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Author Topic: Sound System Design Help  (Read 2720 times)

dick rees

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Re: Sound System Design Help
« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2014, 02:35:53 pm »

I am just as mystified about the power supply as you are. I honestly think it's got something to do with the host venues. Most of the competition hosts (at least for the indoor circuits) are held in high schools where the high voltage circuits to tie into are unavailable. There are several competitions in larger arenas, but they try to keep everything even across the board. So since the high schools can't provide high voltage circuits, neither can the arenas. True, the high schools could get industrial generators to provide the extra voltage, but that adds expense and for the host schools it would break the bank to rent that kind of power for the day. Since these events typically cost an audience member between $5 and $7 dollars there's not a huge profit margin and since the ensembles have been working with a single 120V power source for several years now, I don't see the governing organizations changing that anytime soon...unfortunately.

Saying "a single 120V source" tells us very little. It's the available amperes that make the difference.  If the voltage is 120, there could be 15-20 amps available.  There could be more.  If there's a quad-outlet, there could well be four 20 amp circuits to use.

You need to provide better info.
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Jason Porter

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Re: Sound System Design Help
« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2014, 03:16:34 pm »

Saying "a single 120V source" tells us very little. It's the available amperes that make the difference.  If the voltage is 120, there could be 15-20 amps available.  There could be more.  If there's a quad-outlet, there could well be four 20 amp circuits to use.

You need to provide better info.

My apologies on the poor info. Given that we compete at different venues the only info I know about the provided electricity is what's stated in the contest director info. They are very vague with their descriptions and typically say something along the lines of "power will be provided on the front side of the performance area via 1 heavy duty extension cord." Based on what I know from the contest info, I am not able to provide amps available, number of outlets the extension cord is plugged into, etc.
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drew gandy

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Re: Sound System Design Help
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2014, 03:21:07 pm »

What mystifies me is that why the addition of tech to what has for decades been an acoustic performance form is power limited to a single outlet. 

Have you ever been to Nascar?  [I haven't but I think my following parallel works]

In my head, this sounds like turning the competition into a team sport using "more" team members than previously required.  Auto racing is as much about the vehicle and crew (and technical requirements) as it is about the "art" the driver may perform on the track.  In that way, I rather find this drum thing appealing.  I'm curious how the grading systems work and if the judges have a "sophisticated" view or if the most "dazzle" just automatically wins.

What's next?  Strobe lighting and fog machines?   
« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 03:32:10 pm by drew gandy »
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drew gandy

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Re: Sound System Design Help
« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2014, 03:27:41 pm »

...Based on what I know from the contest info, I am not able to provide amps available, number of outlets the extension cord is plugged into, etc.

Based on the fact that this is in a gym and with limited power.... I don't understand [well, I really do understand but] all these 15s & 18s being used.  You need big horns.  High efficiency and pattern control.  Make those 15 amps (at 120v) sing! 

Get Art Welter to send you some maltese horns and some giant bass bins along with a custom made cart with scrim (nice idea, put sponsor ads on it).  Ask some folks on here for more tips about making a system quick to setup.  (hint, amp rack with NL connectors, not powered speakers) And please explain how you handle that many inputs in 2 minutes! 
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Brad Weber

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Re: Sound System Design Help
« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2014, 04:27:34 pm »

As I mentioned above in this post, the "soundstage" is becoming a very important part of an ensembles performance, especially in the drum and bugle corps/marching band performances. For example, one system I saw last summer a drum and bugle corps ensemble using had 1 15" speaker on the 25 yard lines, the "main" stage stack consisting of dual 15" speakers over dual 18" subs on about the 35 yard lines, and dual 15" speakers setup vertically on about the 45 yard lines. All were on varying angles to ensure the sound was getting up to about the 400 level of Lucas Oil Stadium which is where the judges they're trying to appeal to are sitting. This setup set their "soundstage" from 25 yard line to 25 yard line and allowed them to use some awesome panning effects that in previous years would've been difficult to do. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, the people coming to support the ensembles understand that the farther you sit away from the center of the competition area (be it a football field or basketball court) the less clear the sound will be. But it comes with the territory of the activity.
Do you mix from where the Judges are located?  If not then how do you assess what the Judges hear in terms of the reinforced/acoustic balance and soundstage?
 
For the system I need a minimum of 2 subs, but ideally 4 total, preferably 18" - a couple I've been looking at are the EV TX2181, the EV TX1181, and the JBL PRX418S. I'm also looking at 4 mains with 15" woofers - a couple I've been looking at are the EV TX1152 and the JBL PRX415M. Reasoning for 4 mains is simply for the high end, but if something like the EV TX2152 or the JBL PRX425 would work for great high end sound I would not be opposed to them. Finally, I need to power it all. Again, because of application, daisy chaining would be the most practical way to connect all of the speakers in a L/R setup.
I'm not clear on why you would need 4 mains if all you really want is 'stereo' coverage for where the the Judges are located as any additional sources, be it for additional coverage or output, would seem to work against what you are trying to achieve and it appears that one sub and one main located together wherever you want left and right to originate from would do what you want.  And if you're using subs then you probably don't need mains with 15" woofers, 12" woofers will likely do fine and allow for smaller, lighter boxes.  If you are having to work on a budget, and the budget is likely a critical factor, as well as limited power then fewer, higher quality, greater sensitivity speakers may be your best bet.
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Jason Porter

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Re: Sound System Design Help
« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2014, 04:45:26 pm »

Do you mix from where the Judges are located?  If not then how do you assess what the Judges hear in terms of the reinforced/acoustic balance and soundstage?

