Portable Audio Setup?


Well-Known Member
In line with the previous "Portable Lighting", which is in fact moving ahead, I'd like to feel out the viability of a portable audio setup. I'll admit, I know nothing about sound/audio. (Nor wether to call it sound, or audio.) I'd definitely need some help figuring this one out. I know there has got to be a ton of stuff out there geared towards DJs, so I'm assuming the market has a lot of lower cost options out there (maybe I'm wrong). Er, so I said I know nothing, and I mean it. What exactly will need for a decent setup?

Mixing Console - 12 ch 14 ch 16 channel Mackie VLZ3s I am familiar with.
Preamp - ?
Amp - ?
Speakers - ?
er... everything?

Sorry to be so uninformed. I've tried some google searches for FAQs but nothing google returned seemed on par with what I was looking for.



Well-Known Member
What's your budget?

For a basic 16ch setup on a higher budget, I'd reccomend a Soundcraft FX16 (eliminates the need for an effects processor because it has a Lexicon processor built in). Some Shure SM57's, some Shure SM58's, an audix Fusion 7 drum mic kit (will do alot of things, make sure to get rim mounts here!), a pair of Whirlwind Director DI boxes, a DriveRack PA or DriveRack 260, a pair of DBX 166 XL's for compression/limiting/gate on up to four of your channels, and then a pair of Mackie SRM450 speakers.

On a much smaller budget, Soundcraft MPM 12 or MPM 20 or M12 or EPM 12 (pick your fav, but the MPM 20 will give you 20 channels...but none of these have half the routing and effects features of the FX 16), or a Mackie 1604 VLZ pro or VLZ3, some Digital Reference instrument mics, some Samson R11 Vocal Mics (don't get the R21's, they're way too prone to feedback, but the R11's will work fine, and come in a three-pack for a reasonable price - sixty or seventy bucks). Two Whirlwind IMP2 DI boxes, some [url="http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Digital-Reference-DRDRM7-7-Piece-Drum-Mic-Kit-with-Case?sku=270458"[/url] Digital Reference Drum Mics[/url], or some similar CAD drum mics. Samson drum mics are OK, but not as good as the cad. If you do your mic research, you will realize that Digital Reference mics are really AT's in disguise - they even show a picture of the AT2020 that just has a digital reference label on it. It's AT gear. For speakers, JBL Eon 15 G2's, Mackie SRM450's, or Peavey PR-15P's. I'd stay with the JBL's and Mackies if possible, and only go with the peaveys as a last resort. Fender 1270P's for stage monitors - as long as you don't sling them around, they'll be good to you.


Well-Known Member
Building a system from scratch isn't cheap, especially if you want quality components and, in the future, rider acceptability (rider being what equipment the client or band requests, for those who may not know). I personally like this for a small rig.
It was put together by some of the guys over at Pro Sound Web.
Personally, if I had a good budget, I'd go:

Mixer - Yamaha 01V96 (with Behringer ADA8000 preamps and MY cards to up the channel count)
Outboard - TC Electronics M-One XL (for the money channels' reverb)
Drive Rack - dbx DR260
dbx 2231 EQ (Klark-Teknik DN360 perferably)
Amps - Crown XTi
Speakers - Mains - JBL SRX 715
Subs - JBL SRX718S
Wedges - JBL SRX712M
Mics - Shure SM57
Sennheiser e835 (e935 preferably)
Audix D6
Audix drum kit mic package (model number escapes me)

I'm a JBL person, and those speakers are generally accepted for most smaller gigs (especially when you double them up). This would be a good rig for rock for up to, maybe 600 capacity venues. I'm not good at judging that yet, but I'm always learning. This rig would give you one mixer case, one outboard rack, one or two amp racks (depending on the number of wedge mixes, assuming they're run full range) plus one or two subs and two tops. Plus a small case for mics, another for cables, and that should fit in the back of an Explorer (or Mountaineer in my case...same difference).

But like I said, this ain't cheap, and I have no idea what your budget is. And advance apologies if I seem to have gone overboard there.

