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  • Questions / Planning for Big PA Party Speakers

    Hey Guys,
    I'm getting the itch... The itch to build something BIG and LOUD

    I'm planning my own pair of 15" 2-way PA / party speakers, but I have some questions that I need some experience to help answer. Before the questions though, here's the current design in my head.

    Cabinet
    DIY cabinet: Vb ~2.75 to 3 ft^3, trapezoid, rectangle... tbd. The Dayton 15" flatpack isn't out of the question if I'm feeling woodshop lazy.
    Baltic Birch construction with added braces at each panel joint.
    Duratech / Exohyde covering... fancy factor TBD later

    Drivers and Amp
    15" Woofer - probably the 15" Dayton PN395-8
    1.4" compression driver - Eminence N314T-8 or just maybe the LaVoce DF14.30T
    Horn: Eminence H14EA (...but that FaitalPro LTH142 is nice... just SPENDY)
    Amplifier: Dayton PPA800DSP (600W @ 4 ohm LF / 200W @ 4 ohm HF)

    Possible XO / Active DSP goal (<-- Thanks JavadS for the ideas from your dBacles videos / FB series)
    - Frequency Response = 40Hz and up (not trying to play 20Hz - 20kHz)
    - 24 dB/oct subsonic HP @ 35 Hz on the woofer
    - Fb = 50Hz on the cabinet with some 4" ID port tubes
    - Active boost of ~6 dB @ 40 Hz with Q around 1.5 to 2.0
    - Attempting an XO around 900 Hz with steep filter on the CD to minimize woofer beaming from the 15" (I know it's gonna happen... just design to minimize the issue)


    OK - Now for the questions:

    1) Compression Driver
    I've been ignoring 1" throat drivers because the low frequency limit doesn't go low enough to cross over to the woofer at/below beaming frequency around 1Khz. Am I overlooking a good candidate?
    Also - The LaVoce driver is ~$60 cheaper than the Eminence driver, but has a more ragged frequency response measurement listed in the spec sheet. Would this be too much to EQ/DSP my way around (as in spend the added $60 to save time/trouble with EQ later)? I don't know much about LaVoce as a company, and I know Eminence makes good stuff, but that shouldn't be the only consideration.

    2) Horn for CD
    Options in the 1.4" throat size are a bit limited, but is there a reason I should bias toward a 60 x 40 dispersion like the Eminence H14EA, or go wider like the 80x60 B&C ME90? I can guess why you might want one over the other, but I'm looking for some practical / in-use experience to say what that sounds like in the real world. Would I notice enough to care outside while playing loud?

    3) Woofer
    The Dayton PN395-8 looks nice and will take DSP treatment to achieve an F3 around 42-45Hz. I've also seen models like the FaitalPro 15PR400 that look really good for nearly 2x the price. I've also considered the Eminence DeltaLite II 2515 (wants 4 cuft cabinet) and the KappaLite 3015 (cabinet's fine, just middle ground expensive). Are there any other drivers that I should pay closer attention to? The Dayton price point and performance seem like a great combo for my general use. If I were making daily use club speakers or commercial gym speakers I'd grab the FaitalPro's without question.

    4) Amplifier
    Considering running TWO cabinets with ONE amplifier, slaving the other cabinet by using a 4-pole speakon connector. Both cabinets being 8 ohm nominal, wired in parallel to the amp, gives a 4 ohm load. Taking the rated power of 600W LF / 200W HF, derating and guessing to stay into the clean territory, so 400W LF / 120W HF, and dividing the power between two cabinets gives me ~200W LF / 60W HF to play with before pushing into big distortion range on the amplifier. The question is simple... Is this a good idea, or a bad idea and I should just buy two PPA800DSP amps? They're on sale now for $240, and I've already bought one to play with. Saving that $240 for drivers/cabinet budget would be nice!

    Thanks in advance for the help and suggestions!

    Keith
    Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
    Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
    The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
    SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
    The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

  • #2
    I will let the horn experts talk about that part.
    But, even in PA use, it is hard for a 15 incher to reach a decent horn. Have you thought about several 10's?

    Do your modeling to be sure your DSP eq does not exceed your Xmax. It can creep up on you real fast.

    Have you thought about a folded horn for the bass? Think "LaScala"

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by tvrgeek View Post
      I will let the horn experts talk about that part.
      But, even in PA use, it is hard for a 15 incher to reach a decent horn. Have you thought about several 10's?

      Do your modeling to be sure your DSP eq does not exceed your Xmax. It can creep up on you real fast.

