AMPLIFICATION

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AMPLIFICATION

Postby mikey » 24 Apr 2010, 04:43

I know its a bit of a long shot but i was wondering if anyone had a sound system for sale ? i was after an amp , speaker , radio mic and a battery.
I have read the various topics on here explaining how to make one yourself and where to buy the products but i am a bit wary of doing it myself , im a bit thick and rubbish when it comes to electronics.
If anyone could be of any help i would appreciate it.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby Chris » 24 Apr 2010, 10:41

If you are, as you say, rubbish at electronics then I strongly suggest that you buy a new outfit. In this way you will have a guarantee and you will have somewhere to take the item back to for service if it does go wrong.
Second-hand is OK if you know what you are buying, and know how to alter and adapt to suit your needs.
Go to a local shop that supplies equipment for DJs rather than one of the multiples. Find out the guy with the technical knowledge, tell him what you do and what you are looking for, and tell him your budget. Ask him for suggestions. He'll probably be able to mix and match and cobble you up something to meet your needs. You may not get all you want at the price you want - but do you, for example, really need a radio microphone system? Most of us managed for years with a cheap robust vehicle PA amplifier, probably an Eagle, from Henrys, coupled with a robust wired mike and a horn speaker.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby Mark Andrews » 24 Apr 2010, 23:15

Perfectly sound advice (actually no pun intended) - if you're new to the this, as Chris says it's so important that you discuss you requirements with the company you are buying from and listen to their advice.

No point in spending a fortune on a big system if you're only ever going to do house parties, like-wise if you intend doing bigger events, where you often have to compete with lots of noisy attractions, you'll need a system which will allow you to be heard.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby Chris » 25 Apr 2010, 14:44

Currently, in my opinion, the best general portable PAs for our needs are made by either Coomber (British) or Mipro(Japan) . Both build rugged, well designed units which can incorporate line and radio microphones, extension speakers, built in cd or cassette players, built in battery with charger etc. Coomber units run for years and years – and if you do need repairs their service is superb. Mipro score on sound quality and radio mike versatility.
Mipro available from:
http://www.ads-worldwide.net/categories/24_up_to_100w.php
Coomber from:
http://www.coomber.co.uk/
Quite the cheapest deal around is for the Pulse Megamouth which comes with three radio mikes (hand held, lapel and over the head) for £99.99. This has been marketed under a number of labels, and I have seen it in use by London buskers. It hasn't the power available from Coomber and Mipro. I doubt if service is available if this goes wrong.
http://www.soundsavers.com/shop/audio-equipment/pa-systems/portable-pa-systems/products/pulse-megamouth-portable-pa-system-20-watt---3-radio-microphones.html

The Megamouth is available from Henrys even more cheaply - around £85.
http://www.henrys.co.uk/PA/portableamplifiers.html

There are other very good items available, but with many you take a chance on whether you can get them serviced if they go wrong. Andrew Clarkson has a superb piece of kit which does everything except rewind his swazzle. It is very good and has served him well but it does so much and has such complicated circuitry that it is doubtful if he could get local service and China is such a long way away.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby mikey » 25 Apr 2010, 18:16

thank you for all your helpful information.
I have been in contact with the people at " Henrys " and they recommended the following :

1 x 952.419 f4 vehicle amp - £39.95 inc vat
http://www.henrys.co.uk/PA/952419amplifier.html
1 x 8" horn speaker - £19.95 inc vat
1 x headset radio mic - £19.95

but i am still unsure what sort of battery to use and how i would connect it to the amp.
I apologise for being such a numpty.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby johnstoate » 25 Apr 2010, 20:03

Another piece of kit that you might consider is the Carlsbro speakeze. I bought one last year for working smaller venues like schools & halls as I wanted a self-contained unit with it's own power and radio mike. For around a hundred quid it's neither too cheap nor (realistically) too dear, and it does the job! - Dual voltage, (240v. mains or 12vdc. from it's own internal battery) Headset ,Hand-held & Tie-clip radio mikes, Reasonable volume level and a built-in Tape deck as well.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby Chris » 25 Apr 2010, 21:40

John, the Pulse Megamouth is the latest version of what was previously sold as the Carlsboro Speakezee - a fact stated on the link I gave. You can still get the Speakezee at £129 whereas the exact same specs Megamouth is £86 - both are available currently at those prices at Henrys.

