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(BEGINNER) What Crown power amp(s)?


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#1 jamminforever

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 10:56 PM

Our band is in the process of upgrading our PA. Right now, we just have 3 monitors and 2 mains along with a powered mixer. The Brand and models are as follows.....

Yahmaha EMX 512sc mixer
(2) Yamaha br15 mains
(3) Yamaha br12 monitors

We did have an older power amp to supplement the power, but that one crapped out. (looked like something from the 70's and VERY heavy)

Right now, we have a drummer (5-7mics on drums), 2 guitars, a bass and 3 vocal mics. I know the system is not cutting it when we mic everything, which is what we want to do at every show. As for mic'in everything, the volume is a reason, but the main reason is I want to spread the sound a lot better, and also, I want to add 2 subs to the mix for a nice FULLER low end. The mixer listed above is powered and like I said, it will not power everything, ESP IF WE ADD 2 subs!!!

So what would you recommend? I was thinking of letting the mixer power the 2 mains, a power amp for the monitors and a second power amp for the subs? Or can I get by on one power amp for the monitors and the subs?

#2 dakos

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:39 AM

QUOTE(jamminforever @ Dec 18 2011, 10:56 PM) View Post
Our band is in the process of upgrading our PA. Right now, we just have 3 monitors and 2 mains along with a powered mixer. The Brand and models are as follows.....

Yahmaha EMX 512sc mixer
(2) Yamaha br15 mains
(3) Yamaha br12 monitors

We did have an older power amp to supplement the power, but that one crapped out. (looked like something from the 70's and VERY heavy)

Right now, we have a drummer (5-7mics on drums), 2 guitars, a bass and 3 vocal mics. I know the system is not cutting it when we mic everything, which is what we want to do at every show. As for mic'in everything, the volume is a reason, but the main reason is I want to spread the sound a lot better, and also, I want to add 2 subs to the mix for a nice FULLER low end. The mixer listed above is powered and like I said, it will not power everything, ESP IF WE ADD 2 subs!!!

So what would you recommend? I was thinking of letting the mixer power the 2 mains, a power amp for the monitors and a second power amp for the subs? Or can I get by on one power amp for the monitors and the subs?


Hey there jamminforever and welcome to the forum,
If you want to mic everything, you need a bigger mixing console with more channels, you will also need a separate amp for the monitors and one for the rest of the system, you will need subs and tops, a signal processor that has a crossover or use an amp that has an internal DSP, cables for everything... that's a heck of an upgrade. So, in order for this upgrade to be done right, I have a few questions for you, first, what is your budget for this upgrade? For how many people do you usually play? What type of music you play? What knowledge about sound systems do you have? when in the foreseeable future are you going to further upgrade it?

If you don't have previous knowledge about crossovers, frequencies, limiters, clipping and such, I'll be happy to also give you some useful links which are a must for everyone operating a sound system...

#3 jamminforever

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 02:15 PM

QUOTE(dakos @ Dec 19 2011, 04:39 AM) View Post
QUOTE(jamminforever @ Dec 18 2011, 10:56 PM) View Post
Our band is in the process of upgrading our PA. Right now, we just have 3 monitors and 2 mains along with a powered mixer. The Brand and models are as follows.....

Yahmaha EMX 512sc mixer
(2) Yamaha br15 mains
(3) Yamaha br12 monitors

We did have an older power amp to supplement the power, but that one crapped out. (looked like something from the 70's and VERY heavy)

Right now, we have a drummer (5-7mics on drums), 2 guitars, a bass and 3 vocal mics. I know the system is not cutting it when we mic everything, which is what we want to do at every show. As for mic'in everything, the volume is a reason, but the main reason is I want to spread the sound a lot better, and also, I want to add 2 subs to the mix for a nice FULLER low end. The mixer listed above is powered and like I said, it will not power everything, ESP IF WE ADD 2 subs!!!

So what would you recommend? I was thinking of letting the mixer power the 2 mains, a power amp for the monitors and a second power amp for the subs? Or can I get by on one power amp for the monitors and the subs?


Hey there jamminforever and welcome to the forum,
If you want to mic everything, you need a bigger mixing console with more channels, you will also need a separate amp for the monitors and one for the rest of the system, you will need subs and tops, a signal processor that has a crossover or use an amp that has an internal DSP, cables for everything... that's a heck of an upgrade. So, in order for this upgrade to be done right, I have a few questions for you, first, what is your budget for this upgrade? For how many people do you usually play? What type of music you play? What knowledge about sound systems do you have? when in the foreseeable future are you going to further upgrade it?

