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Good value active PA cabs - recommendations


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#1 Steve Browning

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:43 AM

My band is moving from a Peavey passive 15" set up (with powered mixer) to a new rig, based on active cabs.

Kind of looking at Alto/Behringer/EV. Can anyone give me the benefit of their experience and come up with some recommendations? Usually just vocal with some support/spread for the guitar/keys.

We rehears in a studio where they have Alto TS15s and they do sound good.

Possibly some occasional drum/bass but rarely, I would think.

Any thoughts gratefully received.
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#2 Jack

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:18 PM

We have a system with those Alto tops and some of the matching subs, really really nice system. The subs take a beating but as they're in duratex it's easy enough to touch up I suppose.

Sounds like you're looking at just the tops, so +1 for the Altos.

#3 markstuk

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:25 PM

I've got a pair of Alto TS212's - can't fault them for the money - less than £500 for the pair..
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#4 stevie

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:40 PM

The Altos are unbeatable for the money, but you owe it to yourselves to audition the RCF ART712A. Twice the price, but worth the difference if you can afford it.
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#5 Steve Browning

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:42 PM

Thank you all. I fear the budget may be too limited but I'll give the RCF's a go.
Fender Precision 1966 - Sunburst
Fender Precision 1971 - Sunburst
Fender Precision 1973 - Stripped (but was sunburst)
Fender Precision 1975 - Natural (maple fretless)
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Fender Japan PB70US - Sunburst (Kent Armstrong Vintage P pickup)
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Fender Japan PB57US - Candy Apple Red (maple neck)

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#6 stevie

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:08 PM

Our singer couldn't stretch that far either (unfortunately) but it's not a bad idea to know what to aim for.
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#7 Steve Browning

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:23 PM

Absolutely.
Fender Precision 1966 - Sunburst
Fender Precision 1971 - Sunburst
Fender Precision 1973 - Stripped (but was sunburst)
Fender Precision 1975 - Natural (maple fretless)
Fender Japan PB70US - Sunburst (Kent Armstrong Vintage P pickup)
Fender Japan PB70US - Sunburst (Kent Armstrong Vintage P pickup)
Fender Japan Precision A/E - Natural (fretless)
Fender Mexico Precision - Classic 50's - Sunburst (maple neck)
Fender Japan PB57US - Candy Apple Red (maple neck)

Mesa Boogie Walkabout 15
Mesa Boogie M-Pulse 600
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#8 bonzodog

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:24 PM

We have ev zlxp 12" tops and are happy with them. We play med size pubs and just put vocals through. However we have just bought an alto TS212 as a monitor and are very impressed with sound and cheaper than the EVs. Alto offer a very long warranty period too which is something to consider!

#9 Steve Browning

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:44 PM

Yes. Our keyboard player has a 12 and a 10 in that series and the sound is wonderfully crystal clear.

I did have a TX15 as a monitor but will part with that and get a 10 as that does the job perfectly.
Fender Precision 1966 - Sunburst
Fender Precision 1971 - Sunburst
Fender Precision 1973 - Stripped (but was sunburst)
Fender Precision 1975 - Natural (maple fretless)
Fender Japan PB70US - Sunburst (Kent Armstrong Vintage P pickup)
Fender Japan PB70US - Sunburst (Kent Armstrong Vintage P pickup)
Fender Japan Precision A/E - Natural (fretless)
Fender Mexico Precision - Classic 50's - Sunburst (maple neck)
Fender Japan PB57US - Candy Apple Red (maple neck)

Mesa Boogie Walkabout 15
Mesa Boogie M-Pulse 600
Mesa Boogie Bass 400
Mesa Boogie Subway 15 (x2)

#10 markstuk

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:02 PM

View Postmarkstuk, on 18 May 2017 - 01:25 PM, said:

I've got a pair of Alto TS212's - can't fault them for the money - less than £500 for the pair..

We also have 2 x TS210's we use as monitors.. Again, can't fault them..
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#11 markstuk

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:03 PM

Although I'm waiting for the RCF745 intervention from the normal suspects :-)
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#12 Steve Browning

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:10 PM

Indeed. We are after best bang for buck on a limited budget and are playing places where there is likely to be a PA so there's little point going too mad.

I am inclined to the TS215's because they seem to ahead in this market spot but am interested in any other options.

