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Author Topic: Outdoor PA at new skatepark-advice  (Read 1796 times)

Jim Layton

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Outdoor PA at new skatepark-advice
« on: October 27, 2020, 07:27:46 am »

I am part of a team that runs an outdoor skatepark. I have always provided the production for our competition events. This included multiple wireless mics, cabinets and subs. I also work with a company that provides an LED video screen, camera switching, etc. The board of the org opted to use a car stereo installer to design and install the zoned music system for the main building. They did a good job for a first time project like that. Now the org has asked them to design an outdoor PA for the park. I don't have a blueprint of the park to share at the moment. They're wanting to use three "speakers" on a pole in the center of the park. It is a large park. The spectators are all on the outer edges of the property. The participants are everywhere all the time. A big part of the entertainment of the events are the event judges narrating the action while music is playing. They'll be using wireless mics. Clarity and the ability to reach "everyone" is essential. Wireless coverage is another essential. When I use my PA, which consists of multiple SRX715s and 18" subs, it is a compromise of High SPL near the cabs but good coverage far away.

I am sure there is more "engineering" required than a couple of announcement speakers on poles. I'm thinking we should create a "must have" list of requirements for the project. Really defined performance objectives and not simply trust an installer to know what we need. I'm "hand-holding" the org members at the moment.

I recommending quotes from real sound installers to see what they recommend. For a project like this I know there are people who can do it correctly. But is it "normal" to have some kind of performance guarantee on an install? My concern is we'll end up with budget no-name wireless mics and and inadequate audio.

Thanks for suggestions.
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Jim Layton

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Re: Outdoor PA at new skatepark-advice
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2020, 08:18:21 am »

Here is the lighting plot. I added the yellow triangle to show where the three speakers on a pole are proposed. If light is "like" sound, it seems obvious that the audio will need to be distributed in a similar fashion as the light fixtures.
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Jim Layton

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Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2020, 08:27:34 am »

I posted a similar message on the installed sound forum but I'm sure to receive some good info here also.

I am part of a team that runs an outdoor skatepark. I have always provided the production for our competition events. This included multiple wireless mics, cabinets and subs. I also work with a company that provides an LED video screen, camera switching, etc. The board of the org opted to use a car stereo installer to design and install the zoned music system for the main building. They did a good job for a first time project like that. Now the org has asked them to design an outdoor PA for the park.  They're wanting to use three "speakers" on a pole in the center of the park. I attached the lighting plot and added a yellow triangle where the "sound pole" is proposed.  It is a relatively large park. The spectators are all on the outer edges of the property. The participants are everywhere all the time. A big part of the entertainment of the events are the event judges narrating the action while music is playing. They'll be using wireless mics. Clarity and the ability to reach "everyone" is essential. Wireless coverage is another essential. When I use my PA, which consists of multiple SRX715s and 18" subs, it is a compromise of High SPL near the cabs but good coverage far away.

I am sure there is more "engineering" required than a couple of announcement speakers on poles. I'm thinking we should create a "must have" list of requirements for the project. Really defined performance objectives and not simply trust an installer to know what we need. I'm "hand-holding" the org members at the moment.

I recommending quotes from real sound installers to see what they recommend. For a project like this I know there are people who can do it correctly. But is it "normal" to have some kind of performance guarantee on an install? My concern is we'll end up with budget no-name wireless mics and and inadequate audio. Based on the lighting plot it would appear that the audio should also be distributed throughout the park for even coverage.
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MikeHarris

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Re: Outdoor PA at new skatepark-advice
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2020, 10:44:12 am »

will this be outside yearround ?  Where iz you located?  What kind of environment you have ?
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2020, 10:53:46 am »

Your concerns are certainly valid.

That appears to be a pretty large area, so some real proper sound design/modeling is needed.

The first question I would have (if I was asked to design it), would be: How tall is this "sound pole"?  and how large/ie how much weight can it support, including wind load.

