Any Thoughts on using a compact line array in a pub band?

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BahHumbugBahHumbug Frets: 129

The covers band that I'm in wants to renew its PA.  Probably uppermost in our needs is portability.  Our old PA is a 600W powered mixer with a couple of passive FOH speakers (Peavey I think) and a couple of passive wedges (Peavey).  The mixer is heavy and the FOH speakers are particularly heavy and awkward to carry.  We're all getting to the age where we don't want to be carrying awkward heavy stuff any more.

We've just been using the PA for vocals (lead +3 BVs).  Instruments are just handled by instrument amps.  Drums are purely acoustic.  This has sufficed for the places that we play in.

A replacement mixer isn't a problem.  Between us we have a couple of line level output mixers to choose from, so the choosing bit comes down to speakers.  The current technology in active box speakers (eg Mackie SRM450) seems to offer quite a bit of power from relatively lightweight boxes.  But I'm also wondering about Compact Line Array systems.

I've had some very good results using a borrowed Bose L1 model 2 on acoustic, folk, rootsy, type gigs and even with a rock band that used a drum machine, rather than a real drummer.  This was with the L1 behind the performers.  The sound was pretty good for the performers and the audience.  The Bose units are pretty expensive, so I'm considering something out of the LD MAUI range, but the one application that I don't see discussed much with this type of PA is 'pub band'.

I understand that these systems really need to be heard from a few feet away to get right blend of frequencies and knowing the tight spaces we sometimes find ourselves in I can see this as a problem.  I'm not sure that having one behind the band will be possible at times.  So we could deploy a line array for FOH, but then we'd still need wedges or IEMs.

Has anyone else got any experience of using this type of PA kit in a pub band?

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  • bloodandtearsbloodandtears Frets: 633
    edited November 2018
    My mates 4 piece use a Thomann setup "the box" very similar to this MAUI range.. never struggle with sound...



    My trading feedback

    is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?

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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2533
    I attended a Jam session in  a small club two weeks ago where two such systems were employed.
    To my ears they sounded pleasant enough at first but were strained and tiring to listen to once things got going. We're not talking rock band volumes here. The venue had a sound level meter fitted and it cut out toward the end of the afternoon (about 5 guitarists, 2 drummers and sundry others all playing at once by then. The PA was strained before the level meter cut in.
    They also are not scalable if that is ever an issue for you, properly stacking cabs is a science anyway and building spl is not straightforward.

    I was not responsible for any of these pole array systems so possibly some tweeks were available that I didn't know.
    There are lots of decent powered and pre Eq'd boxes that are light and powerful for seemingly low cost these days.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2284
    A year or so ago we auditioned the Bose and Maui systems. We got a supplier interested because the array systems were new to them too. We arranged a demo in a school hall: Bose, Maui, and something else against our SRM450s and sub. All instruments were put through the PA.

    Our singer and bass player (BVs) loved the vocal clarity. For me there was a hole in the sound right in the middle of the guitar’s warm zone, caused by the crossover. Each system has a different crossover zone. The Bose put most of the guitar through its sub, where it would get absorbed by the first line of people. Same crossover problem affected our keys.

    If someone makes an array with larger cones, and a much lower crossover frequency then I’d be interested. 

    As for saving weight. The Maui subs and arrays weighed more than our existing equipment.

    Having said all this I believe that @Danny1969 has done semi acoustic gigs with Bose equipment.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3717
    Roland said:
    A year or so ago we auditioned the Bose and Maui systems. We got a supplier interested because the array systems were new to them too. We arranged a demo in a school hall: Bose, Maui, and something else against our SRM450s and sub. All instruments were put through the PA.

    Our singer and bass player (BVs) loved the vocal clarity. For me there was a hole in the sound right in the middle of the guitar’s warm zone, caused by the crossover. Each system has a different crossover zone. The Bose put most of the guitar through its sub, where it would get absorbed by the first line of people. Same crossover problem affected our keys.

    If someone makes an array with larger cones, and a much lower crossover frequency then I’d be interested. 

    As for saving weight. The Maui subs and arrays weighed more than our existing equipment.

    Having said all this I believe that @Danny1969 has done semi acoustic gigs with Bose equipment.
    Yeah we use 2 x Bose  L2 systems for our Shadows club nights which means 2 Bose bins and 2 pole per side. Vocals and guitar are put through plus a bit of overheads  ..  but as reinforcement for the acoustic kit and Vox AC30's .. It's ok and convenient and light but come at a huge cost ... bout 4K I think
    We also use one Bose L2 for indoor  acoustic gigs or both L2 for outdoors ... in that area the Bose shines

    But not for full on bands ... even with the bins the Bose system has nothing going on below 90Hz or so and as Roland said there is a hole in the lower mid ..... for band stuff I always use bins poles and tops, when it comes to reproducing Kick and bass guitar etc there is no substitute for cab size and moving air... the Bose doesn't cut it in full on band situations in my opinion. 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 9939
    We use a pair of JBL Eon Ones. It's a five piece band, but we use it mainly for small pub gigs as a vocal PA, with a touch of guitar for spread and a bit of bass drum. We use a separate mixer, but the built-in ones would do in a pinch if the main one failed. 

    It obviously has its limitations in terms of sheer volume, but for a small band replacing a couple of 12" powered cabs on poles there's a night and day difference in sound quality and spread. 

    Our singers like their IEMs, but if they get fatigued are happy enough to pop them out and do without with the current PA, something which would've been impossible before. 

    The system comes into its own for our acoustic gigs, it really sounds like a lovely big stereo rather than a brash, cheap PA, but I would honestly say you'd be pushing it putting a whole band through it in a biggish pub with a decent audience. 

    If you really are getting away with a vocal-only PA, our system would be excellent, you would be amazed at how good it sounds all over the room. Feedback rejection from vocal mics is stunning too, you can plonk 'em anywhere. 
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  • I considered a line array when I bought a PA for my band. We tried one via a local PA Hire company (HK Elements). They're OK, but couldn't help but feel something was missing.

    In the end, I went for this:

    https://www.bax-shop.co.uk/speaker-sets/hk-audio-linear-5-power-pack

    Really happy with it.

    R.
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  • Many thanks guys, that's a really useful bunch of responses.  Seems like the line array thing could work nicely as a vocal PA,  but won't necessarily be a success if we start putting anything else through it.    
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 15028
    I use arrays (well, columns - not necessarily the same thing) a lot for work, particularly for voice reinforcement.

    The main advantage is the long throw - in theory they produce a cylindrical wavefront instead of a spherical one, so drop off with distance is 1/r instead of 1/r^2.

    The downsides are less bottom end (an array of drivers big enough to produce deep bass would be enormous) and occlusion issues, so as people have pointed out you need subs. The occlusion effects mean that they'll throw to the back of a venue nicely, but if you're standing behind someone else they'll block much more sound than from a point source speaker. 

    In practice we install them as high as possible and angle them down slightly. You can cover a big lecture theatre with two moderate length columns. 

    I don't think they'd work well in a small venue - such spaces aren't their natural prey. 
    Every year, I grow half as pretty, and twice as drunk. 
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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 2267
    A mate of mine had a pair of the turbosujd columns.   He went for the biggest they do hoping it would replace his aging PA.    For acoustic acts and his jam night they are great.  But for proper band gigs there is no where near enough thump so he hires some of my gear.     
    Depends what you want though - if it’s just to act as a little vocal PA like you have now then it will proudly sound a lot better.     For a full band inc drums then you need more imo. 
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  • TrudeTrude Frets: 352
    We use a pair of MAUI 11s for all our smaller gigs.  It's a 5-piece rock/pop band with two guitars, keys, bass, drums and four vocals.  Guitar amps and drums are miked through the PA and it works well for us.  I expect the bass is mainly handled by the backline amp.

    Above a certain size we will revert to a big pair of conventional tops (15" I think, with no sub), but for everything else we find the MAUIs work really well.  People can hear us all over the venue, but the punters up close don't get deafened.  We place them up front as per a normal FOH system, and use a combination of IEMs and a couple of floor wedges.
    Trading feedback here
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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 1942
    Well I'm sick of lugging a big PA to tiny pubs so have just bought a RCF Evox 5 V2 system - will report back once we've tried it
    Do me a favour and like this:

    https://www.facebook.com/MarkedCoversBand
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2284
    @John_A Let me know when you’re going to use it and I’ll come along. 
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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 1942
    Roland said:
    @John_A Let me know when you’re going to use it and I’ll come along. 
    I’m working away for a bit so next gig is NYE
    Do me a favour and like this:

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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 1942
    @Roland Will drop you a line in 2019 with some dates
    Do me a favour and like this:

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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 1942
    Update.  Used the RCF Evox last night and it was great.  Sounded better than our old rig, loud and loads of bass oomph.  Well happy 
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 8308
    I'd just get a couple of the Yamaha powered speakers. 10 or 12s.

    Not that daft heavy and easily fill a pub.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 118
    I'd just get a couple of the Yamaha powered speakers. 10 or 12s.

    Not that daft heavy and easily fill a pub.
    I’d second this.  I gigged with a pair of LD Maui 11s, first in a 5 piece with drums / back line, then as a 3 piece with backing tracks and no back line.  The Maui’s were very clear and they have a very small footprint but they are underpowered for all but the smallest pub IMHO.  I got a pair of Yamaha DXR12s but kept the Maui’s for small gigs.  Ended up selling them because the Yamaha’s sounded better and covered all venues.
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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 1942
    We used to have 2 dxr10’s which we replaced with RCf 710s as imo they sounded better, these were paired with a pair of DB sub 25d’s. 