Yes, I mix from where the judges are located. With the improving technology they lifted the rule banning that and now they give us a seat near the farthest judges from the competition area to mix.

I'm not clear on why you would need 4 mains if all you really want is 'stereo' coverage for where the the Judges are located as any additional sources, be it for additional coverage or output, would seem to work against what you are trying to achieve and it appears that one sub and one main located together wherever you want left and right to originate from would do what you want.  And if you're using subs then you probably don't need mains with 15" woofers, 12" woofers will likely do fine and allow for smaller, lighter boxes.  If you are having to work on a budget, and the budget is likely a critical factor, as well as limited power then fewer, higher quality, greater sensitivity speakers may be your best bet.

We wouldn't necessarily need 4 mains, it's just a setup that I've seen that seems to work well. I'm not sure what the ensemble's thinking behind it is. I was just going with the school of though, the more mains the higher the overall SPL. I'm probably way off with that idea and as you stated it'd probably be best achieved by going with fewer, higher quality, greater sensitivity mains.
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Jason Porter

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Re: Sound System Design Help
« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2014, 05:03:41 pm »

And please explain how you handle that many inputs in 2 minutes!

I'll explain how I handle all of those inputs, no problem.

We have the X32 console and, because of budget, bought the Gator road case for it that we then built a cart for. Then we modified the case so that we can leave almost everything connected to the inputs and outputs on the console.
For the 14 mics, I've attached mic cables to the frames of all the instruments starting at center and working my way to the ends. At center are 2 female breakouts (part of a modular snake system made by Planet Waves)(one that 6 mics plug into and one 8 mics plug into) that I've mounted to the instrument frame and I leave all of the cables I can plugged into it to make the daisy chain process easier. Each breakout condenses the 8 inputs to a serial connector. Each instrument dasiy chains to the instrument next to it so as you go from center out there are less cables to plug in (furthest player has one cable to plug in while player just off center has 4 to 6 cables to plug in). From the breakout there's a core cable that I leave connected to the male breakouts that are plugged into the corresponding input channels.
The guitar, bass, and synthesizer players connect their cables to their corresponding inputs while we wait to perform so when we get in the competition area to setup it's as simple as grabbing their cable and connecting it to their instrument.

It sounds really confusing but by using 2 Planet Waves modular snake systems that are attached and over 3/4 the way connected, to hook up 14 mics is as simple as plugging in 2 cables.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Sound System Design Help
« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2014, 05:15:46 pm »

I definitely understand that this is not the general goal of a system design. But the people who come to the show to support the ensembles understand that they're not going to a concert where everything will be crystal clear no matter where you're sitting. It just comes with the territory of the activity. It's not something that the ensembles do intentionally, but a side effect of the application in which we have to use these systems.

It's a sad that it's come to this: the elites (judges) get the quality while the serfs (audience) get the shaft. And the serfs are OK with that. Kind of kills whatever must've been the original purpose of the competitions: to expose a lot of people to a lot of talent. Now all they get is a crud experience (except for the elites). Welcome to politics.

A sound system tuned for only one portion of the venue while completely ignoring the rest of the venue will result in the sound being worse in the rest of the venue than if there were no sound system at all.

Rant over.


EDIT: The original version of this post contained a term with racial undertones. I only learned of those undertones after I posted. If you saw that and were offended, I'm sorry.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 05:22:05 pm by Jonathan Johnson »
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Art Welter

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Re: Sound System Design Help
« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2014, 06:30:48 pm »

I was just going with the school of though, the more mains the higher the overall SPL. I'm probably way off with that idea and as you stated it'd probably be best achieved by going with fewer, higher quality, greater sensitivity mains.
High SPL and coherency are more easily achieved from a single location.

Even though a single location can cover the entire audience and judging area, it can be run stereo (or 3 or 4 channel), and very wide panning effects can be utilized if desired.

With a central cluster behind the performers, the precedence (Haas) effect will still make the individual locations of sound (each live acoustic performer) easily located, while the usual setup in front of the performers smears location detection ability, ruining the natural sound stage.

Art
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Tom Roche

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Re: Sound System Design Help
« Reply #39 on: February 21, 2014, 06:42:55 pm »

High SPL and coherency are more easily achieved from a single location.

Even though a single location can cover the entire audience and judging area, it can be run stereo (or 3 or 4 channel), and very wide panning effects can be utilized if desired.

With a central cluster behind the performers, the precedence (Haas) effect will still make the individual locations of sound (each live acoustic performer) easily located, while the usual setup in front of the performers smears location detection ability, ruining the natural sound stage.

Art
Art discusses "sound stage" in the same terms as I understand it.  To the OP, is this what you mean when discussing "soundstage"?
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