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Author Topic: New to installed sound, need advice on speaker selection  (Read 2922 times)

Steven Welwood

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New to installed sound, need advice on speaker selection
« on: November 11, 2015, 08:15:06 pm »

Hello,

I've worked with live sound for 15 years, and been in it full-time for almost 4, but in the last year or so I've started getting calls about new installs and upgrading existing ones. Mostly the calls have been coming from schools, community halls, etc.

I have two questions. First, what brands of speakers do you normally go to for installs? My research usually includes JBL, QSC, Yorkville, EV, and a couple that I can't think of right now, but outside of these, my brand knowledge is pretty thin.

Second, the situation that prompted this post: I need a recommendation for a speaker pair to install in a small room (30' x 30'). The room is used for senior's activities, and once every couple of weeks they have a music night where everyone and his dog brings a guitar, banjo, harmonica, etc., and they have a jam session.

The room is in the end of a building, with 3 cinder block walls. The musicians line up along the end wall, and the rows of chairs start about 10 feet from that wall.

Until now, one of the seniors has brought a portable system and set the speakers at the side walls, about 8 feet from the end. I suggested that would probably be the best place to mount the new speakers. (Hanging them could be an option, but in my admittedly very limited installation experience, my guess is that the cost would be a fair bit higher. They have a drop ceiling and I'm not sure what hang points would be available above it.)

Since it's such a small space and the system will be amplifying mainly vocals and acoustic guitars, I figured a small 300-ish watt speaker would probably suffice. I've found some speakers that satisfy some requirements but none that are close in all areas.

What I'm looking for:
Coverage pattern--50 x 50 (I don't know if they make them this narrow)
Power handling--300 W program
Weight--40 lbs
Bracket-mountable
Price--CA$800 ea

Can anyone recommend something that would work here?
« Last Edit: November 11, 2015, 08:17:46 pm by Steven Welwood »
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: New to installed sound, need advice on speaker selection
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2015, 12:24:29 pm »

Hello,

I've worked with live sound for 15 years, and been in it full-time for almost 4, but in the last year or so I've started getting calls about new installs and upgrading existing ones. Mostly the calls have been coming from schools, community halls, etc.

I have two questions. First, what brands of speakers do you normally go to for installs? My research usually includes JBL, QSC, Yorkville, EV, and a couple that I can't think of right now, but outside of these, my brand knowledge is pretty thin.

Second, the situation that prompted this post: I need a recommendation for a speaker pair to install in a small room (30' x 30'). The room is used for senior's activities, and once every couple of weeks they have a music night where everyone and his dog brings a guitar, banjo, harmonica, etc., and they have a jam session.

The room is in the end of a building, with 3 cinder block walls. The musicians line up along the end wall, and the rows of chairs start about 10 feet from that wall.

Until now, one of the seniors has brought a portable system and set the speakers at the side walls, about 8 feet from the end. I suggested that would probably be the best place to mount the new speakers. (Hanging them could be an option, but in my admittedly very limited installation experience, my guess is that the cost would be a fair bit higher. They have a drop ceiling and I'm not sure what hang points would be available above it.)

Since it's such a small space and the system will be amplifying mainly vocals and acoustic guitars, I figured a small 300-ish watt speaker would probably suffice. I've found some speakers that satisfy some requirements but none that are close in all areas.

What I'm looking for:
Coverage pattern--50 x 50 (I don't know if they make them this narrow)
Power handling--300 W program
Weight--40 lbs
Bracket-mountable
Price--CA$800 ea

Can anyone recommend something that would work here?
The basic steps for determining what speaker to use for a particular job are as follows.  IN ORDER

1: What coverage is needed for the room?  Remember that if you want real pattern control, you HAVE to have large horns.  Small horns only control the top octave or two and let the rest splatter the walls, ceiling

This means larger more expensive cabinets.  Narrower coverage cabinets MUST be larger than wider coverage cabinets, for the same freq control

2: How loud does it need to be able to get?

3: What is the freq response needed out of the full range cabinets and subs?

4: Once you have those established, THEN and only then, you can consider brands, costs etc.

Usually you will have to give up something to meet the other needs
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Ivan Beaver
Danley Sound Labs

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Steven Welwood

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Re: New to installed sound, need advice on speaker selection
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2015, 02:42:20 am »

Thanks for the reply Ivan. I guess I should clarify what I'm looking for.

The specific situation I'm in is what led me to post my questions, but really what I need is a bigger pool of speakers to choose from. After looking through the offerings of the brands I listed, I didn't find what I was looking for, so rather than "Use this box," I'm hoping someone will say, "Here are a few popular brands for commercial installs that aren't on your list. . . "

In my searching I've come across numerous names I don't recognize, but because I'm new to installed systems I don't know if they're good or not. I'm just trying to avoid the Behringers of the install world.
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: New to installed sound, need advice on speaker selection
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2015, 09:27:58 am »

Thanks for the reply Ivan. I guess I should clarify what I'm looking for.

