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Purchasing a PA System Component by Component
Old 27th February 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Purchasing a PA System Component by Component

Hi everyone,
I am a singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist and am forming an indie/fuzz folk band. I am looking to purchase a PA system that will last me, but will not entirely break the bank. I read a suggestion on this forum recently that resonated with me and I wanted to get everyone's opinions on if it is a good idea and if there is anything I have to look out for when making my purchases.

The suggestion is to purchase an unpowered mixer and a nice powered speaker to use for small solo gigs and then when finances allow, purchase the other speaker and perhaps monitors and other gear to complete the system. This would even be more appealing to me to purchase a USB mixer that I could also be used for home recording. The purchase suggestions were:

-Allen & Heath ZED-10FX 10-Channel USB Mixer with Effects
Allen & Heath ZED-10FX 10-Channel USB Mixer with Effects | Musician's Friend

-QSC K10 10" Powered PA Speaker
QSC K10 10" Powered PA Speaker | Musician's Friend

Is this a good combo? Do you have any other suggestions?

I am considering purchasing a mixer, SM58, cables, and mic stand together first (and recording in the interim) and then purchasing the first PA speaker and stand, and then the next.

Thank you for your advice, everyone.
Old 27th February 2014
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zym ➑️
Hi everyone,
I am a singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist and am forming an indie/fuzz folk band. I am looking to purchase a PA system that will last me, but will not entirely break the bank. I read a suggestion on this forum recently that resonated with me and I wanted to get everyone's opinions on if it is a good idea and if there is anything I have to look out for when making my purchases.

The suggestion is to purchase an unpowered mixer and a nice powered speaker to use for small solo gigs and then when finances allow, purchase the other speaker and perhaps monitors and other gear to complete the system. This would even be more appealing to me to purchase a USB mixer that I could also be used for home recording. The purchase suggestions were:

-Allen & Heath ZED-10FX 10-Channel USB Mixer with Effects
Allen & Heath ZED-10FX 10-Channel USB Mixer with Effects | Musician's Friend

-QSC K10 10" Powered PA Speaker
QSC K10 10" Powered PA Speaker | Musician's Friend

Is this a good combo? Do you have any other suggestions?

I am considering purchasing a mixer, SM58, cables, and mic stand together first (and recording in the interim) and then purchasing the first PA speaker and stand, and then the next.

Thank you for your advice, everyone.
It's a very good combo, but if you really have putting together a band in mind eventually, you might want to consider a mixer with more inputs and perhaps more auxiliary outputs. The 4 mono XLR inputs and two stereo channels on the 10FX (and one Aux) will not stretch very far once you're playing with a couple more musicians. Try and think about your maximum likely number of actual inputs, and look at some of the larger ZEDs or the EFX and MFXi series from Soundcraft. Those will give you more room to grow. If money is a little tight, look at the Yamaha DXR10 or the RCF 310a, both of which are comparable to the K10 at lower price-points (the 310a is, in particular, a bargain, gettable for around $400). That will give you leeway to spend a little more on a larger mixer.

Remember also that the USB connection on the ZED will only allow you to send a stereo mix to your computer. To do more serious recording, you'll need an interface that will allow you to send each channel separately to your computer. In other words, I wouldn't buy the ZED for the USB.

Louis
Old 27th February 2014
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zym ➑️
I am a singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist and am forming an indie/fuzz folk band. I am looking to purchase a PA system that will last me, but will not entirely break the bank.
The challenge may be in the "will last me" part, especially when combined with "but will not entirely break the bank". The mixer is a good example, you could easily find the ZED-10FX insufficient right from the start for the band use, but do you try to support the future band use with what you purchase now or do you look at primarily the current use now and get a larger mixer when the band starts performing? And how does all that work with your budget? Those are decisions you may have to make.
Old 27th February 2014
  #4
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
The comments on the mixer are valid, go at least 16 channels. If there is a MixWiz with USB, I would look at that. Speaker selection is fine, you could add a sub later if needed.
Old 27th February 2014
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
This is fine to start. People worry about future-proofing their investments, but there's no use buying a 16-channel mixer when you're starting out. Buy the mixer you need now. As you grow, if you need more, you can sell the current and buy a new one or a used one. Sorry, but buying a 16 channel mixer when you're just starting out is more than you need. I've gone from a Mackie 1202 to a 1402 to a 1642 and now a Yamaha 01v as the band grew and we needed something more.

