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Author Topic: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub  (Read 14425 times)

Scott Carneval

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Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« on: June 08, 2012, 08:04:35 pm »

I'm consulting with the owner of a nightclub about overhauling their system.  Club is about a year old, but not in my city so I didn't bid on the original install.  Someone talked them into purchasing Renkus-Heinz cabinets but they were not installed by a professional.  Apparently their lighting installer knew enough to get them hooked up but they didn't take any regard to placement or system alignment.  They currently have 4 ST4R Mains and two DR18-2R Subs.  The ceiling is almost 40' high and the speakers are currently 26' above the dancefloor - their reasoning for putting them this high was to get maximum coverage, but it makes for some nasty reflections.  The floor is tile, walls are sheetrock, and the ceiling is some sort of commercial insulation but not soundproofing.  I'm really pushing for acoustic treatment for the walls and ceiling, but they're trying to spend as little as possible. 

The speakers were originally installed in two clusters of two but at some point the owner decided to split them up because he didn't like the way it sounded.  They now have them in the 4 corners of the dancefloor, but the rest of the club isn't covered at all.  To make matters worse, the speakers are spread in about a 40' square (26' above the dancefloor) so the sweet spot is about a 20'x20' spot on the stage where the DJ is, except no one is even ALLOWED up on the stage where the spot is!  I've attached an image to help clarify.

The owner's chief complaint is that the microphone is garbled and they get feedback.  The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the clarity was awful, and after an hour of being there my ears were extremely fatigued.  My proposal is to lower the speakers to about 12-16' above the dancefloor and put them back in clusters of two on either side of the DJ.  They are 40 degree conical boxes so they really need to be arrayed.  Then spread 8-12 fill speakers on the walls of the club and delay them to the mains.  The owner has JBL's in his gym and he really likes them, so I'm looking at the JBL AC2212/95.  I don't have much experience in an indoor venue this large, so I'm looking for some input to see if I'm going about this properly.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 08:34:08 pm by Scott Carneval »
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Charlie Zureki

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2012, 09:38:36 pm »

I'm consulting with the owner of a nightclub about overhauling their system.  Club is about a year old, but not in my city so I didn't bid on the original install.  Someone talked them into purchasing Renkus-Heinz cabinets but they were not installed by a professional.  Apparently their lighting installer knew enough to get them hooked up but they didn't take any regard to placement or system alignment.  They currently have 4 ST4R Mains and two DR18-2R Subs.  The ceiling is almost 40' high and the speakers are currently 26' above the dancefloor - their reasoning for putting them this high was to get maximum coverage, but it makes for some nasty reflections.  The floor is tile, walls are sheetrock, and the ceiling is some sort of commercial insulation but not soundproofing.  I'm really pushing for acoustic treatment for the walls and ceiling, but they're trying to spend as little as possible. 

The speakers were originally installed in two clusters of two but at some point the owner decided to split them up because he didn't like the way it sounded.  They now have them in the 4 corners of the dancefloor, but the rest of the club isn't covered at all.  To make matters worse, the speakers are spread in about a 40' square (26' above the dancefloor) so the sweet spot is about a 20'x20' spot on the stage where the DJ is, except no one is even ALLOWED up on the stage where the spot is!  I've attached an image to help clarify.

The owner's chief complaint is that the microphone is garbled and they get feedback.  The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the clarity was awful, and after an hour of being there my ears were extremely fatigued.  My proposal is to lower the speakers to about 12-16' above the dancefloor and put them back in clusters of two on either side of the DJ.  They are 40 degree conical boxes so they really need to be arrayed.  Then spread 8-12 fill speakers on the walls of the club and delay them to the mains.  The owner has JBL's in his gym and he really likes them, so I'm looking at the JBL AC2212/95.  I don't have much experience in an indoor venue this large, so I'm looking for some input to see if I'm going about this properly.

   Hello Scott,

   To quote Mr. Ivan Beaver..  "In Audio, there are always trade-offs!" 

   The owner is his own worst enemy in this case... he probably owned a quad stereo system 

   The first thing I'd do...is buy the DJ a couple of monitors and his own small sub.
 
    Then, I'd rehang the speakers in an array, facing the dance floor from a standard hang configuration at the downstage edge of the stage.  I'd aim the speakers downward, so that they hit the dance floor at the 1/2 mark.   The dance floor is not so big that these speakers won't cover the space.   I'd drop them down to a lower heigth too.

   I'd check this out before adding any delays/fills .  The servers might have been the reason he felt the speakers needed to be moved.   If they can't hear the drink orders... it makes for a long and whiney night for the Bar owner and servers.

   Make sure that the subs are pounding...

