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Author Topic: Help PurdueCRU choose powered speakers  (Read 1832 times)

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Help PurdueCRU choose powered speakers
« on: September 17, 2005, 04:26:43 pm »

Ok, here's the story. The Purdue University chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ ("Cru") is finally looking at some new speakers. What we have right now are some old Crate PS-15 and some Peavey RBS-1 subs.

Me and three friends make up the technical staff. The one of us with the most decision-making sway (pretty much the "main guy" simply by virtue of his wide SR experience) is pretty well set on active/powered speakers (Mackie said the right marketing words to him some time ago). Now one of his pro sound reinforcement contacts (Mark Williams of West Coast Sound) is selling a brand of italian "tupperware" powered speakers called FBT. We are looking at filling a mid-size church, with about 400 people in seats. The space is somewhat reverberant but not as much as we had originally feared. It is a room that is about 1.5 times as long as it is wide, with high (20ft) ceilings. Budget is a constraint, and over $4500 is considered "too much". So we want to know what you think about the following three systems:

1. FBT: 4x MaxX4A (or 2x MaxX5A), 2x MaxX10 subs)
These are the ones that the guy with the most decision-making sway wants to pursue. He wants to get four MaxX4A and use two up front and two in a delayed configuration, halfway back through the audience. With the budget constraints, we may only be able to get two MaxX5A, but this is what I think we should do anyway. Two MaxX10A subs (very capable 15"-woofer acoustic-loaded, or bandpass, enclosures) should match the mid-hi cabs, at 129dB peak output.

2. Mackie: 2x SRM450, 2x SWA1501
If we can't do the FBT system, the Mackies are what will be back on the plate, probably in the form I've just described. They are the first speakers that I remember our main guy being taken with, from their distinctive styling to their wild performance claims and well-written marketing. If we go with Mackie, this is probably the system we will end up with.

3. Yorkville: 2x EF500P, 2x LS800P
This is the system I want us to try for. With the good reviews and great performance numbers, I think this is going to be the best way to get great sound for the contemporary worship music we play, which always includes an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, an electric bass, a drum set, and a keyboard/piano, and sometimes even has a violinist.

The desk is Mackie, and the system will be processed by a dbx DriveRack.

Any insights you can give will be much appreciated.
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Ron Hebbard

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Re: Help PurdueCRU choose powered speakers
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2005, 06:16:09 pm »

Hello Rory;

Not that I'm the one to answer your questions but you may want to add a little more information such as the length and width of your 20' high room, something more informative than the ratio of the width to length.
Flat or raked floor?
Balcony?
Are you in love with stereo or would you consider a mono center cluster, possibly with a delayed center speaker further back?
Is flying a center cluster a possibility in terms of overhead support, access, flying / rigging expertise?

You can never provide too much information.

Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
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Re: Help PurdueCRU choose powered speakers
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2005, 07:55:05 pm »

Flat floor, balcony at the back, no flying, and let's assume 40 feet wide so that would be, like, 75 feet deep. It's a big place and while we can get the speakers pretty high on tripods, flying isn't exactly a possibility.
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analog Tom

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Re: Help PurdueCRU choose powered speakers
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2005, 12:00:37 am »

Your contrast of Mackie's "wild performance claims and well-written marketing" with Yorkville's "good reviews and great performance numbers" tells us more about your prejudices than anything about your needs.  

You need to listen to the systems, preferably in your venue, before you dismiss one as making wild claims and embrace another for its great performance.  Both have their fans, as do other good brands.  

I use the SRM-450s for portable apps.  They sound good and are easy to handle.  My experience in small venues leads me to believe that  generally a 12" gives better vocal presentation than a 15".  And for a church group vocal clarity is often considered important (can't drag in those 'prayer offerings' if people can't hear you beg).  

But the fact that I find the SRM-450s inexpensive, reliable, good sounding, light enough to handle easily, and profitable, does NOT mean that I disfavor Yorkvilles.  I just haven't had the occasion to use them.  

Before putting your church's money into anything, you should work out a way to get the contenders into your church and actually listen in a real life situation.  And while you're listening, try to keep the voices out of your head which say:  

'This brand - wild claims / that brand - great reviews'.  Listen for what each brand sounds like in YOUR space, to YOUR ears.  

Cordially,  
Tom
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Douglas R. Allen

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Re: Help PurdueCRU choose powered speakers
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2005, 04:19:52 am »

Rory Buszka wrote on Sat, 17 September 2005 16:26

Ok, here's the story. The Purdue University chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ ("Cru") is finally looking at some new speakers. What we have right now are some old Crate PS-15 and some Peavey RBS-1 subs.

