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Thread: $1600 to spend!

  1. #1
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    $1600 to spend!

    Hi all,

    Brand new to the forum, appreciate any thoughts you guys have!

    I'm a beginning mobile DJ, I do everything from simple 30 people birthday parties, 50-100 person weddings, to 150-200 school dance in a large school gym. Probably only bout 10 events per year currently with 2-2 being those large events. Looking to expand...

    My setup to this point has been a laptop, VirtualDJ, Yamaha MG10 mixer, and a pair of Yamaha DBR15s. I just haven't been overly impressed by the sound and while adequate, it felt small in some of the bigger dances and I felt I was just cranking up the speaker to compensate. So I have sold the DBRs and am looking for new Equipment. Perhaps I could have just added a sub but just never felt like I was getting great sound our of them.

    Playing mostly top 40, classic wedding tunes, teen music. Not really deep hip hop. So looking for a good bass sound and occasional thump but doesn't have to be ridiculous banging bass. Mostly just want it to sound good as I know we all do!

    My budget is $1600 for speakers. Hoping for a President's day deal

    Based on my research, some options as I see it for this budget range are:

    1) QSC k12.2 - Purchase the 12" tops and rent a sub as needed for larger gigs, but use the 12s alone for almost everything else. Continue to rent the sub when needed or save up to buy my own.

    2) EV ZLX12 tops and an EV200-18SP sub - Purchase both the speakers and the sub, considering that most of the medium - large gigs I would need to tote along the sub.

    3) EV ZLX15 tops and an EV200-18SP sub - just bring the 15s when not a large gathering, and if even bigger event then also bring the sub.

    4) Yamaha DXR 12" tops? - and then add a sub later? Are these on par with the QSC k12.2s?

    My questions are:

    1) Are these appropriate for the types of events I am having? I have seen people recommending 8" speakers over 12" subs as optimum! Somebody at zzsounds actually recommended a 15" speaker over a 12" sub for my situation which totally through me for a loop!

    2) Any other manufacturers/speaker combinations that would make sense?

    3) Are the K12s that much better of a speaker that I can carry in lieu of 15s for the most part? If I could carry those speakers around and produce bass/sound like a 15" I would gladly spend that money, but not sure of real world experience with those speakers.

    My best scenario would be to be able to get away with a pair of tops most of the time and then only bring out he sub if and when needed, but not sure if there are a pair of 12's or 15s that can get the jobs done?

    Thanks for any comments,

    DJ joe

  2. #2
    Only have a minute.. but..

    No, you cannot spend more money on a higher quality 12 and get the same range of sound from that 12 alone you got from your 15's alone. Physics is against you here, the smaller box will sound better in the mids and highs, but have less bass. Size and bass are in general dependent upon each other. However your 12's with a sub if you get a proper setup will far outperform 15's alone.

    The DXR 12 tops with matching sub(s) will stomp what you had, seriously stomp it. You'll have better sounding mids and highs and better sounding bass too.
    But the 12's alone, while they will not be without any bass at all, you will not have a ton of depth there.
    Last edited by light-o-matic; 02-11-2020 at 06:45 PM.

  3. #3
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    +1 to what Light stated and I'll add..

    With all modern music genres subs really aren't optional so any combo you put together with dedicated subs will sound much better than a 2 way box. For example that EV ZLX12/ELX200-18 combo will so badly embarrass the DBR15s it's not even funny, and that's not because the DBRs are poor speakers it is because it's just not possible to get significant bass and clean mids from the same driver at the same time, that takes a 3 way speakers system.

    So your dilemma is... what is going to be the most useful upgrade path to take. EV ZLX and Yamaha DBR are equivalent IMO, and QSC K.2 and Yamaha DXR's are too and would be a nice step up. The 12" versions in each family typically don't produce as much bass as the 15" but there isn't a hugh difference, and 12's are considerably smaller and easier to move so the tradeoff is acceptable IMO. If you can do an event with a pair of 15's on stands you can with a pair of 12's too.