If you don't have previous knowledge about crossovers, frequencies, limiters, clipping and such, I'll be happy to also give you some useful links which are a must for everyone operating a sound system...


(sorry for long reply, but here it goes)
Dak, thanks for your time replying... As for the band, I have the most knowledge of PA stuff, but not nearly as much as you guys. Been playing guitar forever, but forgive me, as to you guys, I'm a bit noobish...
First to answer your questions.
1. What do you mean by tops? I assume the mains? The mains do have tweeters, pic of the mains: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/y...speaker-cabinet
2. Not entirely familiar with DSP, but I would assume that it has to do with signal processing? I do understand what a crossover does, which is to send the correct frequency to the corresponding cabs, such as low frequencies to subs, mids to 15's and the highs to the tweeter... I also understand clipping a little, which is having a power amp push more wattage thru than it's rated for causing a distorted sound. I have heard that thru the pa before.
3. Budget hasn't really been set, but for now, my philosophy is to buy the best we can afford that allows us some flexibilities to expand in the future. Yes, I would like to get a new mixer as well. At this point, we cannot afford to get everything at once. I think we would like to start off with the Crown XLS 2500 drive core...
4. For how many people we play for is anywhere around 50 - 400 depending on location. Think small - mid sized bars, clubs, halls.
5. We play classic- modern and progressive rock, with some oldies and a few country tunes depending on crowd or request, but mainly rock.
6. My knowledge of sound systems is limited at this point, but I'm learning!!
7. Upgrading will start within the next month or two.
8. Here is how we are currently mixing everything. Since that yahama mixer that I posted above does not have enough inputs if we include the drums, we send a drum mics to a separate macke mixer, mix the mix from there and then send that to the yahama mixer into track 4.
9. Mixer assignments we do now are currently as follows...
Track 1 - lead vocals
Track 2 and 3 - back up vocals
Track 4 - drum mix from the macke mixer  <-- unpowered mixer
Track 5 - guitar
Track 6 - bass
Track 7 - guitar

#4 dakos

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 06:13 AM

QUOTE(jamminforever @ Dec 19 2011, 02:15 PM) View Post
(sorry for long reply, but here it goes)
Dak, thanks for your time replying... As for the band, I have the most knowledge of PA stuff, but not nearly as much as you guys. Been playing guitar forever, but forgive me, as to you guys, I'm a bit noobish...
First to answer your questions.
1. What do you mean by tops? I assume the mains? The mains do have tweeters, pic of the mains: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/y...speaker-cabinet

Mains are your main speakers, when they are full range then the mains are just that, but when you split the mains into subs for the lows and the rest to the top speakers, you usually put the higher frequency speaker on top of the sub, that's why they are called tops. The whole set, subs + tops are called mains again smile.gif

QUOTE(jamminforever @ Dec 19 2011, 02:15 PM) View Post
2. Not entirely familiar with DSP, but I would assume that it has to do with signal processing? I do understand what a crossover does, which is to send the correct frequency to the corresponding cabs, such as low frequencies to subs, mids to 15's and the highs to the tweeter... I also understand clipping a little, which is having a power amp push more wattage thru than it's rated for causing a distorted sound. I have heard that thru the pa before.

DSP is an acronym for Digital Signal Processor, it's a generic digital signal manipulator that the company that uses it can implement almost any kind of signal processing in software, that used to be done by hardware dedicated devices for a very specific task. That's why today many companies have combined signal processors that bundle together a crossover, limiter/compressor, equalizer, delay and many more that not so long ago you needed a separate device for each task. All of the new DSP based signal processors share the same basic concept, an A/D (Analog to Digital converter) on the input, the DSP in the middle, and finally D/A (Digital to Analog converter) on the output.

Now for clipping... VERY IMPORTANT... If you can hear it, it means you're already clipping the system very hard, it means you're doing something very wrong!!!
Read about it here:
http://www.peavey.com/support/technotes/co...ngrevisited.cfm
You must avoid it at all cost or you will damage your very expensive gear.

QUOTE(jamminforever @ Dec 19 2011, 02:15 PM) View Post
3. Budget hasn't really been set, but for now, my philosophy is to buy the best we can afford that allows us some flexibilities to expand in the future. Yes, I would like to get a new mixer as well. At this point, we cannot afford to get everything at once. I think we would like to start off with the Crown XLS 2500 drive core...

The Crown XLS 2500 drive core is a great amp but I'm afraid it's only going to replace the amp that just died on you, this would not offer much of an upgrade ESP for the additional subs.

