This is probably the biggest Pro Audio Question ever! Great gear and/or a great sound guy? This is what I think. It is great to have incredible gear but if the sound guy is crap its game over! No doubt, there is a minimum standard a good guy needs to get a good sound for you act. And the gear needs to be appropriate for your act/venue. At Glenn Smith Event Production Hire we strive to find a balance between great gear and price but the sound guy will always get you there! I have seen Nexo gear sound crap and Behringer gear sound amazing and otherwise! It is great sound guys that make it happen. Gear that is really maintained will go a long way to make your event amazing!
My view on this is that if you can hand craft products there are some great advantages. I have 15 x Behringer 18 in sub woofer speakers and my main complaint is that while the speaker drivers are great the boxes are are not as well made as they could be. I have built some heavy duty boxes (but light wieght due to advanced desigh) based on thier design and the results have really been really pleasing. These boxes use loads of 45mm screws, proper slotted joints, 3mm aluminium silent grill and highest qualtiy glue and produce outstanding sound and endurance. No crappy staples used here!
Which is the best gear? American, European, Chinese? In days gone by I would have said USA or English. In days gone by I have used gear from companies including Soundcraft, JBL, RCF, Phase linear, DBX etc. I have had to do many repairs on this gear and it has not been perfect! In the last few years chinese companies have been producing some really well made gear at very competitive prices. Bob audio are a top end producer and make great gear. Behringer with a slightly shaky past are now producing some great gear, especially the X32 line up. I have used some chinese made 'Ande' components and they are terrific. I recently bought some EV USA made speakers, ETX35p, in which the 15 in driver failed twice. It was repaired under warranty and do sound great
but shows that everything made in the USA is not perfect!