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Author Topic: Need help for expansion plan from current PA  (Read 5886 times)

John Schalk

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Re: Need help for expansion plan from current PA
« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2023, 09:13:04 AM »

... but if I may ask, I'd still like to hear opinions and points on those tops. Currently TTW4 is the model I'm most attracted to, but I'd also like to hear opinions on that original HDL-setup as well, especially as some still seem to provide these small-scale line-array setups because they are asked to.
Hi Janne,

The question that I think you are asking comes up on this forum from time to time and is often expressed as some form of, "what is the loudest speaker one person can lift?"  Or something along those lines.  Here is a link to a thread from last year that attempts to answer that question.

https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=177200.0

There have been other discussions on this topic along with discussions on the best compact subwoofer.  When searching this forum, I recommend that you ignore the search box at the top of the page and use Google with the Site: option.  To search for prior threads that talk about the RCF TTW 4-A you can try some version of the following:

TTW 4 site:https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php
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Janne Lepola

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Re: Need help for expansion plan from current PA
« Reply #31 on: December 19, 2023, 09:37:26 AM »

Bryan on the other hand is one of the most in demand live event engineers.  He can work, anytime, anywhere and on his terms. He is that good.  He is also a hell of a nice guy and I am proud to count him as a friend.  When he speaks take the cotton out of your ears and shove it in your mouth because you will learn something.  His pedagogical skills are awesome too so paying attention to him will pay off.  I think you should chill out.  There are many other people here of his caliber and they are ready and willing to help anyone.  That is what makes this place work.  Then there are schmucks like me, we have been around long enough to help but in no way have the breadth of knowledge our senior members possess.    I learn every day from these fine folks.

As far as a technical discussion it's a fucking speaker.  It is made by a good vendor.  If that speaker fits your business model then but it.  It it doesn't then look at Danley, EV, FBT blah blah blah.  There are so many good brands as long as you don't buy shit you are doing fine.  Business should be your focus.  Sorry if it bores you.

I tried to discuss the different subs I thought, maybe it wasn't you.  If you look at the current threads there are 4 or 5 people with the same questions.

Seriously, thanks for all the input you'v provided. My representation might not be the clearest at times, as I ain't native on english (even though I spent a year in Michigan as an exchange student back in 2000). Even when I stated to Brian that I got bit irritated by points being made out, it didn't mean that those points would had been invalid. I was just explaining how I felt for something that seems quite obvious for me, even though that point is extremely important. It was just me explaining my personal frustration over the lack of my personal experience on the subject that I'm trying to focus on.

Brians points were seriously good points, and are of course valid. I absolutely wasn't trying to attack you or Brian or disregard what you are saying. Writing on internet conversations is an art of its own, and it's easier to come out wrong than right. You certainly do have the wisdom earned by being professional. I really value these tips and points, even though it may not look like that at the times -- so once more, I'm really sorry if I came off the wrong way. Didn't really mean to.


Maybe I'll try to restate myself a bit: I do have certain business plan and vision on how I think I want to handle the business. This has been opened a bit during this conversation. It's true that it may not be the path some would take, but I tried to reason my decision to my best. The issue I'm having is with the lack of knowledge over touring grade equipment. This is probably very apparent from my messages, and that is why I chose to come and ask for guiding.

As I haven't had the pleasure to really play around with subs and tops which are touring level, I'm having harder time understanding the coverage vs SPL vs sound quality. As I originally mentioned, HDL lineup was my initial approach, but I'm glad I already got feedback on this approach. This lack of understanding comes from the fact of having only lower grade speakers available at venues over the years. That has shaped the idea of what rather smallish looking speakers feel like, and it probably lead me wrong way from the beginning.

