Shootout Notes from an Anonymous Source

Be it known that this source does not work for a loudspeaker manufacturer and has no allegiance or interest to say anything good, bad, or indifferent about any of the participants at the HAS Productions shootout.

The good news about PA’s nowadays is that none of them suck (outside the far east copies you see at tradeshows in the “cheap bastard” section). Every PA system represented here would be good to work on and can make a show sound very good. Some PA’s just have that “wow” factor and in the list below, there were two that had it for me.

Here we go…by vendor

RCF – This PA always sounds legit. I have heard it several times and am always impressed with what comes out of the box. People that own it tend to act like smaller city folks defending their corner of the globe; just like when I met someone from Madison Wisconsin, the first thing out of their mouth was “we have more arts per capita than New York City”…. like I give a shit. I was going to say “great town Madison, have never drank as much beer in my life as I did there” but had to take the brunt force of why its such a great place to live. RCF owners give off this same type of vibe. PA sounds very good but they are always defending it before I can even say “nice sounding rig”. In all, a good sounding PA and would be just fine turning up to a gig with it hanging.

Nexo – I had heard so much about his PA from some friends who were out on a major country tour that rhymes with Chenny Kesney. I was able to hear the PA on a smaller scale prior to this shootout and was stunned how big and bold it was. At the HAS shootout however, I was not impressed. I am not sure if it was the tuning, or the fact that while everyone else utilized the warm sound of the Midas Pro 6 to drive their PA, Nexo drove their tracks from behind the stack. I can only assume that the Yamaha relationship made them shy away from using the Midas. What I heard was mismatched input levels, some audible distortion (from the tracks, not the PA) ho hum, and off to sleep. This was not the PA I had heard a few months earlier on a much smaller scale that rocked my world. While I know this PA can sound much better, at this shootout, last place…ding

Outline – Here was the first wow factor. This rig sounded great. It had meat, it had balls, and it had punch. I have heard Outline at several events in the last few years always walked away with happy ears. Consistent and big, this PA could tear through just about any gig (metal or jazz). First time I had been able to hear it next to other PA systems and only one outshined it, but not my much. The Outline rig kicks ass period.

Vue – Well…this was the winner. I had heard some other demos of Vue before and always thought it sounded very good. But when you get to hear it next to others, you get to hear just how good it really is. This rig had full bandwidth, power, punch, bigness, and a lot of other adjectives that are synonymous with ass kicking awesomeness. Did I mention the coverage was amazing? I knew it was good, I just didn’t realize how good. When it fired up I had the holy shit factor and that is what I want in a rig. Now on my list of must haves after what I heard. Well done Vue.

DAS – These guys are like the underdogs of the PA world. They make really good sounding stuff and a very good price. If I had to rank it, it would be #3 of what I heard. Sometimes we listen with our eyes way too much. There was an instance where the PA playing was not announced and it was assumed to be something other than DAS. When we found out is was the DAS rig, the word dammmmmmmnnn was used over an over again. Surprised ears gave it a closer listen. All who heard it said, “that rig sounds really good”. Great sounding stuff at a great price…what a concept. I have to say, I would use it anytime.

In all here are the rankings.

#1 VUE

#2 OUTLINE

#3 DAS

#4 RCF

#5 NEXO

In summary….

When I was a very young lad and I heard my first Peavey box and I was blown away (until I heard it next to some EV box). That said, it is not until you hear side-by-side comparisons that you understand and hear what strengths or weaknesses a system has. Thanks to HAS Productions for putting this on. I can’t wait for the next one.

PS: Speaker dudes…. get some new demo music. Amaze us with some new finds that showcase YOUR system. Jennifer Warnes, Steely Dan, and the Eagles are what the aforementioned copycats of your products are using to try and make their systems sound decent. Don’t be that freaking guy ☺