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Powered speakers - godsend or a pain in the hole?

Discussion in 'music, bands, clubs & festies' started by LiamO, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. LiamO

    LiamO Share the love


    I'm looking to buy a PA system.

    It's gonna be for acoustic instruments. We want it to be as 'plug & play' as possible as we want our teenage musicians to be comfortable setting it up. We need maybe 8 channels (for 8 mics).

    First fella I spoke to said powered speakers are deffo the way to go.

    2nd fella said they were a pile of shite and give nothing but trouble.

    Left me feeling confused and deflated. Any advice?
  2. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    First fella is correct, as long as you don't buy horrible cheap ones.
    Chemical needs likes this.
  3. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    STAGEPAS 400i, 600i - Overview

    (Technically passive boxes and a powered mixer, but hey ho. It's an all in one system that's a piece of piss to use)
  4. LiamO

    LiamO Share the love

  5. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    The Yamaha is far, far better.
    pesh likes this.
  6. LiamO

    LiamO Share the love

    sound. thanks.

    Could save ourselves a whole lot of research and go with that system. Even with the extra bits and bobs it will still come to less than £1000, which is our budget.

    Any more advice anyone?
  7. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    Listen to bees - he knows his shit :cool:
  8. LiamO

    LiamO Share the love

    OK. Thanks. |just the imprimatur I was looking for.

    Bit silly asking for more advice/confusion then
  9. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    I used powered speakers at the Albert for years and they did the job just great. It's generally a lot easier than dragging around a load of power amps too.
  10. LiamO

    LiamO Share the love

    Ok. New question(s) on the stagepas 600i - mostly for beesonthewhatnow (if you can be arsed :)).

    Sorry if I sound a bit thick... although, tbf, I am a bit thick.

    "Channels 1 through 4 allow for microphone or line input with XLR connectors with phantom power for condenser microphones available for channels 1 and 2.

    Channels 3 and 4 can accept 1/4” instrument cables, as well as XLR connectors, and channel 4 has a handy high impedance switch that permits the channel to be set for a passive pickup input, like a guitar or bass without a preamp or direct box.

    Channels 5-10 are reserved for instrument inputs with 1/4” inputs and are switchable for stereo or mono operation."

    We currently have 3 dynamic mics. An audio-technica P48, a behringer C1 and a behringer C3

    Qu 1. Does the above mean that a) we can only use two of them (in channels 1&2) or b) we can use all three but one of them will need it's own phantom power. If ans b) can the phantom power for the mic on Channel 3 just be supplied via an inline, battery powered yoke (DI box?) ?

    Qu 2 Also, given that most of the time our group's instruments (fiddles, whistles, accordians, guitars, bodhráns & vocals) will be mic'd rather than plug-in, would you recommend SM58's for these? They would be connected via channels 4 (XLR connection) 5, 6, 7 & 8.

    "In addition to left and right main outputs, the 600i has an output for a subwoofer that automatically assigns a high-pass filter to the main outputs when a subwoofer is connected."

    So this means you can add in a bass bin later - and that will take all the main bass off the two speakers?

    "A monitor output allows you to further expand your front-of-house system or set up a monitoring system."

    we have one of these
    QTX QR15PA 250W Portable PA System W/ 2 Radio Mics & MP3 Player | Astounded

    A QTX QR15PA

    So we could use this as a monitor?

    Thanks in advance
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  11. LiamO

    LiamO Share the love

    Did you hump them in and out or were they left in situ?
  12. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Somewhere under the raincloud

    We've got an old yamaha powered mixer and it's a great piece of kit. Anyone can set it up too. We use passive speakers and monitor wedges so the mixer is the only thing that needs a power source.

    I've got a Behringer mixer at home and while it does what it says on the tin, sound quality is not great.

    1. Yes you should be able to use a third condenser mic if it has its own power source.

    2. If it's specifically for instruments rather than vocals go with the SM57 rather than the SM58. It's about the same price IIRC but works better with acoustic instruments. Inputs 5-8 don't seem to have XLR inputs so you'll want to get XLR - jack cables rather than XLR - XLR. (E2a: Please note Beesonthewhatnow's comment below)

    Yes if you attach a subwoofer that will automatically cut some of the bass from the main speakers.