My guess is that it will not be tall enough or strong enough to cover that area properly.

Getting roughly the same SPL everywhere will also probably run into a budget issue them.  So, the next question would be "What is your budget-including installation"?

My guess is that you are correct in what you will end up with. 

Any design MUST include putting some real numbers (such as expected SPL-including adequate headroom) on paper and seeing what it will take to achieve that.

THEN the reality of what can be done will need to be discussed.

Good luck, or maybe they need to learn how to do it the wrong way first.  That is the only way some people learn.  A sad reality

If the installer cannot provide a model of expected SPLs (with headroom), freq response coverage etc, then they should not be allowed to do the job.
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scottstephens

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2020, 12:16:15 pm »

Jim,

  Ivan nailed it (as he usually does). This is all about liability!!! That better be one hell of a pole!!!  Sure, some good Community speakers with proper amps can get the sound out there, but not full range,   not without subs. And Community subs are HUGE. Infact, lots of Community speakers are large. Take a look at some stadium installs.    If you have a HUGE Budget, Ohio Stadium in Columbus OH has a Meyer system( if memory serves) at on end of the stadium and it "throws" sound for hundreds and hundreds of feet with massive impact.  I think (again, it's been awhile ) it was over $400K to purchase and another $100K to install.  But it is NOT on a pole. It is built around a score board and such.

Scott 
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2020, 12:30:52 pm »

Jim,

  Ivan nailed it (as he usually does). This is all about liability!!! That better be one hell of a pole!!!  Sure, some good Community speakers with proper amps can get the sound out there, but not full range,   not without subs. And Community subs are HUGE. Infact, lots of Community speakers are large. Take a look at some stadium installs.    If you have a HUGE Budget, Ohio Stadium in Columbus OH has a Meyer system( if memory serves) at on end of the stadium and it "throws" sound for hundreds and hundreds of feet with massive impact.  I think (again, it's been awhile ) it was over $400K to purchase and another $100K to install.  But it is NOT on a pole. It is built around a score board and such.

Scott
The Ohio state system price was part of a "deal".  If anybody else went to purchase it, it would have been much higher.

Large stadium projects (audio only) are often closer to 1M.  Depending on many factors of course.  They are beyond the scale/capability of most installers.

On some of them, I have looked at the installs and thought "HOW much did that cost to do THAT!".
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2020, 12:49:27 pm »

Yes, it's very normal to specify requirements for a project such as this.  Keep in mind, there are 3 things you are trying to get here. First is a defining the project requirements, then there is system design, and then there is installation.

Asking for combined bids on the project means you won't likely see the details of system design until the project is done, which limits the level of input you have in what gets installed.  If you trust the install vendor, then that may not be an issue.

Hiring professionals that know what questions to ask for the first step is not a horrible idea.  It shouldn't cost that much to create a proper RFP and then send that off to the installers.  This part is critical to get bids that are going to fit into a realistic budget.  Unless you have a bottomless pit of cash available for the project, that is.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2020, 03:29:59 pm »

Yes, it's very normal to specify requirements for a project such as this.  Keep in mind, there are 3 things you are trying to get here. First is a defining the project requirements, then there is system design, and then there is installation.

Asking for combined bids on the project means you won't likely see the details of system design until the project is done, which limits the level of input you have in what gets installed.  If you trust the install vendor, then that may not be an issue.

Hiring professionals that know what questions to ask for the first step is not a horrible idea.  It shouldn't cost that much to create a proper RFP and then send that off to the installers.  This part is critical to get bids that are going to fit into a realistic budget.  Unless you have a bottomless pit of cash available for the project, that is.
Some of the basic requirements of the system should be a specific SPL (with weighting and time) at the furthest location and the allowable SPL deviation from location to location.

Freq response (+/- xdB) would also not be a bad idea.

But these MUST be realistic.  Such as don't expect 15KHz at the furthest positions, depending on the actual size of the area (hard to tell from the provided map as to the actual distances), you might be lucky to get to 4 or 5Khz.