Other thing - just because you have a mixer doesn't mean the whole band has to go through it, especially if you don't have full range speakers and/or subs, have lots of monitor mixes and speakers, and someone who's mixing the band fulltime. . We have a 12 channel Yamaha 01v mixer for a band with 5 singers, 2 keyboard players, 2 guitars, bass and drums. Vocals go through the mixer, keyboards go through the mixer but each also has their own keyboard amp or powered monitor. No bass, drums or guitars in the mixer - no need. Sounds great.

Buy used and you'll find your dollars go a lot further to stay within your means. Mix Wiz 3 is a great mixer, but you don't need that much starting out.
Old 27th February 2014 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
mixer mixer's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy Salami ➑️
The comments on the mixer are valid, go at least 16 channels. If there is a MixWiz with USB, I would look at that. Speaker selection is fine, you could add a sub later if needed.
The latest MixWizard4 series has a USB option that allows all 16 channels for recording.
Old 28th February 2014
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I agree that a 16 channel Mix Wiz is overkill, but I do think it's worth going for something at this point with more than the 4 mono/XLR inputs of the ZED10FX. A mixer with, say 8 mono inputs like the ZED60-14FX or the EFX8 or MFXi8 are still manageably compact and yet big enough to accommodate a small semi-acoustic ensemble like the one the OP describes ("indie fuzz/folk"). The ZED10FX is a terrific little mixer for a solo or duo act, maybe a trio, depending on what is being played and how many things need to go through the PA, but after that it can get over-taxed pretty quickly. I use mine all the time for a trio of 2 guitarists/vocalists and light percussion that doesn't need to be mic'd. But I needed to add a little sub mixer or use a couple of adaptors to stretch it to accommodate my full band (a semi-acoustic ethnic music ensemble).

On the other hand, as neodrama suggests, if the OP is pretty sure that for a while it's going to be just solo gigs, and if he's likely to do those or duos in the future, the ZED10FX will be useful for now and in the future, too, even after he gets a bigger mixer for a future larger band.

Louis
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Thank you everyone for your insights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lschwart ➑️
On the other hand, as neodrama suggests, if the OP is pretty sure that for a while it's going to be just solo gigs, and if he's likely to do those or duos in the future, the ZED10FX will be useful for now and in the future, too, even after he gets a bigger mixer for a future larger band.

Louis
I do think that I will be playing solo gigs while also getting the band together and buying new gear, so the ZED may be nice to have even after purchasing a larger mixer. However, I was looking a bit online and saw that the Mackie ProFX12 has two more channels and is thirty bucks less. I wasn't certain, however, if the Mackie was as quality as Allen and Heath.

Does anyone have any opinions on the Mackie ProFX12 versus the Allen & Heath ZED-10FX?
Old 28th February 2014
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
In my Solo Acoustic act, I use an old Alesis Studio 12 (3 rack-space) unit with minimal outboard gear, a couple 31 band EQs and a low-end Lexicon reverb, it all fits in a 8-space rack. Two Berhringer B112's & one 208 powered speaker's, this more than fills my needs. In fact, I have just used the small monitor (Berhinger 208) in some show's where I didn't need much volume (even in a large room). I might use the 208 in a full band set-up as a vocal monitor but I really wouldn't want to try and support a live band with the Berhinger B112's in the mains or monitors as they are not that good a speaker and if you push them they sound distorted.

The set-up you have selected is not that bad, Ive not used the new ZED mixers, they are low-cost so I wouldn't expect to much out of them sonically but they should work for a Solo Acoustic act. I would get the best speakers you can so save-up for them. QSC makes great power-amps but I'm not entirely sold on there new powered speaker unit's, again, they aren't junk but there is better out there and if you plan on buy things a piece at a time you might as well forget about the consumer gear and get the good stuff.
Old 28th February 2014
  #10
Lives for gear
 
mixer mixer's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Mackie and A&H are two different fields when it comes to quality.

