- Equipment -
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I have spent hours and hours and hours doing research into exactly what sound reinforcement equipment I was going to purchase. I have even purchased equipment that "looked good on paper," but once tested fell far short of my stringent standards. Sometimes you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette. To keep my prices down equipment had to have six criteria:
It had to be light weight - so I could move it myself without hiring a crew and pass the savings on to you
It had to be heavy duty - so it would resist peeling and cracking
It had to be powerful - so I could achieve more sound with smaller, lighter equipment
It had to have transparent frequency characteristics - so I wouldn't have to turn 20 knobs to get it to sound good
It had to be cheap - so I could pass the savings on to my customers
It had to be versatile - amps and speakers interchangeable as monitors or mains - every component pulls double duty!
$25,000.00 later, all I can say is, "5 out of 6 ain't bad." In order to get heavy-duty, light-weight, clear, powerful and versatile, I had to forgo "cheap." Consequently I have spent thousands of dollars on new, high-quality gear that ultimately insures I can make a band sound better than they ever have. Below is an outline of some of the stuff I presently own. Check back often as this list changes all the time:
MAIN/SUB/MONITOR AMPS - QSC PLX3602 (x12):
These amps are rated at 3600 watts each (1800 watts per channel @2 ohms, or 3600 watts @4 ohms in bridge mode).
In a club situation I use 3 of these amps; 2 amps for subs (into 4 sub cabinets = 7200 watts) and 1 amp for main speakers (into 2 main speakers = 3600 watts) for a total of 10,800 watts for my standard club package. This is a lot more power than most sound engineers use in a club venue. "Too much power" insures I have plenty of head room in the mix for a clean, clear, crisp, warm, full sound.
For larger shows I use 9 amps; 5 amps for subs (into 10 subs = 18,000 watts) and 4 amps for main speakers (into 8 mains = 14,400 watts) for a total of 32,400 watts, which has been more than sufficient so far.
My sound company paradigms follow my life-long credo, which has always been, "Better to have and not need then to need and not have. Build it too big, too fast and too powerful and you'll never be disappointed." Consequently, I tend to over-spec everything I build - including my sound system. "Too much P.A." insures a clear, crisp, warm mix not lacking or wanting in any frequency band.
MONITOR AMPS - QSC PLX2502 (x2):
I presently own 2 QSC PLX2502 power amps, which I use for monitors if I run out of PLX3602's. In my humble opinion they don't really deliver enough power to drive my mains or my subs, however they do deliver more than adequate power for monitors. So far I've had no complaints.
MONITOR AMP - QSC PL2.0HV:
I presently own a QSC PL2.0HV I use exclusively for monitors. The PL2.0HV delivers 1,000 watts per channel @ 4 ohms (in stereo mode), or 2,000 watts @8 ohms in bridge mode. I've owned this amp for years - not to mention it's been around the world with me several times - so I don't have the heart to get rid of it. I presently use it on my home theatre...<:^)
Equipment (Speakers, enclosures)
MAIN SPEAKERS / MONITOR SPEAKERS (First string) - JBL SRX712m's (x8):
The SRX712m's are bi-ampable, 800 watt RMS monsters (1600 watts continuous, 3200 watts peak!). I regularly use a pair of these speakers as main speakers at club dates and 4 of them for smaller outdoor or ballroom events. All I can say is they are simply phenomenal. You'll have to come hear them to see what I'm talking about.
MAIN SPEAKERS / MONITOR SPEAKERS (Second string) - JBL MRX512m's (x2):
The MRX512m's are rated at 400 watts RMS each (800 watts continuous, 1600 watts peak). I got a chance to use these as main speakers at a small, outdoor court yard and as I suspected, they absolutely rocked the yard. Even though they're roughly half the weight of conventional speakers (33 lbs.), they are more powerful then their conventional counterparts and therefore put out just as much clear, crisp sound as cabinets weighing twice as much.
MONITOR SPEAKERS - 2, JBL G-731's:
Though these monitors are about 20 years old, they're still widely used today. Back in the day they were industry standard. I've used these for a couple shows and have had no complaints. These speakers are rated at 200 watts RMS (400 watts continuous, 800 watts peak). I recently loaded one of them with a light-weight, titanium driver, which makes it even better than the original. Most singers can't tell them apart but I do notice a subtle difference in frequency response.
JBL SRX728s cabinets (x2)
are rated at 1600 watts RMS (3200 continuous, 6400 peak!)
JBL SRX718s cabinets (x4)
are rated at 800 watts RMS (1600 continuous, 3200 peak)
Yamaha SW118v cabinets (x2)
Peavey Low-Rider speakers (x2).
Peavey Low-Rider speakers are rated at 800 watts RMS, 1600 watts continuous, 3200 watts peak.
Madison MAS-18f cabinets (x2)
are rated at 750 watts RMS (1500 continuous, 3000 peak)
Equipment (Analog desks, digital domain, effects, incidentals)
My main axe; SAC (Software Audio Console):
This is a 24 x 24 channel (input x output) digital monster. Gone are the days of aux busses for monitor mixes and subwoofer matrices. Now every musician gets a FULL-FEATURED console. In layman's terms, any performer can have any instrument, vocal or effect in any combination he or she wants. That's right...the sky is the limit. This system allows for up to 22 stereo monitor mixes or 44 mono mixes. This digital system is as powerful as any system in the world today. I challenge you to find a digital console that can do what this system can do. I won't bore you with technical details. I will just say that this virtual console can make any band sound god-like. It can't correct bad tempo, poor pitch or forgotten lyrics, but it can make a band sound so good that the audience won't notice you forgot the lyrics. I guarantee that.
