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Live sound system w/ $7K?

Monos

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I've been (enjoyably) reading speaker reviews here for a while but just joined ASR specifically to get thoughts on building an ideal portable sound system with a $7K budget.

I'm an experienced electronic musician/composer who tours a lot (US, smaller venues usually), & is too often disappointed with house PAs, so I bring my own. However, I struggle to find an acceptable PA not only sonically, but also that doesn't break my back & vehicle. Currently I'm using 2 Yamaha DZR315 & love them, but I simply can't haul these things around the country anymore. I've been considering alternatives (all active) with a much smaller footprint but w/o sacrificing too much volume. What I've been thinking ...

- Devialet Phantom I — I'd be getting two for stereo. The apparently wide dispersion is appealing.
- Cabasse Pearl — Ditto
- Genelec 8351 or another Genelec — Will 2 of these fill a small venue? (I like the proposition of really clear highs w/ Gen)
- Kali IN-8 — Like 4-8 of them ... how well do they pair/chain? How well do they compete with Gens? Ease of setup is appealing.
- Presonus Sceptre S8 — Ditto
- Kef LS50 Wireless II

I really like the idea of a minimal setup, setting down a couple of smart monitors that sound great & yet can compete with loud pa systems. It seems the technology is there, but I really can't say, not having tested these speakers & not having much chance to. Loudness is important, but I'm fine sacrificing some for the sake of soundstage, clarity, bass extension. I suspect e.g. Genelecs might give the impression of large sound through immersion or something like that? Would rather not use a sub. Likewise not interested in fiddling with room correction apps etc. As my needs are for live music, efficiency of setup is a factor. Bluetooth/wireless connectivity is a plus but not necessary. I'm performing from a Mac laptop primarily.

If anyone has PA suggestions, that's fine too, (column arrays?). But really hoping for something smaller.

Anyway, I'm all ears on suggestions! Open to anything, really. Thanks in advance.
 

Slayer

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Genelec S360A
$3,995.00
$333/mo. suggested payments for 12 Mos.
with the credit card.§ Learn More

genelec_s360ap_300_watt_active_10_1_7_studio_1564058191_1495722.jpg
 

sarumbear

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I've been (enjoyably) reading speaker reviews here for a while but just joined ASR specifically to get thoughts on building an ideal portable sound system with a $7K budget.

I'm an experienced electronic musician/composer who tours a lot (US, smaller venues usually), & is too often disappointed with house PAs, so I bring my own. However, I struggle to find an acceptable PA not only sonically, but also that doesn't break my back & vehicle. Currently I'm using 2 Yamaha DZR315 & love them, but I simply can't haul these things around the country anymore. I've been considering alternatives (all active) with a much smaller footprint but w/o sacrificing too much volume. What I've been thinking ...

- Devialet Phantom I — I'd be getting two for stereo. The apparently wide dispersion is appealing.
- Cabasse Pearl — Ditto
- Genelec 8351 or another Genelec — Will 2 of these fill a small venue? (I like the proposition of really clear highs w/ Gen)
- Kali IN-8 — Like 4-8 of them ... how well do they pair/chain? How well do they compete with Gens? Ease of setup is appealing.
- Presonus Sceptre S8 — Ditto
- Kef LS50 Wireless II

I really like the idea of a minimal setup, setting down a couple of smart monitors that sound great & yet can compete with loud pa systems. It seems the technology is there, but I really can't say, not having tested these speakers & not having much chance to. Loudness is important, but I'm fine sacrificing some for the sake of soundstage, clarity, bass extension. I suspect e.g. Genelecs might give the impression of large sound through immersion or something like that? Would rather not use a sub. Likewise not interested in fiddling with room correction apps etc. As my needs are for live music, efficiency of setup is a factor. Bluetooth/wireless connectivity is a plus but not necessary. I'm performing from a Mac laptop primarily.

If anyone has PA suggestions, that's fine too, (column arrays?). But really hoping for something smaller.

Anyway, I'm all ears on suggestions! Open to anything, really. Thanks in advance.
I think neither units in your list will have the level required for PA, nor robustness, especially in high frequencies.

However, you haven’t told us your genre, which matters a lot.
 

GXAlan

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Devialet has latency which can be an issue.

Why not go with Bose F1’s? The subs are designed to be the stands for the main units.
You cannot get extension AND SPLs with many of the speakers you mentioned.

 

Timcognito

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Save your back and get wide dispersion plus all the mounting doo-dads. I'm no expert on sound but based on your description. These seem worth a listen
 

Duke

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I've been (enjoyably) reading speaker reviews here for a while but just joined ASR specifically to get thoughts on building an ideal portable sound system with a $7K budget.

I'm an experienced electronic musician/composer who tours a lot (US, smaller venues usually), & is too often disappointed with house PAs, so I bring my own. However, I struggle to find an acceptable PA not only sonically, but also that doesn't break my back & vehicle. Currently I'm using 2 Yamaha DZR315 & love them, but I simply can't haul these things around the country anymore. I've been considering alternatives (all active) with a much smaller footprint but w/o sacrificing too much volume. What I've been thinking ...

