What PA spec gives a good sound for BeatBuddy?

I’m looking to get a portable PA system for use in small to medium settings, so up to around 100 people (who will be standing and singing themselves). Inputs to the setup will be acoustic electric guitar, two vocals (one with Play Acoustic), synth pads via iPad and finally a BeatBuddy.

I have been thinking of a ten channel mixer and 1-2 powered speakers. Can you recommend any particular equipment? I’ve had the Yamaha DBR10s and DXR12s recommended, as well as the RCF 310As and RCF 312As. One person has even said that a single DXR12 would be sufficient for the situation we’d be playing in.

From your experience, will such speakers (type/number/size/spec) give a reasonable sound for the BeatBuddy? I’m just wondering if a drum beat through a system might need a particular spec/size to sound any good.

Thanks in advance for any help!

My gear consists of a Keytar into an effects pedal, then into a loop pedal then to one channel of mixer, beatbuddy to 2nd channel, mic through vocal processor (for a little reverb) to third channel.
Mixer is a Behringer MX 802A into a single QSC K10 powered speaker.

More than enough power for outdoor gigs playing with several ‘very loud’ guitarists but also works well as a solo setup where I need a much quieter setting (IE I am background music).

Obviously it is all mono but that does not seem to detract from anything at all.

I would suspect that to get the best out of the BB bass drum and any bass lines it may be playing you will need a speaker with a decent bass response. For my ear at least, the K10 seems fine. Currently I play without a monitor and just rely on being able to hear the main speaker (which works fine for me 99% of the time) but I’ve been considering adding one for some time, just hate to spend money!

Hi Scott - playing as a trio where we switch around acoustic and electric and bass (only one of us plays ‘real’ lead electric stuff with multiple pedals :wink: and we do a lot of vocal harmony I use a TC Play Electric and have used BB on pretty much every song in our 4 sets each night for the past 2 years or so. A couple of thoughts: as an aside while not critical as pointed out I run stereo through a volume pedal which allows me to add dynamics, ‘phrase out’ drums rather than hard stop when pausing, etc. But… the fills roll around in stereo and are very cool. In our system Beat Buddy sounds spectacular.

We play anywhere from small bars to outdoor venues with a few hundred and use EV ZXa1 rated at 800 W each. Everything runs through the Yamaha mixer to the PA plus we capture the lead guitarist’s amp with a mic for recording as you can hear in my signature link. QSCs typically rate higher in Watts but the difference in real SPL output is negligible while the cost is quite real (QSCs cost much more). The main difference I have seen is the old QSC design has in internal fan to prevent heat shutdowns where the new EV-type designs have no vents and no fan. This is a problem only when pushing max output on a hot day otherwise to my taste the EV sound is the best and we can cover half a state with the output. BTW our lead guitarist uses his QSC12 as a floor wedge! I use IEMs fed from the AUX output of the Yamaha mixer.

Here’s the key point - pushing bass through the PA as we do even rolled off from 100 Hz down can cause one of our EVs to cut out. We just added the EVZXa1 sub woofer which has a crossover to the EV ‘tops’ at 100 Hz. The bass is now present (low E string is 41 Hz with 5th fret and harmonics notes in the low 100s) and we no longer load the poor 8" tops. No volume increase with a sub woofer just a better sound balance. There is no appreciable sound output down here from the Beat Buddy. Guitars and vocals of course also don’t create such low frequencies so in your case any powered speaker even like the 18 lb EVZXa1 would work.

I was actually doing some setup testing on the weekend in prep for an upcoming gig. I don’t have much experience with high end gear but will comment on the stuff I know. I consider my rig to be on a budget but not too cheap.

On the powered speaker side.
I play solo as well as in a three piece band with both projects just getting off the ground. In preparation for some solo gigs first I picked up a B52 Matrix 1000 sub and two 8" satellite speakers very cheap locally second hand to do smaller gigs and am in the process of putting together a rig for louder gigs mainly with the band consisting of two Yamaha DBR12 powered speakers and a powered sub to go along with it.

The B52 rig sounds fantastic and can get quite loud. I did use it for a small private gig I did with the band but it was pushed to get the volume needed. Although it is only a small rig in total size the sub is quite heavy and big and difficult to get around if you need to go up any stairs etc. Overall though it sounds great with the beatbuddy especially the kick drum through the Sub.

I only have one Yamaha DBR12 at the moment with another on the way. Have been using it at band prac for vocals and my guitar. I had a play around with it on the weekend in solo show setup with Beatbuddy. It gets very loud and clear. Sounds great. On a small gig one of these would be plenty loud enough and two would be enough for anything you would be looking to do. The only reason I would pick the B52 to use over the Yamaha at a small gig is the Sub. The Yamaha sounds better and is so easy to carry and setup and still gets a good bass response out of it but I absolutey love having the Sub for use with the beatbuddy and electronic V drums which my drummer uses which is why I will be getting a bigger sub to go along with the DBR12’s.

Don’t let that put you off just using a powered speaker without a Sub though cause there is still plenty of low end. I just love the kick that a Sub provides. I think a 15" powered speaker is normally recommended if not going with a Sub.

