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Thread: I'm looking for some tops

  1. #1
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    I'm looking for some tops

    Idk if there is anyone around to answer my question but I'll ask anyway.

    I've been looking at 12 and 15 inch powered 2 way pa's.

    I've listend to some qsc and EV.

    The qsc seem clear but lots of mid/low mid.

    The EV to my ears had a more produced top and tighter top end with a bit more tamed midrange but in a good way. The EV's stage sounded deeper to me.

    The qsc stage seemed a little 1 dimensional.

    So far im heavily leaning towards some EV 12s. I was only able to demo the bottom 2 tiers.

    I can't make up mind. Cost is really pretty irrelevant to a point. I just want the best sounding I can get.
    These are mostly for the bedroom (yes I absolutely understand how overkill that is) but I'd also like to be able to take them out to small house parties up to medium sized venues should rhe need arrise.

    Can 2 12s keep up with a dual 18 sub or should I be looking at 15" tops?

    The 12s sounded better to my ears than the 15s.

    I know any of these options will give me club level volume in the 11x12 room they are going in but I don't want to get in front of 300 people and not have enough.

    Talk to me. What would you do?

  2. #2
    Get the 12s, they'll keep up just fine.
    Bill Fitzmaurice
    Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
    Get the 12s, they'll keep up just fine.
    Thanks Bill. I much prefer the sound of the 12s to the 15s. I just didn't know if I needed the extra cone area but if you are saying no I definitely believe you!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by drop1 View Post
    Can 2 12s keep up with a dual 18 sub
    No if you mean subs. It comes down to hauling, the 12" are much more lightweight, plus you're able to downsize (and spread, or focus your rig depending on the need). A dual 18" weighs around 70-80kg or more (there are 110-120kg cabs too I've seen)

    If you mean 12" tops with dual 18" it's another thing... they'd need to be very high SPL and high performance to keep up, otherwise you'll clip them constantly or end up buying new ones once a month or two, although if you use them without the sub the bass response may be poor (ie. good for small vocal PA) but they're much more lightweight to carry around and take less space (you could look into another pair of 12"/15" tops to use as monitors/fills or FOH)

    In my opinion it's better to have more low end than lots of high/midrange but this is a matter of music taste really (if you plan on doing live bands it's another story), one thing to consider is speech intelligibility with loud program material and lots of audience, which is when you'd look at 15" tops (PA stands for public address after all, I believe the first PA's were intended for speech amplification in conferences etc)

    or should I be looking at 15" tops?
    Def. not with 12" subs but if that's your only option then you're pretty much stuck with them. 15" tops aren't as accurate in the midrange as 12" but you can highpass them lower, ie. they play deeper but weigh more and take more space.

    I don't want to get in front of 300 people and not have enough.
    You'll be struggling outdoors I think, for venue capacities in the 100-200 range you'll do ok if there are no zones to cover and the dancefloor isn't huge but might end up playing the last hours with limiters on red (placing them higher gives a better coverage without deafening someone but poses a risk of the stand/cab falling, also people near the speaker won't hear it properly but the room reflections instead which is a funny feeling indeed esp. if the dancefloor is empty)

    EDIT : regarding the speaker being higher I remember reading most fullrange cabs have a 90 horizontal and 60 vertical coverage.. one thing to look at as well is whether the cab has 1" or 2" tweeter.

  5. #5
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    I have been running 2 15" tops with 2 18" subs, overkill I know, but the order of acquisition drove the "decisions".

    I just sold the tops, thought I was going with 12's, but honestly believe I will pull the trigger on the 10's.

    Have you listened to the 10's?

  6. #6
    I was going to say 8" and 10" can do ok in some cases.. at least the sub gets away with less, running at half efficiency and extending its life cycle.

    But let's talk about watts.. 2000W is doable by one man (say, 12" tops 300-500W a shot and 1kW for the dual 18" pgm level so you're pushing it on a single 10A fuse, and it barely fits in a variant) but you need 3-phase power to which there's rarely access in a bedroom (for the record I had 15" tops and a 15" sub with amps in my living room)

    In my experience you can roughly calculate 1USD/EUR per watt when it comes to a PA system, then if it's custom or something and you need processing etc you'd double the cost. There's a "saturation" point somewhere around 2-3kW after which you need a roadie, a van etc and a band or something to make an income from and the venue sizes are much larger (ie. you're playing with the "big guys") and that is going to cost a lot (think 10kW and upwards, to get the few extra decibels you need to exponentially add watts).. just so that you know where you're heading.

    Then you need all sorts of additional show tech like a mixing desk, DMX lights/desk, trusses, lots of cables, processors, racks, road cases, all that stuff.. which is fun indeed but eats a crapload of time and money, plus a few years of your life and eventually your health (both physical and mental to some extent)..

    EDIT : if you plan on doing installs you need to be endorsed by the companies you represent and do installs for I guess, or build your own enclosures and load them with OEM/whatever drivers you can get or find suitable, then there's amplifiers and processors for which you need endorsement too unless you DIY them or find a manufacturer that does OEM.. afaik both QSC and EV manufacture speakers as well as amps.. iirc EV does processors too. I can't think of a single person company who does installs for a large equipment manufacturer, they're usually retailers who have specialized personnel that do the installs, they just pick whatever they need from the companies they represent and put it in an invoice. More informally (like I did, or how some public sectors work although they ask for a price quote) you'd just order a bunch of gear, install it and hope it works.

