PA systems

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PA systems

Postby johnstoate » 11 Dec 2007, 23:38

Hello, everybody- Following on from an earlier thread, I've been considering back-up Pa systems. Whilst I would like a miniature set-up, I have found an interesting possibility in the Peavey messenger lite, and just wondered whether anyone has any experience of this unit?? - Best options anyone??
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Postby Professor Eek » 12 Dec 2007, 09:29

No help with the Peavey John - but - I have seen a lovely thing called the Fender Amp Can which can be purchased from following this 'ere link ...

www.thomann.de/gb/fender_amp_can.htm

I can't remember who I met who uses one (but I have met someone) and they swear by it .... and not in a bad way as in "The f****ing thing isn't working" but in a good way.
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Postby lesclarke » 12 Dec 2007, 21:08

The pros and cons of any kind of PA system depends on what you are using it for (just Punch or Punch and 'other entertainment') and how you intend to use it. The disadvantage of many kind of 'combo' systems for Punch is that the controls will often be on the same side that the integral speaker is facing.

I've always stuck to a system made up of 'separartes', a small two channel amp for music and voice, and a simple horn speaker, 12v sealed lead-acid powered.

The advantages are, relatively cheap and very compact, Punch's voice carries very well. The disadvantages, music doesn't sound as good, but that's OK as the listener can't compare it with anything else, and it's pretty basic music anyway. Only disadvantage is lack of power at 12w, but fortunately this is rarely a problem.

I've seen the Fender Amp Can in use and it from memory it seemed bomb-proof, great for buskers etc, but the controls are again on the speaker, and it's very heavy, so wouldn't mount up high for Punch use.

There's info on PA on Punch Tips from a while back.

Interestingly these days if you know what you are after and start 'shopping around' on the web, you will see that prices can vary widely.

The amp I use an 'Adastra 12w 2 channel vehicle amplifier' is still available at Henrys for £39.95 inc VAT, then I found it at av-sonix at £33.95 inc VAT, but then at lifemusic for £49.95 inc VAT, quite big variations!
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Postby johnstoate » 12 Dec 2007, 21:25

Thanks to you both, I've considered the 'can' Eek, but am a little put off by the output. The beast I'm referring to is a complete system,with inputs, which makes it handy for other things as well. http:/www.nevadamusic.co.uk/PA _Mics_Vocals/PA/sc1196/p3515.aspx should give you the basic info on it.
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Postby Professor Eek » 13 Dec 2007, 09:56

Have a look at these as well John ... I do a lot of 'roadie' work with sound systems and have found the Thomann Cyberstore to be the cheapest place to get most 'stuff' from. Always had good service from them as well.


All in one and battery power!
http://www.thomann.de/gb/the_box_mba75w.htm

Small complete PA but cheap! (not as 'compact' as what you was looking at though)
http://www.thomann.de/gb/tamp_pa_4080.htm
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Postby Chris » 13 Dec 2007, 20:10

Hope the following thoughts are helpful:-
The Peavey Messenger is, in my opinion, overpriced and a bit gimmicky for our needs. If you want something that looks like a big suitcase but unclips to form two speakers, a lectern to hold your song sheet or speech notes, and quite a large amp with good specification. It will do far more than any of us require - but is messy to set up. Also it is intended to set up on a desk or table, with matching speakers in view (when it might look impressive) but isn't intended for splitting in the way we might use it. Also I'm not so sure how practical it would be outside. It is really built to look good for a businessman's presentation.

Easily fitting in a 9 inch cube the Fender Amp Can is a nice bit of kit - small and rugged, and ideal for what it is intended - busking. It gives good, loud, quality sound over a short area and is superb for a street musician. But it is not for us.
Firstly the amp and speaker are all one - so if you mounted it at a suitable height above or alongside the booth your mike input and volume controls couldn't be in the booth with you - they'd be outside with the speaker.
Also it is quite a small speaker so would only cover a limited area. Then again, it isn't really loud enough. It only has 15 Watts output.

15 Watts through a small speaker outdoors is grand for a group of twenty or so people grouped round a busking singer-guitarist with his amp can on the ground and his hat alongside. He'll sound good and loud and impressive. But a bigger crowd, and for covering any distance, you need something better.
A Coomber or a small Mipro will give you 30watts, through a bigger speaker, and are good for up to 200 people perhaps.
Of course, under ideal accoustic conditions you don't need the power. I've played to 600 kids with a 15 watt output reel to reel tape recorder through two 12inch speakers - and only need the gain up to three quarters. But the venue was the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall which was of course built for sound. But if you are outdoors, with largish crowds and competing noise then I reckon 30 watts output an absolute minimum, and 10 inch speakers - well at least 8 inch anyway. Of course if you are willing to sacrifice quality then PA Cone speakers can be used. These have no bass and the sound is shrill. But boy does it carry.

