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Author Topic: Speakers for low ceiling large room  (Read 6429 times)

Matthew Ramsey

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Speakers for low ceiling large room
« on: June 15, 2010, 01:43:11 pm »

Hey all, I'm currently trying to design a small/med system to provide sound for a campus group I'm part of.  The room is very hard to fit, as it is fairly large, approx. 80'x80' with a ceiling height of only 8.5'.   In the past, they have used low end jbl speakers (15" jrx) spaced throughout the room, but the end effect is a muddied sound lacking clarity in the mid range.  What I have been thinking about is using the jbl vrx line powered line arrays, the vrx932LAP, 2 per side of the stage on poles coming out of vrx918SP subs, 1 per side, with the possibility of two per side via height req.  If shaded right, I think it would be able to throw the sound out above all the people, as the room is packed with almost 500 for a weeknight bible study, while not being overwhelming to the people in the front.  I know this system works best with 2x lines/2x subs per side with the bottom line at around 9ish feet, but as we don't have the height for that, are the any thoughts for other ways to fill the room with sound?  Our budget is flexible, and with the vrx's, would be just under 20,000.  Any other thoughts on a way to get sound through the room without phase issues of multiple speaker placement, and without the issues of bodies soaking up sound?  Thanks in advance for all thoughts and hints.

Thanks-- Matt
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Milt Hathaway

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2010, 01:52:35 pm »

The only real solution for a room of that size with that low of a ceiling will be a large number of ceiling-mounted speakers. Done right, and with the right equipment, it will come in under your budget and give much more even coverage of the room.

Of course, this assumes you can put speakers IN the ceiling.
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Matthew Ramsey

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2010, 01:58:58 pm »

Hmmm... I haven't given much thought to this, because of the type of music played--this is a contemporary christian service--loud music, and I don't think I've ever seen an install of ceiling speakers that gave full support to a band.  Also, the system needs to be portable, if possible, to take on retreats, so a permanent install, if at all possible, would like to be avoided.  Do you think that in-ceiling speakers would be enough support? and if so, which ones? Community?  Thanks!
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2010, 02:21:55 pm »

Matthew Ramsey wrote on Tue, 15 June 2010 13:58

Hmmm... I haven't given much thought to this, because of the type of music played--this is a contemporary christian service--loud music, and I don't think I've ever seen an install of ceiling speakers that gave full support to a band.  Also, the system needs to be portable, if possible, to take on retreats, so a permanent install, if at all possible, would like to be avoided.  Do you think that in-ceiling speakers would be enough support? and if so, which ones? Community?  Thanks!

If it needs to be portable-then ceiling speakers are out.

FWIW we do installs all the time in rooms like that and use the Atlas FAP42 full range and SUB70 for subs.  If you use enough of them and enough subs and do it right (large cable-decent amps-proper alignment etc) the results can be much better than expected.

Since you will be using the system in different places-you just have to understand that sometimes the limitations are the room-and that is just the way it is.

You need to choose a system will fit the largest variety of the places you plan on using it in.

In any case-for the room in question-you need to get the HF drivers as close to the ceiling as possible-for any hope to get sound to the back-without killing those in front.
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For every complicated question-there is a simple- easy to understand WRONG answer.

Can I have some more talent in the monitors--PLEASE?

Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.
Danley Sound Labs

Matthew Ramsey

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2010, 02:30:02 pm »

So do you think given the circumstances that the VRX line might suit the room well?  The lines would be almost touching the ceiling, and they only disperse down 15 degrees, or 30 total degrees, so if the bottom line was -3 db, and the top +3/or even flat, and they were mounted on top of the subs on poles, with the top line aimed straight out at around 8', do you think this would cover well?  The ceiling is drop btw.

Thanks, Matt
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2010, 02:40:04 pm »

Cover well and doing the best you can in the circumstance are often very different things.

I would think you would stand as good a chance with the VRX as anything else-except a true line array that has a very narrow coverage pattern and you could shade the individual cabinets to get  more of just the HF to the back of the room.

Even then it would be what I would consider even coverage-but may be a little bit better-in terms of HF in the back of the room.

But that would require more boxes-more processing and more alignment skill/knowledge and may not suit your other needs.
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For every complicated question-there is a simple- easy to understand WRONG answer.

Can I have some more talent in the monitors--PLEASE?

Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.
Danley Sound Labs

Matthew Ramsey

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2010, 02:45:20 pm »

Yeah, but more boxes means more height to get them up to cover the room right, headroom we don't have.  Sad That's why I was looking into their "fake" line arrays.  And more boxes means more money, that we don't have.  Do you know of any other systems that might be able to do the job better for not much more money?  I was looking at the meyer md1's, but I don't know what to expect price wise.

Thanks, Matt
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2010, 03:15:27 pm »

Whatever you choose that is portable would be what I would consider the wrong tool for the job.  It may get it done-within certain restrictions.

Whatever you choose-you probably need to make sure that the highest cabinet is facing all the way back-with no real down angle-or only a degree or so.

You want as much energy to head towards the back of the room-and stay away from the people that are up close.

An alternative would be to add some delay cabinets halfway back in the room.

This would mean more cabinets-amps-cables-stands-alignment and so forth-but could really help the situation.
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For every complicated question-there is a simple- easy to understand WRONG answer.

Can I have some more talent in the monitors--PLEASE?

Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.
Danley Sound Labs

Duane Massey

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2010, 05:42:31 pm »

As Ivan has said, anything you choose will be a compromise. I'd consider the delay speakers halfway back, BUT aimed back, not sideways ( a common mistake0. It will take more time to set up, but it will get the best coverage with the least amount of damage to those up front.

