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Change my current system?

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Richard Penrose:

My current system consists of the following

Yamaha DXR15 x2
QSC KW181 x2
FBT X-Lite 12a x2
Alto TS210a x3
Allen & Heath QU-PAC
Allen & Heath Zed10fx

Iíve found this to be a great value system that has covered all my requirements extremely well.

- The Alto TS210ís get used several times a week and function as instrument amps, wedge monitors and FOH for small acoustic gigs and wedding speeches etc. These are great little utility speakers that are very small, lightweight, surprisingly full range for their size and have a useful 2-channel mixer built in. They also have a mirrored wedge monitor angle on both sides which is great for singers who require dual monitors. My only real issue with these is the cabinet is poor quality and marks extremely easily!

- The FBT X-Lite 12aís get used for FOH for bigger acoustic gigs or as wedge monitors for drummers and bass players. These have decent output and very good bass extension for a 12Ē. However, these have poor wedge monitor angles that arenít very stable. The speakers need to be propped up with a spare di box to get a decent angle. Also, they have higher self noise than my other speakers.

- The DXR15ís cover FOH for my biggest gigs. These go loud and have extremely impressive bass extension. I often use these without subs as they handle bass guitar and kick drum very impressively for a stand mounted speaker!! Iíve actually used these at a fantastic sounding amphitheater where the load in was to tricky to get the subs in. I had full band running through these including fully miked drums and the DXR15ís totally blew me away! They have decent clarity and stay pretty clean even when being driven at high spl. However, Iím finding these pretty big and heavy to lug around and mount onto tripods. Ideally I would love something at least as good but lighter.

- The KW181ís come out for the biggest gigs where Iím doing sound for 200+ usually (but venue dependent). However, until 9 months ago, I hadnít used these for 18 months but they came out of retirement recently for a few drive in events due to COVID. It also looks like I may need to use subs for similar events at least for the near future.

My DXR15ís are around 10 years old now and whilst they have been 100% reliable being used several times a week during that time, they are starting to look a little tatty and Iím thinking itís time to replace them. Iím very interested in replacing both the DXR15ís and KW181ís for a smaller lightweight system that can match their output, depth of bass and audio quality but it looks like these would be way out of my budget and unjustifiable. I have been looking at cheaper alternatives and one system that gets very positive reviews is the FBT VN2000 which is very small and lightweight and only uses a 12Ē sub. Iíve been offered a great deal on an Ďas newí ex demo set for literally half price but I donít feel confident this would be able to handle a fully mixed band for 200+ people!? I would be able to pay up to £3000 for a small system.
Alternatively, I could replace my DXR15ís with something similar but no heavier (preferably lighter). Having had a look around, RCF and FBT have a couple of options. RCF have the 745a but this doesnít have built if crossover when being used with a sub. Also, I really dislike the appearance of this box and would prefer something smarter for corporate events. FBT have the Promaxx 114a which the specs say has a slightly higher spl an deeper bass extension. They are also 5kg lighter. Iím not that keen of the appearance of these either and personally prefer the look of the DXR15ís. Finally, Yamaha has a mk2 version of the DXR15ís which has a bigger compression driver though I have no idea if this makes a noticeable improvement on the overall sound? My budget for this would be up to around £1500 per pair.
I am also interested in replacing both the Alto TS210ís for something that has the same featureís and could at least match the TS210ís performance but with a more durable cabinet. I did see in a Facebook post a brochure for a brand new upcoming Alto TS4 range which from memory mentioned a more durable cabinet but this has since disappeared. I donít really want to spend any more than £300 per box.
Finally, regarding the FBT X-Lite 12a, when I bought these I auditioned several other pairs of 12Ē speakers and couldnít find anything that could match the output, clarity and depth of bass these have. Iím wondering whatís available now for £400 per box?

What would you recommend?

Caleb Dueck:

--- Quote from: Richard Penrose on June 14, 2021, 06:11:21 PM ---What would you recommend?

--- End quote ---

I'd recommend separate mains and subwoofers.  The mid-bass off a main speaker just doesn't go deep enough, and muddies up the low-mids.  Plus, as you mentioned, there are many applications where subwoofers aren't needed. 

What exactly are the driving forces for upgrading, and how much more or larger (higher paying) events will this bring in?  This needs to be ironed out before looking at specific makes/models.

If there is a business case for this upgrade - don't limit yourself to only the lowest price point options.  Otherwise you're simply burning through money for a sideways move.  If you're going to step up - look at the RCF Art 7, HD, NX, etc series and FBT Mitus 114A.  Subwoofers - I'd look around a bit more, as RCF subwoofers (IE Sub 9004 and 9006) are a touch pricey, as are FBT (Mitus 218SA and Horizon VHA 118SA). 

If what you have is still making you money - why not keep some and just patch up the paint?  The new system would be the A rig, and these would shuffle down to B, C, D, etc. 

This could also be a great time to consolidate number of different models.  Something like RCF NX12SMA (for example) as a 'do-almost-everything' box, and a single subwoofer model like the 9004.  It raises the cost slightly for the smallest events, but allows flexibility. 

Sean Anderson:
Hey... I think you are looking at the wrong rcf products. Look into the hdm45a and the nx45a. They fit your use case better. The hdm may have an internal crossover, the nx does not.

Heath Eldridge:
Iím not sure exactly what your budget buys but I wouldnít have thought it would get you something to keep up with that system.

I have the same sort of issues (weight being a big factor). I use RCF sub 705s. These are quite a decent sub but are towards the bottom of RCFs offering and I donít think theyíd keep up with the QSCs (I have 4 of them for bigger gigs but mostly use 2)

I would have suggested something along the lines of my subs and RCF HD 32a for sensible weight and usable. Another alternative could be Yamaha dzr 12s and dxs15xlf subs (although these are heavy for a 15). But I suspect this is out of your budget range.

Richard Penrose:
Thanks for the replies guys. Ideally, I donít want anything heavier than I already own and would prefer lighter if possible!
I have had a look at the RCF and FBT suggestions and the 7series and NX donít have built in crossovers to use with my QSC subs! This would mean I would need to change my WSC subs and the RCF and FBT suggestions are bigger, much heavier and out of my budget!
I also donít like the appearance of the RCF 7 series tops for corporate gigs and the NX45ís are too heavy.
I tried the Yamaha DZR12ís and actually preferred the DXR15ís. I found the DZR12ís had a strange low level distortion when playing certain harmonic combinations on a Rhodes piano which I didnít hear on my DXR15ís or in house KV2 system at the venue I was auditioning these!?
The RCF HDM45a looks like a great option but is out of my budget.

My QSC KW181/Yamaha DXR15 system cost me £3000 and this is my budget. Iím starting to think that Iím not really going to improve on this for price/weight? My current system is earning money and Iíve not had any complaints regarding sound. Itís more down to me bing picky as Iíve used KV2 and Nexo systems. I am thinking of sticking with my current system apart from replace the tops for the new mk2 DXRís as the old ones are 10 years old and have had a hard life.

The other option I have is to go secondhand and get a passive system with amp and controller (though Iíd really rather stay all powered). I often see secondhand Nexo PS8/10 tops with LS400 subs. The specs on these are seriously impressive for such a small system and the subs are lighter than my DXR15 tops! However, Iíd lose the flexibility/ease of just using a single pair of powered tops where I donít really need subs!?


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