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advice for buying sound equipment

Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:42 pm
by jmatthew
Okay, take 2. (My browser ate my first post).

Our local Ballroom dance club has approached me to help them buy some new sound equipment. I know very little. Let me sum up what I have so far.

We need an amp, a small mixer, a wireless mic with enough range to cover a 200 feet by 100 feet room and possibly two floorstanding speakers and all the wiring to tie them together. We have 1500 dollars.

We already determined we need a high end semi-industrial amp, nothing with surround sound, digital and rca inputs.

Anything else I need to look for? watch out for? any advice?

Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:16 pm
by wheresmygravy
We need an amp, a small mixer, a wireless mic with enough range to cover a 200 yard by 100 yard room and possibly two floorstanding speakers and all the wiring to tie them together. We have 1500 dollars.
YOU HAVE A 600 FEET by 300 FOOT BALLROOM? THAT'S 180,000 SQ FT. Are you sure you're not talking about the Super Dome? Assuming you got the numbers a little off. Even a 200 FOOT by 100 FOOT ballroom is a big one.

Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:37 pm
by jmatthew
sorry, feet, not yards. It'd easily fit a pair of regulation basketball courts with small bleachers. (basketball courts being my minds way of measuring indoor spaces :).

Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:03 pm
by Toon Town Dave
Is the space (and sound system) used for social dances or just lessons (ie how full will the room get)?


Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 8:31 am
by JitterbugJunkie
I wish I would have skipped a few steps and gone straight to a powered mixer. Amp and mixer in one box. It saves several hookups every time you set up. Less pieces to carry too. Mine is 210w each side and fills a smaller ballroom quite nicely. These days I only drag out my bigger horsepower amp on band nights.

My personal preference is late-model speakers in wood cabinets. They are heavier to truck around than plastic but they sound SO MUCH better. I feel it is worth it. I just picked up a set of Peavey TLM5-X floor monitors for a pretty reasonable price. I bought them for vocal monitors for the band nights I've been hosting (see Yehoodi: Bloozin' at the Ballroom) They sport 15" woofers and modern horns (the horns part is pretty important). They come with sockets for stands built in so they can pull double duty as mains for Lesson/DJ nights. I'm thinking that because they are a little smaller than regular "mains" with the same internals they will be easier to move around and still provide great sound.

My experience so far with the under $500 wireless mics is that for the most part they perform the same. Buy a less expensive model and get a 30 channel EQ. Spend some time getting the sound right and chopping out any feedback. You'll be glad you did.

Buy your stands used and your cables new... If you shop smart you can easily do all this for under your $1500 limit.

Hope this helps!


Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 10:31 am
by jmatthew
Mostly for classes, although we do the freeby lesson before the dance that obviousely has less people.

Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 3:59 pm
by Campus Five
I've seen a lot of problems with powered mixers. I'm a big fan of powered speakers - like JBL Eons. They're relatively cheap, they're modular, and you can chain them together. You can use them as speakers, monitors, whatever.
Or you can use just one if you need something less.

If all you need to do is play CD's you can get something like the Numark Cd Mix 1 or CD Mix 2 which are both dual deck CD players with a built in DJ mixer. I pretty sure both have mic and aux inputs as well. You can just plug your wireless mic into that.

If you'll be doing live music, then you have to have an actual mixer, I recommend the Behringher Eurorack MXB1002 - - its very cheap and has alot of inputs and real faders, not just knobs.

Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 7:50 pm
by Toon Town Dave
I'd vote for a thumbs down on the CD-MIX. A DJ here spun at a ballroom dance a few months ago with one and it kept having trouble reading the outer (higher numbered) tracks on his burned CDs. The DJ (unprofessional IMO) didn't have a spare CD player and I loaned him my portable panasonic to get through the rest of the evening. Talking to him afterward, he borrowed his daughter's equipment and this was her second CD-MIX2 (about a month old) which replaced a CD-MIX1 in for service 3 times and a CD-MIX2 that died. He said his gear (a Denon CD player) has no problem with the same burned CDs.

