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Looking for advice, starting from scratch with a new system
Looking for advice, starting from scratch with a new system
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Old 16th January 2019, 08:59 PM   #1
Jay Michael is offline Jay Michael  Canada
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Default Looking for advice, starting from scratch with a new system

Greetings everyone. I've been participating in a few thread discussions for some new subwoofers for my system but I think I may be going about my thinking the wrong way. We run a festival in Canada 10 years running, primarily prerecorded electronic music including psytrance, house, techno, dub, reggae with a bit of trap and dubstep. We do have some live music content as well during day time hours. Our current system is

6 - RCF 4pro4001 tops https://www.prodance.cz/data/attachm...0datasheet.pdf

8 - RCF 4pro8001-as subwoofers. https://www.gtaust.com/downloads/rcf...spec_sheet.pdf

We often deploy in a medium sized geodesic dome so center cluster subs with full range speakers on scaffolding left and right is our typical arrangement. The system has treated us well but its pushing 12-13 years old. Its still rocks for house and techno, but falls short with modern bass music, just doesn't go low enough. I'm considering selling off parts of the system after a plan is in place to replace what we have, Ill likely keep a few of each for smaller indoor gigs.

With that out of the way, with a fresh start I am looking for some advice

Requirements.

1. I am an old school psytrancer. Been throwing psy parties for 20 plus years so first and foremost a new sound system will need to be able to create that clean, tight and powerful midbass and kick which is the typical psytrance sound. In my travels I have heard psytrance on turbo sound and funktion1 systems, they both met those expectations for me. My RCF system did a decent job with psytrance, but not excellent.
2. Probably 50% of our music programming is bass music now. A new system would require coverage down to at least 35hz with reasonable power. It would also help my contracting ability as bass music is the staple in my city these days. I like clean and defined bass, not boomy or muddy.
3. I own a trailer so cabinet size is not a huge issue, however I would prefer to keep cabinets reasonably sized as we do host indoor events throughout the year. We also just took over a dance studio to which we will host music events in, and its on the second floor accessed by a flight of stairs. TH18, keystone, othorn's are all in my acceptable size range.
4. Needs to be scalable. Will sound good with a few, or many. Our studio shows can be as little as 75 people, our biggest shows in the 300 person range. I prefer to run my systems fatter on the low end, and lighter on the mid highs. I don't need to melt peoples faces off, I want it to sound thick and rich yet still allowing people to talk without yelling.
5. Must have excellent vocal and midrange clarity. My Rcf tops do have a stunning midrange with vocal clarity I have rarely heard before. I don't really want to take a step backwards in sound quality.

So these are my 2 options as I see them.

1. Build new subwoofers that are clean and tight that can go to 35/30hz but still have decent midbass power. Build (or purchase) powerful mid high cabinets with mid/kick authority that can keep up with new subs.
2. Build a multi cabinet system. Subwoofers that covers the lows, something like 90-30 hz. A mid-bass/kick bin type cabinet covering 90-250 hz or so. Top that off with a mid high to cover everything above this.

So what do you guys think? I am leaning towards option 2 now but I could use some recommendations. Is there a particular combination of sub, mid/kick and mid high cabinet designs that are known to work well with each other? I have rarely heard a simple sub/mid high combination that really rocks the psytrance sound, that's why I am now leaning more towards option 2.

What are my options? I have come across es18's, hd25's, Cubo kick's. Open to hearing all suggestions.

Feeling burnt out researching, looking for divine intervention Thanks
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Old 17th January 2019, 09:07 AM   #2
chris661 is offline chris661  United Kingdom
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For up to 300 people, you don't need a 4-way system. It's more complexity that you just don't need.

Here's what I'd do, given your criteria and building from scratch:
Orthorns for bass, and some 2x12" cabs for 80Hz and upwards. I'd use the B&C 21SW152 for the subs, Faital Pro 12FH520 for 80-800Hz, and a chunky compression driver for 800Hz and upwards.

Go for 60x40 HF horns and you can use a pair of mid-high cabs a side (arrayed properly), or 90x60 for one per side.


You'll need a measurement mic to do this properly.

FWIW, you might find that simply upgrading your subs will be enough to keep your system going for a while - the RCF mains look pretty decent, although I'd expect those 12"s to go louder once you put enough power in there.

Chris
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Old 17th January 2019, 01:36 PM   #3
Think is offline Think  Netherlands
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Looking for advice, starting from scratch with a new system
You have the good mids because of the 6" drivers in the 3 way tops.
I would keep them and get subs which go lower. You won't need kickbins as you have 15" in the tops. IMO kickbins are for wrong designed systems.

Are u using your subs correctly? As in all together in a corner or against a wall? Or more then 4 meter from all walls?
I have been at many party's (also psy) and sub-woofers are seldom setup correctly. Even 90% of the sound professionals over here are clueless about it, and do it wrong. There is a sound and a feel to bass, the feel is what you will lose first. My guess is that most sound engineers don't dance themselves and don't know much about speaker placement. Something of which I really got the importance when I started to look into designing speakers.

Subs split, Left and right under your tops, less then 15m apart and a few meters from walls are deadly for getting good (loud/ tight) bass, as the subs will cancel each other and themselves out and the sound you get is a comb-filtering fiasco. Most mistake made in PA.

Do you already have something like a speaker management system like a DBX PA2 or an external crossover and 31 band EQ? So you can only send 80 or 100hz and up to the tops and shape the output of lower bass.

A few years ago I had to set up 2 QSC kw153 (3way tops) with 4 QSC kw118 subs which should work together fine, but there was no way to get rid of the overlap between tops and subs and get even a decent sound. Got my PA2 from home and was surprised that is already had presets in it for these active QSC speakers.

