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Author Topic: Suggestions for a scalable FOH rig  (Read 3033 times)

Nathan McCorkle

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Suggestions for a scalable FOH rig
« on: July 07, 2011, 12:56:59 am »

Hello everyone! I'm hoping I can solicit some advice/knowledge from everyone.  I've only been doing this for a few years, so I don't have a ton of experience, but I having been reading a LOT, picking up all the information I can.

Background:
I'm the SR guy for an Army National Guard band. I've been given the go ahead to submit a request to replace nearly all of our rig. This won't all happen within the next year, but I need to have the list sent up the ladder for it to even be considered in the near future.

We have a rock cover band (5+horns), country band, 7-piece funk band, and speaking gigs. Often enough, some of these bands play in the same concert, but there are occasions where everyone needs to go their separate ways at the same time.

Venues:
Some of the things I've sen in the past couple years:
Rock in a large-ish parking lot for a picnic of 500-600
Outdoor concerts for audiences of 50-800
Indoor concerts for audiences of 50-400
Packed school auditoriums
Small and large convention rooms (inaugural ball type affairs)
SOS-only concerts

It seems we're playing about 50/50 indoor/outdoor but also covering a range of widths and depths.

Current Rig:
2x JBL MP225
2x JBL MRX518
2x Mackie m1400i
dbx 2031
DRPA+

Options
I'm debating between double 12 trap boxes, constant curvature arrays, or any other ideas that are suggested within this conversation. Pack size is generally not an issue as we have a 6.5x20 trailer. When it IS an issue, we'd already be scaled back for the venue.

JBL VRX/QSC KLA/Peavey Versarray - two over two
My reading tends to suggest that these are a good solution IF they are the solution for your problem. Scalable, lightweight, and easy to set up, but I've read that they're a bit lacking in areas, and often deployed incorrectly or in cases where there are better options. The third top is not worth it for us. We aren't setup to hang boxes and I intend to keep it that way.
SRX212/728 or QRx 212/218 - double 12s over double 18s
This would be somewhat similar to what we're running now. Larger than the arrays in size. This would require larger/heavier cabs and amp racks. Double 12s and today's amps are much lighter, though. 75* horizontal dispersion on these could be addressed by fill or doubling the order. Doubling it also gives us two "smaller" PAs for groups that are going out separately or one hell of a system when we need it.

We'll be getting some powered monitors when(if?) this goes through that could be used for SOS gigs or as fill in the few occasions where it would be necessary.

No rider or brand-loyalty issues.

Budget-wise...I'm told that we have the support of our command on this and that around $20k is a realistic number. That remains to be seen, but I'll certainly give them what they asked for.

I do realize that the two "options" above are very different systems. The biggest stipulation is that the system needs to be "enough" for a LONG time. Our current system was purchased in 1999/2000 to give you an idea of our upgrade cycle. Doubling the number of speakers after the first order won't happen, so I'm inclined to overshoot a little bit to give us headroom for any future gigs.

Thanks for any suggestions and help you can give me. This got long and there's more, but I'll try to address those questions if they come up.
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john sanders

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Re: Suggestions for a scalable FOH rig
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2011, 09:40:02 am »

Nathan,

My vote is for the QRX 212's and the EV QRX 218's. Most of my work takes place in similar locations/audience sizes and with a total of 4 each of these boxes I can provide (2)boxes per side or (4) per side depending upon the venue.
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Randall Hyde

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Re: Suggestions for a scalable FOH rig
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2011, 11:11:46 am »


Venues:
Some of the things I've sen in the past couple years:
Rock in a large-ish parking lot for a picnic of 500-600
Outdoor concerts for audiences of 50-800
Indoor concerts for audiences of 50-400
Packed school auditoriums
Small and large convention rooms (inaugural ball type affairs)
SOS-only concerts
I currently run 4 SRX 725 + 4 SRX 728s subs. This setup can easily do up to 1,000-2,000 people. I have to add delay stacks to boost it to 3,000 people (all outdoors).

For outdoor concerts with 800 people, I'd think you could get by with a pair of SRX 725 and one or two SRX 728s cabinets. The main concern I'd have with the coverage angle. I usually cross-fire two 725 columns on each side of the stage to get wider coverage than a single SRX 725 is capable of doing by itself.

I'm currently running a DriveRack 260, but plan on upgrading that two a DR4800 later this year. I just bought four SRX 712m and two VRX 915m wedges. I'm running SAC (Software Audio Console); it's the cleanest sound I've heard (using Focusrite preamps), but SAC does have a big learning curve associated with it and that can be a problem if different people need to be able to operate the system.

One drawback to the SRX cabinets is that they need a *lot* of power. I run each of these eight cabinets off one channel of an ITech 8000 amp. Probably a bit much for the 725 cabs (using limiters, of course), but about right for the 728s cabinets. Currently, I'm running four IT8000 amps for FOH (w/o delay stacks) and six bridged XTi 4000 amps for the monitors. You need to be able to provide some serious power for such a setup (I have a 60KVA geni). Be sure to factor power requirements into everything (I assume you can easily appropriate a generator from a pool, when needed?).

Of course, one other issue with the 728s cabs is that they weigh something like 175 pounds, so you'll need two (strong) people to move them around. Doesn't sound like a problem in your application, though :)
Cheers,
Randy Hyde
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Chuck Simon

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Re: Suggestions for a scalable FOH rig
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2011, 11:42:59 am »

I like the SRX 722 myself, but whatever tops you get I suggest you consider a powered sub like the JBL PRX618S-XLF.  You can easily add or subtract cabs depending on the gig.  Very versitile and they sound great at about 80 pounds each.
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Nathan McCorkle

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Re: Suggestions for a scalable FOH rig
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2011, 06:32:33 pm »

Thanks for the responses thus far

I'm seeing votes for both SRX and QRx, which I expected. I guess I wouldn't be surprised if a QRx212 over 218 per side would be adequate.

Has anyone run a two-over-two VRX system that could comment on it's utility for our types of gigs? I've read that VRX systems don't really wake up on the upper end until you're running three tops per side. Since we won't be hanging these and it blows the budget two is as far as we can go. The fact that they can be all self powered and that they are relatively compact is a huge benefit for us. That said I'd rather take the hit in size and weight if it means we'll be able to provide proper coverage and volume with the physically bigger rig. I'm hoping that decision isn't made for me, despite my suggestions.

Gennies really aren't available for us to use all that often. In fact, the first time I used one was just a couple weeks ago for that parking lot gig and that only happened because the TV truck was there. We're not authorized a generator because our "official authorized equipment list" doesn't allow for it. For our bigger gigs are usually able to use our distro and have no power concerns.

In the end, I do probably have a change to listen to all three of these systems before they're ordered. I've already done some legwork on finding them in my area.

My apologies for the delayed response. Prepping and arriving for our summer training was a bit hectic.
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James A. Griffin

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Re: Suggestions for a scalable FOH rig
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2011, 08:29:36 pm »

I have been using VRX powered for about 3 years now.  2 + 2 per side would be great for most of what you are talking about doing.    But when an outdoor crowd gets too much bigger than 500-600,  it's gonna start sounding a little weak and you're gonna wish you had lifts and 3 boxes per side.  800 and you're gonna want 4 per side.
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Re: Suggestions for a scalable FOH rig
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2011, 08:29:36 pm »


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