   Hammer
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Brad Weber

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2012, 08:05:30 am »

The ST4R comes in three versions; /44 (40x40), /64 (60x40) and /94 (90x40), are you sure what is installed is the 40x40 version?  The ST4R is also powered, so in looking at moving them have you considered the associated power?
 
On a more general level, what are the goals?  Do they want just the dance floor covered, the same level everywhere or a dance floor with high levels and then lower level fill elsewhere?  What styles of music and as Charlie noted, are the two subs sufficient (and where are they located)?
 
How do you plan to delay the fills to the mains if they are on the side walls and thus coming from behind most of the listeners relative to the mains?
 
The floor is tile, walls are sheetrock, and the ceiling is some sort of commercial insulation but not soundproofing.  I'm really pushing for acoustic treatment for the walls and ceiling, but they're trying to spend as little as possible.
Terminology, but "soundproofing" usually relates to sound isolation rather than absorption and before making any recommendations it would probably make sense to know what the ceiling treatment really is, it might turn out to be somethign that was recommended by whoever put together the original system.  If you do pursue treatment for the walls and/or ceiling, consider the frequencies that you are trying to address, you might find needing pretty serious treatment to keep from killing the highs and making the room 'boomy'.
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Scott Carneval

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2012, 04:25:28 pm »

   Hello Scott,

   To quote Mr. Ivan Beaver..  "In Audio, there are always trade-offs!" 

   The owner is his own worst enemy in this case... he probably owned a quad stereo system 

   The first thing I'd do...is buy the DJ a couple of monitors and his own small sub.
 
    Then, I'd rehang the speakers in an array, facing the dance floor from a standard hang configuration at the downstage edge of the stage.  I'd aim the speakers downward, so that they hit the dance floor at the 1/2 mark.   The dance floor is not so big that these speakers won't cover the space.   I'd drop them down to a lower heigth too.

   I'd check this out before adding any delays/fills .  The servers might have been the reason he felt the speakers needed to be moved.   If they can't hear the drink orders... it makes for a long and whiney night for the Bar owner and servers.

   Make sure that the subs are pounding...

   Hammer

The real enemy here is the owner's brother.  He knows just enough to be detrimental.  He argued with me for a good fifteen minutes about the placement of the speakers, I think it was his idea to put them there originally. 

Surprisingly the DJ isn't the issue here.  He's the resident both Friday and Saturday and he never once turned his master output past about half way the whole time I was there. 

The bass is ok, not great but they seem to be ok with it.  One of the first things I did was turn off the 75hz HPF on both DJ inputs into the board.  DOH!
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Scott Carneval

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2012, 04:38:56 pm »

The ST4R comes in three versions; /44 (40x40), /64 (60x40) and /94 (90x40), are you sure what is installed is the 40x40 version?  The ST4R is also powered, so in looking at moving them have you considered the associated power?
 
On a more general level, what are the goals?  Do they want just the dance floor covered, the same level everywhere or a dance floor with high levels and then lower level fill elsewhere?  What styles of music and as Charlie noted, are the two subs sufficient (and where are they located)?
 
How do you plan to delay the fills to the mains if they are on the side walls and thus coming from behind most of the listeners relative to the mains?
 Terminology, but "soundproofing" usually relates to sound isolation rather than absorption and before making any recommendations it would probably make sense to know what the ceiling treatment really is, it might turn out to be somethign that was recommended by whoever put together the original system.  If you do pursue treatment for the walls and/or ceiling, consider the frequencies that you are trying to address, you might find needing pretty serious treatment to keep from killing the highs and making the room 'boomy'.

I haven't been up on a scissor lift yet, but their invoice shows a /44 so I'm pretty certain it is.  The owners brother also mentioned a 40 degree dispersion in his reasoning for hanging them so high.  I will verify that before we move anything though.  But either way they need to be closer to the audience to maximize direct vs. reflected sound, correct?

The primary goal here is pounding on the dancefloor, but clear and intelligible throughout the club.  The bar areas need clean coverage but not deafening.  Music is mainly EDM, some top 40, and some hip-hop.  On occasion they will have artists, guest DJ's and celebrity appearences who will all perform or get on the mic.  The subs are sufficient, but I would like to see more.  They are spread out, one on either side of the club, nowhere near the dancefloor.  I want them center clustered, but that might not fly with them.  I intend to show him the difference with them center clustered and hopefully convince him to move them.  Where they are now it is absolutely pounding bass and zero mids/highs. 

