Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Real World Reviews of the agiprodj Wireless Speaker Systems

Since first introducing the Wireless Speaker Broadcast solutions on our YouTube channel over 2 years ago hundreds of DJs and production companies have embraced and implemented the technology to simplified they way they set up their powered speaker systems.  The videos have been viewed close to a quarter of a million times.  We wanted to share with you some of the reviews the system has received.

Although is did not develop the wireless speaker broadcast technology, through hundred of hours of testing products and combinations of hardware we believe we have found the most reliable and best method to send your audio signal wirelessly to a powered speaker.  

We have posted several videos on these systems on our YouTube Channel that you can check out.

We are honored to have had the opportunity to get DJs across the country set up with these Wireless Speaker Systems.  This system gives you tools to set up sound in ways and areas you would have never considered in the past with the use of cables.

Please read the following reviews if you are considering whether these would be a good choice for you in your business. 

by Bertrand Blank / DJ By the Bay   

I bought this product along with the 2 transmitter and 1 receivers, this product is absolutely AWESOME!!! To anyone who wants a completely wireless speaker system, this is the product for you. I purchased two of these just last month and have used it twice (once in a wedding this past weekend and at a huge fund raising event for Oakland's Children's Hospital). I'm a complete sound freak and would never settle for second best.

Rick at agiprodj was able to give me great recommendations on gain and sensitivity levels appropriate for my application. The quality of sound from my wireless speakers were identical to that of my wired ones. I am completely sold on this product for wireless speaker application.

Aside from the wireless speaker application, this product is able to serve to as a lapel mic, or hook up to your camera.

If you had any doubts before, lay them to rest, this product works flawlessly and Rick hooked me up with the best price and extra wiring that no other store will provide

Thanks Guys!

DJ Bert

by Jim Weisz Discovery DJ & Lighting    

After watching some of agiprodj’s YouTube videos on wireless sound, I was excited to get this system. I had previously been using a system where I had to mount a bulky receiver on the top of my remote speaker to achieve wireless sound. So it was very appealing to me to have a system consisting totally off body packs since they run off batteries and are much more compact.

First off, I was VERY impressed with the letter I received with the system going through all the settings of the system in a concise, easy to read manner. It was basically like a cliff's notes version of the manual, but better since it gave AGI's recommended settings, which helped immensely!

The first time I used this system was running a wireless speaker about 200 feet from my main system. I was outside & the speaker was inside, yet it performed flawlessly. The venue was very impressed I had the wireless speaker since no other DJ had done that at the venue before. I was a little worried about interference since this venue seems to have issues with wireless mics, but there wasn't any interference or issues whatsoever.

I was so happy with it I'm planning on getting another receiver or two in the future so I can run more than one wireless speaker if needed. AGI's customer service is amazing and this system is amazing too--what a great combination!

by Brian Heisler   

This is a great product! I use it outside across a football field. I am at the far end of the field a good 60+ feet behind the goal post where I have my mains on stage, around the 50 yard line I have my powered speakers running on this wireless set. No drop out, clear sounding, and way better than the old phonic set I used in the past.

Not only is this a great setup, the support from the staff is amazing. They not only answer questions before hand of the product, the after purchase support is amazing as well! They care about the customers’ needs and have great follow-up. A lot of places have gotten away from this kind of support once you buy a product. I am glad to see there is still some great dealers that care about their customers and not just trying to make a quick buck and leave you stranded with something that doesn't fit your needs or doesn't work the way you wanted it to. Just based on customer service alone, I would buy from them again.


by Andrew Thomas

What a great system! I got the Wireless Speaker System 2 on a Thursday, and used it Saturday for the Georgia State Championship Road Race (Cycling). Very fast, simple setup, with clear instructions on a sheet from Rick.

The race organizer wanted a remote speaker at the start line, at least 100' from the DJ table, across a busy parking lot. There was no way I could have safely run XLR cable to that speaker; with over 300 cyclists, plus family, all the bikes and vehicular traffic in the parking lot...