QUOTE(jamminforever @ Dec 19 2011, 02:15 PM) View Post
4. For how many people we play for is anywhere around 50 - 400 depending on location. Think small - mid sized bars, clubs, halls.

Please note I asked for the number of people you usually play for, not the max. 400 is allot and you would need better bigger cabs for that. I would say that with subs you can play for 200-300 people indoors and half that outdoors.

QUOTE(jamminforever @ Dec 19 2011, 02:15 PM) View Post
5. We play classic- modern and progressive rock, with some oldies and a few country tunes depending on crowd or request, but mainly rock.

Amp headroom is the ratio between the wattage currently played and the maximum wattage of the amp, usually pronounced in decibels, in properly built systems it's reserved for transient peaks in the music.
Every kind of music needs a bit of "Amp headroom" for the peaks, that number ranges from a minimal +3db (twice the wattage) for the most compressed coffee house music, up to +24db for uncompressed live heavy metal band shows. Most amps have almost no headroom built in them (i-tech/HD and MA-i's excluded) while speakers do.

Continue to read here:
http://www.crownaudio.com/amp_htm/amp_info..._much_power.htm

QUOTE(jamminforever @ Dec 19 2011, 02:15 PM) View Post
6. My knowledge of sound systems is limited at this point, but I'm learning!!

We all started at that point, don't worry. Keep asking questions and you'll get to where you want to be :-)

QUOTE(jamminforever @ Dec 19 2011, 02:15 PM) View Post
7. Upgrading will start within the next month or two.
8. Here is how we are currently mixing everything. Since that Yahama mixer that I posted above does not have enough inputs if we include the drums, we send a drum mics to a separate Mackie mixer, mix the mix from there and then send that to the Yahama mixer into track 4.
9. Mixer assignments we do now are currently as follows...
Track 1 - lead vocals
Track 2 and 3 - back up vocals
Track 4 - drum mix from the macke mixer <-- unpowered mixer
Track 5 - guitar
Track 6 - bass
Track 7 - guitar

So, my recommendations:
I would go for a stronger amp that will both be able to use in a larger system and has a great resale value should you choose to completely replace it.
The XTI6002 ($1500 on eBay) is a great bang for the buck kind of amp. It will be able to handle the subs on one channel and the tops on the other channel, it includes a built in DSP with a crossover and has a great resale value. I think you'll be surprised what an upgrade such an amp with subs will be.

As for subs, since you have 15" mains (or tops :-), you should get two 18" subs. If you buy two woofers in one enclosure, it's cheaper then two single 18" woofer enclosures. Peavey has a good model, very cheap and sounds good (not great), one SP218 ($600) would fit your system. One step up would be JBL MRX 528 ($1000) or Peavey QW218 ($850, the QW is a fantastic sounding sub but needs the whole 6002 to power it). The most important thing you can do is go to a store near you and listen to them before you buy them, take a CD of you guys playing to test the new combination. If you can, bring your yammies with you to listen to the full combination before you buy. You cane later on upgrade the br15's to Peavey QW-2f or JBL SRX series.

You should also spend some time on eBay or craigslist looking for a proper mixer, at least 24 channels, that would give you about 12-16 mono channels, it should be around $200 for a good brand like Mackie or Yamaha and such. Don't be tempted to buy the cheaper brands like Behringer or Alesis or other bargain brands. I don't know how you record yourself but you should look into mixers with USB/FireWire out such as the A&H ZED series, Mackie's ProFX and such.

I would still use the built in amp of the Yamaha mixer for the monitors.

#5 jamminforever

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 02:53 PM

Thanks for the respose, will read and look in to the info you just posted. smile.gif

#6 jamminforever

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 11:32 PM

Well, we were able to rent some stuff off of a very nice guy for a great price and now have added a dual 18 sub, 2 power amps and we are going to temp trade mixers so that we have a 16 channel mixer.

so now it looks like this:

Mackie cfx16 mixer
1 EV MTL-1X Dual 18
1 Crown Macro Tech MA-36x12 for sub cab and monitors ( respectively )
1 Crown Macro Tech 2400 series for tops
2 yamaha br 15 tops
3 yamaha br 12 monitors

Being that we have only one sub cab with 2 18's in it, we will place it under one of the tops on one side of the stage. Heard it today, lots of massive low end, esp. being powered by the crown power amp!!!! Also, with that Mackie mixer, we won't have to submix the drums but rather send straight to the mixing board. Gonna run the sound check with mains and monitors independently then bring both up to nominal levels.  We are fortunate to get 3 hours of setup and sound check time.

#7 dakos

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 01:06 AM

Hello again,
I didn't see any crossover in the list of gear you wrote down, I hope you have one.

