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Am I crazy? Powered PA for Theater...

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I am a long time audiophile. I've had loudspeakers made by Paradigm, Magnapan, Audio Physic, and others.

As you might be able to guess, I'm also a guitar player. As such, I have had the need to buy a quality PA system. I was just plain sick of broken down, borrowed or rented PA gear. I recently purchased a quality QSC powered speaker system KW153s and matching subs. After hooking up this system and playing my Oppo 95 through it, I think I like it better than my Audio Physic home system? What is wrong with me?

It sounds to me like the QSCs just give me "more" of everything I watch movies for. Are the HI-FI/PA lines coming closer together, or is it just a phase?
post #2 of 30
I owned and ran a mid level concert system for many years .. I am also a guitarist .. I much prefer the in your face SQ of pro equipment for anything from movies to music ..

I still own PA gear and I still use it once or twice a year just because I like messing with it ..

At home, however, I've stuck with horn loaded consumer speakers in order to not turn our home into a studio or stage ..
post #3 of 30
ALOT of people use JBL pro speakers in their theaters. Some with dual 15"s with bigass horns for the front LCRs.

But if you get into the pro stuff with high sensitivity and high wattage, you will have to build your own subs to keep up with such speakers. Something like (8) 15"s, (8) 18"s or a few THTs.
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 
More positive responses than I thought get here already.

Yeah, the new QSCs are just clear, tight, and powerful sounding speakers. I haven't even got the subs hooked up and it's killing my Sunfire. When I hook up the 18"s, look out neighbors! LOL
post #5 of 30
Also, most pro subs only go down to 30hz or so.
post #6 of 30
The QSC HPR-152i design became a very hot DIY design because QSC sold the waveguides for < $20 for a long time.

Home Theater requires dynamics and controlled/constant directivity. QSC speakers are a perfect choice with those goals in mind.
post #7 of 30
Can you get them with a fancy vaneer and a fancy name like Excalibur X-15b?

post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Can you get them with a fancy vaneer and a fancy name like Excalibur X-15b?


Ha... Way ahead of you. Went down and got some of that faux wood paint at the home depot. Dark Cherry!
post #9 of 30
A while ago I spent a couple of hours listening to a pair of K-10's. We were amazed at how smooth they were. They were not too forward at all. Sometimes it seemed like you could here a slight resonance from the plastic box otherwise they were very good. I would imagine the KW (K series with wood) would be that much better with the birch cabinet.
post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
Yeah, the k-10s are surprisingly good too. I'm going to spring for a couple for monitor use in the band. I'm just all around impressed and surprised about the quality of the new PA offerings... and how I like the sounds I'm getting as much or more than my high end home stuff.
post #11 of 30
Having worked in the high end - custom industry since the early 90's I have come to the conclusion that most Hi-Fi speakers (at least the ones I've been exposed to) are exaggerated (colored)to some degree in the mid/high region. It wasn't until I heard live,real music that I realized that I was missing so much.
I was one of the first (where I'm from) to start installing active studio monitor type for dedicated theatre applications. When you hear undistorted headroom its addictive. There are now some real bargains in the PA world that just plain work. I would imagine that any self respecting audiophile would have a heart attack with the thought of a pair of QSC PA's in the room! but Its there loss! Right now I'm torn between QSC or doing something myself with better drivers.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Genelec Man View Post

........

When you hear undistorted headroom its addictive.

+1

I absolutely, whole-heartily agree. Once one spends any time config'd in this manner, highly difficult going back. We've conquered so many other distortion aspects in audio, and achieving dynamic realism is the next natural progression.


Quote:


I would imagine that any self respecting audiophile would have a heart attack with the thought of a pair of QSC PA's in the room! but Its there loss!

You're right! However if they heard them blind, they'd be head over heels


Quote:


Right now I'm torn between QSC or doing something myself with better drivers.

Any 15" 2-way design based around the acclaimed B&C, DE250, HF compression driver/waveguide combo, would largely outperform nearly any HiFi commercial offering available,... regardless of price. There are commercial pro options as well. What's the budget?

