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Title: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Josh Daube on March 27, 2021, 01:58:21 pm
Hello! Like the title says, I'm working on putting together a small soundsystem, and I've been led to believe that RCF is the best choice. With this PA I hope to throw parties (may Covid die a speedy death) of no more than 400 hundred people, mostly in warehouses and outdoors, DJing almost exclusively bass-driven dance music like techno, house, dubstep etc. Our budget is around 6k (flexible) and for this price it seems like RCF is the best bet.

At the moment, I'm thinking the best option is to begin by getting 2x ART 735a over 2x 8004. One question I'm wondering about, is if anyone has experienced the difference between the ART 735a and the 745a? The 735a is so much cheaper (1k less for the pair) than the 745a, that it seems hard to justify the extra 1db. Is there some gross disadvantage to the 735a?

My other question is whether I will have enough bass from 2x 8004. From the specs, it seems like these subs can keep up pretty well with the ART 735a, but most of the examples using the 8004s online show them at gigs with live sound, and it's hard to gauge how they'd fare during a rave. Should I be looking at the 8006? The 9004? Does it make more sense to try to get 4x 8003? Another brand of subs entirely? A demo would be incredible, though I've heard the RCF warehouse in NJ is not publicly accessible due to Covid. I'm based in NYC if anyone know of an alternative.

Thank you for your time, I've learnt so much from the LAB and I'm very grateful to you all.
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Mike Caldwell on March 27, 2021, 04:25:51 pm
RCf is one of the few that offer large format high frequency drivers in a molded speaker enclosure, the large format does make a difference.
The 735a uses a three inch voice coil HF driver and the 745 uses a four inch voice HF driver,
that's where that bit more of spl comes from.
For your use the 735a would be fine, never used them for DJ'ing but the 735a sound pretty
good out of the box just with a mic plugged.

As for subs and given what the system will be used for I would go no less than
the 8004, the 8006 would be my first choice though four 8004 subs would get you
basically two 8006 subs and be easier to move around.

That all said unless buying used your $6000 ish budget is going to tough to meet.
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Chris Grimshaw on March 27, 2021, 08:11:22 pm
Just a quick FWIW that definitions of "rave" may vary, but one system I saw for such an event had something like 16x 18" subwoofers, horn loaded, driven with about a kilowatt per box. Think attendance was in the 5-600 range, and when the bass dropped, it blurred your vision constantly.

The "small" system in the second room had 6x 21"s (for less than 100 people), and dropped a few light fittings during soundcheck.

I understand that those are fairly extreme cases, and you might be looking for something more tame than those systems, but I do think you'll be running 2x 18"s into the red all night, and wishing you'd brought more.

Given the fairly limited budget, I'd consider DIYing the subwoofers. Plenty of good plans online, and the price-to-performance ratio is off the charts.

Chris
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Steve-White on March 27, 2021, 09:20:52 pm
Just a quick FWIW that definitions of "rave" may vary, but one system I saw for such an event had something like 16x 18" subwoofers, horn loaded, driven with about a kilowatt per box. Think attendance was in the 5-600 range, and when the bass dropped, it blurred your vision constantly.

The "small" system in the second room had 6x 21"s (for less than 100 people), and dropped a few light fittings during soundcheck.

I understand that those are fairly extreme cases, and you might be looking for something more tame than those systems, but I do think you'll be running 2x 18"s into the red all night, and wishing you'd brought more.

Given the fairly limited budget, I'd consider DIYing the subwoofers. Plenty of good plans online, and the price-to-performance ratio is off the charts.

Chris

I've heard that stuff uses off the charts LF.  I'll keep that in mind if getting a call to do one.  I can't imagine unleashing 16 x 18's and 20KW of bottom end indoors constantly throbbing all night for 5-600 bodies - hopefully the venue was much larger capacity.  That's not even in your face ass rippin' good sound - that's permanent damage - I'd want a disclaimer to do something like that.

I get nausea at levels below blurred vision - wouldn't be anywhere near that insanity without flightline or gun range muffs on.

Ok enough OT blabber.

i second both Mike's & Chris' comments.  For 400 bodies, 2 x 18's ain't gonna cut it - you will definitely want 4 x 18's and decent stuff which the RCF appears to be.

Going from 2x  to 4x 18's isn't simply a doubling up of bottom end.  You can run the crossover point higher and let them carry more of the load, freeing up the full resources of the top end and they will sound cleaner and louder - doubling up the subs will be lots of bang for buck - the whole system will thunder much louder.

You don't want to have to peg your system to the limiters your first set and keep it there all night.

