Need Help Choosing a PA System

Live sound reinforcement, running PA's and general amplifier/amplification questions and discussion.
Post Reply
Chondropython
newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: February 21st, 2010, 6:23 pm

Need Help Choosing a PA System

Post by Chondropython » February 21st, 2010, 6:32 pm

My band is looking for a decent quality PA system to play small bars / house / backyard parties. I've done some research on the web and am experiencing information overload.

I think I would like to get a pre-packaged system with a powered mixer, mics, speakers, cords, etc.

Behringer is a brand that keeps popping up, but I've read mixed reviews on their quality.

What would be the power range that we need to be looking for as far as this application goes? The Behringer PMP3000 is a powered mixer that I keep going back to... supposedly it is 1200 watts when bridged, 215watt in stereo... although I am not sure what that means.

Can anyone make this easy for me and suggest something that they have had good experience with?

User avatar
TRGuitar
Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 3708
Joined: January 2nd, 2007, 10:31 pm
Location: Northern New York
Contact:

Re: Need Help Choosing a PA System

Post by TRGuitar » February 22nd, 2010, 6:43 am

I'm not sure how helpful I'll be but I will share what I know. My PA system is/was pieced together and for the most part was mid to upper end parts. That said my Peavey power amp died after a mere 16 years of service but I think it's life was shortened by a lightning strike near my home that imediately killed a lot of other equipment. The Peavey died a few months down the road. My mixer is a small one but it's a Mackie. My speakers are Peavey. I have an EQ that believe it or not is made for a home stereo but is a good brand name. My effects are a bargain ART unit.

I'm trying to decide weather to replace the power amp or get a whole new all in one system.

I have some Kustom monitor speakers. They are very cheap yet sound great and I have had years of service out of them. I too have heard that Behringer is not reliable. I also have heard that their power rating is a lot of numbers without the power to back it up. That said I have seen/used Phonic and Kustom all in one PA systems that seemed to work fine. They were not mine and I have no idea the reliability or longevity of the units.

I'm not gigging right now so I'm in no hurry. I'm running a cheap 125 watt power amp for practicing at home and it's more than loud enough for studio use.

Oh! Bridged ......... if the system is stereo, bridged means it runs mono and the power is combined into a single chanel. From what I understand you don't really need stereo for most live applications. As far as watts, everyone has always told me that for a PA buy the most you can afford. There are a lot of people here with more experience at playing live than me and I'm sure they can help you out. They might need to know how many pieces your group is and if you plan to mic instruments through your new PA. Good luck!
"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --

User avatar
Moonrider
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1335
Joined: April 28th, 2004, 3:59 am
Location: Midlothian, VA
Contact:

Re: Need Help Choosing a PA System

Post by Moonrider » February 22nd, 2010, 8:55 am

Chondropython wrote:My band is looking for a decent quality PA system to play small bars / house / backyard parties. I've done some research on the web and am experiencing information overload.
?
Advertised specs tend to be misleading. There's three things you need to find out to judge a PA amp. Most cheap equipment like Behringer won't have them available anywhere but the manual. Better quality systems usually have a spec sheet readily available with this info (and more) clearly stated.

a) How much CONTINUOUS power can it deliver?
This usually given to you as a measurement of "watts RMS (Root Mean Squared). and should be tested across the full sonic spectrum (20-20,000 Hz)

b) How much peak power can it deliver?
This is usually what is advertised and hyped, even though it's meaningless unless all three of these factors are considered.

c) How CLEAN is the power delivered?
This is expressed as %THD (Total Harmonic Distortion). Most people can easily hear distortion when it reaches a level of 0.1% (that's one-TENTH of one percent). Any power levels with over 0.1% THD is pretty much considered unusable, since distortion is the #1 killer of speaker voice coils.

So how does the Behringer PMP3000 stack up?
Peak power: 1200watts, no %THD quoted at all. not a good sign.
Average power: 900 watts at 1% THD, tested with a sine wave of unspecified frequency. Holy pigpen, that's dirty! If you use this amp, it's likely to put out fuzzy, distorted sound, even at extremely low volume levels. At gig levels, it's likely to kill your speakers in short order. I'd stay away from this baby.

Now, how much can you afford to spend? Carvin has several nice packages for less than $2000 US.
Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation

User avatar
Moonrider
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1335
Joined: April 28th, 2004, 3:59 am
Location: Midlothian, VA
Contact:

Re: Need Help Choosing a PA System

Post by Moonrider » February 22nd, 2010, 9:01 am

TRGuitar wrote: I have some Kustom monitor speakers. They are very cheap yet sound great and I have had years of service out of them.
I've got some Kustom KPC12M monitors that are simply awesome - they double as mains for my smaller gigs. Musician's Friend has 'em on sale right now for $69.99
Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation

User avatar
Laz
Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 2576
Joined: June 15th, 2002, 3:16 pm
Location: West Chester PA
Contact:

Re: Need Help Choosing a PA System

Post by Laz » February 22nd, 2010, 9:40 am

Wes and I both have Behringer and they've worked fine for us. Peavey is a good brand, rugged and powerful amps and speakers. Mackie makes excellent mixers, but I don't know much about their other gear.

User avatar
slejhamer
Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 3351
Joined: November 14th, 2004, 6:08 am
Location: Out to lunch
Contact:

Re: Need Help Choosing a PA System

Post by slejhamer » February 22nd, 2010, 6:52 pm

Buy USED and save some dough. Then you might find Peavey, JBL, Carvin, Yamaha type brands at Behringer prices. Check Craigslist if you have it for your area; DJs seem to be unloading PA gear very often.
"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."

User avatar
bobblehat
Full Member
Posts: 306
Joined: January 5th, 2005, 2:32 pm
Location: caerphilly,wales.
Contact:

Re: Need Help Choosing a PA System

Post by bobblehat » February 23rd, 2010, 1:14 am

http://cgi.ebay.com/Peavey-XR-600C-Mixe ... 1c105323b6

Have been using one of these for the last 20 years.Only had it serviced once 2 years ago (cost $40)but that was because most of the knobs had fallen off!
Bought some new unbranded 300 watt 15" speakers off ebay a few years ago for $200 and its still sounds great.

I'd buy second hand to start off and spend your money on some decent mics.

You also need to decide what you are going to put through the PA.If you are planning on putting everything through the PA (drums, bass etc )

Cheers

Bob
My Band: http://www.myspace.com/thelanterns2010
playing whilst drunk is only permitted if all band members are in a similar state!

User avatar
cnev
Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 4906
Joined: June 2nd, 2003, 11:07 am
Location: New Britain, CT

Re: Need Help Choosing a PA System

Post by cnev » February 24th, 2010, 8:06 pm

I own a Behringer PA I think it's PMP2000 or someting like that, bought it a couple years ago and I beleive it's 800w bridged. We only use it for practice and we play kind of loud and it's barely enough to keep up and be able to hear the vocals over the band...I know tell everyone to play softer..that ain't gonna happen.

I would have to say it's Ok for a practice PA but I don't think it would hold up if I had to move it around every weekend gigging. Now I haven't had any problems up until now it's just a gut feeling.
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

Post Reply