    The evox were were plenty loud enough, and I thought they sounded better
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  • andyozandyoz Frets: 685
    edited January 2
    I think the fact you seem to only want it for vocals means you're not really using it the normal way a 'pub band' does.

    You're only seeking performance from about 100Hz and above so the likes of Bose L system don't make sense.  They try to cover all bases with the subwoofer and make it as light and compact as possible but you don't need the low frequency part (IMO they try to cover all bases and excel in none).

    Don't get too hung up on the onboard mixer too as the Maui won't have enough mic level inputs anyway (especially if you have access to mixers already).

    If it's just vocals then I'd agree with the posts and something like the Yamaha DXR12's are hard to beat.
      They've been around for a while so prices have softened on them.
    I'm a big fan of the RCF Art 7 series as they sound great (just wish they looked better).  The 732A is one of the better value, potent active boxes out their at the moment (712A is fine as well - just won't go as hard).

    If you think you'll run the kick thru the PA then Evo 12 is one of the better plug and play options.  Probably still better value buying 2 way tops like above and then extending it to one and then two subs as things develop.  Even pub gigs get a lift running the kick and guitar thru the PA (for a bit of spread). 


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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 1942
    Our's is the Evox 8, and has more than enough bottom-end, and power to mic the kit +guitar, bass, keys, vox for pub gigs and he clarity compared to the old system is amazing, it also takes up half the space of the old system too
    Do me a favour and like this:

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  • andyozandyoz Frets: 685
    RCF Evo systems have been popular with the hire companies as they cover so many bases.
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 9939
    John_A said:
    Our's is the Evox 8, and has more than enough bottom-end, and power to mic the kit +guitar, bass, keys, vox for pub gigs and he clarity compared to the old system is amazing, it also takes up half the space of the old system too
    I bet feedback rejection is better too, we can bung our JBLs almost anywhere. 
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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 1942
    p90fool said:
    John_A said:
    Our's is the Evox 8, and has more than enough bottom-end, and power to mic the kit +guitar, bass, keys, vox for pub gigs and he clarity compared to the old system is amazing, it also takes up half the space of the old system too
    I bet feedback rejection is better too, we can bung our JBLs almost anywhere. 
    Only used them once so far, but had no feedback issues at all, so seems promising.

    Did quite a bit of research before buying and internet wisdom is 'they're fine for a full band' from people who have then and 'you need bigger subs for a full band' from people who don't.      I i can confirm they are, the lows the little 12" subs kick out is astounding
    Do me a favour and like this:

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  • andyozandyoz Frets: 685
    edited January 3
    I'd agree that the better ones do punch above their weight but you put them into a larger room with a band and they loose it basically unless you are moderating the levels (alot of users don't).
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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 1942
    Well @Roland what’s your opinion on the little evox?
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2284
    Excellent projection from the linear arrays. The spread was good. Feedback rejection was good considering the way your singer waved his mic around at times. The sound was clear, without unnecessary volume. (Yes, my band is too loud.) The speakers didn’t sound strained, so I expect it can go louder in larger venues. The XR18 mixer pairs well with the speakers. Clear sound, flexible, low footprint.

    Was I convinced? I’m still worried about the mids for my own needs. In a band like yours, which uses a very warm rock sound, or a semi-acoustic band where most of the sonic interest is above the crossover point, they’d be fine. Would I buy one? If I were starting out now, and buying new equipment, then yes, and I’d boost the mids in the mixer to compensate for the crossover dip. It’s the same argument as AxeFX vs Helix. The Fractal is more sophisticated, I even use it to trigger our lights, but starting from scratch in a pub band the Helix is easier. 

    What I did like was your Helix. It’s the first time I’ve heard one played live in a pub. It’s not just the sound quality but the workflow of changing settings and tapping in tempos between and during songs. I agree that you’re better off without the backline. The Engl was nice, but just made life more difficult. I watched you having to adjust it during set up and soundcheck. A number of times I’ve broken out my valve combo “just to see”. Each time I’ve gone back to DI because, once you’ve got things set up, it’s a case of turn up and play.

    Sorry I had to leave before the end, but the venues flashing lights gave me a headache.
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  • simonksimonk Frets: 1225
    Are you just using a single Evox 5 @John_A ?
    And can you confirm it’s the 5 or 8 you have (you mention owning and using both above...)
    Seriously considering a single Evox 8 for the majority of our pub gigs now as my enthusiasm for hauling two DXR12’s and a DXS12 sub around is waning to say the least.
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  • andyozandyoz Frets: 685
    edited January 12
    As a punter, as good as the Evox is I know I'd prefer to be listening to your current Yamaha rig than a single Evox 8
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2284
    edited January 12
    Short clip, videoed on an iPhone 5SE. What you’re hearing is the Evox, plus John’s Engl.

    https://i.imgur.com/Hh8r0SF.mp4




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