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Author Topic: Suggestions wanted for small church improvement in sound reinforcement  (Read 1520 times)

Mike Caldwell

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Re: Suggestions wanted for small church improvement in sound reinforcement
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2019, 07:53:36 pm »

Your detailed response is appreciated, Kevin.

If one was to replace these 20 year old Fender 12” passive speakers, what should one consider? Would active speakers be recommended? Brand/model?

Your caution, re mounting the speakers safely, is well taken.

Acoustic treatment is something we should look into.

Those beams are begging to have speakers mounted on them in one way or another provided they have real structure in them to mount to. Mounting somewhere in the area of beams would actually have them pointing at the people.

Your room is not that deep but for the width and what looks like up close to the front seating you may also need something to fill the outer front corners depending on the speaker and positioning.

 As for the speakers and total project what is your budget?

Taylor Phillips

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Re: Suggestions wanted for small church improvement in sound reinforcement
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2019, 09:38:31 pm »

Thank you! That's an excellent question and being new in this sound position allows me only to comment from my own perspective that being:

a. - lack of even sound coverage throughout the seating area -- eg. dead area in the front middle
b. - clarity of the singing voices
c. - bass sounding a little muffled
Looking at the picture, I'm not surprised there's a dead area front and center.  I know some places over the years have installed speakers with the idea that they are only needed to cover the area that is not covered by the speaker's voice, and this looks like it could have been one of those situations.   Moving them to the middle will definitely help with coverage in the middle, but might hurt the coverage on the sides.  That's one of the downsides with these wide and shallow layouts.  I think you may be best served by an LCR - left, center, right - setup, but as they say, you're mileage my vary.  Focus your effort on where people currently like to sit. 

As for the singing voices, this could be as much an issue with how your using things as it is what you're using, or even the quality of your singers.  Do the singers sound clear when they don't use any mics?  If not, then the issue is the singers, not the system.  But if they do, it doesn't rule out operator error.  Make sure your gain is set correctly so that it picks up the quieter voices, but doesn't cause clipping.  Make sure you're using a high-pass filter on just about everything.  If those don't clear it up, use the EQ to **CUT** the muddier frequencies in the low-mid area.  Do your best not to boost with the EQ.  If none of that works, just turn down the whole system.  If it gets better, you need to make sure you don't exceed that threshold.  If that threshold is too quiet to run your services, then you'll need to look at new equipment.  Another general word of advice would be to try to run sound checks louder than your service.  Typically, if it sounds good loud, it will sound good quiet, but if it sounds good quiet, it's not guaranteed to sound good loud. 

Regarding the bass, without any subs, you simply just can't put a lot of bass in through the system without it getting muddy.  Some folks say you can't have bass through the mains at all unless you have subs, but I don't agree entirely.  Rather, the subs are necessary to get the "professional" sound that some people desire from contemporary worship services.  A lot of the important frequencies to get a good bass sound are a lot higher than most people give them though, so adding a bass to a band without adding subs to the PA can and does make a big difference in the sound, and when done right, the difference is a good one.  It was a night and day difference at my high school church when we had a bass versus when we didn't, and we only had 2 12" EV speakers.  Also, don't rule out using a bass cabinet on stage and bypassing the PA entirely.  Without control of it from the board though, you do need to be extra vigilant that you, the bass player, and worship leader are all on the same page, but you get the full sound of the bass without having to get subs.  Bass cabinets are full-range, so they also get you the important higher frequencies as well.  Some folks will use a bass cabinet on stage and also a DI to the soundboard, but I don't have enough experience with doing that way to advise how to do that well.  I've always either had direct only or bass cabinet only. 
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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: Suggestions wanted for small church improvement in sound reinforcement
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2019, 12:40:55 am »

Your detailed response is appreciated, Kevin.

If one was to replace these 20 year old Fender 12” passive speakers, what should one consider? Would active speakers be recommended? Brand/model?

Your caution, re mounting the speakers safely, is well taken.

Acoustic treatment is something we should look into.

It depends on how much money you have to spend and what else you already own. I just tried to lookup the amp that you said that you have to see if it would be appropriate to power some new speakers and I can’t find it are you sure that the model number you listed is correct? Is it a Yorkville that puts out 2100 watts or is it a model 2100? Also while we are on model numbers are the mics Shure SM85 or are the really Shure SM58? The mics in use make a difference on how they will work with different speakers. The SM85 is an older discontinued model condenser mic and it has a boost in the high end that could be more prone to feedback depending on where the speakers are then the Shure SM58. But the SM58 depending on how it is used can sound muddier for speech but when used properly for singers it has a bass boost that can sound good for a singer’s voice.     

The advantage to powered/active speakers is they are usually matched to the internal amp to get the best sound out of the speaker. But I in general am not a big fan of powered/active speakers unless they are some very expensive models and I am not familiar with too many of the models small enough for a room this size. You may be able to do most of the system EQ that you need to do in your Soundcraft ui24R mixer. Looking at the specs it looks like it should handle that.

I have used the EV ZX3 passive speakers a lot and they might work for this room. They come in a model that is 60 degrees wide coverage and one that is 90 degrees wide. I am more familiar with the 60 version. But if you have the money to spend I would be considering a Fulcrum Acoustics 12” coax speaker with their processing. But they can be very expensive. I think the list price for the one I am thinking of is just under $5000.00 USD each. This is a powered version of these speakers with all of the processing built in. I have a feeling that they are way out of your price range.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Suggestions wanted for small church improvement in sound reinforcement
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2019, 08:13:06 am »

Looking at the pictures closer it looks like you have two sections of pews on each side of the aisle.