Edit: Beware of Digital Reference. I've got two vocal mics that I got before I knew anything. I only trust them for my talk back mics. Way to much handling noise to be practical.
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Well-Known Member
Since the Mackie's have built in bi amp ability, I would skip the Drive rack
instead and for more money I would add a 1801 sub, the SRM 450's are a bit light on the low end

I definitly agree - the low end on the mackies is sorta week. However, the driverack is more than a crossover and is still very useful in a set up. Automatic feedback suppression. EQ. compression. gate. (that's just from the top of my head).

As stated earlier...knowing what your budget is and more specifics would be good.

- D

p.s. - live sound reinforcement


Active Member
I use the driverack in my main setup, but with small stuff, I skip it and use a pair of JBL Eon 15's. I prefer these over the Mackies, as I think they are better suited for live sound. It is true that the driverack does more than just act as a crossover, I use a 31 band eq on the main output signal and find that it works just fine for the small stuff. If you want to get fancy, I would recommend a dbx DDP (digital dynamic processor). It gives you more options and is easier to use than the driverack.

In all, get a good pair of powered speakers, a pretty good mixer (I also recommend soundcraft, but the mackie is fine), and pick up a few mic's as you go. Then invest in eq's, additional effects gear, etc... as you go. Don't forget, you will need monitors as well......


Well-Known Member
Sure the Drive rack does more than just cross over, but again maybe from a higher end perspective until you get to the 260 a lot of pros and semi pros don't like the drive rack line. less money I'd get a graphic, the drive rack line works better IMO in a set install. Put money toward monitors.

Don't forget you need cables stands etc etc, which tends to add up
Just a suggestion


Well-Known Member
I am sure you are going to get a lot of different opinions, but in my experience, the Drive rack etc really work best in a more complex system for setting up and balancing the speakers them selves. The eq delay cross over, are typically set it and don't mess with it, (many have the option to lock the inputs) but in a simple system like you are starting out with a graphic eq with real sliders can be a good investment. Rane makes one, Yamaha, and Ashly make them in addition to a lot of folks.



CB Mods
Premium Member
Departed Member
Sharyn, hope I'm not treading on your toes, and please accept my apologies if I am, but the way I interpreted the last question was along the lines of do I need EQ / a driverack, etc. at all... And to that I would say that you most definitely do need it. Without it, you can't tune (or ring out more properly) your room. What this achieves, done properly, is that those frequencies that for the room you are in that are most likely to cause feedback that fastest, get turned down. Overall, you get better gain before feedback. Does that help?


Well-Known Member
I guess there are several schools of thought on how to use the dsp based systems in PA's. In my experience, the most effective way to use the Driverack or BSS or whatever is in the setup/design of the PA, you use it to correct for the factors in the PA chain NOT for the room, and you use a graphic or Parametric to ring out the system. With the Mackies you have very little flexibility to time align or change cross over points, or roll off, etc, to correct for the design, vs what you would do in a multi box active crossover system. where delays for time alignment etc and the eq which is mainly used to smooth out the actual speaker response, or the crossover areas etc.

Ringing out the system etc, IMO works best again with a graphic or parametric that you have fast access to faders, hence my recommendation.
Want true portable?

Go for a battery operated Mipro system.

Otherwise I can't contribute much - most of the portable systems I have used don't have much in the way of outboard stuff.


Come now people, portable sound system? That's easy- what can no staging company live without?

1 Soundcraft Spirit FX8 (with 2 Balanced 1/4" to male XLR cables)
1 Dual CD Player
2 Shure SLX4 Reveivers, with two bodypack transmitters + lapels, and 2 SM58s
- fit the above in a roadcase
2 JBL Eon G2's
2 Speaker Stands (Quicklok are super light and work great)

1 Box of XLR cables
1 Box of Januses of various lengths, plus a few jumpers

1 PC Sound D.I. Box (I like the Radial JPC Stereo PC DI Box)

Sorted. Load in 5 mins, unload in 5 mins, setup in 20 mins, strike in 10 mins, load in 5 mins, back to the office.

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