The specific situation I'm in is what led me to post my questions, but really what I need is a bigger pool of speakers to choose from. After looking through the offerings of the brands I listed, I didn't find what I was looking for, so rather than "Use this box," I'm hoping someone will say, "Here are a few popular brands for commercial installs that aren't on your list. . . "

In my searching I've come across numerous names I don't recognize, but because I'm new to installed systems I don't know if they're good or not. I'm just trying to avoid the Behringers of the install world.

Some others that are not on your current list would be EAW, Danley Sound Labs, Martin Audio, Fulcrum Acoustic, Meyer Sound, and VUE Audiotechnik.  These each offer very good quality installation speakers.

Lee
« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 09:30:47 am by Lee Buckalew »
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Lee Buckalew
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: New to installed sound, need advice on speaker selection
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2015, 10:23:16 am »

Thanks for the reply Ivan. I guess I should clarify what I'm looking for.

The specific situation I'm in is what led me to post my questions, but really what I need is a bigger pool of speakers to choose from. After looking through the offerings of the brands I listed, I didn't find what I was looking for, so rather than "Use this box," I'm hoping someone will say, "Here are a few popular brands for commercial installs that aren't on your list. . . "

In my searching I've come across numerous names I don't recognize, but because I'm new to installed systems I don't know if they're good or not. I'm just trying to avoid the Behringers of the install world.
Fundamentally-an installed speaker is no different than a tour type speaker.  It produces sound in the same way.

But there are other things that may or may not apply to a specific install.

First, do they have flyware designed to fly the speaker-NO the handles are not good to wrap swingset chain around!!!!!!

Are the available in different colors or bare or stainable wood?  Sometimes black is fine-other times you need white-or allow ti to be stained or painted as needed.  Not everybody offers this.

What are the input connectors?  Some installers prefer not to use NL4's (to much work when up on scaffolding) and like barrier strips.  Others don't care.

Remember that a powered speaker is going to have to have power run to it.  That could add greatly to the cost of the install.

DO they offer "install versions" that have a cleaner look than a portable version.  For example install versions don't have handles or wheels that are visible.

What about the grill?  Does it have a logo that is not removable?  Sometimes that is not a good thing.  Often consultants insist that all logos be removed from the cabinets.  Front and sides anyway.

Physical size can often be an issue in installs-portable doesn't care so much.  Things like sight lines or blending into the room are often important.

The "usage" can also different.  In a portable situation, getting in and out is more important than having even coverage to every seat.

In a install, people will hear the system every day and many times.  So the coverage must be better.  It is not a matter of "turn it up and impress them with volume", at some point they WILL be concerned with the quality of the sound.

So having large horns that actually control the sound and keep it off of the walls is important.

Remember that price is a big issue in an install.  What is the hardest thing to upgrade or replace?  The loudspeakers-because the labor is so much more involved.

What is the piece of gear in the entire system that has the greatest influence (or the worst reproducer if you will) of the sound?  The loudspeakers.

What has the greatest impact of providing equal sound to everybody-again the loudspeakers.

So it makes sense to put the most money where it will do the most good.  The loudspeakers.

You can easily change out consoles, or mics, or amps later if needed or more case becomes available.

Not so easy to do with the loudspeaker.  Get them right the first time.  They have the greatest influence over the overall sound.

Yes quality speaker cost real money-but there is a reason for that.
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A complex question is easily answered by a simple-easy to understand WRONG answer!

Ivan Beaver
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Steven Welwood

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Re: New to installed sound, need advice on speaker selection
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2015, 05:33:43 pm »

Some others that are not on your current list would be EAW, Danley Sound Labs, Martin Audio, Fulcrum Acoustic, Meyer Sound, and VUE Audiotechnik.  These each offer very good quality installation speakers.

Lee

Thank you, Lee. Exactly what I needed.
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Steven Welwood

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Re: New to installed sound, need advice on speaker selection
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2015, 05:37:42 pm »

Fundamentally-an installed speaker is no different than a tour type speaker.  It produces sound in the same way.

But there are other things that may or may not apply to a specific install.

...

Thanks Ivan. I was aware of all of these considerations, but it's good to have a reminder, and a list to check against.
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Corey Scogin

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Re: New to installed sound, need advice on speaker selection
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2015, 05:39:02 pm »

Thank you, Lee. Exactly what I needed.

Also look at Community. They make a lot of decent installation speakers. http://communitypro.com/
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Steven Welwood

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Re: New to installed sound, need advice on speaker selection
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2015, 05:44:29 pm »

Also look at Community. They make a lot of decent installation speakers. http://communitypro.com/

Thanks, Corey. I'll add those to the list.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: New to installed sound, need advice on speaker selection
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2015, 05:44:29 pm »


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