That said, I'd go for a Soundcraft EFX8; has 8 mic in's and Lexicon FX that has 3 parameters for lots of variations. Has same quality as A&H. All for $399 USD. You still have to get a 31 band GEQ however. The built-in 7 band GEQ's on the mixers are not effective IMO.

I wouldn't use a mixer for audio recording however, that's where audio interfaces (example: Steinberg ur22 or similar) come in.
Old 28th February 2014
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
You're not likely to hear much difference, sonically, between the ZED and the Mackie, but A&H does have a much better reputation for durability. One advantage that the ZED10FX has over the Mackie is sweepable midrange controls, which can be an advantage, especially for acoustic guitar. The ProFX has channel mutes and its faders are easier to see to get a quick sense of the mix mid-gig if you're mixing yourself from the stage. I doubt very much that you'll need a 31 band EQ for a small set up like this for small solo gigs. The volume won't be high enough to cause much worry over feedback, as long as you're careful about speaker and mic placement, and depending on the kind of guitar pickup you're using. In fact, in many settings you'll be fine with the speaker up on a pole behind you and a bit over your head. No monitors will be necessary until you need enough volume that you have to put the speaker in front of you. Later, a GEQ might come in handy for a larger ensemble with more monitors and louder gigs--especially if you end up amplifying a lot of acoustic instruments using microphones. The Soundcraft EFX8 is a good choice, too. One thing it doesn't have is high pass filters on the channels, although that's not likely to matter for solo or small ensemble acoustic gigs. The MFXi8 has all of these functions and more, although it's a little bigger and more expensive.

Louis
Old 28th February 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The Mackie VLZ would be worth getting if comparably priced; the Pro FX series is definitely lower quality than the Allen & Heath. I'd avoid.

High pass filters, especially for acoustic guitars, are definitely worthwhile, as it helps tame that low end and avoids having to use the LF EQ knob to do so. We engage HPF on all vocals, acoustic guitars all the time.
Old 3rd March 2014 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lschwart ➑️
I doubt very much that you'll need a 31 band EQ for a small set up like this for small solo gigs.

Louis
I would disagree with this, every time I step on-to a stage at an acoustic Jam with just a mixer and two speakers for PA, my guitar/voice sounds like ****! Full of mud and "in-your-face" mid-range sonic's! You need clean and clear sound, with lots of room for gain, with out a 31 Band EQ you wont get it.
Old 3rd March 2014 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 24 I/O ➑️
I would disagree with this, every time I step on-to a stage at an acoustic Jam with just a mixer and two speakers for PA, my guitar/voice sounds like ****! Full of mud and "in-your-face" mid-range sonic's! You need clean and clear sound, with lots of room for gain, with out a 31 Band EQ you wont get it.
I suppose we can trade anecdotes. All I can say is I have no trouble getting good tone at small solo acoustic gigs with either a combo amp or my small PA set up (usually just one speaker and a mixer). Nothing needed beyond the EQs on the amp/preamp/or channel strips. And at those volumes, I don't have the kind of feedback trouble that requires a 31 band GEQ.

When the gig and the necessary PA gets bigger and monitors are necessary--and with a full band--that's another story, but then in my case that usually means a house PA and someone at the mixer.

