Help Request: Setting up church PA/AV system - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-20-2012, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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The church my wife serves has grown in our A/V needs. When we got here it was pretty much a single mic setup with a tape deck and cd player added in. The Clavinova electric piano was also run through the PA system. Right now it involves disconnecting items based on what we want to use each service.

A previous pastor was a tad more of an audiophile than I am and had set up the system. It is a small country church so this task falls to me. There isn't money in the budget to really do anything so the project will most likely be funded by my wife and myself.

The system as it is set up right now has 2 wired mics running through a 1/4" jack into a Realistic 32-1200C 7 channel mixer console. One channel of a Shure T88 Wireless is plugged in as well. The console has 3 mic inputs and 2 either/or channels that run RCA type inputs.





The Clavinova is plugged into an RCA input as is the tape player, cd player/recorder and the computer we use for worship powerpoints. Because the input channels are either or we cannot use the Clavinova and the tape deck together, nor the cd changer and the computer together.

The mixer has a stereo output via rca cable to a Radio Shack MPA-250 Amp.





The amp feeds (via banana plug) twin stacks (2 each) of Optimus 15" 40-0115 8 ohms speakers which are currently wired in series.





We also have on hand (but not hooked up), a working Soundtech QuickMix6 (QM6). This is a 6 channel mixer, amp combination. It has 6 channels (4 XLR/Line and 2 Line/Line) as well as a single RCA Pair input.





Here is what we would like to have when I get done:

Inputs:
2 wired microphones
2 wireless microphones
1 Clavinova (the headphone out appears to be a mic level input)
Tape Deck (RCA input)
CD Player/Recorder (RCA input)
Computer (RCA input)
DVD Player (RCA input)

Outputs:
Speaker towers
Monitor speaker in the nursery of our church (with a localized to the speaker volume control)
Output to Tape Deck for recording purposes
Output to CD Recorder for recording purposes


Some questions that I already have:

1. With a PA system like this is there any reason we need both channels of the RCA inputs?

2. If the answer to the above question is yes, each input requires two channels (each with a RCA to 1/4" line connector), correct?

3. If the answer to question 1 is no, I use only the left channels, correct?

4. I can't seem to find a mixer with a lot of rca inputs (based on my figures, keeping both channels of the RCA inputs we need a 13 channel mixer). Is there any reason I couldn't use a home receiver to connect all the RCA channels to the mixer? Possibly even the QM6 we already have?

5. If I use the QM6 do the speakers need to be wired in series or parallel? The QM6 only has 1/4" outputs, is it even possible to wire the speakers in series with this amp?

6. The QM6 has an EFX and EFX return jack. What are these?

7. Does the QM6 even have a monitor port? If not how can I get the nursery speaker and the to Tape and to CD outputs?

8. I realize my wife and I will most likely be buying something to make this all work. My guess is a larger mixer. Can you give me a ballpark cost on any equipment we need to buy.

Thank you so much for reading through all of this. I have setup my home theater no problem and I know my way around electronics but PA type setup is all new to me. I hope to learn. Any thoughts/comments/donations/cookies and offers to help are appreciated.
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-20-2012, 06:59 PM
 
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Without cash flow or tithing from the flock, it will be hard to upgrade. Worship Arts is the one ministry in a lot of churches that seems to get pushed aside. My church has outgrown three mixing consoles, and currently we are in the process of upgrading from the current one, which is a 32 channel to a larger one.

Your best bet is to get in touch with other churches in your area and work with them, to see if they may be in the process of upgrading their equipment and may pass down whatever at a decent price, or even look for bands that are splitting and have equipment to sell.

You can also check out the stuff over at pssl.com, which right now the mixing consoles are going down in price, due to technology is ever changing, and a lot of consoles are also now coming with the ability of controlling from iphone/ipod touch/ipad, and android devices through apps.

As for the speakers, you can go with powered speakers vs. separate amps and speakers.

As for your current gear, I am surprised that mixer has lasted this long.
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-21-2012, 04:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rslaback View Post

The church my wife serves has grown in our A/V needs. When we got here it was pretty much a single mic setup with a tape deck and cd player added in. The Clavinova electric piano was also run through the PA system. Right now it involves disconnecting items based on what we want to use each service.

