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Column array/Line array PA set-ups?


hamerhead
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I'm looking to downsize the PA. I've heard the Bose stick thingys a few times and thought they sounded great. The price, not so much.

Any less-expensive column array alternatives you'd recommend? I'm looking for garage jam/small club size.

Thanks.

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I haven't heard them in person, but HK Audio looks good.  The EV Evolve stuff has a good rep.  LD Systems.  There's some JBL stuff but haven't heard it.   How much you looking to spend?   The new Bose Pro 16 looks good and is priced around the Evolve 50.  RCF makes some good stuff.    Yamaha has one out now too.  Those are the brands I'd look at as delivering the better quality sound, but Turbosound (Behringer) and Peavey also make some that are less of a spend but seem to be hit and miss on reviews.  

I usually like zzounds.com if I don't want to fork out all at once for pricier stuff.  They'll split into 12 o 18 payments on your card with a one time fee.   Sounds like you have a mixer etc. or is it looking for a downsize as well?

 

 

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Last time I was looking at PA stuff, the stand-mounted small powered mains seem to have improved a whole lot, along with the small powered subs with crossover, one could add the sub(s) for bigger than a coffee house as needed. Bose has some lingering smoke/mirrors reputation, I'd be hesitant with them, and more likely to look at EV, QSC, JBL, Yamaha.  I've kept my little PA, thinking my daughter might need it, it's Wharfedale powered mains that go on stands, which still sound good to me, but I think the newer stuff is quite a bit better and smaller.   

  How big is your current rig? 

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On 9/12/2022 at 6:40 PM, hamerhead said:

I'm looking to downsize the PA. I've heard the Bose stick thingys a few times and thought they sounded great. The price, not so much.

Any less-expensive column array alternatives you'd recommend? I'm looking for garage jam/small club size.

Thanks.

What are you using now and what's your price range for a new speaker system? 

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On 9/14/2022 at 11:20 AM, HSB0531 said:

What are you using now and what's your price range for a new speaker system? 

Right now I have two EV SxA250 powered monitors (heavy little pigs) as mains and two cheapcheapcheap 15" subs w/ amp. The EVs sound great and will get louder than I want to stand in front of.

If I can keep the new one under $1500, that would be swell. I'm looking for small club volume. I've seen (what looks like) decent ones from $1000-$1200. I'm hoping to get $600-$700 for the old stuff, so it gets me about halfway there.

I like the EV stuff but there are soooo many out there that it's a lot to wade thru. I'm open to anything.

We saw a band at a local not-that-big-of-a club with five - count 'em, FIVE -  Bose sticks behind them. Clear as a bell, sounded fantastic everywhere you stood - but waaaaay overkill for the room. Two should have/ would have been plenty. But, RAWK-N-ROLL, right?

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When I saw Redd Voelkert they used a sub a side and 1 JBL Vertec line array each side on poles. It was a 200 person room and that sounded like a recording! I didn't see the console but my buddy was playing bass, said the monitors where awesome. No idea of weight but the out sound was fantastic.

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The Vertec speakers are around $5k per speaker in the array, may be over budget. 

10 hours ago, hamerhead said:

Right now I have two EV SxA250 powered monitors (heavy little pigs) as mains and two cheapcheapcheap 15" subs w/ amp. The EVs sound great and will get louder than I want to stand in front of.

If I can keep the new one under $1500, that would be swell. I'm looking for small club volume. I've seen (what looks like) decent ones from $1000-$1200. I'm hoping to get $600-$700 for the old stuff, so it gets me about halfway there.

I like the EV stuff but there are soooo many out there that it's a lot to wade thru. I'm open to anything.

We saw a band at a local not-that-big-of-a club with five - count 'em, FIVE -  Bose sticks behind them. Clear as a bell, sounded fantastic everywhere you stood - but waaaaay overkill for the room. Two should have/ would have been plenty. But, RAWK-N-ROLL, right?

If there were five in the band, they're doing it as Bose intended.  The Bose sticks were originally designed so that each person in the band had their own.  The 180 degree spread basically meant you could hear each other without monitoring and you're not stuck in one spot onstage.  And basically the audience hears pretty much the same thing, so not really guessing from the stage if it sounds good out in the house.   They are pricey, but using them as they were designed is why it sounded good all over. 

I'd say go somewhere and just listen to a few if you can.  Bring a live recording to get a sense of how it may sound, or just music you know really well.  