I'm going to try to visualize SPL vs coverage with tools such as dbmap, while trying to make assumptions such as that continuous SPL would be ~115-120dB per top and/or sub (just an imaginary max drive for the FOH). This is once again only an assumption, as I lack better tools and/or examples of point source speakers covering medium sized events. I previously posted Youtube video of NX45s handling certain scenario and that's about the best I'v found to use as a study material. That's why I'm trying to pull opinions and points over the speakers, be it pair of TTW4s or something else... hope I'm not sounding like a broken record  ;D
« Last Edit: December 19, 2023, 09:44:14 AM by Janne Lepola »
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Janne Lepola

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Re: Need help for expansion plan from current PA
« Reply #32 on: December 19, 2023, 09:41:11 AM »

Hi Janne,

The question that I think you are asking comes up on this forum from time to time and is often expressed as some form of, "what is the loudest speaker one person can lift?"  Or something along those lines.  Here is a link to a thread from last year that attempts to answer that question.

Thanks for replying. I tried to restate my problem on my previous message I left just a minute ago. Hope that clarifies my problem, as it isn't simply about loudest or most mobile solution. Rather, I'm trying to get understanding over somewhat mobile setup vs different kinds of venues/areas to be covered. Originally I was requesting opinions over small line array lineups for coverage, but it's been noted that point source speakers might work better. It's just me trying to understand how far that solution can reach, when it comes to live-events (especially outdoors).
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Need help for expansion plan from current PA
« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2023, 09:52:38 AM »

Seriously, thanks for all the input you'v provided. My representation might not be the clearest at times, as I ain't native on english (even though I spent a year in Michigan as an exchange student back in 2000). Even when I stated to Brian that I got bit irritated by points being made out, it didn't mean that those points would had been invalid. I was just explaining how I felt for something that seems quite obvious for me, even though that point is extremely important. It was just me explaining my personal frustration over the lack of my personal experience on the subject that I'm trying to focus on.

Brians points were seriously good points, and are of course valid. I absolutely wasn't trying to attack you or Brian or disregard what you are saying. Writing on internet conversations is an art of its own, and it's easier to come of wrong than right. You certainly do have the wisdom earned by being professional. I really value these tips and points, even though it may not look like that at the times -- so once more, I'm really sorry if I came off the wrong way. Didn't really mean to.


Maybe I'll try to restate myself a bit: I do have certain business plan and vision on how I think I want to handle the business. This has been opened a bit during this conversation. It's true that it may not be the path some would take, but I tried to reason my decision to my best. The issue I'm having is with the lack of knowledge over touring grade equipment. This is probably very apparent from my messages, and that is why I chose to come and ask for guiding.

As I haven't had the pleasure to really play around with subs and tops which are touring level, I'm having harder time understanding the coverage vs SPL vs sound quality. As I originally mentioned, HDL lineup was my initial approach, but I'm glad I already got feedback on this approach. This lack of understanding comes from the fact of having only lower grade speakers available at venues over the years. That has shaped the idea of what rather smallish looking speakers feel like, and it probably lead me wrong way from the beginning.

I'm going to try to visualize SPL vs coverage with tools such as dbmap, while trying to make assumptions such as that continuous SPL would be ~115-120dB per top and/or sub (just an imaginary max drive for the FOH). This is once again only an assumption, as I lack better tools and/or examples of point source speakers covering medium sized events. I previously posted Youtube video of NX45s handling certain scenario and that's about the best I'v found to use as a study material. That's why I'm trying to pull opinions and points over the speakers, be it pair of TTW4s or something else... hope I'm not sound like a broken record  ;D
Nobody was offended donít worry about that.  We are very frank and to the point. Your English is better than some native speakers.

I see you were already offered a suggestion to see if any of the speakers you are interested in have been discussed.

One we explained to you the concept of a line array and why it isnít the tool for you then the world is wide open.  The only speakers that might come up is if you discuss a model that is awful like the Mackie Thump, it is awful.

RCF makes great speakers you simply canít go wrong. A DB here or there is t going to make an appreciative difference. 

Modeling the coverage is a good idea but keep in mind all these speakers will be the same because they are not real horns.  Real horns are very heavy and out of your price range.

If you want to look up one of the best point source speakers that are in your budget check out the Danley SM80.

One quick point none,  none of these speakers are touring level they are what we call pro-sumer.  The top of the line but still can be purchased.