I plugged the transmitter into the QSC K10 I had close to my table, about 10' up in the air. The receiver went on the other K10, out beside the road and start line, which I plugged into the venue's road-side sign for electrical power. It worked wonderfully! The race organizer was thrilled, as I could make announcements and remind the competitors of the course race-specific rules, rather than him having to repeat it over and over. The first couple of groups were so big, there was no other way they could have everyone hear the instructions, unless he walked along the group and repeated it every few feet.

The following Thursday, I used the unit again, this time with the lavalier mic, for a wedding and the XLR Plug On for the toasts. Two days later, used it again for another wedding. Worked wonderfully!

The only thing I regret was not just buying the Wireless Speaker System 4, as now I will probably be wishing I had an extra set of wireless units. Oh well, I guess I can add another System 2, and the remote AC power adapters for long events.

I would definitely recommend this system

by Ryan Keller / Audio-PRO Mobile DJ Entertainment    

If you’re looking for a solution to transmit wireless audio to remote speakers, look no further!

For many years I struggled with having to run long XLR cables in and around event locations. As a mobile wedding DJ, this product allows for total flexibility with remote speaker placement. If your events require audio to be transmitted to multiple rooms, distant locations, or even in the same room....this is the solution. The quality of the audio is top notch and the transmitters and receivers are very durable and easy to use.

The only item that has taken some time to get used to is the DB adjustments on both the transmitter and receivers. It takes a few trials, but each event gets easier as I get more familiar with the system.

The speakers placed on the the balcony are utilizing the wireless system 3 with two transmitters and 2 receivers

Ryan has even written about this system on his own blog.

If you would like more information on the Wireless Speaker Systems from agiprodj please click on any of the images for the system that best suits your needs. 

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wireless Speaker Systems Overview | Sennheiser? Shure IEM? Alto Stealth? Others?…Which method is best?

Wireless Speaker Systems & Methods | Sennheiser vs Alto Stealth vs Shure vs IEM’s vs Phonic…Which method is best??

By Rick Whitehead

DJs, musicians, and everyone in between have been chatting it up about the best possible ways to broadcast their music, sound, or audio wirelessly from one speaker to another.  Whether you call it wireless speakers, wireless zone fill speakers or wireless remote speakers, we’re all talkin’ about the same thing: how do I get the sound from here to there without running a spaghetti mess of XLR/mic cables?  Heck, just Google the phrase “wireless speaker systems” and you’ll find a host of videos on YouTube available.  Everything from garages & backyards, to actual real life events in action.  The systems we sell (and use ourselves out in the wild), are Sennheiser wireless speaker systems.  Over the course of a few years now, we have found that the Sennheiser systems outperform any other methods on the market, for a variety of reasons ranging from audio quality, to frequency agility, to transmitter & receiver robustness.  We don’t just sell stuff at agiprodj, we research & use gear out in the wild just like you do, then we turn around and sell solutions that really work.

“But wait right there, Rick.  I’ve been doing this for years with my old Shure PGX system without any problems.”  Or, “I just picked up the brand new Alto Stealth Wireless System and used it for my first event flawlessly!”  Well, to that I would answer in turn…”But wait right there!“  I’m always amazed to hear people say they’re happy with their wireless mic because it has never had a dropout.  Uh-huh.  Right.  To that I would say you’re either 1) incredibly lucky and blessed in some way or 2) haven’t used it in enough situations.

