Any sound system nerds here?
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1

    Default Any sound system nerds here?

    I consider myself a nerd, but I have not setup a sounds system before. I think in watts, ohms, volts etc but only when doing little projects with my arduinos.

    Basically I am helping a friend setup his new sound system, but as we were talking he starting bringing up some questions. Impedance and ohms oh my.

    What he has is
    - two 500w / 4ohm amps
    - Six 8ohm speakers
    -- monitors are 125w
    -- 2 speakers are 250
    -- the last 4 are 250w - 1000w peak


    Is this even possible or will he need more power?
    SyblingQ - Electro House for dark alleys.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Boston/Worcester
    Posts
    1,067

    Default

    Gonne need more power. What kind of amp does he already have

  3. #3

    Default

    He has 2 QSC pro 1600w plx1602.
    SyblingQ - Electro House for dark alleys.

  4. #4

    Default

    hey

    The basic rule with all PA sound systems is that the amps should be 1.5 to 2 times more powerful than the RMS/AES power of the speakers. Initially this does seem a bit strange to some people, who question it and ask well if your amp is capable of putting say 500w into a speaker and its only rated for 250w, arent you gonna blow it?

    Well, basically the answer is almost certainly no your not. While it is theoretically possible, the power raiting of the speaker will have been measured using a sine wave or pink noise, something with constant power. Real life music isn't constant it has loud and quiet bits both at the microscopic, split second level and over the course of a song, and so while it may have short peaks that are fairly high (that the speaker can handle no problem) the average power is much lower.

    However if you look at the reverse argument and have an amp that is the same or lower rated than the speaker, chances are your gonna have to push it very hard, as loud as it will go, to get the volume your looking for and to drive the speakers properly. Running the amp at its limits like this, and probably clipping and overloading it, will cause severe distortion in the music signal. As well as making your music sound frankly shit this will build up a huge amount of heat in your drivers magnet/motor system and be MUCH more likley to blow it. So going against what most people would initially think, using a smaller amp is actually far more likley to blow and damage things than using a big one.

    General rule is an amp that is 1.5 to 2 times bigger than what your speaker is rated at, and run it about 75%-80% so that it isnt being pushed to its limits and has plenty of room for large transients and peaks and delivers a nice clean, undistorted signal to the speakers.



    Now with all that being said, lets look at your exact situation.


    PLX amps are fairly decent pro amps and are rated for 2ohm loads. With a sound system, as you start adding speakers together (in parallel) the impedence (measured in ohms) goes down. Most speakers start at 8 ohms, so double this to two speakers and the impedence halves to 4 ohms, and if you double the speakers again to 4 then impedence halves again to 2 ohms. Being in the middle and having three 8 ohm speakers give you an impedence of 2.666 ohms.


    So in theory you could indeed take your first amplifier and connect three speakers in parallel to each channel (left and right) of one amp. The speakers would be showing a 2.6666 ohm load on each channel and be rated for 750w RMS, and at this impedence the the amp would be able to deliver probably about 700w.

    This would be underpowering all your speakers but as long as you were sensible with the power and you were getting the volume you needed without pushing the amp to its max and into clipping/distorsion, it'd be fine. You'd then have the second amp to run the monitor speakers, which would be 125w with an 8 ohm load and the amp would deliver 300 watts so this'd be about perfect just again be sensible with the power levels and dont drive them stupidly hard and you'll be awesome.

    However long term you would really want to be looking for a bigger amp for your main speakers to really get the most out of them. An amp that is stable to 2 ohms still, but can deliver about 1500w at 2 ohms, would be much better for you. Sticking with the QSC PLX range to keep things the same then a 3002 would be about perfect for you.


    However this all asumes that your speakers are all playing the same thing, which you havent said. If some of your speakers are subs and some tops, then you'll need a crossover somewhere to split the music up and deliver the bass to the subs and the mid and trebble to the tops. This may be built into the speakers or may need to be a seperate bit of electronics in the rack with the amps, and you may also need further amps to balance things out and work all the different parts.

    Hope this helps, and if you can give more detail on exactly what the speakers are and what brands/models etc i could help more


    k
    Last edited by kevinmcdonough; 03-23-2012 at 02:50 PM.

  5. #5

    Default

    haha, and yes as you can see I am indeed a sound system nerd, I sound engineer and go on tour with bands as well as DJ


    k

  6. #6

    Default

    @kevin
    Thank you so much! This info really buts things in perspective. I'm going to get with my friend and tell him this information. Then ask what speaks he has, what he wants to do with this (tops, mids, subs).
    Nerds are awesome!
    SyblingQ - Electro House for dark alleys.

  7. #7
    Tech Mentor funke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Nashville Illinois
    Posts
    498

    Default

    I wouldn't go any lower than 4ohms even if the amplifier is rated for less.
    Toshiba Satellite Windows 8.1, TSP2, Audio 10, Audio 2, 2x Technics 1200 MKII, Pioneer DJM-707, Midi Fighter Spectra, Kontrol X1, Behringer CMD PL-1

  8. #8
    Tech Mentor funke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Nashville Illinois
    Posts
    498

    Default

    Oh, and find out what your real ohms are. Just because a speaker is labeled a 8ohm speaker doesn't mean that it is exactly 8ohms. It could be actually 6 or 10 ohms. So bust out your electrical tester and find out what your really working with.
    Toshiba Satellite Windows 8.1, TSP2, Audio 10, Audio 2, 2x Technics 1200 MKII, Pioneer DJM-707, Midi Fighter Spectra, Kontrol X1, Behringer CMD PL-1

  9. #9
    Tech Mentor
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    420

    Default

    Some model numbers on the cabs would be helpful, two PLX1602s is not a lot of power IMO, but would be fine for small parties if paired with the right cabs...

  10. #10
    Tech Mentor TreTuna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Lake Tahoe
    Posts
    281

    Default

    I couldn't have said it better myself then Kevin there. He basically said everything I was about to type up. You definitely "could" run that system in the way he describes, but as he says, definitely be careful not to push the main amp. You will blow a speaker MUCH easier by under powering it then overpowering it. When you under power and the speakers distort that means they actually stop for a split second at their extents, which means they are not being cooled the way they are supposed to be and this stresses the entire system until the inevitable happens and you blow the speakers out.

    Always have more power then you need from your amps... I've seen far too many speakers blown by people just wanting to get the cheaper amp to "get by" and not really thinking about the consequences when that lower rated amp blows their speakers and then they have this most bewildering look on their face.... All I can ever tell them is "I told you so...."
    Tre Tuna
    DJ and Recording and Mixing engineer for live and studio sound
    Traktor Pro 2.7.1 | MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.5ghz 4gigs ram
    Stanton STR8-150s | Ortofon Q-Bert Carts
    NI Z2, F1, Machine MK I, RigKontrol 3 | Dicers | PadKontrol

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •