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Phil Starr

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  1. If you want new then you need to look at these Wharfedale Titan 12D 250W Active Speaker in Black - Andertons Music Co.. I have a pair I bought as floor monitors. We used them as PA mains for a couple of gigs just before lockdown instead of our usual QSC 12-2's putting vocals (three of us sing) and guitar through. Our drummer needs a booth rather than amplification and bass was from backline only. It was only as an experiment because said drummer bought a new car which won't carry drums plus PA and I didn't fancy . Umm this is embarrassing but for that use they eclipsed the QSC's which are five times the price. They are a little sweeter sounding and my goodness they go loud. The downside is the flimsy cab and lightweight bass driver mean they absolutely cannot handle bass. They also have an enhanced upper mid peak which means they don't work well as floor monitors due to feedback. On stands out front they are fine. The other strong point is that they are really lightweight, our female singer has no problem carrying them. I've also used them with a sub at open mic nights at genuine rock band volumes, relieved of the bottom octave by the subs they are great. I've had them six years without issues though they aren't my main PA. That takes up only half your budget. I used a Behringer 1204USB Behringer X1204USB Mixer - Andertons Music Co. mixer for years, compact and does the job, when I upgraded to a Yamaha MG I realised the difference better mic pre's make but they will do a job and you can often find used ones. There's also a Wharfedale PSX112 Wharfedale PSX112 350W Active PA Speaker - Andertons Music Co. which @Chienmortbb recently tried out. It's a lot heavier, probably has a better cab and the bass driver looks to have a bigger magnet. I haven't used one so no comment from me.
  2. I've had no problems with Lidl's own brand rechargeables, I've some that are at least six years old I use with radio mics. The AA cells I use have been great too. I don't think I've had to throw any out yet. If you use rechargeables though carry spares. They cut off very suddenly when they do go flat I have a charger in my leads box too.
  3. You haven't given a budget which makes all the difference. I'd advise getting the best active speakers you can. At the moment I think RCF as a brand probably lead the way in value and quality. Even their basic ranges sound good and their best are stunning for the money. QSC as mentioned are very good but perhaps a little rougher for vocals, Yamaha also are excellent. All three are very reliable. The American brands JBL and EV are still good but slightly coloured compared with the above. The 'standard' band set up will be a 12" speaker with horn. You can safely ignore the power ratings (wattage) they are pretty much all so over-specced that the rated wattages are meaningless. 12" speakers pretty much reach their full potential at around 300W being limited by the physical excursion limits of a 12" speaker. Claims of 1000W are basically just advertising huff. All of the above offer 12" speakers with roughly equal outputs and enough to bring your vocals up enough to be heard over the band. They'll also be able to cover the output from the rest of the band too with the possible exception of bass and kick drum. This of course will depend upon exactly what music you play, general guidelines here. Look for maximum sound levels here 128-133decibels are what will be claimed and anything in that region will be adequate. Even there though be sceptical, none of them will reach these levels except perhaps for short bursts of sound at certain frequencies and they all use different levels of caution in their claims.(ie none at all for the worst offenders) If you want something really cheap I've used the Wharfedale Titans successfully. They aren't particularly flat response and won't handle bass or drums, but for vocals only they are great, particularly female vocals. After sales service from Wharfedale is good too. The reality is there has never been a better time to buy, even the cheap stuff is way better sounding than gear of even 10-15 years ago Don't forget to budget for mics, stands, leads etc. as well as the inevitable mixer. Let us know the budget though
  4. Sadly it wasn't part of my training. The maths seems to say if you want to win money become a bookie