Louis
Old 3rd March 2014
  #15
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
While I am not an engineer, I am a respected musician. I own 2 K-10's they are Ok, I don't know why people rave bout them though, of course I was never a huge 12" Mackie 450 fan ( that so many about 15 years ago raved about - good but nothig great ) either. I ended up with the second Generation EOn 15's they had some high frequency issues and were not perfect, but I found them very versatile. lately I tried an EV ZLX single 15, very inexpensive... and smoother sounding ( less harsh ) than the K 10's. I highly recommend those, esp on a budget. Much cheaper than the Yamaha mentioned.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #16
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Try out some JBL PRX 700 series and QSC digital mixer - .02 cents
Old 3rd March 2014 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboycurtis ➑️
While I am not an engineer, I am a respected musician. I own 2 K-10's they are Ok, I don't know why people rave bout them though, of course I was never a huge 12" Mackie 450 fan ( that so many about 15 years ago raved about - good but nothig great ) either. I ended up with the second Generation EOn 15's they had some high frequency issues and were not perfect, but I found them very versatile. lately I tried an EV ZLX single 15, very inexpensive... and smoother sounding ( less harsh ) than the K 10's. I highly recommend those, esp on a budget. Much cheaper than the Yamaha mentioned.
Funny how different gear appeals to different people. I have yet to hear an EON box (first or second generation) that didn't sound horrible - harsh, less bass than the Mackies; I preferred the original SRM450's over the EONs anyday, but traded up to the QSC HPR122i's which I liked over both.
Old 3rd March 2014 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deelow ➑️
Try out some JBL PRX 700 series and QSC digital mixer - .02 cents
Assuming you mean the QSC TouchMix mixers then that may only be an option if the OP is not in a hurry. Have you actually had an opportunity to use or try a TouchMix mixer? While some vendors are accepting pre-orders for the TouchMix-8 and TouchMix-16, what were shown at NAMM were prototype units and production units incorporating feedback from NAMM as well as further development aren't expected to be available until sometime later this year. A QSC representative that I trust recently indicated that the expected availability for the TouchMix products appeared to most likely be sometime in June, however that date is already later than originally expected and it could potentially slip further back.
Old 6th March 2014
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
No - i haven't had a chance to use the QSC touch mix - but I'm sure its pretty decent- it was just a suggestion- good price point and pretty basic- I would personally go for a Qu-16 at 2x as much - I have 4 qsc power amps that have served me well over the past few years and JBL's higher end stuff is pretty good too - just my .02
Old 10th March 2014
  #20
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Thank you everyone. I went with the 10 channel Allen and Heath and if I need more channels in the future with a band, we can purchase a larger, more appropriate mixer. Right now I'm playing solo gigs so this will do. I appreciate everyone's advice.
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #21
S21
Lives for gear
 
S21's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zym ➑️
Thank you everyone. I went with the 10 channel Allen and Heath and if I need more channels in the future with a band, we can purchase a larger, more appropriate mixer. Right now I'm playing solo gigs so this will do. I appreciate everyone's advice.
That is absolutely what I would have done.
Old 10th March 2014
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Enjoy it! A ZED10FX and a K10 makes a terrific set up for a solo acoustic gig! I kept mine after getting a larger mixer for my band, and it still gets plenty of use.

Louis
Old 12th May 2014
  #23
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
just wanted to check to see how everything worked out? give us an update and your experience with the equipment you got
Old 12th May 2014
  #24
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Hey everyone, I'm more than happy to check in about my purchases. The more I learned about live mixing and the more I used the zed10fx, I realized I wanted more inputs. I then returned the 10fx for a used zed60-14fx, which had the benefit of more inputs as well as faders. This is coupled with two Yamaha dxr12s, which really makes for one hell of a basic system. The mixer's on board effects are solid and versatile and the speaker quality and output is incredible for the cost. I financed each item seperately through musicians friend, paying off one item before purchasing the next. This lightened the blow and now has provided me with a system that I'm quite proud of. Thanks for all your help everyone.
Old 12th May 2014
  #25
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Man, Great to hear! happy allen and heath user here --- gl2400-16 hasn't let us down, I do hear those yamaha's do put out quite a punch too- keep us posted (thumbs up!)
Old 12th May 2014 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zym ➑️
Hey everyone, I'm more than happy to check in about my purchases. The more I learned about live mixing and the more I used the zed10fx, I realized I wanted more inputs. I then returned the 10fx for a used zed60-14fx, which had the benefit of more inputs as well as faders. This is coupled with two Yamaha dxr12s, which really makes for one hell of a basic system. The mixer's on board effects are solid and versatile and the speaker quality and output is incredible for the cost. I financed each item seperately through musicians friend, paying off one item before purchasing the next. This lightened the blow and now has provided me with a system that I'm quite proud of. Thanks for all your help everyone.
I had a feeling you might want more for your situation. These are good choices for your application. Glad they're working out for you. Enjoy them!

Louis
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