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Outdoor PA at new skatepark-advice

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Jim Layton:
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.

Jim Layton:
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.

Jim Layton:
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.

MikeHarris:
will this be outside yearround ?  Where iz you located?  What kind of environment you have ?

Ivan Beaver:
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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