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Basic configuration questions from a novice

TweedledumTweedledum Posts: 5
edited October 2012 in Configuration Wizard
I’ve no formal training with audio, but have been “doing� sound for about 20 years, flying by the seat of my pants supplemented with a fair bit of reading and relying on the kindness of strangers (and knowledgeable friends) who are willing to share information and insights. I do sound primarily for folk / acoustic acts, using both mic’d and DIs on instruments. I am currently working with the following rig:

Main tops: JBL PRX635s (fed from the high outputs on the dbx)
Sub: Mackie SRM1801 (single and fed from the low left/mono output on the dbx)
Mixer: Mackie CFX MKII - 20, using aux 1 & 2 for for monitor sends.
DRPA+ for the house mix
And Yamaha 12� passive monitors powered by Peavey IPR1600 amp through a dbx-231 GEQ.

My "fuzzy" comprehension of my rig is that it is functionally a 2-way system, even though the PRX645's are 3-way speakers. Is this correct?

I am new to the PA+, having used the original PA for the past few years. I have some questions regarding the PA+ configuration sequence, and would appreciate any advice that might be given. :?

My initial setup choices are "stereo input" and "stereo linked"

1. Software version on PA+ is 1.1, that appears to be the most current per the dbx website. Is there any need to update further at this point?
2. Can the updates be done on a Mac, or will I need to use a PC?

3. My active JBL PRX635's are listed as "passive", which seems odd especially since both JBL & dbx are Harmon products. Any clue as to why?

4. The Mackie SRM1801 sub is not listed as a preset, and I use only a single sub, but the preset for the 635's shows paired subs in the configuration - do I still select that option?

5. The Mackie options are: S218s mono, S218s Stereo, SWA1501 mono, or SWA1501 Stereo. Should I select one of those or just use Custom?

6. The nest setup window shows a highlighted "high amplifier" plus Powered speaker >PRX635. I can't alter anything here.

7. The next window is the gain adjustment, default comes up as 25% and I’m supposed to match that to the setting on the speaker. I assume that for outdoor settings I should set this to something closer to 75% to allow for greater headroom that can be adjusted as needed from the mixer output faders. Is my assumption correct?

8. Low amplifier window selection - set to "custom"?

9. At this point it changes to the "Auto Level" screen, which I don't recall from the original dbx PA. I gather this simply balances the output levels from the L/R tops and the sub? Any additional info on what this does?

10a. After that comes the AutoEQ Wizard. Given what I've read, this should be skipped for outdoor venues, but I have one quasi-outdoor venue in a baseball stadium (minor league) that I think it might be useful for. The stage is set over the boxed seats and the stadium seating is essentially an amphitheater. Will the AutoEQ of the PA+ this work effectively in this situation, or is the tiered seating just too complex to deal with?

10b. I place the sub adjacent to the left side of the stage and the 635’s about 10' away from each front corner of the stage, tilted slightly upwards. I assume that the AutoEQ is the same as on the original PA, just quicker and more efficient?

I’ve gone through some of the FAQ, and will continue to do so, but I’d appreciate and critical advice on the above, as I’m trying to get up to speed before next week.

Thanks in advance,


  • Options
    GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    A fullrange top and subs is a 2 way system 2X3 in your case if your running stereo tops, 2X4 with stereo subs...

    1. No, and updates are really ever going to be presets for newer speaker form manufacturers like JBL...I( have been heard to say (often) we don't need no stinkin presets... except for tops that require, or can be bi-amped, tri-amped etc)

    2. No there will never be mac support for driverack

    3. Passive means that they do not require "active" (external) crossovers...technically, they have internal crossovers (active or passive) that take care of the speakers crossover needs...

    4. No need for a preset for active subs that already have a high pass filter (HPF) built in, the only need is for a Low pass filter (LPF) to cross to the top speakers.

    5. Choose any one you like, even a Peavey, EAW or JBL sub... then dial the HPF down below the 10dB down point of the active sub.

    6. enter 'custom'

    7. That is a BALANCE/gain structure adjustment, when you use speakers that are NOT in the menu, set the active tops to the mid point, usually 12 oclock position, then balance the tops and subs using the control on the subs, or the crossover gain in the driverack... there is also an auto balance feature to help with this...

    8. Yes

    9. Yes that is what it does and addressed in #7

    10a. You do what you want, but the Auto Eq is a very useful tool if done properly.. I noted that you said you have done some reading, I'm going to suggest some more...Where Auto EQ is related, see this post:

    You might also find useful info in this thread:

    And the FAQ section where we talk all things audio:

    tilted slightly upwards.
    Upward? The auto EQ is more accurate, and WAY faster, buit read the Auto EQ post I listed... Ah.. I see you HAVE found the FAQ...Good, read the "start here" thread as well for more tips...
  • Options
    Thanks for all the info. I'm hooking it all up manana for the first test drive. I'll let you know what happens.

  • Options
    I purchased this with the assumption, and based upon the pitch from the salesman and the dbx marketing, that the PA+ was a significant improvement over the first generation PA. I have yet to connect it to my PA and use it (but have been turing knobs and pressing menu buttons as suggested). Much of the menu is familiar, and I appreciate your advice on the new options.

    A question, perhaps too late in the asking: from your experienced point of view.... is the PA+ truly that big of an improvement?

  • Options
    GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    Well, to truly get a quantum leap you need to go to the 260, but yes, the PA+ is a significant upgrade...the Auto EQ algorithm alone makes a big step forward. It is unbelievably fast... like usually a low precision pass takes about 10 seconds or less! I don't think I have ever seen a "not done" prompt unless I was doing a dual mono setup and the DR was waiting for me to do the other channel... the product EQ is better sounding, closer to the 260...

    The addition of the mute buttons was well done as well. I could care less about the ability to update firmware since it will likely never be anything but new presets.. "we don't need no stinkin presets" :mrgreen: other than for biamp, and triamp speakers...

    As for the auto level... well I guess for the uninitiated it might be a nice feature, and from their point of view it would probably eliminate some of the confusion, and calls to tech support!

    Over all the PA+ sounds better to me, and I think the masses are getting a better sounding system...unless of course your buying the corporate cow and actually setting up a mic, on a stand.. between 2 speakers in the middle of the dance floor... :oops:
  • Options
    So doing the Auto EQ, outdoors - best bet is to place the mic on the ground +/- 20' away on a towel directly in front of the top/sub stack and then crank it up?

    The short calibration time will please my neighbors, although we live on a flight path for a military base and the prolonged pinking with ye olde PA kinda' could be mistaken for a low & slow flying plane coming in for a landing.
  • Options
    GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    You know, you can try it MANY different ways, and it only takes a few seconds! Remember, it's only a machine, and what sounds right IS right so go over the sound that you get with the AUto EQ and see what you think, also, you will receive the TURN DOWN message.. if the input starts clipping, if your still NOT at show volume, move the mic BACK till you are able to get to that volume!
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