A previous pastor was a tad more of an audiophile than I am and had set up the system. It is a small country church so this task falls to me. There isn't money in the budget to really do anything so the project will most likely be funded by my wife and myself.

The system as it is set up right now has 2 wired mics running through a 1/4" jack into a Realistic 32-1200C 7 channel mixer console. One channel of a Shure T88 Wireless is plugged in as well. The console has 3 mic inputs and 2 either/or channels that run RCA type inputs.

The Clavinova is plugged into an RCA input as is the tape player, cd player/recorder and the computer we use for worship powerpoints. Because the input channels are either or we cannot use the Clavinova and the tape deck together, nor the cd changer and the computer together.

The mixer has a stereo output via rca cable to a Radio Shack MPA-250 Amp.


The amp feeds (via banana plug) twin stacks (2 each) of Optimus 15" 40-0115 8 ohms speakers which are currently wired in series.


We also have on hand (but not hooked up), a working Soundtech QuickMix6 (QM6). This is a 6 channel mixer, amp combination. It has 6 channels (4 XLR/Line and 2 Line/Line) as well as a single RCA Pair input.


Here is what we would like to have when I get done:

Inputs:
2 wired microphones
2 wireless microphones
1 Clavinova (the headphone out appears to be a mic level input)
Tape Deck (RCA input)
CD Player/Recorder (RCA input)
Computer (RCA input)
DVD Player (RCA input)

Outputs:
Speaker towers
Monitor speaker in the nursery of our church (with a localized to the speaker volume control)
Output to Tape Deck for recording purposes
Output to CD Recorder for recording purposes


Some questions that I already have:

1. With a PA system like this is there any reason we need both channels of the RCA inputs?


BTW, what Greg said.

Depends on the source. If the source is stereo, then there is a good chance that the channels are different, and disconnecting one will cause you to lose some of the music some or all of the time.

Quote:
2. If the answer to the above question is yes, each input requires two channels (each with a RCA to 1/4" line connector), correct?

Yes. BTW, most live sound systems, are mono. If they are multichannel, the channel separation is often very low, like 6 dB. There may be two or more channels someplace in the system, but by the time the signal reaches the speakers, its mono. This solves a lot of problems like stereo sources with one musician on one channel and another on the other channel and people on the sides of the room hearing only one of them.

Quote:
4. I can't seem to find a mixer with a lot of rca inputs (based on my figures, keeping both channels of the RCA inputs we need a 13 channel mixer). Is there any reason I couldn't use a home receiver to connect all the RCA channels to the mixer? Possibly even the QM6 we already have?

You are working with toy junk. I just had to say that. Even among very low cost mixers, you don't have anything like professional tools. They aren't all that extendable.

Here is an example of what many people call cheap junk, but it is a far better grade of cheap junk: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/mixer...FUio4Aodnz04zA Notice all of the differences between it and what you have. I hope you can see that it is better and far easier to use than what you are now using. BTW, I have bought and used a number of the items shown in the link, and it can be made to work very well, thank you.

For example, at church I have a roll-around general purpose AV cart, which is centerpieced by a Behringer mixer that cost under $100. It has been hauling the mail for years, and plumbers and grandmothers happily use it after a moment's familiarization.

Quote:
5. If I use the QM6 do the speakers need to be wired in series or parallel?

Probably parallel. Unfortunately the Soundtech QM6 is obsolete and not even the vendor's web site seems to have anything with any detail about it. One of the symptoms of dealing with junk, junk, junk!



Quote:
The QM6 only has 1/4" outputs, is it even possible to wire the speakers in series with this amp?

Yes, but it would help to know how to solder. 1/4 jacks are a legacy form of speaker connection for PA systems. You can get the connectors at Radio Shack and you can find rafts of cables and connectors online at sites like Amazon and Musician's Friend. BTW the PA equivalent of Radio Shack is called Guitar center. Other than plugs and jacks, staying away from Radio Shack is probably a good career move.

