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Author Topic: Nightmare Venue  (Read 7931 times)

Bob Burke

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Nightmare Venue
« on: March 09, 2011, 09:36:14 AM »

  Hello all. I was hoping that some of you experienced sound guys could help me.

  Last Saturday night we played a “ballroom” at a local VFW hall. Rectangular room, cinder block walls, stage set in the middle of one of the long walls with a huge mirror covering the facing wall! Needless to say, it was an audio nightmare. We only have a small SOS system, S115V's powered by a QSC PLX1804. I knew that pointing the mains directly at the opposite wall would be a disaster, so I opted for aiming them inward. It didn't help much.

  Is there anything that can be done to lessen the effect of all of this sound bouncing off of hard surfaces? We will probably have to play this place again, and I would like to get better sound.


Thanks.


Bob

bruce gering

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Re: Nightmare Venue
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2011, 09:58:08 AM »

  Hello all. I was hoping that some of you experienced sound guys could help me.

  Last Saturday night we played a “ballroom” at a local VFW hall. Rectangular room, cinder block walls, stage set in the middle of one of the long walls with a huge mirror covering the facing wall! Needless to say, it was an audio nightmare. We only have a small SOS system, S115V's powered by a QSC PLX1804. I knew that pointing the mains directly at the opposite wall would be a disaster, so I opted for aiming them inward. It didn't help much.

  Is there anything that can be done to lessen the effect of all of this sound bouncing off of hard surfaces? We will probably have to play this place again, and I would like to get better sound.


Thanks.


Bob

2 words: Pipe and Drape.
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Nightmare Venue
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2011, 10:00:43 AM »

  Hello all. I was hoping that some of you experienced sound guys could help me.

  Last Saturday night we played a “ballroom” at a local VFW hall. Rectangular room, cinder block walls, stage set in the middle of one of the long walls with a huge mirror covering the facing wall! Needless to say, it was an audio nightmare. We only have a small SOS system, S115V's powered by a QSC PLX1804. I knew that pointing the mains directly at the opposite wall would be a disaster, so I opted for aiming them inward. It didn't help much.

  Is there anything that can be done to lessen the effect of all of this sound bouncing off of hard surfaces? We will probably have to play this place again, and I would like to get better sound.


Thanks.


Bob

I played those places for over 30 years.  So my advice to you is this:

Have fun, take the money, don't worry.

You can also make sure your amps are as close to you as possible and as low volume as can be.  Tilt back stands are your friends.  Don't point the amps at the audience.  Vocals only in the PA.
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Bob Burke

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Re: Nightmare Venue
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2011, 10:12:15 AM »

Thanks for responding. I've got to look into getting some tilters for my stands. We use backing tracks, so vocals only isn't possible.

  Maybe I'll try Bob Leonard's method of placing the mains behind the band. The weirdest thing was that the bounced sound actually made the tracks sound off-key. Never had that happen before.

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Nightmare Venue
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2011, 10:24:35 AM »

  Hello all. I was hoping that some of you experienced sound guys could help me.

  Last Saturday night we played a “ballroom” at a local VFW hall. Rectangular room, cinder block walls, stage set in the middle of one of the long walls with a huge mirror covering the facing wall! Needless to say, it was an audio nightmare. We only have a small SOS system, S115V's powered by a QSC PLX1804. I knew that pointing the mains directly at the opposite wall would be a disaster, so I opted for aiming them inward. It didn't help much.

  Is there anything that can be done to lessen the effect of all of this sound bouncing off of hard surfaces? We will probably have to play this place again, and I would like to get better sound.

Thanks.

Bob

Fixing a room requires some heavy-duty EQ.  The best correction is applied with the D-9 Room EQ.


Failing that, Dick and Bruce offer good advice... I see you use tracks and understand the slap off the opposite wall is the problem.  First, find something like the Balanced Tilter® made by forum contributor Nimrod Webber.  Pricey but an exceptional piece of construction.  K-M also makes an angled piece for their speaker stands.  The idea is to give your speakers a 10° or so downward tilt to get the sound down on the absorptive people and not the hard wall or ceiling.

Some kind of absorptive material on the opposite wall will help.  The suggestion of pipe & drape is a good one, but make sure to rent velour drape, not the "banjo cloth" used for trade show booths.  You don't need to cover the entire wall, but at least the part this receives direct sound from your speakers.

Dick also mentions aiming your amps... he's referring to guitar or keyboard amps.  The idea is the same as PA speakers.. you don't want them aimed at the wall, nor do you really want them aimed at the back of your legs (unless your ears have moved there).

The overall plan is to "excite" the room as little as possible by keeping the acoustic energy aimed at the people who need/want to hear the music.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
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Jay Barracato

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Re: Nightmare Venue
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2011, 11:34:36 AM »


  First, find something like the Balanced Tilter® made by forum contributor Nimrod Webber.  Pricey but an exceptional piece of construction.  K-M also makes an angled piece for their speaker stands.  The idea is to give your speakers a 10° or so downward tilt to get the sound down on the absorptive people and not the hard wall or ceiling.


People are great for dispersing the sound. Getting the mains high and pointed down is my first checkmark for a small room. I have the balanced tilters and love them.
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Re: Nightmare Venue
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2011, 01:14:41 PM »

People are great for dispersing the sound.

It's a VFW.  Try having them give free beer to all women over 200 pounds.  Seat them in front of the mirror......
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Jordan Wolf

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Re: Nightmare Venue
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2011, 01:22:35 PM »

Dick also mentions aiming your amps... he's referring to guitar or keyboard amps.  The idea is the same as PA speakers.. you don't want them aimed at the wall, nor do you really want them aimed at the back of your legs (unless your ears have moved there).

The OP might want to check out these.  Tilting separate head and cabinet models is another issue, since people like the look of them sitting one top of each other "as they should be".

Try cross-firing the amps from the sides of the stage.  That can help reduce the monitoring levels needed by the group as a whole while keeping the stage wash from contaminating the FOH mix too much.

It has been my experience that [many] guitarists bring amps that are too powerful for the size gigs they normally play OR don't know how to keep their levels under control when using a larger amp (the power's there, why not use it, right?).

EDIT: New forum feature!  I was just warned to re-check the thread because someone posted while I was replying...definitely a great feature!
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Bob Burke

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Re: Nightmare Venue
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2011, 07:48:52 AM »

Thanks for the link Jordan. That looks like a great piece of gear. I use the old standard amp stand now. I'll have to try one of those Standbacks.

  We don't normally have a problem with stage volume. I use an acoustic/electric through a little Peavey Classic 30  and my wife plays through a Fender Bassman 250/210, and we only push 600 watts through the mains. I try to keep the FOH volume down to around 90dB (hence the name of our duo). 8)

  I'll try firing the amps from the sides and see if that helps.
 

Todd Huffines

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Re: Nightmare Venue
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2011, 11:40:02 AM »

I love it when playing in a room like you describe and someone walks up to me and asks me to turn back the reverb.  I have a piece of tape on the lights on my power conditioner.  I let them turn the light sockets and adjust to their taste. 

Its entertaining to say the least.
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Re: Nightmare Venue
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2011, 11:40:02 AM »


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