Detailed review of the Q-Factor hornloaded FOH boxes from Peavey

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Posted by Phill Graham on July 01, 2000 at 11:54:24:

The background:
Just returned from an abbreviated stay (ends sunday morning) at Creation Festival, the largest Christian music festival (80,000+ attendance). This show has 2 stages. The main stage is done my Creative Audio using an all Adamson rig. The smaller stage usually gets an audience of a couple thousand or so. This year this smaller stage was done by a Peavey sponsored rig.

My reference points(boxes I have good familiarity with):
MSL4
KF 850
KF 650
Peavey SP5XT

The listening situation:
6 different bands, 1 rap act. The acts were of varying talent and covered genres from hardcore to punk to alternative. The same FOH mixer mixed all the bands (Peavey guy-a very cordial and professional guy named Ladd). He was a very proficient mixer and obtained good mixes for all the bands. He uses (and in most case mixes) with custom Westone musicians plugs with the 15db filter in place, keeping ear fatigue to a minimum. The volumes were moderate (and I'm anal about volume), I had no meter with me, but I'd guess 95dBA at FOH based on my own threshold shift. My ears are young (20 something) and still good to 18khz. The stage is outdoors away from any major structures to cause acoustics problems.

The Gear:
FOH was a Crest (now a Peavey company) Century. Monitor board was also a Crest (didn't get to see which one). DSP processing for FOH was provided by 2 Peavey CEX 5's. FX was a rack of Behringer Composers, and a rack of Peavey gate/comps/multifx. The toms/kick gated with Composers, and the snare was also lightly gated with a Composer. The fx were all from Peavey unit. Handheld mic's were Peavey 22 (one of my personal favorite inexpensive mic's). Wireless mic's I forgot to ask about, but they didn't look like Peavey. Drum overheads were Peavey 480 condensor mic's (also a nice mic). Kick was a D112.
Monitors were the DTH 15"/2" biamp (which can get stupid loud), with DTH sidefills.
The amps were CS 800 and Peavey's new GPS 3500 (3500 watts into 4 ohms when bridged). It was upper 80's both thursday and friday, with the rig running continuously from noon till 7pm both days. The amps had no problem with this.
Power was 100 amp single phase.
FOH graphic (also peavey) was run almost flat, cept for a shallow dip (couple db) at both 400hz and 3k.
Staging was a fold-out truck provided by Mountain.

The FOH boxes:
This is the top box
This is the sub

To see what the boxes look like, go click the links. Without measuring them I'd say they are narrower and slightly taller than an 850. They use a very similar (to the 850) atm double L-track flying system. The top box is a dual 12" w/ 2", all hornloaded. The 2" horn flare is mounted in the flare of the upper 12" driver. The 12" has a neodymium magnent. The 2" is apparently an improvement on the 44xt. Box is biamped (don't know xo points/rates). This configuration is very similar to the Xarray boxes. Amps, as mentioned above are CS 800/GPS 3500 (to be replaced by Crest at some point.)
The sub is a dual 18" ported with same dimensions/flyware as the top. There are plenty of handles, and the grill look very sturdy. I don't know how much they weigh.

5 tops and 5 subs a side
Subs on the ground, tight packed.
Top boxes stacked on the stage, 3 on the bottom row, and 2 more on the top row (above the outer most 2 in the lower row).

The long awaited review:

I'll start with the tops (b/c I liked them better). I walked the whole venue area front to back, and side to side. Ladd tapered the inside boxes on the lower leve of the array, so the people right up front center weren't getting killed.
The first thing I noticed is that they gave very even coverage of the venue, the transitions b/t adjacent boxes were quite smooth (credit Charlies simple, high directivity flares). The second thing I noticed is that they seemed very composed. It was obvious they had plenty of output left to spare. Even up close they were quite listenable (though not for very long, due to the output levels), certainly more than an 850. I didn't hear any major anomalies in the sound. They are what I would call a "smooth" box, but not a "mellow" one.
For the 2 best bands on thursday Pax 217 (similar to 311), and Project 86 (put Rage Against the Machine and Tool together) the boxes really slammed--I though project sounded better than their album.
I certainly won't say they are the best box I've ever heard (indeed I thought the Adamson main stage array sounded better), but they arrayed very well, looked very durable, and were very solid for rock and roll without making you feel burned out after a couple hours of listening. If they have a Peavey price tag attached to them, I really think Peavey has a winner.

Now for the subs (not quite as favorable)
Clean and punchy, good for kick drum, but not huge quantities of extension, nor will they knock you flat on your back (and it wasn't from underpowering) If you end up buying them, I I would probably buy 1.5 subs/top. If Charlie reads this, I'd be curious to find out what kind of alignment (QB3, SBB4, some 6th order?) is used in the subs, b/c they had a nice clean impact to them. Ladd tells me they have a high power driver in the works, and I certainly like the idea of the field replacable basket. When they get the high power driver up and running, I'd like to give them another listen. I'd also like to give them a listen w/ crest power.

I hope I covered all the bases, and let you know any biases that might have crept in. I really think the top was nice, and that sub has potential. Thanks to Ladd for being cordial and professional--he's definitely putting a good foot forward on Peavey's behalf.

If someone would like to hear my thoughts on the adamson rig, please email/post something to that effect.

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Phill Graham

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