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What Size Speakers?

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(@rum-runner)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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I need to get a pair of PA speakers to finish out my system. I have already acquired a Yamaha EMX512SC powered mixer used from a buddy for a good price; now I just need the speakers. I do solo acoustic guitar and vocals; my wife joins me on backing vocals and eventually she will be adding her keyboard to the mix.

I am debating between 12 and 15 inch speakers. I've heard 15's are better for the bass, but I also want to keep things lightweight for easy setup and so forth. I don't really want to go bigger unbless it's really going to make a difference on the sound for what I am doing. Someone suggested a lightweight model by Carvin. They have both 12 and 15 inch; I forget the weights but bot are not too heavy. The 12"ers are runnung $200 apiece right now and the 15's are $240.

What do you all think?

Regards,

Mike

"Growing Older But Not UP!"


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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If there's not too big a weight difference, I'd go for 15", but they do get big and heavy fast. I like the sound of 15s better, even for guitar.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@wes-inman)
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If you are just using acoustic guitar and vocals, then 12" speakers are fine. In fact, for vocals, 12" are considered a little better than 15" speakers because they have quicker response.

If you are using bass guitar or keyboards, then you should go with 15"s. They will produce more low end.

If you are on a budget, take a look at these Kustoms. I have heard and used these, they are actually very good speakers.

Kustom 15" Full Range speakers

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@rum-runner)
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Topic starter  

Hi Wes-

Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like the 15 inchers would be the way to go, particularly since I am looking to add keyboards to the mix at some point. Those Kustoms appear to be great deal, particularly at an entry level which is where I am at. I didn't want to go real expensive until I know how much use I am going to get out of these, as I am really just getting started with gigging. I do have one question about them, though, regarding compatibility with ny mixer. My Yamaha mixer delivers 500 W per channel (actually 350 into 8 ohms). However, the Kustom speakers seem to be rated for less- the link you gave said 125 W- 250 peak. Would that be something to be concerned about; I mean, couldn't you possibly overpoer the Kustoms with this mixer?

Regards,

Mike

"Growing Older But Not UP!"


   
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(@ricochet)
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Possibly, yes. Probably wouldn't want to crank that combination.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@diceman)
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It has been recommended before that if you are just getting your own PA system you should buy monitors first and use them for the front end . They will work just fine . Later , you can upgrade the front end and turn the monitors around to face the players . The Kustom speakers also come in a wedge shape for the same price .

If I claim to be a wise man , it surely means that I don't know .


   
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(@danlasley)
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As noted elsewhere, it's usually OK to connect speakers to amplifiers rated up to double the speaker rating.


   
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(@rum-runner)
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Topic starter  

I talked to my buddy who sold me the powered mixer and he pretty much confirmed that the Kustom sprakers will be no problem with it. I asked him what he thought about Kustom and he recalled the old ones made in the 60's, which were reportedly very high quality. I realize the Kustoms today are not the same, as the original company went out of business and was recently ressurected.

So, out of curiosioty I looked them up in Wikipedia. Seems like the company has somewhat of a colorful history. Apparently the original founder was a big cambler and lost the company in a poker game. Here's a link to the article if you are interested.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kustom_Amplification

My buddy seemed to think that Kustom is now owned by Fender. Any truth to that?

Anyhow, they really seem to be the way to go, and the bit about using them later as monitors is also intriguing. Thansk for all the feedback, folks.

Regards,

Mike

"Growing Older But Not UP!"


   
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(@wes-inman)
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Those Kustom speakers I showed are just as how you described them "entry level". They are not as rugged as more expensive speakers, and probably do not sound as good. But they sound perfectly fine, I have used these speakers before and was very impressed. David Hodge himself has used these Kustom speakers at a few gigs. If you take care of them they will last a long time.

I agree you should start with the monitors. They have pole mounts, so you can use them for your main speakers to start. Or, you may want to start with one main facing the crowd, and the other speaker on the floor for your monitor. The only difference is the shape of the speaker, other than that they are identical. Then, at a later time if you decide to purchase more expensive speakers, you can use the Kustoms as your floor monitors.

Kustom 15" Monitor pair

I also think these speakers are very attractive, the photos don't do them justice. :D

These speakers are rated 125 watts continuous, 250 watts peaks. So they can handle 125 watts of power all night long, and up to 250 on peaks. So these speakers would not be good for a very loud Rock band. But if you keep volume reasonable, they will be fine. It doesn't matter what power your powered mixer is, there is a lot of mis-information on that. You could connect these to a 5,000 watt amplifier, won't hurt the speakers at all unless you crank the amp. You could also connect these speakers to a 50 watt amp, and again it will not cause a bit of problem.

The only time you would have a problem is if you really crank the amp. A very powerful amplifier would simply be too much for the speaker, it is not heavy-duty enough to handle the power. So that would damage the speaker. With an under-powered amp the problem is folks crank the amp to max to try to get volume. The amp clips and sends a square wave. The speaker doesn't know the difference, it will try to duplicate the wave no matter what. This would sound very distorted, and this is what damages the speaker.

It will not be a problem whatsoever to run these speakers off your Yamaha rated 350w @ 8 ohms. Actually, it is not a bad setup at all. You have plenty of power to get a good strong, but very clean signal with your mixer. Just listen carefully to your speakers, it is quite easy to tell if you are over-pushing them, they will distort and you will hear it easily. But as I said before, I have used these very speakers several times in band situations where the volume was pretty darn loud and they worked fine. I even used to play a small club that had these very speakers for their house system. They would crank loud music every night through these speakers. :twisted:

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@rum-runner)
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Topic starter  

Hey, Wes, thanks for the feedback. Obviously you have a lot of experience with PA's so I really appreciate it. For me the 15" Kustoms in the wedge shape really seem like the perfect fit. It's just going to be a duo- me and my wife on vocals, guitar and keyboard, so we're not needing huge amounts of volume like a full rock band. We won't be doing very heavy gigging, either. I expect I'd be using these two or three times a month. Then, later if we want to upgrade then these would make very effective monitors. And they won't break the bank.

Based on your all's suggestions, I'll be ordering a pair sometime in the next week. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Regards,

Mike

"Growing Older But Not UP!"


   
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(@trguitar)
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My PA speakers are a pair of Peavey 15's and I agree, they are nice for the low end. As far as those cheap Kustom's go, I bought a pair of 10" wedges to use as monitors for vocals mostly because they were only $40 a piece. I thought they would surely not last but for the price I took a chance. I've had them for 5 or 6 years now and they still work and sound just fine. For inexpensive speakers, they seem to be good quality.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@scott58)
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I've been thinking of speakers alot lately also and i've kinda come to the conclusion I don't care for 12's that much.Pretty subjective and my experience is limited, but i love the tones through a 2x10 and 1x15, but 12's just don't float my boat as much. Not sure why.

Dean Icon PZ
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Dean V-Wing Dove
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Phonic 620 Power Pod PA
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