If I haven’t completely offended you, read on…

Let’s begin with the new Alto Stealth Wireless System.  This is the perfect product to start with because the product is brand new, it’s been developed to fill a very specific need, and I get to touch on a number of points all at the same time, things you should always be thinking about in the back of your mind with anything wireless.  This product is going to create a lot of chatter.  After reading this blog, you’ll be able to take what you read here and extrapolate that out to every other wireless speaker system method you can dream up.  Here’s my own two cents on Alto Stealth vs Sennheiser for wireless speaker systems, and again keep this in mind with any wireless products:

1.         Only 16 manually-selectable UHF channels with Alto Stealth, which means in a crowded market this system would be completely unusable with no possible way to predict or anticipate interference.  Think of it this way, there are number of frequency finder websites out there.  These are invaluable tools that can help you know which frequencies to broadcast on before your event.  Shure makes a great one:  Sennheiser has one as well:  (of course at the time I’m writing this, Sennheiser’s frequency finder is not available due to the FCC website being shut down as a result of the government shutdown.  Man, what is not being affected by that?!)  Anyway, my point is this; you will never look at a wireless frequency finder website and see anywhere on that site to use Alto Stealth Channel 14.  Never.  Channels 1 -16 are a crap shoot at best.  You might as well just guess at which number you pick because your chances will be about the same.  Are you working in the Bay area, or Manhattan, or any number of similarly crowded UHF markets?  Good luck to you.  For many of our customers, we have carefully hand-selected the right frequency band for our Sennheiser systems that have over 1,600 frequencies to choose from.  Which system would YOU want at a wedding?  Or a corporate event?  The system with over 1,600 frequencies to choose from, or just 16?  In many markets throughout the U.S. the 470-698 MHz range is jam packed.  16 frequencies to choose from simply ain’t gonna cut it.  You will know it, and so will your client.

2.         No scanning of frequencies is available with Alto Stealth, so even if you picked a good frequency to broadcast, other powered up devices in the area could compete with this one without you even “seeing” them. Ever set up a wireless microphone that sounds perfect during your sound check, but then it drops out during your actual event?  That is random RF chatter and it KILLS your confidence with wireless.  Not to mention your client is unhappy.  With wireless, you have to…have to…HAVE TO have a system that scans.  Did I mention you have to?

3.         Output power on the Alto Stealth transmitter is < 10mW, resulting in a 200′ range (IMO, Alto is being a bit optimistic with that number). Add a few hundred people or obstructions and you might as well cut that range in half.  Sennheiser transmitters have 30 mW of power output.  The difference between 10mW & 30mW is enormous. If given the choice 15 minutes before your event, which one would you use for yours?

4.         Only 50Hz-17kHz frequency reproduction with Alto Stealth.  Many guys in the industry debate whether or not this spec even matters.  Bottom line? A wider frequency response is better. Period. And if you’re feeling like you could give up one end of the spectrum or another, you’d be wise to give up some of the top end, not the bottom end.  Anyone wanting any sort of credible bass response from a wireless speaker system should be outraged with a 50 Hz cutoff.  I’ve read forums where some pro guys are challenging the idea that you can’t run subs wirelessly.  Well, I have done it.  You could blindfold anyone in the room and they wouldn’t have known the difference.  These guys also claim that tops (main speakers) don’t go down much past 50 Hz, so what’s the big deal?  For those of you who own a home theatre system, ask yourself the next time you sit down to watch your favorite movie if you’d mind if someone came in and replaced all your audio components with ones that run 50Hz – 17 kHz.  Better yet, do you mind if someone comes in and replaces your 320kbps MP3’s with 192?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  Funny how some things don’t matter until it impacts you personally.  IMO, clients deserve great sound.  I read a very interesting comment from a thought leader in the industry awhile back.  He said that the 50Hz – 17 kHz range found in Alto Stealth (and similar ranges from other wireless manufacturers) would be sufficient for zone fills.  What exactly does that mean?  Are the people in those zone areas less important than the people in the main zone?  That would be like Disneyland saying the guests in the back of Fantasmic! or World of Color don’t need the same type of sound experience as the guests that are front of house.

(Fun Fact: The internet is a fascinating, powerful source of information.  Some of it is spot on.  Some of it is not.  Always keep that one in mind when you read anything online).

5.         Only one receiver antenna with Alto Stealth. No true diversity. When’s the last time you used a wireless microphone with only one antenna on the receiver? Think about that one.  But you might say, well your portable Sennheiser receivers only have one antenna, too.  While that’s true, the Sennheiser portable receivers also turn whatever cable you plug into them into a second antenna, making for an adaptive-diversity receiver.  Pretty slick.

