Peavey Versarray?

brian maddox

Senior
Jan 13, 2011
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frederick, md
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Re: Peavey Versarray?

The same applies with the Fussion 3000 and the KF650z. It seems like all of my favorite trap boxes put the HF driver in the middle.
i remember flying some 650's for a guy in a convention center and he wanted me to fly them upside down to 'get the horns closer to the floor'. all i could think was, 'well, that gained ya a few inches. yay.'
 

Bill Bennett

New member
May 4, 2019
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Baton Rouge, LA
"I would save up more money and get rider friendly more versatile box."

OR you could do what I did and buy a dozen VR112 MkII's and love them every time you set them up. I have been doing regional festivals, symphony orchestras, local rock shows, and club gigs with 3 or 4 a side, for going on ten years. Yeah, I could have waited while I saved more money to buy some JBL or more "rider friendly" boxes and missed out on a few years of gigs so that some gear snob who works for the band could mix on my PA, but I'd rather mix myself, thanks. My clients like the fact that they can afford to hire me because I'm not trying to amortize a huge bank note, and I get to mix on one of the nicest sounding rigs I have heard, and I have heard them all, trust me.

Oh BTW, all the stuff you hear about "...can't curve them more than 2.5 degrees...?" is ignorant B.S. Yes, Peavey states that "...smoothest response is obtained at an angle of 2.5 degrees". So what? Every box on the market has angle that is "optimum" for that box. That doesn't mean that you can't use other angles and get excellent results if that is what is needed for the situation. Peavey made the mistake of confusing the masses by making the point that when you curve a line array you are fighting the physics that make them do what they do so well - control dispersion in the vertical plane and direct it forward. You are always better off doing near field coverage with (duh) near fields fills, and using the array to project at a distance.

So bottom line - if you want a "rider friendly" box so someone else will rent your rig and let you sit at FOH while they mix, get something else. But if you want a great sounding rig that one man can handle in a pinch, that sounds great on a wide variety of material, and that lets you buy about 2-3 times as many boxes for a given $$ (and don't forget, the real benefits of line arrays don't really show up till you get upwards of four a side, preferably more) then you should give serious consideration to a Versarray rig. And yes, they do have prediction software.
 

Tim McCulloch

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
2,943
31
48
Wichita KS USA
"I would save up more money and get rider friendly more versatile box."

OR you could do what I did and buy a dozen VR112 MkII's and love them every time you set them up. I have been doing regional festivals, symphony orchestras, local rock shows, and club gigs with 3 or 4 a side, for going on ten years. Yeah, I could have waited while I saved more money to buy some JBL or more "rider friendly" boxes and missed out on a few years of gigs so that some gear snob who works for the band could mix on my PA, but I'd rather mix myself, thanks. My clients like the fact that they can afford to hire me because I'm not trying to amortize a huge bank note, and I get to mix on one of the nicest sounding rigs I have heard, and I have heard them all, trust me.

Oh BTW, all the stuff you hear about "...can't curve them more than 2.5 degrees...?" is ignorant B.S. Yes, Peavey states that "...smoothest response is obtained at an angle of 2.5 degrees". So what? Every box on the market has angle that is "optimum" for that box. That doesn't mean that you can't use other angles and get excellent results if that is what is needed for the situation. Peavey made the mistake of confusing the masses by making the point that when you curve a line array you are fighting the physics that make them do what they do so well - control dispersion in the vertical plane and direct it forward. You are always better off doing near field coverage with (duh) near fields fills, and using the array to project at a distance.

So bottom line - if you want a "rider friendly" box so someone else will rent your rig and let you sit at FOH while they mix, get something else. But if you want a great sounding rig that one man can handle in a pinch, that sounds great on a wide variety of material, and that lets you buy about 2-3 times as many boxes for a given $$ (and don't forget, the real benefits of line arrays don't really show up till you get upwards of four a side, preferably more) then you should give serious consideration to a Versarray rig. And yes, they do have prediction software.
Congratulations on resurrecting a 7 year old zombie thread...

Well Bill, do what works for you in your market. In my market neither me nor my staff routinely mix The Band We've All Heard Of. Probably the most notable exception was a recent show with Puddle of Mud where I mixed every act on the roster included the headline act. That's a rare exception and not the rule.

