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Author Topic: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions  (Read 4224 times)

Bill Harvey

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Greetings, and apologies in advance for the length...

Some Backstory:
My daughter helps run a small ministry in rural SE Oklahoma and has asked for help with a sound system that would support their services, occasional visiting performance groups, and festival-type occasions during the warmer months. Their venue is modest at this point - a permanently-installed event tent about 50' by 100' with a stage (about 10' x 20') on one of the long sides (so ~50' stage-to-FOH). Power is provided by a utility drop on a pole similar to those found on construction sites. Long (~50') heavy-duty extension cords bring it into the tent. The floor consists of compacted gravel with outdoor carpeting on top that is about to be redone along with the stage. So some renovation looms.

My daughter used to run a sound/video system in a pretty-large megachurch in South Carolina, so she's familiar with what functionality she'd like although not familiar with the nuts-and-bolts of the tech.

Requirements:
The bands are usually a keyboard and a couple guitars, maybe some drums if someone brings 'em. Add a few mics for the worship service. There's a performance group coming in a couple months that requires 10 XLRs for their wireless mic system, and the board was sized with that in mind. But usually a half-dozen mics at most, and the small band mentioned above. We're not looking at club-level chest-thumping bass here, just some reasonable sound support to get them through the next couple years.

Between us we came up the following: Main speakers at front left and right, Fills a ways back on either side (or maybe outside for the summer festival thingy), and a couple of wedges for the stage. She wants the board to be at front-of-house, so there's a snake to it. Amps will be up at the stage.

What We've Got (So okay, he was a *good* salesman, but his recommendations fit pretty well with what we'd already been looking at...):
Speakers: Four Peavey PR15s for the mains and fills, and a pair of Peavey PV12Ms wedges for the stage.
Stands: Proline LST2BK for the mains and fills.
Amps: Two Crown XLS1500s for main and fill, and an XLS1000 for the monitors.
Board: Mackie ProFX16
Mics: Four Sennheiser E835, and two AKG wireless: a handheld and a lapel.
Misc: Mic stands, cables, a handful of XLR-TRS adapters, and four DI boxes each with lift and pad. I'm sure I'll need more of this stuff -- this was just to get an initial hookup going.

As for me:
I have always been interested in sound/lighting systems and have a pretty good tech network and power background (I run a data center for the Federal government). I'm an electronics hobbyist and a "man-cave musician" with a rack of synths and effects, so I'm familiar with mixer signal paths, basic effects boxes, midi, networking, etc. So I'm going to be their "tech" guy... (This is undoubtedly going to be my downfall, here...  :)

Power:
Should be okay, but I suspect there'll be some issues. According to Crown, I can run all three amps at "normal 1/8 power" (barely clipping)  and draw just under 7a. So a 20a circuit should support them all. (Don't like it, but until I can get some more circuits...) A couple more 20a for general stage use. Another 20a at FOH for the board and a laptop, etc. Was thinking about trying to keep the amps and board on the same side of power, but I might be being too picky here. (Operating from ignorance is a real pain sometimes... :)  Was also thinking of running the amps at 240v instead of 120v. Anyway, since this is a small rather informal venue, I think we can get away nicely with a half-dozen or so circuits, especially since there's minimal lighting at this point.

General:
The system is probably a bit oversized and should be able to run easily. (At least that was my intent...) About the only effects we'd use would be a bit of reverb which the on-board would probably be able to handle. If not, I've got a small Yamaha digital reverb on my own keyboards that I can use for now. I'm looking at some EQ, and maybe some compression, but that might be a bit down the road. Don't plan on micing any drums for now, but will likely use some DIs on the guitars (probably) and the keyboard (almost certainly). We're starting really thin and hoping to beef it up bit by but as we go.

