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What is the finest compact PA system (cost aside). Any thoughts/opinions very much appreciated.

#1 User is offline   Warwick79 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 03:55 PM

Hello everyone. I'd really appreciate your thoughts.

I'm looking to replace my 12 year old Martin Audio PA system which consists of:

2 x F12 tops..... powered by 1 x Martin Audio Lab Gruppen MA1400 amplifier.
2 x S15 subs..... powered by 1 x Martin Audio Lab Gruppen MA1400 amplifier (in bridge mode, 2100 watts)

2 x F10 (as monitors).... powered by 1 x Martin Audio Lab Gruppen MA900 amplifier (using just one channel and linking the speakers). We don't require a stereo mix.

I bought the system brand new and, luckily, it has never let us down.... so I really can't complain. I just feel it is time to update it.

We are a 4 piece group - Bass, drums, elecric guitar, acoustic guitar and two vocals. Playing in a real mixture of venues, from small and pokey to reasonable sized halls, social clubs.


HERE IS MY CRITERIA

I want the finest quality, compact, easy to set up, reliable system available. We are not a rock band so having the loudest system is not important. I want the finest sound with the least amount of hassle/setting up possible. Ideally I'd like to go lighter than my current system.

I am not interested in powered speakers. I want the amps in a rack with the mixer on top (on stage). I know there will be varied opinions... but, budget aside, what is the finest all round system?

I've looked into the D&B Audio E12/X15 sub system and that appeals.... but I'd appreciate your thoughts?

Many thanks in advance.

#2 User is offline   Biro 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:08 PM

My ethos is to not fix what isn't broke, but then I also like toys. Evidence that your Martin system is still a good system is that they still make it..

The system you have is a great system, however if you have the money to start spending on D&B equipment then by all means upgrade. The system you speak of certainly is a really nice system, but don't forget to factor in Amplifiers from D&B also.

Not an amazingly helpful post I know, but I am jealous of your position of being able to just "upgrade" because you feel like you should!

#3 User is offline   chelgrian 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:39 PM

View PostBiro, on 14 April 2012 - 04:08 PM, said:

My ethos is to not fix what isn't broke, but then I also like toys. Evidence that your Martin system is still a good system is that they still make it..


I suppose good reason to 'upgrade' would be to get something with lighter amplifiers, technology has moved on a bit in the last 10 years for the same performance you'll halve the weight with new amps.

Things to listen to may include Nexo PS-R2, D&B E series possibly D&B Q series (don't forget you need D&B amps) and "Max' monitors and the passive version of the RCF TT range.

Possible lightweight amplifiers for non D&B would be QSC Powerlight or PLX series, Lap Gruppen fp series. For non D&B systems don't forget to factor in the cost of a system controller as well.

There is also the 'garbage in garbage out' maxim depending upon what you have for mixing and microphones at the moment it may be worth spending slightly less on PA and spending some money on upgrading the microphones and mixer instead.

#4 User is offline   tolley1466 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:40 PM

Have you looked at the latest offerings from Nexo?

We had a demo at PLASA and I was blown away! The new PS range are phenomenal! Link

I'm not too sure if Nexo are now only offering them with their amps but you could definitely use your Lab amps with a Nexo processor.

#5 User is offline   Warwick79 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:50 PM

Admittedly it's not essential that I update/upgrade. I just feel that I could enjoy gigging much more if the system was more compact, easier to set up and weighed less. Having said all this, I don't want to compromise on quality. I want to upgrade in all areas to justify the cost ! Although our system still works perfectly and is in very good condition, I'm conscious of the fact that it is at an age where it might just let us down.

I'm more than happy to go with the D&B amplifiers. Hopefully they are as good as the Lab Gruppen ones I currently use? Does anyone know which is the best way to power this system to its optimum? 1 x D12 in passive mode, or 2 x D12 in sub/top mode? It is very important to me that I am only using two cables to run the FOH.... and linking them from the subs to the tops. 1 x D12 passively sounds like an easy option, but would the system suffer somewhat in this mode (would the subs lack?) If so, I'm happy to go for two D12's. This would give me the option to add two more X15 subs if a bigger venue required it. Does anyone have any experience of this? Would it make the system too sub heavy?

