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Author Topic: Looking to simplify - options for a modular SOS system that sounds fantastic  (Read 3920 times)

Corey Scogin

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This question comes up regularly with varying constraints so here's my go at it...

TLDR: What's your favorite portable powered system that rivals the SM80/TH118 combo?

Background: As someone who provides live sound as a side gig / hobby, I have been quite pleased running a Danley SM80/TH118 system for my "larger" :) events. It's an awesome system. However, more and more of my opportunities come in the form of smaller setups like acoustic duos, backyard shows, or small venues where hauling a trailer with an amp rack, heavy cables cases, speaker cases, etc. isn't ideal. Often the venues don't have rollable surface access or they require traversing stairs. A couple powered 12s in padded cases fit nicely in any vehicle, are easy to load in for these types of things, and can be used without subs.

I'd like to simplify my gear and land on a more modular one-size-fits-all-of-my-use-cases solution rather than keeping a separate small system.
I like the clean and detailed sound of the SM80/TH118.
I like the grab & go ability of my cheap powered 12s (ELX112P).
I'd like to find a system that is capable of both tiny events and can be coupled with subs to do at least nearly what the SM80/TH118 can do.

Criteria::
- Sounds roughly as good as the SM80
- Roughly as loud as the SM80 for the times I need something more (or scalable such that it is).
- Powered
- Pole mountable mains
- Tops go plenty low enough for an acoustic duo w/out subs (<70Hz?)
- Matching brand between tops & subs
- Budget is not unlimited. Something in the range of the mentioned Danley gear or less makes sense. I'll entertain any suggestions though.

Any of you have actual experience with the SM80/TH118 and powered systems you'd consider comparable to recommend for the scenario I describe?

I know Iím asking about a sideways or maybe a downward move. As a weekend warrior, this isnít about ROI. Itís about finding an arrangement that hits the sweet spot for me to get out and enjoy doing this more as I get older without fretting about load-in/out as much.

If what I'm asking for is a unicorn, I'll keep the Danley system. In that case, I'll take suggestions for your favorite powered 12" tops to be used standalone as my small rig to replace what I have.
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Mike Santarelli

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I have Sm80/th118xl so very similar. My powered system that is comparable is rcf tt2a and 9006 subs. 

The tt2a is a great speaker but has some weight to it. They do a great job stand alone. Spec wise the output of tt2a and Sm80 are stated to be the same but I can say with certainty that the sm80 can outrun the tt2a and then some. Both sound great but it will be tough to get the volume the sm80 provides in that price point.


I think youíd be well served with anything in the tt range from rcf or even nx.  It will basically be a sideways move but you will gain the ability to use the box without subs when needed.

Have you looked at any other Danley boxes that can be pole mounted and run stand alone? Sm96 perhaps.

I did a gig the other week with the tt2a th118xl and it was good sounding combo.

Iíd almost say to get something like an evox 12 or es1203 for the smaller stuff.  They are easy to setup and sound really good.  I know you donít want two systems but it may make the most sense and be the most cost effective.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2021, 05:02:50 pm by Mike Santarelli »
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MattLeonard

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I'm having exactly this question - have been thinking about an upgrade from SRX800's to Danley, but a lot of my gigs have all the challenges you described - and I'd love to be able to still setup the rig solo if I had to. I'm primarily outdoor gigs, so wide coverage from a single box is preferable.

At least in terms of tops - I've been wanting to hear (or hear more reviews of):

-db Ingenia IG4t (and the IG3t)
-Presonus CDL12p (not much lighter than the SM80 - but a powered box)
-Meyer UltraX40
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Caleb Dueck

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What's your favorite portable powered system that rivals the SM80/TH118 combo?

Besides the RCF TT+ models - also check out the Martin CDD Live 15.
For subwoofers - also check out Bassboss - VS21, ZV28, or for really small gigs the DJ18S. 
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Tim Weaver

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A decade and more ago I always wanted the Nexo PS10 rig for this reason. I'm sure it's way outdated now, but it was a great rig back then for scalability.

Also JBL's SRX738 was a(n old) box that I thought could do this reasonably well too. It's an 18"/8"/1.4" three way cabinet which was OK enough on it's own for any coffeeshop gig, but the secret sauce was that the Mid/Hi section was really efficient. In a block of four the 18's would couple enough to match the individual mid/hi sections pretty well. It was usable as a single, 2 splayed, or a 2x2 stack.
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Sean Anderson

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I do a simple outdoor church service with drums with just my RCF nx45a every so often and they work fantastic above 70hz. Coupled with a couple jtr 212p its a great small system. TT should be better yet, but much heavier. My nx32 don't quite have the impact of the nx45, but sound just as good and are still very loud and balanced speakers. They are at a great weight/size to output ratio and make fantastic monitors in a larger system.

I think a direct replacement with more lows might be either a used set of jtr 3tx or a new set of the 212tx. That would get you a similar output to the sm80.
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Rick Powell

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I have the SM80/TH 118 combo too. My vote for a hi-quality powered portable system just underneath the current combo's capabilities would be for a Yamaha DZR 112 and a JTR powered Captivator 212 per side, you'd get a lot of mileage out of it even though it wouldn't really be "modular". The DZR series acts better as a stand alone than the previous DSR series due to its deeper low end capabilities. I guess you could bring out the TH118 if you needed more bass oomph, or have a spare set of Captivator 212s to double up your low end when needed, but then you'd be somewhere near where you are already at.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 12:11:14 am by Rick Powell »
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Helge A Bentsen

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Meyer Ultra-X40.
Sounds absolutely fantastic and can get LOUD if needed.
750-LFC if you want a supercompact sub.
900-LFC if you want a compact sub with more low extension and  SPL.

 
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Phil Hatton

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Another vote for the RCF TT series. I run the older tt22aís with a TTs15 sub. The tops are cumbersome but Iím sure the mk2 versions are lighter. Iíve also just picked up the tt10a and they a great sounding small boxes that produce plenty of volume and sound great when pushed. The sub is a one man lift but not a comfortable one, however a wheel board would sort that out and the sub is fantastic, incredibly musical and controlled.
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Brian Bolly

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Meyer Ultra-X40.
Sounds absolutely fantastic and can get LOUD if needed.
750-LFC if you want a supercompact sub.
900-LFC if you want a compact sub with more low extension and  SPL.

^^^ This.  The X40/750 is about a 1:1 linear system.  If you're looking for the LF rise, the 900-LFC is the ticket.

For even smaller, the Ultra-X20 will get slightly louder than the older UPJ-1P and is slightly smaller than the older UPJunior.  Paired with the 750-LFC sub, it gives you the +4 to +6 dB  LF rise and will get impressively loud for a really tiny PA.  It almost defies the visual.  For reference, we have this exact PA in 3x 24x24x30 cube cases of identical size - 1 sub in each, and 2 Ultra-X22 + hardware in the 3rd. 

For true "coffee house" sized gigs, we have the USW-112P to fill out the last octave below the X22 - a sub that's 45 lbs.
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