Me and three friends make up the technical staff. The one of us with the most decision-making sway (pretty much the "main guy" simply by virtue of his wide SR experience) is pretty well set on active/powered speakers (Mackie said the right marketing words to him some time ago). Now one of his pro sound reinforcement contacts (Mark Williams of West Coast Sound) is selling a brand of italian "tupperware" powered speakers called FBT. We are looking at filling a mid-size church, with about 400 people in seats. The space is somewhat reverberant but not as much as we had originally feared. It is a room that is about 1.5 times as long as it is wide, with high (20ft) ceilings. Budget is a constraint, and over $4500 is considered "too much". So we want to know what you think about the following three systems:

1. FBT: 4x MaxX4A (or 2x MaxX5A), 2x MaxX10 subs)
These are the ones that the guy with the most decision-making sway wants to pursue. He wants to get four MaxX4A and use two up front and two in a delayed configuration, halfway back through the audience. With the budget constraints, we may only be able to get two MaxX5A, but this is what I think we should do anyway. Two MaxX10A subs (very capable 15"-woofer acoustic-loaded, or bandpass, enclosures) should match the mid-hi cabs, at 129dB peak output.

2. Mackie: 2x SRM450, 2x SWA1501
If we can't do the FBT system, the Mackies are what will be back on the plate, probably in the form I've just described. They are the first speakers that I remember our main guy being taken with, from their distinctive styling to their wild performance claims and well-written marketing. If we go with Mackie, this is probably the system we will end up with.

3. Yorkville: 2x EF500P, 2x LS800P
This is the system I want us to try for. With the good reviews and great performance numbers, I think this is going to be the best way to get great sound for the contemporary worship music we play, which always includes an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, an electric bass, a drum set, and a keyboard/piano, and sometimes even has a violinist.

The desk is Mackie, and the system will be processed by a dbx DriveRack.

Any insights you can give will be much appreciated.


If you have done a search of the LAB site you can see I like my Ef500p/Ls800p system.
The down side to some of the mackie stuff has been overheating.
I cut from another site someones complaint about them for you to read.

Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2005 11:12 pm    Post subject: Mackie SR1530 thermal shutdown disappointment  

------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------

OK, so I've owned my Mackie SR1530's for a handful of gigs now. They replaced a pair of first generation JBL Eon powered 15's.

AAR, while the SR1530s sound much better than the JBLs, the JBLs never shut down on me. Ever. Hundreds of shows. Yesterday, I had one of my SR1530s shut down - as in no sound, protection LED lit solid.

As for some of the specifics, the 1530s were crossed over at 100 Hz, 18dB/oct to a pair of EAW LA128z, driven by a QSC PLX3402. Gig was outside - high ambient temperature for the day was 86 F, though it may have been higher over the concrete in the area in which the speakers were operating. There was more than 6" free air space behind the speaker - in fact there was more than six feet.

I did not have a sound level meter with me, but I can confidently state that the SPL was *way* below the 123 dB @ 1 m figure on the spec sheet. At the mix position about 35' back from one of the stacks, one could carry out a conversation over the music, without shouting, at a normal distance.

About the middle of the third, 45 minute set, I noticed that there was some distiortion creeping into the sound. After double checking gain structure on the board, I ran up to check the lights on the speakers, and noticed that the protection light on one of the speakers was briefly flashing every once and a while. This was the speaker on the side that the board was on. The other speaker was not limiting at this point. I cut the drive to them out of the crossover, and placed my only fan on the heat sink on the speaker that was flashing.

About three tunes later, the speaker on the far side (without the fan) cut out entirely. I assumed thermal shutdown. I placed my hand on the heatsink assembly - while it was quite warm, I could leave my hand on it indefinitely. Fortunately, the next act also employed 1530s (two for FOH, and 2 for side fill), and loaned one to me. That one hung in until the end of the gig.

So here are my questions:
- How many of you out there own SR1530s?
- Those that do, have you ever experienced thermal shutdown?
- Those that have, how often have they thermalled on you?
- Under what conditions?

And here is my gripe:
If this behavior is expected (not a unit failure), these speakers are entirely unsuited for the application to which they are seemingly marketed. If I had it to do over again (and again assuming that this is a design issue and not a unit failure), I would not purchase these speakers - which will shut down under what I consider to be normal operating conditions.

Before buying, I inquired far and wide about just this issue. I had heard of the Mackie <<<<<<<SRM450s>>>>>>> possessing this precise problem. However, I was repeatedly assured that the 450s were the only ones to worry about, and then only when on their side, impeding normal airflow over the heatsink. I was told that I would have no such problem with the 1530s.

Also puzzling is why I first detected a problem when distortion was creeping into the sound - distortion NOT being fed to the 1530s, but rather being generated by the 1530s - when the protection light was only briefly flickering? Is not the purpose of a limiter to *eliminate* any clipping or cone overexcursion? In agreement with past experience, the owner's manual says as much. These are Chinese 1530s - have the electronics not been retuned to accommodate a driver change?

Any discussion welcome

Joe Breher
Liberty in my Lifetime!

W's

Some mackie owners say they put a fan in back of their speakers and the problem goes away. But would I want to have to do that just to get through a gig? My Yorkvilles run cold to just slightly above room temp. Never a thermal problem.
I see you are miking a drum set. The Ls800p's do kick hard.I have heard the mackie system your looking at in a room I have worked my yorkville system in and I am glad I purchased the system that I did.I would not want to try and do 400 people with system Number 2. Like in the post I pasted above the limit lights were starting to come on and it just didn't seem that loud. It did sound stressed.

Do a google search on Mackie over heating or Mackie thermal problems etc. and see what you get.

Kindest Regards
Douglas R. Allen

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