I'm glad the Versarray II fits your needs. I need to point out that 12 years ago when we were line array shopping, the Peavey was an early contender until I heard it used with the type of acts that make up 35% of our biz, and that nobody... and I mean nobody... in that genre would accept it. It was also a tough sell to our corporate event clients who are accustomed to Meyer, JBL, l'Acoustic and similar brands; that pushed it off the list of acceptable loudspeakers.

It's all about the business plan and I suggest to everyone starting out or making a big $$ upgrades to put together new biz plan and pro-forma cash flow projection to see if spending a given amount of money makes sense. Some folks under-buy and soon thereafter are spending yet again to purchase what they should have bought in the first place; others over-buy and the debt service or mis-invested capital makes survival difficult or impossible.

Again, I'm happy that you found a niche for the Peavey. It's not bad, but it's not necessarily *right* for a number of users, uses, and local/regional market situations.
 

Jeff Babcock

Senior
Jan 11, 2011
983
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Ontario, Canada
jeffbabcock.org
Indeed, back from the dead!

Technology and market competition has changed significantly since the release of the Versarray. There are far superior solutions at reasonable prices and I would not recommend Versarray to anyone in today's market who is looking to purchase an array solution.

They sound pretty decent directly on axis, but take a stroll off axis and you will find that they are very inconsistent. Pattern control is very poor, and the "safe" preset that Peavey provides has the crossover point so high it is no wonder. HF headroom is very limited, so while the ribbons might be smooth sounding, transient peaks will quickly show the limits of the HF as the overall volume increases.

10 years ago they created a bit of buzz and had some bang for the buck. They are super long in the tooth now, even for smaller providers.
 

Bill Bennett

New member
May 4, 2019
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Baton Rouge, LA
Not to knock anyone's comments or opinions, but I will point out a couple of things: 1) despite what ribbon drivers give away in max output, you will not find ANY compression driver with harmonic distortion nearly as low as what ribbons deliver. It is that, not "smoothness", that sets them apart. I will qualify that statement by remarking that the driver JBL developed for the VTX series sounds exceptional - and VTX's cost around $10K per box. If you can't justify $120K+ for your basic hang, there is nothing that sound better on the high end than Versarray. 2) The mids - yes, the coverage is inconsistent. I would just echo Eric's comments from many moons ago - "it's a case of measuring bad but sounding good." I have never used the "safe" preset, so maybe my achieved coverage is better than what some of the commenters have experienced. Nevertheless my ribbon consumption has averaged 2-3 per year. At $20 a ribbon I consider that a very acceptable level of attrition. 3) Max SPL - I don't mix loud. I don't like to do that to an audience. I have heard engineers for national acts, and locals as well, mix at levels that exceeded not just good taste (IMHO) but the threshold of pain. If you are one of those guys you won't want Versarrays. But if you are comfortable mixing somewhere under 110db and want to hear more clarity and detail than you have ever heard outside of a recording studio or from an audiophile's home rig, you should consider checking out a well kept Versarray system. No, you are not going to do stadiums with them, but you can do audiences in the the thousands and get a LOT of compliments in the process. I know, because I do. Tim's, Evan's, and Jeff's comments represent a common view of Peavey products in general, and that is certainly a factor to consider if you are primarily oriented toward being a rental shop, but I will offer that I have been doing sound professionally for 40 years, and I have used virtually all of the gear they prefer. Some of it I like, some I don't, but I love the sound of my 16 box Versarray system.
 
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Reactions: Tim Tyler
Sep 12, 2012
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SW Ontario
I'm glad to hear you are having success with your rig. That said, you are making a shit ton of declarative statements that are not going to be echoed by a lot of members.

I've mixed on Versarray, it's a great sounding rig when deployed correctly, but I can think of a number of systems that I would choose over it without a moment of hesitation.
 

