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iamgeorge

FRFR speaker/cab solution that can keep up with 100w valve heads?

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The want or requirement..

  • An FRFR solution that can keep up with a Mesa 100w valve head  +  2x12 cab, a bass player and drummer, which is an originals hard rock band.
  • Needs to cut through the mix and keep up ‘with the band’.
  • Strong preference to an active type FRFR speaker/cab/solution

 

The use/purpose..

  • For band prac/gigs/possible tour, with Helix floor unit. Less is more.  Happy to carry around a, for example, Mackie HD 1521 if it can do as per above. 
  • Looking for the one unit, not really looking for a pair etc.

 

If anyone can shed any light based on their first-hand experience with something like this, would love to hear your thoughts, your do’s and your don’ts as well.

 

FOOT NOTE, I understand that a 100w valve head through a 2x12 cab will not sound as ‘big’ as the same amp being played through a 4x12; the 4x12 cab will sound bigger and louder because it’s pumping out sound via 4 speakers as opposed to 2. I’m adopting the same way of thinking with this FRFR idea; many FRFR solutions out there are either 1 or 2 speakers/drivers, so inherently it could be hard for an FRFR speaker that has only 1 or 2 speakers to ‘keep up with’ that before-mentioned 100w valve head + 2x12 or 4x12.. WITH THAT SAID, what would be the closest FRFR solution out there to meet the requirement and the purpose?!  (If this foot note didn’t make any sense, please disregard and refer to the first two points!! Lol)

 

Any recommendations welcomed 

 

Thanks in advance 

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If you are looking to use it in a backline, first things that come to mind are the Mission Gemini 2 (2x12 coax) and the Line 6 Firehawk 1500 (1x12 +horn + two 6" coax).  Gut feel is that the Mission will sound bigger with its 2x12 coax speakers, but this may not be the case.  The L6 Firehawk is designed for good stage spread and volume.  Fire hawk is 2/3 the price of the Mission.

 

Many here put various PA-type FRFR speakers on poles behind them.

 

I personally have no experience with any of these.  Others will likely chime in soon.

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An overdriven 100W tube head through a 4x12 can be seriously f-ing loud. Realistically, it seems like you'd need a pretty massive FRFR rig to keep up with that. I'm sure my two Alesis 12" + horn + "1000W" bi-amped amps wouldn't come close. That's a budget rig for sure, but still. You might need something with a tube amp, so you could let it overdrive some without solid state clipping.

 

OTOH, many musicians these days don't want to jeopardize their hearing with 130db stage volume, so they find ways to keep things a bit more reasonable.

 

Bottom line though is that I'm just fantasizing. You're going to need to make your best guess and try it with your band. That's a pain since it's expensive, but probably realistic.

 

I've never tried either one, but the Mission and the Atomic CLR both have good reps for pro use.

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It may take a monstrous FRFR to keep up with a 100W tube amp into 2 or 4x12" speakers. There's a number of reasons. First that tube amp is likely distorting quite a bit. A 100W amp will actually put out 200W of power if the power amp is heavily distorted. This is why little Fender Blues Junior 15W amps still sound pretty loud. Power is the area under the curve, and a distorted square wave has twice the area as a clean sine wave at the same amplitude in the same load.

 

The second reason is the amount of air that you can move. That is in theory controlled by the power. A cabinet with 2x12's can in move the same amount of air as a cabinet with 4x12's if the speakers have twice the throw. In practice that's not the case, so 4 12's will move more air than 2. 

 

But a FRFR has other advantages. It can produce lots of different tones and support multiple instruments while a 2x12" cabinet will mostly do one thing very well. That's a big plus for me as I play multiple instruments.

 

But you should perhaps think about how to reduce stage volume. That not only protects your ears, but gives the FOH mix a better change of controlling what your audience hears. Drummers are the gate, especially in clubs.

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My 2 QSC K12s replaced my dual rectifier 4x12s and have plenty to match a loud drummer, insanely loud bass, and mic'd rhythm guitar. We are loud, and the helix cuts through better than the Mesa or my JVM.

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I play through a JBL EON 615 speaker, and it has plenty of volume to get up over the drums ( and our drummer hits hard) and cut through even with the other guitarist (100w Marshall 1/2 stack) and the bass which is through an 8x10 ( I think) ampeg cabinet. No idea on the bass watts, but loud for sure. Our practice and stage volume tends to be right there balanced with the drums and the 615 has no trouble in the volume range, and has headroom to spare.

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I actually use a JBL EON 610, and it is about right for my needs. We aren't particularly loud, but I probably only tap into half the usable volume. I feel like it could push through even in a much louder band if I needed it to. You can also use the bluetooth EQ control to help it cut through as well. Ultimately, I would probably want more headroom if I were playing in a really loud ensemble, just to be sure I didn't risk hitting the upper limit. Jman64's 615 should have a  good deal more available volume, as its specs say it pushes several dB more than the 610. So I would at least look at the 615. 

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Just fired up a pair of Yamaha DXR10s today in stereo with the Helix and they're really impressive! They can get plenty loud while not being quite as large nor heavy as the DXR12s. Plus, they're covered with a 7 year warranty. I preferred the Yamaha's sound to the JBL EONs (and I've always been a fan of JBLs and have several of their monitors).

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Loudness isn't really a matter of wattage, it's a matter of SPL.  A typical loud rock concert weighs in at around 120 db.  Of course that's measured at the audience perspective at the point of projection.  If you were producing 120db on stage it would be physically painful.  A Yamaha DXR12 is rated to produce 132db at 1 meter on axis so it's easy to see most modern, reputable FRFR solution will easily "keep up" with a typical loud band.  They have to.  They're often used as FOH solutions.

 

That being said, SPL and perceived loudness are two different things.  Most standard FRFR solutions like a DXR12 is far more directional than a cabinet.  A lot of what people are referring to in terms of loudness has to do with the dispersion of sound.  That's what cabinet based FRFR solutions try to resolve by dispersing the sound in a similar manner to a standard amp cabinet.  I like to refer to that as "bigger" sound rather than louder sound.  But that bigger sound comes at a price in cabinet based FRFR solutions because much of the sound energy gets dispersed in a very wide pattern rather than directionally focused sound so much of that wattage gets spent unproductively.  Using two standard FRFR speakers correctly positioned can give you the same "bigger" sound without wasting energy, but that's also twice the gear to move.

 

I only bring this all up so you understand the nature of what you're trying to do in a FRFR setup.  I play in a 7 piece band and one DXR12 measured at 100db output is more than sufficient for keeping up with the stage sound which is really all you should be worrying about, unless you expect to be playing in venues with inadequate FOH systems.

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My single Mackie Thump12 1000W does well for guitar in loud Led Zeppelin and AC/DC songs with the other guitar player going through a 100 Watt tube amp and a 4x12 cabinet, staying just under the threshold of pain and just under clipping with the Thump12. I'm sure the tube amp would win a loudness arms race against the Thump12 if it came to that.

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