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Favorite speaker system to mix on in a theatre?

D&B V System
- 17 (60.7%)
L-Acoustics Kara
- 8 (28.6%)
Meyer Leopard
- 3 (10.7%)

Total Members Voted: 28


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Author Topic: Favorite speaker system to mix on in a theatre  (Read 9466 times)

Malek Pallie

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Favorite speaker system to mix on in a theatre
« on: October 02, 2015, 03:01:20 pm »

Has this question been asked before? Of course! But...I am helping the management of a large (3500 seats) performing arts style space which is looking to upgrade their FOH system make this decision, and they are getting a lot of conflicting information from different vendors about what is the "best" system for them.

Floor is approximately 220' wide at the widest and 120' deep, balcony is 250' at the widest and 75' deep. Ceiling height from deck to ceiling is 75'.

I am of the opinion that any professional product that is well deployed will work for their needs, but of course, there are vendors who would like them to be married to the particular brand which they deal in, and so they sell it as "the best".

This space hosts a variety of events, including classical orchestras, rock, bluegrass, and pop bands, and spoken word events, so versatility is important.

The bids which are being considered at this phase are all the same configuration (for a fair comparison, as much as is possible):

- 2 hangs of 12 boxes each side
- 4 front fills on stage
- Subs on the floor

Presumably, a 48in 16 out console will be part of the upgrade (but that is a subject for another post).

Did I miss anything? 

I would like as many professional mix engineers as possible on this forum to vote so that I can either show that I am wrong and there actually is one brand which most engineers prefer, or that the preferences at this level of product are quite evenly spread out based on personal taste.

Thanks all!
« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 04:37:02 pm by Malek Pallie »
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Preference of system for Mixing on.
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2015, 03:31:03 pm »

Has this question been asked before? Of course! But...I am helping the management of a large (3500 seats) performing arts style space which is looking to upgrade their FOH system make this decision, and they are getting a lot of conflicting information from different vendors about what is the "best" system for them.

I am of the opinion that any professional product that is well deployed will work for their needs, but of course, there are vendors who would like them to be married to the particular brand which they deal in, and so they sell it as "the best".

This space hosts a variety of events, including classical orchestras, rock, bluegrass, and pop bands, and spoken word events, so versatility is important.

The bids which are being considered at this phase are all the same configuration (for a fair comparison, as much as is possible):

- 2 hangs of 12 boxes each side
- 4 front fills on stage
- Subs on the floor

Presumably, a 48in 16 out console will be part of the upgrade (but that is a subject for another post).

Did I miss anything? 

I would like as many professional mix engineers as possible on this forum to vote so that I can either show that I am wrong and there actually is one brand which most engineers prefer, or that the preferences at this level of product are quite evenly spread out based on personal taste.

Thanks all!

Can't answer with the data you have given.  I am interested to know how you have determined how many boxes need to be in your line if you haven't specified the boxes.  Additionally are you locked into an array style product?  Depending on your room a point source solution may be more economical and offer vastly improved fidelity due to the reduction in destructive interference.

A discussion on the space, both dimensions and treatments, the desired reproduction range and the level required at different location in the venue.

BTW you posted in the LAB, for the folks in here 3500 seats is a small room.  A moderator will determine however I think this question should be in the lounge.
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Art Welter

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Re: Preference of system for Mixing on.
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2015, 04:10:01 pm »

I am interested to know how you have determined how many boxes need to be in your line if you haven't specified the boxes.
Scott,

The OP specified the line array boxes in the poll. Whether line arrays will cover the room as well as point source boxes is another issue, but there are only three choices, and no "other".

The fact this is a poll would have been more clear if stated in the title.
"Preference of system for Mixing on" made me think the thread was going to ask for a preference of mixing consoles, not a choice between 3 line arrays.

Art
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Preference of system for Mixing on.
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2015, 04:17:48 pm »

Greetings Malek-

Operator preferences change with the individual, and that persons preferences can change daily, weekly, or yearly.  Most of the artist engineers I work with have more significant interest regarding consoles than speaker systems until one reaches the level of artist touring with their own leased system.

Most band engineers are also attracted by "shiny and new".  Right now the "flavor of the month" is the l'Acoustic K1.   By January it might be a new d&b model or Martin might debut a new system... and the loyalties and preferences will change.

I'm in a city civic/performing arts center today as a local A1.  I'm mixing on a 30 year old EV installation and neither I nor the facility clients have any say in what is used, purchased and installed.  If any client wants a more sophisticated rig they can hire one and bring it in.  This is exactly what my venue faced with the prospect of installing a new speaker system in the 2200 seat concert hall.  The main clients in that room are the symphony (announcing only), opera (discreet reinforcement and announcements) and summer stock musical theatre (who refuses to use the house rig, no matter what it might be, because they "don't want to tie the hands of our designers.").  Accordingly the City isn't particularly interested in spending US$300,000 on PA.

Your model is different, but realize that any choice made today will likely be out of favor by the time it's used the second time.
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Robert Healey

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Re: Preference of system for Mixing on.
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2015, 04:19:21 pm »

BTW you posted in the LAB, for the folks in here 3500 seats is a small room.  A moderator will determine however I think this question should be in the lounge.