Bill Bennett

New member
May 4, 2019
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Baton Rouge, LA
Fair enough; everyone has their preferences, and I am certainly not saying that VR112's are the be all and end all when it comes to line arrays - far from it; but what they are is a remarkably nice sounding box with pretty exceptional sounding highs that you can buy for under $1500/box new. To my mind that is significant, and warrants a little more respect than many seem to want to extend. The choice of the ribbon driver has both advantages (they sound great) and drawbacks - they give up about 10db in efficiency to the typical compression driver. Likewise the choice of a two way configuration. Admittedly it makes performance in the octave between 1.5K and 3k sub optimum, and clearly it was a decision dictated by the target price point. All that being said, dollar for dollar I don't think they can be beat. Specifically, I mean if you start with a fixed pile of money and buy as many Versarray boxes (and required amps and processing) as you can with that money, I think it would be pretty tough to find another option that outperforms them FOR THE SAME INVESTMENT. If you think that the two VT4887's per side (that's four) you could buy for the same $$ as a dozen VR112's will outperform the Peaveys, you'd be wrong (and I own both). And I much prefer the VR112's to the (similar, but more expensive) VRX series because you just can't hang very many of those before some of them are either pointing down at the floor or up at the ceiling. I recognize that there are some lower cost options than JBL, but in general I don't think that those are any more "rider friendly" than the Peaveys and still cost significantly more, or don't sound as good, or both. I too can think of a number of systems I would choose over the VR112's, but they all cost 3-5 times as much. For some situations that may make sense; for me and my clients it didn't.
 

Jeff Babcock

Senior
Jan 11, 2011
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Ontario, Canada
jeffbabcock.org
Bill, if you are blowing several ribbons per year then you are proving my point re the headroom. I also would not want to always be worrying about losing ribbons mid-show.

What can best the Versarray at a low cost? One example: There were used Turbosound Flex Array cabs on PSW for $300/box recently or $15K for the whole rig of 28 tops and 12 subs ($40K if paired with 10 Lab Gruppen amps to power/process). No contest there, just one example of a low cost rig capable of a very large deployment. Those are 4 driver, 3 way cabs with a ton of output and can be used in both line array and point source applications, and they have pattern control down to around 400Hz not to mention Lake FIR processing.
 

Bill Bennett

New member
May 4, 2019
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Baton Rouge, LA
Bill, if you are blowing several ribbons per year then you are proving my point re the headroom. I also would not want to always be worrying about losing ribbons mid-show.

What can best the Versarray at a low cost? One example: There were used Turbosound Flex Array cabs on PSW for $300/box recently or $15K for the whole rig of 28 tops and 12 subs ($40K if paired with 10 Lab Gruppen amps to power/process).
Re: the Turbos - do any of them work? That sounds like a price for blown boxes. Seriously though and with all respect, let's compare apples to apples; Turbo FlexArray cabs (new) cost twice what VR112's cost. Just because some guy did a fire sale doesn't mean you can buy them every day at that price. Sure, an extra 6 db of max output is a nice thing to have in your pocket, but I will also observe that I have heard as many or more shows spoiled by too much level as by not enough, so I don't consider sheer output the ultimate criterion for gear. In addition I'll note that:
1) I said 2-3 three ribbons a year, not "several", a total cost of maybe $75/year, plus about an hour of labor per unit. That's about half a typical horn diaphragm replacement; and
2) When I have blown ribbons, I have never had anyone say "hey, I think I just blew one of your ribbons"; invariably it's discovered while they are being loaded back into the truck. If you have 6-8 boxes a side, losing one ribbon driver is not a show stopper, or even really very noticeable.

But if that Turbo system comes up for sale again at that price I'd like a call.
 

Jeff Babcock

Senior
Jan 11, 2011
983
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Ontario, Canada
jeffbabcock.org
Bill, you mixed up the quotes in your last attempted quote of me.
I have nothing whatsoever against Peavey. My comments about the versarray include having spent hundreds of hours using them in various scenarios. I know them well. I know their limitations and stand by my comments.

Every speaker design requires compromises. I am sincerely happy they work for you and you have gotten that much long term use out of them.

My point is that technology has evolved significantly, and while they might still be usable for your regional events, they simply would not be tolerated by more discerning shows today, around 13 years after they came to market. Take a stroll off axis and listen to around 1-2K where the front loaded woofer gets super beamy and the anemic ribbon driver is crossed too high to be of any help. Not an issue with a premium compression driver or a 3 way design, but one of versarray's main compromises to meet a price point. That's just one example.

Cheers