Quote:
6. The QM6 has an EFX and EFX return jack. What are these?

EFX stands for effects, which means tone controls and reverb and sound effects like that.

Quote:
7. Does the QM6 even have a monitor port? If not how can I get the nursery speaker and the to Tape and to CD outputs?

I don't know about the CD output (no documentation, remember?) but the tape output could probably be routed to another mixer or amplifier with volume controls.

Quote:
8. I realize my wife and I will most likely be buying something to make this all work. My guess is a larger mixer. Can you give me a ballpark cost on any equipment we need to buy.

Real live sound mixers start around $50 and up, depending on how many inputs. If all you have is line level inputs or just a lot of them, there is a device called a Line Mixer, whose outputs you plug into a regular mixer. Real mixers have inputs that can handle either line level inputs or mics.

Real live sound amplifiers start around $200 and go up. Real live sound speakers start around there and go up. Depends on what you need and what you want to spend.

One of the things that most live sound speakers have is a socket in their bottom so that you can easily elevate the speaker so that it shoots sound down on the audience.

BTW, there are many live sound conferences on the web, but PSW really isn't one of them. This one is a good one:

http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php#c5


Quote:
Thank you so much for reading through all of this. I have setup my home theater no problem and I know my way around electronics but PA type setup is all new to me. I hope to learn. Any thoughts/comments/donations/cookies and offers to help are appreciated.

As Greg suggested, church AV is like the Rodney Dangerfield position in any church. It is a great opportunity to grow spiritually due to intentional abuse by other (probably in some sense well-meaning) Christians in your church. They generally have even a lesser technical clue than you, but a few of them will a priori always think they know your job far better now than you will ever know it, even after you have a decade or two of experience and training.

You will also be blamed, perhaps vociferously and rudely in public and even during services for everything that sounds bad or is too loud, even if it is an acoustic instrument that you have no control over. If the HVAC makes funny noises, your sound system and your apparent incompetence will be the first to be blamed. You will be flamed without recourse by the most influential members of your church.

I only say this because this has been my life for the past 12 years. ;-)
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-21-2012, 06:30 AM
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Hi rslaback,

Thanks for providing us with pictures of your gear – it was really helpful.



Quote:
Originally Posted by rslaback View Post

4. I can't seem to find a mixer with a lot of rca inputs

The reason is because RCAs are specific to consumer equipment, and mixers are pro-audio equipment.

Greg mentioned he’s surprised the mixer has lasted this long. Actually, I’m surprised the speakers have lasted this long. A common failing I see with cheap PA speakers is that the high frequency horns are easily blown. Really, it doesn’t pay to buy budget PA gear. It doesn’t hold up, and any money you thought you saved is lost with replacement purchases. Makes more sense to get decent gear going in.

The nice thing about decent PA gear is that it’s reliable, which makes good used gear a safe option for people on a tight budget. You can often purchase good used gear for comparable prices to the cheap stuff bought new.

For your mixer, I’d suggest something like a Mackie 1604. It’s a versatile 16-channel mixer with a solid build quality that you wouldn’t outgrow for a long time. It’s not hard to find them used for under $300. Another nice thing about used gear, when you do upgrade you can resell your used stuff for virtually no loss.


Quote:
5. If I use the QM6 do the speakers need to be wired in series or parallel? The QM6 only has 1/4" outputs, is it even possible to wire the speakers in series with this amp?

Actually, series wiring is not the best idea. It eases the load to the amplifier to some extent, but in other ways not so much.

For instance, your 250 watt Radio Shack amp is probably 125 watts per channel @ 8 ohms. You have two 8-ohm speakers per channel wired in series. This means each channel is seeing 16 ohms, which sucks the maximum power output down to about 65 watts. That 65 watts is then divided between the two speakers, which means each speaker is seeing only a bit more than 30 watts!

