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loydall

PA system recommendations for helix

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Hi,

 

My band (rock/indie covers band) are looking to buy a portable PA system for small to medium sized gigs (and by small to medium I mean small pubs to gatherings of up to 100 people). The main requirement is that we can run vocals through it along with 2 modelled guitars going through helix straight into the PA. Possibly we'd run the bass guitar and maybe mic up the kick drum as well.

 

Any recommendations? Budget isn't massive given that this is just a dad's band playing a few local gigs. We saw the RCF evox 8 being demoed the other day and thought it sounded great but wondering whether it's enough to sit alongside our drummer - he's not a painfully loud drummer but drums are, naturally, loud anyway.

 

I really like the idea of those column-array PA systems in how easy they are to set up but just wondering if they'll cut it and how good a helix powered guitar would sound through them.

 

Cheers.

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My group purchased a Behringer XR-12 and couldn’t be happier.  We are a four piece band, 2 guitars, bass drums plus two vocals all going through it.  We set up the drums to run three mics through it but haven’t used it.  There is an XR-18 with more capability but the 12 should do you solid.  Everything controlled by an IPad or laptop and it is the size of narrow show box. 

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If you're going guitars direct to pa you'll still need to hear yourself, so decent monitoring will be key, especially with a drum kit to contend with, though there does seem to be some decent monitors / frfr for not too much money.

A desk with 4 aux's for running 4 monitors should be something that you also might want to consider.

 

Unfortunately with pa speakers ,you do tend to get what you pay for, so there tends to be too few real bargains going about.

If i were buying just now, i'd get these , i don't own them , but i have heard them, and they sound very nice ,will give you plenty headroom ,and a bit cheaper than the evox 8 too, though admittedly larger.

 

https://www.thomann.de/gb/db_technologies_b_hype_15_bundle_ii.htm

 

 

 

 

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If you can swing it I'd really suggest getting a digital mixing board.  You could save some money by getting an analog mixer, but there's so much more functionality built into the new digital boards for doing things like capturing a multitrack recording of your performances, parametric EQ for each channel, and often automatic feedback filtering and so forth that it bears looking at.  The number of Aux outputs you need for monitors really depends on how many different monitor mixes you need.  If you're still using on stage gear for the instruments, you might not need much more than a single monitor mix for voices only.  In any case what you DON'T want is a mixer with an amplifier in it with passive speakers.  They're cheap, both money-wise and performance-wise.  In short...they're just junk.

As far as the columnar arrays, I had a Bose system for a while when i was doing a single.  They sound great but they may be too limited in the number of individual inputs you might need.  It would probably work better with an electronic drum kit than an acoustic kit.

 

A common decent small gig system might consist of a good quality mixer (analog or digital) with a sub, two front powered speakers and two or possibly 3 stage monitors (if your drummer needs one).  The number of monitors has no bearing on the number of Aux outputs you need as they can daisy chain off of one Aux output.  Fronts speakers should probably be 12" speakers and you could probably get by just fine with some of the middle of the pack speakers like the EV ZLX-12P or Yamaha DBR-12, or QSC CP 12.  Not the top of the line, but more than powerful and decent enough to give you good, clear performances at a good price.  The reason you need a sub is to isolate the super low frequencies from interfering with the vocals and guitars as the sub will take the main board signal and apply a high pass filter to isolate frequencies below 125 Hz to the sub and send frequencies above that to the mains.  Also, they just add some beef and bulk to your sound.

As far as monitors, that's a judgement call depending on how much you want to rely on them.  I've seen bands save some money by going to 10's or 8's and be happy with them.  But we have LOTS of singers in our band with lots of harmonies as well as a harmonica and sometimes a separate acoustic guitar, so we use 12's as monitors to better keep up and compete with the other instruments on stage.  If you tend to have a pretty loud stage sound, it's probably worth it to not try and save money on your stage monitors.

I realize that may seem like a lot of equipment and cost, but ultimately your band will be judged by the audience based on how good your PA is, so its pretty much worth it.