As far as delaying the fills, I don't think you'll really hear them at all unless you're within about 30' of them, so at that position just delay them to the sound of the mains.  I know it's not exact, and as you get closer to the fills the delay will change, but I feel that it's better than no delay at all.  Once we relocate the mains and get it sounding good on the dance floor I will walk the room and find the dead spots.  That is where we will put the fills. 
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Brad Weber

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2012, 08:02:30 am »

I haven't been up on a scissor lift yet, but their invoice shows a /44 so I'm pretty certain it is.  The owners brother also mentioned a 40 degree dispersion in his reasoning for hanging them so high.  I will verify that before we move anything though.  But either way they need to be closer to the audience to maximize direct vs. reflected sound, correct?
Yes, the point was more about knowing what area they cover and particularly in regards to arraying two boxes together.
 
Speaking of arrays, it sounds like one of your challenges may be that you are proposing arraying the speakers, which is apparently what they had and did not like.  You may have already done so, but if not it might help to let them know how what you are proposing will differ from what they had.

As far as delaying the fills, I don't think you'll really hear them at all unless you're within about 30' of them, so at that position just delay them to the sound of the mains.  I know it's not exact, and as you get closer to the fills the delay will change, but I feel that it's better than no delay at all.  Once we relocate the mains and get it sounding good on the dance floor I will walk the room and find the dead spots.  That is where we will put the fills.
You had mentioned putting the fill speakers on the walls, which seemed likely you put some behind some listeners.  At that point the fills would probably be loudest where you need the most delay, which if you could also hear them 30' into the room would probably make the arrival at that point long enough delayed to be an echo.  Reduce the delay time and if the fills are within 12dB or so of the mains and arrive first then listeners will localize to the fills, which may or may not be okay depending on if you care about the sound seeming to come from the DJ or dance floor.  If you could mount the fills from the ceiling and aimed out from th dance floor then it might be easier to get effective delay to the mains.
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duane massey

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2012, 06:26:06 pm »

+++1 on Brad's comments on the fill spkrs placement. Putting them on the walls is the worst possible location.
I can't imagine the 2 subs being even close to adequate for that large a venue.
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Duane Massey
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Ryan C. Davis

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2012, 10:06:28 pm »

If you do pursue treatment for the walls and/or ceiling, consider the frequencies that you are trying to address, you might find needing pretty serious treatment to keep from killing the highs and making the room 'boomy'.

Agreed, not to mention they may like the sound of a room that is more "alive" than dead. I say treat the first reflection on the walls and ceiling and call it a day
« Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 01:42:06 pm by Ryan C. Davis »
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Ryan Davis

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2012, 01:43:55 pm »

just looked at the diagram again. Are the front pair really aimed at each other? Seems goofy, I'd change that first.
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Ryan Davis

Scott Carneval

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2012, 05:16:09 pm »

just looked at the diagram again. Are the front pair really aimed at each other? Seems goofy, I'd change that first.

They've got about a 45 degree downward tilt to them, but yes the diagram is accurate.  It's not to scale though, so it makes the room appear smaller than it really is. 
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2012, 07:03:58 pm »

They've got about a 45 degree downward tilt to them, but yes the diagram is accurate.  It's not to scale though, so it makes the room appear smaller than it really is.

Scott.....

It's difficult to suss out things with a few posts, but the salient factors coming from "between the lines" are:

1.  An apparent DIY attempt gone wrong.

2.  An owner who wants input on how things are going to be done.

3.  An owners sibling with opinions and input.

Total these things up and I'd say that, given the history of the project to date, the best thing is to step aside.  Believe me, there's not enough money or other reward in the project given what appears so far.  The best you can do is wish them luck........or go through the grief of attempting to get it to work to their satisfaction for what they're willing to spend and then taking the blame for their poor decisions.
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Ryan C. Davis

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2012, 07:28:33 pm »

Sometimes when I come across a train wreck like that I will bid it high and hope they don't call...hahaha but if they do, well, you've got some money in it. Make sure they know who the expert is and that they'll pay for your expertise.
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Ryan Davis

Scott Carneval

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2012, 12:10:58 am »

Both very valid points, and I've been known to do that in the past.  But my thinking on this job is that BECAUSE the system is such a trainwreck that by the time I'm finished it will be a night and day improvement. 
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Ryan C. Davis

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2012, 12:30:09 am »

Oh, I get it for sure. I love walking in and making such a huge improvement. I'm tempted to do it for free I love it so much, it's just a bad place to position yourself as a businessman.
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Ryan Davis

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2012, 01:22:23 am »

Renkus Hienz makes very good loudspeaker.. I don't use them, but if I am not mistaken the ST4R is designed to be arrayed. it's 40 degree spec is when it;'s arrayed. You can't just stick an array box on four corners of a dance floor like they are a "point and shoot box" and expect good results.