Mikey, I still think your best bet is to find out where the local musicians and DJs get their equipment and there you will find someone who has technical knowledge to talk to and discuss the pros and cons - not someone in a shop or on the phone who is mainly a salesman.

A 12 watt amplifier as suggested by Henry's isn't really powerful enough in my opinion. And remember a radio mike headset is no use without a receiver, either a separate or built into the amp. If in fact this is a complete system, mike, transmitter and receiver, for £19, then I suspect the quality. Anyway by the time you've added the cost of a car battery you'll have spent £100 for a heavy, low powered bitty system. I notice that Henrys also sell the Megamouth at £85 which comes complete. Output is around 20 watts.
http://www.henrys.co.uk/PA/portableamplifiers.html

As to batteries - vehicle amps are intended to run off a vehicle battery - that is a 12 volt car battery. You can get away with using other batteries and Les Clarke has given advice on that in the past, and this can be found on the tips page of this website - but if you have to ask how to connect the batteries to the amplifier I don't think you should be experimenting.
The way to connect a car battery is with heavy duty cable, from the battery terminals which are marked positive and negative, to the terminals at the back of the amplifier which are similarly marked. Actually if you are going this route you are better going to Halfords and getting what is known as a Leisure battery (used for caravaning and camping) rather than a car battery. Car batteries can easily leak electrolyte and do a lot of damage whereas Leisure batteries are sealed.

Also if you want to use your amplifier inside as well as outdoors then a horn speaker isn't very good, and something more compact is to be desired.

I don't know where you live Mikey, but if you could get to the May Fayre and ask one or two of the Profs there to show you their equipment you'd probably get some good ideas.

One thing rather puzzles me - didn't you ask this same question in November 2008? And didn't we give you the same answers then?
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby mikey » 25 Apr 2010, 23:16

Yes Chris you are correct i did ask a similar question before.
At that time i ended buying a Carlsboro Speakezee , the only problems were that it could only be really sat at ground level and volume controls etc were all outside the booth ( i also tended to get a lot of feedback ) on top of that it has now died which is why i was asking the question again.
Something smaller that can be kept inside the booth with external speaker(s) is what i am really after.
I live in London so maybe i can pluck up the courage to ask some questions at the May Fayre.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby Chris » 25 Apr 2010, 23:31

No it doesn't need to be at ground level - it can be on a box, on a stool, on the seat of a chair or on a speaker stand.
And what's wrong with the controls being outside the booth? Surely you don't change them during a Punch show? Haven't you got your hands full of puppets?
The only self-contained portable amplifier that will allow you to use an external speaker is that from Coomber. (Possibly the Mipro too).

If you got feed back problems it isn't the fault of the amplifier - it is you and the microphone. You must use a directional or cardioid mike and you must learn how to use it. However much you pay and whatever equipment you get you can get feed back problems. Lapel mikes are always omni directional and are therefore useless. Also there is no need of a radio mike inside the booth. A good quality uni-directional wired mike can be bought quite cheaply and rarely give feedback problems.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby johnstoate » 26 Apr 2010, 12:16

:oops: Sorry Chris, I must confess that I didn't follow your links. (Didn't seem necessary in the context of my reply) As to this 'Outside at ground level' business, I'm a little baffled - I've worked mine on the solid roof booth, and in the small rig (Last year's Mayfayre one) it hangs on a hook under the playboard, No problems with feedback, and mine is still going strong. One other minor point, You can get 12v. motorcycle batteries which are much the same as car ones, but usually a lot more portable, and there is a sealed unit version. Since they do one rated at 80A/Hr. the power output is virtually the same over a couple of hours time period as for the car version. Also, when using leisure batteries it is important to remember that they operate on a 'deep cycle' principle, and therefore require several days to charge properly, an overnight 'top up' will not maintain them in peak condition.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby Chris » 27 Apr 2010, 17:59