Those would be the MINIMUM I would specify.
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Don T. Williams

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2020, 04:29:23 pm »

I'm not trying to create more issues, but what kind of an area is the park located in and are there any sound ordinances?  I've seen people spend many thousands of dollars on sound equipment that was used only until a government entity or a lawsuit shut it down in the first few weeks.  I suspect the participants want very loud music and for voice over, that will probably be even louder.  Just another item to add to you list.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2020, 06:58:56 pm »

Another idea....
The central pole mounted system could be for the announcements and maybe some music, again that's a maybe.

Keep in mind there are various systems that could be mounted on a "pole" for announcements that could cover that area but they would not be full range party rock
speaker system.

At the various skate competition areas set up/install full range playback systems.
Those areas could also be fed with the announcement audio with that feed delayed
to main announcement system and also duck the music volume a little when announcements
are made.

Douglas R. Allen

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2020, 07:36:37 pm »

    Remember to consider the environment as well. Do you live in an area where extreme weather conditions exist?  Will you be dropping them down and putting them in storage in the off season if there is one so do they need to be installed with that in mind? A all weather speaker is a must of course for outside installs or at least a proper cover over the speakers.

Douglas R. Allen
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Craig Hauber

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2020, 08:47:39 pm »

    Remember to consider the environment as well. Do you live in an area where extreme weather conditions exist?  Will you be dropping them down and putting them in storage in the off season if there is one so do they need to be installed with that in mind? A all weather speaker is a must of course for outside installs or at least a proper cover over the speakers.

Douglas R. Allen
And don't forget that sound doesn't stop when you've covered the area you want
It keeps going
All the skate parks in my area are in the middle of towns.
Most of them had to turn off their music systems and use for necessary safety announcements only

I would consider a perimeter system with small speakers pointing in and downward more than a central source blasting outward.

Of course it depends on your surroundings I guess.
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Rick Powell

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2020, 08:49:17 pm »

Nobody is going to want to shimmy up the pole to put covers on and off after each use, or to perform any type of service on them. Anything pole mounted will need some type of access plan. Do you have a bucket truck available? Id go extreme weatherproofing, passive with the water-tight Powercon connectors, for anything hung high and exposed to the elements.
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Outdoor PA at new skatepark-advice
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2020, 09:23:30 pm »

Here is the lighting plot. I added the yellow triangle to show where the three speakers on a pole are proposed. If light is "like" sound, it seems obvious that the audio will need to be distributed in a similar fashion as the light fixtures.

Sound is only slightly like light.  You need an Integrator that does this regularly, and does it well (quantity doesn't automatically mean quality).
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2020, 08:25:44 am »

Nobody is going to want to shimmy up the pole to put covers on and off after each use, or to perform any type of service on them. Anything pole mounted will need some type of access plan. Do you have a bucket truck available? Id go extreme weatherproofing, passive with the water-tight Powercon connectors, for anything hung high and exposed to the elements.
There are a number of manufacturers who offer weatherized cabinets, or for an upcharge will weatherize normal cabinets to help fend off the elements.

Normally there are no speaker connectors on them, but rather a waterproof gland nut for the cables to run out of, and then to a weatherized electrical box in which the connection is made to the amp run.

Of course he could always put a roof over the speakers to help protect them.

All of this costs money, I hope the people planning this take these sort of things into account, if they want the system to live very long.

There are MANY things to consider in this sort of situation.  As others have said, "noise pollution" is one of them and needs to be considered up front.  This is where a true design, by people who have done this, comes into play.  Not random guesswork, unless they are prepared to deal with the problems later on.

Experience counts in case like this.
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David Sturzenbecher

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2020, 09:15:18 am »

Nobody is going to want to shimmy up the pole to put covers on and off after each use, or to perform any type of service on them. Anything pole mounted will need some type of access plan. Do you have a bucket truck available? Id go extreme weatherproofing, passive with the water-tight Powercon connectors, for anything hung high and exposed to the elements.