For monitors I was thinking 2 x M6 run by 1 x D6 amplifier. (Although the M6's might be the more expensive option over the MAX12, I much prefer the 16kg as opposed to 22kg....and the extra quality)


2 x Nexo PS10 and 2 x LS600 also appealed.... being run by a single Lab Gruppen FP10000Q, but I think this might lack power for the subs. Nexo recommend between 1000 and 2000 into 8ohms for the ls600, and the FP10000Q only delivers 1300. Forgive my ignorance, I find it all very confusing. The beauty of D&B speakers is that they require less power to provide the performance in their speakers. This is also better for using normal 13amp plug sockets, which are often limited in quite a few small venues.

The only thing which slightly concerns me with the D&B E12 speaker is that it's made of plastic. Not very durable? I understand their reasons for this, but does anyone have any thoughts on this?

I'm open to any suggestions?

#6 User is offline   cedd 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:56 PM

If cost really isn't a problem...

I was absolutely blown away by a demo of some 8" L'acoustics boxes (108p). They were powered, but they have a passive version too. Don't sneer at an 8" box, it was flipping loud! Sounded very full and if you want to turn up at a gig to jeers of having brought a Hifi, then watch them go very quiet, that's the system for you!

#7 User is online   paulears 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:56 PM

I must say I'd never really noticed next until we had one in last week for a musical type show. 2 tops and a sub each side and they didn't look remotely enough till they were turned up! An amazing sound, really clean and precise. I loved them - the one in for the show before was Martin with the F12s - which I though sounded good, but the Nexos were big clarity improvement.

#8 User is offline   Warwick79 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:07 PM

Our desk is currently an Allen&Heath Mix Wizard 16:2.

LS-9 16 as an upgrade if I can convince myself that I'll be able to learn how to use it. I'm told that a big difference in our sound quality will come just from making this change. I'm the sound person, and I find it quite stressful as I'm playing in the group. This is why 'plug and play' is important. I don't want to have to worry about the equipment.

Really appreciate your input! Thank you.

Re the Nexo PS10/LS600 system.... I have been told (and have read) that a 10 inch speaker can't quite cut the mustard. In certain instances it can sound a little 'shouty'. Other than this, and the amplifier situation, it was initially the favourite option. Aesthetically it looks great and the weight and spl is superb.

Not convinced about the 4x4 amp though. A bit too heavy and, arguably, lacking quality. Thoughts on a better amp option? Would a Lab Gruppen FP10000Q be more than adequate with a Nexo controller? I don't want to run any system below its optimum performance... even though I don't plan really have it at full volume. I want to have more than enough headroom. I'm no expert but I'm not sure the FP10000Q would give me this.

Have looked at L'Acoustics and I'm not interested because of the size & weight of the 12 inch top and 18 inch sub. The 8 inch would be too small, and I have no interest in a powered option. Having said this, I'm often told that the 12XT has the finest sound for vocals.

I know, I'm hard work :-)

This post has been edited by Warwick79: 14 April 2012 - 05:15 PM


#9 User is offline   csg 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:10 PM

On the mixer front, it is very unlikely that you will gain any sound quality from the change from the mix wizard to a LS9 - both are fine mixers. You may wish to take a look at the new Allen and Heath GLD series which is roughly on par with an LS9 budget, and has the advantage of being a younger unit, with well proven pedigree.

PA wise, there is some great kit out there, but I cant tell you what will work for you. my advice would be to perhaps narrow your choices down and then hire it in for a gig and see how you get on. The same goes for the mixer.
Even though this will cost something, it is likely to be a very wise investment, allowing you to make to correct choice first time.

#10 User is offline   cedd 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:14 PM

View PostWarwick79, on 14 April 2012 - 05:07 PM, said:


Have looked at L acoustics and I'm not interested in the weight of the 12 inch top and 18 inch sub. The 8 inch would be too small. I have no interest in a powered option. Having said this, I'm often told that the 12XT has the finest sound for vocals.

Book yourself a listen. I think the 8" will surprise you! It certainly did with me! There were a couple of small Kiva arrays and an Arcs system up the same end of the room. Listening from the other end I took a lot of convincing that it was the 8" boxes being used!

