Allen & Heath Mixwizard WZ16:2DX - This is arguably the standard in affordable small format mixers. It sounds great, has a robust feature set, is rack mountable, and has enough inputs for a "common band". This is the second version of the mixer. Version 3 is now out with a few more bells and whistles and slightly better preamps. (purchased used for $625 on ebay)
- 6 aux sends (4 switchable between PRE and POST fader and 2 permanently POST fader). That means plenty of monitor mixes
- Dual engine effects (Aux 5 & 6 can be assigned for the effects, still leaving 4 auxes for monitor mixes)
- 100 mm faders (a lot of smaller mixers have 60 mm faders)
- 100 Hz filter (for blocking low end rumble from inputs that don't need low end "subwoofer" frequencies)
- Dual midrange sweepable EQs on each channel (more and more mixers are adding this)
- Very good sounding EQ (A cut above many, including Mackie)
- You can hook the mixer up to your PC and tweak the effects via FREE software from Allen & Heath. (Includes some processing you don't know about unless you play with the software, compression for example)
- Hinged input panel allows mixer to be rack mounted (2 different ways) or sat on a table.
- When using a footpedal to control the effects, thers is no indicator of whether the effects are on or off
- No subgroups (a minor point for most, but probably the most missed feature)
Electro-Voice QRx 112/75 - I wanted to step up from the NX550P's we'd been using. I was looking at higher end self powered speakers when I stumbled onto a "too good to pass up" deal on a pair of these. I bought them in mint condition for $625 each (about 1/2 of what they go for new). They are bi-amplified with one side of a QSC PLX 3102 for the lows (500w to each) and one side of a Soundtech PS802 for the top end (200w). They are limited, crossed over and EQed with the Peavey VSX48 speaker processor.
- 1.5" exit and 70 degree horizontal coverage pattern allow these boxes to throw far. 105 dB on the dance floor, 95 dB about 50 ft back, 85 dB about 100 feet back.
- Fantastic sound!
- Sometimes I wish the coverage patten was wider, but that's not the speakers fault
- They aren't balanced particularly well. When pole mounted they tend to tip upward ever so slightly. It's like they put the socket in the wrong place.
Yorkville LS700P - My favorite part of the PA. I love these little guys. For their size and price I don't think there's anything out there that can touch them. They actually overpower the NX550P tops. They won't fill a 500+ room with gut busting lows, but they'll handle 250 people and even some outdoor stuff. They also couple well when placed together on their side with vents next to each other. (purchased used from fellow HC member for $1000 for the pair shipped)
- Extremely portable. I call them "carable"
- High output for their size. There are subs 3X the size that can't put out like these.
- No XLR connections (they are 1/4")
- Amped signal can go in, but it passes through a full range signal to the mains so what's the point?
- It has protection and limits output if pushed too hard, but there are no clip or limit indicators.
Yorkville NX550P (now called NX55P) - If size and weight are an issue these are great little tops. Real power and still under 50 lbs. They have their limits but are great for small to mid size clubs and and versitle as monitors, dance fills, drum fills, extension cabinets, delay speakers. We often use them with the larger PA system because they're just handy. (purchased 2 new for $650 ea and 2 used for $400 ea from HC member)
- Small & Light
- Good output
- Amazing bass at lower playback volumes
- Fantastic mixer section (great for practices. Everyone just plugs into their own speaker)
- Don't quite keep up with the LS700P subs.
- I've heard the new NX55P models are made of a harder material. These are relatively soft and show marks and dents.
- At high output 250 Hz - 260 Hz makes the box rattle almost violently. happens on all 4 of mine so it's not a one box thing. I only notice it on one note of 1 song I sing. Kinda strange.
This is the mixer section of the active Yorkville tops. I believe all the NX and Elite active speakers use the same mixer section. As for features, it pretty much has it all. The bottom left is the standard XLR / 1/4" in and out. The bottom right section is a separate mixer input section that can be engaged via the "MIXER" button in the top panel. The mixer controls on the top allow for gain and basic EQing. The gain and EQ functions do not work when the unit isn't in "MIXER" mode. There is also a 100 Hz LF rolloff that is handy if you are just doing voice or want to use with an active Yorkville subwoofer, which has a 100 Hz HF rolloff. When used together you can get by without a crossover.
EV ZX1 speakers - 8" woofer and 3/4" compression driver. I have 2 of these and generally use both of them as my monitors (I'm the lead singer). If the stage volume is excessive these probably aren't for you. They do a great job, but still have their limitations. (Purchased new for $210 ea)
- Small (work great as 2 monitor system for hypercardiod micrphone patterns)
- Sound wonderful for their size
- The handle is molded in and pretty worthless
- Not the most efficient speakers so they need some power behind them.