    Yes you should be able to use your existing speaker as a monitor. It's not clear from that if the monitor outputs are powered but your speaker has its own power anyway.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  13. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Somewhere under the raincloud

    You might save money by just getting the powered mixer and getting your speakers elsewhere. We use Peavey speakers and they're pretty good. If you do that, make sure you check that the impedence and power ratings of your speakers are something that will work with the mixer. You'd have to ask someone else about that though, that's what I did ;)
  14. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    No - inputs 5-8 are not for microphones. They are line level signal only, they don't have microphone preamps.

    If the OP needs to be plugging in more than 4 mics at once they may need to look at a different setup. Maybe buy a small analogue mixer and a pair of active cabs.
  15. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    They were in the pub but in a storeroom - so some lugging was involved. The set up wasn't tremendously heavy until I added the bass bins.
  16. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

  17. LiamO

    LiamO Share the love

  18. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

  19. LiamO

    LiamO Share the love

    Can't actually believe the quality of sound from this set-up. It looks like a toy in comparison to the hulking great lumps I spent years lugging about - but there is nothing toy-like about the sound it produces.

    I used it/demonstrated it with a really talented group of singing sisters at the weekend. They were blown away. Their Mammy - who recently spent about the same money on the well-used dinosaur gear they currently struggle like fuck to lift and transport - was nearly in tears.

    They had made the mistake of approaching a local 'expert' who clearly saw them coming and exploited their innocence. He had them in front of his eyes. Teenage girls. And still sold them huge, old (but powerful) gear they can barely carry and speakers that require two to lift and one to steady the stand.

    I was telling the story about a mate of mine who worked in a dingy Sex Shop long before the days of Ann Summers. I asked him how come none of the gear had prices on it. He cheerfully explained they encouraged 'price elasticity' - the more embarrassed the punter looked, the more expensive the quote.

    It's hard to find advice you can trust. So thanks again for all the good advice on here.

    Oh. And it takes my 12 and 14-yr old boys just under 4 minutes to wheel it in, set up two speakers on stands, add three mics and power it up.
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
    DaveCinzano, salem, bmd and 5 others like this.
  20. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    I'm tempted to get myself a pair of Mackie Thump powered speakers as a back up - there's been quite a few times recently when people have asked me if I could hire then a small DJ/band set up (I've already got a small mixer and decks). They're cheap too - you can get a pair of 12" speakers for around £470. Shame they label it as '1000W' though - it's actually 400W rather than the nonsense 'TMS' claimed.

    Thump Series Powered Loudspeakers - Mackie
  21. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    I have a pair of the 15" ones. They're cheap and cheerful, but for little backroom pub DJ stuff there's nothing really to beat them on price. Not sure I'd want to do much band stuff with them, other than for vocals only to support backine.
    editor likes this.
  22. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    That's all I really need a PA at the moment. I'm beginning to think I should just get a second hand pair so I'm ready for anything.
  23. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Comparison here. Viewers seem to think the Mackie came out best.

  24. LiamO

    LiamO Share the love

    So I'm thinking of adding this

    Kustom PA4EX

    to the Yamaha Stagepas 600i Portable PA with Speaker Stands at Gear4music.com

    Basically the stagepas has two mic inputs with phantom power. Ideally I'd like (to have the capacity) for four condenser mics for when we have larger groups of musicians playing (up to 20). Am I right in thinking this would allow me to put four condenser mics in through one (non-mic/no pre-amp) input?

    Any drawbacks with my fiendishly clever (but based on no real clue) scheme? Is this a recipe for feedback etc?
  25. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    For what it's worth, I'd go for powered speakers and a separate mixer for more flexibility.
  26. LiamO

    LiamO Share the love

    But we've already bought the stagepas. Based on the good advice I received on here. And we are happy with it.

    Just want to make it that bit more, I dunno, bespoke.
  27. Kinda near the topic.... Might be out of price range but the QSC K10 / K12's are some of the best sounding self powereds I've ever heard. If you see a pair going s/hand cheap..
    pesh and editor like this.
  28. LiamO

    LiamO Share the love

    Just bumping this cos i never really got an answer to my question and the Xmas concert is almost upon us.

    beesonthewhatnow have you any advice?
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
  29. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    Errr, yes. Should work.
  30. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Somewhere under the raincloud

    If that little mixer has balanced inputs and phantom power it shoud be fine.

    e2a: The mixer shouldn't need to go through a powered input on your main mixer so that leaves you two more inputs for condenser mics if you need them.

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