So what happens? Thirty watts per speaker isn’t much, so you have to drive the amp at higher levels to compensate. So while 16 ohms is an easy load for the amp, you’ve sucked the power down so low that you may be running it close to wide open all the time (don’t be fooled by your gain control settings – that has no bearing on maximum output). Bottom line, you’d be getting a lot more from the amp by simply using only two speakers. Each speaker would be getting double the power, the full 125 watts per channel, instead of the 65 total watts with dual speakers wired parallel.

Again, you can get a decent used pro-grade amp pretty cheap. You can find used vintage “work horse” amps from Ramsa, Yamaha, BGW etc. pretty cheap, probably under $200. I’ve seen the old Ramsa amps go as cheap as $100 on eBay. Not bad for a 250 wpc amp.

As an added bonus, most legit pro amps are good for 4 ohms, so if you really need all four of those speakers, it wouldn’t be a problem.

It does look like you have a decent wireless mic system, which is good because budget wireless rigs are typically just useless junk. However if the church is this small, do you really need wireless? Is someone wandering up and down the isles with the mic? If the speakers are relatively stationary, then just stay with wired mics if you make any further purchases. You can get excellent-quality Shure or Sennheiser hand-held mics for a mere hundred bucks new and even cheaper used.

To answer a few more of your questions:

Quote:
1. With a PA system like this is there any reason we need both channels of the RCA inputs?
2. If the answer to the above question is yes, each input requires two channels (each with a RCA to 1/4" line connector), correct?
3. If the answer to question 1 is no, I use only the left channels, correct?

You could use only a single channel (doesn’t matter which one) from the tape deck et. al., but naturally you might be losing some of the signal from a stereo sound track, if you use those. Yes, any home gear used with a PA mixer requires adapter cables – RCA to 1/4”.


Quote:
Is there any reason I couldn't use a home receiver to connect all the RCA channels to the mixer?

Technically could connect your home-type gear (the tape deck, CD and DVD players) to a receiver to use as a “switching” device. However, you could not use more than one of them at a time. It’s really a cumbersome approach, though – an adequate mixer with enough inputs is better.


Quote:
7. Does the QM6 even have a monitor port? If not how can I get the nursery speaker and the to Tape and to CD outputs?

See next question.


Quote:
6. The QM6 has an EFX and EFX return jack. What are these?

An effects loop is for adding something like a reverb or delay unit. However, the EFX send could be used as a monitor output to send a signal to your nursery. The remote location would require its own amplification, though.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt





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post #5 of 15 Old 03-22-2012, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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So it looks like I was correct in that my next first step is to purchase a mixer. As/if the amp and speakers die they will get replaced.
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post #6 of 15 Old 06-30-2012, 08:48 PM
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Is it safe to plug self powered spaekers into the 1/4 inch outputs on the q6?
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post #7 of 15 Old 07-01-2012, 04:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rslaback 

Some questions that I already have:

1. With a PA system like this is there any reason we need both channels of the RCA inputs?

Yes. In many cases the left and right channels of the source program material you use is different. One set of instruments may be on one channel, and another on the other. If if there is channel blending, there is still a bias. Furthermore a lot of worship media is split tracks - the instruments are on one channel, and the vocals are on the other. This is my preferred form of worship media, because the vocal/instrumental mix is the most important mix, and the actual requirements for how you do this can vary all over the map.
Quote:
2. If the answer to the above question is yes, each input requires two channels (each with a RCA to 1/4" line connector), correct?

Yes.

Quote:
3. If the answer to question 1 is no, I use only the left channels, correct?

Don't go here!
Quote:
4. I can't seem to find a mixer with a lot of rca inputs (based on my figures, keeping both channels of the RCA inputs we need a 13 channel mixer). Is there any reason I couldn't use a home receiver to connect all the RCA channels to the mixer? Possibly even the QM6 we already have?

A receiver isn't a mixer, its a selector. Receivers don't have a lot of inputs by the standards of a real mixer. The mixer I use at church has 56 channels, of which over 30 are in constant use, and that doesn't include the line level inputs which come in from a separate mixer as just two channels.

Here's my favorite line mixer:

http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/MX882.aspx

600

It's cheap, its readily available, and mine is about 7 years old and still works perfectly.