Peavey VSX48 Speaker Management System - This is the big brother to the VSX26. It has 4 inputs and 8 outputs. We can run the FOH mix 3 monitor mixes into it. The outputs are then FOH highs, FOH lows, subs, 3 monitor mixes, and a full range side fill. The processor controls - EQ, crossover, signal limiting, and any needed delay. Although the VSX26 has been out since mid 2006, as of the end of 2007 you couldn't buy the VSX48 easily. I basically petitioned Peavey to sell me one. (Purchased new for around $500)
- 4 inputs and 8 outs are nice. Nothing else at this price point can do it.
- Replaces a bunch of other gear normally needed. (still have a single 31 band EQ for quick FOH adjustments)
- Because it's not really a fully baked product, there's not much support for it. No manual, software updates, etc.
- No PC based GUI (which really stinks). All changes must be done with the scroll wheel and buttons.
- Prone to hissing if the gain structure isn't set properly.
QSC PLX2 3102 - Power amplifier. One side used for powering the low end of the mains, the other side for powering EV ZX1 monitors (yes it's overkill and I do have the amp limited through the Peavey VSX speaker processor). (purchased for $870 new).
600 watts stereo at 8 ohms
1000 watts stereo at 4 ohms
1550 watts stereo at 2 ohms
2100 watts bridged to mono at 8 ohms
3100 watts bridged to mono at 4 ohms
- At under 23 lbs, very good power to weight ratio
- QSC warranty is fantastic (6 yrs)
- Has pretty much all the bells and whistles (limiting, crossover, several input and output options)
- Can't think of one
PS802 - 230W @ 8 ohms, 400W @ 4 ohms, 800W bridged @ 8 ohms power ampThis resides in a 4U shallow effects rack that sits on stage and also houses wireless gear and a harmonizer. 1/2 of this amp is used to power the high end of the FOH. The other half see monitor duty in powering one of the EV ZX1 boxes. (Purchased used on Ebay for $240)
- Size and weight. It weighs a bit over 15 lbs and takes up only one rack space
- Banana plug outputs are all she has. I think there is a Speakon model too, but I'm not sure.
- The fans are pretty loud. Not an amp you'd want in the studio
- The XLR inputs have no latch. The XLR just slides in with no resistance when pulling out. You really need to check before you start playing that it's in there good.
- Although there is a clip indicator, there's no limiting so you can get distortion (square waves).
Furman Q-1311 - Single 31 band EQ. This is one of my best finds and I'm glad I bought 2. I wasn't really even looking for EQ's when I came across these being blown out. (Purchased new at Musicians Friend for $59).
- VERY well built. Heavier steel chassis, metal shafts
- Many features for the price - Variable low and high cut, +6 and +12 range settings, ground lift switch
- XLR, 1/4" and RCA ins/outs
- Aside from the fact a 1U slider isn't the most convenient thing in the world, I really have nothing bad to say about this piece.
DBX 1046 Compressor - 4 channels of compression. I run 2 of these on our FOH for a total of 8 channels of compression. We run our own sound from stage quite a bit and these can smooth out the mix and protect things. 3 channels are used on vocal mics, 1 on the cymbal output of the e-drums, 1 for break music coming from the laptop, and 2 on keyboard outputs (purchased used from our engineer for $200 ea)
- Quality compression.
- 4 channels in a very small footprint
- these suckers get hot!
Peavey Q-215FX - Dual 15 band EQ with FLS (Feedback Locating System). The loudest frequencies will light the LED about the respective slider. If feedback starts wailing you'll see a bright red light. Grab that slider and pull it down. This is used primarily on the In Ear Monitors that a few of the band members wear. (Purchased used on Ebay for around $120)
- As with most Peavey stuff, this thing is built like a tank.
- The FLS system is genius. Super easy to understand and use.
- Aside from 15 band not being the best for ringing out monitors, nothing really.
Carvin AC120 - Power Conditioner - This is "the other" piece of the original PA system. It sits in the FOH rack. (Purchased new from Carvin for $139)
- The line voltage meter is nice and has alerted us to power sags a few times
- It's nice to flip everything on at once. Lamps come in handy every once and a while.
- The caps on the pull out lights kept falling off and had to be taped on.
- Something inside is rattling around
- IMO, it was overpriced, but now that I have it I may as well use it.