Speakers to Invest In?
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  1. #1
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    Default Speakers to Invest In?

    Background:
    I just got my first 2 gigs earlier this summer in the Chicago suburbs. I recently moved into Chicago proper and am looking to get gigs on the weekends to take the financial pressure off school. I intend to make DJing a regular part time job while in school. And the gigs I'm most likely to land, will not have any respectable sound system, if one at all, thus requiring me to bring all my own kit (and kaboodle).

    My current kit consists of a Numark MixtrackPro, MF Classic, and Traktor. As for speakers, I have an old pair of 12in Stageworks and a 2ch amp (don't even know the wattage) on extended loan from a friend. At the dorms I practice on an old 2pc Aiwa home stereo, using the included speakers for mids/highs, and a pair of Bose 401s for the lows.

    For the gigs I played out, I borrowed a pair of JBLs and a 2ch Gemini amp from a buddy.

    Issue:
    While that Aiwa/Bose hybrid setup I work on in the dorms gives fantastic sound quality, it's not something I can use to play out. It's not portable (read: durable), and doesn't look professional either; a professional appearance is something I'm very conscious of putting forth so that anybody who books me will treat me with respect, as well as anybody in the crowd who could potentially ask to book me in the future.

    I was looking at guitar center (I still have a relationship with the guy who sold me my Numark who is also a fellow DJ), and am pretty lost as to which speakers to buy. As a student I'm not too keen on parting with my greenbacks, but an engineering internship this summer did help, making my budget a little better. If I go the pricey/pricier route, I'd like those speakers to be good ones that will last -an investment, if you will.

    I was told by that guy at GC, after explaining to him my situation and exp, that I should probably just stick to a pair of powered speakers -though no smaller than 15".

    He suggested a pair of these 15" powered Mackie speakers.

    These 15in Peavey speakers also caught my eye for the same price as the above Mackie model.

    Lastly, on the high/pricey end, I ran across these dual 15in Peavey speakers. I'm posting these here cause I'm concerned about having enough bass (people wanna feel the beat/groove). And these, of course, at their price, would definitely be a long term investment. After hitting up the local bar last week, and seeing the DJ there with a pair of these, a light setup, AND a pair of subs, I felt extremely under geared (though on the flipside, I've seen guys play there with a pair of speakers on stands and some lights on stands too...).

    Questions:
    1) Other than there being one less piece of gear to lug and connect (amp), what are the pros/cons of powered vs. unpowered speaker setups? Is one actually better for mobile DJing than the other?

    2) Do I really need 15in speakers, or will 12in do me fine?

    3) What about sub(s)? Should I invest in one right now; go with small(er) speakers and sub(s)? If so, are they normally bought alone, for a sort of "2.1" setup, or in a matching pair for a "2.2" type arrangement?
    3a) How would I plug said sub(s) into my setup? Do I need a dedicated amp to include a sub or can I connect sub(s) in tandem with powered speakers? Do they normally have pass-throughs for my mid/high speakers or can the pass-throughs on mid/high speakers work to send the lows to the subs w/o negatively impacting the signal?

    4) Are those dual 15" Peavey speakers really worth it for a long term investment? And are they good enough in the bass department to forgo a sub(s), if they are worth it in the long run?

    I'm not opposed to any store at all, though that guy I know at GC said he'd help me out on such a big purchase as a show of reward for my previous loyalty.

    Thanks for slogging through this post guys. I'm a DJ just starting out and really wanna take this far, so any help is much appreciated!

    If there's anything that needs to be clarified, ask away!

  2. #2
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    1. The biggest pro is that you don't need to spend money hauling around DSP and an amp rack. The cabling is about the same imo. A good powered speaker will typically have some on-board DSP that is probably superior to what you can do by ear.
    2. No, that guy doesn't have a clue what he is talking about.
    3. A sub and satellite speaker setup is ideal.
    4. Anything from the PV series is a waste of money. (Anything from Peavey is a waste of money actually imo)

    In that whole post, you never mention a concrete budget, that is the most important piece of information before we can actually start to help you out.
    I hear an 8hz sinewave can make a whole room of dubstep producers simultaneously stroke their beards.


    Even if they havnt got one.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rotebass View Post
    1. The biggest pro is that you don't need to spend money hauling around DSP and an amp rack. The cabling is about the same imo. A good powered speaker will typically have some on-board DSP that is probably superior to what you can do by ear.
    2. No, that guy doesn't have a clue what he is talking about.
    3. A sub and satellite speaker setup is ideal.
    4. Anything from the PV series is a waste of money. (Anything from Peavey is a waste of money actually imo)

    In that whole post, you never mention a concrete budget, that is the most important piece of information before we can actually start to help you out.
    2) So 12"+ is good? I don't need to start at 15"?

    3) As in a 2.1 or 2.2 setup?

