I'm thinking about putting together a sound system for PA and DJ use and I'm just wondering which speakers I should look at. I am partial to JBL but I don't have much to back that up. Also, what do you recommend in terms of powered vs. passive?
The answer however depends upon what you aim to do.
I personally use passive boxes and my main system consists of 15” bottom boxes x-over at 500Hz and 12” and horn top boxes. This is because I carry a backup amp. If one amp fails, then I have another to switch to. You cannot do this with all powered boxes (unless they have a passive input).
Another reason is that I do indoor as well as outdoor shows and will sometimes add in an extra pair of boxes.
My philosophy is simple: you can turn a big system down but you can only turn a small system up so far. I then have a couple of smaller full range 15” and horn and 12” and horn systems that do parties or hires.
In saying this, I am still thinking about buying a set of EV SX300 powered boxes for ease and simplicity. Especially for dry hires. Only trouble is it is more difficult to limit the volume on these, where as with the other systems, I have a comp/limiter set and locked off so there is (virtually) no way the speakers can get fried.
Other questions to ask are:
2. Existing gear – if you have a suitable amp then get passives
3. How much action are they going to see?
4. Is this a starting point to launch onto bigger and better things? You may find that a pair of powered boxes, a 2ch mixer and two CD decks will get you up and running for a lot less than a amp/speakersystem but may offer less flexibility. However, should you decide to upgrade once the cash has accumulated then you can expand.
I started my business up after I quit a band that I was in, where I owned the PA system. For the first year I was dragging J-bins and mini W’s to shows before I sold/traded/bought better gear, or gear that was better suited to DJ’ing.
I would suggest that you might do the same. Start out with what you can and put ALL the money back into the bank to get better/more suited gear. Also, many DJ’s under estimate the importance of lights. Even if you start of with a few cans and a sound to light dimmer, you will do better than those who do not use any lighting. Even today, 2x 4can bars go into a gig before I even consider FX or intelligent lights.
Remember that people are self-conscious by nature and will not dance in a venue that has high-bays or fluorescent lighting that cannot be dimmed. Turn up with a few lights that can be dimmed and add some atmosphere and you have an environment that is conducive to dancing (alcohol also helps).