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Author Topic: PA Growth Strategy for a Rock Band  (Read 21013 times)

BrianHenry

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PA Growth Strategy for a Rock Band
« on: March 27, 2017, 05:22:13 pm »

Hi All:

I am in a 3-piece hard rock band that routinely plays small and medium size bars/rooms and occasionally an outdoor party (up to 200 people). We carry our own PA which is currently a pair of K12s on stands fed from an A&H Mixwizard.

Instruments are vocals, guitar, bass and drums. Currently, indoors, the PA is only carrying vocals, kick and toms, although guitar/bass are also miced for monitoring (drums/vox and bass/vox use IEMs, guitar uses a wedge). For outdoors, coming up this summer, I would like the PA to be able to reinforce guitars/bass as well. FYI, the guitarist's wedge is oversized and low-quality and will eventually be replaced, but this is secondary to the PA. Guitarist and bass do not use enormous amplifiers.

I am trying to plan an upgrade strategy. We are willing to spend for good equipment and I have been looking at QSC and JBL SRX800 offerings. I am looking for some advice on:

1) what is our weakest point / what to do next. Gut feeling is subs and I dont know if I should stick with QSC and use KW181s or if I should move to the SRX line.
2) if tops should eventually be upgraded to SRX or KW152/153 (pushing the K12 to monitors or side fill duty when needed) or if we should just double up on K12s for larger/outdoor gigs.
3) Could it be we don't need anything?

Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks!
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Rob Dellwood

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Re: PA Growth Strategy for a Rock Band
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2017, 05:50:39 pm »

Hi All:

I am in a 3-piece hard rock band that routinely plays small and medium size bars/rooms and occasionally an outdoor party (up to 200 people). We carry our own PA which is currently a pair of K12s on stands fed from an A&H Mixwizard.

Instruments are vocals, guitar, bass and drums. Currently, indoors, the PA is only carrying vocals, kick and toms, although guitar/bass are also miced for monitoring (drums/vox and bass/vox use IEMs, guitar uses a wedge). For outdoors, coming up this summer, I would like the PA to be able to reinforce guitars/bass as well. FYI, the guitarist's wedge is oversized and low-quality and will eventually be replaced, but this is secondary to the PA. Guitarist and bass do not use enormous amplifiers.

I am trying to plan an upgrade strategy. We are willing to spend for good equipment and I have been looking at QSC and JBL SRX800 offerings. I am looking for some advice on:

1) what is our weakest point / what to do next. Gut feeling is subs and I dont know if I should stick with QSC and use KW181s or if I should move to the SRX line.
2) if tops should eventually be upgraded to SRX or KW152/153 (pushing the K12 to monitors or side fill duty when needed) or if we should just double up on K12s for larger/outdoor gigs.
3) Could it be we don't need anything?

Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks!

I work with a band who made a similar move. They originally had two QSC KW181 subs under two QSC K12 tops. I mixed them for an outdoor show once and the 12" tops just weren't up to the job. The KW181 are great subs IMO, and would be fine for what you are discussing. At a minimum, if you stick with QSC, you would want to go with the 15" KW152 tops. The band I work with went with the QSC KW153 3-way tops over the subs and that can handle most all the  indoor/outdoor shows they play. The 3-ways may be a tad overkill for your needs.  The JBL PRX or SRX800 are also fine speakers.

Adding subs and bigger tops will greatly improve your sound and give you the ability to play most any of the types of shows you describe. You'll be able to hear and feel the kick drum and bass guitar, and get the vocals out there in any setting.

If you have the funds, it would be a really nice upgrade that should meet your long-term needs nicely! 

-Rob

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Nathan Riddle

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Re: PA Growth Strategy for a Rock Band
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2017, 05:55:24 pm »

Hi All:

I am in a 3-piece hard rock band that routinely plays small and medium size bars/rooms and occasionally an outdoor party (up to 200 people). We carry our own PA which is currently a pair of K12s on stands fed from an A&H Mixwizard.

Instruments are vocals, guitar, bass and drums. Currently, indoors, the PA is only carrying vocals, kick and toms, although guitar/bass are also miced for monitoring (drums/vox and bass/vox use IEMs, guitar uses a wedge). For outdoors, coming up this summer, I would like the PA to be able to reinforce guitars/bass as well. FYI, the guitarist's wedge is oversized and low-quality and will eventually be replaced, but this is secondary to the PA. Guitarist and bass do not use enormous amplifiers.

I am trying to plan an upgrade strategy. We are willing to spend for good equipment and I have been looking at QSC and JBL SRX800 offerings. I am looking for some advice on:

1) what is our weakest point / what to do next. Gut feeling is subs and I dont know if I should stick with QSC and use KW181s or if I should move to the SRX line.
2) if tops should eventually be upgraded to SRX or KW152/153 (pushing the K12 to monitors or side fill duty when needed) or if we should just double up on K12s for larger/outdoor gigs.
3) Could it be we don't need anything?

Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks!

Welcome!

Hard Rock = Loud + drums'n'bass IMO

Loud + drums'n'bass = subs + clean mains at loud SPL

I think Debbie should voice her thoughts as she has more experience than I. But off the cuff, I'm going to say Move towards getting SRX8xx series.

Get subs first, then get mains.

Reason is subs will allow your entire system to sound more full at the start (yes you can mix & match brands just fine) then when you get mains the SRX series mains will easily sound better than the K12's at loud volumes.

Depending on what you do most, the 828 will run cheaper than 2x 818 but wont be as portable. Choose between those two. You might not even need the 828/2x818's for the crowd size. You might just want the 1x 818; but I don't think so given hard rock = loud ;)

Then I'd get the 2x 812 for mains.

Boom you've gotten a great easy to setup system for fairly cheap.
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Rick Powell

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Re: PA Growth Strategy for a Rock Band
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2017, 06:04:54 pm »

I once did a show to a raceway grandstand with a 3 piece band, using only a pair of cheap Behringer 15" powered tops and Mackie powered subs. It "worked" but it must have been like listening to a boom box at 100 feet.

The K12 is an OK speaker but there are better ones to be had for what you are trying to achieve. One thing you could consider is putting the K12s on monitor duty and replacing your whole front PA. I agree that subs will greatly improve the punch of drums and bass instruments, especially outdoors, and better tops will improve the range and intelligibility of your vocals. The QSC KW series and JBL SRX800p series are good candidates for an upgrade, should you choose to pursue it. The Yamaha DSR 112 also gets a lot of high marks around here, which would pair well with the Yamaha DSX18 if you're trying to keep consistent in the brand in your mains.

I also agree with the advice above that 2- 18s a side of subs of this quality will give you noticeably more oomph than a single 18 per side, especially outside. 
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 06:10:41 pm by Rick Powell »
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Bob Faulkner

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Re: PA Growth Strategy for a Rock Band
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2017, 06:34:22 pm »

Hi All:

I am in a 3-piece hard rock band that routinely plays small and medium size bars/rooms and occasionally an outdoor party (up to 200 people). We carry our own PA which is currently a pair of K12s on stands fed from an A&H Mixwizard.

Instruments are vocals, guitar, bass and drums. Currently, indoors, the PA is only carrying vocals, kick and toms, although guitar/bass are also miced for monitoring (drums/vox and bass/vox use IEMs, guitar uses a wedge). For outdoors, coming up this summer, I would like the PA to be able to reinforce guitars/bass as well. FYI, the guitarist's wedge is oversized and low-quality and will eventually be replaced, but this is secondary to the PA. Guitarist and bass do not use enormous amplifiers.

I am trying to plan an upgrade strategy. We are willing to spend for good equipment and I have been looking at QSC and JBL SRX800 offerings. I am looking for some advice on:

1) what is our weakest point / what to do next. Gut feeling is subs and I dont know if I should stick with QSC and use KW181s or if I should move to the SRX line.
2) if tops should eventually be upgraded to SRX or KW152/153 (pushing the K12 to monitors or side fill duty when needed) or if we should just double up on K12s for larger/outdoor gigs.
3) Could it be we don't need anything?

Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks!

You will need good subs for outdoor events.  Figure about 3x the amount of power for outdoor use, as you would use for indoors.  Drums are loud, but they will get lost in the stage volume in outdoor shows.  As mentioned previously, consider the JBL SRX line for your subs.  For tops, don't waste your money doubling up on the K12's.  Those are great speakers, but not really designed to be used in a "cluster" or "group", unless you need coverage more than greater output.  Look at the Yamaha DSR line.  We use the DSR15 for smaller outdoor events; they are great and sound "full".

You may want to consider used speakers if your budget is limited.
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BrianHenry

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Re: PA Growth Strategy for a Rock Band
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 06:36:48 pm »

Thanks for the replies so far. I am not determined to stick with a single brand, but I do want to move toward the best gear for our needs in a stepwise fashion. If that means pairing SRX subs with the K12 for a while, that is not a problem for me. Sounds like investing in subs is the first step.

I'm a little confused about the above in that one mentioned 2 x single 18" and another 2x double 18". Is 2 x single 18" adequate indoors but inadequate outdoors?

I love the idea of the 828 from a cost/performance standpoint, but they are massive! Would a single 828 even work in a bar setting and, if so, center or off-center placement?

Moving the K12 to monitors in the long run was my thought as well. But would KW15x or SRX8xx be overkill indoors?

I will take a look at the Yamaha offerings too. I am less familiar with their line.

Re: used, I will likely consider that. QSC has a great warranty but does it transfer with a used sale? How is JBL with warranty service?

Also, I know no one has mentioned it yet, but thought I should mention I would like to stick with powered boxes.

Thanks!


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Dave Bednarski

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Re: PA Growth Strategy for a Rock Band
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2017, 07:17:57 pm »

But would KW15x or SRX8xx be overkill indoors?

Not at all.  I get a lot of mileage out of 4 KW181s and 2 KW153s.  I leave the 181s stacked and strapped, roll in/out, small rooms I power just one per side.  The 153s sit on top.  Small footprint, roll in/roll out; custom undercover NY soft cases for the stacked subs.
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Derek Neu

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Re: PA Growth Strategy for a Rock Band
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2017, 07:38:59 pm »

I run 2 kw181, 2 yorkville ls700p (when more sub is needed), 2 kw153, 6 k12 for monitors.  I have used a few of the srx8xx line, and the yammy dxr.

Here is my take:
--The kw181 sub is the best in it's class IMO. srx828p is too big, but sounds good.  I need quick load in and load out, and I need to be able to unload by myself when I get home.  828 was out for me.

--dxr/dsr go a little louder tan the qsc k12, but I only use those for monitors, so that didnt matter to me.

--The srx tops sound a little better maxed out than the kw's, a bit "warmer" if you will.  Being that I went with the 153's, I wanted to match the subs as I rarely run them wide open anyway, and the difference is slight.

--If looking to use multiple tops, out of qsc, jbl and qsc, the kw152 would be your best bet as they have a 60 degree horizontal dispersion so you can couple them.  The other choices are 75 degree or more, so when you put them next to each other you run into comb filtering, sometimes severe comb filtering.  There are other options such as rcf etc, but those arent readily available in my area so I have never heard or tried them, but they recieve solid marks from others I trust.

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Gordon Brinton

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Re: PA Growth Strategy for a Rock Band
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2017, 08:28:10 pm »

2 single 18 subs should be adequate for most average size bars. I frequently use two for rock bands. Depending on the configuration of the room, I sometimes cluster them together and sometimes not. But think of coverage more in terms of room size than number of people. It takes more subs to fill a larger room with sound. I wouldn't attempt to do a large room or a large outdoor area with less than 4 single 18's (or 2 double 18's). If your outdoor gigs are few and far between, you could always rent a few extra subs just for those shows.

As far as top boxes, four won't get much louder than 2. Unlike subs, clustering tops usually causes more problems than it solves. You can only gain a coverage (dispersion) advantage when pointing them all in different directions. In order to get the mains louder, you quite simply need boxes that can go much louder. Unfortunately, that usually requires a higher-end product.
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Scott Bolt

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Re: PA Growth Strategy for a Rock Band
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2017, 08:30:21 pm »

IMO, you need to approach this in stages .... unless you have a big budget right now.

First, there is nothing terribly wrong with a pair of K12's.

Stage one:

SUBS!!!  First and foremost, get a pair of KW181's.  They have great output, and will let you get WAY more output from your K12's.  Keep this in mind.  Getting subs is going to WAY more than double your volume output you are capable of today from just your tops.  Cutting out the lows from the K12's will let them do what they do well and handle the mids and highs.  This is the single biggest thing you should do.  All other moves from here are going to feel small in comparison.

Stage 2:  Get better tops.

Note, this isn't going to feel "night and day" like stage one did, but it will be a "noticeable" improvement.  Just getting better tops isn't necessarily going to give you more output though.  IMO, a single K12 may hang well with a single KW181.  Replacing the K12 with either a DSR112 or an SRX812p will sound "better", and might give you a boost in your low mids (punch), and it might give you a little better vocal clarity.  As I stated in the beginning of this paragraph, this isn't going to be a night and day upgrade, but rather an incremental update ..... and here is why.

Having only a pair of subs, either a DSR112 or an SRX812p will out-run a single KW181.  In order to get significantly more volume, you will need to go to stage 3..... MORE SUBS.

Stage 3:  Even MORE subs.

At this point, you will be using your K12's for monitor duty and your mains will be able to handle another pair of subs before they run out of gas.  Get another pair of KW181's.  Here is why...

Having 4 KW181's is a very flexible system.  Honestly, for MOST bars, a pair of DSR112's over a pair of KW181's is going to be more (much more in some cases) than you need to fill the room.  I have a similar rig and I have only had one inside room (about 110 ft x 130 ft) where I was tickling the limiters with my rig..... and the dance floor was really pumping.

When you play a larger club, or outdoors, you could likely cover 200 people outside with that system in most cases.  If you are playing an outside venue where you would need more than this system, it is VERY likely that the venue would be providing the sound system that would be professionally installed by a local sound company for such a gig.
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Re: PA Growth Strategy for a Rock Band
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2017, 08:30:21 pm »


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