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Author Topic: Anyone still using power amps with passive speakers, analog mixers....  (Read 5289 times)

Bob Stone

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Re: Anyone still using power amps with passive speakers, analog mixers....
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2019, 04:23:42 pm »

Something to consider for active speakers: If your active speakers require the amplifier to provide processing and crossover, then if you have a failure of one amp in a cabinet, then that cabinet is out of commission until you get the replacement part for that specific amplifier, unless you happen to carry that exact spare part, and if you don't have a backup cabinet or amp then you have to make sacrifices. If you have a failure of a power amp (with built-in DSP since that's common nowadays) in a rack, then you can just power it down, bring up a spare amp, copy over the processor settings (if you don't just load your library of tunings for all speakers in inventory into each amp in preparation for this eventuality), and power back up, and the show keeps going.

Conversely, with powered boxes if you lose a single box you probably still have sound out of another box rather than silence. If you lose a single amp, in a lot of smaller systems, you'd lose all your tops or all your subs or similar since in passive systems an amp usually runs multiple speakers. It's also just as easy (if not easier) to carry a spare powered box than it is to carry a spare amp and the process to swap it out is easier.
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Jeff Bankston

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Re: Anyone still using power amps with passive speakers, analog mixers....
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2019, 04:29:28 pm »

All analog.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Anyone still using power amps with passive speakers, analog mixers....
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2019, 06:59:11 pm »

Iím yet another owner/user of both, and none of my speakers are particularly new.  I have a selection of QSC HPR boxes (active) that typically see use on smaller jobs, and a Yorkville Unity system (4-6 tops over 6 subs, all passive) for use on larger jobs.  Pros and cons to each as already mentioned.

In terms of mixers, I own both a small analog board (Mackie 1402vlz3) and a higher end digital solution (A&H dLive S Class).  Both have their place as well. 

To address the original post, going digital with your mixer will give you access to many tools that you wonít find in an analog board, at least without extensive outboard gear.  Iíve benefited quite nicely from this on my jobs.  Swapping out speakers just to have the latest and greatest isnít going to benefit you any, unless this is specifically what your clients are asking for...and are willing to pay for.  Hope this helps!
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Anyone still using power amps with passive speakers, analog mixers....
« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2019, 08:03:03 pm »

Conversely, with powered boxes if you lose a single box you probably still have sound out of another box rather than silence. If you lose a single amp, in a lot of smaller systems, you'd lose all your tops or all your subs or similar since in passive systems an amp usually runs multiple speakers. It's also just as easy (if not easier) to carry a spare powered box than it is to carry a spare amp and the process to swap it out is easier.

Yes, maybe, maybe.

I carry a spare amp in a Gator rack bag, no big deal, had to use as a spare twice in the last about 20 years.
Sometimes I use to run some fill speakers, ect.

My system is 90% passive.

Caleb Dueck

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Re: Anyone still using power amps with passive speakers, analog mixers....
« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2019, 09:56:15 pm »

While I can go along with digital consoles and DSP being newer and better overall than analog consoles and crossovers/EQ - I can't go along with passive speakers/subs being outdated vs self-powered.  Rather as a rough rule of thumb - self powered are sometimes better for small systems and passive/separate amps better for everything else.  How many large systems are self-powered?  Other than one brand, hardly any.  How many installed systems are self-powered? Nearly none. 

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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Anyone still using power amps with passive speakers, analog mixers....
« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2019, 02:45:58 am »

While I can go along with digital consoles and DSP being newer and better overall than analog consoles and crossovers/EQ - I can't go along with passive speakers/subs being outdated vs self-powered.  Rather as a rough rule of thumb - self powered are sometimes better for small systems and passive/separate amps better for everything else.  How many large systems are self-powered?  Other than one brand, hardly any.  How many installed systems are self-powered? Nearly none.

It depends on the processing of course.   Discrete processors that are part of a system work much better than system cobbled together.  This is coming from an old cobbler. 

Our FBT 210 line array elements are self powered.  The RCF and db Tech are too.  You already mentioned Meyer.  JBL has power modules for Vertec.  I am sure there are many other tour grade powered systems. 

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Steve M Smith

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Re: Anyone still using power amps with passive speakers, analog mixers....
« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2019, 03:22:14 am »

For my personal equipment, I have moved over to active as I was fed up with my heavy QSC amplifiers.
However, one of the companies I sometimes work for has some very light Lab Gruppen amps which I'm convinced are lighter than the flight case they are in.  In that case, separate amps makes sense - especially for the simpler cable runs for monitors.
I think that in an ideal world, I would have the same for monitors with active FOH.


Steve
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Russell Ault

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Re: Anyone still using power amps with passive speakers, analog mixers....
« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2019, 04:21:12 am »

Our FBT 210 line array elements are self powered.  The RCF and db Tech are too.  You already mentioned Meyer.  JBL has power modules for Vertec.  I am sure there are many other tour grade powered systems.

L-Acoustics used to be all passive for their vertical array boxes, but I believe K1/K2 and Kara are all active. d&b and Clair are the real large-format passive champions I can think of, although I'm pretty sure even Clair goes active as the boxes get smaller (or for subwoofers).

Precisely.  Use the right tool for the right job.

Maybe I haven't been doing this for long enough, but when exactly (outside of a very specific rider) is an analogue console specifically the right tool for the job? I can't remember the last time I touched an analogue console and didn't curse under my breath for want of a sweepable HPF, proper parametric EQs, and some compressors.

-Russ
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Dave Guilford

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Re: Anyone still using power amps with passive speakers, analog mixers....
« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2019, 08:43:09 am »

Something to consider for active speakers: If your active speakers require the amplifier to provide processing and crossover, then if you have a failure of one amp in a cabinet, then that cabinet is out of commission until you get the replacement part for that specific amplifier, unless you happen to carry that exact spare part, and if you don't have a backup cabinet or amp then you have to make sacrifices. If you have a failure of a power amp (with built-in DSP since that's common nowadays) in a rack, then you can just power it down, bring up a spare amp, copy over the processor settings (if you don't just load your library of tunings for all speakers in inventory into each amp in preparation for this eventuality), and power back up, and the show keeps going. If your processing is separate then it's even easier to replace one amp with another one (though the single processor adds a single point of failure that also has to be provided for) - just re-patch and go.

This is a weak argument that Iíve heard for years.  If you lose an amp at all (in the speaker or out) - youíre out of luck. 

Basically your argument is:
powered speaker amp died? Better have a spare.
Standalone amp died? Better have a spare.

I donít see how one is more beneficial than the other.
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Bob Faulkner

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Re: Anyone still using power amps with passive speakers, analog mixers....
« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2019, 09:04:48 am »

This is a weak argument that Iíve heard for years.  If you lose an amp at all (in the speaker or out) - youíre out of luck. 

Basically your argument is:
powered speaker amp died? Better have a spare.
Standalone amp died? Better have a spare.

I donít see how one is more beneficial than the other.
Having only lost two QSC amplifiers in the many years....

When a stand-alone amp dies, you use a backup amplifier (probably in the same rack) and your back in business.  The backup amplifier is only taking a 2U spot in the rack.

When a powered-speaker amplifier dies, you lose the speaker as well.  Unless you are carrying spare amplifiers specifically for that speaker (and can do a field swap of it) and/or you are carrying around powered-speakers (which can take some real-estate), you will be down a speaker.

I use powered speakers for mid/high.  I do carry around another set of powered speakers just in case...
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Re: Anyone still using power amps with passive speakers, analog mixers....
¬ę Reply #29 on: August 28, 2019, 09:04:48 am ¬Ľ


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