well as others, is for you to get together a plan/goal report back and see what others say. This was my long way of saying I don't think the RCF EVOX is the speaker your looking for. While I'm certain is sounds great, it doesn't get very loud ( for rock band use anyway ) and it doesn't get any lower than a typical 15" 2 way speaker would. It is also expensive for the level of performance it has. There is not many passive speakers that I consider to be leaps and bounds above what you could get with a powered speaker these days, even if it costs twice as much. The sad thing is that most passive speakers at the pro level have grey boxes and or specific amps you have to use in order to get the stated level of performance.

It sounds as if your not looking for outright SPL and that overall quality is what your after? The MRX while a nice entry level MI grade box is certainly not a standard to measure against. If you want the best you can afford, you want powered boxes with FIR crossover tunings. For that there is only a few options, the JBL SRX-800 series, the EV ETX series and the Yamaha DSR series. All perform spec wise exactly the same, and all of them sound really good. If you get what you need with a speaker capable of only 130db, then these will be at idle most of the time. These options are all powered, loud, lightweight and multi purpose. Being that you work from the stage, the SRX may be a great option? Another suggestion is the new JBL EON series. It has ipad control and is great if your stuck on the stage. The EON is more affordable and of course EV, Yamaha, QSC and a few other manufacturers all have more affordable lines too.
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Mike Monte

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2015, 07:29:00 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!

My thoughts:
First of all, since you are primarily a "wedding band" you may be best to focus your gear on those particular gigs....since weddings are where the money is!  I would not go too big as far as FOH cabs are concerned.  A simple (or not) tri-amped rig (with one 12/1 or 12/2 OR 15/1 or 15/2) bi-amped box on a stand per side over one 15 or 18" sub per side is plenty for weddings in my experience.
 
I'm a passive racks'n stacks guy so I would recommend a http://yorkville.com/loudspeakers/tx/product/tx4/ or http://yorkville.com/loudspeakers/elite/product/e12/ or http://yorkville.com/loudspeakers/elite/product/e152/   over http://yorkville.com/loudspeakers/elite/product/ls808/ per side.

There are similar size/weight powered options out there as well.
   
Wedding bands in my area that gig at the mansions in Newport, RI and the usual banquet hall are using smaller rigs these years.  I've seen QSC K10's (one per side) over a powered QSC sub (one per side) on more than one occasion.
The last thing that you want to do is show up to a wedding reception and have a "religious experience" schlepping in your huge system only to use 1/3 to 1/2 of its capabilities all-while the function coordinator has a second eye on your group as you "look loud" to them.

I am also wondering why you adjust the EQ for each room that you play in....  Yes, it is probably a good idea but to be truthful if your band is gigging weekly you should know your PA by now thus your PA's EQ should be set for the most part IMO.

It has been my experience that most newer/inexperienced bands base their system's needs on "the most PA that they'll ever need" (outdoor/concert in the park performances) scenarios (and thus schlepp their huge rig everywhere) while the veteran bands go with what's needed for 80-90% (modest rig) of their gigs and rent a larger rig/or rig with soundguy for the occasional outdoor concert.

The above is my TCW.

Mike M   
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Alex Magor

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2015, 07:45:02 am »

Thanks for the suggestions but I think even 100lbs is pushing it for what we want to carry around for any single speaker and what makes sense to carry around for most gigs we do.  Ive heard a few people now disway me from a hack job so I'll take that option off the table.  So now Im down to this (upgrade prices are after selling current setup.  Weight is total weight added to load in):

Srx 715/718 x2 + QSC pl380 x2 = $3000 upgrade (+26lbs)

Stx 815/818 x2 + QSC pl380 x2 = $3400 upgrade (+88lbs)

Rcf evox 12 = $1,900 upgrade (-100lbs)
« Last Edit: December 07, 2015, 07:49:11 am by Alex Magor »
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Alex Magor

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Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #39 on: December 07, 2015, 01:16:11 pm »

So i just picked up the rcf evox 12 system and all I can say is im returning it immediately.  Its not even close.  So now im looking at either upgrading to the JBL SRX or STX series.  The prices are comparable so it will likely come down to weight vs. sound.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Help choosing crossover, amps, speakers for wedding band
« Reply #39 on: December 07, 2015, 01:16:11 pm »


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