You are here

Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

For performing musicians and engineers: stagecraft, engineering and gear.

Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Anatonic » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:05 pm

Hi all

First visit but have been reading a few threads in a similar vein and wanted some possible advice on upgrading our bands PA system.

We're currently using at a very basic level:

    Behringer PMP6000 powered desk
    2 x Peavey 15" passive speakers for FOH
    2 x Peavey 12" passive speakers for stage sound or reinforcement in larger venues (usually just FOH mix)
    Recently moved to using wired IEMs but limited to only 2 aux/monitor sends

We are a 3-piece band comprised piano, drums and bass/acoustic guitar - all 3 of us sing. We typically DI everything such as piano and acoustic guitar (via an LR Baggs Para DI) and we use a Fender Rumble Stage 800 (2x12) bass amp - which we've never DI'd but bigger events (250+) we're struggling to get a good balance and DI'ing through the 15s makes the whole mix muddy.

Although we're reasonably happy with what we have currently, our desire is to retire this setup permanently in our rehearsal space and find something more portable / newer for going out on the road with - preferably a digital mixer and a move to powered speakers (possibly with a sub). That way we have the inputs needed, plus additional Aux outs for a dedicated IEM mix each.

We've recently used a Soundcraft Ui24R and liked the sound and control provided from this unit, but just not sure where to go in terms of powered speakers, sizes and whether a sub would be useful or not. Intention is to get some ideas together and then try go see some of the gear in person locally (we're Oxfordshire based in the UK).

Budget wise - we're reasonably flexible, we have about £2,000 to play with at the minute but know that we may need to stretch that depending on whether the advice is to also include a dedicated sub etc.

Here's a recent photo of a typical gig - so you get an idea of the size of some of the rooms we play in - though we do play in smaller pubs also from time to time. So the idea of a sub might be great if we can 'pick and choose' whether we need it for a gig or not.

Image

Thanks all!
Anatonic
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:41 am

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:28 pm

Lots of good stuff out there these days and you'll need to go and listen to the options to see if they suit you. But, you'll find it hard to better Yamaha's DXR/DSR range if you can stretch your budget just a little. DXR10/12 costs around £500 a box and a single DXS15 sub (one should be enough for your gigs and you'll only really need that if you put bass and bass through the rig) about the same. If you're using IEM's you won't need monitors so you could almost stay in budget and upgrade to the DSR range, 2 x DSR12 and a DSR118 sub would come in at £2121

https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/yamaha-dsr112-active-pa-speaker-single?utm_source=google&utm_medium=shopping&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6KW-n-KD3wIV2ed3Ch0xAAVfEAQYASABEgLjSvD_BwE

https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/yamaha-dsr118w-active-pa-subwoofer-single?utm_source=google&utm_medium=shopping&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_s_27-KD3wIVh813Ch3tmAHhEAQYAyABEgLBWPD_BwE
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10399
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Anatonic » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:11 pm

Thanks Sam - really useful!

Strangely popped into PMT in Oxford at lunchtime and had a good chat. Interestingly, I've had a text from our piano player when I told him I was off to PMT to say he's got a DXR12 he bought a while ago to use as a monitor for himself but then never unboxed it - as such, we could limit the expenditure and pickup another DXR12 + sub to stay well within budget.

Surprisingly, I looked at the range while in the shop but didn't have time to listen - but compared to our ancient Peavy 15's they seem TINY and the weight is significantly lighter! :D Seriously impressed if just to make life easier in transporting gear etc.

Any other views on digital mixers greatly appreciated. Quite comfortable utilising a laptop and tablet combination - we do use some Ableton and have a laptop on stage currently. Was weighing up between an XR18 or the Ui24R - or whether we just save more money to stretch out to a X32 Rack or even a Compact. Typically once we're dialled in I like the idea of being able to recall settings and the rack units being as portable as they are mean I'm leaning towards those over a physical control surface. Also like the idea of the Ui24r for multitrack recording as well.

Looks like a proper 'day out' will be needed this weekend!
Anatonic
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:41 am

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:21 pm

I bought a Mackie DL1608 when they were pretty new, it's still my goto for most gigs (especially now I've more or less retired). The app is still the best out there IMO but it is iPad only iOS.