    4) Why are they crappy speakers? And what brands/models do you recommend in their stead?

    As for a budget, I assumed it was implied by the fact that I listed the 2x Dual 15" Peaveys as my upper limit ($500ea). So, $1k USD is my upper limit. I was more prepared though to drop in the neighborhood of $600.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nizobe View Post
    2) So 12"+ is good? I don't need to start at 15"?

    3) As in a 2.1 or 2.2 setup?

    4) Why are they crappy speakers? And what brands/models do you recommend in their stead?

    As for a budget, I assumed it was implied by the fact that I listed the 2x Dual 15" Peaveys as my upper limit ($500ea). So, $1k USD is my upper limit. I was more prepared though to drop in the neighborhood of $600.

    Thanks!
    2) 12" with subs is my ideal for a mobile rig. No 15" full range that I've heard can produce adequate low end, so it it needs to be paired with a sub anyways. 12's usually weigh less than 15's and you don't have to worry about how your going to fit them in your tiny hatchback car

    3) Whatever is ideal for the venue.

    4) I've honestly never heard a Peavey speaker that I like, I've heard the whole line (including their constant curvature array setup) and always wondered where the balls were.

    In your position I'd try the used market, I just got a pair of prx512m for $1000, not sure your location since I'm typing this from my iPhone but you should be able to find something close I would think.

    Check out EV, JBL, QSC and even Mackie on your local craigslist or whatever, you could probably find something to grow with. Those PV series boxes would be getting sold again when you decide to move into a more substancial rig. The other brands mentioned all produce good utility speakers that could fill many roles depending on the venue.

    Edit: checked, your in Chicago. Should be able to dig up some nice used actives I would imagine.
    Last edited by rotebass; 09-05-2012 at 09:16 PM.
    I hear an 8hz sinewave can make a whole room of dubstep producers simultaneously stroke their beards.


    Even if they havnt got one.

  5. #5
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    Yep, definitely go for a sub and two 12 inch or smaller. Personally i recommend rcf speakers. Best look into some audio forums or google rcf vs jbl etcetera. Further i worked with Cerwin vega subwoofers and a bit heavy, but nice bass. Sold mine recently for some rcf subs. If you want to go budget check out Behringer, price quality very descent as well.

    Don't be fooled by rms output, look as well to spl output and listen for yourself because manufactures are wizards in misleading the crowd with numbers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by souldancer View Post
    Don't be fooled by rms output, look as well to spl output and listen for yourself because manufactures are wizards in misleading the crowd with numbers.
    This. And as far as I'm concerned they all do it...
    I hear an 8hz sinewave can make a whole room of dubstep producers simultaneously stroke their beards.


    Even if they havnt got one.

  7. #7
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    Another RCF fan. Totally agree re the peavey comment although some of their older amps are decent. Used to have 2 x peavey 2000's. Outrageously heavy but built like tanks and great for pushing passive subs.
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  8. #8
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    Thanks for all this feedback everybody!

    So it looks like a pair of active 12"ers and a sub (or two) is the route to go for most gigs. Or can I get away with JUST a pair of 15"s?

    How do subs typically connect to a PA setup? Currently, with the Numark I have, I'm outputting a stereo RCA signal.

    Are subs typically active?
    Do they plug into the same signal as the rest of my speakers, and just simply lap up the low end (I'd imagine through a simple Y-splitter RCA cable, etc)?
    Or is there some other setup that is required by subs?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nizobe View Post
    Thanks for all this feedback everybody!

    So it looks like a pair of active 12"ers and a sub (or two) is the route to go for most gigs. Or can I get away with JUST a pair of 15"s?

    How do subs typically connect to a PA setup? Currently, with the Numark I have, I'm outputting a stereo RCA signal.

    Are subs typically active?
    Do they plug into the same signal as the rest of my speakers, and just simply lap up the low end (I'd imagine through a simple Y-splitter RCA cable, etc)?
    Or is there some other setup that is required by subs?
    Best and easiest option is to take an active sub and active speakers.

    They sell rca cables that have xlr cables on the other side those xlr's go into the sub and two xlr cables go from sub into speakers. Easy as 1,2,3
    http://soundcloud.com/thom-b/
    2011-04-14-the-corners-of-my

    KONTROL S8, 2x KONTROL D2, XONE DB4, traktor audio 10, kontrol x1, pioneer hdj 2000, software traktor scratch pro 2 & ableton suite 9

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by souldancer View Post
    Best and easiest option is to take an active sub and active speakers.

    They sell rca cables that have xlr cables on the other side those xlr's go into the sub and two xlr cables go from sub into speakers. Easy as 1,2,3
    That simple huh? Awesome!

    How much should I expect to pay for this 2.1 used and new? And do the same brands recommended for speakers, apply for subs?

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