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Lightweight Rock & Roll subwoofer, what have I overlooked?

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Jeremy Young:
Hey folks,

I'll try to keep this brief (ha).  Hoping I've overlooked something obvious in my search or looking for some real-world feedback from any users of the cabs I'm considering. 

Single-person sound-co operator, primarily dealing with live bands (no EDM/DJ etc).  Been building up my personal inventory over the last 6 years and getting close to full-time launch.  "Buy-Once, Cry-Once" has treated me well with my personal inventory so far, and because of my location I don't get the opportunity to demo a lot of gear before I buy, so these forums have been incredible and I trust the contributors.  My investment money comes from my dayjob which is quite fruitful, but the more I spend on gear before launching, the longer I have to put off the launch.  Also have a wedding to pay for next year...

I've broken my inventory into two systems: 
A - DSL SM80's over JTR Orbit Shifters, iLive idr16/R72/Dante (outdoor small festivals, indoor concerts)
B - EV ZXA5's over EAW FR250z (x1), iLive idr32/T112/Dante (weddings, small indoor concerts, talking heads)

I'm very happy with Rig A, and it rolls into place nicely with my ramps and pre-rigged racks.  Sounds great, very efficient.  Info provided just for consideration into the big plan.  This thread is about my long term plans for Rig B.  Whatever I choose, it would be nice if it could serve as side-fill or drum monitors with the larger rig(s).  It's mostly just me mixing but occasionally there is a guest BE.  Rigs are never used at the same time since there's only one of me.

With Rig B, I'm finding myself facing stairs at load-in more often than not and I don't yet have the clout to turn away these gigs.  I could hire a helper, but then I need to rely on them and I don't have the work to offer them enough to be reliable in my opinion. 

The ZXA5's were one of the first things in my inventory, and I "like" them but don't "love" them, but my clients for that rig think they sound wonderful and I own them already so.... not looking to change those at this time, need a little more ROI on them before I upgrade those.  I mention this because although I like "matched" systems, the EV's may not be in the future for this rig and EV never made a real subwoofer in the ZX series anyway.

However, the single 2x15" subwoofer (at 125lbs plus casters) is a bit much for me and a dolly at the end of the night and I'd love something under (or around) 100 lbs that I could walk up some stairs.  It rolls in nicely, but if I can roll in I'd rather bring the Orbit Shifters. 

Trouble is, the EAW is fairly efficient for a BR (101dB/1w/1m), has near-enough output (137 peak) for what it cost me and gives me enough near 40hz (-3 @ 40, -10 @ 33) to keep me happy.  Its not the best sounding subwoofer (in an A/B against my Orbit Shifters the SQ difference is laughable), so I've been wanting to move onto something else from a sound quality perspective anyway, but I'd like to improve portability at the same time without blowing a bunch of money for a "sideways" step in terms of sound quality.  I've made good ROI on that sub, so I'm happy to move onto something else as long as it fits the "grand plan".  I'm a bit of a bass addict so I find myself near clip at most of these events on the single sub already, so not really wanting to trade much on output unless the solution is scalable with multiples.  I would consider 2-4 cabinets for this application.

I've definitely drank the Danley kool-aid when it comes to tops, and my long-term plan is to add a larger Danley rig to my inventory once the work is there to support it, so keeping all-Danley for this purchase makes some business/branding/support sense. 

Also related, I'm planning on picking up a DNA SC48 processor this year for Rig A to give me better limiting and remote networking plus a few more DSP input paths for aux-subs and fills, so having factory presets for Danley boxes close-at-hand would tend to push me that direction for Rig B. 

The obvious DSL choices are the THmini and new THmini15.  The downside to those cabs is the lack of extension on paper below 50hz but that may or may not matter to the intended clients.  It would brand-match, and would probably sound pretty good with the SM80's overtop too (for high-SQ small-crowd type shows).  Any users of those boxes out in the wild with feedback on the extension with live bands?  From what I understand, extension in the LF corner in multiple tapped horn deployments doesn't extend the way conventional horns do.

I've been quite happy with the Orbit Shifters (build quality, sound quality, tremendous output/$ ratio), so the other obvious option is the 67lb 2x12" JTR Captivator 212Pro.  I have a couple spare Crest Pro-Lite 3.0 amps (500w@8r/1,000w@4r, bridgeable) not doing anything, and an EV DC-One processor I can use for this though, so passive is a very real option and might better fit future plans once I have another processor or I can just use the DNA for everything and keep the DC-one as a backup.  The lack of any factory presets for JTR stuff and potentially low resale value (lack of brand awareness outside these forums) make me cautious, otherwise the C212Pro sure seems to check a lot of boxes.  According to the info on data-bass, those amps would make a good match to those subs.