I also have X32 Compact which now spends most of it's time in my home studio and an X32 Rack which spends most of it's time in a flight case in the corner. If I didn't have the Mackie I probably would use the Rack for all but the smallest gigs. I bought an XR12 for those and it's fine but I prefer the Mackie so may sell it. The built in wireless is a bit hit or miss too on the XR12 as it only does 802.11b/g on 2.4GHz which gets a bit crowded when all the smartphones start streaming video of your performance :headbang: The external routers I use for the other kit (Apple Airport Express and Extreme) are much more reliable. There is a wired option for the XR12 over Cat6 but you need the appropriate interface on your device, Laptops mostly have them but tablets not always.

HTH
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10399
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby blinddrew » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:01 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:There is a wired option for the XR12 over Cat6 but you need the appropriate interface on your device, Laptops mostly have them but tablets not always.
But a RJ45 to USB adaptor can be had for about a tenner...
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8326
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:04 pm

Good point but I was thinking more of tablets which are sometimes can't act as hosts (and, of course, bloody iDevices which are a law unto themselves :headbang: ......)
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10399
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Dave Rowles » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:53 pm

I use a x32 rack quite a lot, and the expandability of it over the others is a good selling point. I've hardly ever run out of inputs on the small gigs that I do with it, especially when I can plug keys and acoustic guitars into the line ins and usually have enough signal to not worry about not having a pre-amp to gain them up.

I've also used the XR18, and I would suggest seeing if you can stretch your budget. While there is nothing wrong with the XR, the rack is a much better piece of equipment.

And yes, budget for a secondary router if you go with one built in.
User avatar
Dave Rowles
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1104
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:00 am
Location: Isle of Man
http://www.manninmusic.com Bandcamp
Sound Engineer, Music Teacher, Isle of Man

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:39 am

Totally agree, the only possible nag (apart from the extra cost) is the complexity of the Rack and it's apps compared to the X Air but the OP seems to be ok with that and the extra facilities definitely earn their keep if you are prepared to learn to use them. :thumbup:
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10399
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Anatonic » Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:17 am

Holy thread revival Batman!

So almost a year on and a few changes meant we kept with our existing passive setup for 2019 - putting some money into our shared recording / rehearsal space and taking what is probably the best piece of advice I saw on here... hiring in equipment + experienced engineer for the big gigs. We had a few large commitments for 2019 which we knew any PA we upgraded to simply wouldn’t cut it, nor would the pressure of trying to run it ourselves be worth it. Best decision ever - the difference was phenomenal and so much more flexible!

What it does mean though is we also managed to put aside more money and increase our budget to £3k for a possible upgrade for 2020.

Before we pull the trigger though, I wanted to ask if there was any different advice or product recommendations we should be going and looking at when it comes to what was originally suggested? Still very much going the rack mixer route - X32 still very much up there but also had the offer of Presonus 16R (we use a Studiolive 16 in our recording space so used to their ecosystem) - but speakers still up for debate...

Couple of things to note - we are now a 4 piece with a guitarist too. We also have an RCF 702-AS II sub as part of our rehearsal studio setup which gets minimal use. As such we’re wondering if we should still go the DXR/DXS route (12s + 15), or look to get a decent pair of RCF tops to pair with the single sub? Were not a particularly loud band - eclectic mix of covers - and we’d still likely rent in for the much bigger gigs... as such maybe the 12” RCF sub is plenty punch enough for the types of pub / wedding gigs we do? We’ve never taken on the road so appreciate any experience others may have had with a similar setup.

Thanks chaps!
Anatonic
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:41 am

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:11 pm

I'm not a fan of 12" subs for PA, the couple I've used have been a bit 'one note'. A 15" would be the minimum I'd suggest, my old 15" EV sBA750 has loads of power and sounds 'musical'. That and a couple of QSC K12's is plenty for 150 punters.

Yamaha and EV tops (and any of the other 'name' manufacturers) all seem to offer a similar price/quality and all will all get the job done. They each sound a little different to the others so pick the one that you like the sound of most (which is why I bought the K12s, second choice and very close would have been the DXR12s and I own three DXR10s mostly used as monitors).
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10399
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby MarkPAman » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:34 pm

Be careful of generalisations!