I've further been in touch with ADS in Stockport about the Mipro products. I have found out that they can arrange repairs on these products if necessary. Also the 50watt version and the 70watt versions can be used with an extension loudspeaker.
The 50watt(rms) should be adequate for nearly every situation. The 70Watt version is the one for very big crowds in very noisy environments. I believe this is the one Tony James said he had bought.
I also notice that these products are currently on special offer ADS - not cheap but the 70Watt down from £500+ to £300+.
The chap I was talking to mentioned that a lot of kids entertainers went for the 101 - which is small enough to be hand held, but normally is mounted on a tripod. It gives out 30watts(rms) which is quite adequate for an audience of up to 200 people. This is around the £100 mark for the version with built in vhs receiver - so you only need to add the radio mike.

One point about power output - the greater the output the more power needed and therefore the bigger the battery and the longer the charge.
The 70Watt model, for example, uses twin 12 volt batteries (built-in but still heavy) and gives five hours continuous use but needs an eight hour charge.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby Mark Andrews » 27 Apr 2010, 18:22

I own two Mipro portable amps, both 70 watts, fantastic bits of kit and wouldnt be without them.

For smaller bookings, birthday parties etc I use a small Speakeze unit, the quality of sound doesn't compare with my Mipro units, but still very acceptable.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby lesclarke » 28 Apr 2010, 23:08

I've always liked the idea of small 'separates', I carry so much other 'stuff' that anything more bulky doesn't appeal. I've used the 12W Adastra amp for 10 years and found it fine for audiences up to 150ish, a small (pack of butter sized) 3Ah sealed lead acid battery will power it for about 14 hours or more, though recharging after each day's use is best for battery life. It's also cheap enough to carry a spare amp, is mostly reliable except for about once a year not powering up, but then working later after reconnecting all the leads. There is one weak spot though, all the leads can be pulled out with the socket at the rear, and constant use weakens the wiring at this connector, it's not that difficult to remove this socket and wire it directly though, I think the feature aids installation in a vehicle.

For more power, Henrys also do the Toa range, with a 30-60W CA-130 and a 60-120 is available.
The power required for the 30-60w is about 4.4 A, so a sealed lead acid battery can handle that.
I've just purchased one and will test how long a 7Ah battery last, and also my usual 3Ah battery.

Personally I like the freedom of a radio mic, the headset sewn on top of a baseball cap so it stays put on my smooth head.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby Chris » 29 Apr 2010, 10:47

Fine Les, but please remember my reply was to the question of what was best for someone who claimed they were "a bit thick and rubbish about electronics" and furthermore needed to ask how to connect a battery to the amplifier. Don't you think a combination unit would seem much more practical for Mikey than would separates? You and I like a bit of experimentation and know our amps from our ohms but there are many like Mikey who want something to work out of the box.

As to the Tao amps, I'll be interested to know how you get on. They were very popular among magicians at one time - was it Jack Mayes who promoted them in lectures and may have been an agent for them - but I got the impression they were a bit flimsy and might not last. I was probably quite wrong because they seem to have stood the test of time having been around for a good many years. As you have purchased one do let us know your findings.
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Re: AMPLIFICATION

Postby lesclarke » 29 Apr 2010, 21:14

Fair point Chris, Mikey sounds like he fancies the idea of separates, so if he wants to use them he will have to get his head around the ins and outs! As you suggested advice is available at small specialist electronics/DJ equipment shops, where he could also get the various leads, connectors, adapters etc that he may need.

...and compared to the world of
computer techy speak it can be kept very simple - at least I believe until you start wiring up multiple speakers.

I understand impudence, but can't fully grasp impedance.

The Toa amp was spotted in use by Glyn Edwards at Skipton and first tests show that not too surprisingly, 30 watts (30 RMS 60max) is a fair bit louder than 12 watts.

I still remain a big fan of sealed lead acid batteries.
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