SMALL ANALOG DESK - ALLEN AND HEATH MixWizard WZ3:
This is a 16 channel sound board with 6 aux busses (2 pre, 2 post and 2 switchable). This allows for 4 monitor mixes and a sub-woofer matrix. This is an excellent, "industry-standard" desk. I won't bore you with technical details. I will just say that this board can make any band sound god-like. It can't correct bad tempo, poor pitch or forgotten lyrics, but it can make a band sound so good that the audience won't notice you forgot the lyrics. I guarantee that.
LARGE ANALOG DESK - MACKIE SR32.4 VLZ PRO:
This is a 32 channel board with 6 aux busses. This allows for 4 monitor mixes and 2 effects (delay and reverb). This is an excellent board. I won't bore you with technical details. I will just say that this board can make any band sound god-like. It can't correct bad tempo, poor pitch or forgotten lyrics, but it can make a band sound so good that the audience won't notice you forgot the lyrics. I guarantee that.
MEDIUM ANALOG DESK - MACKIE ONYX 1640 VLZ PRO:
This is a 16 channel board with 6 switchable (pre/post fader) aux busses. This allows for 4 monitor mixes and 2 effects. In addition this board has a firewire interface that allows for up to
16 tracks of live digital recording.
The Onyx is a phenomenal board. I won't bore you with technical details. I will just say that this board can make any band sound god-like. It can't correct bad tempo, poor pitch or forgotten lyrics, but it can make a band sound so good that the audience won't notice you forgot the lyrics. I guarantee that.
Since I went digital in 2010, all of my FX are built in to my digital console. However, as of this writing, I still some analog FX.
Some may laugh, but I use an old Roland SDE-1000 for delay, and an Alesis Microverb (v1) for reverb. I like these analog effects because they can be adjusted quickly and on-the-fly. Certain songs require certain effects. Usually this is either reverb, delay, or a combination of the 2. I can usually pretty effectively figure out and dial in a distinct effect via my headphones within a verse. It's hard to do that with digital effects which make one navigate a menu system. Simply put, I just don't have time for that.
MICROPHONES, STANDS AND OTHER INCIDENTALS:
At this time I have enough quality microphones (Mostly Shure and Sennheiser), stands, cables, snakes, etc. to do just about any show. I won't bore you with the list.
DIRECT BOXES (DI's):
Radial ProD2 Stereo D.I. (x1)
Industry standard stereo passive Direct Box + isolation transformer. This is about the best money can buy.
BSS AR-133 D.I. (x2)
Industry standard active Direct Box. This is about the best money can buy.
L.R. Baggs Paracoustic D.I. (x3)
Designed specifically for acoustic string instruments, this DI is Nashville's standard - without question the best active Direct Box for acoustic guitar, bass or fiddle money can buy.
Equipment (Power distribution, regulation and conditioning)
200 AMP, 3-phase (600 AMP total) mobile power distribution panel (hand built by me)
This mobile power distribution panel (cover removed to show wiring) with 50' feeder cable provides 20 solid 20 amp circuits and 1, 100 amp twist lock (2, 50 amp legs) for my "Spider Box" (pictured below panel picture). For larger shows, this type of power distribution equipment is absolutely necessary to facilitate a smooth-running show. Please notice that it is mounted to a hand truck - hence the "mobile" moniker.
50 AMP, 2-phase (100 AMP total) power distributor (Spider Box) with 130' of cable and numerous connectors
This type of power distribution system provides 5 solid 20 amp circuits for Sound Production (me) and band (you). For medium-sized shows, this type of power distribution equipment is absolutely necessary to facilitate a smooth-running show.
Furman AR-1220 AC Line Voltage Regulator (x2)
These are the finest power regulators money can buy. DO NOT confuse these with "power conditioners," which do NOTHING to regulate voltage brown-outs or spikes! When house voltage spikes or drops, these regulators keep YOUR valuable digital instruments at a constant 120 Volts AC. For the money, I challenge you to find another sound company that offers this kind of protection for your valuable equipment! "Power Conditioners" typically cost about 100 bucks. Power REGULATORS cost at least 10 times that! Don't let another sound company tell you that your valuable digital equipment is protected because power is "conditioned." Insist on power REGULATORS to insure your expensive digital keyboards and other devices are fully protected!
Numerous power conditioners:
I own a bevy of assorted power conditioners. They help a little with system hums and some of them monitor voltage (they DO NOT regulate voltage).
This is an arsenal of quality power equipment that will insure zero power issues during any performance. Unfortunately some venues have no means by which to distribute dedicated power to a band, sound and lights. However, if they do, you can bet I'll be ready for it.
This page is up as of January 4, 2009 - 3:PM and was updated June 18, 2009 - 5:15 PM (added 600 AMP panel).
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, or need a sound engineer that can unlock the full potential of your band, please...
Or leave a message for Donnie on my land-line: 505-271-6880
Or you can contact me via my Voice over IP line: 505-990-3307
(VoIP will forward to my cell on days I have my cell turned on, In addition a voice message will be sent to my e'mail address, which can be retrieved remotely from any computer in the world. So this is a good way of reaching me.)
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All pictures & material Copyright © 2007 Donnie Frank
Company logo designed and created by Brandon McCutcheon