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Author Topic: When do you "grow" into the need for a dedicated loudspeaker controller?  (Read 3641 times)

Karl P(eterson)

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soundie wrote on Thu, 17 March 2005 11:52

In terms of "install" vs. "touring" applications, am I correct in assuming that the "touring" boxes are often overkill for an install app because they require the flexiblity of quickly making adjustments to new venues, etc? (I am also assuming here that the touring boxes would be useful in the install settings that see multiple types of acts--i.e. performing arts venues)

Or are there specific features that are specific for install applications that the touring models do not have?



Yes

No

Explanation:  Touring boxes are only overkill in the fact that they normally have fairly comprehensive front panel control when they don't often need it in an install as once you get the sound dialed in - it shouldn't be changed.

On the other hand, a lot of touring boxes are "underkill" in that they have a predefined routing structure, which can be quite limited in an install situation where you may be doing all sorts of "weird" things. Most touring boxes also have physically limited I/O forcing you to buy more boxes than you may need of "install" processors which tend to have more I/O.

As for having a processor you can manipulate for incoming bands, I have more than a little bit of an opinion on this one. No one should be touching the main processors. There should be secondary processors inline that take care of this and have remotes on them / etc. My Personal belief is that if your church is under 800~1000ish people, there is no reason to invest in this system because anyone playing at your level, simply doesn't warrant the expense of this separate system, and probably would do more harm than good with it. If you are over this level _AND_ see higher quality acts, you may choose to invest in this. The question then becomes how much you are willing to spend. The least expensive "real" way would probably be to do a rack of Ashley Protea G4.24GS digital eq's with a 4.24rd remote. The next way would be to do a rack of dbx 481's with a 480r remote setup and have everything but the eq locked out. The best and most expensive way would be to use the new Tc Electronics EQStation. In any case, I would recommend against in any way using the main processor for eq purposes.

Karl "Opinions, Opinions" P
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Jeff Foster

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In our new worship center, part of our budget was for new amps and speakers for the sound system.  We kept all the sound booth equipment as it is still in very good shape.  The contractor recommended a DBX DriveRack PA for loudspeaker control but after reviewing his proposal and the different DriveRacks, I had him get us the DriveRack 260.  It is used for our house speakers only, although we may add zone speakers (hallway, nursery) at a later date.  I have been very pleased with it's ease of use and performance.  I also like the fact that it can be locked at certain levels so I can give my staff access to only what they need and don't have to worry about the EQ being changed accidentally.

To further answer your question, our new worship center is built to house 550 in the auditorium.  We had outgrown our old auditorium so our equipment purchase just came with the new building.  Having used it (the DriveRack) now, I wish we would have gotten one a long time ago.

Jeff
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Jeff Foster
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Northside Baptist Church
Carrollton Texas
www.nsbcc.org

soundie

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I've heard good things about the TC EQStation.  How would you rate the Lake MESA EQ against the TC?
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Karl P(eterson)

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I wouldn't mind using either?

Seriously, do you want a ferrari enzo or a saleen s7?

Both cost over halve a mil, both are helliciously fast and mighty in horsepower.


But you know what? A guy with a beautiful late 60's GTO, a decent sense of engineering, 45 thousand in the drive train and another 30 in the exterior / interior (about 100k in total on the car) could keep up if not exceed the performance of those other cars. It may even have a/c.

The reality, and point of the matter, is that you probably don't need the lake products, the eq station, or even dbx 480/4800 grade products. These are great units, but even the low end ones (including some of behringers products, however much I don't like to say it) have more than enough audio quality to handle most installations. The reason we use large media matrix or soundweb systems has more to do with the needed signal routing than anything else. Seriously look into the list I gave you earlier, and also the Allen Heath iDR unit, I forgot it and its also a good product.

Karl P
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Tom Young

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I may not be the type of "user" you were looking for a reply from.  I am a consultant who designs and improves sound systems, mostly for HOW. I do believe my insights are valid, however.

In my experience there is much to be gained from the modern-day digital processors used as loudspeaker management systems. But they can only really improve things under one of two conditions:

1) you use the manufacturer's settings and they are implemented correctly.  In this case you also use a graphic EQ to fine-tune the system to its environment. Unfortunately, implementation of manufacturer's settings is not simply a case of reading from a spec sheet or manual and then entering the data into the DSP. Often, and specifially with parametric filter settings, the numbers employed by the manufacturer (and derived with their processor) do not end up having the same response when used with a different processor. So this really is not a "done deal" method.

2) you hire a measurement specialist who conducts complete measurement and optimization of your loudspeaker system followed by further measurements when the congregation is present.

If the average volunteer, part-time or semi-skilled sound system technician buys one of these DSP's and expects to "optimize" the loudspeaker system on their own and with all of the parameter choices that are available in dsp, they are simply going to fail and may damage the system in the process.

You may notice I have not referred to system size. I work with churches and systems of all sizes and because DSP has become so affordable I simply do not bother optimizing a system without it. No matter whether the system consists of a small cluster or two column ldspkrs or two fullrange loudspeakers on stands OR is a medium or large size multi-channel system with delay fills and subwoofers.... they all can be improved tremendously when measured and optimized with a complex measurement system and someone who knows what they are doing with it.

In summary: simply buying a DSP and making semi-blind guesses at how to set it up does not make much sense at all. You will either use very few of the processing functions and not improve things much at all OR you will be get in over your head and end up with very questionable response from the system. Modern day DSP providesa a huge amount of functions and choices but you need to know what you are doing to put them to good use.

In the process of buying a DSP AND paying a qualified specialist to optimize your system, you will end up with a sound system that is far easier to mix on, is less prone to feedback and ear fatigue, does not need to be turned up as loud for a sense of power, lasts longer (fewer driver failures) and will behave the same way for a long period of time.
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Tom Young, Church Sound section moderator
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Oxford CT
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Bob.Witte

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We have a small Church - about 100, but we have used a Driverack PA for our own group - needed the crossover etc. so when we needed to update our Church eq system, we went with the DRPA. It is not difficult to use and any church that may need a crossover someday should seriously consider this or another processor. Also, the ability to low cut even full range speakers will prolong their life - we low cut our Mackie SRM450's at about 45 Hz with the crossover settings (no subs at Church yet).

We even have used the feedback reduction capability for baptisms, where the microphone is about 10 feet in front of one of our main speakers. The feedback reduction gave us another 3-4 dB of gain before feedback.

So, if you can learn how to use them well (get a simple unit if you are not experienced), then they are well worth the investment.
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Bob
Cascading Waters Audio
cascadingwatersaudio.com
blog.cascadingwatersaudio.com

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