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Need PA Advice for FOH!!!

RNDan

Can't make up my mind! Hope you can help me out!
QSC K 12's w/ dbx Driverack PX (PX used for EQ, Compression, etc) (500+500 watts powered cabinet)
or
Peavey SP5's w/ PV 3800 Amp and PV QF 215 EQ (775 watts to each SP5)
or
PV 12M's over PV 118 Subs using PV 2600 to power all and Peavey VSX 26 for X-over, EQ, etc. (Ch 1 of amp to mains, Ch 2 of amp to subs = 450 watts per speaker @ 4 ohms)
All three of these packages run about $2,300 with the cables, speaker stands, and everything so I'm really stuck here!
More about what we have going on:
My band plays a variety of rock (Silversun Pickups, Taking Back Sunday, Metallica, Bon Jovi, etc.) We have a Soundcraft mixer, 4 Peavey PV 15M monitors, and Peavey PV series amps running them through a dbx 215 EQ.
It's doubtful that we will ever add anything on after this purchase, so part of me thinks that we should go for the all PV system with the subs, but then I think that the SP5's would sound much cleaner and louder, but lack the bottom end ability to mic the drum kit and bass guitar. I'm assuming the same would be true of the QSC K12's (loud and clean, but lack the ability to mic up drums and bass).
We plan on miking the entire drum kit and the bass (direct out from amp to board) as well. We don't need ridiculously loud bass guitar, but something to supplement his stage volume (which will be fairly low since we mic everything up and let the PA do it's job).
Can't wait to get some advice so I can quit looking at this stuff all night every night!!!
January 3, 2011 @04:08am
optix52

No advice per se- although the thought of loud and "clean" got my attention. Two things; you have equipment to pack around-all the time. Secondly- venues? Large, medium or small- how much space are you filling on average? Speaker style- long throw horns? or spatial dispersion. How a speaker disperses sound plays just as much of a role as the quality it produces. I would advise you get compression drivers over standard tweeter/style horns. Compression drivers are more responsive to EQ'ing- plus most have better crossover's. Unless you have rack gear to handle cross overs for you then it has to be a consideration. Driver sizes affect frequency response- how much lower end; as in bass and toms? Okay, so I added more questions than I answered- but speakers have many considerations. Have you looked at the Mackie C-300's?
January 4, 2011 @12:29am
RNDan

No, I haven't checked out the Mackie's yet, but I will look at them as well!
We play venues with around 150 people average....bar sizes vary, my best guess is that the average is about 2000 sq ft....
We would like to mic the bass and drums so we don't have to have an ultra-loud stage volume...our monitors will have vocals and guitar through them only, but the main PA will have vocals, guitar, and SUPPLEMENT the bass players stage volume, as well as the drums. We think that the drummer and bass player will be able to fill up a decent amount of the bar rooms on their own, so they don't need a ton of PA support.
I want something that will get us through "most" situations. If we book a gig that has the need for a "super PA", then we can hire out the sound for the night!
Thanks for the reply, I look forward to learning more!
January 4, 2011 @05:02am
delairthom2

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January 4, 2011 @09:11am
michaelhoddy

I have worked with all the speakers in question at some point or other. The QSC K's are head and shoulders far better speakers than any of the Peaveys you mention, but of course you will pay for it.
The PV12M in particular is not really a speaker I'd ever want to use as a main for any band-related application. It's really a near-field short throw monitor through and through. The HF horn on it is not really designed for use in a larger-format main, and it's going to top out about 6 dB short of the SP5 or K12, which in free space is a pretty big difference. The SP5 will get louder, but it's also big and heavy. The K12 gets exactly as loud as the SP5, and has at least equal if not slightly better frequency response, sounds better, and is an easier carry, being self-powered.
If you can't tell, I'm in favor of the QSC's. They're really great speakers that sound good at any price.
If cost is an obstacle or you really want subs at your budget, I'd encourage you to buy better-quality gear that's used. Speakers and amps in particular, if they haven't been abused, age well, and you can score some great gear for the same or less cost as very average new gear. You could likely score a pair of, say, used self-powered Mackie SRM450's and SRS1500 subs for your budget or less. They're decent, self-powered speakers that are pretty portable and which still sound better than the Peaveys. There are a multitude of other good used options as well.
Be careful comparing wattages between different speakers. Wattage is a merely a measure of power consumption, not a measure of loudness, and even then, there's a lot of factors which make it hard to compare wattage apples-to-apples: "program," RMS, pink noise, sine wave @ 1kHz, etc. Lots of variables
Loudspeaker efficiency measured consistently half-space or whole-space and referenced to frequency response at + or - 3dB is a much more useful indicator of how a given loudspeaker will perform, short of auditioning them in person.
Also, I'm not really a fan of correcting other forum users, and I hate being "that guy" because it's sort of asinine, but there's some things which need to be clarified here from Optix52:
I would advise you get compression drivers over standard tweeter/style horns. Compression drivers are more responsive to EQ'ing- plus most have better crossover's. Unless you have rack gear to handle cross overs for you then it has to be a consideration. Driver sizes affect frequency response

In order:
1. Compression drivers as a category are no less or more responsive to EQ than and other kind of tweeter or HF device as a category. There are two many other factors in play with ANY type of driver (especially phase response and other time domain factors) to be able to make this type of blanket claim. Also, all of the speakers in the OP do have compression drivers mated to some sort of horn, of widely different characteristics and quality.
2. Crossover quality is independent from driver type. It is true that a cheap speaker with a piezo tweeter is likely to have a lesser crossover than an expensive speaker with a good compression driver, but that's because the speaker is cheap, not because it has a different tweeter. I absolutely promise that the dome-tweeter-equipped Meyer UPM-1P's I install occasionally have far better electronics than 98 percent of any speaker type with a compression driver.
3. Driver size is not a reliable indicator of frequency response. It is true that a larger driver can potentially move more air than a smaller one due to its physical surface area, but this is not always a given, and the fact that in the above, the 12" woofer of the QSC K12 in its enclosure has equal or greater low frequency response to the 15" woofer of the Peavey SP5 in its enclosure proves this. There are once again too many other factors in play- driver specs, excursion capabilities, box design, etc- to make this sort of generalization.
January 4, 2011 @07:51pm
RNDan

Thanks for the ideas, Michael.
I was kind of leaning towards the QSC's anyway after pondering it for the past couple of days. I have really bad luck with buying used, so I'll most likely end up with the K12's.
Thanks again....Dan
January 6, 2011 @03:19am
eRoland

If you have 100 amp guitar amps cranked up on stage passed 4 on the master then your better off using the pa for vocals in a room for 150 or less. The drums are never hard to hear. in a small room. Get the k12s and add subs later if you really want to mic drums.
You need a freind with a good ear help get amps balanced with vocals and drums if you are mixing on stage.
People will remember good sound at lower levels as being better than a loud muddy mess. cut all the lows you can on guitars or room gets clouded.
January 22, 2011 @03:01am