- Devialet Phantom I — I'd be getting two for stereo. The apparently wide dispersion is appealing.
- Cabasse Pearl — Ditto
- Genelec 8351 or another Genelec — Will 2 of these fill a small venue? (I like the proposition of really clear highs w/ Gen)
- Kali IN-8 — Like 4-8 of them ... how well do they pair/chain? How well do they compete with Gens? Ease of setup is appealing.
- Presonus Sceptre S8 — Ditto
- Kef LS50 Wireless II

I really like the idea of a minimal setup, setting down a couple of smart monitors that sound great & yet can compete with loud pa systems. It seems the technology is there, but I really can't say, not having tested these speakers & not having much chance to. Loudness is important, but I'm fine sacrificing some for the sake of soundstage, clarity, bass extension. I suspect e.g. Genelecs might give the impression of large sound through immersion or something like that? Would rather not use a sub. Likewise not interested in fiddling with room correction apps etc. As my needs are for live music, efficiency of setup is a factor. Bluetooth/wireless connectivity is a plus but not necessary. I'm performing from a Mac laptop primarily.

If anyone has PA suggestions, that's fine too, (column arrays?). But really hoping for something smaller.

Anyway, I'm all ears on suggestions! Open to anything, really. Thanks in advance.

In my opinion none of these are going to carry a live gig even in a small venue. My impression is that Genelecs would probably come the closest. Ime the goal posts are in significantly different places for home audio, for studio sound, and for live sound.

I have a few questions, first about how you set up your big Yamahas. Do you put them up on stands, or up on a table?

This may be a dumb question: Do you send stereo to your Yamahas, or do they both get the same (mono) signal?

Would you consider passive mains? This way the amplifier weight would be in your equipment rack instead of in your speakers, which might make a worthwhile difference in portability.

What is the lowest note you play?

How wide do you need the total dispersion arc to be for adequate audience coverage? I would imagine this varies considerably from one venue to another, so realistically I guess I'm asking about the "worse case scenario" that you still want to be able to cover.

Do you need the speakers to function as YOUR monitors as well as the FOH system, or do you have a separate monitor system?

Would you ever need this system to carry an outdoor gig?

What are the size constraints imposed by either you or your vehicle, and what is the weight limit imposed by your back?

Do you use a dolly or something similar for load-in/load-out, or do you hand-carry everything?

Thanks!
 
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LTig

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I agree with @sarumbear and @Duke. No hifi or studio speaker is able to replace the Yamahas (40 kg) wrt max SPL. What you can try is to use much lighter satellites like e.g. the FBT Ventis 110A (15 kg) with 2 matching lighter subs like e.g. the FBT Subline 115SA (28 kg), so the weight of each single speaker is more managable even if the combined weight is higher.

Edit: since you like the Yamahas: the Yamaha DXR8 MK2 (13 kg) with EV ELX200-12SP (19 kg).
 
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Elitzur–Vaidman

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Does anyone here have any experience with the JBL PRX ONE? They look pretty awesome and weigh ~35lbs less than your Yamahas (26kg vs 40kg).
 

sarumbear

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Does anyone here have any experience with the JBL PRX ONE? They look pretty awesome and weigh ~35lbs less than your Yamahas (26kg vs 40kg).
A local band who visits my pub has one. It’s excellent. You can almost not locate the sound coming from it. Doesn’t feedback either. They used to have a similar unit from Bose. I asked the guys why the upgrade. They said every part of JBL is an upgrade to Bose, especially the mixer, while being cheaper.

In case you are not familiar with the unit, it’s a column speaker above a sub, which encloses the amplifiers and a very capable mixer. You can also send music to it wirelessly. In all, everything a PA system requires.

And it costs £1500!
 
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CapMan

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Our band used Electrovoice SX300 passive speakers with a Yamaha power amp-mixer. Very pleasing sound and often commented upon favourably by musicians in the audience. Very durable for gigging also. The Yamaha amp-mixer could split output to power front of house and a couple of passive stage monitors. Really great for a 4 piece in a smallish venue. Don’t overlook EV speakers
 
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Monos

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Thanks, everyone! This is very helpful.

Seems the consensus is my thinking on miniaturizing is a little ... optimistic.

I have a few questions, first about how you set up your big Yamahas. Do you put them up on stands? Or up on a table?
// I often put them directly on the floor, or lift them up a couple feet with whatever is around. Depends on the situation. They sound great anywhere tbh.

This may be a dumb question: Do you send stereo to your Yamahas, or do they both get the same (mono) signal?
// Stereo. Using a basic 2 channel audio interface at 96khz, or direct line-out.

Would you consider passive mains? This way the amplifier weight would be in your equipment rack instead of in your speakers, which might make a worthwhile difference in portability.
// Would really rather not, but you make a good point. I guess what was appealing about active & e.g. the Phantom is that things are centralized & not broken out. That's really just about transport efficiency though. I actually don't even use an equipment rack, just a lil controller & laptop.