I'm not that familiar with the RCF 702 Sub. However, the pair of TTS12A subs I run are definitely not "one note" boxes. The 702 looks to be more or less, an update of that.
MarkPAman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 863
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Somewhere between Portsmouth & Chichester

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:39 pm

Fair comment :thumbup:
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10399
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Wonks » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:16 pm

And as I keep saying, the Yamaha DXS12 is a decent sounding sub as well.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9846
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Anatonic » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:37 pm

It's a fair point - because we've not really used the 12" RCF, my temptation is to bring in a couple of 12" tops to a gig near Xmas and just try it live to see.

Admittedly, I've heard the DXR12 + DXS15 combo in person and it sounded absolutely great which is why we're still tempted to go this route.

I know for a large wedding we did , we hired in DXR15s + DXS15s (pic below during setup) and with the guy running the desk for us, it was phenomenal. Not sure we need to go this large (equally thinking of portability) so 12s + one 15 sub would probably be plenty for all but the largest of gigs or outdoor events.

Image

Is it worth even considering buying used and then putting the rest of our money into other things, or higher quality speakers?

Going to try get out this weekend to some stores to see what we can test and look at.
Anatonic
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:41 am

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:08 pm

Most 10" or 12" tops reproduce vocals better than 15"s IME. A couple of DXR10s or the equivalent RCFs teamed up with your RCF sub would be worth a try, slightly lighter in the car and on the wallet than 12"s and will still work well with a 15" sub if you decide the RCF doesn't work for you. They'll still cut it as a stripped down two box rig for smaller gigs too, the loss of bass extension over 12"s is small.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10399
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Anatonic » Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:26 pm

Thanks Sam - I'm going to see if we can even get a loan of something like the RCF ART 710-A to pair up with the sub as you suggest. Just to give it a try and see how we feel before we commit.

As I say we've got a DXR10 we use as a monitor for our keyboard / piano player, so I can equally try and give those a go with the sub. I also think, having had that experience of having someone else do the 'work' so to speak, is that there is a lot to be said for just moving to an efficient powered set of speakers. Our passive setup is fine to a degree, but they were still 15", being driven by the Behringer PMP desk and more often than not, it was the vocals that were the issue - in some cases never seemed to be able to get them clear enough - often too quiet / muddy, especially in more confined spaces trying to compete with drums.

One other change we've made but will incorporate properly is IEMs - we've gone a mix of wired (for piano + drums) and wireless - and reducing stage volume has made a huge difference to the quality of what punters are hearing. We're not overcompensating trying to hear our own vocals or instruments, so I imagine it can only be even better when we ditch the old gear and modernise!
Anatonic
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:41 am

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:25 pm

One thing to bear in mind is that most subs these days don't have a crossover built in just a LPF so they rely on the top having a matching HPF. Your RCF sub, though, does* have a crossover so could be teamed up with another manufacturer's tops by leaving the tops set to full range and feeding them from the crossover/link outputs and selecting the crossover characteristics on the sub. Interestingly they recommend it be used with 8" or 10" tops.

* But check if you eventually decide to go for a different sub.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10399
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby AlecSp » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:38 pm

For a portable small gig rig like you're after, I'd be onto 10/12 tops and 15 subs ideally, from decent MI range.

From what you describe, I suspect 10s over a single 15 sub would deliver what you need. But 12s over a pair of 15 subs would be the next level up. While I use RCF ART 710 and 722 over 705s subs, many of the other competitors, like Yamaha DXS, are in the same ballpark. I'll happily get quite some level and punch from the 710s over a single 705.

In the end, only you can decide, but really could do with hearing before you buy - which you already know. Where are you? (in case someone feeling friendly might be able to help)

MarkPAman wrote:I'm not that familiar with the RCF 702 Sub. However, the pair of TTS12A subs I run are definitely not "one note" boxes. The 702 looks to be more or less, an update of that.
Definitely not, TT are definitely pro boxes, with prices to match. 702 is from the MI ART range - good, but not going to touch TT.
AlecSp
Regular
Posts: 406
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:00 am

Re: Upgrading PA for 3-piece Band

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:43 pm

AlecSp wrote:Definitely not, TT are definitely pro boxes, with prices to match. 702 is from the MI ART range - good, but not going to touch TT.

Yup did sound for a few years for a band that had TT tops over std 18" subs and they were stunning, cost a bomb mind you but, yes, superb.

If the budget is there you might give Yamaha's new DZR10s a look, twice the price of DXRs but, on paper at least, absolutely amazing. I suspect they would handle pretty much anything you could throw at them.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10399
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Wonks