Thanks again for all input.
Fender Precision 1966 - Sunburst
Fender Precision 1971 - Sunburst
Fender Precision 1973 - Stripped (but was sunburst)
Fender Precision 1975 - Natural (maple fretless)
Fender Japan PB70US - Sunburst (Kent Armstrong Vintage P pickup)
Fender Japan PB70US - Sunburst (Kent Armstrong Vintage P pickup)
Fender Japan Precision A/E - Natural (fretless)
Fender Mexico Precision - Classic 50's - Sunburst (maple neck)
Fender Japan PB57US - Candy Apple Red (maple neck)

Mesa Boogie Walkabout 15
Mesa Boogie M-Pulse 600
Mesa Boogie Bass 400
Mesa Boogie Subway 15 (x2)

#13 markstuk

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:13 PM

View PostSteve Browning, on 18 May 2017 - 04:10 PM, said:

Indeed. We are after best bang for buck on a limited budget and are playing places where there is likely to be a PA so there's little point going too mad.

I am inclined to the TS215's because they seem to ahead in this market spot but am interested in any other options.

Thanks again for all input.

I looked at the spec sheets quite carefully when I bought the 212's - the 215's did not seem to offer that much of an advantage for the size difference - you may well find that it does for you...
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#14 Al Krow

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:42 PM

We use two RCF ART 310-A, 400W a piece, and have found them to be good (although to be fair we've not A/B'd them with any competition). If you can pick up some decent RCFs second hand that might tick all the boxes in terms of quality and budget?
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#15 EBS_freak

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:43 PM

View Postmarkstuk, on 18 May 2017 - 04:03 PM, said:

Although I'm waiting for the RCF745 intervention from the normal suspects :-)
I was going to say FR800s but I think I get the feeling that the budget isn't going to be there.

#16 crez5150

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:00 PM

View PostEBS_freak, on 18 May 2017 - 04:43 PM, said:

I was going to say FR800s but I think I get the feeling that the budget isn't going to be there.

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#17 keeponehandloose

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:29 PM

yamaha dxr12. 700w nice and light , 7 year warranty.
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#18 stingrayPete1977

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:07 PM

The DB Technology stuff sits between the Alto/Behringer stuff and the RCF range but they're owned by RCF, we've got the RCF735s for FOH but the DB 10" ones for the wedges and they sound pretty good, the 12 or 15 inch ones would be cracking and worth the investment over the Alto imo.
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#19 stingrayPete1977

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:13 PM

https://www.thomann....es_opera_12.htm they've just had a redesign of the grilles too.
IMO

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#20 Phil Starr

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:37 AM

Hi Steve, have you been along to PMT in Portsmouth? If it's like the one in Bristol they stock a range of PA. There's nothing like auditioning the gear. I took along some decent quality vocal recordings to run through some of the speakers you are looking at. I probably drove most of the people in the shop mad but the guy who served me was really helpful and I think quite enjoyed a chance to try the stuff out himself.

I tried out some JBL's EV's Alto, Yamaha and RCF's and I was concentrating on vocals though we did have full range recordings. The JBL's were bass heavy with a bit of tizz at the top, a natural smiley face eq if you like, perfectly adequate. EV's were much more honest but with a slightly larger than life presentation of the vocals, I knew both of these speakers quite well and have heard bands using them sounding great so it was a good basis for comparison. I tried two sets of EV 12's but they've updated their range since then one was the ELX though. I tried the Alto's as I was considering them as monitors, good value for money but they just didn't do it for me, there was a real lack of detail in the vocals, though they'd be a whole lot better than the Peaveys. The Yamahas disappointed me a bit, though I know a lot of people love them. I looked at the DBR12 and the DXR 12. They were OK without exciting me at all, the bass lacked definition and vocals were again but I found female vocals in particular weren't well articulated. I had a passive Yamaha system including a couple of Yamaha mixers and I am a big fan of their reliability and workhorse nature. The RCF's were just a class ahead of the rest I tried the 310's, 312's and the 735's (which I couldn't afford) For me it was the sweet midrange which distinguished them, you could pick up so much more of the work the female vocalists were putting into their voices, suddenly you could tell they were using studio condensers rather than stage mics. I'd have happily used the 310's for vocals only, bass was clean but obviously limited the 312's sounded much the same but with a touch more bass and the 735 would be my dream if funds were not an issue. That bigger horn driver and lower crossover just cleans the last little veil away from the vocals but at a price.

