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Author Topic: HS Baseball Field  (Read 10991 times)

Isaac Imig

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HS Baseball Field
« on: March 03, 2013, 08:58:56 pm »

Hello, first time poster here. I look forward to having a symbiotic relationship with the community.

We have been contacted to install a sound system for a HS baseball field. The principles are the same as many installed systems but I have a few questions. I also tried searching the forum and got a few hits but none the same as this application.

The school recently had a slab poured behind home plate to install stands onto and behind the stands is a pressbox. The request is first to cover the field with music for practice, but the secondary requirement is to cover the stands with the announcers voice, walk-up music and so on.

The head-end will go in the weatherproof press box where the announcer is. Not sure whether to use a paging desktop mic like the Shure 450 Series II or a broadcast headset, or a wireless handheld. There will be a plug in for iPod or other portable music device. I am thinking about using the Crown 28M as a preamp with one output for the Field and one output for the Stands.

They are on a budget but part of the request is that it needs to sound really good and really crank. I have seen JBL Control series speakers used for stuff like this but the Control 30 is only 117db long term @ 1m. The speakers will likely go on the roof of the press box which extends over the stands. This brings them close to home plate. Extrapolate 117db from home plate to center field (not quite 100m) and you get 77db which is not exactly "cranking". And that's wide open. I know budget and high performance never go together but I want to bring the best value. This will probably require a true 15" two way high output box, that also has to be weatherproof. I am partial to the EV ZX5 but open to suggestions. The ZX5s are $1200 ea so it's going to be hard to fit that in the budget. Maybe someone will tell me I'm crazy and to just use the Control 30s.

Depending on speakers I will either use Crown CDI 1000 or 2000, both of which have DSP for the system.

Thats about it. Hoping to hear from someone who has done something like this so I can reconcile my calculations against reality. Thanks!
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: HS Baseball Field
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2013, 09:53:21 pm »

Right now the LAST thing you need to think about is the loudspeakers.

First of all you have to determine what "budget" REALLY means and put some real numbers to it.  Take away things like front end gear (mixer-mics-playback etc), estimated install costs-warranty expenses and so forth.

Next you need to figure out where you can actually put loudspeakers-and don't forget about cable paths.  Be sure to figure cable costs-especially if you need special cable.

Then you need to establish the actual area you want covered and they need covered.

In almost all of the baseball systems I have done-the focus is on the audience-NOT the field.

In some they want as little as possible on the field.

Why do they need to practice to music?  I have never heard of that-but who knows.

So now that you have locations and actual area to be covered-you need to find out what "crank" really means.

THEN and ONLY THEN can you start to look at WEATHERIZED loudspeakers that can get loud enough and provide enough coverage to do the job.

THEN you need to look at what size amps are needed to drive the loudspeakers to the needed level.

Or you could just go with what sounds good in the music store-and call it a day. ;)
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A complex question is easily answered by a simple-easy to understand WRONG answer!

Ivan Beaver
Danley Sound Labs

PHYSICS- NOT FADS!

Ryan C. Davis

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Re: HS Baseball Field
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 10:57:31 pm »

FWIW We did a baseball complex a while back using TOA amps and Community R series speakers. The speakers are outstanding, probably the most weatherproof you'll find and they sound great. This complex was 4 fields with one announcer/ scorer booth at the center. Each field had their own mic which was TOA PM660U, it had a push button and we enabled ducking on the amp so when they keyed up the mic the music would duck out. The R.5 Speakers are one of the smallest Community R series speakers but they got done what we needed them to, plenty of output for what they needed (inning breaks), they're not cheap though, I think those R.5's are 12" two-ways and they're around $850 each.
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Ryan Davis

Isaac Imig

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Re: HS Baseball Field
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2013, 12:12:57 am »

The budget is somewhat flexible as long as all parties involved can be convinced of the value.

The coverage area is the field and the stands. I think I have the stands figured out with your everyday BGM/FGM 70v boxes.

Going back to the field, I don't really know why they want to play music during practice but I don't like to deter clientele (unless it is in direct opposition of our recommendation). This field does not have a lot of infrastructure along the sides so it will make the most sense to have 2 speakers roughly behind and to the left and right of home base. I say this because more than 2 speakers is probably a poor value and less than 2 might not have enough output. Cabling won't be an issue between conduit systems various structural members that can serve as raceway.

