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Subwoofer to accompany Mackie SRM450s?

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by jkowtko, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    For our next production, Music Man, for the first time we are using a pre-recorded orchestra in a musical. I would like to "play" the orchestra as realistically as possible.

    Our theater is like a flex theater -- no pit, floor level stage, and we usually place the band in, under, or behind the set. For this production I plan to set up a separate set of speakers behind the stage on stands to play the band, and these speakers will be separate from the FOH speakers where I will pipe all of the mic output.

    My budget is (as usual) limited. Since we have a bunch of SRM450s for the house, for future flexibility I bought another pair of SRM450s with some stands to use for the band speakers. However with a 45'x65' 175 seat house I'm thinking I'll need subwoofer support.

    Since the SRM450s are self powered I'd like to stay with self-powered subs. I'm looking at used Mackie SWA1501 and SWA1801 in the $500-900 range.

    Any suggestions or recommendations between these two subs, or any other brands I should look at for that size of room?

    Thanks. John
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Stick with those options. I'd go for the 18" ones, if you can afford it, they'll give you a nice response. I've seen and heard that combo (mackie SRM450 w/ mackie SWA1801) a few times, and it's a nice setup.
     
  3. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Beware, I've heard many more horror stories about the Mackie 18" subs. I think there was a run where the cabs weren't sealed well, and would either fart, or shred the cones. I don't have a problem with the 15", but if you used them, you would definitly want to cluster them.

    Why not rent some powered subs for this performance, then wait and save up for some top quality ones? As an alternative to the Mackies, you might want to look at Yorkville. I've heard good things about the UCS1P. It's a horn loaded 15", so you'll have to group two or more to get really good bass. I've also heard good things about Danely Sound Labs subwoofers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2007
  4. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    I've already looked into rentals ... seems nobody wants to do long-term rental since their equipment is in good demand for short-term ... they charge roughly $50/day per major component. We need the equipment for six weeks, (tech plus five weekends of performances), and I'm not about to cart 100+lb subs back and forth to the rental counter every Sunday and Thursday, so at full value we're talking ... ouch! Even with a heavy rental discount it's still far worth it to buy some equipment, use it, then sell it afterwards and even lose a bit of money in the turnaround.

    I will check out Yorkville and Danley Sound (thanks ... fyi the Danley looks like it is the same as the Yorkville) ... can you tell me how strong those should be in comparison to the SWA1801?

    And as usual I'm concerned about mix-matching brands for something like this, so if someone out there has had success with non-Mackie subs on SRM450s, I'd be very curious to know. And I guess if I can find a good deal on a used one, at worst case I don't like it I can resell it ... (provided I buy and sell locally).

    Thanks. John
     
  5. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    There are a lot of people who like the yorkies and Danley subs (prosoundweb has a whole section on the sub project that they did)
    Two U15p and two UCS1p would be a great system you could look at http://www.musiciansbuy.com/yorkville_unity_series.html
    and ask them for pricing on the UCS1p I only see pricing on the un powered one,

    Personally with Yorkies this is the line I would go with, Tom is something of a genius, stuff is great, but you are probably looking at almost two thousand dollars more for the system. Would you have a better system than the Mackies, for sure

    To expand a bit, typically if we are asked to recommend a simple but reasonable quality starter system for say a church or small venue where the main function is voice reinforcement, we go with the Mackie srm450. Once the client wants to upgrade for music then it comes to decision time. Usually if the have the budget, we move the Mackies to being powered monitors, and then go with a system along the lines of the Yorkie unity and up. Obviously sometimes the money simply is not there, and then we usually recommend the 1801. The 15 version unless you get two and stack them really IMO doesnt add enough sub.

    One thing that does not work with the Mackie SRM 450 is to try to use two of them on each side, the horns and dispersion patterns do not work well next to one another.(splayed)

    The yorkies Unity will work well stacked and splayed.

    You could use the Yorkie sub, would probably need to be turn it down a bit, personally I think using the full Yorkie system would be far better



    Sharyn
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2007
  6. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    No matter what you go with, try it before you buy it. Rent a Mackie, and mabey the Yorki for at least a day and try them out in your space, just to see if you like the sound. The only reason I suggested the Yorkies was that I have heard of people who's 1801's have shredded themselves because of the construction of the cabinet. Personally, I think they sound too flappy for a sub. I prefer the 1501 sound, but realize that it may not be perfect for your use. Just food for thought.
     
  7. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Take a look at the EV SbA760, it's a bit more than you've budgeted but an excellent performer.
     
  8. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    Thanks for the input everyone -- a lot of good ideas to check out.

    Since I already have the Mackie SRM450s I am inclined to try to stick with Mackie for now -- provided the sub sounds okay. Fortunately I have two options for purchasing the 1801 at a decent price, and in both cases I should be able to test it in the theater to see if it sounds muddy or not (I definitely do NOT want muddy bass). I need orchestral drums and bass primarily, not rock or disco, so I am looking for a smooth but firm low end response.

