New outdoor venue tops... Thoughts?

I'm on a somewhat limited budget, looking to purchase a new set of active tops. We handle all sorts of different sized crowds, both indoor and outdoor (though these tops would see the bulk of their mileage outdoors).

My thoughts were going in the active direction for ease of use and easy scalability (with aux fed subs).

I've been looking into the QSC KW153, the JBL PRX series (both 625 and 635), and need some advice in which direction to go - maybe a different direction entirely? What sort of crowd size would 2-4 well placed KW153s (with front fills and subs) handle outdoors, for those of you who have worked with them?

In the past we've had four Peavey SP4s, along with JRX125s as (way overkill) fills, which struggled to keep up with what we put them through; the goal is to maybe solve some of those problems before this summer rolls around.

In a perfect world I'd be using a whole line of KLA12s... *sigh*

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MPowers

Well-Known Member
When you say new "Tops" my mind of course immediately thinks truss/roofs/rigging! Obviously NOT what you're talking about :)
 

JohnD

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
May I suggest a couple of other forums if you haven't checked them yet
ProSoundWeb Community - Index
Check out the "Lounge" area, all these speakers have been mentioned a lot.
Sound Forums Network
Check out the "Junior Varsity" area here.
One warning, use your real name when you sign up or your posts will be locked, and be careful to post in the right area. Both forums feel that since it is for professionals, or at least people with a professional attitude, real names and manners are called for. But they have lots of really talented people posting there.
 

OneEng

Member
I'm on a somewhat limited budget, looking to purchase a new set of active tops. We handle all sorts of different sized crowds, both indoor and outdoor (though these tops would see the bulk of their mileage outdoors).

My thoughts were going in the active direction for ease of use and easy scalability (with aux fed subs).

I've been looking into the QSC KW153, the JBL PRX series (both 625 and 635), and need some advice in which direction to go - maybe a different direction entirely? What sort of crowd size would 2-4 well placed KW153s (with front fills and subs) handle outdoors, for those of you who have worked with them?

In the past we've had four Peavey SP4s, along with JRX125s as (way overkill) fills, which struggled to keep up with what we put them through; the goal is to maybe solve some of those problems before this summer rolls around.

In a perfect world I'd be using a whole line of KLA12s... *sigh*

Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

Well .... it depends. How many people outside, and what kind of music?
 

museav

CBMod
CB Mods
Departed Member
Well .... it depends. How many people outside, and what kind of music?
Definitely what genre of music or if it is primarly speech but perhaps more what size area to be covered than how many people. The difficulty that always comes with such questions is determining what represents an acceptable result so the more information you can provide and what you are trying to do and what you are trying to achieve, the better people can respond.

You also mention using subs, but what are you doing for subs? If what you have for subs works that might provide some insights into what may be appropriate mains.
 
Because I'm working to almost completely rework what we've got, new subs could be up as an option. But, we normally aux feed (and cover a wide, wide range in genres and types of productions and gigs), subs are something that we can borrow when we need them (a few dual 18s, a few single 18 actives, or whatever the occasion calls for); consequently I'm really not worried about outrunning the subs.

I'm looking for ease in scalability - regardless of what size audience we're trying to serve (because the range is so great, we've done from intimate things to upwards of 4000) my question was more geared towards trying to figure out what crowd size (in a flat, outdoor venue) 4 KW153s would cover, versus the JBLs, or something in a similar class (or something else entirely, maybe?).

Sorry for any confusion. It's hard to lay a finger on a single genre or size because of how many things we do through the year.

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museav

CBMod
CB Mods
Departed Member
Because I'm working to almost completely rework what we've got, new subs could be up as an option. But, we normally aux feed (and cover a wide, wide range in genres and types of productions and gigs), subs are something that we can borrow when we need them (a few dual 18s, a few single 18 actives, or whatever the occasion calls for); consequently I'm really not worried about outrunning the subs.
Wouldn't that also apply to the mains? Does it make more sense to try to find a 'sweet spot' that represents the majority of you events you encounter that you can support on your own, then if you have to supplement that applies to everything? And in that case, might it make sense to look at what others have that you could borrow or rent in those situations so that what you do is compatible?

I'm looking for ease in scalability - regardless of what size audience we're trying to serve (because the range is so great, we've done from intimate things to upwards of 4000) my question was more geared towards trying to figure out what crowd size (in a flat, outdoor venue) 4 KW153s would cover, versus the JBLs, or something in a similar class (or something else entirely, maybe?).