So now that everything's bought and awaiting setup and testing, I'm second-guessing everything. I googled up "sound reinforcement forums" (which I should have done in the first place) and here I am. Y'all are first on the list! Been reading threads and already learning: found out about the Crown power draw spec sheets from here. Also pouring over You Tube videos about sound reinforcement and learning more. But these boards are obviously full of folks that can learn me even more (we're in Oklahoma, after all), and I'd be interested in any thoughts...

Did we go too far wrong with this stuff?

EDIT: spelling
« Last Edit: January 24, 2015, 02:34:02 pm by Bill Harvey »
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Thomas Le

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2015, 02:38:55 pm »

How big is the audience size? Ever thought of using powered speakers?
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Bill Harvey

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2015, 02:41:55 pm »

How big is the audience size?

Sorry, duh. Probably in the 75 (usually) - to - 200 (rarely) range.

EDIT: And we did think of powered speakers, but I have a distrust of combined things: if either component breaks (amp or speaker), you'd be left with an unusable good component...
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2015, 02:45:20 pm »

Greetings, and apologies in advance for the length...

Some Backstory:
My daughter helps run a small ministry in rural SE Oklahoma and has asked for help with a sound system that would support their services, occasional visiting performance groups, and festival-type occasions during the warmer months. Their venue is modest at this point - a permanently-installed event tent about 50' by 100' with a stage (about 10' x 20') on one of the long sides (so ~50' stage-to-FOH). Power is provided by a utility drop on a pole similar to those found on construction sites. Long (~50') heavy-duty extension cords bring it into the tent. The floor consists of compacted gravel with outdoor carpeting on top that is about to be redone along with the stage. So some renovation looms.

My daughter used to run a sound/video system in a pretty-large megachurch in South Carolina, so she's familiar with what functionality she'd like although not familiar with the nuts-and-bolts of the tech.

Requirements:
The bands are usually a keyboard and a couple guitars, maybe some drums if someone brings 'em. Add a few mics for the worship service. There's a performance group coming in a couple months that requires 10 XLRs for their wireless mic system, and the board was sized with that in mind. But usually a half-dozen mics at most, and the small band mentioned above. We're not looking at club-level chest-thumping bass here, just some reasonable sound support to get them through the next couple years.

Between us we came up the following: Main speakers at front left and right, Fills a ways back on either side (or maybe outside for the summer festival thingy), and a couple of wedges for the stage. She wants the board to be at front-of-house, so there's a snake to it. Amps will be up at the stage.

What We've Got (So okay, he was a *good* salesman, but his recommendations fit pretty well with what we'd already been looking at...):
Speakers: Four Peavey PR15s for the mains and fills, and a pair of Peavey PV12Ms wedges for the stage.
Stands: Proline LST2BK for the mains and fills.
Amps: Two Crown XLS1500s for main and fill, and an XLS1000 for the monitors.
Board: Mackie ProFX16
Mics: Four Sennheiser E835, and two AKG wireless: a handheld and a lapel.
Misc: Mic stands, cables, a handful of XLR-TRS adapters, and four DI boxes each with lift and pad. I'm sure I'll need more of this stuff -- this was just to get an initial hookup going.

As for me:
I have always been interested in sound/lighting systems and have a pretty good tech network and power background (I run a data center for the Federal government). I'm an electronics hobbyist and a "man-cave musician" with a rack of synths and effects, so I'm familiar with mixer signal paths, basic effects boxes, midi, networking, etc. So I'm going to be their "tech" guy... (This is undoubtedly going to be my downfall, here...  :)

Power:
Should be okay, but I suspect there'll be some issues. According to Crown, I can run all three amps at "normal 1/8 power" (barely clipping)  and draw just under 7a. So a 20a circuit should support them all. (Don't like it, but until I can get some more circuits...) A couple more 20a for general stage use. Another 20a at FOH for the board and a laptop, etc. Was thinking about trying to keep the amps and board on the same side of power, but I might be being too picky here. (Operating from ignorance is a real pain sometimes... :)  Was also thinking of running the amps at 240v instead of 120v. Anyway, since this is a small rather informal venue, I think we can get away nicely with a half-dozen or so circuits, especially since there's minimal lighting at this point.