      Have you thought about a folded horn for the bass? Think "LaScala"
      Thanks for the ideas - No, I hadn't considered several 10's instead of one 15" Might be worth a look. I also haven't used a folded horn before so there'd be some googles to do on that front too.

      I have done some modeling with WinISD for the DSP and EQ part. I find that's one area (beside being free) that I like WinISD over BassBoxPro! Giving 300W to a cabinet like I described reaches 6.5mm Xmax at 42 Hz, and the absolute maximum excursion is ~8.4mm at 37Hz. With a 24mm Xlim on the dayton driver, I'd never run into trouble before the amp would die under that paralleled power splitting arrangement.

      Heck, even a full 600W only gets to 12mm displacement at 37Hz. Of course if the DSP loses its mind and forgets to keep the subsonic filter engaged, 600W exceeds Xlim at 34Hz, but 300W never breaks 22mm. That's another reason that Dayton driver appeals to me. Lots of extra mechanical room for error if I do something stupid!



      Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
      Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
      The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
      SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
      The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

      Comment


      • #4
        Keith -
        Shame on you for suggesting that you might not build your own cabinets!
        But, yeah, you have mad wood skills, just maybe not needed for this "commodity" design.

        You have thought through a number of issues, and I have no direct experience with PA designs, but here goes.

        Do you need portability? if so, probably a well braced 12mm Baltic Birch cabinet is the way to go (with recessed handles of course)
        Is this for a room, or outside?
        If it's outside, only going to handle a few people (maybe a small neighborhood party)
        For inside use, the geometry of the horn comes into play. You want good horizontal coverage. Depends on the room (narrow or wide)

        I like the Dayton PBN395, and have a pair for a future high efficiency build. But boy, are there some choices for PA drivers.
        PE has a real good assortment, I also shop sometimes at usspeaker for some brands that only they carry.

        Also, see if you can audition the Behringer 15 self powered monitor. A discussion came up a few years ago, and most everyone agreed that
        for the price, you couldn't approach the value with DIY, and the Behringers are much lighter, due to the plastic enclosures.

        https://www.parts-express.com/brand/...wMoreIds=10025

        Again, please excuse my feeble attempt at assistance. I'm sure some real experts will offer good advice.


        I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
        "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

        High value, high quality RS150/TB28-537SH bookshelf - TARGAS NLA!
        SB13/Vifa BC25SC06 MTM DCR Galeons-SB13-MTM
        My Voxel min sub Yet-another-Voxel-build

        Tangband W6-sub

        Comment


        • #5
          Will you be using separate subs? If so, just go with a 12" midbass. B&C has several nice offerings. I would just find a used pair of JBL 2206. There are a ton on the big auction site. Even if you go for a 15" driver I would look into the JBL2226. It's pretty magical how it will go to 1kHz cleanly. As for tweeters, if you go the 12" route you can go cheap with a Peerless or a B&C DE250. If you have the coin, the Radian 475 is hard to beat. It will very safely go under 1kHz even if you play LOUD. If you can get one of the old QSC or B52 14"x10" waveguides they would be a great match for either of those combos.

          If you must have a 1.4" CD, I still like Radian. Eminence has a nice looking 1.4" CD with a Textreme diaphragm that reportedly is happy well below 1kHz as well (I've never heard it though). You will have fewer choices for horns with 1.4" CDs and you will likely pay a lot more for both the CDs and the horns. Honestly, in a home environment I would stick with the following:

          - If you use separate subs, JBL 2206 and Radian 475
          - No subs, JBL 2226 and Radian 475 (BTW - this is close to what I have at home (JBL 2217 and Radian 475), but the 2217 is so hard to find I can't recommend it)

          Now if you want to do something more interesting, go 3 way with an 18" woofer, a JBL 2123 10" mid (you can almost always find them used for under $125 a pair) and any of the Peerless 1" CDs. Could make a killer low budget HiFi PA. You might want to prepare yourself for the disturbing the peace visits from your local constabulary if you're not careful with the volume control (or you could just invite the neighbors over ;-)

          Comment


          • #6
            Get Francis in on this. "Mr. Horn."

            I remember in the "old days", a pair of Klipsch LaScallas and a DC300 you could fill a small stadium. We did not have 2000W amps back then.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by donradick View Post
              Keith -
              Shame on you for suggesting that you might not build your own cabinets!
              But, yeah, you have mad wood skills, just maybe not needed for this "commodity" design.

              You have thought through a number of issues, and I have no direct experience with PA designs, but here goes.