 

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Thanks for your responses. The reason we were looking at the  RCF evox 8 (with the Jmix console/MIXER) is just how convenient they are to store and put up. We did a gig this weekend with an old PA system and it took ages to put up and it didn't sound great. The JMIX has, effectively, 6 inputs which would cover 2 vocals, 2 guitars, 1 bass and a kick drum - at the moment that's all we'd need and it has the benefit of all the digital/virtual desk controls.

 

Was thinking of getting one of therm and then an additional evox 8 without the mix console to give us a pair.

 

They sounded great in the shop - do you not think they'd be loud enough?

 

a pair of those plus a couple of floor monitors was the plan.

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Each Evox 8 stack rates at 128 db SPL which should be more than enough with two stacks if I'm reading their specs correctly.  The concern would be with the mixer which only really has 4 standard inputs and two stereo lines.  Channels 5/6 could be used for one 1/4" mono input, but channels 7/8 is a low level (-10db) stereo line using RCA unbalanced inputs which I think you'd find to be problematic for instrument or vocal inputs.  That only gives you 5 inputs and one is a limited input for 1/4" only.  You might want to look into that.

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Thanks - our thought there was that if we needed more inputs we could run a small mixing desk into one of those inputs - we'd probably only need to do that if we wanted to mic up the drums. Just a small 4 channel mixer would then cover the drums.

 

It was the sheer convenience of these things that impressed us - plus the fact that I could use one them at home to run my helix through when dialling in patches - they're actually quite compact.

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4 hours ago, loydall said:

 We did a gig this weekend with an old PA system and it took ages to put up and it didn't sound great. 

 

How did you monitor the Helix at the gig?

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On 1/19/2020 at 4:51 PM, prudenjim said:

My group purchased a Behringer XR-12 and couldn’t be happier.  We are a four piece band, 2 guitars, bass drums plus two vocals all going through it.  We set up the drums to run three mics through it but haven’t used it.  There is an XR-18 with more capability but the 12 should do you solid.  Everything controlled by an IPad or laptop and it is the size of narrow show box. 

 

I agree, if you are on a budget then any of the Behringer XR* mixers will provide an inexpensive digital mixer with an excellent complement of built-in effects and EQ as well as recording capabilities. The nice thing about the XR line is that they are in essence a combination mixer and snake. One less thing to purchase. The SoundCraft UI16 is also really inexpensive and a great mixer if you don't require too many inputs. Lots of other choices for digital mixers though depending on your budget.

 

There are any number of traditional powered PA speakers and monitors to choose. Some bands prefer IEMs or a very compact monitoring solution like the "HotSpot" where each band member gets one. The Hotspot monitors are relatively inexpensive, very small and light, and sit on a mic stand. An alternative to typical FOH speakers and monitors if most of your gigs are small to small-medium sized and depending on how the band sets up on stage,  is to buy two faux line-array column speakers as you mentioned(every manufacturer seems to offer these now, e.g. Bose, Fender, Turbosound, Mackie, Behringer, JBL, etc.). Just park a couple of them behind/beside you and be done with it. They can provide FOH and monitoring(some do a better job for monitoring than others depending on the speaker dispersion) and make transport and setup a breeze. If you find you need additional monitoring later you have the option to add them. 

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Personally , i'd go and watch similar band set ups to your's playing in similar ,or even the same places that you'll be playing , have a listen ,and if you like what you hear, look into what they use to achieve that sound.

Although you're not spending huge money, it's still your hard earned, so i'd keep an open mind before you decide to buy, and to not get blinkered by the compact size, as there will be compromises.

RCF's suggested use for the evox 8 is ,Live, Clubs ,DJ's, so you can take from that what you will, but my take is that the 'live' part can have many meanings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, antonio1961 said:

Personally , i'd go and watch similar band set ups to your's playing in similar ,or even the same places that you'll be playing , have a listen ,and if you like what you hear, look into what they use to achieve that sound.

...

 

 

Great suggestion! The variable here is a talented person working the board can make a mediocre system sound good and a hack can make even a great system sound poor.

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Thanks for your suggestions on this guys. We're going to go and listen to as many set-ups as we can. Also looking at the presonus air 15 plus presonus subs. They seem to get good reviews.

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