For portable gear, I've usually rented powered speakers if I need something big. I like 'em. The only problem would be you have to have a place to plug them in or remember to bring a long extension cord. For a fixed setup, an amp might be better since you don't need wall power for the speakers and if an amp goes, you don't have to pull a speaker down.

For headset mics, I've rented whenever I needed one for a workshop weekend. I usually end up with a Shure setup which works good (just resist the urge to crank up the bass and keep the batteries fresh). I don't think you can go too fare wrong with Shure or Sennheiser stuff.

Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 3:22 am
by KattenPejst
I bought a dj-mixer system last year for our swing dance society: a Numark Fusion 222 and I'm happy with it. It consists of two separate cd-players and a dj-mixer. I also bought a soft case to protect the equipment and it also means that you can keep everything hooked up between the cd-players and the mixer and the only thing you have to to when setting up is to connect the power cords and and plug one cable into the amp. Easy setup.

Since the cd-players and mixer are separate you can easily replace one unit if it breaks or you want to upgrade. (If you buy a cd-mix 2 you have to send away everything if it breaks.)

Fusion 222: ... rview&n=54

Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 11:40 am
by jmatthew
God I can't type a coherant message on here. Sorry. Mostly for DANCES. Freebie lesson beforehand.

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 9:31 am
by Toon Town Dave
I just picked up a 2-channel Stanton mixer last fall. I've been quite happy with it, it even came with a tube of goo to lube the sliders. There are sliders for each channel and a slider for cross-fade. The gain and eq are rotary. Also, all the preview and mic controls are rotary. There is a 1/4" jack for mic and headphones.

Speakers/amp are next on my shopping list. It seemed for a portable situation that powered speakers are the best option logistically (less pieces to deal with) and seem to be less expensive for a pair than an amp and unpowered speakers at the power levels I was looking for. The economics might be different for the power you'll need and it sounds like portability is not necessary.

Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 12:42 pm
by Nima
Ok, I was about to start a new topic but I will tag along on this one. We are cosnidering purchaisng a sound system to support our major events here in Atlanta at large capacity venues (~300 dancers).

After doing extensive research here is what I am considering:

Here are is what I have come up with:

Numark CM200USB 5-Channel Rack Mount USB DJ Mixer
FBQ3102 Ultragraph PRO EQ (31 band)
MDX2600 Composer Pro-XL Compressor (optional)
CX3400 Super-X® Pro Crossover (optional, mostly if we decide to get subwofers to go with the system)

The part which I am struggling the most is deciding on the amplifier/speaker set-up. At this moment I am debating between:

- 1 Crown CE4000 (600 W @8 ohm) or 1 QSC PLX3402 (700 W @8 ohm)
- 2 Yamaha S115V Club Series V Speaker (500 W each, 8 ohm)

The MP3 feature is not highly neessary, but we want a dual deck that is reliable when reading CD-R's

I really like the mixer board because it has a USB input to hook up a computer directly to it without the need for an additional sound card. It also has a USB output to connect to a laptop if we ever wanted to record any of the live bands that play at our events.

Any suggestions, comments, additions would be highly welcome.

Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:37 pm
by wheresmygravy
That Numark Mixer could be very nice. It actually has two USB inputs so you could run two cables to it and completely bypass your internal sound card. Thus being able to monitor using the mixers headphone connection and volume control.

How much is it going for?

Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:50 pm
by Nima
wheresmygravy wrote:How much is it going for?
209 + Taxes

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 7:03 am
by KattenPejst
Nima: Maybe I missed something but I couldn't find a mixer (for live bands) in your list . Thoughts about a mixer?

I investigating if our club should get a mixer. If we get one I think it most likely will be a powered mixer (less stuff to carry since we don't have our own place yet). I'm very tempted to buy a PMH5000 which has nearly everything we ever will need and has 2x400 W.