Professional speakers are only sold today pro users.  You have to be trained, have x number of trained employees and a relationship, sometimes contractual with the vendor.   I am not at this level, itís very expensive.

We will talk again.  Best of luck and if you celebrate a very merry and blessed Christmas to you and your family.

RegardsÖ..Scott


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Need help for expansion plan from current PA
« Reply #34 on: December 19, 2023, 01:39:37 PM »

Another point is that high quality speakers with clarity and definition (as opposed to the Thumps) don't have to be as loud to get the job done.  I have done shows where a pair of Yamaha DSR112s or Danley SM96s easily covered 700 people.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Need help for expansion plan from current PA
« Reply #35 on: December 19, 2023, 03:29:25 PM »

My response (especially things I put in bold) is this:  you are making the same mistakes I made 40 years ago.  I was a bit more upscale on the speaker system but ended up with clients that could not or would not pay what it really cost to provide the service, leave some margin for repairs and upgrades, and PAY ME for my work.

Tim is spot on with these comments.  Many of us on the forums that have been here a while went through the exact same thing you're trying to do.  Most of us WISH we would have gotten advice ahead of time and would have followed said advice. Of course, we probably thought we could figure out a better way to do it than anyone else before us, so we plowed through anyway.

Regarding gear, yes, expensive gear seems expensive.  Nobody likes spending a pile of money on gear. However, the cost difference between cheap stuff and high end stuff is really quite small on a per event basis. Resale value of higher end gear is much better than the cheap stuff that's essentially throw away.  Hell I could sell my 15 year old JBL SRX 700 speakers for more than what I paid for them brand new!!  Had I bought used I'd be even further ahead!!  The old and tired Mackies I have from the same era nobody wants.  When I compare my equipment budget over the years, once I bought higher end gear, the average yearly expense has gone WAY down.

As far as customers go, dealing with the low end no profit sector seems like easy money.  The problem is, there's not enough money to start with.  The math simply doesn't work out.  The cost for labor, transportation, etc, just can't be covered with what the customer base at that level is willing to pay.  If you're playing in that market it's never going to be self sustaining, period.  The longer you stay in that market, the harder it is to move up.  NO, those customers will not be growing with you as you build.  In fact, you may feel that you need to remain loyal to them and they will HOLD YOU BACK from the ability to move up. On the flip side, if you start working with a band that's starting out, they may be working on a small budget and hire you to get their name out.  However, I can all but guarantee that if they start to grow, they WILL NOT be loyal to you. They'll hire the company that has a history of providing for more successful talent.

Spending money on gear to satisfy those customers doesn't make sense either. While the initial cash layout may be smaller, the expense over time isn't less.

The only justification of buying cheap gear is that you don't have a long term plan or don't understand the market.

It's OK, we've pretty much ALL been there.  Sometimes we learn our lessons. Sometimes we still pretend we can figure it out ourselves and screw it up royally.
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Brian Jojade

Dave Garoutte

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Re: Need help for expansion plan from current PA
« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2023, 03:41:04 PM »

Tim is spot on with these comments.  Many of us on the forums that have been here a while went through the exact same thing you're trying to do.  Most of us WISH we would have gotten advice ahead of time and would have followed said advice. Of course, we probably thought we could figure out a better way to do it than anyone else before us, so we plowed through anyway.

Regarding gear, yes, expensive gear seems expensive.  Nobody likes spending a pile of money on gear. However, the cost difference between cheap stuff and high end stuff is really quite small on a per event basis. Resale value of higher end gear is much better than the cheap stuff that's essentially throw away.  Hell I could sell my 15 year old JBL SRX 700 speakers for more than what I paid for them brand new!!  Had I bought used I'd be even further ahead!!  The old and tired Mackies I have from the same era nobody wants.  When I compare my equipment budget over the years, once I bought higher end gear, the average yearly expense has gone WAY down.