    The EV is a little pricey, and I thought they were in the realm of Peavey, etc, rock speakers that don't generally have flat response?

    The Yorkville appears to be well respected overall .. I wish I had a little more money to spend so I could by the full range speakers to complete it. Since the local shop also carries Yorkville I'll see if they have a UCS1p I can look at.

    The local store also has a JBL PRX518S at $100 cheaper than the 1801 ... any comments on this speaker? I'm thinking for such a small price difference unless the JBL sounded a lot better I'd still go with the Mackie.

    Thanks. John
     
  9. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    On paper the JBL looks good. Try it and see. The PRX's are new products, and I haven't had a chance to hear them yet. Looks like it's built-in amp is based off the Crown I-Tech, giving you DSP functions built-in, that is if Crown has resolved the issues with the I-Techs and XTi amps. Try it out. Tell us how it is.
     
  10. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    On the budget side, does anyone have experience with Samson, JBL or Yamaha active subs?

    - Samson db1500a, db1800a
    - JBL jrx118sp
    - Yamaha msr800w

    Some of these can be obtained demo or used for well under $500, which means two for less than the price of a single Mackie or Yorkville. If anyone has good or bad things to say about any of these it will help me as I scout around for next next couple of weeks before I am forced to make a decision.

    Thanks. John
     
  11. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Just to give you a heads up, may people in the pro audio world believe that the "j" in "JRX" stands for "junk".

    The Samson models will perform pretty well, but next to your Mackies, the low end will be a little bit muddy no matter what you do.

    If I had to pick between those three, I'd probably go with the Yammie.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2007
  12. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Given those three, I agree with Soundlight, go with the Yammie. I've used many Yamaha speakers, and can't think of very many bad things to say about them. Don't get the JRX; they sound too flappy and muddy for a sub. I'd rather use a home theater sub than the JRX.
     
  13. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    I agree the J in JRX stands for Junk. I did a quick search on Prosoundweb and only found a guy who was looking at these Carl Birmingham. I know a lot of people who perfor the MSR 400 to the Mackies, personally I have not worked with those Yamaha's. Usually I like to cross the subs at 100 hz and unless you have some fancy cabinet design line Danley etc use, voice coil and cone size is sometimes a factor, which is why I tend to go with 18s

    For more budget and more complexity there are other options that would be powered, but I do think that you should try to try them before you buy at this stage. Should be someone in the bay area that can let you try them out
    \
    Sharyn
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Those Mackie subs have a bit of a bad history. They were widely promoted and scheduled to be released then it all go set back... lot's of design problems in the early runs. Lot's of issues that gave them a bad reputation. This however was at least 5 years ago. So one would assume that they've got it all fixed by now. I would definitely go a little slow knowing the history. At the same time they are designed to work with the 450's. They've got a crossover built in that is designed to work with the 450's, so it's really easy to just chain them together and go. Plus they have a pole holding base built into the cabinet so you can use them as a base to stand your 450's on.
     
  15. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    Any thoughts on the Mackie SRS1500? I can pick up a pair of them locally, probably at a decent price. They precede the SWA1501 and seem to have a good reputation. Thanks. John
     
  16. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    Have not worked with that model so don't know how they will sound, they were originally set up for use with the 1530's so it is hard to tell how well they will work with the 450's they should be about 7 years old. A lot also depends on where you see your system going over the next few years, if the intention is to upgrade and keep improving then I would look at the Yorkies, if it is a one shot deal, then you might need to add a dsp/driverack type unit to the system so that the differences from the two speaker designs work well together and the overlap at the cross over point is smoothed out

    Sharyn
     
  17. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    Sharyn, the Mackie web site states that the SRS1500 was designed specifically to work with the SRM450 ...

    http://www.mackie.com/Products/srs1500/SRS1500c.html

    Do you know of some contradicting info on this?

    Thanks. John

    PS: At this point I'm not looking to upgrade ... and only for occasional use. At worst case I use the subs for all six shows that will run 90 performances a year ... I would hope these would last at least a few more years.
     
  18. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    I know I am sure that you are thinking I'm crazy. As I said I do not have any direct experience with the 1500. My understanding from some ex Mackie folks is that while they were quite happy with the SRM450, they were not happy with how the 1500 and the early 1801 based systems. The theory as you can see from the web site was that having the two systems basically have relatively close response curves on the low end was the way to go, and that merely splitting the output frequency bands and allocating the additional coverage was going to do the trick. Again, without direct experience, the feeling I got was that they decided to abandon that approach and go with a system that had a different response curve.... SO what does it all mean, I guess since the SRM450 has pretty much stayed the same, and the sub has been redesigned basically 4 times, I'd probably look for a newer solution.
    Mackie tended to make redesigns based on design compromises that they wanted to correct.

    Again, this is more heresay and opinion than direct scientific experience.

    Sharyn
     
  19. vlaho

    vlaho Member

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    It's very difficult to suggest some subs, but any active sub with variable 24dB/oct crossover could be your choice if you know what sound level you need and having good place.
     

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