6.         The sensitivity robustness of the Alto Stealth transmitter is lacking. Alto doesn’t even list this specification in their product details.  At NAMM in January I spoke with the folks that make Stealth and this feature alone was a deal breaker. They didn’t know the answer to this question, or why it mattered.  What does transmitter sensitivity mean, and why is it a big deal? That means that if you try to use a system like this at high volumes (which a lot of guys do) or with instruments or mixers with hot outputs, you’re going to overdrive the Tx immediately. Imagine a trumpet player being mic’d with an inexpensive handheld microphone.  The workaround with this is that guys will bring down the master or gains on their board which in essence means they have to change the way they mix.  Again, imagine that trumpet player being asked to play more quietly so the microphone can handle it.  Not possible.  And, although this is a bit nitpicky, using the Alto Stealth transmitter Min/Max knobs to control the system volume makes the signal chain subjective instead of objective.  You’d be going by feel and a little guesswork vs an actual number like -30dB or -60dB, a number that’s very easy to know, remember, and share with other coworkers that are doing events for you.  Telling someone to set a transmitter at -45 dB is very different than saying “put the knob at about 10 o’clock.”  There will be situations in which the Alto product will work, don’t get me wrong.  But there will be a number of situations where it flat out won’t.

7.         AF Out is not adjustable on the Alto Stealth receivers or Stealth Wireless Expander Pack (which is what Alto is calling their extra add-on receivers).  Again, this is huge in terms of finessing the sound.  Great wireless speaker solutions need lots of finesse points.  Having the ability to control the sound at the end of the signal chain is important, even on powered speakers despite the fact they almost always have their own gain control.  Garbage in always equals garbage out.

8.         Alto Stealth receivers only have LED’s to indicate the presence of RF & AF (RF being radio frequency signal strength and AF being audio frequency or the actual music or sound being broadcast).  This means you have no visual way to really gauge the overall signal health of your system.  If you get 200’ away with an Alto Stealth receiver, you could very well have an RF indicator LED lit on the receiver.  What you would NOT see is the receiver is barely hanging on to that signal, and by the time people start arriving that signal will be long gone.  On a Sennheiser portable receiver, you have very clear visual indication of just how strong your RF signal is, and how well your music or sound is coming through on the AF.  That kind of real time visual feedback is priceless when it comes to wireless.

9.         The Alto Stealth Wireless System only works with AC power.  There is no battery powered option with this system.  Is that a deal breaker?  Not necessarily.  But try setting up a real quick wireless relay in a hallway or on a tripod, tree, etc where there is no power anywhere.  Our Sennheiser systems are more versatile and will be able to do just that.

10.        Lastly, the Alto transmitter is larger, making it more difficult to place wherever you need it (like inside the handle of a speaker, or in a tree for a relay, etc).
The Alto product is a nice idea, but this product falls short. One or two failed events with the Alto product, and your confidence in all wireless speaker methods will be 100% shot.  Keep in mind, our main goal at agiprodj is not to sell stuff for the sake of selling stuff, or to move as many boxes as we can and then kick you to the curb.  We are a solution-oriented company.  Our goal is to research, test, do the homework out in the field, and then sell the stuff that works.  And I really wanted the Alto product to be successful.  When the Alto Stealth reviews start to trickle in, you’ll see exactly what I mean.

What about using Shure, Audio-Technica, or Phonic wireless transmitters & receivers?  Say you have a Shure PGX1 body pack & PGX4 tabletop receiver, or an Audio-Technica 2000 or 3000 series wireless system, can you use those for wireless speakers?  You absolutely can, but keep in mind all of the above points and compare those points to the systems you’re considering using.  The real test will always be sound quality, flexibility & versatility, setup time, power requirements, and appearance of the system.  What about Phonic Wireless Speaker Kits and components like the WM-SYS3, WM-SYS4, WM60, WM70 & WM400?  That’s an easy one.  In a word, Never (see above points).

