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Author Topic: ideal mix position  (Read 5815 times)

brent nowlan

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ideal mix position
« on: November 01, 2005, 11:56:56 pm »

my church is under renonvations and there planning on moving the sound booth to the back center of the santuary, but there making a balcony just for the audio and video stuff. I was wondering if anyone knows of any good experiences that come from being above everyone (16 ft possibibly) and mixing, and i want to hear the bad too, of course...I feel that it might be a bad idea, they havent started anything and wont for ahile so i can still have a say.  Is being at ground level the way to go?  
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Clayton Luckie

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Re: ideal mix position
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2005, 12:22:30 am »

It all depends on your room and your speaker setup.  If you are going to be in a balcony, make sure you are going to hear the same thing that the people will on the floor.

I dont like being on the floor where I am now, because I feel like Im in people's way.  I'm in a traditional mix position, about two thirds of the way back, so there are people behind me.  But if I were going to be in a balcony, I would demand to be able to hear an accurate mix.  This is where your qualified sound contractor comes in to play.  You have one, right?? Smile

cl
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bigsound

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Re: ideal mix position
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2005, 01:00:31 am »

At my church, when the mix position was relocated, we moved it to the back center part of the sanctuary, and raised the mixing area up about 3 feet. I can sit and see over the crowd, and still get a realistic feel for what's happening.
If you are 16' up or more, you'll need to spend some time running down to the floor so you'll know what the congregation is hearing. For me, the main thing you miss by being elevated is the amount of low end actually present on the floor.
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DTownSMR

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Re: ideal mix position
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2005, 08:24:50 am »

I've never had to mix from an elevated position so I'm not speaking from experience behind the desk. But I have noticed that the times I've been in the audience of a venue that has an elevated mix position, there is a higher percentage of poor overall quality. I don't assume that's because the techs CAN'T do a good job, rather I think that stems from them NOT hearing what's on the floor. A quality sound design team will address this. If you're "rolling your own" install, it'll be more hit or miss. Smile

My guess is that to correct that situation you'll need some sort of near field monitors (w/ sub) at the desk that are leveled (volume & eq) to match what the congregation hears from the mains on the floor. I suspect the desk monitors should also need to be timed delayed to match the ambient sound from the mains.
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Tom Young

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Re: ideal mix position
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2005, 08:24:56 am »

Balconies do not make good sound mixing positions. This location has the effect of placing the sound mixer(s) in a different acoustic environment than that experienced by the majority of the audience or congregation.

If you are forced to be in a compromised position (balcony, underbalcony, way off to one side) then the sound mixers must walk out into the main floor area in order to get a "reality check" on how it sounds there. Even with much walking, mixing decisions made while at the console will not be "true".

Other factors that "sink or swim" a mix position have to do with the design of the loudspeaker system. Even if you happen to get the best position possible (2/3 back, center, main floor), you need to ensure that this position is not in the overlap or transition zone between arrayed loudspeakers. If the mix position is somewhere within the primary coverage of a single component in an array, assuming the array/system is well designed and optimized, then the mixing choices made will reflect what most people within the space will hear.

I also prefer a raised mix platform, from 18" to 24", as long as it does not block sight lines. This allows the sound op to see over the heads of the congregation, thus maintaining the ability to react to changes on the platform.
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Tom Young, Church Sound section moderator
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brent nowlan

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Re: ideal mix position
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2005, 09:49:20 am »

This is a big church im talking about, they have architects and sound designers working on this plan. but I havent met the sound designers so i dont know if they have a big say in where the sound booth goes, or is the architechs are just throwing it where it would look pretty.  Im pretty sure with the renovations where getting a new sound system so i would just have to make sure that its adjusted so we could hear an accurate mix on the balcony, but would that compromise the sound elsewhere...would being on a balcony differ the sound because theres no people or pews that absorb the sound??? i would think so... thanks for your responses so far, good stuff.. brent
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Ferd Regier

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Re: ideal mix position
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2005, 10:44:32 am »

"...architects are just throwing it where it would look pretty."


I happen to be an architect, and often see simplistic comments like this.  That's not really a criticism of the public (or you), but really of ourselves as architects.
What the public sees of our services is really a small part of what we do and we need to educate.  I consider myself a generalist in many ways, as I need to take information from disparate sources and somehow priorize all of it, then distill it into a design that achieves some level of success.  I can't possibly know enough about all of the possible systems (structural, mechanical, electrical, acoustical, etc.) to be anything but.  The design process always requires compromises.  Sometimes they are minor, sometimes not.  It's all based on the degree of clarity of both information and priority I get from the users (if I even get to deal with users), and of course, the skill of the designer.
That being said, make sure that you express your needs to the architect (through your accomodations committee or whomever is dealing with the architect).  Some architects have very little understanding of acoustics (both the physics and the psycho- type).  If he isn't getting clear instruction from your side, the priority of the system placement will be low.

Ferd
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Re: ideal mix position
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2005, 10:59:17 am »

Wow ferd, great to hear there is an architect in the ranks!

A agree that a balcony is far from ideal. I have seen that setup get installed and then, un-installed several times.

When doing live work, there are far too many things to go wrong, it makes sense to me to get things placed for the greatest chance of success.

Tom's 18"-24" raised booth sounds best.
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Tom Van Valkenburgh

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Re: ideal mix position
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2005, 02:48:16 pm »

Based on my experience, chances are poor (but not impossible) that you will hear exactly what the congregation is hearing in the balcony.

If the balcony idea wins, I would recommend asking current balcony dwellers what you should consider before the plans are finalized. A few items I have run across:

- Make sure you have plenty of lockable storage near the platform to store your gear (unless you have the luxury leaving everything set up). It's no fun dragging all your SR implements from/to the balcony week after week.

- Make sure you have good, easy, direct access to the balcony from the main floor. Especially with a renovation, there is the temptation to put in a spiral staircase, make you walk to the end of the education wing to take the stairs, or other kludges. If you have special programs, or are short on help, you could be taking this route a lot. If they will have to hoist the mixer over the front edge of the balcony, you need better access.

- Before the Sheetrock is up, run a few extra empty conduit runs at least downstairs, preferably to the platform. Who knows what the future holds.

Hope this helps.
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Re: ideal mix position
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2005, 03:32:29 pm »

And a fireman's pole... Shocked
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Re: ideal mix position
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2005, 03:32:29 pm »


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