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I used to use the Bose L1 Model 1, and I thought it was overrated.  I sold it in favour of two QSC K8.2 powered loudspeakers, and I love them.  You do not need a separate P.A.:  they have everything you need (except you can use a mixing board if you like).  I went to the store thinking that I would go for the K12.2 or the K10.2, but to my ears, the K8.2 sounded the best.  Too small, you say?  How small do you think the Bose speakers are in the line array?  And the QSC are loud!  There is a reason that Bose will not publish the wattage of their line array speakers, and obviously, it is because it is so low.  In the end, I thought the Bose was a hassle to carry in and set up, and not loud enough.  The QSC are easy to carry, easy to set up, and only two pieces, plus tripods to hold them up.  As a bonus, they can also serve as wedge monitors.

https://www.qsc.com/solutions-products/loudspeakers/portable/powered/portable-pa/k2-series/

Edited by HamerCustomEr
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Bose have the specs, and they're RMS not peak like many manufacturers publish.  You can find them easily by searching: Bose L1 Model 1 specs:

https://assets.bose.com/content/dam/Bose_DAM/Web/pro/global/discontinued_products/loudspeakers/L1_model1/tds_l1_model1.pdf

It's 250W for the LF amplifier and 250W for the HF amplifier.

They're not designed to be really loud in front of them, like standard speakers, but consistent volume for a longer distance before falling off.  Standard speakers will be really loud in front and drop off more sharply.  Horses for courses.   To me, without a sub underneath each one, I don't like the visual of the tripod.  

I dig QSC as well.  I've got a pair of the original K8 speakers.  

The 8.2 top at 122dB continuous while the Bose L1 M1 tops at 115dB continuous.  QSC also list Peak wattage only.  They used to list both in the past. 

The EV Evolve 50 specs only lists its maximum SPL at 127dB, so I suspect it's probably continuous at 120-122dB. 

 

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Concert Line arrays like the EAW KF740, the JBL Vertec VT4886, and the Electro-Voice Xlc127DVX  are very expensive.   They cover 120 degrees in the horizontal, but only 10 degrees typically in the vertical.   They're designed to be coupled in an arc to form a smooth continuous vertical wave-front.  There's smaller versions like the JBL VRX series which are typically used 2 or 3 per side and work well in small to medium sized rooms with subwoofers.   These are not as expensive, but still pricey.  The Bose Panaray MSA12 line of speakers use (12) 2.25" speakers in each cabinet, have a long term power handling of 150 watts and have a 120 x 20 degree dispersion pattern.

Personally, I would stick with 12'/horn, or 10'/horn cabinets and 90x60 horn pattern in a small club. Ones with a tilt-able pole socket would be ideal so they can be angled downward for better coverage.  Several companies make gas assisted speaker poles that make mounting them much easier.  If your band doesn't need the bass, keys or kick drum going through the PA, you should look into the Electro-Voice ELX-200 passive, and 200P powered speakers.  They make them in 12", and 15" versions.

 

 

 

Edited by HSB0531
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I really don't want to hijack this thread, but it seems relevant to this discussion on line array sound quality/bang for the buck.  I'd like to hear experiences/opinions on vocal mics from those of you who gig small clubs.  We've been using mostly venerable SM58s, thinking that they were "good enough" for the crowds we play for in small town bars. As time marches on, I'm convinced that 58s emphasize far too much lower-mid and bass frequencies and just don't sound articulate enough for venues nestled in old brick buildings with high celings, so I'm planning to order a couple of Sennheiser e935 mics before our next gig.  Any thoughts on this?

Edited by Biz Prof
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1 hour ago, Biz Prof said:

I really don't want to hijack this thread, but it seems relevant to this discussion on line array sound quality/bang for the buck.  I'd like to hear experiences/opinions on vocal mics from those of you who gig small clubs.  We've been using mostly venerable SM58s, thinking that they were "good enough" for the crowds we play for in small town bars. As time marches on, I'm convinced that 58s emphasize far too much lower-mid and bass frequencies and just don't sound articulate enough for venues nestled in old brick buildings with high celings, so I'm planning to order a couple of Sennheiser e935 mics before our next gig.  Any thoughts on this?

   I don't think that arrays are a good fit in small to medium sized rooms.  They're always more expensive and multiple units are needed per side to cover the vertical.  line array cabs are typically 90 to 120 degrees nominal coverage in the horizontal, but require at least 6 per side to achieve a 60 degree coverage and require precise cab to cab angles to avoid beaming and phase shifts.   In highly reflective rooms a fully horn loaded system will give a much better coverage with less feedback because it focuses the sound where you aim it without leakage to the areas you don't.  Unfortunately, it's hard to find fully horn loaded cab's.

Here's some fully horn loaded systems from EV (although overkill for a club):  https://products.electrovoice.com/na/en/mts/   https://products.electrovoice.com/na/en/evh/

A great Mic from Shure that has very little feedback is the Shure Beta58A:   https://www.shure.com/en-US/products/microphones/beta_58a?variant=Beta+58A

I own a Sennheiser E945 and it's a very high quality Mic:  https://en-us.sennheiser.com/vocal-microphone-dynamic-super-cardioid-e-945

NOTES Regarding high ceiling brick rooms:   You need to get the speakers up between 7 and 9 ft. and angled down towards the crowd.  That will greatly reduce feedback and sound bouncing off the rear and side walls.