What about IEM’s?  I know DJs and musicians have used In-Ear Monitors (IEM’s) for years to do wireless speakers.  Surely a Sennheiser IEM like an ew 300 IEM G3 could do every bit as good a job, right?  The components are darn near identical to the Sennheiser systems we use & sell at agiprodj.  Well, not exactly.  For those of you not familiar with in-ear monitor systems, they work in reverse of a normal wireless microphone system, and are used by performers to listen to their mix in their ears rather than just relying on a floor monitor.  A stereo transmitter located next to the sound board sends a L & R signal out to a portable stereo receiver which is placed on the performer (in this case a remote speaker).  That receiver can either send out L & R stereo, or two separate mono feeds which terminate to ear buds, the last device in the signal chain.  Which begs the question, “If I have two zone fill speakers in separate rooms/areas, what good does it possibly do me to have a portable receiver with stereo Outs?”  Well, not much good at all.  You would still need a separate receiver.  The Achilles’ heel of using IEM’s for wireless speakers is that they are overkill.  They are more expensive simply because they do more “stuff” than you need them to.  You don’t need stereo transmission on the receiver end.  And for that matter, you don’t really even need it on the transmitting end.  I can think of very few instances where you would need to provide stereo sound to a zone fill area.  Can you?  Zone fills will almost always sound better in mono.  Also, the IEM transmitter is typically a rack mount or tabletop device.  Try putting an IEM transmitter on the top of a tripod, or in a tree, or gracefully on top of a powered speaker without it looking like a science project.  And heaven forbid you needed to do this without convenient AC power for whatever reason.  The Sennheiser wireless speaker systemswe use & sell at agiprodj can be operated with or without AC power.  Pretty nifty.  Not to mention versatile.

So in your quest to provide a great wireless speaker system solution to your client, begin with the end result in mind which should always be, “How do I provide the best possible sound to a client in all zones, and what kind of system should I buy to ensure that I’m not just getting lucky with wireless?”  My answer to that is to always know the specs of your wireless gear, and ask the following questions:
  • How many possible frequencies can I choose from (think bandwidth…the higher that number is the better)
  • Does this system scan frequencies and select the best ones to broadcast on?
  • Do the transmitters & receivers have adjustable ranges on them for versatility (Sensitivity on the Tx, AF Out on the Rx)?
  • Can I visually see the strength of my signal chain with my wireless components?
  • Am I restricted to only AC power operation, or is there a battery option as well?
With wireless, you get what you pay for almost every single time.  Believe it or not, your equipment sometimes sells itself.  The guy out there that says you can’t sell the quality of your gear to a client is sadly mistaken.  I say it all the time, great wireless systems produce great confidence.  And your confidence gets conveyed to the client every single time.

Rick Whitehead is on staff with agiprodj as a Mobile DJ & Wireless Sales Specialist, and has been DJ’ing since 1989.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Meet the New PRX 700 Series of Powered Speakers (Now with Video Overview)

When a great manufacturer like JBL says they have something new coming, but you can't tell anybody about it yet, we start going stir crazy. It becomes difficult to contain the excitement.  At agiprodj we always choose to carry great sounding and reliable speakers in our store.  JBL Professional is giving us that opportunity with the new PRX 700 Series of self powered speakers.  With a fully rounded out line including five top cabinets and two sub woofer options, plus a long list of upgrades the new and improved PRX line will certainly be a game changer for many DJs, Entertainers, Bands, and Production Companies.  

We are excited to introduce to you the brand new JBL PRX700 Series of self powered speakers.  There are several updates to the PRX line up including two new size options. A compact 10" Two-way speaker, and a new 15" compact Subwoofer gives you more flexibility and the opportunity to have the right amount of sound for whatever situation you find yourself in.  Boasting more power at 1500 Watts of Class D power, and more options along with a new back panel full of connectivity options and active cooling, the PRX can easily fit into your most demanding sound system situation.