Thanks
post #13 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Genelec Man View Post

Having worked in the high end - custom industry since the early 90's I have come to the conclusion that most Hi-Fi speakers (at least the ones I've been exposed to) are exaggerated (colored)to some degree in the mid/high region. It wasn't until I heard live,real music that I realized that I was missing so much.
I was one of the first (where I'm from) to start installing active studio monitor type for dedicated theatre applications. When you hear undistorted headroom its addictive. There are now some real bargains in the PA world that just plain work. I would imagine that any self respecting audiophile would have a heart attack with the thought of a pair of QSC PA's in the room! but Its there loss! Right now I'm torn between QSC or doing something myself with better drivers.

Totally agree... I have to tell you, I demo'd a set of speaker at a high end audio store recently, $47,000 for the pair. Add to that the $150,000 Boulder CD/Preamp/Amp combo, it was $200k. It got closest to what I hear in the uncompressed voice of my QSCs. I wouldn't say there was a $195,000 difference.

I'm just blown away. I can't believe I didn't see (hear) this sooner.
post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH View Post

You're right! However if they heard them blind, they'd be head over heels

So true!
post #15 of 30
Thread Starter 
It was a phase... Bought a pair of Audio Physic floor standers for mains in a HT. They are Outstanding. The PA speakers get fatiguing after a while.
post #16 of 30
Just a matter of preference. My PA speakers are Electro Voice with 15" woofers and horn tweeters. They don't sound nearly as good to me as the HT system speakers. Perhaps it is just the speakers and perhaps yours are nicer. Or perhaps it is just preference.
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Just a matter of preference. My PA speakers are Electro Voice with 15" woofers and horn tweeters. They don't sound nearly as good to me as the HT system speakers. Perhaps it is just the speakers and perhaps yours are nicer. Or perhaps it is just preference.
As with all speakers it's a matter of frequency response, dispersion, THD, transient response and a half dozen more factors. Since PA speakers are intended primarily to go loud they sacrifice fidelity to do it, unless enough cash is thrown into the deal. You can find powered PA that's just as good sounding as consumer grade speakers, along with the much higher output that PA speakers are capable of, but not at the same price as consumer grade speakers. The 15+ horn PA cab is perhaps the best example of a speaker where sonic quality is sacrificed for high output, unless it's one very expensive 15+ horn PA cab.
post #18 of 30
I agree with you, Bill. In my case the PA speakers are used to output my stage piano. If I remember correctly they were only about $300 or $400 apiece. They handle that reasonably well, powered by a Yamaha power amp and rack mixer. They can reproduce all 88 keys pretty accurately and, yes they can play loudly. But I wouldn't want them in my home theater.
post #19 of 30
I once used three Crest Audio lq12 that were powered for my LCR. I thought that they worked very well for music and movies. All of my friends that came over enjoyed them as well. That was about 8 years ago. I wonder how some of the newer PA designs from JBL, QSC, EV and others would sound in a HT setup. Anyone else using PA speakers in their HT setup and would like to share?
post #20 of 30
+1 Bill F's comments re PA speaker design/compromises.

Re "powered" speakers (that are not PA speakers) - there's a trend that direction for pro market theater speakers (studio near-field monitors have been going that direction for 20 years). A plus is that, theoretically, the manufacturer can perfectly match the amps, dsp's, etc. to the speakers/drivers to better achieve what I've lately heard called a "linear" speaker - i.e. whatever is fed into the speaker is exactly what comes out regardless of volume level (the equivalent of "dynamic equalization" is also already built into the speaker). Obvious downside is the cost for upgrading or replacing your speakers, since you'll also be automatically upgrading/replacing your amps.

I'm curious to see if the home theater/audio market starts trending towards powered speakers.
post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