General:
The system is probably a bit oversized and should be able to run easily. (At least that was my intent...) About the only effects we'd use would be a bit of reverb which the on-board would probably be able to handle. If not, I've got a small Yamaha digital reverb on my own keyboards that I can use for now. I'm looking at some EQ, and maybe some compression, but that might be a bit down the road. Don't plan on micing any drums for now, but will likely use some DIs on the guitars (probably) and the keyboard (almost certainly). We're starting really thin and hoping to beef it up bit by but as we go.

So now that everything's bought and awaiting setup and testing, I'm second-guessing everything. I googled up "sound reinforcement forums" (which I should have done in the first place) and here I am. Y'all are first on the list! Been reading threads and already learning: found out about the Crown power draw spec sheets from here. Also pouring over You Tube videos about sound reinforcement and learning more. But these boards are obviously full of folks that can learn me even more (we're in Oklahoma, after all), and I'd be interested in any thoughts...

Did we go too far wrong with this stuff?

EDIT: spelling

First off don't be surprised when your post is moved.  This is the touring/national act "big boys" room.  This belongs in the HOW or lounge forum. 

I guess why are you asking after the fact?  Can you take it all back?  Did you just purchase it?  That's what I took.

I would also go to the power and safety forum and start reading up.  The extension cord is inefficient and could be dangerous.  You need to take the 220 to the stage and use a distribution box.  The amps will run cooler and more efficient on the higher voltage.

The board is a huge limiting factor, the snake, expensive, large the new crop of digital mixers run Cat 5 computer style wire to the stage.

An analog board is also not a great value proposition as the new intro level digital boards offer so much more functionality in terms of EQ and processing.  You really need outboard EQ, compressors and gates (if the board has comps my apologies). 

Also having four speakers for "fills" problamatic.   You don't have processing and delay so the speakers are interfering with each other.  Would probably sound better with two turned off.  More of the wrong speaker is never a solution.  With the money you spent on the amps and speakers you could have had a good percentage of a much nicer set of powered mains and subs.

The monitor count seems low, but I don't know your production values.

You didn't give us a target range for the level so it's really hard to comment.  If a drummer plays loud I would think he could get on top of the vocals from the Peavey's.

Sorry to start of on a downer note.

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Bill Harvey

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2015, 02:51:25 pm »

That's all okay. Gotta learn somehow. I guess what I was looking for (since the equipment is a done deal) is did anyone see any killer obstacles in using this. I know I need to talk with the electrician to get additional power installed (I don't want cords, either). The board only has two monitor channels, so I know we're starting out behind the eight-ball. Band reinforcement is not the primary purpose, merely an additional use.

But thanks very much for the info. (And I ead about digital snakes here...  Sigh...)
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2015, 04:03:13 pm »

That's all okay. Gotta learn somehow. I guess what I was looking for (since the equipment is a done deal) is did anyone see any killer obstacles in using this. I know I need to talk with the electrician to get additional power installed (I don't want cords, either). The board only has two monitor channels, so I know we're starting out behind the eight-ball. Band reinforcement is not the primary purpose, merely an additional use.

But thanks very much for the info. (And I ead about digital snakes here...  Sigh...)

The biggest obstacle, as was already mentioned, from a quality standpoint is the inability to delay your fill speakers.  This will cause BIG problems with intelligibility and coherence.
You will need to add some ability to properly delay the fill speakers.  You would be best off returning the XLS amps and getting the CDi or DSi series amps.  Very cost effective and they have a good selection of entry level EQ, delay, limiting and other functions that are simple to program from their faces or from a USB linked computer.

Lee
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Bill Harvey

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2015, 04:19:53 pm »

The biggest obstacle, as was already mentioned, from a quality standpoint is the inability to delay your fill speakers.  This will cause BIG problems with intelligibility and coherence.

