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Author Topic: Your thounghts on a system for small home "coktail partys"  (Read 2143 times)

Sebatian Ochoa

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Your thounghts on a system for small home "coktail partys"
« on: February 19, 2008, 10:51:39 am »


I have been asked to help a good friend with a loudspeaker system that he can install in his house (terrace) for parties (not the type where one needs SR systems, but rather a small system for good quality background music). My take is that the speakers should be very non-directional to have good coverage and to avoiding ceiling placement. Typical home systems (bose-type satelites, bookshelf or floorstanding speakers) are way too directional such that people sitting on a squared arrangement of sofas/chairs can have good uniform coverage and (more or less) stereo image. The typical solution seen often is to hang speakers from the ceiling either at an angle of aiming downwards (ceiling in-wall coaxes), but I too often have the feeling the position makes music unnatural (like being placed under the band!). Traditional ear height placement as in hifi would be much nicer.

I would like to know your thoughts on this kind of system and any suggestions concerning omnidirectional speakers on the market.




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Weogo Reed

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Re: Your thounghts on a system for small home "coktail partys"
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2008, 11:02:53 am »

Hi Sebatian,

This topic probably ought to be in The Basement...

"The typical solution seen often is to hang speakers from the ceiling either at an angle of aiming downwards (ceiling in-wall coaxes), but I too often have the feeling the position makes music unnatural (like being placed under the band!)."

Just imagine that you are at a concert, with the band up on a stage and this placement will sound better.


"Traditional ear height placement as in hifi would be much nicer."

For a small gathering of people, maybe.
For a large gathering, the people near the speakers will absorb much of the sound and those farther away will hear less.  Might be desirable, I don't know your friend's situation.
How many folks are actually going to notice the difference?


"I would like to know your thoughts on this kind of system and any suggestions concerning omnidirectional speakers on the market."

I have heard the Danley SH100s.  Excellent sound and quite wide dispersion.

Good health,  Weogo
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Lee Douglas

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Re: Your thoughts on a system for small home "cocktail parties"
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2008, 11:23:47 am »

If this is truly for background music only, the answer is more speakers in more places with the appropriate distribution equipment.  Coverage is the key here.  Two speakers hanging off of the ceiling is not going to jive with most interior decors or for that matter with most wives.  It's also going to make the space in front of them much too loud if it's going to reach other areas and rooms.  Reconsider in-ceiling or in-wall speakers but in multiple pairs.  Add a sub-woofer for extended bass.  For outdoor applications there are a number of non-directional solutions and even a powered sub-woofer derived from the Sunfire sub.  Having the correct distribution equipment is essential, using at the very least, impedance matching volume controls in each zone.Please keep in mind that none of these suggestions are suitable for sound reinforcement, and I would never recommend them for such.
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Sebatian Ochoa

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Re: Your thounghts on a system for small home "coktail partys"
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2008, 12:03:50 pm »

Weogo and Lee,

I should have been more specific. The type of parties/settings he (my friend) is thinking about are actually small gatherings (10-20 persons)sitting on a terrace (i.e. only one room) that is about 18ft x 13ft and 10ft height, open on two sides (actually front and side).  The music is mostly just over background-level, but good quality is expected. The volume is sometimes cranked up, but never at PA levels.  

I have two tapped horn subs (homemade, small 60-150Hz), and I was thinking about the mains. The SH100 are a good wide-dispersion solution, but for the specific application I have the feeling they are overkill.  I was rather thinking along the lines of Hi-Fi/home speakers or ceiling coaxes.  Near ear-level placement is in my opinion more natural that sitting under the source, but getting uniform dispersion is the problem.  
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Rob Timmerman

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Re: Your thounghts on a system for small home "coktail partys"
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2008, 12:47:05 pm »

Getting wide dispersion at high frequencies is difficult.  About the best you can do without getting into esoteric technologies is to accept a gradual roll-off of the high frequencies as you get progressively further off-axis from the loudspeakers.

Depending on budget, I'd take a look at the Tannoy V series, the l'acoustic 8xt, and EAW's JF and UB series.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Your thoughts on a system for small home "cocktail parties"
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2008, 01:56:01 pm »

You can probably get the job done adequately with a pair of plastic boxes mounted in two corners high enough to not be easily obstructed by furniture or people. You can probably drive them from the home-owner's living room system to modest levels.

Depending on how loud and how low you want to go will determine whether to buy 15", 12" or smaller 2 way boxes.

Even plastic boxes are heavy enough to hurt somebody if they fall but mounting them in corners and away from traffic areas may reduce human exposure. I am nervous about DIY speaker flying but several of the plastic boxes have adequate attachment points to be safely secured without too much effort.

JR
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Sebatian Ochoa

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Re: Your thoughts on a system for small home "cocktail parties"
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2008, 03:35:10 pm »

Just spoke to my friend again and he is leaning towards the ceiling coaxes.  So here are my two questions: 1) how good are the better 8" coaxes (for example as the ones in the TAnnOY v8?)  and 2) how much do you like/dislike sources over your head?


PS:Thanks to everyone that has contributed.
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Dick Rees

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Re: Your thoughts on a system for small home "cocktail parties"
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2008, 05:16:03 pm »

Check this out:

http://www.jblpro.com/businessmusic/SZCManual.pdf

I picked up one of these when my pro audio store took it out to use the newer JBL system.....which was nowhere near as good.  I like the sound of this one so much that I put my name on the wall for if they would ever sell it.  Unfortunately, they no longer make this model.  But the four wide dispersal mid/hi's with the control unit/subwoofer are fabulous.
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SteveKirby

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Re: Your thoughts on a system for small home "cocktail parties"
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2008, 06:10:46 pm »

Sebatian Ochoa wrote on Tue, 19 February 2008 14:35

Just spoke to my friend again and he is leaning towards the ceiling coaxes.  So here are my two questions: 1) how good are the better 8" coaxes (for example as the ones in the TAnnOY v8?)  and 2) how much do you like/dislike sources over your head?


PS:Thanks to everyone that has contributed.


If the idea is to get a general distribution of sound, as opposed to listening to a specifc source, then ceiling speakers are great.  I particularly like them for home theatre surround.  Unobtrusive, more than adequate for the band limiting in Pro Logic (which most digital films are still mixed to be compatible with given all the reversions in theatres), and if you get a few up there it gives a great sense of ambience without localization effects.  For the OP it will take quite a few to get the levels up.  But a larger quantity of speakers is preferable to a few large ones.  The idea is to get even distribution and rely on the precedence effect from the nearest driver.  Given the rigidity of a drywall ceiling you aren't going to get really low (although the near infinite baffle will give you nice mid bass).  You can put some small thump boxes in the corners of the room if the host wants to dance.
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Chris Davis

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Ken Longo

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Re: Your thounghts on a system for small home "coktail partys"
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2008, 12:14:55 am »

http://www.qsc.com/products/speakers/acoustic_design/acousti cdesign.htm   I have installed these in similar situations as yours and they worked out great. The horns can be rotated so the speakers can be hung horizontal or vertical. The mounting bracket options are pretty cool too...also available with the optional transformer for 70 volt use.
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