This is experience talking, while I don't know Chris yet I suspect he's been around the block by his comments.  I know Mike has decades of experience in all kinds of events, I built my first mobile DJ system in 1978.  The basic wedding reception system I take out these days in 4x 18's, topped with DIY pole mount 4x 12's, 2" throat  horns, and 4 x JBL 2404 tweets on top.  Each side 2x 18, 2x 12, 1x 2" horn, 2x 2404 tweets.  Power is a 2x Crown XTi 6002, 2x Crown XTi 1002 with Ashly 4-way processing.

I mention that not be boasting about hardware - after 40 years, that's the gun I take to the fight.  I wouldn't attempt to do a 400 head techno job with that rig - it would beat the schitt out of it.  At least double would be unloaded and setup.

Not meant for discouragement either.  Gotta start somewhere, so the 4x 18 option is where you want to be.

The difference with the 745 -vs- 735, with the 4" horn the specs show 1db which is probably about right.  In reality the difference will be headroom and clarity during talk-overs and such.  I would suggest, love to spend other peoples money, the 745's and 4x 18's.  If your budget won't get you there look to finding some or all used.  I buy a mix of new and used gear.  Demo stuff, "B" stock and so forth.  Just be careful who you buy it from.

Remember in the end, it's not the tool but the hand that wields the tool.  You will be able to make it work and work your way up as you go.

Good luck with it.
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Paul G. OBrien on March 27, 2021, 09:40:02 pm
With this PA I hope to throw parties of no more than 400 hundred people, mostly in warehouses and outdoors, DJing almost exclusively bass-driven dance music like techno, house, dubstep etc. I'm thinking the best option is to begin by getting 2x ART 735a over 2x 8004.

That is per side right? For coverage alone you will need 2x 735 per side and for that type of event 4x 18's per side is is a good match. Indoors in smaller rooms 2 over 2 per side would get it done but outside you will need to double up.

FWIW I bring out a bigger system than what you are proposing for weddings about a half dozen times a year. The 1top/1sub format is what all the DJs around here use for 100-200p weddings, and one of them has an RCF combo.. I think its the 4Pro tops over 8003 subs. Very nice system but it's nowhere near rave quantity output IMO.
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Steve-White on March 27, 2021, 09:49:58 pm
^^^ Thank you :)

For the OP again, nobody here is trying to discourage - sharing experience so you know what you're stepping off into.
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Tim McCulloch on March 27, 2021, 11:52:24 pm
Hi Josh, and welcome to LAB Lounge.

Which subs to buy?  The more long term output from a single enclosure, the fewer you will need to own, store, transport, set up, and maintain.  Oh, and use, too.

Let's presume that all the subs in this example are from the same manufacturer and use external power amps.  If sub #1 has a long term output of 100dB at some specified input voltage/power, adding an identical sub, patched parallel with and placed adjacent to the first, will yield 103dB of output.  Doubling the piston area is 3dB more.  +3dB in the subwoofer pass band will hardly be noticed.  If sub #2 has a long term output of 106dB, it's already louder than 2x of sub#1, but adding another sub#2 yields 109dB. 

How to make things mo' better?  Give each sub its own power.  Presuming (again) that in using any sub, you run out of current or the sub is capable of dissipating more current, then doubling the current will yield another 3dB per sub.  This is where subs with built in power really shine.

So my advice?  Start with the loudest, lowest subs you can find and have any hope of affording.  This sets the base/bass line of your EDM rig.  Remember, for every +3dB, it takes DOUBLE the number of subs.  Four subs to 8 subs?  +3dB.  Start big.  Seriously.

Tops?  I'm of the opinion that only DJs and soundpersons listen to the tops.  Since we're the latter and the clients/artists are the former, it would be nice if they sound good and cover the needed area(s).  You'll get away with not-quite-enough top output if the ELF is blurring vision.
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Chris Grimshaw on March 28, 2021, 07:37:43 am
I've heard that stuff uses off the charts LF.  I'll keep that in mind if getting a call to do one.  I can't imagine unleashing 16 x 18's and 20KW of bottom end indoors constantly throbbing all night for 5-600 bodies - hopefully the venue was much larger capacity.  That's not even in your face ass rippin' good sound - that's permanent damage - I'd want a disclaimer to do something like that.

I get nausea at levels below blurred vision - wouldn't be anywhere near that insanity without flightline or gun range muffs on.