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Duane Massey
Houston, Texas, USA

James Clerie

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2010, 07:56:55 pm »

I think that when we try to make a system to do many thing we end up with a system that does many thing ok but not great or even good.

Design the system for the task at hand. make it sound great in the room. I would push toward in ceiling speakers and a couple of small subs, Community cloud series sound great. They have in celling subs also in the cloud line. http://www.communitypro.com/files/literature/brochures/CLOUD -IO_BROCHURE.pdf

If you design it right the only permanent thing will be the speakers. Make you rack portable use the amps and processing for the inside and the remote.
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James Clerie
J & G Design Group Inc.

Matthew Ramsey

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2010, 09:18:18 am »

So.. delay speakers... If I used the VRX line in the front, and then Salvaged some JRX cabs to put about half way back, what type of processing would I need to keep delay and phase issues from occurring?  I was planning on using a driverack to control the vrx's, but that is only for powered speakers...

Thanks Matt
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Matthew Ramsey

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2010, 09:21:34 am »

On second thought, would it be better to come up with two more VRX's to put on top of the second set of SUBs, so 6 lines and 4 subs total, and put them half way back?  Does the drive rack have the ability to configure miltiple sets of speakers in different places in the room?  Just thoughts..


Matt
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Duane Massey

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2010, 10:53:52 am »

Which Driverack? Unless I'm mistaken you'd need a 260 or better for delays.
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Duane Massey
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Peter Etheredge

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2010, 11:23:05 am »

Matthew Ramsey wrote on Tue, 15 June 2010 12:43

Hey all, I'm currently trying to design a small/med system to provide sound for a campus group I'm part of.  The room is very hard to fit, as it is fairly large, approx. 80'x80' with a ceiling height of only 8.5'.   In the past, they have used low end jbl speakers (15" jrx) spaced throughout the room, but the end effect is a muddied sound lacking clarity in the mid range.  What I have been thinking about is using the jbl vrx line powered line arrays, the vrx932LAP, 2 per side of the stage on poles coming out of vrx918SP subs, 1 per side, with the possibility of two per side via height req.  If shaded right, I think it would be able to throw the sound out above all the people, as the room is packed with almost 500 for a weeknight bible study, while not being overwhelming to the people in the front.  I know this system works best with 2x lines/2x subs per side with the bottom line at around 9ish feet, but as we don't have the height for that, are the any thoughts for other ways to fill the room with sound?  Our budget is flexible, and with the vrx's, would be just under 20,000.  Any other thoughts on a way to get sound through the room without phase issues of multiple speaker placement, and without the issues of bodies soaking up sound?  Thanks in advance for all thoughts and hints.

Thanks-- Matt


If this is really the way you insist on going (line array like speakers) I would highly recommend looking into the EAW JFL line.  VRX sound OK but I've never been fully pleased with them and the EAW's seem to be highly regarded for what they are, so be sure to have a look.
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Peter Etheredge
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Top-Notch Productions, INC.
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dennis craven

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2010, 08:46:22 am »

Matt, your situation is both common and frustrating.  As a design build guy, we see it alot.  That low ceiling height is such a buzz kill.  The new developments in more refined column speakers are a god send to us.  2 years ago we were asked to design a light duty pa system in a fellowship hall here in wichita.  The room was low, wide and deep (90+ feet).  it was currently populated w/ ceiling speakers which werent being used.  Their workaround were boxes on poles.  We ended up using a product from Community called Enstasys which is a line array column speaker.  We mounted them (2) high on the platform side walls.  They served as the main push boxes, we then created 3 delay lines using JBL control ceiling speakers.  The delays allowed us to maintain spl and clarity right up to the back wall.  Using additive delay on the delay circuits kept localization to the front.  We placed a JBL PRX sub at SL to fill in a bit below the Enstasys and had marvelous results.  You might consider that kind of approach.  Another product we are excited about is the CBT series from JBL.  While the articulating line-array guys might look down their nose at these small devices, we cant.  We have to solve problems, and use any means to do so.  These new devices are wonderful.  dennis/vivid pro systems
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Dave Sturzenbecher

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2010, 12:13:48 pm »

It may be a little more coin, but take a look at the IC Live stuff from Renkus.  That looks like it would fit the bill rather well.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2010, 01:17:17 pm »

The problem with any of the vertical "line sources" is that the main axis typically comes out of the middle of the array (there are some exceptions).  You need to be able to get the center of the array above peoples heads-and that would put the top of the column above the ceiling.

Since his ceiling is only 8.5', if you put the column all the way up against the ceiling, the main axis will be below the average head (when standing).  That is not going to "throw" very far with people blocking it.

As long as they stay seated, they would work better.

The ceiling height is still his biggest limitation.
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For every complicated question-there is a simple- easy to understand WRONG answer.

Can I have some more talent in the monitors--PLEASE?

Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.
Danley Sound Labs

dennis craven

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Re: Speakers for low ceiling large room
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2010, 06:56:49 pm »

Yeah, the ceiling height is a killer.  I agree the IC Live would be a candidate with the moveable acoustic center, but budget is always in the back of my mind as well.  We have had a pair of active Iconix boxes from day one for demo and rental, and we like em.  A JBL CBT70J would also definitely be a candidate at a fraction of the cost.  We just placed a pair of CBT70J/JE this week in a worship space and were very impressed with the output of these little guys.  The measurements we took were consistent with the prediction data from the software from JBL.  The adjustable vertical is brilliant, all without the obvious expense of the onboard processing.  I welcome new products in the vein of the renkus ICL coming down the pike.      
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