From there the coverage pattern is the whole field. It's about 300 ft from home base to the farthest point of center field. I don't think the farthest reaches are critical listening so that is worst case scenario.

As much as I wish every job  could be modeled in EASE and be engineered to the nth degree, this is not one of those jobs. I am just looking for practical recommendations. I appreciate the feedback on the mic and Community speakers. The R.5 seem to have plenty of output but not much frequency response. Separate subwoofers would be nice but not going to happen here so ideally the loudspeakers are as full range as possible.
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Tom Young

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Re: HS Baseball Field
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2013, 07:45:17 am »

Along with the concerns raised by Ivan I have to ask a question and a comment:

What about neighbors ?

If they play loud music for practices, which you have indicated will be provided with extended LF response, this is going to be a problem for nearby homes whose peace and quiet will be disturbed every afternoon and possibly also at game time. Some degree of LF coverage control is possible but not without spending more money. Maybe lots more.

I also don't see how you can provide even SPL/coverage to the bleachers and those on the field without the small number of speakers you plan on using being mounted pretty high in elevation. Chances are that more speakers will work better, where some are for near-throw and some for longer throw. The long-throw devices need to be higher-Q and therefore larger and more expensive.

FWIW
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Tom Young
Electroacoustic Design Services
Oxford CT
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: HS Baseball Field
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 07:54:49 am »

The budget is somewhat flexible as long as all parties involved can be convinced of the value.

The coverage area is the field and the stands. I think I have the stands figured out with your everyday BGM/FGM 70v boxes.


First they have to determine what "value" really means.

I have done baseball fields just fine for a couple of thousand dollars.  The last one was around 40K.

Of course the last one was much louder-had nice solid bass etc.

Doing a simple baseball field in EASE should be pretty quick.  BUT FIRST you have to decide what speakers you want to model-and of course this depends on the budget.

You say that subs "are not going to happen" but you also say that the budget can anything as long as you can convince the owners.

This is confusing to me-maybe you can clarify a bit.

As with ANY project-FIRST you have to define the parameters to work within-price-what is expected etc.

REAL numbers-price-SPL at what distance-freq response.  Those are the absolute MINIMUM numbers.  We won't even start to talk about things like STI.

Without that it is simply a waste of time.

Let's say the wife wants a new car.

Do you go straight to the high end sports car dealer?  What if she wants a minivan to haul the baseball team around in and you only make minimum wage.

DEFINING the goals and expectations are paramount to getting useable answers.

Just throwing up some "full range speakers" is NOT the way to design a sound system.  Yes it will make noise-but how WELL will it make that noise?
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A complex question is easily answered by a simple-easy to understand WRONG answer!

Ivan Beaver
Danley Sound Labs

PHYSICS- NOT FADS!

Brad Weber

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Re: HS Baseball Field
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 01:54:42 pm »

Some general observations but some things you may want to consider:
  • Environment.  You probably want speakers, speaker cable, hardware, etc. intended for outdoor use.
  • Coverage.  Figure out where you want sound and where you don't and try to select speakers that support that.  Spraying sound everywhere or HF patterns that miss part of the audience may need to be considered.
  • Intelligibility.  What kind of levels and frequency response is it going to take for announcements to be understood over the crowd noise.
  • Sound Quality.  What quality are they expecting for the music playback?  Being able to play music and reproducing high output, full range music are often two different things.
  • Physical Install.  I find I am often surprisingly limited in terms of where speakers can be mounted, the cabling paths available, etc.  I've encountered situations such as not being able to use poles provided by the lighting provider and/or public utilities and find that sometimes that type of coordination gets overlooked until you go to install things.

I haven't yet done it for baseball but I have worked on some football and basketball venues that play crowd noise, music, etc. at realistic levels during practice to help simulate a game environment including college practice facilities with dedicated systems for just that purpose.
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Isaac Imig

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Re: HS Baseball Field
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 09:14:46 pm »

Thank you everybody for responding. I appreciate the expert advice. I was finally given a somewhat firmed up number of $5k. Obviously this is peanuts in the whole scheme of things which makes the project a little tougher. Our company is going to donate some labor to get some signage out of the deal. So we are back to where I started with two zones of audio, one covered with 5.25 or 6.5" two-way 70v and the main "Field" zone covered with a pair of ZX5s. Their budget will (barely) allow quantity 2 so we are going to maximize coverage the best way possible. I don't think it will be a problem covering everything but the farthest reaches of the outfield. Placement is still TBD since the structure is not up yet and I have not seen drawings yet. Mounting will most likely be via U-Bracket. It may be that the project is phased out and we will eventually add speakers as needed but this will be a nice start and will cover the majority if not all of the field depending on placement and depending on how critical of uniformity they are.

