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Author Topic: Small community Theater project  (Read 5534 times)

Stan Shields

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Small community Theater project
« on: January 21, 2016, 02:34:43 pm »

Guys-
I'm about to go down the rabbit hole of helping a new community theater spec and install a sound system. The space is rectangular, very reverberant with all hard reflective surfaces. I'll post dimensions and hopefully a drawing shortly.
My first question is this: Anybody have any experience with a ceiling-mounted distributed system for Theater instead of the typical L&R or LCR placement? It occurred to me that if I can get the speakers closer to the listener I might do better in the gain-before-feedback dept. keeping the energy off the walls and directing it towards the relatively absorptive audience.
Am I crazy or is this an approach worth investigating?
Stan
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Jordan Wolf

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Re: Small community Theater project
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2016, 10:21:25 pm »

Is this a black box space or a proscenium, etc. type venue? The intimacy of an acting environment can really influence the way audio is distributed.


- Jordan Wolf
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Jordan Wolf
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"We want our sound to go into the soul of the audience, and see if it can awaken some little thing in their minds... Cause there are so many sleeping people." - Jimi Hendrix

Mike Caldwell

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Re: Small community Theater project
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2016, 11:11:52 pm »

More details on the space will help but your concept of getting the speakers closer to peoples ears is good in acoustically challenged rooms.
If going with ceiling speakers you may want to have them in a couple of zones so you can delay each zone as needed back to the stage so the focal point of sound is somewhat still the stage and not quite so much directly overhead. The key words there are "somewhat" and "not quite so much".

Send us a picture and dimensions, we'll be more than happy to help you spend your money!
« Last Edit: January 22, 2016, 09:16:32 am by Mike Caldwell »
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Joe Larsen

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Re: Small community Theater project
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2016, 09:05:36 am »

How high is the ceiling? If the room is very reverberant I am guessing the ceiling is somewhat high. If that's the case the walls might get the loudspeakers closer to the audience, or you would want to drop the speakers down below the ceiling. Also, Mike is absolutely right that delaying the speakers further from the stage will be important to keep the perceived source at the stage.

Also, do you plan to specify some treatment for the room itself? Depending on the size of the space the theater may get more audio bang for their buck by mitigating the acoustic problems directly than by trying to overcome them electronically. This is especially true if there are audible echos.
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Nick Enright

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Re: Small community Theater project
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2016, 11:41:25 am »

Guys-
I'm about to go down the rabbit hole of helping a new community theater spec and install a sound system. The space is rectangular, very reverberant with all hard reflective surfaces. I'll post dimensions and hopefully a drawing shortly.
My first question is this: Anybody have any experience with a ceiling-mounted distributed system for Theater instead of the typical L&R or LCR placement? It occurred to me that if I can get the speakers closer to the listener I might do better in the gain-before-feedback dept. keeping the energy off the walls and directing it towards the relatively absorptive audience.
Am I crazy or is this an approach worth investigating?
Stan

I would start by making the room sound proper using architectural and dimensional modifications before even thinking about  the audio reproduction system. (IE get the RT60 where it needs to be, make the room sound like a good theatre, then your audio system has a fighting chance at providing the quality that the audience deserves.)

nick
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Nick Enright
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Stan Shields

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Re: Small community Theater project
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2016, 12:10:09 pm »

How high is the ceiling? If the room is very reverberant I am guessing the ceiling is somewhat high. If that's the case the walls might get the loudspeakers closer to the audience, or you would want to drop the speakers down below the ceiling. Also, Mike is absolutely right that delaying the speakers further from the stage will be important to keep the perceived source at the stage.

Also, do you plan to specify some treatment for the room itself? Depending on the size of the space the theater may get more audio bang for their buck by mitigating the acoustic problems directly than by trying to overcome them electronically. This is especially true if there are audible echos.
The room is 73' X 56' with a 29ft. centerline peaked roof running front-to-back (73'). There are roof trusses and a lighting grid that form a flat "ceiling" at the 16ft. height. I'm gonna try to post the drawings...
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Stan Shields

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Re: Small community Theater project
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2016, 12:19:48 pm »

The room is 73' X 56' with a 29ft. centerline peaked roof running front-to-back (73'). There are roof trusses and a lighting grid that form a flat "ceiling" at the 16ft. height. I'm gonna try to post the drawings...
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Stan Shields

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Re: Small community Theater project
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2016, 01:07:02 pm »

I would start by making the room sound proper using architectural and dimensional modifications before even thinking about  the audio reproduction system. (IE get the RT60 where it needs to be, make the room sound like a good theatre, then your audio system has a fighting chance at providing the quality that the audience deserves.)

nick
Yup, I would like to do as much acoustic treatment as possible before any system is installed. The building is up and finished so dimensions are what they are. Any treatments would be bandaids installed in the existing space. Does anybody know if system design software like EASE or Modeler allows treatments to be auditioned? I think the surfaces will remain drywall for the most part, I don't expect the powers that be will want to treat entire walls with absorptive materials so I'm thinking panels hung on the walls or objects/panels hung from the trusses. Do typical system design tools allow for measuring the affect of those types of absorption/diffusion treatments?
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Robert Healey

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Re: Small community Theater project
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2016, 01:28:36 pm »

Yup, I would like to do as much acoustic treatment as possible before any system is installed. The building is up and finished so dimensions are what they are. Any treatments would be bandaids installed in the existing space. Does anybody know if system design software like EASE or Modeler allows treatments to be auditioned? I think the surfaces will remain drywall for the most part, I don't expect the powers that be will want to treat entire walls with absorptive materials so I'm thinking panels hung on the walls or objects/panels hung from the trusses. Do typical system design tools allow for measuring the affect of those types of absorption/diffusion treatments?

Both EASE and Modeler include acoustic modeling functions that will give you both numbers and, if you have the right modules installed, the ability to use Auralization to create "acoustic renderings" of a space. The key isn't getting the data - it's knowing how to interpret it and the best way to act on it. Was there an acoustical consultant on the construction project?

I will preface the next paragraph with the caveat that the info is general - every space is different and requires a different approach. If the space is a black box, coverage of any number of creative seating layouts could be required.

In general for traditional systems, ceiling distribution can work to increase GBF, but the problem is imaging. If an audience member sees a person singing in a musical in front of them but the sound is coming from above, it brings them out of the play and lessens the theatrical experience. Usually the best system design approach for musical theater voice & drama speech reproduction is the good old center cluster. It has high intelligibility (if well designed) and a "pretty good" image for most of the audience. Adding the L-R to make an LCR system is usually for improved music reproduction.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2016, 01:34:19 pm by Robert Healey »
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Joe Larsen

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Re: Small community Theater project
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2016, 03:58:33 pm »

What is the seating arrangement, and is the arrangement variable? The drawing looks like the setup might be 270 at least, and you may be limited in your speaker configuration by what makes sense with the seating.
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Longwave Audiovisual Productions
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Small community Theater project
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2016, 03:58:33 pm »


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