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Author Topic: updated speaker cluster  (Read 925 times)

Stephen Swaffer

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updated speaker cluster
« on: March 19, 2014, 09:37:54 am »

Attached are 3 pics, one of the existing cluster, and one from front and back of auditorium to give a sense of the room.  We are looking to update the auditorium and one of the "targets" is the speaker cluster.  The projector and lights will move as well-back, up and out of the way.

The primary "complaint" is appearance-to a non-sound person the exposed horns say outdoor paging system, even they they are EVs with compression drivers.   Box is EV as well, I don't have specific models, I think my records were pitched and I haven't climbed up there to get numbers.  They were installed in 1990?, I replaced the diaphragms about 6-7 years ago (my fault!).  The coverage is excellent (+ or - 2 db in seating with a small hot spot in the center maybe +3 or 4 db) according to proof of performance info we were given and I have verified that-coverage falls off outside of seating area, so really almost a textbook install that has made tuning the system very easy over the years.  I really hate to lose the sound we have-and as you would expect from the pics with little sound absorption other than pews and carpet the room is quite "live"-so I am concerned about getting too much coverage.

Given the age and concerns would you:

1. Replace? With what?
2. Conceal?  Suggestions? Providers?
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Steve Swaffer

dick rees

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Re: updated speaker cluster
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2014, 10:36:34 am »

Attached are 3 pics, one of the existing cluster, and one from front and back of auditorium to give a sense of the room.  We are looking to update the auditorium and one of the "targets" is the speaker cluster.  The projector and lights will move as well-back, up and out of the way.

The primary "complaint" is appearance-to a non-sound person the exposed horns say outdoor paging system, even they they are EVs with compression drivers.   Box is EV as well, I don't have specific models, I think my records were pitched and I haven't climbed up there to get numbers.  They were installed in 1990?, I replaced the diaphragms about 6-7 years ago (my fault!).  The coverage is excellent (+ or - 2 db in seating with a small hot spot in the center maybe +3 or 4 db) according to proof of performance info we were given and I have verified that-coverage falls off outside of seating area, so really almost a textbook install that has made tuning the system very easy over the years.  I really hate to lose the sound we have-and as you would expect from the pics with little sound absorption other than pews and carpet the room is quite "live"-so I am concerned about getting too much coverage.

Given the age and concerns would you:

1. Replace? With what?

2. Conceal?  Suggestions? Providers?

Forget the aesthetic complaints about the speaker system.  Those lights are UUUUUUgly.

Simply covering the horn outlets with some nice white acoustically transparent material will go a long way to getting the apparently properly functioning cluster to gain acceptance.  Presenting a comparison of cost to performance between the existing system and any options for a "better" system may well help.  It won't cost more than a few bucks to "pretty up" the existing array.  Let the decision makers compare that to the likely 50x-100x expenditure for new/different and the existing array will start to look much better.

That's my guess.
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Brad Weber

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Re: updated speaker cluster
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2014, 12:18:49 pm »

Attached are 3 pics, one of the existing cluster, and one from front and back of auditorium to give a sense of the room.  We are looking to update the auditorium and one of the "targets" is the speaker cluster.  The projector and lights will move as well-back, up and out of the way.
So is the planned update anything other than a 'prettying up' of the space?  Anything changing that could potentially affect how well what you have performs or how well it serves your needs?  If not and you are happy with the system 'as is' then I would certainly try to keep what you have and somehow make it aesthetically acceptable.  Maybe cover it with grille cloth or an open weave fabric that has been silkscreened to look like you have what they believe the system should look like.  ;)
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: updated speaker cluster
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2014, 01:44:46 pm »

I really wish Dick would lean to say what he means instead of beating around the bush!  The lights were put up for our Christmas play-the rentals we used to use were a LOT uglier.  Plan has been all along to move them, but we used the old location for expediency when a member wrote a check to buy them.  Current location is really just storage until we get into renovation.

Renovations will include new carpet, reupholstering pews, etc.  Some changes to platform-maybe a wood floor there.  PA will not change-so everything should be fairly minor as far as sound goes.  I am more concerned about the wood floor on the platform and monitors-but the mains don't really hit the platform at all.