Would the CFX16 (great mixer) fit all your gear? I think one mic input is missing...

I still prefer the Peavey QW218 for subs but I never actually heard the EV so I can't say for sure.

Overall, renting is a great way to start, please continue to report your progress...

#8 jamminforever

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 12:05 AM

QUOTE(dakos @ Dec 27 2011, 01:06 AM) View Post
Hello again,
I didn't see any crossover in the list of gear you wrote down, I hope you have one.

Would the CFX16 (great mixer) fit all your gear? I think one mic input is missing...

I still prefer the Peavey QW218 for subs but I never actually heard the EV so I can't say for sure.

Overall, renting is a great way to start, please continue to report your progress...


I'm sorry, but the mixer is a Mackie CFX12. There are 12 channels, so with 3 vocals, 3 instruments and 4 drum mic's that's just enough for what we need. This particular board has a sub input XLR so that everything under 75hz is filtered. Also, there is a high pass selector switch for each channel 1-8 so that vocals, and maybe snare hi-hat combo mic can be filtered at 100hz. It also can do submixing so that we can adjust the 4 drum mic's and then only use one fader to adjust the entire volume on the drums. Not very robust but it will have to do. For lower end instruments, such as bass and kick drums, I will leave the filtering at 75 hz. Been learning a lot and those particular power amps that we are using are MUCH more powerful than the current old yamaha mixer that the band has been using since before I joined. It turns out, I've found out that before we got the subs, the 2 15" mains were being daisy chained into one side of the yamaha emx512 and the other side of the yamaha were 3 daisy chained monitors that were running into an older power amp and into the back in the yamaha powered section. Lets just say that the old power amp no longer works.... OUCH! I do not plan on using that yamaha anymore for live gigs but rather strictly practicing, where we don't use mains and do not mic the drums the bass and only have 3 vocals and one guitar mic'd. Going to rent as we go until we upgrade parts of our PA, maybe starting with power amps, subs and a decent mixer. With that 12 channel Mackie I listed above, we can get 2 independent mixes out of the monitors, but eventually I'd like to get an additional monitor so that everyone in the band has their own monitor and each monitor can be independently mixed.

It would have been better setting the selector switch on that yamaha mixer to mains only, using each channel for each one of the mains, and then running the daisy chained monitors into a power amp and then running that into the unpowered monitor out on the front of the mixer. Anyways, been reading up and studying sound mixing, which I find highly fascinating and will continue to learn more.

I don't have a frame of reference to compare the EV's to the Peavey but I will say that sub + a decent mix board plus our 2 mains and 3 monitors kicks some serious *beep* compared to what we had before. Since we only have one dual sub to work with, I'm debating how to set this up on stage with the mains to each side turned slightly inward and that one huge dual sub. The place we are playing is your standard rectanglish area, nothing fancy and we are setting up in the middle of the bottom of the rectangle.

#9 jamminforever

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 10:04 PM

Dakos, we do not have a ton of money at the moment, but looking at your post in this thread, you specifically stated:

"If you want to mic everything, you need a bigger mixing console with more channels, you will also need a separate amp for the monitors and one for the rest of the system, you will need subs and tops, a signal processor that has a crossover or use an amp that has an internal DSP, cables for everything....."

Here is the dillema, the guys want to still use the current mixer as we need more money to get another mixer. Right now, subs and a power amp are the TOP priority. Our current mixer has enough inputs for 3 vocals, 3 instruments and we would do with 2 mics coming from the drums (snare and kick drums). One of the vocal mics is behind the drums and should be able to pick up what isn't mic'ed. The Yamaha EMX512, what we have which is basically 500 watts per channel and we would have it power the 2 15" tops from each channel. We do have that Mackie mixer, but using that instead of the yamaha, we would need a second power amp. We can use all the channels on the yamaha and just mic the kick and the snare instead. I guess you could say, for now, our budget is around 1500 max.

Since the tops would have power from the Yamaha, would the Crown 2500 drive core be enough for:
2 of these subs
and 3 of these monitors?

IF so, how would we configure the DSP within the Crown drive-core to crossover the signal, since the tops would be powered by the yamaha and the monitors and subs would be powered by the Crown 2500?

If this cannot work, what can I do with a $1500 budget for adding 2 subs to our current equipment and powering everything to a satisfactory level?

#10 Tom Lureman

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 02:12 PM

With the XLS 2500 you would have plenty of power for the 3 Yamaha's but would end up short with the MRX518's.  For a 1 amp solution I would suggest the XTi 4002.