The field is bordered by a park which is bordered by farmland so I don't think disturbing nearby homes will be an issue.

Sound quality as mentioned previously is important for both coverage areas. Most of my concern is with the field since that is how the system was presented to me. I feel the design moving forward will satisfy most requirements and as mentioned can always be phased out to include improvements down the road if needed. They will be coming from a boombox behind home plate so this will be a great improvement.

Intelligibility is of no concern on the field but it is for the stands. As I mentioned earlier the stands are easy to cover and are nearfield so no problem. Obviously most of the field will have great intelligibility even though its not a design requirement.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: HS Baseball Field
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2013, 08:12:24 am »

Thank you everybody for responding. I appreciate the expert advice. I was finally given a somewhat firmed up number of $5k. Obviously this is peanuts in the whole scheme of things which makes the project a little tougher. Our company is going to donate some labor to get some signage out of the deal. So we are back to where I started with two zones of audio, one covered with 5.25 or 6.5" two-way 70v and the main "Field" zone covered with a pair of ZX5s. Their budget will (barely) allow quantity 2 so we are going to maximize coverage the best way possible. I don't think it will be a problem covering everything but the farthest reaches of the outfield. Placement is still TBD since the structure is not up yet and I have not seen drawings yet. Mounting will most likely be via U-Bracket. It may be that the project is phased out and we will eventually add speakers as needed but this will be a nice start and will cover the majority if not all of the field depending on placement and depending on how critical of uniformity they are.

The field is bordered by a park which is bordered by farmland so I don't think disturbing nearby homes will be an issue.

Sound quality as mentioned previously is important for both coverage areas. Most of my concern is with the field since that is how the system was presented to me. I feel the design moving forward will satisfy most requirements and as mentioned can always be phased out to include improvements down the road if needed. They will be coming from a boombox behind home plate so this will be a great improvement.

Intelligibility is of no concern on the field but it is for the stands. As I mentioned earlier the stands are easy to cover and are nearfield so no problem. Obviously most of the field will have great intelligibility even though its not a design requirement.
Have you done any REAL calculations as to what realistic SPL you could expect at the listening distances?

If not-I HIGHLY suggest doing that-you may be quite disappointed at what you find out.

So even if you give all the labor for free-you are still left with -Loudspeakers-amplifiers-processing-wire-microphones-playback-racks and so forth.

That 5K is going to go REAL quick.

I guess the term "crank" means different things to different people.

If it was me and I was stuck with that budget-I would forget the  little 5 or 6" 70V speakers and go with paging horns.  Yes it will not sound as good-but at least people would be able to hear it.

What good is it if they can' hear it?

Going into something with unrealistic expectations is not a good idea.

You said your company will discount or donate the labor for some "signage".  Is the type of system you are looking at going to be the type you want to put your name behind?

What if it doesn't perform-yet you have a sign that says you did the job?  Do you think somebody is going to call you-since they are listening to your actual work at the time they read the sign?

Sometimes it is best to walk away and let the competition get the "bad rap".
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A complex question is easily answered by a simple-easy to understand WRONG answer!

Ivan Beaver
Danley Sound Labs

PHYSICS- NOT FADS!

Tom Young

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Re: HS Baseball Field
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2013, 10:37:42 am »

Ditto on Ivan's comments.

You are in the often-encountered position of being provided a budget by entities who have NO freaking clue what the cost is for what they want or need. They just pull out a number based on what is in the piggy-bank or their completely uninformed "intuition" (gut feeling).

It is up to you to educate them (first of all) while it is just as much in your interest to "walk" (as Ivan suggested) in order to protect your reputation and to not be put in the position of just plain feeling like you did a lousy job.

FWIW
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Tom Young
Electroacoustic Design Services
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