# Upgrades to PA, speakers specifically

#### curtis73

##### Well-Known Member
Hey, all. Just had something kinda sprung on me. Skip to the bottom if you don't want the details. When I took over as TD here 7 years ago, we had very little in the way of sound. Over the years I have taken donations, traded stuff, and I've been able to twist wires together to make random things happen with a PA of sorts. It's a black box, 50x60. I currently have a rack with three amps, one of which is a pretty nice Yamaha 700w x 2. That amp is currently driving 4 Yamaha 10" floor wedges that I have totally sketch hung in a cluster in the center of the grid on swivels which can be spun depending on the seating configuration. Two of them have blown horns which for now I'm just EQing out. I also have a Yorkville 300w sub to round out lows. The quick learning part is that the boss just asked me to spec out what I want for a grant, and speakers are one of the things. Since I'm headed into tech for two shows, I don't have a ton of time to sit and research the latest and greatest.

TL;DR... looking for recommendations for 4 passive PA speakers (10" should be plenty, 8" if they reach low, 12" considered) to be hung in a 50x60 blackbox for main program PA. Wide (left/right) waveguides important and short-ish (up/down) waveguides are a plus since they hang directly over the center of the stage. Will be driven 2 parallel x 2 from a 700w x 2 Yamaha amp. Emphasis should be on bulletproof to last a long time and modest expense. Sound quality is important, but the black box is acoustically strange, so fortunately I'm a whiz with EQs. Thoughts on good choices?

Pic of the space for reference:

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#### microstar

##### Well-Known Member
Having worked for long time in nearly identically-sized black box, and assuming you do plays and musicals, have you considered making the 4 speakers portable with a yoke for tilting and a C-clamp or similar mounting device so you could place them within the grid where needed for each production? We had 4 amp channels with a separate feed for each speaker. The space was configured at times as an end stage, thrust, arena, tennis-court, and a few other configurations and the speakers moved to where needed for SFX and music. You could still do a cluster in the center of the grid if desired. We never used wireless mics there, but could have with proper speaker placement. Cabling wasn't really an issue as you are not talking about huge cable runs. Just a thought.

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member
Hey, all. Just had something kinda sprung on me. Skip to the bottom if you don't want the details. When I took over as TD here 7 years ago, we had very little in the way of sound. Over the years I have taken donations, traded stuff, and I've been able to twist wires together to make random things happen with a PA of sorts. It's a black box, 50x60. I currently have a rack with three amps, one of which is a pretty nice Yamaha 700w x 2. That amp is currently driving 4 Yamaha 10" floor wedges that I have totally sketch hung in a cluster in the center of the grid on swivels which can be spun depending on the seating configuration. Two of them have blown horns which for now I'm just EQing out. I also have a Yorkville 300w sub to round out lows. The quick learning part is that the boss just asked me to spec out what I want for a grant, and speakers are one of the things. Since I'm headed into tech for two shows, I don't have a ton of time to sit and research the latest and greatest.

TL;DR... looking for recommendations for 4 passive PA speakers (10" should be plenty, 8" if they reach low, 12" considered) to be hung in a 50x60 blackbox for main program PA. Wide (left/right) waveguides important and short-ish (up/down) waveguides are a plus since they hang directly over the center of the stage. Will be driven 2 parallel x 2 from a 700w x 2 Yamaha amp. Emphasis should be on bulletproof to last a long time and modest expense. Sound quality is important, but the black box is acoustically strange, so fortunately I'm a whiz with EQs. Thoughts on good choices?

Pic of the space for reference:
@curtis73 Have you given any serious consideration to powered speakers?
A disadvantage is having to run power to them as well as signal.
A major plus is the manufacturer has precision matched the amps, to the cross overs, to the drivers and included as much protection for their drivers as practical. You should be able to find models which are designed / approved for overhead rigging with properly rated rigging points built in. There are models which accept balanced line levels only as well as models with built in mic preamps.
You could keep your previous system at stage level and / or use it for limited outdoor use
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

#### macsound

##### Well-Known Member
First - choosing speakers is somewhat like choosing a car. It's probably impossible to find the 100% "right" choice. Do you have a small garage? Probably shouldn't get a Hummer. 6 kids, don't get a compact car. Otherwise, it's nuance, features, warranty, industry standing...

Anyway, my first suggestion is: don't discount powered speakers. I assume you're doing so because there isn't power up there.
If you're getting a grant, including infrastructure like a plug and some line cables to feed the cabinet isn't outside the price envelope of a grant, especially if you're not planning on specing something expensive like Meyer or D&B.

#### curtis73

##### Well-Known Member

If I had clean power up there, I'd consider powered speakers. I also only have two legs at 100A each to play with, which is modestly enough power since all the lighting fixtures are LED, but everything shares those two legs - everything. Audio, theatrical lighting, work lights, outlets, pit instruments, house lights, lobby lights, the fridge for concessions, the fridge for the green room, the air compressor in the shop... everything. I'm constantly playing with ground lifts depending on the configuration.

