P.A., Mixing Old And New Technology?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by hogy, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. hogy

    hogy Member

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    I'm very new at dealing with P.A. systems. I know plenty about tube guitar amps, but have never had the need to run my own P.A., until now.

    Our band plays Blues and some R&B. We have a female singer, the bass player (another lady) sings backup, we have an organ player who sings a few songs.

    That's three mics. Then we also mic the bass drum. Occasionally there may be a fifth mic for harmonica, and that's it.

    So the basic needs are pretty simple, a maximum of six channels will do.

    I bought three Yamaha DXR 10 speakers, one of them being the stage monitor. Now I need a mixer.

    I am a bit of a vintage nut, and I have this 1960s Binson PE 602-6 six channel tube preamp/mixer sitting around that I've never used. Binson used a type of vinyl insulated wire that completely broke down with the years. Basically it turned to dust and just crumbled away. I would have to completely rebuild and rewire the whole thing to make it usable. That is not a problem per se, I'm a repair guy. But it will take me a couple of days.

    So now I'm wondering if this is worth doing. Will the old tube mixer pair up well with the powered Class D Yamaha speakers? Or should I just buy a cheap modern mixer and call it a day?

    I can't help but imagine that vocals, and especially harp would sound great through that old tube preamp, especially for the music we're doing..

    Any comments from the experts?
     
  2. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    Yes.
     
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  3. Luke V

    Luke V Member

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    The new digital stuff makes things much easier to set up and run than old school stuff, and it is pretty darn inexpensive. I have a Behringer Xair 18 and love it.
     
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  4. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    I totally understand the attraction of the Binson, but I'd avoid it like the plague for PA use (mod it for a cool guitar role?).
    I also understand and champion the advantages of a digital desk!!

    But if it were me I'd consider the Midas VF16. It's analog.
    I use a larger version on a regular basis and I can assure you that the sound quality is considerably higher than anything in it's range, or even close. Ive been running a slightly modded VF24 for over 2 years without a single problem (altho it's been stationary).

    It would serve excellently for recording too. It has built-in converters that allow you to record gigs or records. The mic pre's stand up alongside my Focusrite ISA's and Raindirks. You could cut a releasable record on it. The EQ is quite good, taken from the legendary Midas XL-3. There's all the inza-outza you'd ever want.

    No automation or built-in FX. But if sound and expanded capabilities are a priority, take a look at it.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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  5. BarneyFife

    BarneyFife Member

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  6. DunedinDragon

    DunedinDragon Member

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    I find it interesting when people have a love affair with "vintage" equipment. I guess after having been in this business for over 50 years I remember using all that vintage equipment and I was never happier than when I could finally leave it behind for better digital equipment that's dependable and precise.

    With what you'd likely spend on refurbishing old tube gear you could have a pretty spiffy digital mixer that would take full advantage of your top of the line speakers and three or four times the functionality and precision.
     
  7. sants

    sants Member

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    Always buy more channels than you think you’ll need. It’s not much more initially and the day may come when you need to put more through the pa. I’m not saying go buy a 24-32 channel board but I’d go minimum of 12. Give yourself flexibility.

    As a guy who loves vintage and analog boards, digital will get you far more and give plenty of options for eq, efffects, dynamics, etc. I couldn’t imagine going to back to analog these days for mobile live sound or even band use.


    The biggest question is budget. What are you looking to spend?
     
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  8. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    Get a Behringer X18 and don't look back.
     
  9. Mike Monte

    Mike Monte Member

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    As someone that performs professionally and owns a small/local sound company I recommend that you get a 16 channel digital mixer (I use Allen & Heath QU's) and move on. Although you may only need a few channels now, your needs may (most likely) will change.

    If you insist on sticking with vintage analog, go with an Allen & Heath Mixwizard. There are a load of used Mixwiz' on craigslist these days.
     
  10. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Channels are cheap and six is not enough. Since mixers have gone digital, I'd look for something with enough channels to mic everything, drums, guitar, keys, etc.

    Also look for something with more monitor sends. Most singers want their own mix, and at least in my band, our drummer wants a mix with some guitar in it too.
     
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  11. GuitarGuy66

    GuitarGuy66 Member

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    Rebuild the mixer if you want. Maybe save it for the jam space. In a gigging situation, reliability is key. I wouldn’t bank the show on an older piece of gear
     
  12. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    don’t you have three singers?

    so far it sounds like you’ve bought three monitors.

    now you need main speakers and a mixer with at least three monitor mixes.

    don’t bother with anything “vintage”, there’s really no such thing with PA gear. it’s just obsolete like old computers. the things that make old guitar gear awesome are the same things that make old PA gear terrible.

    these days a behringer XR18 mixer the size of a lunchbox will outperform a huge analog desk and a rack full of processing and EQs, and it costs like $600.
     
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  13. hogy

    hogy Member

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    The DXR10s are the main speakers. One of the three is used as a monitor.
     
  14. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    He's saying one monitor for an entire band isn't enough, especially with 3 singers
     
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  15. hogy

    hogy Member

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    It works fine for us, and it's all I can fit in my vehicle. Not to mention all I'm willing to haul.

    When we play bigger stages or festivals, the PA is usually already provided.
     
  16. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    aha.

    it's been a long time since i played a gig with that minimal a setup, i'm used to adjusting my own stereo in-ear monitor mix over wifi with an ipad mini.

    you might actually be best served by some sort of "stick" PA, a vertical array of little drivers over a sub. that design trades directional volume for wide sound coverage, so jam it in the corner over to the side of the band and it'll evenly fill that end of the bar at lower volume and even let the singers hear it as a quasi-monitor.

    bose kind of kicked off this market segment with their overpriced and over hyped stick PA stuff, but now we have actual pro PA companies doing it better, cheaper and more robust.

    something like the turbosound IP2000 might be the right speed for what you're trying to do. it's like $800, easy to set up, and will likely sound better than a couple cheap little 10" top boxes with no sub.

    with three singers and possibly a pinch of kick drum in there you might need to get an actual mixer to feed it, something like a mackie mix12.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  17. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Member

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    The odds of a Mackie/Beherenger channel strip being in the ballpark of the sound quality of a transformer coupled, triode design are basically nonexistent.
     
  18. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    The odds of them meeting the needs of most working bar bands are excellent
     
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  19. hogy

    hogy Member

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    That's what I was thinking. Thanks!

    I'm also old enough to remember these things in action at the tail end of their use cycle into the early 1980s with some local bands and my memory says they sounded excellent.

    Which brings me to another question. How come the PAs then had 50 Watts (the matching power amp to my Binson pre, which I also have, runs on 2 EL34s), and it worked in an era when everybody played non-master volume Marshalls and Twins? Why do my little DXR10s, which are 1100 Watts a piece need to be cranked up 3/4 of the way to hang wit an unmiked drummer and a 50 Watt guitar amp?

    By the same token, the bass player in my first band played a silver face 50 Watt Bassman head, and I never had any trouble hearing him.

    My bass player now plays some little, 4lb, 600W box that I hear no better (but sure miss the sound of that Bassman).

    Mysteries of life...
     
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  20. GuitarGuy66

    GuitarGuy66 Member

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    Back in the day (mid 90’s)we used a Martin Triamp system over some 18” W bins. 3 CS800’s for the tops and an MC1500 for the bins. The amp rack was hell. My back hurts even just typing that.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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