You would not believe how many different people have asked me , "Should we get updated speakers?"
My answer has always been from a technical standpoint you will have what we already have-just in a box!  I have asked our pastor-who is also music-if he wants anything different sound wise and we can't think of anything we really want to change.  I invited the criticism of a visitor that runs and mixes at a recording studio and he didn't offer any suggested changes.  But I am open to suggestions.
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Steve Swaffer

Tom Young

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Re: updated speaker cluster
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2014, 07:29:12 am »

"Should we get updated speakers?".....My answer has always been from a technical standpoint you will have what we already have-just in a box!"

Not true. The drivers used in your existing system have been improved. What is used now (by EV, and others) may have significant improvements due to better mechanical/physical design, better sounding diaphragms, etc.

Many of the loudspeakers available today have very sophisticated processing going on. This may be done with DSP (so it is technically "out of the box") but may be done passively, inside the box. Or a combination of both. This, along with in-situ optimization, could yield substantially improved sound and system behavior.

"I have asked our pastor-who is also music-if he wants anything different sound wise and we can't think of anything we really want to change.  I invited the criticism of a visitor that runs and mixes at a recording studio and he didn't offer any suggested changes."

These opinions are certainly worth considering. As long as coverage is good (as well as other parameters), perhaps what would be best is to bring in a loudspeaker system specialist who can measure, listen and determine what the performance is and whether the existing system can be tweaked with DSP.

Then make the existing cluster look better (as Dick suggested) by masking the horns and perhaps even the LF section.
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Tom Young
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: updated speaker cluster
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2014, 09:24:59 pm »

One of the things going for the  current install is the use of large horns.

Something that most of the industry has chosen to "forget".

Large horns exhibit pattern control down to lower freq (which means more energy on the audience and less energy bouncing around the room.

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Ivan Beaver
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duane massey

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Re: updated speaker cluster
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2014, 01:27:40 am »

I like Brad's idea.....
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Duane Massey
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Tom Young

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Re: updated speaker cluster
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2014, 07:43:28 am »

One of the things going for the  current install is the use of large horns.

Something that most of the industry has chosen to "forget".

Large horns exhibit pattern control down to lower freq (which means more energy on the audience and less energy bouncing around the room.

Definitely.

In the process of putting both the LF and the HF sections into a single enclosure, almost all manufacturers shrink the HF horn. But the smaller HF horns do not maintain coverage as low as larger horns do and (depending on horn geometry) there also may be "pattern flip" which occurs at some frequencies. Perhaps 9-10 years ago a few manufactures woke up and came out with 2-way fullrange speakers with larger HF horns and these do a decent (or at least a better) job.

Most of the "flying junkyard" clusters have the distinct benefit of having HF horns that are (comparatively) large and provide very good pattern control, even though they may not look very streamlined. The existing cluster in the OP's church is one of these.
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Tom Young
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duane massey

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Re: updated speaker cluster
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2014, 09:29:49 am »

Back in the 70's we installed several large central clusters with large Community horns (including bass horns). The performance was outstanding (especially for that time period), and the clients all thought the sound was exceptional. All were replaced within 2 years because of complaints ranging from "It looks too loud" to "They're looking at the speakers, not me", and we received several calls soon after asking if we could come back and tune the new system so it would sound like the old one.

I still like Brad's idea.
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Duane Massey
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: updated speaker cluster
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2014, 11:25:00 pm »

I made a private mistake and intended to apologize privately, but have had private messages blocked, so will apologize publicly.

Mr Rees made he statement "50x or 100x" meaning 50 to 100 times.  I misread that as '50k to 100k"-I was taken aback thinking a cluster could cost $50,000 to $100,000 and wanted to make sure I was reading what I thought I read.

Also, in a post, I commented on Mr Rees blunt remark re the lights.  I have noticed-and chuckled-a his straight forward style-and chuckled to myself a his comment re the lights.  Of course they are ugly-and the first thing anyone notices right now!

I know I will not get solutions here-but I am after a general direction.  Obviously,  the consensus is o keep the cluster and pretty it up.  We are located in rural Iowa, any sales call would tie a salesman/engineer up for half a day at least.  As a contractor, I realize the burden of quoting/designing a job to give a cost-and hate to ask someone to do so if the job is not at least likely to happen.

In all likelihood, if I am able to do what I would like, I will hire someone from here to consult before we move forward too far.  I did not intend to be offensive or impose on anyone, and I apologize if I came across that way.

I often ask questions to learn about things I do not know about - the OP is an example of that.  I have been guilty at times over the years of asking questions that I really do not need answers to-but the answer tells me quite a bit about the respondent.   
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Steve Swaffer
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