I ended up buying used Wharfedale stuff though. I've got the EVP12's and Titan 12D's as monitors. The Titans are essentially the same speaker but in a plastic box. The EVP's are great sounding speakers but the older versions I have are very heavy with ceramic magnets and old classAB amps built in the Titans I bought new and are an easy one handed lift. They sound very similar on vocals and if I know that's all I'll need I take the lighter Titans. The plastic cabs can't really handle loud bass though so you'd have to go for the EVP's if you wanted to put bass or kick through the PA. (I picked up the EVP's with matching bass bins for £350 on fleabay) The Titans are on offer at the moment I notice http://www.gear4musi...-PA-Speaker/Z5B Hope that helps.

#21 Steve Browning

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:55 AM

Yes thanks Phil, that's a huge help. Thank you for your efforts and thanks, again, to everyone else for your input.
Fender Precision 1966 - Sunburst
Fender Precision 1971 - Sunburst
Fender Precision 1973 - Stripped (but was sunburst)
Fender Precision 1975 - Natural (maple fretless)
Fender Japan PB70US - Sunburst (Kent Armstrong Vintage P pickup)
Fender Japan PB70US - Sunburst (Kent Armstrong Vintage P pickup)
Fender Japan Precision A/E - Natural (fretless)
Fender Mexico Precision - Classic 50's - Sunburst (maple neck)
Fender Japan PB57US - Candy Apple Red (maple neck)

Mesa Boogie Walkabout 15
Mesa Boogie M-Pulse 600
Mesa Boogie Bass 400
Mesa Boogie Subway 15 (x2)

#22 Al Krow

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:27 AM

+1 in appreciating Phil's comparative review above!
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#23 dave_bass5

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 01:35 PM

View PoststingrayPete1977, on 18 May 2017 - 11:07 PM, said:

The DB Technology stuff sits between the Alto/Behringer stuff and the RCF range but they're owned by RCF, we've got the RCF735s for FOH but the DB 10" ones for the wedges and they sound pretty good, the 12 or 15 inch ones would be cracking and worth the investment over the Alto imo.

Based on advice on here last year my band went from someone old Peavey 1x15's and desk/power amp , to a pair of DB 750's. Amazing transformation and so lightweight. I can now carry both speakers at the same time, as opposed to struggling with one Peavey speaker for the past 14 years.

Sound wise they are great. The low end has a nice tight kick to it. No issues with putting our kick drum and a bit of bass through them. In fact we did one gig where the whole band went through this PA and we got shouted at to turn down. We were very loud but not in a distorted indistinct way.

We paid about £350 each for them and its the best investment the band has every had.


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#24 EBS_freak

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:16 PM

View Postdave_bass5, on 19 May 2017 - 01:35 PM, said:



Based on advice on here last year my band went from someone old Peavey 1x15's and desk/power amp , to a pair of DB 750's. Amazing transformation and so lightweight. I can now carry both speakers at the same time, as opposed to struggling with one Peavey speaker for the past 14 years.

Sound wise they are great. The low end has a nice tight kick to it. No issues with putting our kick drum and a bit of bass through them. In fact we did one gig where the whole band went through this PA and we got shouted at to turn down. We were very loud but not in a distorted indistinct way.

We paid about 350 each for them and its the best investment the band has every had.
Was that me?

I must have been having an off day. I meant to say FR800s

:-p

Glad they still working for you!

#25 dave_bass5

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:56 PM

Haha, yes it was you, and im glad you didnt, im not sure this would have worked as well ;-)

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#26 la bam

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 03:17 PM

The Alto TS115a are great value - good sound and light...BUT the drivers are notorious for breaking. I had 1 go on me whilst djing and its not a nice sound!

The do go loud, but they clip very easily (around 11 oclock) - look for the red light. Obviously if you use these (or the 12s) with subs then they will be less stressed.

The TS112a is good, the bass is tighter, but not as deep sounding.

I ended up with a pair of DXR12s. Brilliant speaker, ultra reliable, 3 channel mixer on the back and 7 year warranty! (double the price of the Altos though). The wooden DSRs are richer sounding, but more expensive again.

Id be tempted to go second hand for around if youre looking the £300-400 mark.

#27 EBS_freak

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 05:05 PM

View Postdave_bass5, on 19 May 2017 - 02:56 PM, said:

Haha, yes it was you, and im glad you didnt, im not sure this would have worked as well ;-)

Attachment hondatiller800.jpg
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