What's the difference between the JBL PRX700 series vs PRX600 series?

As with any new product series release, a manufacturer like JBL builds upon what they've done right and continues to find ways to innovate and make a great product even better.  

Here's what's new with the PRX700 Series:
•  7 different models to choose from (PRX710, PRX712, PRX715, PRX725, PRX735, PRX715XLF, and PRX718XLF)
•  Includes the addition of the PRX710, a 10" 2-way speaker
•  Includes the addition of the PRX715XLF, a smaller, compact 15" subwoofer
• The PRX700 series features front ports vs the PRX600 series which was rear ported
•  More powerful & efficient amplifiers - featuring 1500 watts of Class D power
•  More back panel functionality and flexibility allowing more inputs and methods of controlling your mix
•  Introduces the first use of JBL’s patented Differential Drive® Technology with ferrite drivers
•  Active, fan-cooling (This is the most requested new feature)
•  Universal operation from 100 - 240V

Lets take a look at each of the speakers in the line up.

PRX710 Self-Powered 10" Two-Way bass reflex loudspeaker

System Type: Self-Powered 10" 2-Way, Bass-Reflex
Max SPL Output: 133 dB
Frequency Range (-10 dB): 50 Hz - 19.6 kHz
Frequency Response (±3 dB): 63.5 Hz - 18.5 kHz)
Coverage Pattern: 100° x 60° nominal
Amplifier Design: Class D
Power Rating: 1500 W (2 x 750)
Dimensions (H/W/D): 19.63" x 13.21" x 12.69"
Net Weight: 36 lbs
UPC: 90441

PRX712 Self-Powered 12" Two-way bass reflex loudspeaker

System Type: Self-Powered 12" 2-Way, Bass-Reflex
Max SPL Output: 135 dB
Frequency Range (-10 dB): 44.8 Hz - 19.6 kHz
Frequency Response (±3 dB): 55.7 Hz - 18.2 kHz)
Coverage Pattern: 90° x 50° nominal
Amplifier Design: Class D
Power Rating: 1500 W (2 x 750)
Dimensions (H/W/D): 24.11" x 15.14" x 13.44"
Net Weight: 42.5 lbs
UPC: 90442

PRX715 Self Powered 15" Two-way bass reflex loudspeaker

System Type: Self-Powered 15" 2-Way, Bass-Reflex
Max SPL Output: 136 dB
Frequency Range (-10 dB): 42.9 Hz - 19.5 kHz
Frequency Response (±3 dB): 58.1 Hz - 17.2 kHz)
Coverage Pattern: 90° x 50° nominal
Amplifier Design: Class D
Power Rating: 1500 W (2 x 750)
Dimensions (H/W/D): 28.13" x 17.52" x 14.12"
Net Weight: 47.5 lbs
UPC: 90443

PRX725 Self Powered Dual 15" Two way bass reflex loud speaker

System Type: Self-Powered 15" 2-Way, Bass-Reflex
Max SPL Output: 139 dB
Frequency Range (-10 dB): 42 Hz - 18.5 kHz
Frequency Response (±3 dB): 49 Hz - 17 kHz)
Coverage Pattern: 90° x 50° nominal
Amplifier Design: Class D
Power Rating: 1500 W (3 x 500)
Dimensions (H/W/D): 42.14" x 17.52" x 21.18"
Net Weight: 82 lbs
UPC: 90444

PRX735 Self Powered 1500Watt 15" Three-way bass reflex loudspeaker

System Type: Self-Powered 15" 3-Way, Bass-Reflex
Max SPL Output: 136 dB
Frequency Range (-10 dB): 35 Hz - 20 kHz
Frequency Response (±3 dB): 42 Hz - 20 kHz)
Coverage Pattern: 90° x 50° nominal
Amplifier Design: Class D
Power Rating: 1500 W (3 x 500)
Dimensions (H/W/D): 37.5" x 17.52" x 21.18"
Net Weight: 77lbs
UPC: 90445