Lee

Thanks very much. I didn't think the smallness of the venue would make that necessary. I'll look into it and see what our option are.

I probably should have looked around a bit more and posted this in LAB Lite...  Sorry...
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2015, 04:34:04 pm »

Thanks very much. I didn't think the smallness of the venue would make that necessary. I'll look into it and see what our option are.

I probably should have looked around a bit more and posted this in LAB Lite...  Sorry...

I'm going to recommend you ditch the "toy" mixer they stuck you with and get yourself a Qu-16 from Allen & Heath.  This will at least allow you the processing and control options you need to get the most out of the rest of the stuff they sold you. 

As it is, the NECESSARY gear they did not sell you will cost about half the Qu price when you add in the money wasted on that Mackie.

By the way:  you'd be MUCH better off sound-wise putting the stage on the short side rather than in the middle of the long side.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2015, 04:46:47 pm by dick rees »
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2015, 05:21:47 pm »


  The amps will run cooler and more efficient on the higher voltage.


I would disagree with that statement.

Do you have any evidence to back it up?

Assuming the amplifier has a universal supply, the big difference is that there will be a lower current draw from the higher voltage-but that does not mean they will run any cooler.

The fans on the inside will still be run off of the same voltage moving the same amount of air and the actual "amplifier section (not the power supply) will operate off of the same power supply (internal) voltages driving the same impedance loads.

Some amplifiers can also produce higher output voltages (which means more power into the same impedance load) when run off of a higher voltage.  This is due to the input current being lower and often circuits of a lower voltage are current limited.

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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2015, 07:22:12 pm »

Where in Southeast Oklahoma are you?
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2015, 09:27:09 pm »

I would disagree with that statement.

Do you have any evidence to back it up?

Assuming the amplifier has a universal supply, the big difference is that there will be a lower current draw from the higher voltage-but that does not mean they will run any cooler.

The fans on the inside will still be run off of the same voltage moving the same amount of air and the actual "amplifier section (not the power supply) will operate off of the same power supply (internal) voltages driving the same impedance loads.

Some amplifiers can also produce higher output voltages (which means more power into the same impedance load) when run off of a higher voltage.  This is due to the input current being lower and often circuits of a lower voltage are current limited.

Evidence?  Other than experience, no.  I know the sign over my desk "in God we trust all others bring data"

I should have said higher power amplifiers.  In my experience.  Mostly with different generation xti's when running close to the 10 or 12 amps RMS at 120V.

Once you move to the higher voltage the amp runs cooler. 

Now that I actually expand on the statement it is not universal.  If you have good clean power, an outlet that can provide a continuous 15A and your crest is not exceeding that it probably makes no difference.

Maybe I should just retract while i am ahead.

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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2015, 11:41:58 pm »

Bill, you have a PM inbound.
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2015, 08:08:35 am »

The biggest obstacle, as was already mentioned, from a quality standpoint is the inability to delay your fill speakers.  This will cause BIG problems with intelligibility and coherence.

Since the stage is one of the long edges of the tents I would assume the fill speakers are going to be on stage next to the mains, only pointing outward to cover the far left and right seats. Does he really need to delay those? They would be functioning more like a very wide splay and I would think if they just kept the level at a low enough point that they were only operating as fills and weren't bleeding into the main coverage area they'd be fine and would actual enhance intelligiblity for those seats if you kept the lower fequencies out of them.

I would still take them back with the amps and get two of the best powered speakers you could afford instead or at least take two of them back and get a 31 band EQ.

But if you're not going to do that, I have worked with the PR15s personally and find that for the price point they sound surprising very good, especially on vocals, which is apparently mostly what youll be running through this system, based on the limited mics you have. I've put a full band thru them with mic'd drum kit with no issues. I'm sure I've worked with a lot more low end gear in the recent past than most of the other members and have lower criteria (closer to the average listener) of what sounds good. I'm sure they will sound fine to your audience, but for the money you spent on the speakers and amps (I'm guessing just shy of $1200) you probably could have gotten two powered speakers that sound better.

