Live PA Mixer Recommendations

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Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby Cmnaround » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:05 pm

Hey do you guys have any recommendations or tips for picking a mixer for live use with a small PA for bars and small rooms - currently have a pair of JBL MR822 1x12 + horn pole mounted speakers and am about to complement them with a power amp and mixer. Another related question would be are the JBLs enough or do I really need 1x15 cabs at a minimum or even bass bins + 1x15 cabs for mids and hi end?

Have already decided against a powered head style mixer as I want the flexibility of a mixer and power amp set up. Seems like the mic pre amps are the most important part and that is what I have been focusing on. Looking at the Allen and Heath ZED 12-fx or maybe 16 fx. Does anyone mic just the bass drum and snare and run through the PA to get some extra thump from the drums across? I don't think I would need to mic the drums in small rooms, but wonder if this is common at all?

I also want the 12 channels so I can mic the drums and guitars to get a good clean 2 channel stereo mix from rehersals and stuff. The Presonus 16 channel set up into a computer would be ideal to get 16 independent tracks for mixdown later, but I don't have that kind of cash. Any suggestions or recommendations would be welcome -
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby barefootdave » Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:06 pm

I think the minimum for live band applications is 15" on the speakers.

A good and fairly inexpensive mixer is the Mackie 1604, but the Allen & Heath is also a very good product.
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby ricepr » Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:34 pm

Mackie's atuff is ok. Id prefer the zed, but the allen & heath mix wizard is great

I think 12's and a sub would be ok

If we mic drums its kick, snare and two overheads

You might look into powered speakers , particularly for the sub
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby JonnyBoy » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:02 pm

save some money and get a presonus board.... or the new Berringer digital board is getting a lot of praise too from some of the sound companies running sound we've worked with. The one made here in the US. A whole new world of live recordings, monitor uses/individual mixes and great FOH results opened up to our band with the Presonus.
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby eric » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:57 am

Recording a stereo mix off a board from rehearsals won't work like you think. The setup to mic or DI everyone properly off the board while retaining proper live playing levels will never come out to your liking. There's too much going on in any room to get the right mix and balance that only multi tracking and even a little post production can provide. For good stereo ,you can't go wrong with a Zoom -like device. Or even better, there's a small market of stereo mics for the iPhone now.you be surprised how decent the sound quality for such ease of use and simplicity. Keep it simple and record the room .

Mackie is solid stuff , and I will say that I traded my 1640 for a 24 channel Behringer board with all the fixins and overall liked the Behringer better. ( And friends dont let friends buy Behringer, I know) But I was running a couple powered Mackie 15's with it. Plenty loud . 12's will do you fine.

In that range , any one of those would be a good pick , I always wanted to try the A&H stuff.
You'd be hard pressed to tell any difference in the pre's for those .

Being farsighted , I would say just upgrade to powered monitors first, use a cheap small-format mixer for vox and the kick and such. Also, make sure you have a few aux's for foldback (which should be powered as well).

But, ultimately , a Studiolive into a MacBook into PT is about the best all around option IMO. But that rig will cost you a dream guitar. And it becomes a second job for you because you're the only one in the band who can operate it.

Good luck!
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby Cmnaround » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:08 am

Thanks for the advice. I have a Tascam DR-40 that I am using now to catch a live stero mix from the room. It works really well and I would recommend it to others based on the record feature that starts and stops tracks based on the level - so you can just set it up on a mic stand and let it go all night and end up with a bunch of individual WAV files on an SD card.

Was hoping to clean that up a bit with a stereo mix routed from the mixer. Will keep you posted on the outcome - any other advice always welcome - especially around mixers with built in effects vs outboard like a lexicon reverb - seems like the newer mixers with digital reverbs are pretty good.
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby eric » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:00 am

Built in FX should work fine , the trick is to send it to its own independent channel to the board so you can EQ the verb or delay ,which will make it way more useable and controllable. Important too is the pre-post fader send capabilities on each channel. Also, be mindfull that if you are going to try and send the 2 track to tape, you are going to need a decent amount of routing flexibility ( at least 2 subgroups) because you are going to want to send everything to tape, while only a few things to the mains. A 3 mic recorderman works great for drums. But you're not going to want your overheads in the mains. Remember there's a distinction between live sound reinforcement and what the big boys play out of.

Something else to consider is that nearly all multitracking interfaces ( which can be had for the price of a small
mixer, can also be used as stand-alone mic pres , and they have amazing software routing capabilities for live use.