As far as customers go, dealing with the low end no profit sector seems like easy money.  The problem is, there's not enough money to start with.  The math simply doesn't work out.  The cost for labor, transportation, etc, just can't be covered with what the customer base at that level is willing to pay.  If you're playing in that market it's never going to be self sustaining, period.  The longer you stay in that market, the harder it is to move up.  NO, those customers will not be growing with you as you build.  In fact, you may feel that you need to remain loyal to them and they will HOLD YOU BACK from the ability to move up. On the flip side, if you start working with a band that's starting out, they may be working on a small budget and hire you to get their name out.  However, I can all but guarantee that if they start to grow, they WILL NOT be loyal to you. They'll hire the company that has a history of providing for more successful talent.

Spending money on gear to satisfy those customers doesn't make sense either. While the initial cash layout may be smaller, the expense over time isn't less.

The only justification of buying cheap gear is that you don't have a long term plan or don't understand the market.

It's OK, we've pretty much ALL been there.  Sometimes we learn our lessons. Sometimes we still pretend we can figure it out ourselves and screw it up royally.
In all of my endeavors, I have tended to buy better than my needs or skills might suggest.  This has allowed me to GROW INTO rather than GROW OUT OF the capabilities of my tools.  Buy once, cry once.
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John Schalk

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Re: Need help for expansion plan from current PA
« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2023, 08:56:40 AM »

I'm going to try to visualize SPL vs coverage with tools such as dbmap, while trying to make assumptions such as that continuous SPL would be ~115-120dB per top and/or sub (just an imaginary max drive for the FOH). This is once again only an assumption, as I lack better tools and/or examples of point source speakers covering medium sized events. I previously posted Youtube video of NX45s handling certain scenario and that's about the best I'v found to use as a study material. That's why I'm trying to pull opinions and points over the speakers, be it pair of TTW4s or something else... hope I'm not sounding like a broken record  ;D
If you like RCF's products and you want to visualize their coverage and SPL, then the tool to play with is EASE Focus.  RCF provides GLL files for many, if not all, of their speakers and that is the file format used by EASE Focus, which is free to use.  Other manufacturers also provide GLL files, so EASE Focus is worth spending some time with.  Note that it is a slimmed down version of EASE and speaker data produced for EASE does not work with EASE Focus.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Need help for expansion plan from current PA
« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2023, 01:21:22 PM »

In all of my endeavors, I have tended to buy better than my needs or skills might suggest.  This has allowed me to GROW INTO rather than GROW OUT OF the capabilities of my tools.  Buy once, cry once.

^^^ THIS.

Avoiding alternate, incremental steps up the gear chain saves capital in the long term.

35 years ago I was given a lesson from an accountant.  "Buy lights, staging, and barricade.  Give up on mixers and microphones."  I ignored it and 30 years ago "ate" the consequences of my willful ignorance.
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Janne Lepola

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Re: Need help for expansion plan from current PA
« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2024, 05:44:12 PM »

It's been a while, but I'd like to drop a message on how things have gone since last post. This will be quite a long post, but hopefully these experiences will guide someone else who is considering RCF products.

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who participated and gave their insight on my original question. These four months have been exciting and now I'm able to see things clearer and understand few points which were made, as I have better perspective with the gear.

So, I was able to arrange a demo session with official importer of RCF speakers here in Finland, which was one of the best things that happened on January. Even though I was only a minor customer for them, I was treated with all the respect and enthusiasm which they most like give to big venues, such as town halls and theaters. They arranged a demo which had four different speakers set up. If I remember correctly, those were HDL-6, ART 912 (or 932, but let's say it was 912), ART 945 and NXL44. Additionally they had sub-setup as well, from 15" SUB-line to 8004.

Starting from beginning, I was really impressed by the clarity of HDL-6. It sounded stunning on the demo room. Good start, but right away as we switched to 912 it became clear why (at least cheaper) line array speakers are subpar in comparison to point-source speakers: Mid section had been missing. Just having the 912 made overall sound much richer. Still, I skipped 912 quite quickly because I was stuck with the idea of needing powerful tops for medium sized venues, so we continued to 945A. Now, this was something different!