Sorry for any confusion. It's hard to lay a finger on a single genre or size because of how many things we do through the year.
The area covered and the number of people covered are interdependent, but can differ. For example, a 'family' style event with lawn chairs, picnic blankets, etc. is typically going to require a lot more space for the same number of people than a festival style event, thus you might surprisingly need more system for a 'family style' event of the same audience size since it could require covering a larger area. And an EDM event may require a much different system for the same size audience than for a bluegrass or folk event. You may have to define some target gig, or perhaps at least limit what is realistic, in order to have a basis for your decisions.

Might something like the KW152 or PRX615M make more sense? Possibly easier to use in different applications (e.g. pole or stand mounted or as fills/monitors), the 60 degree pattern of the KW152 may make it a bit more arrayable and thus more flexible, etc. That may be the kinds of compromises involved, for example the KW153 may get louder than and sound better than the KW152 but is that potentially offset by greater flexibility for different events? There may be other tradeoffs as well. Per the specifications the PRX35 gets as loud as the KW153 and has a wider pattern, thus potentially covering more area, however people seem to generally prefer the sound of the KW153 so which is more improtant to you?

At least to me the PRX625, and dual 15" mains like that in general, make more sense if you have events where you would like to operate without subs. If you are always using subwoofers then you seem to have to always deal with the additional size and weight of the dual woofers with rather limited benefits when used with subs.

The EV ZXA5 and Yamaha DSR112/115 seem to often get offered as alternatives when the PRX600 series and KW series products are discussed.
 
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We've got 8 SRM450s that provide some sort of flexibility as monitors and such (not the greatest, but the price was right at the time).
As a base target sort of gig, I suppose we could say a 1000 person, family style event (lawn chairs and picnic blankets), with jazz fusion and light rock as primary genres.

There's a surprisingly small availability (that I've found) of gear rental in the Seattle area - seems to be smaller, "DJ" packages, or very large lines which come with an engineer; neither of which quite fit the bill.

Interesting on the EVs and the Yamahas - have you had good/bad experiences with any of them? I seem to remember reading that the PRX series seem to have some reliability problems, but I could be making that up. I think I'd value fidelity over sheer volume, particularly with something as modular as these active mains (easy enough to pull inside and use for a large format movie event, or something).

Also, with almost everything we do outdoors, we do have at the very least basic zoned lighting with our trussing (flying isn't out of the question).

Thanks for the help!

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OneEng

Member
We've got 8 SRM450s that provide some sort of flexibility as monitors and such (not the greatest, but the price was right at the time).
As a base target sort of gig, I suppose we could say a 1000 person, family style event (lawn chairs and picnic blankets), with jazz fusion and light rock as primary genres.

There's a surprisingly small availability (that I've found) of gear rental in the Seattle area - seems to be smaller, "DJ" packages, or very large lines which come with an engineer; neither of which quite fit the bill.

Interesting on the EVs and the Yamahas - have you had good/bad experiences with any of them? I seem to remember reading that the PRX series seem to have some reliability problems, but I could be making that up. I think I'd value fidelity over sheer volume, particularly with something as modular as these active mains (easy enough to pull inside and use for a large format movie event, or something).

Also, with almost everything we do outdoors, we do have at the very least basic zoned lighting with our trussing (flying isn't out of the question).

Thanks for the help!

Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

I have been using the DSR112's for about 2 years now. I picked them because their bottom punch in the mid low frequency was better than the PRX612's. I use them as tops over a pair of PRX618S-XLF's which cross-over at 90Hz giving those DSR's some LF to shine with ;)

The DSR's are a very robust speaker. I played a larger venue last year (100ft x 200ft) for around 300-400 people. Classic and modern rock is what I play. I accidentally had one of the DSR's gain turned all the way up and it was solidly clipping for an entire set.

Not only did it not break (which would have been justified for my stupidity), but it sounded really nice doing it.

We use these speakers every week. The backs typically get warm to the touch, but not hot. The XLF's on the other hand tend to get hotter by comparison.

I run the gain on the DSR's at around 11:00 and the gain on the XLF's are at 2:00.

I would guess that a DSR could hold its own over a double 18" speaker (particularly if you are talking EDM or modern rock where more bottom is needed).

The DSR115's are in a completely different league with respect to bottom end. While the DSR112's were able to best all the other 12's I tested, the DSR115's simply crush them.

For an outdoor event, a pair of DSR115's over a pair of double 18" would cover quite a few people, but not anywhere near 2000 IMHO.

It has been my experience that such a crowd outside requires speaker arrays for tops and subs.

If you can, go give the DSR115's a listen and compare them to the PRX and KW's to see what you think.
 

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