Bill,

It looks to me like this package was assembled to fit into a particular budget, rather than to get the best sound possible. Sometimes that's the only option, and I think you could have done worse for the little bit of money you did spend.  You will most likely be replacing all this gear, which will have very low resale value, down the road, and you probably want to start with a proper digital mixer as the first new piece.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2015, 08:45:29 am »

Evidence?  Other than experience, no.  I know the sign over my desk "in God we trust all others bring data"

I should have said higher power amplifiers.  In my experience.  Mostly with different generation xti's when running close to the 10 or 12 amps RMS at 120V.

Once you move to the higher voltage the amp runs cooler. 

Now that I actually expand on the statement it is not universal.  If you have good clean power, an outlet that can provide a continuous 15A and your crest is not exceeding that it probably makes no difference.

Maybe I should just retract while i am ahead.
If you are talking about one amp vs another-that is a completely different thing.

And how cool they run is not based solely on output power.  The particular"class" of amp makes a big difference-as does the size of the heatsink-cooling "style" and so forth.

And when ones says "cooler" what does that mean?  The actual operating temp of the inside of the amp or the external chassis?  The inside components are what matter most.  Heck the color of the amp can make a huge difference outside on a sunny day.

I was talking about amp model XYZ when run off of 120V vs xYZ when run off of 240V when running the same output level. 

There should be little to no difference in how cool they run.
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2015, 11:11:07 am »

Since the stage is one of the long edges of the tents I would assume the fill speakers are going to be on stage next to the mains, only pointing outward to cover the far left and right seats. Does he really need to delay those? They would be functioning more like a very wide splay and I would think if they just kept the level at a low enough point that they were only operating as fills and weren't bleeding into the main coverage area they'd be fine and would actual enhance intelligiblity for those seats if you kept the lower fequencies out of them.


If this were the intent, which we don't know since we have been given no diagram, then delay would not be the problem but a pair of boxes not built to array being placed as an array would be. 

Beyond that, playing the stage on the long wall will more significantly limit seating than playing it on the short wall.  Sight lines, if the stage is on the long wall and seating is allowed "next to" the stage, will force them to move speakers on poles back toward the tent wall behind the stage.  If the stage were on the short wall it would be easier to ensure that there was no seating next to the stage.

Bottom line.  All of the equipment has been purchased.  The gate is being closed after the horse got out.

Lee
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Bill Harvey

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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2015, 11:28:14 am »

Bill,

It looks to me like this package was assembled to fit into a particular budget, rather than to get the best sound possible. Sometimes that's the only option, and I think you could have done worse for the little bit of money you did spend.  You will most likely be replacing all this gear, which will have very low resale value, down the road, and you probably want to start with a proper digital mixer as the first new piece.

Yes, exactly. Their initial budget was (don't laugh) ~$3K. Well, they bumped up a little more, and Dad has a credit card and a soft spot for his daughter, so we're up around the ~$5-6K range. The ministry is funded by donations, and right now they're trying to grow a building fund. Once they get a permanent building, I have lots better stuff in mind like the digital mixer and snake, etc., etc. (I've learned quite a bit just browsing these forums.)

The board, poor as it is, has some EQ and 5 channels with compressors, so we have some capability there even if the quality isn't the greatest. It's obviously limited with only two monitor sends, but it does fill the near-term requirements. Dad might have to spring for a couple EQs, though. I think we'll be needing them rather quickly...  ;D  Something like the Behringer Ultragraph Pro FBQ6200 be okay? And I'll probably need three?

And thanks for that info, Lee. I'll see if I can get them to re-orient...
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 11:37:32 am by Bill Harvey »
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Re: Sound Reinforcement System for Small Religious Venue Suggestions
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2015, 11:28:14 am »


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