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PA system on a budget

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PA system on a budget

Postby drummer406 » Mon Mar 08, 2021 7:21 am

Hi all, new guy here.

I'm putting together a PA system for my rock/alternative cover band. We will be using it for small outdoor shows(backyards, block parties) and in small/medium bars/clubs. I plan on having the entire band mic'd (2 guitars, bass, drums, keyboard, 3 singers).

I have a budget of $2000-$3000 US.

I plan on getting a Behringer XR18 digital mixer, just need help with the speakers. Based on reviews/videos I've seen, I put together 2 different speaker set ups:

2x Behringer DR112DSP 12inch mains
2x Behringer B1500XP 15inch subs
3x Behringer B212D 12inch monitors

or

2x Alto TS312 12inch mains
2x Alto TS315S 15inch subs
3x Behringer DR112DSP 12inch monitors

Will either of those set ups work for what I want to do? Are there better options in the same price range? Do I need to re-think my budget and spend more for a set up that will meet my needs?

Thanks in advance for the advice!
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Re: PA system on a budget

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Mar 08, 2021 11:06 am

I was a big fan of the original Alto TS speakers back in the day but reliability has not proved as good as I had hoped so my inclination would be to choose the Behringer over the Alto. But if you can stretch the budget (a lot) I'd suggest that 5 x Yamaha DXR10's with a single DXS15 sub would be a better choice at $4300 plus $550 the XR18. If that is too much make your savings by buying the Behringer's for monitors*.

I've suggested 10" speakers across the board, if you are running a sub or two there is a small but useful saving in size, weight and cost and the extra low end of the 12" is not required. A single sub is sufficient for most venues and IME is a good match for two tops.

That rig should cover house/pub garden parties and typical local pubs and bars, for bigger gigs it's well worth hiring in a FOH rig and engineer and charge more to cover the cost.

* Stage monitor volume is limited by feedback and, hopefully, common sense rather than the speakers max SPL so cheaper speakers can still get the job done.
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Re: PA system on a budget

Postby blinddrew » Mon Mar 08, 2021 11:26 am

I'd second what Sam says and just look at a single Sub. Two subs in small-ish venues is usually both overkill and frequently actually counter productive because of phase cancellation issues.
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Re: PA system on a budget

Postby drummer406 » Tue Mar 09, 2021 4:34 am

The Yamaha's are definitely a stretch for my budget. I've been looking around, what are your thoughts on the EV ZLX-12P and EV ELX200-18SP sub? These have very good reviews and a great price.

I'm most likely going to get the Behringers for monitors, because my budget.

Also, I have been hearing mostly that 2 subs for outdoors is better, since there is nothing to contain the sound. Would the one 18" sub do the job outside?
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Re: PA system on a budget

Postby blinddrew » Tue Mar 09, 2021 12:28 pm

drummer406 wrote:Also, I have been hearing mostly that 2 subs for outdoors is better, since there is nothing to contain the sound. Would the one 18" sub do the job outside?
It really depends on the sub. One good sub will outperform (in power and quality) two budget ones.
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Re: PA system on a budget

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Mar 09, 2021 12:44 pm

I haven't heard the EVs but you mostly get what you pay for in this game. My main FOH tops are QSC K12 (mk 1), they are better than the DXRs I use for monitors in the full rig but cost £750 each when the DXR10s were £425.

I have used my 2 x K12's with a single old school EV sBA75 sub to play to audiences of up to 400 outdoors so I'm pretty familiar with it's limits. I have never wished I had more sub power (but I don't like the overblown bass end that some prefer) but the audience of 400 was a bit much for it (it was a charity event I run not a high profile paid gig), it's great for 200-250 if you're not playing Metal and the single sub is a decent match for the k12s to my ears.

Either way, unless you are doing regular medium to large outdoor gigs (not so much home and pub garden parties but more like small festivals) to, say 400 plus audiences, there is no point in having an extra sub sitting in the garage for the twice a year you'll need it. That EV rig certainly won't be enough for an audience of 400 paying punters at a small festival so you'll still need to hire FOH at the very least for those kind go gigs.

Remember the primary purpose of a PA system at the level you and I are gigging (most of my playing gigs with my own rig were very similar to what you describe for your band) is to get the vocals across loud and clear and that is the job of the tops, if you have to economise buy a cheaper sub and get the best tops you can afford.

edit :- I agree with Drew but see above...

edit 2 :- one additional thought, the only things the sub is going to reproduce with a guitar band is the kick and the very lowest octave of the bass, what it does do is take that load of the tops leaving them with more headroom to get the important stuff across cleanly.
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Re: PA system on a budget

Postby drummer406 » Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:15 pm

So I found a great deal on a pair of EV ELX200-12Ps and an ELX200-18SP sub that I couldn’t pass up. The ELX tops are better than the ZLX I was looking at originally, so I feel like this will be a great set up for my needs.
Maybe I can find a deal on those Behringer monitors, too!

Thanks for the input!
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Re: PA system on a budget

Postby blinddrew » Tue Mar 09, 2021 9:48 pm

Sounds like that should be a good combo. :thumbup:
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Re: PA system on a budget

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Mar 10, 2021 11:04 am

:thumbup: Keep us posted, it always useful for anybody else asking the same question.
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Re: PA system on a budget

Postby uselessoldman » Wed Mar 17, 2021 11:07 am

From my own experience most organised outdoor festivals with a few hundred issheads provide a PA system? If not then they should even and costs covered by ticket sales. If you have half a dozen bands playing or more over a few days you should not expect each of them to supply their own, silly moving all that kit about.

same goes for inhouse venues. All I would expect to do is plug into the house PA and get on with the show.

If you are forced to supply then its a question of cost weight time haulage and whether its actually worth it to hire or buy. Buy wise know your products and plan ahead. Separate out stage gear from PA into two packages, one for smaller venues everyday gig and kit 2 for oomph. Says me sat here with over 2kw in amps and cabs in a small room at home enough to blow the roof off any small venue or pub actually its nearer 3 and a 15" 300 watt sub on way or was it 6? . oops

QSC make superb kit I have a couple of their amps although I only use one of the RMX 2450 and its a heavy BEAST, far to heavy to lug about so watch the weight like a hawk and you will thank yourself later. Make sure amps have inbuilt crossover filters QSC have options for 30/50 really useful and helps spread the sound out where it needs to go. I always like a strong Bass helps project and push the sound out when mids/high can sometimes struggle over distance.

Most Behringer cabs now have Bugera speakers and there actually quite good and there amps do hold up well and light. I have a KX1200 that I bought when I got my last keyboard and loved it sounded great and loud enough. Still have it but now retired when I moved to full stereo. XR 18 is a superb bit of kit, I considered it before deciding to go for the x32 I would certainly strongly recommend it for gigging over the X32 which is far too heavy to be practical.

Good luck
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