The venue's total cap is something like 1200, but the sound system, stage, etc took up about 1/3rd of the room. So estimate 800 cap. Insanity is what it was. I was on the venue's tech crew, and we swapped out lampies etc regularly. We went down into the basement (two floors down, lots of concrete) to hang out, and the light fittings were rattling down there.

Experiencing bass like that is amazing for a short while, but I wouldn't want to be exposed to it for long.



This is experience talking, while I don't know Chris yet I suspect he's been around the block by his comments.

I'm approaching my late-20s now, but started fairly young. In my early teens I was running sound for school plays, and then in a couple of bands running sound through college. Got to university and found out they had a student-run group that put on club nights and other events, complete with Nexo Alpha, 40x channel analogue desk, and racks of outboard. There was also SSE Betamax (there's a cool story behind those - read up if you have time), and about a tonne of Macrotechs.

I'd been building HiFi speakers for years by the time I got to university, so when I got word that a friend's band needed a PA system, I built one of those, too. Went through a few iterations as I found out why cheap drivers are cheap (hint: even if they can technically survive 500w RMS, they won't sound good doing it), and moved up the food chain. These days, I design & build my own cabinets, install high-end drivers, and use Powersoft T-series amps to run them - a huge upgrade all-round.

Until the pandemic, I was doing pretty well in my niche of small/medium events that want things doing well. Since the pandemic, I've been focusing more on restoring vintage mics, but also ended up taking a 9-5 working at a Fancy HiFi Speaker Company that's pretty local. I do miss pushing faders, though, and will dig out the multi-track recordings to sharpen up with before the paid gigs start up again.

Chris
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Steve-White on March 28, 2021, 02:08:36 pm
^^^ Thanks for that Chris.  In my early HiFi days I built several home systems, before embarking on several DIY builds and evolution of the mobile DJ and later band PA stuff.  The final home system used 15" LF drivers in a 3-way setup, 6" mids in rear sealed boxes & horns - cheap hobby grade Radio Shack stuff, but they sounded pretty good with a kit built 100 WPC Universal Tiger amp driving them.

There's really no substitute for sawdust on the floor experience, and it's really good when you do the design too.  The iterative process of selection and assembly, then the testing and real world application is a nice foundation to have in your tool box.

In the end we do that, regardless of which gear we use, DIY or commercially available or a mix.  Put things together for a result.  That's what Josh is doing - he's now at the onset of "puttings things together for a result".  We are assisting with formulating a decision that's ultimately his and his alone to make.  Enlightening him to some of the variables and perspective with which to approach the problem solving aspects to arrive at the solution that will hopefully provide a result that's near his expectation.  Level set his expectation to which gear, how much gear and so on which he can translate to logistics of hauling it around and ultimately how big a piggy bank it will take to get started.
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Josh Daube on March 28, 2021, 05:16:02 pm
Thanks so much for your responses! More than happy to hear criticism for my plan, I'm still finding my way.

My goal with this rig is not so much to provide a full throttle rave experience to crowds of 400 - I guess that was unclear on my part. With the sketchy timeline of Covid, and my relatively fresh position in the city's event ecosystem, I'm more interested in satisfying 100-200 people, with 400 being an upper limit to work towards. Even if vaccinations proceed quickly, I imagine most events this summer will still be outdoors and on the smaller side. Building a solid base with a clear path for growth is where I'm at right now. If, magically, there was an opportunity to throw a larger party, I would simply rent reinforcement. There's no way my beginner PA will be able to compete with the various eyeball-rattling systems in my city -- at least for the immediate future.

So back to speaker talk: from your comments, I hear as good news the fact that I can probably live with the 735s instead of 745s, and the bad news that I definitely need more sub pressure. 2x 8006s would be cheaper than 4x 8004s, but as Mike mentioned, having more speakers would give me more flexibility with placement. I don't understand any major differences between the 800x and 900x besides RDnet integration, which doesn't seem like it would solve my problem. I'll keep an eye on the used market, at least RCF has a lot of secondhand availability. Ultimately it looks like I just need: more.

I should mention that I'm open to other brands like JTR, Bassboss, Danley etc. if they will solve this dilemma, but I'd assumed these would be out of my budget. And unfortunately I have no experience whatsoever with the skills necessary to build my own boxes, and no place to set up shop. Just storing large speakers in NYC is enough of a headache.

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Steve-White on March 28, 2021, 07:09:04 pm
Keep in mind this.  It's your decision and you live with the results.  Nobody has the same story on how they got started, where they are now or where they're headed.

You will have your story as well and your own unique set of experiences from the journey.

At times that gets lost in the db blabber which we love to engage in, myself included.  For me, like the next guy I have my preferences of equipment and how the systems are laid out architecture wise.