  7. #7
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    The EV 12p tops I'm looking at are rated at 2000w and 135db each. I forget the actual model name. If they can get even close to that 135db I think I'll be OK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drop1 View Post
    The EV 12p tops I'm looking at are rated at 2000w and 135db each. I forget the actual model name.
    You said it was the bottom 2 lines which would be the ZLX-12p or ELX-200 12p, either of those ring a bell? The top 2 lines are EKX and ETX.

    I have done college house parties(literally in a house) with nothing but a pair of 12" PA speakers and the cops shut it down on noise complaints.

    Most of my DJ events use a pair of these 12's with a one or two 18" subs, but while I have never used a 12" top with dual 18 subs it could be a good combo for some bass heavy genres. Depends on the boxes in question too, some of these 12" tops can get stupid loud so even with some potent subs it's not as crazy a combo as it might seem.
    Last edited by conanski; 08-16-2020 at 08:16 PM.
    Paul O'Brien
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by conanski View Post
    You said it was the bottom 2 lines which would be the ZLX-12p or ELX-200 12p, either of those ring a bell? The top 2 lines are EKX and ETX.

    I have done college house parties(literally in a house) with nothing but a pair of 12" PA speakers and the cops shut it down on noise complaints.

    Most of my DJ events use a pair of these 12's with a one or two 18" subs, but while I have never used a 12" top with dual 18 subs it could be a good combo for some bass heavy genres. Depends on the boxes in question too, some of these 12" tops can get stupid loud so even with some potent subs it's not as crazy a combo as it might seem.
    I said I demoed the bottom 2 entries. Not that that's what I was looking to buy.
    I want the best sounding from EV with as much output as possible.
    What I was really trying to ask is which EV 12 sounds rhe best because I was only able to hear the cheaper ones.

  10. #10
    I've heard some EV (SX200/300 or something) and installed their Evid/ZX line.

    The SX (which was passive, 12" top iirc) sounded kind of honky but it was outdoors and as a delay/zone I think. Forget sound quality too, but they do go loud like PA speakers are supposed to.

    You aren't probably interested in the install speakers (I would've rather installed an Evid-line sub in case an EV sales rep/tech is reading this but had to go with the ZX touring line sub because the Evid was corner install) but they look nice and sound great, esp. the 6.2s, there were 4.2s as zone speakers too, the install/tech papers are kind of messy read though and unclear imo but we figured out most of it and got the rig running in time, the wall mount arm is kind of confusing first with it's angular scale etc but was surprisingly helpful in fine-tuning the system, ie. using it to tilt/aim the speakers (one night the other came down even though the wall mount base plate was bolted in concrete, I drilled holes in the pillar and put expanding plugs in them followed by concrete screws.. fixed it later with larger plugs and longer screws)

    OT: we ran the system through a dbx Driverack and t.amp E-line amplifiers and it sounded ok.. before that the system was a pair of 12" fullrange cabs iirc (I can't remember the manufacturer or model, they could've been custom) and a couple of Behringer 1C zone speakers running from JB Systems VX-700 amplifiers and the piezo tweeters, having probably been ran at full tilt night after night for years, were goddamn horrible sounding, ie. distorting very badly when they were pushed to their limits (probably in terrible shape too, unfortunately I wasn't there when they were taken down iirc as I had lots of other things to do back then but did manage to find the time to do the new install) for the audience and the DJ as well..

    I did go out there as well as play on the system for several years, lots of people complained about the tweeters and I would go and check it to hear what could cause it, ie. if they were going bad or just being driven too hard, this was mostly before the zone speakers were installed though and we could let the main system have it easier, people at the bar couldn't hear the announcements/music properly before that.. there was a "zone" speaker outside too but often I'd forget to turn it on (sorry for the lengthy off-topic)

    Regarding the ZX it's a fairly lightweight sub (it's not technically an install sub as it has handles, I'd guess ok for touring/mobile too from what I've learned from a couple of PA systems I've owned), not the loudest but you can't expect much from a single 12" bandpass/reflex.. sometimes I was afraid it'd walk away, I tried to keep the peaks at 0dB so it wouldn't clip or distort (this was on a bridged t.amp E-800 which gives 1kW@8ohms, it ran at 60-70% as did the rest of the system)

    So, you could couple the SX tops and ZX subs and get a very nice system.. afaik you can get them both active and passive, it's a matter of taste really (edit : in theory you could highpass/notch filter the SX to get rid of the honkiness, there's no empirical proof of this though, it could've been my turntable causing rumble as there were 2 dual 18 subs next to me)

    I prefer active speakers due to their ease of setup (they require power cables though) but passive rigs usually offer much more in terms of processing, unless you get a crossover/processor which is sort of overkill as most active speakers have built-in DSP and limiters.. you can place a passive rig further away too because there's no significant signal loss from the amp rack compared to an active rig without running it off line repeaters or DI.

    The obvious downside of passive rigs is the weight and space they take.. a 8-10RU amp rack with 2-3 amplifiers and processors weighs around 50-60kg so it isn't exactly a one man haul, not to mention lifting it in a car.. it also adds to the cost (if you go passive get one with wheels) but generally they have a very long lifespan and get street cred in certain circles.

    I wouldn't worry about sound quality much with PA.. ideally you need something loud, compact and easy to use that doesn't break after a few gigs. If it's got fancy looks too it's a bonus but you can make an ordinary-looking rig seem much more professional with proper cable management, keeping it clean from dust etc.. road cases, speaker cabs and gear in general get all kinds of nasty scratches, paint wearing off, cloth/grilles in poor condition and so forth.

    Hope this helps,

    -ef

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