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versatile system recommendations
versatile system recommendations
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Old 11th June 2020, 12:10 PM   #1
smaki is offline smaki  United Kingdom
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Default versatile system recommendations

Im looking for a system for small to mid sized events. Its going to need to be used for a variety of purposes, from playing background music at parties of around 30 people, to pushing the sound at a film night for 100 people. It will also need to be portable.

I know nothing is going to be ideal for every use, but I just need something with a good sound thats going to have as much versatility as possible.

I am currently looking at the Fender Passport Event PA system. does anybody have advice or insight? I know my headphones and home audio, but I have zero experience with event systems and am not sure if im even looking in the right direction :S
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Old 11th June 2020, 12:27 PM   #2
JonSnell Electronic is offline JonSnell Electronic  United Kingdom
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For portability I find the Bose L1 system is excellent and cost effective.
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Old 11th June 2020, 01:39 PM   #3
kipman725 is offline kipman725  United Kingdom
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Although I have never heard the L1 system I have heard other systems made by Bose that share the features of many small drivers and 'compact sub' and found them lacking for music playback. The small drivers sounded shouty and the bass unit quickly overheated and became ineffective (internal limiting).

A lot of what to recommend depends on your definition of partability and the amount of money your willing to spend. The best systems, even if compact will cost many thousands of pounds.
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Old 11th June 2020, 02:38 PM   #4
chris661 is offline chris661  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonSnell Electronic View Post
For portability I find the Bose L1 system is excellent and cost effective.
Are you sure?
Last time I heard an L1 I shut it off about a minute into playing some music. There was no lower-midrange "body" to the sound, among other defects. There are also much cheaper systems (EV's springs to mind) that are similarly "meh".

They produce sound, but so do those boxes of 16x piezo tweeters.


To the OP, a pair of 8" 2-way speakers over a pair of 12" subs will probably do just fine for you.
The minimum PA speaker I'd ever recommend is a Yamaha DBR10, with the DXR range being a useful step up in clean output.

Shop around a little, and don't be afraid of buying 2nd-hand.

I'd also recommend you stick with active speakers, since they'll have built-in processing, protection, etc. Passive speakers are less useful these days unless (like me and some others) you're DIYing the speakers with a particular purpose in mind, and have the capability to set up a PA system properly.

Add a notepad mixer to put control somewhere sensible, maybe a mic (the oft-recommended SM58s are okay, but there are better options out there) and a spare line input for mobile devices, and off you go.

Chris
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Old 11th June 2020, 02:58 PM   #5
indianajo is offline indianajo  United States
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Really quick, mono, full range, one box, allows 3 or more line level sources to be mixed, a Peavey KB300. Not suitable for solo guitar, but good for cd players, computer sound, MP3 players, radios including satellite, and of course keyboards. don't see these on the used market much (not fragile), but see them on stage a lot in small venues like the newgrass festival.
In the ultralight category, I'm using a 75 W mixer amp (mono) (MMA-875t) and a 8" whizzer cone speaker in a 14" long box with a bass reflex hole in the back. Fits in my bicycle bags with the autoharp or keyboard, has phantom power to power my KSM27 mike which picks up both my voice & my instrument. Visaton makes some nice 6.5" & 8" 8 ohm 60W whizzer cone speakers, made in Germany. The box is 8"x8"x14" cardboard from amazon, spray painted. I don't play in the rain.
If it has to be stereo, Peavey makes a 3 channel system with 2 two-way speakers on stands with 8" mid-range, and a 12" or 15" woofer for center in front of the stage. I think these are self powered, which mean you'll need a line level source as listed under KB300. The advantage of speakers on stands, they project out over the heads of a standing chattering crowd so the people in the back can hear if they want to. Disadvantage over a kb300, longer setup time. The mono bass is acoustically correct, because of the long wavelengths bass is determined from the room reflections anyway, bass is not really heard as stereo.
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Last edited by indianajo; 11th June 2020 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 11th June 2020, 09:26 PM   #6
conanski is offline conanski  Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smaki View Post
Im looking for a system for small to mid sized events. Its going to need to be used for a variety of purposes, from playing background music at parties of around 30 people, to pushing the sound at a film night for 100 people. It will also need to be portable.
How portable? And what kind of music are we talking? If there will be any modern genres played and you want fullrange sound with some real bass then a real sub isn't optional.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smaki View Post
I know nothing is going to be ideal for every use, but I just need something with a good sound thats going to have as much versatility as possible.
You should start by looking at what would be a good system for the largest event you will do.. which I know will be bigger and heavier than you would like, and then decide what compromises you can live with in a scaled down version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smaki View Post
I am currently looking at the Fender Passport Event PA system. does anybody have advice or insight?
That would only be suitable for the smallest of your events, it won't get loud enough to be heard over the 100ppl talking at the same time in a large reverbant room.
The system I supply for a 100p wedding consists of three EV speakers.. 1 EKX18sp sub and a pair of EKX12p tops. I bet that is a lot bigger and more expensive than you would like but I guarantee you it isn't overkill for a party of this size. You could step this down in size to something with 10" tops and a 15" sub or 8" tops with a 12" sub, but you will lose a fair bit of max output potential with each step. The upside of buying these professional powered speakers is any of the fullrange boxes can be used on their own for your smallest events and still produce respectable music playback sound and really good live vocals amplification.
An alternative to these traditional sub/sat PA systems would be the column systems that are very common now like the Turbosound iP series, EV Evolve, and yes even the Bose L1 variants... although that brand does not represent the best value IMO. These units are quite portable but don't drink the coolaid.. that does come at the cost of overall output capability compared to the same $$ spent on conventional PA speakers.
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Old 12th June 2020, 05:33 AM   #7
smaki is offline smaki  United Kingdom
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wow - i really appreciate all the responses - thanks guys! so to answer your questions:

the biggest events will be about 100 people, but those would be movie nights in a pretty quiet atmosphere. ive done these a few times in the past using my home system, which is a pair of kef ls50 speakers with a nuprime ida-8 amplifier.... those speakers only have a single 5" driver in them, and honestly? they get the job done fine. it would be nice to have a little more power, but the reason im looking for a different system isnt the sound or power, its the fact that theyre clearly not designed to be portablem and its just not feasible to keep dragging them out to events.

my budget is flexible up to $1500, but that doesnt mean im happy spending that much - if the fender passport event speakers will get the job done for $650 - then im not looking for reasons to spend more than that.

portability is a big issue for me - as is appearance. im experimenting with a lot of events right now, including things like restaurant pop-ups and art openings. to be completely honest, the appearance is probably more important in my field of work than the sound; im not working music gigs, im trying to do clean and professional setups at high end houses and galleries to provide atmosphere and background noise. if i could get invisible speakers i would.

they *do* need to be stereo - mostly for movie screenings. this is what turned me away from the bose L1 speakers - it does not look like they can run as a stereo system(?) i also agree with @chris661 that active speakers would definitely be preferable. minimal cables and quick setup are preferable too - but in my experience bluetooth has just been too glitchy to risk at events, so im assuming cables are just a necessary evil for events.

So i guess what im really looking for are two sleek and attractive, active speakers with 8-10" drivers, that can be hauled comfortably by one person, taking 5 minutes to setup and connect to a laptop, and possessing a minimal footprint... but from what im seeing, its hard to get speakers that fit that description that are designed to be durable and portable enough to be used for events, so ive just been looking at clunkier PA systems so far.....
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Old 12th June 2020, 07:33 AM   #8
chris661 is offline chris661  United Kingdom
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Well, if it's portability first, grab a pair of Yamaha DXR8 Mk2s and call it good.
You get phono inputs and an XLR pass-through to send the other channel to the far speaker.
They sound fine and get reasonably loud - certainly much louder than your Kefs.

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Old 12th June 2020, 09:39 AM   #9
kipman725 is offline kipman725  United Kingdom
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I have heard the DXR15 (larger version) at an art gallery of all places. They look much sharper than the fender and sound decent. You will want a couple of collapsible stands to put them on the normal style of tripod stand is a bit ugly but this type of stand is also available: Millenium BS 2015 Round Base – Thomann UK if you don't mind the extra weight.
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Old 12th June 2020, 09:41 AM   #10
indianajo is offline indianajo  United States
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The equivalent Peavey product is the escort 6000 system with a PV118 powered subwoofer or a DM115 subwoofer which is smaller but weighs 5 lb more. The escort 6000 mixer has the subwoofer output split off. The escort is 300 watts/ch with stands and feedback locating system for microphone use. Escort 6000 is 58 lb packed, 17"w x 18"d x 40" high packed. The PV118 is 300 w & 85 lb.
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