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Microphone Month 5

Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

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Best Powered Speakers for Hard Rock Band???

daddygreene

I want some opinions for the best powered loudspeakers for a hard rock band. I need the system to have punch and clarity. I need the system to be versatile in that we will be playing for crowds of 200-500 mainly indoors, but sometimes small outdoor gigs. The reason for powered is quicker set up, take down, portability, etc... We have used the SMR450 Mackie's for a while and no Subs. Not cool! Now it's time to step up a bit.
I also have a budget. I'd like to stay under $5000, if possible. I might creep up a bit, but would like to stay in that neighborhood.
My mixer is A&H WZ3 16:2 Mixwiz.
I've been told to look at the QSC K Series stuff, but also told they might not be a good "Live Band" set up. Not enough punch.
Also, I've been told to look at the Yorkville Unity series and although more expensive than the QSC they will fit the bill and deliver the punch and clarity. I know Sweetwater doesn't carry these, but heard they were kickin'.
I'm looking for tops and subs. I'm thinking just 2 tops, 2 Subs for now. We'll add on later.
I want the absolute best quality and punch for the money we have to spend!
Give me your vast wisdom, PLEASE! lol :D
April 16, 2010 @12:31pm
madjack

IME basically any active subwoofers on the market which will begin to approach handling ~200 people outside will cost somewhere between $1200-1500/cab. This leaves ~$1000/cab for tops. Given you've specified the hard rock genre and active cabinets you should look into any of the following systems; JBL PRX cabs; QSC HPR cabs; Yorkville, either Unity cabs or Nx or Elite series. I would also suggest EV either Sx or Z series (I personally use Sx cabs for tops); the Sba760 sub is reportedly comparable to some of the other subs mentioned.
I have also used the QSC HPR 153i over the HPR 118i and been quite pleased with the sound. For your situation a pair of the 153i over two pair of 118is would likely handle ~500 people in a reasonably sized area outdoors.
Really the best you can do is find somewhere to give each brand a listen and see what sounds best to you.
April 22, 2010 @01:01am
daddygreene

Thanks madjack, that's some of the best advice I've heard.
April 22, 2010 @02:27am
TimmyP1955

I'm a fan of the Yorkie U15. The PRX sound good, but I've never been able to open them up. Much as I hate to say it, the 3-way Mackie's (I don't know which one) sound good, but I've not been able to open them up either.
April 22, 2010 @04:21am
Landon

I'm a fan of the Yorkie U15. The PRX sound good, but I've never been able to open them up. Much as I hate to say it, the 3-way Mackie's (I don't know which one) sound good, but I've not been able to open them up either.

I have heard the "Thump class" in the form of the Tapco brand (same speaker as the Mackie); however, there was no sound engineer—the band just set the settings (which were totally crap). I would like to hear what they sound like when used properly :p
What about the JBL PRX515 or JBL PRX535?
There is a dichotomy between passive and active speakers. Has active technology caught up with the sound quality of the traditional passive/amplified systems?
April 22, 2010 @04:23pm
Live Sound Audio

I was looking at the first post again - "Best." If you're serious about this I'd also look at some of the higher end manufacturers gear. There is a substantial difference in how it performs vs. the lower end stuff... There are often used pieces out there you can pick up for close to the same price and if you don't mind some scratches you'll get much more out of it...
April 22, 2010 @05:00pm
madjack

I have heard the "Thump class" in the form of the Tapco brand (same speaker as the Mackie); however, there was no sound engineer—the band just set the settings (which were totally crap). I would like to hear what they sound like when used properly :p
What about the JBL PRX515 or JBL PRX535?
There is a dichotomy between passive and active speakers. Has active technology caught up with the sound quality of the traditional passive/amplified systems?

In some ways active technology has surpassed the passive/amplified systems. Most modern active systems have been designed with proper power, crossover, processing, etc. all taken care of. Many (I'm tempted to say most) end-users don't have the skills and knowledge to really handle setting all that up correctly for a passive/amplified system.
Mackies were mentioned. Personal experience with Mackies include hearing several pairs of 450s, all of which sounded somewhat distorted and harsh, even at low volume (could have been operator error), one pair of passive C300 that sounded great for their application, a pair of 1530s, which sounded fairly good, although a little mid-rangy for my taste, and three different 1801 subs, one of which died for no known reason while not being pushed very hard and about 2 months old, and the other two of which died while the amp started smoking, for no known reason. Just me experience; YMMV
April 22, 2010 @05:07pm
Landon

Interesting! I have heard that some of the JBL's have electrical noise at low volumes. Or could this simply be user error? I really like the features of the JBL PRX535 I just did a little bit of reading and I was surprised as to how many large venue rental companies use powered line arrays I checked out some of JBL's VerTec powered series and was blown away!
April 22, 2010 @06:05pm
michaelhoddy

For a stack 'em and blast 'em self-powered rock band PA on the cheap, I'd be looking hard at the QSC HPR series Madjack's suggestion of a pair of HPR153i over a pair of HPR181 is a good one- a good balance of output, sound quality, and price. Whatever the equivalent JBL PRX models are would be a reasonable cross-shop. I'd stay away from plastic boxes for this sort of PA.
Anything more expensive farther up the self-powered food chain is not really an option given the budget.
Even this will not cover 500 people at rock concert levels outdoors without a lot of pushing. But if you regularly need more PA than this, subcontracting a sound company and building the cost into your contract with the venue makes a lot more sense. If your band is pulling 500-person crowds, you should have enough leverage and budget to do this.
April 23, 2010 @05:13pm
TimmyP1955

Mackie 450s aren't my favorite, but they get the job done. If one cannot make a good sound with them (within their power limits), s/he should not be mixing the band.
April 24, 2010 @03:58am
Landon

Mackie 450s aren't my favorite, but they get the job done. If one cannot make a good sound with them (within their power limits), s/he should not be mixing the band.

So those speakers are good—so long as the engineer mixes them properly? For the OP's situation though, he may need several of these speakers. I wonder what the coverage area is on the Mackie 450? What about the HD1521? That is designed for 400+ audiences.
April 25, 2010 @01:32am
Live Sound Audio

Bag End Elf Double 18" are also very stout for subs. They make a self-powered version on wheels I've used for a few years.
April 26, 2010 @05:25pm
Starmaker

IME basically any active subwoofers on the market which will begin to approach handling ~200 people outside will cost somewhere between $1200-1500/cab. This leaves ~$1000/cab for tops. Given you've specified the hard rock genre and active cabinets you should look into any of the following systems; JBL PRX cabs; QSC HPR cabs; Yorkville, either Unity cabs or Nx or Elite series. I would also suggest EV either Sx or Z series (I personally use Sx cabs for tops); the Sba760 sub is reportedly comparable to some of the other subs mentioned.
I have also used the QSC HPR 153i over the HPR 118i and been quite pleased with the sound. For your situation a pair of the 153i over two pair of 118is would likely handle ~500 people in a reasonably sized area outdoors.
Really the best you can do is find somewhere to give each brand a listen and see what sounds best to you.

+1 on the EV's. I use the SxA360 actives and they put out really good bass for being 12" LF.
April 28, 2010 @05:53am