#11 User is offline   TonyMitchell 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:17 PM

View PostWarwick79, on 14 April 2012 - 04:50 PM, said:

Does anyone know which is the best way to power this system to its optimum? 1 x D12 in passive mode, or 2 x D12 in sub/top mode? It is very important to me that I am only using two cables to run the FOH.... and linking them from the subs to the tops. 1 x D12 passively sounds like an easy option, but would the system suffer somewhat in this mode (would the subs lack?) If so, I'm happy to go for two D12's. This would give me the option to add two more X15 subs if a bigger venue required it. Does anyone have any experience of this? Would it make the system too sub heavy?


The downsides to taking out a single D12 are you have no redundancy in the event of the amplifier failing and you cannot run the system in stereo.

We use D12s in split sub/top mode to run Q stacks (1 x Q7 over 2xQ-SUBs per side) on EP5, doing as you've described - running a single cable to each stack then linking up.

An E12 over two E15X subs won't be too sub heavy - in fact it's perfect, as the E12 is rated at 3dB greater than a single E15X. The Q boxes have a similar ratio and we typically trim a few dB off the Q7 tops on the occasions when using just one sub per side.


View PostWarwick79, on 14 April 2012 - 04:50 PM, said:

The only thing which slightly concerns me with the D&B E12 speaker is that it's made of plastic. Not very durable? I understand their reasons for this, but does anyone have any thoughts on this?


Have a listen to and a feel of the new E series boxes, all your anti-plastic thoughts will go away.

#12 User is offline   tolley1466 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:19 PM

An LS9-16? Really? Spend your money on a nice 16 channel analogue desk. I have a feeling that you won't get enough use out of it to warrant buying it. The EQ on something like a Midas Venice is quite nice and a little cheaper than a ex-hire LS9!

The 12XTs are okay, but remember about the weight, they're not as light as a F12! And you would have to think about buying a LA4 by L'acoustics...

Camco amps are another amplifier reccomended to use with Nexo cabs. Have a look at the Vortex 6.

#13 User is offline   Biro 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:21 PM

I am not convinced that the LS9-16 is worth the upgrade in your situation. That is, assuming you have the condiments to go with your existing setup, IE your comps and gates and a graphic for it.

The upside to the LS9-16 is that you could have your bands show saved as a pre-set, and adjust any of the dynamics accordingly for each venue.

The downside is that it is another thing to set up and learn, and in the very worst case something else to go wrong.


I wouldn't worry about the plastic E12s, You strike me as someone who would look after the PA and assuming you have covers for them it shouldn't be a problem. I don't feel them being plastic boxes has an effect on their sound.


However, if you upgraded to the E12 system you mentioned, it isn't going to physically get much smaller - If anything, I have always felt the D&B amps to be quite large and bulky - Not a problem to me as we always see them in cases on wheels but if your looking for compactivity, its always going to be 2 Amps and 4 Boxes of Loudspeaker unless you go Active.

I can't say I have heard a 4 box system in this set-up that runs well from just one Amp.

#14 User is offline   Warwick79 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:21 PM

The desk would need to fit into a 19 inch rack so that everything is together. I'm only really aware of the Yamaha LS9 which is of this level that can do this. We only require 12 channels....and a channel for an Ipod or CD player.

#15 User is offline   haymere 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:22 PM

View Postcsg, on 14 April 2012 - 05:10 PM, said:

On the mixer front, it is very unlikely that you will gain any sound quality from the change from the mix wizard to a LS9 - both are fine mixers. You may wish to take a look at the new Allen and Heath GLD series which is roughly on par with an LS9 budget, and has the advantage of being a younger unit, with well proven pedigree.

PA wise, there is some great kit out there, but I cant tell you what will work for you. my advice would be to perhaps narrow your choices down and then hire it in for a gig and see how you get on. The same goes for the mixer.
Even though this will cost something, it is likely to be a very wise investment, allowing you to make to correct choice first time.



I agree with all of the people who have posted above

BUT

You say that you self op and play.

I would suggest that the best improvement you could make would be to employ the services of a good sound engineer.

and move to an LS9-16 to give that person all the appropriate control they need







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