Anything on this page is a good choice:

http://www.behringer.com/EN/Category/Mixers.aspx?s=A300

The MX1602 looks to be like a very attractive choice that probably didn't exist when I bought the MX882.
Quote:
5. If I use the QM6 do the speakers need to be wired in series or parallel? The QM6 only has 1/4" outputs, is it even possible to wire the speakers in series with this amp?

Speakers like these are normally wired in parallel, up until the point where the resulting load is less than optimal for the power amp.

Normally speakers like these are set up with daisy chain connections - there are two jacks in parallel on every speaker, and you hook the second speaker to the first speaker.

I'll leave it as an exercise for you to determine whether you amp can handle speakers in parallel. Buit, I'll give you a worked out example. If two speakers are wired in paralell and have the same impedance, then the resulting impedance is half. Two 8 ohms speakers in parallel are a 4 ohm load. Most decent power amps that are designed for use with sound systems will handle 4 and 2 ohm loads. Now, check the specs for what you got!

6. The QM6 has an EFX and EFX return jack. What are these?
Quote:
7. Does the QM6 even have a monitor port? If not how can I get the nursery speaker and the to Tape and to CD outputs?

You don't need or even want a monitor port for this application. You want to split the main output of the mixer - the one that already goes to the power amp. The real question is whether you want an active splitter or a passive splitte made up of Y cables. The active splitter is best because it isolates the loads, but in your case Y cables could do the job.

Quote:
8. I realize my wife and I will most likely be buying something to make this all work. My guess is a larger mixer. Can you give me a ballpark cost on any equipment we need to buy.

IME Behringer mixers are good values. Lots of people like to beat up on Behringer, but as a rule they are good equipment for a good price. I'd budget a minimum of $200. When you are buying mixers overbuying is not a fault. You always seem to need more inputs, and if your ministry grows, the incremental cost will be less than a total replacement. You can save money by not buying a mixer with EFX.
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-01-2012, 04:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orinjuice View Post

Is it safe to plug self powered spaekers into the 1/4 inch outputs on the q6?

yes.
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-01-2012, 05:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orinjuice View Post

Is it safe to plug self powered spaekers into the 1/4 inch outputs on the q6?

Well, if by “safe” you mean, “will anything blow up,” the answer is no. However, it’s not a good idea. The 1/4" outputs are high-output speaker-level, not line level. You might get a usable signal if you can dial down the Q6’s output enough not to overload the inputs of the powered speakers. But then you have another issue as well, namely that the Q6 is looking for a 4 ohm load. I don’t know enough about the why’s and wherefore’s of electronics to tell you what kind of load you’ll get feeding back from a powered speaker input, or what effect it’ll have on the Q6. But when you can eBay something like the Behringer Zenyx 1202 for $50 that will do everything an antique like the Q6 will do and more, it makes no sense to do this kind of jerry-rigging.

Regards,
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-05-2012, 08:37 AM
 
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I don’t know enough about the why’s and wherefore’s of electronics to tell you what kind of load you’ll get feeding back from a powered speaker input,

No sure what you mean by feedback.
Connecting a high impedance load to a low impedance source results in very little load current.
It's Ohms law, nothing difficult.
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post #11 of 15 Old 07-05-2012, 09:52 AM
 
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You might want to additionally explore the concept of gain structure.
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post #12 of 15 Old 07-10-2012, 06:41 AM
 
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You may wish to take an introduction to electronics course.
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post #13 of 15 Old 07-10-2012, 12:56 PM
 
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May I seriously suggest you look at a copy of the Yamaha-Sound-Reinforcement-Handbook,

If you PM me and if you have Skype (along with your Skype user ID), I can send you a copy.via file transfer.
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post #14 of 15 Old 07-10-2012, 01:50 PM
 
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May I seriously suggest you grab an introduction to electronics book...have a read through and then post here with questions.
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post #15 of 15 Old 07-16-2012, 07:48 PM
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Suggest you look for a local church with similar worship/music styles, audio needs and resources, that already has a well functioning sound system.

It's very, very likely they would help out re advice on equipment, where to buy, etc.
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