If you have no speaker management system, get one first and trade some sub power for sub low extension as I advised in Not satisfied with my 8 RCF 4Pro subwoofers, need help going lower.

Last edited by Think; 17th January 2019 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 17th January 2019, 05:11 PM   #4
Jay Michael is offline Jay Michael  Canada
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Thank you Think. Your first suggestion is where I was yesterday, new subs and let it be.

Yes I have the processing to manage the system. I've gone through a few models of driveracks over the years, currently using the pa2 due to the convenience of managing the system wirelessly with my phone or Ipad. I would suspect I have deployed my system some where around 100 times over the last 10 years or so. Those first couple years were pretty frustrating. As you mentioned placement, venue size and shape, eq, crossovers all have a huge effect on quality of sound, especially sub power and feel. I digested everything I could find on those subjects, asked for help, volunteered for professionals and tried new things until I started to get the feel for what works best. I have by no means mastered this fine art but I have a reasonable idea of the do's and don'ts and how to fix it if its not right.

The very first time I plugged in my system I knew that my subs were not capable of going low enough to produce some notes. I played one my favorite downbeat tracks with a familiar bass melody and immediately I could tell the subs were missing some of the notes completely. My subs sound great, but they are just not up for the task for everything I want to put through them.

Now with the 2 way bass situation. I looked at some of the components used on sound systems that really nail the psytrance sound. For example a good friend owns an older turbosound rig using tsw718 subwoofers. The frequency response is rated at 50-250hz +- 4db. He runs a pair of these side under 4 flood lights. We have deployed near each other at a few festivals so I've had a few good chances to really listen to both systems to see how they vary. He has some more headroom for sure but the overall volume both systems are played at would be pretty much equal. Its the way the sound feels that's the biggest difference. Psytrance kicks and basslines are powerful, tactile and clean coming from his system. Mine has a great round and robust kick but that pulsing bass line is sort of hiding in behind.... and its really all about the bassline in that style of music. The power of those basslines is focused in the 80 to 250hz or so regions, so my subs a get a little of it, and my tops do the bulk of it. On the turbo system the subs pretty much cover it all, and it uses 18's vs my 15's.

Now on the other hand, for bass music my system sounds more powerful and rich down low. I have a solid 10hz advantage over his and it really shows on music with lower content.

Funktion 1 systems are similar, horn loaded bass cabs in the 50-250 range with add on infrabass modules covering 30-60 hz or so.

So what's the solution? I don't need a huge system, but I want something that has a particular sound. Could I do it with new subs and my tops? Bass music will be greatly improved but its not going to get much better for trance. Could add more powerful tops, maybe something horn loaded? I couldn't find a ton of references online to people actually trying to build a soundsystem around psytrance but the few that I did seem to recommend splitting bass duties between two cabinets or just using subs designed to cover those higher freq's and to just forget about anything below 50hz. It seems like there are a bunch of options out there for two way bass. The cubo sub and cubo kick combination seems to get decent reviews. Ive read up on es18, USB, hd215, bph230 (turbosound clone) mkb230 etc etc...

Just trying to figure out what my best play is. I would love it if someone who has tried breaking up bass duties between different cabinets could share their opinions or experiences with it. I understand it will require more tuning, phase alignment etc. Can it made to work smoothly? Willing to learn
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Old 18th January 2019, 12:40 AM   #5
kipman725 is offline kipman725  United Kingdom
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The tops look pretty capable but may be running out of steam in the 80 - 120Hz range (I think the port might be tuned quite high), where do you cross them over? do you have the capability to measure their maximum output over a long time period (IE 30s or so?) it would be interesting to see that their maximum output is in the bass range.

The subs don't go low enough, the replacement will have to move 4x as much air so expect much larger subs.
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Old 18th January 2019, 01:55 AM   #6
Jay Michael is offline Jay Michael  Canada
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You're not wrong Kipman, they do seem to be tuned higher than one would think. Even when run full range signal they don't have a real convincing kick out of them. The sound is quite impressive however, one of the best I've heard in its form factor. I usually cross them around 85-90 hz, seems to be the best balance Ive found. I actually just got a measurement mic in the mail today, so I plan to do some measurements. Not worried about subs getting bigger if thats what I need
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Old 18th January 2019, 01:37 PM   #7
kipman725 is offline kipman725  United Kingdom
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Data-Bass follow the measurement procedures here to get some comparable numbers on your systems performance at bass frequencies.
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Old 21st January 2019, 02:09 PM   #8
Think is offline Think  Netherlands
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Looking for advice, starting from scratch with a new system
The subs seem to be tuned for maximum output at 60hz, (live sound). If you know what drivers are used in them (and maybe some electronics), you could look it up and model it to see if they can be tuned lower so the they give less output but go lower.
You could also just close 2 of the 4 ports (will lower tuning) and test if you get more lows from them.
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Old 21st January 2019, 04:15 PM   #9
chris661 is offline chris661  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Think View Post
You could also just close 2 of the 4 ports (will lower tuning) and test if you get more lows from them.
The built-in amplifier will almost certainly have a highpass filter in place to prevent over-excursion below the tuning frequency, so any extra LF extension from blocking the ports will be cut by the filter.

If you drove the drivers from an external amplifier, however, it's worth a go.

Chris
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Old 23rd January 2019, 12:39 PM   #10
Think is offline Think  Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris661 View Post
The built-in amplifier will almost certainly have a highpass filter in place to prevent over-excursion below the tuning frequency, so any extra LF extension from blocking the ports will be cut by the filter.

If you drove the drivers from an external amplifier, however, it's worth a go.

Chris
thx, good point; I had forgotten it is active while writing this. Thought the extreme spl peak at 60hz might be dampened by lowering Fb.
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