What is the lowest note you play?
// Whatever lowest note the speakers are capable of ;). Typically low 30s. But if those Phantoms go down to 16Hz, I'll definitely be rewriting some work!

Do you need the speakers to function as YOUR monitors as well as the FOH system, or do you have a separate monitor system?
// Yes, FOH & my monitors. Ideally the sound fills the room, & since I'm using no mics etc feedback isn't an issue for me.

What are the size constraints imposed by either you or your vehicle, and what is the weight limit imposed by your back?
Do you use a dolly or something similar for load-in/load-out, or do you hand-carry everything?
// I'm totally capable of moving these things, it's simply just that I'd rather not if there are other options. Just trying to streamline a bit if there's a possibility there.

@Timcognito Ah yes, forgot about those! Might do actually. Do you have experience with these? Anyone else?

@Slayer That looks appealing, wonder how I overlooked that (so many Gen models!)

@sarumbear Err... different genres. Ranges from soft piano music to experimental drone. Some soundtrack kind of work. And so on. I often write with sine waves directly so it's very easy to tune up or down dependent on loudspeaker capabilities.

@GXAlan I've always been curious about those, as well as the JBL PRX column arrays recommended. Can't remember why I opted for traditional PA boxes over the column array options. Was looking into the RCF EVOX as well iirc. The JBL PRX is very appealing
 

sarumbear

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Can't remember why I opted for traditional PA boxes over the column array options.
Familiarity with the known. New can be daunting :)
 

Timcognito

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Ah yes, forgot about those! Might do actually. Do you have experience with these? Anyone else?
No just been reading a lot on different sites and have a special application that I plan to build some DMLs or some other scheme. In my research so far every one the that used these drivers loves them for the room fllling sound and wide range clarity. These use the same drivers and have some measurements. Others here may know more.
 

Prana Ferox

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You're probably better off talking to fellow gigging musicians on what works and what doesn't. Also it sounds like the far cheaper solution to a lot of the problems you describe would be to hire a roadie.
 

sarumbear

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No just been reading a lot on different sites and have a special application that I plan to build some DMLs or some other scheme. In my research so far every one the that used these drivers loves them for the room fllling sound and wide range clarity. These use the same drivers and have some measurements. Others here may know more.
  • Max SPL for 20Hz to 20kHz is approximately 96dB @ 1 meter. The compression threshold was exceeded above this SPL.
In other words in a relatively small venue you can’t reach the audience easily. At 10m the max SPL will be 76dB, well below the ambient noise level of a club.

More proof that home Hi-Fi speakers cannot be used as PA speakers.
 
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Monos

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Familiarity with the known. New can be daunting :)
Perhaps! I think it was also reading a lot of forum reviews that argued point source was still better? I'm certainly keen for something ... different. If it sounds good of course.
No just been reading a lot on different sites and have a special application that I plan to build some DMLs or some other scheme. In my research so far every one the that used these drivers loves them for the room fllling sound and wide range clarity. These use the same drivers and have some measurements. Others here may know more.
Yea, I was considering even building my own dml a while back but just don't have the time or knowledge (yet). But also don't the panels have to be fairly large for any significant volume? Might not fit in my 4-door sedan
Forget this. Phantom I pretty much sucks, with an enormous dip in mids. Plus, these are unsuitable for any serious use, no thanks to its limited and proprietary connectivity.
Thanks good to know
You're probably better off talking to fellow gigging musicians on what works and what doesn't. Also it sounds like the far cheaper solution to a lot of the problems you describe would be to hire a roadie.
Indeed!
 

Timcognito

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Duke

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Would you consider passive mains? This way the amplifier weight would be in your equipment rack instead of in your speakers, which might make a worthwhile difference in portability.
// Would really rather not, but you make a good point. I guess what was appealing about active & e.g. the Phantom is that things are centralized & not broken out. That's really just about transport efficiency though. I actually don't even use an equipment rack, just a lil controller & laptop.

What is the lowest note you play?
// Whatever lowest note the speakers are capable of ;). Typically low 30s. But if those Phantoms go down to 16Hz, I'll definitely be rewriting some work!

Do you need the speakers to function as YOUR monitors as well as the FOH system, or do you have a separate monitor system?
// Yes, FOH & my monitors. Ideally the sound fills the room, & since I'm using no mics etc feedback isn't an issue for me.

@sarumbear Err... different genres. Ranges from soft piano music to experimental drone. Some soundtrack kind of work. And so on. I often write with sine waves directly so it's very easy to tune up or down dependent on loudspeaker capabilities.

Thank you for this information. Unfortunately I don't have a suggestion.

For the record, I'm skeptical of very small, very high power, very deep bass speakers in your application. Here's why: In order to do deep bass at high SPL in a small enclosure, a LOT of amplifier power is required. VIRTUALLY ALL of that amplifier power will be converted into heat, and the smaller the enclosed airspace the faster the temperature therein rises. Heat reduces the life span of electronics and voice coils.

Also, PA use may void warranties (and imo for good reason). Check with the manufacturers first.
 
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