Here's a mount that allows this:  https://www.amazon.com/Konig-Meyer-Speaker-Tilt-Connector/dp/B000WB6N12?th=1

Edited by HSB0531
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On 9/20/2022 at 4:13 PM, Biz Prof said:

I really don't want to hijack this thread, but it seems relevant to this discussion on line array sound quality/bang for the buck.  I'd like to hear experiences/opinions on vocal mics from those of you who gig small clubs.  We've been using mostly venerable SM58s, thinking that they were "good enough" for the crowds we play for in small town bars. As time marches on, I'm convinced that 58s emphasize far too much lower-mid and bass frequencies and just don't sound articulate enough for venues nestled in old brick buildings with high celings, so I'm planning to order a couple of Sennheiser e935 mics before our next gig.  Any thoughts on this?

I dig the Audix OM5 and OM2 as a lower cost version.  The Audix mics really like you to be on them to sound their best, not a foot away, so mic technique may need to be adjusted.  

I've also liked the EV N/D767, but haven't tried its replacement (ND67).  

 

 

 

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On 9/20/2022 at 1:13 PM, Biz Prof said:

I really don't want to hijack this thread, but it seems relevant to this discussion on line array sound quality/bang for the buck.  I'd like to hear experiences/opinions on vocal mics from those of you who gig small clubs.  We've been using mostly venerable SM58s, thinking that they were "good enough" for the crowds we play for in small town bars. As time marches on, I'm convinced that 58s emphasize far too much lower-mid and bass frequencies and just don't sound articulate enough for venues nestled in old brick buildings with high celings, so I'm planning to order a couple of Sennheiser e935 mics before our next gig.  Any thoughts on this?

 I found that the e835 sounds better in every vocal situation than the sm58, my opinion was shared by others around here. I would imagine the e935 would be a good choice.   

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And to get back on topic, I bought........ (drum roll, please).....

 

The Harbinger MLS900s: https://harbingerproaudio.com/mls900-personal-line-array-pa-system/

OK, before you blast me to smithereenies, they get really good reviews. AND they were $300 (1/2 price) as a Stupid Deal of the Day today, so I ordered two for $600.

Realizing that I really don't need to sink a couple grand (or more) into something that will spend 90-95% of it's time in my basement or garage, these just made more sense. They won't get hauled all over the countryside, won't have a full band running thru them and won't get cranked up to earshattering volumes, but should do a decent job of handling vocals, harp, acoustic guitars, etc without me having to grunt those heavy-ass EVs and subs.

I'll let you know how they do at my next jam. Wish me luck. I'm hopeful (but not selling the EVs just yet).

Thanks for your input, guys.

 

Now, back to your mic talk:

The Audix OM5 is a great mic (although I am no mic expert).

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2 hours ago, Jimbilly said:

 I found that the e835 sounds better in every vocal situation than the sm58, my opinion was shared by others around here. I would imagine the e935 would be a good choice.   

After decades of Beta 58 use I am a e935 user, my whole Frontline is e935/835 mics. They take db's better and sound better in a mix. I still have the beta 57 and 58s. The SM57 is still good about anywhere. I tried the Audix 5s but they stay in the box most of the time. I had a pair of Audix SCX1 for overheads...killer!!!

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1 hour ago, hamerhead said:

And to get back on topic, I bought........ (drum roll, please).....

 

The Harbinger MLS900s: https://harbingerproaudio.com/mls900-personal-line-array-pa-system/

OK, before you blast me to smithereenies, they get really good reviews. AND they were $300 (1/2 price) as a Stupid Deal of the Day today, so I ordered two for $600.

Realizing that I really don't need to sink a couple grand (or more) into something that will spend 90-95% of it's time in my basement or garage, these just made more sense. They won't get hauled all over the countryside, won't have a full band running thru them and won't get cranked up to earshattering volumes, but should do a decent job of handling vocals, harp, acoustic guitars, etc without me having to grunt those heavy-ass EVs and subs.

I'll let you know how they do at my next jam.

And they do Stereo! Please let us know how they sound. I would have done the same thing if I saw that ad.

 

EtA: There is a source for a little coupling that lets you leave out the middle section of the column to lower the speaker height by one unit. I'll look for the link in my records.

Edited by JGale
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58 minutes ago, JGale said:

And they do Stereo! Please let us know how they sound. I would have done the same thing if I saw that ad.

It's today's stupid deal, so you still have time!  It's so tempting to me, as well.  I'd like something quick and portable to set up outside.

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I'd love to hear a full report about them.

Typically with lower priced stuff, the watch outs are stuff like inputs distort a little quicker, high end may be sharp, connectors may not be robust and they don't do well if you're rough with them.  Can't speak to the Harbingers particularly, but that's what I've run into. 

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And we shall see.

I'm thinking my SIL's sufi group. Find some inexpensive in-ear monitors with mic, a small mixer, etd. I am imaging it might give the audience a focal point when the singers moved about.

Something more to play with. That's always a yay.

Edited by JGale
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