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Value portable multipurpose PA system


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I'm sorry if this is another one of "those" posts but I've done research and got down to the last stages and would appreciate the opinion of those who know far more about these things than I do.


Am looking to update / upgrade / replace some very basic kit. It is to be used in a few local village halls, school halls, an ancient church and occasionally outdoors or in a marquee. The capacities of these venues range from approximately 100 to a little over 200 people. Uses range from parish council type meetings (we have some very heated, and well attended, meetings at the minute about regeneration of the area where the chairman and speakers can't really be heard!) through to youth club Christmas parties (just playing CDs) and live performances, both classical groups and pop / rock type bands.


I had initially thought we needed: mixer + graphic eq + feedback destroyer + amp + speakers

But have refined this a little. Storage space is at a premium and transportability is important so am now looking at Active Speakers (sorry). Plan is to have speakers + 1 rack containing mixer and other units + appropriate leads, mics, stands etc.


Looking for a mixer with about 16 inputs, at least 2 groups and rack mountable I settled with the Soundcraft MFX 12. - Requested a brochure and got a complete Harman Pro Group catalogue - I got a bit carried away with their kit (dbx processor, jbl speakers) until I did some research on this forum and elsewhere on the net.


So the final shopping list looks like:

  • Soundcraft MFX 12 - £399
  • Behringer Ultracurve DEQ2496 - £205.99 + their RTA mic for about £40
  • db Technologies Opera Live 405 (Pair) - £649


So I'm looking at a budget of just over £1200. Does anyone have any suggestions to improve the list while keeping to roughly the same budget? Would I do better to save a couple of hundred pounds and get a pair of Warrior PSR15As instead of the 405s? There are dynamic and condenser mics so needs to be a mixer with phantom power.





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I'm very much of the opinion that you can afford to scrap the feedback destroyer idea, and instead just use the DEQ2496 as a graphic EQ. The RTA can also do more harm than good - I've heard too many rigs that look good on the screen of an RTA, but sound awful, as it is only a stupid computer and can't really tell whether that hole in the frequency response is related to the room or related to a deficiency in the system. I would however suggest you get some real training in how to use a graphic EQ properly- perhaps start by downloading simple feedback trainer, then get in contact with some decent local engineers and ask them to teach you how to ring out a rig in return for a few beers.



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Hi James


I see your wish list has a mixer with "about 16" inputs & you've settled on a 12 channel one:


Obviously you know your requirements better than anyone else, but Bobbsy has betimes quoth something on the lines of "There will inevitably come a night when you need one more channel than your mixer provides", and BOY, is that the truth!


I own a 16 channel Soundcraft Live 4/2, & ran it to capacity on an amateur "Talent" night.


If you think you'll need about 16, I'd seriously consider a 20.


Just my 2d (Shows age & nods off...........)



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Thanks for the replies.


I've had training in the past including EQ and ringing out rigs. Have done some voluntary and paid work in local theatre and gigs with a band. Just not encountered any decent equipment for 5 years or so, so am probably pretty rusty. Also this was with analogue graphics rather than this new fangled digital stuff. :) I'm well aware you can't just press the RTA button, switch on the feedback destroyer and go and have a coffee... I guess I'd use the RTA a bit like Sat Nav, see what it says, have an argument with it and ultimately do what I think. Similarly with feedback destroyer, I wouldn't switch it on until after rehearsals when everything's set up right, just as a safety harness in case I do anything really wrong! If it causes problems then yeah I can just switch it off.


The requirement for 16 channels was already generous and included a couple of stereo sources such as a CD player. The MFX12 has 12 + 2 stereo channels so in effect gives the 16 channels in total. I agree that however many channels you've got you're always going to want that 1 more, but the MFX 12 should be fine for the foreseeable future. A key requirement was portability and being rack-mountable. I don't think we're going to get anything with more channels to fit a 19" rack and definitely not within our budget. Otherwise yes - I would have gone for the MFX 20.


There've not been any horror stories about equipment in the list, or stories of impending doom should we use it so it looks like the list still stands as it is.


Thanks again,



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