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Best Complete Setup Suggestions

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Ben Witter:
I am a band director and have been tasked with buying a complete sound system (mixer/amps/rack/cables/speakers/subs) for my band room. This needs to last me for MANY years and I want to make sure I get the absolute best I can get. I have been furiously researching online for the the best setup and haven't really found "the one". I was going to get a Peavey XRS-8 mixer, a Peavey IPR2 7500 amp, 2 Peavey SP4 (powered by the mixer), and 2 Peavey SP218 (powered by the amp). However, I came across a post somewhere along the line that said one should stay away from powered mixers. They recommended powered speakers, namely the JBL SRX series. So I'm kind of back to square one.

I don't know a lot about ohms and watts and bi-amping and all that technical stuff, which is why I am reaching out to the professionals. I just know I want a system that is LOUD (with high clarity and fidelity) and has a ton of bass. I want the shop teacher across the school to feel my beats! I also need something that I can just plug cables in and it will work. I am familiar with a mixer/EQ interface so using that I can handle, but I want it to be an overall easy setup process. I'm sure there will need to be a filter applied somewhere along the lines, either by the mixer or the speakers themselves.

Here is a little more information regarding the system itself, which will hopefully help inform your answers.

Usage: The speakers will be used mostly for backtracks the band plays along with as well as general music listening. While waiting for performances we usually rock out pretty hard. Mostly to modern music with lots of bass, hiphop, pop, alternative, rock, etc. They will also be used for reference recordings and well as the occasional concert playback. I am 99% sure they will never need to be used with a mic, either for speaking or for instrumental amplification. They are mostly for listening. But who knows? It's nice to have the possibility. Most of the time the music will be coming from an iPad.

Install: These will be semi-permanently installed. So size/weight does not matter. I can think of only a few instances they will ever need to be moved from the band room. However, I am not interested in hanging them. I'd like them on the floor or a stand.

Speakers: I'd like 2 mid/highs and 2 subs. My line of thinking is that 2 dual-18s would be impressive sounding subs, but I do want to make sure there are enough mids/highs to cut through.

Brand: I do not care about brand. I just want the best speaker I can get within my budget. I want something that is rugged and well built; something that will last for many, many years. I want it loud with lots of room to spare, and deep full bass. I get one chance to buy my "dream" setup and I want to get it right. Ideally I would like to purchase them from a place that provides a warranty and free shipping!

Budget: $12,000 is my absolute limit. That includes the complete setup: so mixer, amp, rack, cables, speakers, and subs.

I appreciate any insights you can give me or any directions you can point me. I'm open to any and all suggestions.

Thank you.

Dave Pluke:

--- Quote from: Ben Witter on January 19, 2023, 10:06:03 PM ---However, I came across a post somewhere along the line that said one should stay away from powered mixers. They recommended powered speakers, ...

--- End quote ---

Hey Ben,

I would also recommend avoiding a powered mixer. They typically offer less power and functionality than discrete components. And, if one internal component fails, you're out several functions. How many inputs do you need now? How many will you need 'MANY years' from now?

Everything has a trade-off. With Powered Speakers, you'll need to run signal and A/C cable to each. Running A/C through a classroom needs to be done with care. But, built-in Digital Signal Processing (DSP) developed for each particular box has definite advantages.

Individual components are more complicated to configure, but A/C only has to run to the rack, with lower voltage cable connecting the speakers.

It's good you're looking at dual 18" subs for that application. To my way of thinking, both Subs and Top Boxes should be of the same type (powered or non-powered) and probably best if they're from the same manufacturer.


Woody Nuss:
Pick a mixer with a good Ipad interface. You may find it more convenient than a dedicated mixer position and your students will train you  ;D
And yes, powered subs with poles and powered tops. Nearly every company has good stuff in this segment, Yamaha, QSC, JBL, etc

Riley Casey:
While powered speakers may provide some reduction in parts count they may not be the best choice for gear that is expected to last for many years. Even the biggest and best manufacturers of speakers have a pretty poor track record of supporting repairs or replacements for built in amplifier electronics. If you want to be sure this PA is usable in ten years buy passive speakers and separate amplifiers.

Mike Caldwell:
At least your thinking big already, many times a way too small of system is put in at a location and then the next day they want it to perform like a big system!

I'm going with Riley on the passive system, you can rack up all the needed equipment in a rack that is portable and just connect the speaker lines.
You may want to think about a headset wireless mic, it would make it easier to talk to the classes all day long.
For what your wanting you will be at least looking at a bi-amp system.

Would this ever at some point be used for an on field performance amplification system?

I would look into a pro installer, sound company....not a weekend DJ to put the system together and package it for easy use.
If your somewhere around Western Ohio I know one!!!


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