On the mixer side I had previously used an old Peavey XR600c powered mixer and a cheap Behringer mixer but neither of them was anything to write home about in the sound quality department. I picked up a Digital Mixer in the Behringer XR12. All I can say is Wow. The sound quality and features in the mixer are incredible. To get the same features in an analogue set up would cost a bomb and require a rack full of gear. My advice is to download the X-air app on a tablet or phone and you can have a play around with the interface to test it out. The downside or upside depending on your point of view is the lack of physical controls as everything is controlled via a tablet, phone or computer. I find that with the mix set I rarely have to make may adjustments anyway during a set and it hasn’t been a problem.

Here is a promo clip I have using the B52 setup. The first half of the clip is with the XR12 and the last set of clips I am actually using my Roland street cube as a mixer.


Thanks for taking the time reply. What pedal do you use to control the volume?

Are you using two EV ZXA1s?

I won’t have a bass player for a while, if ever, so does that mean I don’t need to worry about the BeatBuddy putting too much (if any) bass through the speakers?

I can’t seem to get the ZXA1 across here easily. Do you think the Yamaha or RCF would work OK?

When I was looking at powered speakers for me it came down to between Yamaha DBR12 and EV ZLX-12p and I ended up going with the Yamaha due to the 7 year warranty. Both were similar priced. I don’t think either option would let you down.

Hi Scott - if you are interested in more granular detail on sound issues let me know I have a couple of pages I put together I can send on. I got into sound not as an engineer but as a musician who can’t stand bad sound. Simple things like rolling off the useless high energy output below 100 Hz that causes that horrible unintelligible wall of noise many bands put out and peaking the few spectral parts that clarify your guitar and vocal presentation. You can get studio-like control of your output with some effort - not expensive outlay.

  • The volume pedal is a Boss FV-30L (lo Z) about $100. Some (rightly) complain that its travel is too abrupt but for this use its fine.
  • We use two EVs to get the coverage but Beat Buddy is the only cool stereo image output. You will sound great without stereo and the choice of PAs is quite subjective - many good ones as people point out. The newer designs like EV are small light weight (18 lbs) and even the sub woofer is about a 16" cube weighing 50 lbs.
  • Correct re: bass signal. Beat Buddy puts out almost nothing and your guitar and vocals likewise. We have been putting the bass through the PA for almost 2 years without a sub woofer - nice sound since the ear really only appreciates the signal above 100 Hz (harmonics, etc). The sub woofer was added more as a safe guard against working the ‘tops’ so hard since they (like a good home stereo speaker) are designed to do some things very well and if pushed can do more (just not well). Massive bass output is only of real importance for dance clubs (below 40 Hz) since it can’t be heard but ‘felt’ as a thump in the chest. Again, we are striving for clarity and nuanced interplay in our music…as I often remind our talented lead guitarist :slight_smile:

Hi Michael, thanks for the reply. That would be great to get what you’ve put together, I’ve loads to learn!

Thanks for the other comments too, all helps with the learning and researching!

Hi Scott - nothing makes us feel better than to have someone show interest after having plowed into a subject (mostly as I said because I couldn’t stay out of it). Although my band mates contribute greatly in many ways this makes them roll their eyes…
Here are two links for pdfs:

Anything comes up feel free to ping me directly

Thanks for the reading Cygnus. I liked the speaker power pdf.

What really gets my goat though is the inconsistencies in the power ratings for all these products. There is no standard. Alot of the manufacturers will use peak power and not state the RMS. There isn’t any consistency across manufacturers at all. Reading other forums some will talk about the only way to get an idea of comparisons between speakers is via the spl rating. It’s feels like my head is going to explode trying to sort through the bullsh:t.

For example
On 8" Speaker
the Zxa1 states 800w rms with spl 126,
the DXR8 states 1100w dynamic 700w continuous with spl 129
the QSC K8 states 1000w continuous with spl 127
On 12"
the zxl-12p states 1000w with spl 126 no mention of peak or rms
the DBR12 states 1000w dynamic 465w continuous with spl 131
the DXR12 states 1100w dynamic 700w continuous with spl 132

What does it all mean
And thats just a small sample of available gear in the same catergory

Pop (head just exploded)

Couldn’t agree more GS - marketing with big money at stake clarity always suffers. I spent a life in and writing about analytical science - according to some family members I’m well suited to such pursuits (not a compliment BTW). I’ve gotten better at separating wheat-from-chaff so without noting where I cribbed and edited the stuff from in my links I think it at least gets closer to an answer.

I added 2 more pdfs and the links - one on EQ (a critical oversight on my part not to have done so in the first place) and some more background on this power issue and topics like why the difference in maximum rated SPL between a QSC K-10 and K-12 at 2 dB isn’t perceptible to humans and should we care.

I’ll edit a link into the original post as well. The Musically Useful Frequencies information shows the 31 channel graphic setup I use on gigs and, since I record directly off the output, that’s what you hear on the recordings if you follow my FB signature link or go here directly:
In our system the mixer output L/R goes into the EQ and that goes to the PA with the recorder in parallel.

On “Speaker PA Performance” https://www.dropbox.com/s/pa3c2vn5qt53w6z/Speaker%20PA%20performance.pdf?dl=0
On “Musically Useful Frequencies” https://www.dropbox.com/s/8gxbze9wnhrxuza/Musically%20useful%20frequency%20ranges.pdf?dl=0

Has anybody experience using the BB through 4 BOSE 802’S. 2 eachside?

Just caught this. Heard tons about Guitar Stu and his tunes, but never heard you play. Very cool. Great voice!