              Do you need portability? if so, probably a well braced 12mm Baltic Birch cabinet is the way to go (with recessed handles of course)
              Is this for a room, or outside?
              If it's outside, only going to handle a few people (maybe a small neighborhood party)
              For inside use, the geometry of the horn comes into play. You want good horizontal coverage. Depends on the room (narrow or wide)

              I like the Dayton PBN395, and have a pair for a future high efficiency build. But boy, are there some choices for PA drivers.
              PE has a real good assortment, I also shop sometimes at usspeaker for some brands that only they carry.

              Also, see if you can audition the Behringer 15 self powered monitor. A discussion came up a few years ago, and most everyone agreed that
              for the price, you couldn't approach the value with DIY, and the Behringers are much lighter, due to the plastic enclosures.

              https://www.parts-express.com/brand/...wMoreIds=10025

              Again, please excuse my feeble attempt at assistance. I'm sure some real experts will offer good advice.
              Hey Don, thanks for the comments and compliments. I'm sure the penny pincher in me will settle the cabinet build vs. buy discussion and I'll be firing up the table saw eventually. Besides, that's more budget for good equipment!

              Portability is high on my list... I won't want to take them anywhere to party if I'd want a forklift to get them in my truck! 12mm BB is probably sufficient... though I usually end up in overkill city and use 3/4" material for most everything. Granted, that's 3/4" MDF as the main experience point vs. 1/2" MDF, which I find bit flexy for most of my builds. Using proper plywood in 12mm thick should be plenty strong if well braced.

              I like the idea of using these whenever / wherever a party is needed, so inside use would be nice too. I like the DSP settings of the PPA800 amp for that, since I can dial in one tuning for outdoors with some bass boost, and then another indoor "black tie" setting when it's more sipping bourbon than chugging beers!

              PE does have a big selection of PA drivers, which is great. I found the LaVoce WAF153.00 woofer earlier today. WinISD has it modeled pretty close to the PN395 after appropriate filtering and EQ boosts for the plate amp. Too bad it's also 9lbs heavier (25 lbs vs. 16lbs on the PN395) thanks to all that ferrite, and $20 more per driver. One day I might catch that PN395 on deal of the day sale again too! That'll never happen with the LaVoce.

              Funny you mention the Behringer models... My gym uses a pair of those B215Ds in the corner of the room, and they fail usually once a year. I actually have one of the failed ones in my basement now. The amplifier board went bad and I suspect it wasn't worth the cost to repair.
              Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
              Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
              The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
              SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
              The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LIDAR View Post
                Will you be using separate subs? If so, just go with a 12" midbass. B&C has several nice offerings. I would just find a used pair of JBL 2206. There are a ton on the big auction site. Even if you go for a 15" driver I would look into the JBL2226. It's pretty magical how it will go to 1kHz cleanly. As for tweeters, if you go the 12" route you can go cheap with a Peerless or a B&C DE250. If you have the coin, the Radian 475 is hard to beat. It will very safely go under 1kHz even if you play LOUD. If you can get one of the old QSC or B52 14"x10" waveguides they would be a great match for either of those combos.

                If you must have a 1.4" CD, I still like Radian. Eminence has a nice looking 1.4" CD with a Textreme diaphragm that reportedly is happy well below 1kHz as well (I've never heard it though). You will have fewer choices for horns with 1.4" CDs and you will likely pay a lot more for both the CDs and the horns. Honestly, in a home environment I would stick with the following:

                - If you use separate subs, JBL 2206 and Radian 475
                - No subs, JBL 2226 and Radian 475 (BTW - this is close to what I have at home (JBL 2217 and Radian 475), but the 2217 is so hard to find I can't recommend it)

                Now if you want to do something more interesting, go 3 way with an 18" woofer, a JBL 2123 10" mid (you can almost always find them used for under $125 a pair) and any of the Peerless 1" CDs. Could make a killer low budget HiFi PA. You might want to prepare yourself for the disturbing the peace visits from your local constabulary if you're not careful with the volume control (or you could just invite the neighbors over ;-)
                Thanks LIDAR, I didn't have any plans for separate subs at the moment (but that is a FUN dream!) This planning session is really aimed at a 2-channel setup that's nicely portable and doesn't leave much on the table in terms of sound quality. Budget isn't really set, but like anyone else I'm aiming for that middle ground between "why even bother" and "Take all my money." I've heard good things about Radian before, and drooled over them a bit too, so we'll see where my wallet starts to pucker up on prices!