The cluster also hangs in its own "mini" grid above the lighting grid and the only reason I was able to get them there in the first place was with a borrowed scissor lift. They kinda need to be passive because they are so inaccessible. They are permanently there unless I rent equipment to reach them. The only access I have is setting up my tallest ladder at which point the only thing I can do is reach the bottom to rotate them on their hanging swivels. If I had access to the whole thing, no worries. But I don't. I would rather keep them passive and do all my config on the deck.

The grant will be written for $15k, which means (per our history from this grantor) we'll get$7500 if it's awarded at all. Infrastructure of this magnitude is capital campaign territory. That money needs to be spent on actual equipment. Infrastructure stuff at this point would be blowing the wad on a Mercedes and then not having money for gas to drive it. Buying speakers at this point is like buying gasoline for the trusty Camry. The grant bucket list includes a digital desk and iPad, 5 source4s, 8 colorsource pars, a real lighting grid instead of the mix of truss and sched 40 hanging from 3/16" wire rope, 8 nodes of cat6 with a patch panel, a working Mac with Qlab instead of an ancient windows laptop for sound cues.... ad infinitum. Long story short, I have \$75,000 worth of wants and I have to figure out what I NEED right now with whatever we're awarded. Speakers are a top priority because what I have is crap.

TL;DR - Capital campaign is in committee for some time in the next 3-4 years, at which point I'll have speakers which I can continue to use, or liquidate in favor of powered speakers, but for now, no powered speakers. Passive only.

#### Lextech

##### Well-Known Member
My favorite utility passive speaker is the JBL SRX712M. You can get a yoke for it so hanging is safe and easy. It is a wonderful as a wedge, works great with a sub and is rather light weight wise. At 700 watts you are a tad light power wise but should be fine as you remember that you have smaller amps. For a black box they would be first choice if I had to go passive.

#### curtis73

##### Well-Known Member
I like the numbers on those JBLs. I'll look and see if I can find any NOS. Looks like they're out of production. Fortunately I never get into SPLs where under-watting shouldn't be an issue.

#### JohnD

##### Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
As far as that JBL monitor speaker, yes, it was quite good. After it was discontinued more units "Magically" re-appeared in the warehouse. This went on for quite a while. @TimMc mentioned on another forum that that stopped about 6 years ago. Do be careful since that JBL range is often available as bootlegs from China.
You might take a look at the lower end of both JBL and Yamaha. There is the JRX series from JBL and Yamaha has the BR and ClubV series. Often the tradeoff is that they are made from MDF rather than plywood so they might not hold up as well with rough handling.

#### curtis73

##### Well-Known Member
Fortunately these will hang in the grid until they rot, so they won't get beat up. The Yamahas I have up there now are particle board and they've been... um... reinforced significantly and double safety-ed before suspending them over humans.

#### mbrown3039

##### Well-Known Member
The Renkus-Heinz C-series is another good choice for your needs (both spec-and money-wise). Made in SoCal and currently shipping.

#### Ken Summerall Jr

##### Member
I would also recommend taking a look at what EAW has to offer.They may be a little more expensive than JBL and Yamaha (or maybe not) but they sound great. They will also help you determine exactly what you need for your space. You can go to their website and submit drawings and specs and your expectations and they can send you a recommendation along with EASE drawings.

#### Ben Stiegler

##### Well-Known Member
ummm ... you cant EQ your way around blown horns without significantly stressing other components, or still losing a lot of fidelity.

QSC makes excellent affordable passive cabinet speakers as well

and just reading between the lines above, please please don't hang any speaker cabinet that wasn't designed at the factory for being rigged, and use only drop-forged hardware for rigging points on the cabinets. I say this from having known none of this when i started decades ago, and having done some installations which today make me cringe. there's a lot to learn about rigging - dynamic loads vs. static weight, etc. and to avoid the sort of lawsuit that puts your theater out of business - please don't skimp on safety nor having someone involved who is competent to rig speakers. That may be you!

#### curtis73

##### Well-Known Member
ummm ... you cant EQ your way around blown horns without significantly stressing other components, or still losing a lot of fidelity.

QSC makes excellent affordable passive cabinet speakers as well

and just reading between the lines above, please please don't hang any speaker cabinet that wasn't designed at the factory for being rigged, and use only drop-forged hardware for rigging points on the cabinets. I say this from having known none of this when i started decades ago, and having done some installations which today make me cringe. there's a lot to learn about rigging - dynamic loads vs. static weight, etc. and to avoid the sort of lawsuit that puts your theater out of business - please don't skimp on safety nor having someone involved who is competent to rig speakers. That may be you!
I hear you and don't disagree. I'm a proficient rigger and (while not specifically rated), they are safe. They hang from 3/8" forged shackles with double 1/8" 7x19 safeties. The speakers themselves have been internally trussed and epoxied, so while they aren't legal, I'm quite confident they won't come down. They're a temporary solution to get noises in the air.

And while I can't EQ for bad horns, what I did for now was EQ out the buzzing 2000 hz in the two with blown horns and boosted it a bit in the other two so it doesn't sound awful. Only works when I have one-sided seating, though. Just don't move your head or you get really fun phasing

#### Lextech

##### Well-Known Member
As my local dealer still has stock, I did not realize they were discontinued again. If you need a phone number just PM me.

#### almorton

##### Well-Known Member
while they aren't legal, I'm quite confident they won't come down
That's a "courageous" thing to say in a public forum.