Powercon?  If you put a self powered speaker out on a pole, or a speaker with any connections at all...you have already lost.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2020, 09:17:27 am by David Sturzenbecher »
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Jim Layton

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2020, 02:19:55 pm »

Appreciate all the advice. I will bring this back to the decision makers. I did hear the quote for installing the pole, speakers, amp(?), and also a rolling sound cart with "mixer" and wireless mics for...$10,000. That seems really low considering the cost of the rig I set up for past events, on the original smaller park, is almost double that. Just for background info the entire "park" including the main building, site planning, environmental studies ran $3MM. There was a lot of drainage and power installation work to convert an old park to this. The land is owned by the boro but it is run by our non-profit org. It is a unique partnership. The boro provided a lot of grant-writing skill along with site work. Nearly all the money came from private donors. We hold several "small" events throughout the year, culminating into a large final contest. In the photo with the guys working you'll see they formed a "keystone" vert section. Since we're in PA (Keystone state) it was a cool idea. In the end it will one the best parks in the area.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2020, 03:34:06 pm »

Appreciate all the advice. I will bring this back to the decision makers. I did hear the quote for installing the pole, speakers, amp(?), and also a rolling sound cart with "mixer" and wireless mics for...$10,000. That seems really low considering the cost of the rig I set up for past events, on the original smaller park, is almost double that. Just for background info the entire "park" including the main building, site planning, environmental studies ran $3MM. There was a lot of drainage and power installation work to convert an old park to this. The land is owned by the boro but it is run by our non-profit org. It is a unique partnership. The boro provided a lot of grant-writing skill along with site work. Nearly all the money came from private donors. We hold several "small" events throughout the year, culminating into a large final contest. In the photo with the guys working you'll see they formed a "keystone" vert section. Since we're in PA (Keystone state) it was a cool idea. In the end it will one the best parks in the area.

Good paging horns properly powered on up  "the pole" could cover that area with voice paging and then augmented with the portable rolling cart(kind of like I mentioned) system at the contest areas.
With a good wireless mic and remote antennas on "the pole" you could cover most of that
area and also have the wireless mic feeding the cart system.

$10,000 is still going to come up short to do it right.

Ivan Beaver

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2020, 04:49:00 pm »

Appreciate all the advice. I will bring this back to the decision makers. I did hear the quote for installing the pole, speakers, amp(?), and also a rolling sound cart with "mixer" and wireless mics for...$10,000. That seems really low considering the cost of the rig I set up for past events, on the original smaller park, is almost double that. Just for background info the entire "park" including the main building, site planning, environmental studies ran $3MM. There was a lot of drainage and power installation work to convert an old park to this. The land is owned by the boro but it is run by our non-profit org. It is a unique partnership. The boro provided a lot of grant-writing skill along with site work. Nearly all the money came from private donors. We hold several "small" events throughout the year, culminating into a large final contest. In the photo with the guys working you'll see they formed a "keystone" vert section. Since we're in PA (Keystone state) it was a cool idea. In the end it will one the best parks in the area.
Well I bet the proposed system will "make some noise".

But doing what they probably want it to do, that is a different story.

But hey, maybe they will listen next time.  Hopefully some of that 10K will be reusable when they do it right.

BTW, the place is smaller than I envisioned, so that does make it easier.
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Steve-White

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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2020, 06:54:10 pm »

Good paging horns properly powered on up  "the pole" could cover that area with voice paging and then augmented with the portable rolling cart(kind of like I mentioned) system at the contest areas.
With a good wireless mic and remote antennas on "the pole" you could cover most of that
area and also have the wireless mic feeding the cart system.

$10,000 is still going to come up short to do it right.

This is a great approach if done correctly - then drag out supplemental gear depending upon event.
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Re: Question on an outdoor install at skatepark
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2020, 06:54:10 pm »


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