At first 945A sounded very muffled and boomy. Just to remind, everything was set flat on EQ and none of the speakers had been calibrated at all. I wasn't really impressed, but then I tried pushing 945 and sub, and it became clear that these were some serious tops. I did some EQ'ing in order to get the idea whether these tops would have clarity instead of boominess and boxiness. Hard hi-end boost EQ with somewhat hard low-end cut did the trick and I played around with couple of demo songs. This combination seemed to have lots of punch!

Originally I had planned that I would end up ordering TTL4A or TTW4A, but unfortunately those were not available for demo session. On the other hand, NXL44 had been put as an comparison to give impression of that kind of setting, so we moved there... and WOW. Now the sound became something I hadn't been expecting at all! The clarity was overwhelming. Stereo image changed / widened. I kept pushing and pushing, but the whole set just kept playing with stunning overall sound.

I actually laughed, as I had hoped that I would end up giving up idea of buying something that would cost ~3000€ per piece and end up buying pair of 945A for about ~1500€ per piece. Unfortunately, I was hooked by the sound of NXL44.

I did notice that 945A by itself actually had so much additional bottom that it was boosting the sub, which caused the overall boominess within the demo-room. After changing the balance of the sub against 945A it actually sounded quite good, but still by doing A/B comparison against NXL44 I couldn't shake the idea that I was going end up getting either NXL or TT -line tops, as the NXL was simply superior.

After few questions and bit of pondering I ended up ordering pair of TTL4 instead of getting those NXL right away. TT-tops had quite a long delivery time, but I chose to go that road because TT-series had been praised being superior to NXL, while at the same time they would be bit smaller and lighter, which I would appreciate while working alone. Lifting of NXL wasn't impossible, but it was quite hard because the center point of speakers was quite high, and you would need to lift the speaker over the tripod-pole. As for the subs, I chose to go with four pieces of TTS15. These subs were not available on demo session, but I chose 'em based on what I was seeing and hearing at the demo session on 8003. Giving that both had similar sizes and similar features, and given that TTS15 would be bit lighter than 8003, they would be easier to set up alone. Subs would take three months to arrive as well.

I decided that I wanted the whole set to be of TT-line, so that I would have something which would be expandable, as well as being able to control the whole set via RDNet in the future IF I would end up working on venues which would benefit from additional configuration. Additionally, I wanted my gear to be bit lighter, in order to ease up the setting up everything alone.

I was able to come up a deal with distributor to get pair of 945s temporarily in order to get my company running before TTL4s would arrive, so kudos to their sales service! This way I was able to get more professional setup for restaurant gigs and be able to start the marketing process beforehand. I had actually already been booked as an tech supplier for one well known Finnish artist, so I was going make by first presentation within that gig.

Finally that night came, but subs didn't. Delivery was late. I had to make a compromise and combine pair of Mackie SR18s with 945As and hope it would work. The gig itself wasn't too demanding, as the full house would have only about 250 guests, but I was more worried about how it would sound -- I simply wanted it to be "perfect", because we were having a re-launch of restaurant with new owners at the same time. From my perspective, there was a lot at stake! Long story short, everything went great! Now that the time had passed since the demo session, I threw those 945As in to the fire and they were A BEAST. What Mackie subs may have lacked on clarity of punch was fixed by 945As, which boosted both the low-end and gave very nice additional punch over the booming of Mackies. It worked flawlessly and I was able to push volume to my personal max without any hickups. Audience loved it! EDM afterparty worked great as well.

A month later my subs came, and at the same time I got offered a sports hall gig, which would be a disco for highshool students, hosted by youth service community. Additionally there was going to be well known rap-artist as a main star of the show. The hall was quite large, the kind of which can be used for either basketball or any other sports, and would easily hold over thousand guests if needed, but my event was going to have only about ~300 students, so it was cut by 1/3 using pullover-curtains. Still, the venue was much larger than what I would normally do. This time I got to try the subs, which looked pretty tiny against that 21 x 25 feet stage. I was bit nervous, but after trying first beats wit the subs and 945A's I was grinning so much that my face hurt. It's unbelievable how much even small subs can throw. Of course they wouldn't make your pants flutter like 2X18 cabinets, but I was getting nice low end boom and bass kicks felt amazing even ~100 feet away. I also checked that the limiter wasn't hitting too much, as I was nervous that I would be overpushing either the subs or the tops, but everything was working just great! My customer was so pleasantly surprised by the service that they booked next event right away, which is coming within few weeks. Once again I'm getting to host one more well known rap-artist, and this time I'm confident that everything will go smoothly, as the venue is bit smaller and packs the audience to the sweetspot against the stage.