You are on the right track by swapping these out with some JBL 4215 95's,, but tow other problems also exist.  Not enough LF. you need double the subs. And you need sound reinforcement for peripheral zones. Sound design for a night club is all about keeping High SPL on the dance club and away from revenue areas, but it's a fine line. You have to be able to control those values.
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Greg Ruddell

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2012, 01:33:38 am »

One more thing.. Acoustical treatment (while very worthy) isn't an issue here. And it's certainly not in the budget....rarely is in a night club in that context. If the club is filled with bodies it becomes academic. Calculate your dispersion pattern and your hang (not the Renkus boxes, they could work if you added about 4 more....bring your checkbook). What about 4 x JBL PRX 612 M's (aren't the Renkus boxes powered?)
Then add a couple more subs. The PRX's are only 50 vertical, 90 horizontal.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2012, 04:35:03 am »

Renkus Hienz makes very good loudspeaker.. I don't use them, but if I am not mistaken the ST4R is designed to be arrayed. it's 40 degree spec is when it;'s arrayed. You can't just stick an array box on four corners of a dance floor like they are a "point and shoot box" and expect good results.
The ST4R are intended to be used in arrays or singly as a point source type box and there are 40x40, 60x40 and 90x40 degree versions with that coverage being per box, not for an array.  Apparently, according to the paperwork the models installed in this venue are the 40x40 version.

You are on the right track by swapping these out with some JBL 4215 95's,, but tow other problems also exist.  Not enough LF. you need double the subs. And you need sound reinforcement for peripheral zones. Sound design for a night club is all about keeping High SPL on the dance club and away from revenue areas, but it's a fine line. You have to be able to control those values.
I had the impression Scott was planning on relocating rather than replacing the R-H boxes and thinking of using JBL AC2212/95 boxes for the peripheral fill you mention.  FWIW, I believe the AM4215/95 has been replaced by the AM5215/95.
 
One more thing.. Acoustical treatment (while very worthy) isn't an issue here. And it's certainly not in the budget....rarely is in a night club in that context. If the club is filled with bodies it becomes academic. Calculate your dispersion pattern and your hang (not the Renkus boxes, they could work if you added about 4 more....bring your checkbook). What about 4 x JBL PRX 612 M's (aren't the Renkus boxes powered?)
Then add a couple more subs. The PRX's are only 50 vertical, 90 horizontal.
The speaker patterns noted are all nominal patterns, i.e. the coverage is something like that at some frequencies, however at some frequencies of interest the actual pattern may deviate significantly from the nominal pattern.  And that may be what you need to watch, things like the X by Y nominal pattern that is actually Y by X or much greater than or less than that nominal pattern at some frequencies.
 
That is also why while people in the club may add more overall absorption, they may not be located where the energy from the speakers hits the walls and ceiling and acoustical treatment in an application like this may not be intended to decrease reverberation time but rather to try to control reflected energy from the speakers.
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Scott Carneval

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2012, 12:43:32 pm »

One more thing.. Acoustical treatment (while very worthy) isn't an issue here. And it's certainly not in the budget....rarely is in a night club in that context. If the club is filled with bodies it becomes academic. Calculate your dispersion pattern and your hang (not the Renkus boxes, they could work if you added about 4 more....bring your checkbook). What about 4 x JBL PRX 612 M's (aren't the Renkus boxes powered?)
Then add a couple more subs. The PRX's are only 50 vertical, 90 horizontal.

Greg, are you sure you're familiar with any of the speakers being discussed?  The ST4R is a large format box with four 8" LF drivers, an 8" MF driver, and a 1" horn.  The two JBL's you mentioned replaceing them with would be a serious downgrade in performance and quality.  The AE4212/95 was mentioned as a fill speaker for the perimeter of the club, NOT a replacement for the dancefloor.  The PRX is a DJ box and again has no business as a replacement for the ST4R.  It would make a decent fill speaker, but that's about it. 
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Charlie Zureki

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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2012, 10:35:14 pm »

Greg, are you sure you're familiar with any of the speakers being discussed?  The ST4R is a large format box with four 8" LF drivers, an 8" MF driver, and a 1" horn.  The two JBL's you mentioned replaceing them with would be a serious downgrade in performance and quality.  The AE4212/95 was mentioned as a fill speaker for the perimeter of the club, NOT a replacement for the dancefloor.  The PRX is a DJ box and again has no business as a replacement for the ST4R.  It would make a decent fill speaker, but that's about it.


  +1  if the customer needed new boxes, I think the PRX is one of the last boxes I'd recommend.  They're ok for some weekend warrior/musician playing some light Jazz in a small club.....where everyone is drunk, and half are deaf and the others are concerned about their cheatin wives or kids joining a hippie commune..

   Hammer

   Hammer
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Re: Speaker Placement for 14,000 sqft Nightclub
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2012, 10:35:14 pm »


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