3500 is huge for an indoor theater type venue. If you are considering indoor spaces only, aside from arena tours there are plenty of a-list acts playing in rooms smaller than that.
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Preference of system for Mixing on.
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2015, 04:22:05 pm »

Big red flag for me is that it sounds like the OP is helping the management out, but isn't the audio consultant hired for the job. There should be someone who is hired in to guide management in determining their needs, figuring out the budget, making sure that the system will meet the riders (if applicable) of any touring acts that might hit the PAC, and THEN start looking at brands. Modeling the room, ensuring that the package will work as advertised and (of course) post sale support are all things that this audio consultant could and should be doing as a part of their contract. That way, you have a "versed in the industry" advocate that will help PAC management to review and compare the offerings from different manufacturers, so you select the best product for the job, and not what a particular vendor is trying to sell you.

-Ray
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Malek Pallie

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Re: Preference of system for Mixing on.
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2015, 04:29:02 pm »

Can't answer with the data you have given.  I am interested to know how you have determined how many boxes need to be in your line if you haven't specified the boxes.  Additionally are you locked into an array style product?  Depending on your room a point source solution may be more economical and offer vastly improved fidelity due to the reduction in destructive interference.

A discussion on the space, both dimensions and treatments, the desired reproduction range and the level required at different location in the venue.

BTW you posted in the LAB, for the folks in here 3500 seats is a small room.  A moderator will determine however I think this question should be in the lounge.

You make some good points Scott. I am editing my original post to reflect some of the information which you requested.

In terms of why I have determined the number of boxes and a Line Array solution, here is the short(er) answer: The venue management and governing board has determined that due to aesthetics and the importance of site-lines for viewing IMAG screens, the arrays need to stay within a certain length, and cannot hang lower than a particular height. So, their current preferred vendor supplied a demo system and quote from one of the manufacturers listed above which met these criteria while providing even coverage, improved clarity, range, and SPL than their existing system. Having satisfied themselves that this type of system can meet their needs while at the same time maintaining site-lines, they wanted to compare systems that are similar in output and physical dimensions so that they can make a fair comparison of various systems. They received several proposals from different installers, and determined that due to the credentials of the installers and the rider acceptability of the products being proposed, these three systems will be the final three being considered. Do I know that they are limiting their options with how the system designers have been pigeonholed through this bid process? Yes, but due to the nature of how projects get approved in this particular situation, this is the way that their RFP evaluation process for this project has to work.

Being one of the regular mix engineers here, some of the stakeholders brought me in to help advise them on my recommendations.
 
Frankly, I am using this poll to take the current temperature of what people would most like to see in this type of venue when they show up to mix because one of the vendors is using the selling point "brand X is the best, so you should only consider our bid if you want the best". I personally would have no problem mixing on either of these systems if it is properly deployed and matched to the room, and think most engineers are this way, but everyone generally has one that they prefer just a little more than the others.
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Malek Pallie

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Re: Preference of system for Mixing on.
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2015, 04:37:57 pm »


"Preference of system for Mixing on" made me think the thread was going to ask for a preference of mixing consoles, not a choice between 3 line arrays.

Art

Good point Art. I have edited it to make more sense (I think). Thanks!
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: Preference of system for Mixing on.
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2015, 04:45:18 pm »

One problem with a public poll like this, is that even though you put it in the Lab, it can be voted on by people who've never used any such system, and are just repeating internet buzz.

Or by people who have used or specified one of the systems.  In which case you're asking them to confirm their already arrived at opinion.  I personally have never mixed on any of these in such a venue, but I have spent similar budgets and more on factory equipment in my day job.  When I ask for references I know I'm going to get happy customers.  My first question to the ones I contact is "What else have you used?  How recently?"  Those that have a good cross section of experience and can intelligently discuss the ins and outs of the various options are worth talking to.  The others are just confirmation bias and I cut those calls short.

Maybe a better way to put it out there is to ask if anyone has mixed on all three systems in good sized halls having the basic acoustics of your venue (live concert hall, dead theatre, etc?) for the kinds of acts you are looking at (don't see any EDM or death metal), and then asking them publicly or privately about the good and bad points of each option.
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Malek Pallie

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Re: Preference of system for Mixing on.
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2015, 04:51:06 pm »

Greetings Malek-

Operator preferences change with the individual, and that persons preferences can change daily, weekly, or yearly.  Most of the artist engineers I work with have more significant interest regarding consoles than speaker systems until one reaches the level of artist touring with their own leased system.

Most band engineers are also attracted by "shiny and new".  Right now the "flavor of the month" is the l'Acoustic K1.   By January it might be a new d&b model or Martin might debut a new system... and the loyalties and preferences will change.

I'm in a city civic/performing arts center today as a local A1.  I'm mixing on a 30 year old EV installation and neither I nor the facility clients have any say in what is used, purchased and installed.  If any client wants a more sophisticated rig they can hire one and bring it in.  This is exactly what my venue faced with the prospect of installing a new speaker system in the 2200 seat concert hall.  The main clients in that room are the symphony (announcing only), opera (discreet reinforcement and announcements) and summer stock musical theatre (who refuses to use the house rig, no matter what it might be, because they "don't want to tie the hands of our designers.").  Accordingly the City isn't particularly interested in spending US$300,000 on PA.

Your model is different, but realize that any choice made today will likely be out of favor by the time it's used the second time.

I totally understand what you are saying Tim. There are a lot of different systems which different engineers prefer, and there are some guys who always think that what they have in their truck is "better" than what is installed, so there is no pleasing anyone. I guess the L-Acoustics and D&B are already old and obsolete according to some people, but something has to be put in, so I guess we will have to make a choice. I'm just looking for a way to show that there is no "best" brand, and that different people have different preferences and that at this level opinion is varied on preference. 
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Preference of system for Mixing on.
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2015, 04:51:06 pm »


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