That's about it for the tech side! RCF is living up to their reputation!

As for my company and business plan, everything changed in just a few months. Last time when I was active on this thread I was still hoping to reach my previous years income and my highest hope was to double the sales during at the end of first year. Within few months after the launch I had already booked my calendar for the first half of the year and was already making first reservations for the fall. At the time being I have already tripled my sales, and the time-window for the bookings for the next fall and winter are still coming up. Basically I'm already living the third year of my business plan.

Still, what comes around goes around, when it comes to income. I'm routing it all up back to the gear. Basically I'v been ordering everything from infrastructure to wireless mics, lot's of additional cables and cable bridges. It ain't a problem, as my original plan was to order all this gear over the next 18 months, but now it looks that I'm able to get most of the essentials before July. Couldn't be more happy!

So what have I learned learn?

First of all: I'm happy that I ordered TTS15 subs, but truth been told, I believe that I could have gone much cheaper by going with less. Of course this decision would have limited my venues, but for an example, that first night when I combined Mackie subs with 945As was something I wasn't expecting it to be. Combination was amazing for indoor venues, even as Mackies were inferior to RCF subs.

As for the 945As, on the demo session it was clear why they were half the price of NXL44. They didn't sound the same at all, BUT when it comes to your usual live session, instead of being able to compare 'em against something better, they are amazing set of speakers. Scott Holtzman was right, 945-series is a great option if you are considering 'em! Even though I was able to use only ART version of 'em, 945 feel like a real war horse. The value of those speakers against the price is excellent. Personally, I would love to get a pair for myself, in addition to those TTL4's which I'm still waiting to arrive. Even smaller ones, such as 932 or 912, would probably make a great addition to my inventory, and might even work better as those smaller cabinets would be easier to move around that TTL4 will ever be. There will be gigs which simply don't need the power of TTL4 and I'm already regretting a bit the fact that those tops weight almost the same as the subs!

Probably the biggest realization was how good point source speakers can be, especially volume-wise. Common sense, without real experience on the art, says that small line array with multiple speakers would give better outcome, but it's kind of amazing how much punch "small" 15" speakers, or even smaller, can handle these days. It just doesn't make sense how you can handle large hall packed with people with just two 15" tops and four 15" subs... and this is where I was about to go wrong originally, because I didn't have any experience with high end speakers which have been on the market for the past ~10 years. It's simply a whole different game when compared to your usual band speakers, which would cost only ~3000€ total. Finally I understand why speakers may cost five times more, while still having the same and size and the same specs on the paper.

TLDR: For anyone on similar situation as I was and are considering RCF: Get yourself 4 x 8003 or 4 x Sub 705, and get a pair of 945s, probably from the NX-line instead of ART . You most likely won't go wrong if you are targetting maximum capacity of 500 guests. If you head out for more get either NXL or TTL series tops and consider moving to 8004 subs or TT-line.

EDIT, ~2 weeks later: Tomorrow I'm running my first concert stage venue within medium sized hall, which takes up to ~300 guests (old theater stage). 4 x TTS15 + 945s are a bomb! With subs raised to stage (due not being able to run 'em in front of the stage) I had to turn 'em down ~5db each to balance sound against 945s. Bleed of the subs isn't too bad at the stage, even though I'm not running 'em on cardioid-pattern. As for the tops, they are banging the hall with ease. No need to even push. I'd rate tops 5/5, even though I would suggest to get 'em on NX-line. Plastic ART 945's seem to have bit more bleed backwards.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2024, 04:14:49 PM by Janne Lepola »
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Re: Need help for expansion plan from current PA
¬ę Reply #39 on: April 26, 2024, 05:44:12 PM ¬Ľ


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