Re "powered" speakers (that are not PA speakers) - there's a trend that direction for pro market theater speakers (studio near-field monitors have been going that direction for 20 years). A plus is that, theoretically, the manufacturer can perfectly match the amps, dsp's, etc. to the speakers/drivers to better achieve what I've lately heard called a "linear" speaker - i.e. whatever is fed into the speaker is exactly what comes out regardless of volume level (the equivalent of "dynamic equalization" is also already built into the speaker).
The real reason is that when you sell a powered speaker you sell a speaker and an amp. I saw the same thing in the ski industry. When I started in it 40 years ago there were manufacturers of skis, boots and bindings, but no one sold made any two items. Salomon changed that in 1990 when they went from a binding company to a binding and boot company, then later to a binding, boot and ski company, finally ending up selling clothing and helmets as well. Every other manufacturer followed suit, and now there are no manufacturers that aren't totally diversified.
Quote:
I'm curious to see if the home theater/audio market starts trending towards powered speakers.
Maybe, but as a powered speaker renders a powered AVR obsolete I don't see it until all self powered speakers are also wireless. Who wants to have to get a new AVR to change their speakers, unless there's a real good impetus, and getting rid of wires would probably be it.
post #22 of 30
Thread Starter 
My QSCs are used strictly for band stuff now... The thought of carrying 89lbs each KW153s up the stairs for every gig was also a factor. eek.gif

My home audio equipment has also been upgraded. As the source material became cleaner, the subtleties of more responsive home audio speakers became more evident.
post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.T. Guitar View Post

I am a long time audiophile. I've had loudspeakers made by Paradigm, Magnapan, Audio Physic, and others.


As you might be able to guess, I'm also a guitar player. As such, I have had the need to buy a quality PA system. I was just plain sick of broken down, borrowed or rented PA gear. I recently purchased a quality QSC powered speaker system KW153s and matching subs. After hooking up this system and playing my Oppo 95 through it, I think I like it better than my Audio Physic home system? What is wrong with me?

Higher end pro audio speakers are becoming smoother and more extended as technology advances. Rummage around AVS and you will find people building HT speakers with similar technology. They are centerpieced by modern constant directivity waveguide drivers.

As compared to classic home audio speakers pro audio speakers have better controlled and narrower directivity, which means among other things that they are less sensitive to room acoustics.

Quote:
It sounds to me like the QSCs just give me "more" of everything I watch movies for. Are the HI-FI/PA lines coming closer together, or is it just a phase?

In the pro audio world, my favorite speakers are Electrovoice ZX-5s.
post #24 of 30
My reference speaker for over 10 years were B&W Matrix 801 sII. Now I prefer the sound of the hi-end Altec PA stuff. But I don't love Altec enough to put up with the size/looks in the living room. The Altecs are for a dedicated space.
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.T. Guitar View Post

It was a phase... Bought a pair of Audio Physic floor standers for mains in a HT. They are Outstanding. The PA speakers get fatiguing after a while.

biggrin.gif My .02 is that PA speakers - designed to go LOUD!!! - have less strain put on them when listening to home theater stuff so it's initially sounds "better." (Hearing less distortion?) I once hooked up some nice sounding B&W speakers to my electronic keyboard. I thought those 6.25 mid-woofers were going to fly right out of the cabinets!
post #26 of 30
I have always liked horn loaded speakers and have used Klipsch for probably 40 years now .. using Cornwalls as my mains .. I like that in your face sound ..

A few weeks back, I consulted with a Band over a new PA system and one of the units we looked at was the Renkus-Heinz CF101LA-5 .. a line array system that was very impressive SQ wise ..
post #27 of 30
Do you guys have any recommendations for budget PA stuff?

I've been looking at Cerwin Vega(Old school) & Behringer

The Behringer VP2520's seem nice, but they're ugly and huge
post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by eggyhustles View Post

Do you guys have any recommendations for budget PA stuff?
Yes. Don't buy any. Cheap PAs sound as sweet as fingernails on a blackboard. Take the Behringer VP2520 2x15/horn...Please! They go for $299. A good fifteen inch woofer alone will cost at least $200. A worthwhile horn driver and horn capable of going low enough to work with fifteen inch woofers will run at least $150. To get two fifteens and a horn plus the cabinet and crossover for $299 means it's a POS. The least you should expect to pay for a 2x15/horn that won't cause your ears to bleed is about $750. Double that for a really good sounding one.
post #29 of 30
Thread Starter 
I've had great luck with QSC stuff... Build quality is good too.
post #30 of 30
Used can be a good way to go if you're on a budget. Especially if you can find something from a fixed installation, like a church or movie theater that's closing down.

Most of the used gear that's been on the road is pretty beat up.

A lot of guys here like their JBL pro cinema gear.
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