PRX715XLF Self Powered 1500Watt 15' Subwoofer

System Type: Self-Powered 15" Bass-Reflex
Max SPL Output: 131 dB
Frequency Range (-10 dB): 37 Hz - 113 Hz
Frequency Response (±3 dB): 44 Hz - 91 Hz)
Amplifier Design: Class D
Power Rating: 1500 W
Dimensions (H/W/D): 21.54" x 17.52" x 22.48"
Net Weight: 56 lbs
UPC: 90446

PRX718XLF Self Powered 1500Watt 18' Subwoofer


System Type: Self-Powered 18" Bass-Reflex
Max SPL Output: 134 dB
Frequency Range (-10 dB): 30 Hz - 103 Hz
Frequency Response (±3 dB): 35 Hz - 87 Hz)
Amplifier Design: Class D
Power Rating: 1500 W
Dimensions (H/W/D): 27.18" x 20.6" x 28.5"
Net Weight: 81 lbs
UPC: 90447

Look for product overview and comparisons on our YouTube Channel

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Monday, August 12, 2013

S-DJ X-Series | Active DJ Reference Monitors from Pioneer DJ

Enhance your Performance

Pioneer just announced their brand new line of Active DJ Speakers, called the S-DJ X-Series.  These speakers are great referencing monitors that are designed and optimized specifically for DJ mixing and practicing.  In other words, these aren’t strictly studio monitors.  They’ve been designed from the start to be used by DJs that need powerful bass and wide response ideal for dance music.  So if you’re a DJ and you’ve been looking for a great studio monitor…look no further than the S-DJ’s.  The X-Series line includes two 5” models (S-DJ50X in Black and S-DJ50X-W in White), one 6” model (S-DJ60X), and an 8” model (S-DJ80X).

“DJs spend hours a day practicing their mixing and performance skills, and unfortunately, most of them listen to the music they’re creating on speakers that aren’t appropriate for reproducing quality sound,” said David Arevalo, director, Professional Sound and Visual Division for Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. “Pioneer’s new active DJ speakers are designed for home/small areas and offer exceptional sound quality to provide great feedback so DJs hear subtle changes in the music they’re creating.  In essence, these speakers are designed to enhance DJ performance.”

You can check out the specifications, photos, and video of the S-DJ X-Series here. is proud to be the recipient of the Dealer of the Year Award and an Authorized dealer for all Pioneer DJ Products.   

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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Setting up gain structure and your Rane Mixer.

In a recent post on the Rane DJ Blog Shaun goes over some important information about setting up your gain to get the best possible sound from your Rane DJ mixer.   As a proud authorized Rane dealer you will find great service and great prices from Real DJs just like you.  Every DJ on the front lines that takes a call, answers a chat, or replies to an email is a real working DJ.  We proudly refer to what we do as #DJsHelpingDJs

How to properly set Rane mixer level controls

Correctly setting DJ mixer level controls is one of the most important contributors to creating an excellent sounding system. Once you master the fundamental principles you'll know how to get the best possible audio quality from your Rane DJ mixer. To ensure proper level setting, Rane DJ mixers are designed with a professional audio metering system much like you’d find in a studio grade mixing console. If you’re familiar with pro-audio mixing consoles, Rane DJ mixer metering will be a no-brainer, but if this is your first introduction to professional audio metering it may be a bit different from what you’re accustomed.


level controls

DJ mixers have a lot of level controls (wouldn’t be much of a mixer without them). Knowing the proper setting for each control is a bit confusing, especially when adding a software program to your system. Luckily, audio software and DJ mixers include similar controls. Both include individual gain/trim controls, level meters for each channel, and a master output level control.