Another option is to get a decent board and interface separately ,then add an 8 channel splitter to have complete independent control of live and recording levels. But by then , you should have just got the Studiolive.

Forgive me if you already know all of this, just my deuce ...
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby Patrick Strain » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:29 pm

We use and Allen & Heath and I like it. However, my friend recently bought a Presonus Studiolive mixer for his club, and I absolutely love it. It's clean, quiet, and everything you need is built in. Also, it's a pretty nice firewire recording interface.
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby strumminsix » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:53 pm

IMO....
Behringer sucks, avoid.
Yamaha makes great gear! Loved every board I've had (3)
Many powered speakers are lighter than some unpowered.
I love my JBL PRX612 & 5 speakers.

As I'm space constrained, I wish I'd done all 12s and had room for a subwoofer.

Digital boards are only awesome if you have a dedicated sound man. Last weekend some rentadj mixed us with one and he was fiddling all night and it never sounded great. Happens each time someone mans one of those boards. It takes a dedicated skillset.
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby ricepr » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:00 pm

my ideal system would be JBL PRX

512M for monitors

535 for mains, or 512 mains and a 518 sub (or two if needed)

Presonus digital mixer, or A&H MixWizard. Beta 58's for vocals

Cheap low priced what I have for the duo - Yamaha powered mixer, two Peavey lightweight unpowered speakers. Sounds great in small places, lightweight. Full band is (knock on wood) only going places where PA is provided with soundman
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby strumminsix » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:19 pm

My setup... JBL PRX615 mains, PRX612 monitors, Yamaha MG166cx mixer. Love it! But no room in SUV for sub.

But for the love of God study mic patterns, cardioid vs super / hyper cardioid and monitor placement for each. Cardioid put the monitor directly behind; super /hyper off to the side and angled inward
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby ricepr » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:29 pm

strumminsix wrote:My setup... JBL PRX615 mains, PRX612 monitors, Yamaha MG166cx mixer. Love it! But no room in SUV for sub.

But for the love of God study mic patterns, cardioid vs super / hyper cardioid and monitor placement for each. Cardioid put the monitor directly behind; super /hyper off to the side and angled inward


learnin about mic patterns, and gain level structure = needed!

As far as the PRX, I had a pair of two 635's (I think a 15, a 10, and a tweeter). Sounded like god his ownself. No real need for a sub, but adding one, that setup would work for any decent sized club. Sounds great
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby Patrick Strain » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:39 pm

strumminsix wrote:IMO....

Digital boards are only awesome if you have a dedicated sound man. Last weekend some rentadj mixed us with one and he was fiddling all night and it never sounded great. Happens each time someone mans one of those boards. It takes a dedicated skillset.


I'll tell you, I'd agree with your assessment of most digital boards being difficult. The Presonus is a different beast. It has a very short learning curve. There's no need to scroll through menus unless you're setting up effects parameters. Check out some of the Youtube videos. Also very cool, there's a free app that you can download to your IPad or IPhone that lets you control the mix wirelessly. This is not only cool for doing FOH, but it's an amazing tool for mixing monitors.
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby strumminsix » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:51 pm

Patrick Strain wrote:
strumminsix wrote:IMO....

Digital boards are only awesome if you have a dedicated sound man. Last weekend some rentadj mixed us with one and he was fiddling all night and it never sounded great. Happens each time someone mans one of those boards. It takes a dedicated skillset.


I'll tell you, I'd agree with your assessment of most digital boards being difficult. The Presonus is a different beast. It has a very short learning curve. There's no need to scroll through menus unless you're setting up effects parameters. Check out some of the Youtube videos. Also very cool, there's a free app that you can download to your IPad or IPhone that lets you control the mix wirelessly. This is not only cool for doing FOH, but it's an amazing tool for mixing monitors.

Will do! Past Saturday had a dude on a Presonus who couldn't get our monitors right all night. Last summer at a local festival some kids with the similar board and iPads couldn't get proper eq nor gain levels. Maybe I've just gotten the worst of worst lol!
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Re: Live PA Mixer Recommendations

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:10 am

Both my bands have Allen & Heath boards, Fennario has some huge number of channels, I have the 16:2 Mix Wizard and it's great. Cost like $1,000 but if you keep it in a rack case, should last forever. I have it mounted in a rack with a 6 or 8 space effects, and the snake just stays plugged in and gets coiled up in the back of the unit for storage/transport. Very quick and easy, we can be up and running in about an hour even if my 5'8" office-worker self is the only one there without a bad back.
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