A single speaker with the correct coverage pattern could cover each side.

I would go with a good set of passive speakers, a new power amp so your not using the amp section in your old powered mixer, you'll need cabling, if  not already in place maybe a recessed floor box or two for easy mic and monitor connections.

Running the system mono your could use one stereo power amp, one channel for mains the other for monitors.
An amp with DSP would good as you could do main system EQ, high pass filtering and limiting in the amp and lock it out.

You got a nice digital mixer but I am curious as to when that was brought into the system leaving other areas still needing major attention.

How much do want to spend on this project.

Dan Courtney

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Re: Suggestions wanted for small church improvement in sound reinforcement
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2019, 09:11:45 am »

Mike, Kevin & Taylor: info appreciated - It will take me some time to digest it all  :)

I made some corrections on the equipment list. Thanks for pointing them out.

I thought that I would make a small audio YouTube that would contain a sample of the music from this past Sunday -- 3 vocals, guitar & bass. --- This is output is from the mixer - not a live recording in the sanctuary. The bass does use an amp on satge and I have a line out to the mixer.

https://youtu.be/fMXTanL1kuo
« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 09:14:25 am by Dan Courtney »
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Dan Courtney

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Re: Suggestions wanted for small church improvement in sound reinforcement
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2019, 09:24:13 am »

Those beams are begging to have speakers mounted on them in one way or another provided they have real structure in them to mount to. Mounting somewhere in the area of beams would actually have them pointing at the people.

Your room is not that deep but for the width and what looks like up close to the front seating you may also need something to fill the outer front corners depending on the speaker and positioning.

 As for the speakers and total project what is your budget?

I sent your idea of mounting the speakers in the beam area to a friend and he found that idea interesting. With these new speaker mounts, we could swith to better speakers down the road quite easily.

As for budget, a this point in time ~ $1000.

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Dan Courtney

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Re: Suggestions wanted for small church improvement in sound reinforcement
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2019, 09:31:44 am »

  That's one of the downsides with these wide and shallow layouts.  I think you may be best served by an LCR - left, center, right - setup, but as they say, you're mileage my vary.  Focus your effort on where people currently like to sit.   

Yes, my friend Jack has suggested a centered speaker, perhaps overhead or in front of the pulpit, might fill that void. I like how you focus on the listener, Taylor.
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Dan Courtney

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Re: Suggestions wanted for small church improvement in sound reinforcement
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2019, 09:50:04 am »

Regarding the bass, without any subs, you simply just can't put a lot of bass in through the system without it getting muddy.  Some folks say you can't have bass through the mains at all unless you have subs, but I don't agree entirely.  Rather, the subs are necessary to get the "professional" sound that some people desire from contemporary worship services.  A lot of the important frequencies to get a good bass sound are a lot higher than most people give them though, so adding a bass to a band without adding subs to the PA can and does make a big difference in the sound, and when done right, the difference is a good one.  It was a night and day difference at my high school church when we had a bass versus when we didn't, and we only had 2 12" EV speakers.  Also, don't rule out using a bass cabinet on stage and bypassing the PA entirely.  Without control of it from the board though, you do need to be extra vigilant that you, the bass player, and worship leader are all on the same page, but you get the full sound of the bass without having to get subs.  Bass cabinets are full-range, so they also get you the important higher frequencies as well.  Some folks will use a bass cabinet on stage and also a DI to the soundboard, but I don't have enough experience with doing that way to advise how to do that well.  I've always either had direct only or bass cabinet only.

Our bass player has just upgraded his amp. He's elevated it and it sits it up close to him. However, it does point sideways in the direction of the vocal mics and not outward to the congregation. I believe the sound is excellent and I do have a line out of his DI to the mixer.
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David Allred

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Re: Suggestions wanted for small church improvement in sound reinforcement
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2019, 10:05:49 am »

Yes, my friend Jack has suggested a centered speaker, perhaps overhead or in front of the pulpit, might fill that void. I like how you focus on the listener, Taylor.

But, don't ignore areas were people don't currently sit.  If you get a single new family attending, they might be in a dead spot. 
Mounting the speakers on the beams IS a good idea, but be aware that it is a "forever" decision, because moving them later would leave some unattractive beam areas.   Of course that is the same with drywall, but much easier to repair and make look good.
 I would also add that assuming that you use the use the wall mounts, I would consider adding a support cable at about 60 degs. to the wall to take some of the torque load off the arm, tilt adjuster, and plate wall anchors.  (If torque doesn't meet all implied forces correctly.... sue me.  :) :) :))
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Dan Courtney

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Re: Suggestions wanted for small church improvement in sound reinforcement
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2019, 10:23:23 am »

I have used the EV ZX3 passive speakers a lot and they might work for this room. They come in a model that is 60 degrees wide coverage and one that is 90 degrees wide. I am more familiar with the 60 version. But if you have the money to spend I would be considering a Fulcrum Acoustics 12” coax speaker with their processing. But they can be very expensive. I think the list price for the one I am thinking of is just under $5000.00 USD each. This is a powered version of these speakers with all of the processing built in. I have a feeling that they are way out of your price range.

I checked out the EV ZX3 12" passive speakers - 90 x 50 horn coverage would suit our install. The 2" HF driver would surely enhance our female vocals. We may have to settle with a 1.5 HF driver because of costs.
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