                So far several design decisions are based on using the PPA800DSP amp as the backbone of the system. That led me to two way designs, so thus a 15" woofer to get F3 values around 50 Hz or below, and then I'd need a compression driver capable of crossing over around 1 Khz to avoid woofer beaming as much as I could. Scanning PE's list of CD's showed lots of the 1" throat versions wanted a 1.3 - 1.6 kHz minimum XO, which wasn't going to cut it.

                I'm not opposed to going 3-way, but that means a different amp, likely ditching the active / DSP setup in favor of passive XO parts, and giving up the situational flexibility that I liked on the DSP route. Could tune one with extra bass boost for outdoors and another more tame for indoors with room gain, as mentioned above.

                All told though - If the constabulary wants to drop by then I think I've done my job correctly. I'd politely turn it down then re-invite the neighbors with a fresh beer in hand as added incentive!
                Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
                Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
                The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
                SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
                The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tvrgeek View Post
                  Get Francis in on this. "Mr. Horn."

                  I remember in the "old days", a pair of Klipsch LaScallas and a DC300 you could fill a small stadium. We did not have 2000W amps back then.
                  Good idea Paging fpitas ! Your wisdom is requested! Thanks in advance!
                  Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
                  Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
                  The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
                  SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
                  The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I like your plan overall, sounds like some fun and an opportunity to try out some new products like that dsp plate amp.
                    1. Sound quality with a CD is all about the build quality of the CD driver, so buy the best one you can afford.
                    2 The horn you pick will define the intelligible coverage area, a 60 deg horn will project more energy further back but it will be easy to walk out of the side to side coverage pattern up close, so go with a wider coverage horn if you want to cover a wider area.
                    3. The Dayton looks like a nice driver, I have Deltalite 2512s here and they don't produce much lowend so really only good for mid/high boxes, but wow do they help make for really light weight speakers.
                    4. That plate amp looks cool but you will run out of LF power real quick trying to get bass out of these cabs, and those woofers can take a lot more stick. Does the Dayton 395 come in a 4ohm version? If so get those and 1 plate per box, HF power won't be a problem.
                    5. I don't think you will have a problem with a 1khz crossover from a SQ standpoint, I've got a couple different 15's actively crossed there without issue.
                    6. A trapazoid cab built with 1/2" birch ply and some side to side bracing panels can be both rigid and relatively light.
                    Paul O

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Keith, Erich has closeout Fusion 15 kits for 250 a side. No crossover parts included, but with you wanting to run dsp amps, that's a money saver. Matt crossed the DNA 360 on a seos guide at 1k, and the neo Eminence 15 is much more fun to lug than a ferrite blob. Those should get loud enough to make your whiskey jiggle. I think they went to 45hz in a 3 or 3.5 cft, but if you were ok with a larger cab you could drop the extension lower. Glenn.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KEtheredge87 View Post

                        Good idea Paging fpitas ! Your wisdom is requested! Thanks in advance!
                        I appreciate the vote of confidence, but my knowledge of PA horns could fill a thimble. The requirements are very different. I'm looking for ultra low distortion, pinpoint imaging and smoothness. I doubt those things matter much once your party is successful For drivers I simply threw money at the problem and got some TAD TD-2002s. Game over!
                        Francis

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Keith - If you want to go 2-way DSP active then I would heartily suggest the JBL 2226 plus Radian 475. It will go loud and sound very fine. It'll give you 95% of what a TAD system would at 10% of the cost. I'm really not kidding.

                          I would build the cabinet as large as practical and run it sealed. With DSP you can equalize the bass response to whatever you want as long as you stay within the Sd*Xmax limitations of the driver. A ported cabinet will run out of steam at the same point as the sealed+EQ cabinet, but will add a bunch of extra group delay. Indoors (unless you have a gymnasium sized room) you should be able to get plenty of SPL down to 35Hz or so as room gain will help you. Outdoors no single 15" driver will offer you lots of SPL and low bass. It's just not possible.

                          You will have to hunt around a bit for a horn. The QSC/B52 waveguide that is NLA was really perfect for this. Out of respect to PE I won't post links of places you can look but feel free to PM me if you like.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yes, for drivers the Radians would be fine, and a friend uses JBL 2426s he got used. We installed the Radian aluminum diaphragms, and they sound pretty doggone good.
                            Francis

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Big fan of the SEOS horns. Might check the horn dispersion against the 15 inch dispersion. 2-10s does sound like a good idea
                              John H

                              Synergy Horn, SLS-85, BMR-3L, Mini-TL, BR-2, Titan OB, B452, Udique, Vultus, Latus1, Seriatim, Aperivox,Pencil Tower

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