meter levels

Follow the golden rule and keep your level meters out of the red. Think of a level meter as a traffic light. Green means you’re OK to proceed, yellow means caution and red means stop. Your goal is to turn the gain controls up so that your level meters are peaking in the high yellow- almost to red but not quite. When level meters hit red, you run the risk of clipping or simply distorting the heck out of the audio. In case you’re wondering, both sound terrible.
When using a software program it’s important to adjust your level controls properly within the program before tweaking the level controls on your mixer. Once the level meters within the software are adjusted properly (i.e., no red), you’re ready to adjust the level controls on your mixer.

using Rane mixer metering

Rane mixers use Quasi-Peak meters with peak hold. What the heck is quasi-peak you ask? Quasi means, having a likeness to or resembling something, so quasi-peak refers to the peak-like meter function of the Rane meter. The fast responding quasi-peak value (lower portion of the meter) shows you what signal is doing real-time, relative to the dynamic range of the mixer. Audio transients can be relatively fast, making it easy to miss brief overload events, so the meters are designed to hold the maximum value for at least half a second (top portion of the meter).

Like other peak hold meters, the ones found on Rane DJ mixers will appear to have gaps between the average level and the peak levels. This can throw DJs off at first, thinking the meters are malfunctioning, but this is not the case. The LED floating above the rest represents the peak level of the audio and the LEDs below the peak represent the quasi-peak audio level.
The basic idea behind using peak hold meters is identical to using peak meters; keep the top meter out of the red. Using the PGM gain controls on your mixer, adjust the level so that your meters barely hit the red and then back the level down until out of the red. Repeat this process for each PGM channel.


a quick note about Rane master level controls and master meter levels

The main difference DJs may notice about the master output level meter is that the master level control has no affect on the meter levels (see above picture). This may seem a bit weird when compared to other DJ mixers, but there’s a very good reason behind this design. With Rane professional DJ mixers, the master output level meter is the summed total of all PGM channel levels. In other words, the master output meter is a true representation of your combined output mix level. As long as the output level meters stay out of the red, you won’t be in danger of clipping or distorting audio, not that you can clip or distort a Rane mixer anyway, but that’s beside the point. You can still blow the sound system speakers (and your chances of getting booked to play that venue again).

Calibrating your Rane mixer with a sound system

It was mentioned earlier that the main level control has no affect on the master level meter, and this is by design. The design intent is to use the master level control to calibrate the mixer with a sound system. Ideally, during sound check, the sound tech running the sound system will calibrate the system to the output level of the Rane mixer, so that red meters on the mixer indicate red (or almost red) on the main sound board and/or near clipping of the amplifiers.

  1. Start with the master level control knob all the way down.
  2. Make sure the audio levels meters within the software you’re using are not peaking red.
  3. Start with the PGM channel 1 fader all the way up and adjust the upper rotary gain/level control so that your meters barely hit the red and then back the level down until out of the red, giving yourself a little room for sudden level peaks. Repeat the same process for PGM channel 2, if using more than two channels, PGM channel 3 and PGM channel 4.
  4. While playing audio, using each PGM channel, check the master output level meters. If the master output level meters are in the red make small adjustments to each PGM channel gain control until the master level meter is peaking into the yellow. Now that your mixer level controls are properly set, you’re ready to turn up the master level control.
  5. Here’s where you grab the sound tech running the sound system. The tech may have you do one of the following:

  • Increase the mixer’s master level control until you’re told to stop. If you stop at 8, this is your maximum level output for the mixer and you do not want to exceed this level setting. Increasing the master level control past 8 may cause the sound tech to give you dirty looks, or worse, damage the sound system.
  • Turn the mixer’s master level control all the way up. Once your master level control is at max, the sound tech will slowly increase the level on the main sound board until the sound system is at the peak level. When it comes to preventing damage to the sound system this is the sound techs safest way to calibrate a mixer to the system.

wrapping up

Optimum sound quality requires correctly setting software level and DJ mixer level controls. The correct procedure begins by properly setting software level controls and then mixer gain level controls. Once your mixer levels are properly set, calibrating the master output level control with the sound system is the last step. Following these simple steps ensures you'll get the best possible audio quality from your Rane DJ mixer.

View more Rane DJ Blog posts here

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