    In the long run I think if you were to buy DXR12's or K12.2's and rent a sub(or 2) until you can buy your own you will be better off. I rent out systems to DJs, smaller events usually get a pair of ZLX12ps with an EKX18sp sub, that is a good sounding and surprisingly capable system but it shows it's limitations in larger rooms, for bigger crowds/rooms I bring out EKX12ps over a pair of the 18 subs and the difference is quite noticeable.
    Last edited by conanski; 02-11-2020 at 10:05 PM.
    Paul O'Brien
    Old Tech Guy
    www.Techott.com

  4. #4
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    Thank you for the response and advice!

    I agree i general with getting the higher quality tops as a first move, but just wanting to understand what in reality that extra $$ really give me considering that I am only doing this maybe 6 times per year in a max room of around 150-200? (and maybe 40-50 people are actually on the dance floor, the rest are wall bound parents or spectators lol)

    So in narrowing down and comparing between two setups (2) EV ZLX-12Ps and (1) EV ELX-20018SP vs (2) QSC K12.2 and (1) QSC KW181. The first is about $1600 and the second is about $2600. Given that the ZLX speakers seem to get a lot of good and reviews, is there a significant difference in output quality, loudness, that the general clients would notice, or is that more of an audiophile that can really tell the difference? My main concern obviously is to give the clients something they are happy with, your posts reads as if the ZLX in general serves you well in this regard.

    I would envision using the tops alone at times for smaller events and then bring out the sub (hopefully one will do it for this size) when I am doing the larger crowd. I am assuming I will get 2x the quality and loudness out of a top that is 2x the price? To what extent are you overpaying for the name if you are selecting QSC for example given my typical operation as I listed above, vs the ZLX? I go to Guitar Center and I listen and they all sound pretty great to me, maybe I don't have the "ear" for fine tuning everything

    Finally, preference between Yamaha DXR line and QSC 12.2, especially in the 12" variety?

    After initially purchasing the DBR15s and realizing it wasn't the best choice, just trying to make the better decision the 2nd time.

    Thank you again for your assistance and responses!

  5. #5
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    In terms of sound quality the gains gets smaller and smaller as price increases so while there would be a significant difference between a $300 and $600 speaker there is much less of a difference between a $600 and $1200 speaker and much less again between a $1200 and $2400 box. But there will be significant differences in overall loudness and performance at the limit at each step up, better enclosure materials, better drivers, more amplifier power and much better DSP all add up to a better product overall.

    EV has done a great job with all their new boxes, the ZLX, ELX, and EKX boxes all sound almost identical so each step up brings mostly more SPL. The QSC K.2 series is equivalent to an EV EKX and they do get noticably louder than the ZLX so yeah you will get more for the extra $$ spent if you make that choice.

    I own a set of DXR15s and they are really smooth sounding with lots of output and they stay smooth right into limiting. The original QSC k series were kinda nasty sounding in comparison, their sound has a bit of a crunch to it even at lower volumes, they don't get that loud and sound really ugly when pushed. However the new K.2 version is much improved and the K12.2 may also have the best low frequency sound of all competitors so if possible have a listen to these stand alone before making a decision. Overall I think you would be happy with an EKX12, DXR12, or K12.2 but subtle differences may sway your preference one way or the other. The KW181 is and has always been a fantastic sub but it is heavy compared to some of the others.
    Last edited by conanski; 02-17-2020 at 12:38 PM.
    Paul O'Brien
    Old Tech Guy
    www.Techott.com

  6. #6
    Mainly agree with Conanski as usual. The ZLX12 is great for the money, really at that price there is not much else that's even worth considering, but basically it is a lateral move from your old speakers, in terms of design and components. The main difference being just the facts that, all else being equal.. 12 inch tops when paired with a sub pretty much always sound better than a 15.. due to the physics of how the drivers interact. So you will def be better off than you were, very noticeably, even with the ZLX. But if you are looking for a more pristine high end and want really pro results at higher volumes you have to go up in price a bit more.

    It's your money and if you are really DJing a handful of times a year then well.. you will prob be very happy with the ZLX.. but unfortunately, speakers don't care how many times a year you DJ, they will sound the same on one gig as they will on 50 gigs (if you take care of them). So really it is all about what you need (volume wise) and what you want (sound quality wise) for whatever gigs you do.

    Also.. I should say.. I always say.. look around for deals on used speakers! If they are in clean, non abused condition, you can save a lot! Pretty much ALL the gear I've bought I've gotten used.

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