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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you are contemplating the purchase of a small column array system in the hopes of reducing load in/load time and giving your ever aging body a break, I offer this thread to assist you:
In my obsessive run up to purchase, I had a couple objectives:
1. The system had to be at or less than $1,000.00 (USD);
2. The system had to be powerful enough for the places I play (rooms up to ~150-person capacity);
3. It had to sound really good;
4. It had to fit in the passenger seat of a modest automobile (roadsters are excluded in this analysis);

After hearing, borrowing, and using the Bose L1, the Behringer C200, the TurboSound IP2000, the RCF Evox J8, the EV Evolve 50, and the Fishman SA330x, I decided that the RCF Evox J8 fit my criteria more than the other systems.
It's very loud (1400W Class D power), it costs $999.00, it packs into a small space, it has a telescoping array pole not fixed like so many of the other units, and it sounds.....well....that is the point of my post.

If you have been lugging around nice wooden cabinet speakers like me for years, a column array speaker system is a welcome change in size and weight, but also an entirely different animal when it comes to sound. Composite plastic cabinets and tiny array speakers have very little warmth and can easily be harsh on the ears. This system is plenty loud and cuts through a packed room, but to what price glory? I suggest that whatever system you end up buying, make sure that your mixer has at least a 7-band main EQ and 100Hz rolloffs on each channel. These systems have been designed to pump out more bass than is humanly possible in a small speaker and things can get out-of-hand pretty quickly with low and low-mid frequencies. You will find that you are also going to reduce the midrange frequencies to limit the harshness of these systems. Bose tried to do that with their DSP, but ended up with a hollow sound that is not very EQ flexible.

What are the "Ups" you ask? Well...NO MORE MONITORS! The beauty of these systems is that you can place the array behind the band/combo without feedback worries! That right there eliminated two heavy powered cabinets that I was lugging around. You just have to get used to hearing your sound from behind you rather than hitting you in the face with traditional monitors. The arrays have a ~120-degree coverage which makes them super handy in rooms where you might employ two mains in different directions (happens to me more often than most would expect). Finally, size and weight: I've spent the last ten years or so having my entire PA stored in the back of my medium-large SUV. It's like carrying around 4 extra people and always having to stuff your groceries in the back seat or unloading your PA to pick up a piece of furniture. Now, my entire PA takes up the space of one person in my car.

So, in conclusion, I think it is all very much a compromise. For a three piece band/combo you can't beat the ease of setup and reduced load times. For a solo or duet it is "Gold Jerry". For a bigger band, you're better off bringing out the large traditional system or hiring a sound person. The sound quality, with some EQing and tweeking will be acceptable and even impressive to someone who is not used to hearing expensive well made cabinets.

I have come to enjoy my "compromise" and am employing this column array more often on regular gigs. At 2:00 am, making two easy trips to the car with about 60 lbs of total equipment just can't be beat. I hope my experience will be of assistance to you in your future purchases. Love as always.
 

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Way to go! Today's tech makes the big old stuff totally obsolete for the smaller venues/smaller groups/singles. Having the PA behind you is also the absolute best way to go because you are hearing exactly what 'they' are hearing and it is self-limiting because if you turn it up too much you will get feedback. The best period in my career for polishing my sound was four years every Saturday night at a certain place with the stage in an alcove with a column speaker in one rear corner and the 'head' right behind the front line for easy reach. It was self-mixing because again, you hear what 'they' hear so it has to be right out front, and self-policing because obviously you are not going to tolerate any feedback. I have numerous recordings from that area, taken on a reel-to-reel located out in the house and the mix was totally okay.
 

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At a regular session I go to they have one of this type, with the set up basically at the rear of the band.

Problem: the mics can not be turned up past a certain point as, of course, it begins to feedback. Softer singing singers (it includes a semi open mic thing) can't be sufficiently mic'd. Isn't this a natural consequence of placement of these types of system?

And yes, they do not sound as good! But understand the beauty of portability.
 

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RCF makes great stuff. However... I have to say that I hate "no monitors, mains behind the band" even when it's a quality system. I find that it ends up blowing out my ears and making it impossible to hear myself.

My favorite sound guy in NY (who is also my favorite guitarist in NY) ran sound on dozens of gigs for me and he used two powered RCF mains, a single EV sub, and a bunch of small powered monitors, all controlled with the Behringer X-Air 18 and his computer/ipad. He really took the time to learn his system and it worked for everything from small gigs to 300+ crowds easily, and our ears never hurt afterward!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Problem: the mics can not be turned up past a certain point as, of course, it begins to feedback. Softer singing singers (it includes a semi open mic thing) can't be sufficiently mic'd. Isn't this a natural consequence of placement of these types of system?
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A lot of folks use compression in these instances, especially the single knob type found in most mixers these days. This can lead to feedback issues because the auto gain used to counter-act the limiter can wreak havoc with these arrays. I have had no feedback problems with my system in several different loud settings...but then again, being a softer singer has never been a thing for me.
 
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