  5. I thought I'd revisit this. Interestingly no-one asked how I derived this foolish prediction. It's based entirely upon my very limited training in population dynamics, the maths of living populations. I studied r-rates at university. If you look at the date it was made without knowledge of the Kent variant. We had approved the Pfizer-Biontec but not Astra Zeneca when I did the calculations and Boris and Matt Hancock were still in charge. My calculations were entirely based upon rising herd immunity and r-rate predictions and that government behaviour would not improve. The calculations which I actually did at the end of November predicted a huge second peak in January (I predicted a median 2000 deaths a day at peak) and a third lockdown would take place. I assumed we would be capable of vaccinating as many people as we could get vaccines but I assumed supplies would be limited to around 500,000 a day. the contracts we had placed and government investment in research and facilities was widely reported. Since medical staff were the only ones who could safely do the job it would have to be managed by the NHS so was likely to be better managed than by Serco or G4S. So I shut up when the new variant was around, the infection rate rose earlier and more steeply than I expected but the government put us into lockdown in Dec a month earlier than I had predicted too, though still a week later than it should have been. January was carnage too and my death rate prediction held. I ran some numbers in Jan but there were too many unknowns to make reliable predictions with my limited resources. The actual numbers of immunised people which was the basis of my calculation was remaining quite accurate though, the Kent variant made sure herd immunity spread fast at the cost of many more dead, lots of long Covid and exhausted medical staff. So where are we now? Well we've arrived pretty much where I was predicting a couple of weeks later than I forecast. We might have made it if the idiots hadn't opened the schools two weeks early. The national infection rate was falling until they opened then basically flatlined and looks like halving over the Easter holidays ( I just checked the 7 day averages allowing about 5 days between infection and disease spread) I don't think a lot of actual education happened in two weeks of a disrupted term but I was a school teacher, what do I know. Roughly 2/3 of our population are now more or less immune from Covid and essentially unlikely to become spreaders. Even with the schools open the r-rate fell very slightly below one but only just. We know that relaxation of outdoor mixing has almost no effect on the spread of disease. Government policy seems designed to make sure we stretch out the pandemic as long as possible but I expect the r-rate to stay below one from now on. So long as it does infections will halve and halve again so by the end of April we are going to be looking at maybe 500-1000 new infections a day. Still too high for Dido Harding's contractors to get on top of tracing and isolating but another month and they might catch up. So I go back to my prediction, at the end of May I think some form of gigging will resume. The government will re-open too early and drag it out but I think we will see large scale public events in relative safety by the end of the year unless they let the new variants in to hybridise with what we already have. Foreign travel anyone?
  6. For your amp simulator there is a really obvious solution which I use; the Zoom B1 Four. You get some decent built in sounds, a range of amp and cab sims plus a whole host of fx sims. All that plus a drum machine, tuner, looper headphone amp and aux input for playing along with songs. Runs off batteries mains or a USB lead £70 Zoom B1 Four Bass Multi-FX Pedal - Andertons Music Co. The only downside is that it's really designed for home use. Reprogramming it is fiddly and you'd ideally need a physically bigger unit to stomp on the pedals at a gig. The other issue is your practice amp, a couple of us have been pimping ours by replacing the small speakers with something better. We both used the Fane 6-100 to replace the puny 6" speakers in our practice amps and the improvement is really worthwhile for something that takes only an hour or so to do. A House Jam Combo - Build Diaries - Basschat Here's the effect of just a speaker swap, Pimp my practice amp! - YouTube Pea Turgh would have got even more bass if he'd added a couple of cardboard tubes to the port holes to tune the cab properly.
  7. I've got a Peavey Minimax (the older model with the chicken knobs) and a Markbass Tube, an LMIII with a tube pre-amp. I prefer the Peavey which just sounds more authoritative out of the box and has a nice array of tone enhancements. The downside is a noisy cooling fan in the Peavey.
  8. It's both really, you start off with an idea of the frequency response and sound levels etc. as your design targets and then choose a driver which will let you design a cab to achieve the outcome you want. Small cabs often have non-flat responses with typical drivers. Using a bigger magnet will bring the response back under control but at the expense of extra weight. In the One10 Alex's 'warm and retro' sound is achieved by putting a speaker in a tiny cab to achieve that non-flat sound. We recently designed the 'Lockdown' 110T Basschat project. ( @stevie did all the work) but it's a self build and too heavy for you. I've been wondering about how I'd go about designing something for this purpose which is why I'm following this thread. It's really right at the edge of what is practically possible.
