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Author Topic: Amp + Mixer or a powered mixer?  (Read 12758 times)
bvdp
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« on: December 05, 2009, 08:39:46 PM »

I'm trying to spend a bit of money, but getting more and more confused.

Right now I have a little Berhinger mixer running into an 80 watt Kustom amp. The mixer has 10 input lines, with 3/4, 5/6, 7/8 and 9/10 tied as stereo. Output is 2 channel plus monitor and tape. For the $50 bucks I paid for this several years ago it's really quite satisfactory.

The amp is another issue. It's actually a cheap mixer/amp combo. Not a lot of power ... but enough. The big problem is that it's getting more and more nosiy (hmm). Probably fixable, but considering what I paid for it not worthwhile.

As far as my needs: I'm running a keyboard and one or 2 mics. Output is to 2 80 watt cabs. I use this rig all the time for at-home practice and for the occassional small venue gig. So far no problems.

Now, in a moment of brilliance, I thought I'd spend a bit to dump out the amp and mixer and get a combo. And, at the same time upgrade things so that the amp actually produced stereo output. (perhaps I'm mistaken, but I figure the keyboard, which is stereo, will sound better playing as a stereo inst.).

My first look was at a few units by Samson: xm410 and xm610. Both in my price range and have 2 channel output. But unless I'm missing something completely, it appears that all the inputs are converted to mono ... the 2 outputs appear to play the same (not stereo) signal.

There are some 2 channel amps in the 200-300 watt range. I think that Berhinger make one, which would just let me keep the existing mixer plugged into that.

And a local store is recommending some Yamaha rigs ... but we're getting out of my sub-$500 budget.

So, remembering that I'm not looking for tons of volume, more than 6 inputs, but do want stereo ... what should I be looking at?

Thanks.
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bvdp
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2009, 09:49:30 PM »

Bad me, following up on my own post Smiley But, I've been cruising around the web and find little to choose from in a single unit. So, I'm thinking that just getting an amp might be best. Any comments on the Samson Servo 300 Stereo Power Amplifier, 300 Watts which I can get at Amazon for $254 (free shipping)Huh Checking my speakers they are rated at 60 watt RMS at 8 ohm.  Whatever that means ... and how does that relate to the strength of a saxophone reed?
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Oren
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2009, 03:48:52 PM »

Bob,
Some of the Traynor P.A. (ok, ok, ...Yorkville Sound... Cheesy) stuff is still manufactured in Toronto. "Elite" was the model name of their pro-audio equipment. I've used it extensively, and it works. Rugged and reliable enough to still have a lot of life left in it when purchased used. Very low re-sale value, so I recommend you try and find some used - and go with the Elite models if available.
Some of their recent stuff is also very good...
http://www.yorkville.com/products.asp?type=30&cat=8
http://www.yorkville.com/products.asp?type=32&cat=62&id=385
http://www.yorkville.com/products.asp?type=31&cat=13&id=266
Oren.
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bvdp
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2009, 04:28:25 PM »

Thanks for that. I didn't know that we mady ANYTHING here in Canada, let along electronics Smiley

The list you sent is great. A tad on the "big" side for my needs ... yeah, I know, one can always turn the knobs down .. I'm not a guitar player, so I know that Smiley

I went though the "look for used equipment movie" a few years ago. Honestly, I don't know where these guys who get the great deals on stuff go. I find that there's very little of the PA type stuff around and what I find is either overpriced or junk.

Best,
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kara
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2009, 06:55:38 PM »

I can't advice what gear to use, since brands available here in Europe aren't the same as over there...
But I can answer you question about mono or stereo.
Since we are doing quite some live gigs both as a duo and as a full band, allso in small bars as in bigger dancing halls, we have some experience.
In bars we mostly perform as a duo. In a bar you're mostly confined in a corner and the bar it self isn't very big : I use in this case my Yamaha mixer with 2 amplified speakers of 300 W and a return of 250 W for us. Stereo isn't very important here hence the limited audience space.
In bigger halls, I use at the end of the Yamaha mixer the four busses as input to my amplified FBT mixer and there we have 2 times 1.200 W speakers and 2 times 300 W returns and still the 250W for me. Since the space is big enough we can send the busses in stereo to separate the space between the instrumens and the vocals.

It actually isn't easy to give advice on this, it simply depends on the gig, and the experience you gain with different setups

k
 
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2009, 07:53:27 PM »

Any amp with true 2 channels can be used for stereo, even if the two channels are mono channels.
Simply send the Left out from mixer (as mono) to one side of the amp, and then send Right side to the other of the two amp channels.

If these inputs are summed together you'll get mono, but as long as they remain separate they can be used for stereo.  They don't need to say l'eft/right'.  Its all in how you hook it up.  We have very old amps that are 2 channel that work fine for stereo, I'd be surprised if it was not possible with newer 2 channel amp.

If you can splurge on the Yammie powered mixer, even the smallest one, you will likely enjoy it. They are nice kit for live gigs.

Otherswise here's a whole list of stereo amps in your price range-
http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/navigation/power-amplifiers-live-sound-pro-audio?N=100001+338354+9

Keep existing mixer and use new amp!
That QSC GX3 gets great reviews all over, especially for the price!
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bvdp
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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2009, 04:49:45 PM »

Thanks, all, for the repiles.

I've decided to just get the new amp for now. Ordered the Samsom from amazon. Should be here in a week. I'll put up a mini-review when it's hooked up.
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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2009, 05:12:14 PM »

A quick follow up. I've received my Samson Servo 300 Stereo Power Amplifier and connected it into my so-called system.

Wow! The sound coming out of the same input (my little 8 channel Berghiner mixer) and into the same crappy speaker cabs is so much better. Bass is now clear and the highs are appropriately bright.

Well worthwhile as an upgrade.

My only disappointment is that the unit is not quite a loud as I expected. I've got to set the output to over 50% ... I figured that 150 watt per channel would be blowing the cones out of the 80watt speakers. I suspect that it's got to do with the fact that the 150 watt rating is at 4 ohms and I have 8 ohms cabinets. Not a big deal, plenty of sound. But, if I were to do it again I might get the 600 watt unit.



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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2009, 07:33:41 PM »

Yep. That quite literally halves the power output, but on the bright side, it means the amp will never be stressed.

Glad you got something that suits you Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2009, 01:53:42 AM »

So, are you saying that if I got some 4ohm speakers they would be "twice as loud" ... well, not really 2x ... but are 4ohm speakers generally better or louder?

Not a big deal ... I'm not planning on spending more for awhile and the existing ones do sound just fine (and loud enough).
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kara
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« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2009, 10:08:25 AM »

Yep. That quite literally halves the power output, but on the bright side, it means the amp will never be stressed.

Glad you got something that suits you Smiley

Interesting, I've learned something. I actually didn't know you could mix 8 ohm and 4 ohm equipment, I thought it would blow up something....

k
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« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2009, 09:01:02 PM »

You have to be very cautious with valve amplifiers - you can't load them too light or you risk nasty problems, but any solid state amp can run with any load equal to, or higher than it's rated impedance. Valves can usually cope with about 1.5x rating.

Of course no amplifier should be loaded with less than it's impedance rating. It is the impedance that determines that actual power output, and any amp will try to deliver what's requested!
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« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2009, 12:09:18 AM »

... any solid state amp can run with any load equal to, or higher than it's rated impedance. Valves can usually cope with about 1.5x rating...Of course no amplifier should be loaded with less than it's impedance rating...

What the Englishman said... Grin
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