I'm leaning a little more towards passive for subs, I deal with enough spilled drinks on my sub already on these small gigs that the last thing I need is wine running into the DSP controls or breaking off an encoder from an excited audience member.  I'd prefer remote amps/DSP, and bonus points if I can access those settings over ethernet and monitor the levels when someone else is at the wheel, which I could do with the DNA processor and existing amplifier inventory, but some new powered subs are offering that right out of the box.

Other contenders:
EV ETX18SP - brand match the current tops, specs meet my spl/extension needs, but not much lighter than what I currently use.
EV QRX118S - brand match the current tops, light enough to be considered, but limited response below 50hz.
Yamaha DXS18XLF - powered, Dante option, but still over 100 lbs.  Doesn't fit much of my other inventory.
QSC KW181 - From what I've heard online wouldn't be much of an SQ upgrade, but 83lbs is attractive.  Doesn't fit much of my other inventory.
JBL SRX818SP - I've never been let down by JBL subs before, light enough, but doesn't fit much of my other inventory.  Benefit is the remote networking.

What's missing from this list?  RCF, VUE, EAW have anything to compete?

Most of the folks I've seen operating locally in this sort of scale are using JBL or Yorkville subs but not many of them will cross-rent. 

So, I realize my quest is looking to defy physics with something that is small, lightweight, loud, and deep.  I should be picking two, but I'm willing to compromise extension or output, but not both.  JTR Growlers come to mind, because they are light enough by themselves and can be stacked up to gain extension and output but they don't come up used very often and when they do the distance/shipping makes it less attractive.  Also buying used Subs without being able to audition them first comes with its own risks.

Danley TH118 comes to mind as something that's a little smaller/lighter than my Orbit Shifters and would check a lot of boxes, but I don't know as I'd be able to haul 160 lbs up stairs any easier than the 4-wheeled EAW I have now on a dolly.  Then the question of, what if I like it better than the Orbit Shifters?  Then my GAS gets more fuel for the fire I suppose.  I've also considered just buying a plane ticket to GA to visit Danley HQ and audition some stuff in person, but without my rig to compare it to I might leave wanting one of everything, lol.  The TH118 would make more sense if I didn't already own the Orbit Shifters but doesn't really fix the weight issue.

Did I mention efficiency is important?  I'm usually limited to a single 15-20A circuit for the rig, some LED wash lights, stage power and monitors at these gigs.

Thanks for reading all of this.  Someone else out there must be schlepping subs up flights of stairs for bands?

Mike Christy:
I'd K.I.S.S if I'da do it again, buy the complimentary sub that goes with the tops, the ZXA1 sub. If you dont need the Shifters for those applications, dont get another Shifter-like sub (TH115/8). Have a true A rig and true B rig. Or if you want more performance in that size, look at the RCF offerings, but higher price, you get what you pay for. Bottom line, dont invest in a second rig that is almost what you have now. Stay powered for the B rig, no sense in rolling in a rack when you dont have to. Just my thoughts...

Lou Kohley:
I personally love the 118 specifically because it's so easy to move. Even dragging it up stairs is not an impossible task.

I have the exact rig you are talking about SM80/TH118, DSL SC48 processor into Crest Pro Lite amps. I find it very easy to get in and out of most every venue. I used to work with a wedding band around the Tahoe area. They was always an older building that had to go up the steps or something. After I started using the Danley system I found I was less tired from moving everything in and out and could keep working by myself. Helpers are nice but sometimes I couldn't find one available.

Do you ever come down to the US? My rig is kind of hanging around currently as I recently moved to Olympia WA and don't have a client base here yet. Perhaps you would want to check them out and see if they would work for you.


Ivan Beaver:
Just something to consider.

If the output spl is high enough, a lightweight sub will walk around on the floor.

They need to have enough weight to keep them solid.

Some of the ones mentioned will walk around, even though they are "pretty heavy".

But that is because they have greater output

Mike Pyle:
I haven't had a chance to listen to them yet, but the specs on the Yamaha DXS15XLF (89 lbs) and passive CXS15XLF (79 lbs) might make them worth considering.


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