At your point, with the questions you are asking let me also suggest this.  Coming here and posting  the thread is great.  I don't know what your experience is with the world of mobile DJ equipment.  Back when I was getting started I was like a sponge.  Went out to many many clubs and carefully looked at their systems, how they sounded and the installation itself, brands, etc.  Also the lighting.  And checked out lots of clubs with bands playing, band/DJ clubs.  And went to any event I heard of with a mobile DJ playing, even the local FM radio live DJ appearances.

If you can go out and see what the other guys are using and how well it works for them or how bad it sucks.  Look at everything.  Subs on floor, tops on stage or platforms, ground stacks, do they use monitors or just headphones.  Wired or wireless mics.  Mixer layout.  Most of the guys I've know since the 80's that are still playing have a DJ mixer or controller that feeds into a regular audio mixing console.  The main console controls all the mic inputs and has line inputs from CD players & laptop for dinner music and such.

That's how my stuff is setup as well.  Wired mic for the DJ, also a wireless for the DJ & a second wireless for the guests to propose toasts and such - system is optimized for wedding receptions.  Also has monitors that sit on the DJ desk on a high pass filter at 120hz as there's plenty of LF from the mains for the monitors.  Are you going to work alone on stage.  I use the lighting guy to assist the DJ with iPad mixer control of the mics when the DJ is out front for MC duty and making introductions.

The system mixer in my setup is an Midas MR12 and works great.  It offers TONS of processing options you want that a DJ mixer or controller doesn't have.  Compressors and limiting functions for the overall system which can be preset to sound levels and help the DJ manage it overall.  Having compression/limiting also on the mics, especially the guest mic so when it gets dropped or some idiot trys to get cute and scream into it is also something that's really necessary for a professional level setup.
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: John Fruits on March 28, 2021, 08:44:21 pm
Slight swerve, did you see this ad in the classifieds. No idea on price but in your area.
https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,175231.0.html
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Steve-White on March 28, 2021, 11:04:54 pm
Slight swerve, did you see this ad in the classifieds. No idea on price but in your area.
https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,175231.0.html

That would be just about what the doctor ordered for what Josh wants to do.  If the controller isn't included he can find a good one used in about 10 minutes online.

That would be worth looking into.
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Doug Fowler on April 20, 2021, 05:59:11 pm
Hello! Like the title says, I'm working on putting together a small soundsystem, and I've been led to believe that RCF is the best choice. With this PA I hope to throw parties (may Covid die a speedy death) of no more than 400 hundred people, mostly in warehouses and outdoors, DJing almost exclusively bass-driven dance music like techno, house, dubstep etc. Our budget is around 6k (flexible) and for this price it seems like RCF is the best bet.

At the moment, I'm thinking the best option is to begin by getting 2x ART 735a over 2x 8004. One question I'm wondering about, is if anyone has experienced the difference between the ART 735a and the 745a? The 735a is so much cheaper (1k less for the pair) than the 745a, that it seems hard to justify the extra 1db. Is there some gross disadvantage to the 735a?

My other question is whether I will have enough bass from 2x 8004. From the specs, it seems like these subs can keep up pretty well with the ART 735a, but most of the examples using the 8004s online show them at gigs with live sound, and it's hard to gauge how they'd fare during a rave. Should I be looking at the 8006? The 9004? Does it make more sense to try to get 4x 8003? Another brand of subs entirely? A demo would be incredible, though I've heard the RCF warehouse in NJ is not publicly accessible due to Covid. I'm based in NYC if anyone know of an alternative.

Thank you for your time, I've learnt so much from the LAB and I'm very grateful to you all.

I don't think you can come close to being satisfied with a $6K budget.
Title: Re: Help putting together RCF soundsystem (ART 735 + 8004)
Post by: Mike Monte on April 21, 2021, 07:50:25 am

You don't want to have to peg your system to the limiters your first set and keep it there all night.


The quote above says it all.
FWIW: I find working with DJ's rather frustrating at times as they always want more volume.
(I double-up on the gear that is requested.)

In my experience if I peg a system "to the walls" during the first set I will end up with no where to go.....
As the DJ's ears fatigue (start to shut down - in protection-mode) the DJ will want it louder as the night (and further fatiguing) goes on as a rig will sound quieter to him....

You system has to have some gas left-in-the-tank (some where to go) or else you'll be riding in the red all night.
Running an over-spec'd rig at 50% at the beginning of the night is a good place to start IMO.

I find DJ's way-more demanding than bands....