  9. Honestly you have come to the limits of what is possible as far as weight is concerned. The Barefaced is about as light as it gets with a wooden cabinet. that is their USP. There is no way that swapping the speaker for the one from the GR will give you a less coloured sound. The cab isn't designed for that speaker and in any case has been designed to shape the bass to what you are hearing. If you want a less coloured sound then you will need to consider a tweetered cab. The One10T maybe? that will add a couple of kg's though, the weight of the driver, horn and crossover. Ultimately a bass driver can't be built at much under 3kg without introducing colouration, no single driver is going to be able to do uncoloured mids and treble and the horn etc adds 1.5-2kg and if you want flat bass you need a bigger cab than the One10 which is going to weigh more. It's possible that other manufacturers make cabs a similar weight to the Barefaced as they are all pushing weights downwards but my guess is that most will be slightly heavier or a lot heavier PA speakers have the amp built in adding a couple of kgs at least. Maybe you should be comparing the weight of the PA speakers with amp and cab combined? The only alternative is to use something other than wood, so maybe the GR is what you are looking for? I hope you find what you are looking for but give up any idea that a simple driver swap will help.
  10. I'd back up everything John has said. I bought my Minimax as a backup for my MB Tube and it has immediately displaced it. the fan is really noisy for home use but you won't notice it at a gig. The sounds aren't neutral and I was snotty about them before I tried them but they are all usable, even the one with the silly name and the basic sound out of the box with everything set flat is good too. The whole thing sounds like it has more h**t than the MB. the only problem i can see is that this model is discontinued and I can't see anyone who is supplying the new version over here in the UK yet. The new one has different knobs and is advertised as being 600w RMS into 4 ohms. Whether that is real, advertising hype, a beefier power supply or a brand new amp remains to be seen. Gear4music is advertising the old one but has none in stock, it says you can order but I didn't try to see if it would accept an order.
  11. Are you just talking about the change in tone? If so it's fairly simple. The strings don't just vibrate like a skipping rope. There are loads of harmonics so at any one point in time the string can be moving forwards at one point and backwards a little further up the string. The pickups sample only the movement above them. If the movement is opposite the voltages will cancel and the combined output will be reduced. A millisecond later the movement and output will be back in phase. This is dependant upon frequency and how far apart the pups are but we normally hear this as a midrange suck out. I am such a nerd
  12. These look like a great idea, a stiff absorbent plastic foam shaped like a jack plug. At £6 plus postage for 5 they can be used several times each. I wouldn't be happy using a cotton bud as the cotton can catch on metal contacts especially as you can't see from the outside, much safer to just use a jack plug. These would just add a bit of wiping action. The only problem is they don't seem to have UK availability at the moment, Amazon won't ship to the UK. You could order direct from Australia I guess. I wish I'd had these in the past to attack all the dodgy sockets on certain guitarists pedal boards
  13. Thanks @JohnDaBass for the review. It's nice to have a comparison with a commercial cab many here will know. We all love it when we see builds take place. Makes it worth the effort. I absolutely loved what you did with the foam roller. Definitely one to try, though I think I might use a heated nail. I wouldn't fancy cleaning your soldering iron. 😋
  14. You need to set a budget really. The Shure SM58 is the mic to beat, like it or not. They are reliable and sound OK though bettered by most modern mics, they date back to the 1960's. The big advantage they have is that they are 'easy' mics. relatively non directional so that poor mic technique doesn't end in disaster and it is hard to get a trully bad sound out of them. Something like the AKG D5 is cheaper and sounds better, £52 from Bax at the moment. The Behringer mentioned is cheap and quite serviceable, its 'a clone of the SM58.It is super cardioid though( more directional0 and sounds slightly sweeter in the top end, In a blind A/B test we prefered the sound. It suffers more from handling noise though and isn't as tough as the shure but at that price..... If you want to spend a bit more the Shure Beta's give a more refined modern sound than the SM58. you'll also realise that certain mics suit your voice. I love the AKG when I'm mixing but it does my singing no favours. For just rehearsal a couple of behringers will do all you want and you will use them as back up over the years so upgrading when you've learned more isn't a bad route to go. If you go for SM58's beware, they are easily the most popular mic and consequently there are loads of knock offs, new and used.
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