I'm not familiar with The Box - the amplified soeaker which Eek recommends. From the specifications it seems a splendid bit of gear - and at £400 it should. But three things strike me - it again does far more than you need, it is bigger and heavier than you need, and although it is agood sized speaker it still needs to be mounted head height to be effective with a crowd. So that means a massive speaker stand or an extra extension loudspeaker.

The all-in-one, speaker/amp combo is a splendid solution for small hall and birthday party sort of work. For outdoor work I think you must think in tems of speaker/s separate from the amplifier/battery unit.
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Postby johnstoate » 13 Dec 2007, 21:10

Thanks, Chris,- Reasoned and informed as usual. I tend to agree about the overpriced, (The best I've found thus far is two hundred, vat inclusive) But as you say, the spec' is very good, and I have seen some good reviews on it. I would just point out that I'm not considering it as a full-time piece of kit, but as a back-up, and for use on my 'Lanky neets' and such, At which point it still seems viable. So I may be investing in one, (Unless anyone has any more suggestions to explore) :D
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Postby Tony James » 13 Dec 2007, 22:34

Coomber do a higher output version at 70 or 75 watts. Same style of case with the controls on top where you need them (rather than on the front). Drawback is they don't produce this version with built in batteries.

Mipro also produce a 70 watt version and it is very good. It does have built in batteries. The controls are all on the back.

You can power the Coomber (and the Mipro if you wish) with a power station using an inverter. It will take a lot out of the power station and, depending on the make, you may find that it is still recharging twelve hours later. Not always practical if you have to leave the next day at 7 a.m. to be back at the venue.

And whilst mentioning built in batteries, they are very good but I cannot bring myself to totally rely on them. I carry a power station and use it for the first performance and then use the PA batteries for the other three performances. The power station remains on so that in the event of a failure of the built in batteries, I can immediately switch over to the power station.

In this way, the load is shared. The built in batteries take the greater share but are not flattened as they possibly might be with four full performances and neither is the power station over stretched.

Both the PA unit and the power station will comfortably recharge by the next morning. I find the Mipro recharges much faster than the power station which probably will eventually affect the battery life.

The power station takes longer to recharge. Oddly, it seems to make little difference to the time taken whether it is recharging after one or two performances but it takes considerably longer for three or four performances. Remember, it's driving the inverter.

On a side issue, car batteries can and will pack up quite suddenly and without any warning. It is comforting to know that in extremis the power station will restart the car and, if yours is like mine and also has a compressor, it can inflate a flat tyre. I have suffered two punctures recently and each time it has been caused by a screw. No accounting for it but at least I kept moving.
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Postby Chris » 14 Dec 2007, 10:40

In the 25 or so years that I have been using my Coomber I have not been let down by the internal batteries nor had to replace them. It rather defeats the object of having built in batteries if you have to carry a large external battery or power station as well for your first performance?

Also it used to be the case that a rechargeable battery was better for allowing it to discharge rather than constantly recharging when only partially discharged. This is not always the case now since the advent of lithium batteries.

I agree, the Mipro is a good product - certainly preferable to the Peavey.
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Postby Tony James » 16 Dec 2007, 23:37

Twenty five years on the same batteries is excellent Chris. Coomber were replacing mine every three or four years. Mind you, they took some hammer on the showgrounds, especially the music. They simply couldn't hold sufficient charge for four performances and so I started carrying a power station, just to take the top off it for the first. Now that did considerably improve the situation.

I was obviously over extending the batteries.

The Mipro is still on its original batteries. The consensus is that every five or six years they should probably need replacing id you use them as I do.

If lightly used both the Mipro and the Coomber would last a lot longer. Well, you can see that with yours. Wish mine had lasted twenty five years!
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Postby Chris » 17 Dec 2007, 00:14

Sorry Tony, I was forgetting just how heavy a show yours was. Do you get through as many batteries as slapsticks?
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Postby David Wilde » 17 Dec 2007, 01:53

I want to to know how many hats you have got through!
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Postby Tony James » 17 Dec 2007, 09:45

Batteries to slapsticks? Pretty even I should think!

It's not the show that's heavy - it's all the surrounding noise. mainly from the several thousand people watching it!!

Lost count of the hats David. They just keep getting bigger and bigger.
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Postby Chris » 17 Dec 2007, 11:41

Yes, I'm so glad I'm a lightweight Tony. Not only has my Coomber battery lasted over 20 years, so have my slapsticks. I don't recall ever breaking a slapstick. I have one made by Eric Sharp and a copy I made as a duplicate. Neither of them are plywood. They are both well battered, but not cracked or split. I don't know their exact age, but I remember the Eric Sharp one came with one of his quick erect panel booths which he had just started marketing - when was that? Late 70s perhaps?
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Postby johnstoate » 17 Dec 2007, 13:47

Needless to say, - I'm with Tony here, A lot depends on the type of show you do, The power output required to compete with Fairground organs and the like and still be heard is phenomenal! - Similarly it requires a particular fortitude to work kid's parties for any period of time. - As for the hats, I s'pect that's another feature of 'big' shows, Iffen you can't fight, - Wear a big hat!! :lol:
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