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Author Topic: Sound system ideas needed...  (Read 4334 times)

Adam Sabo

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Sound system ideas needed...
« on: February 26, 2008, 12:17:32 am »

Hello,
I have been reading many of the posts here on the forum about many people in my same situation, the need for sound system advice. We are just about to finish up building a new sanctuary for our small country church and we are trying to figure out what to put in for a system. I am curious about the best main speakers/mixer/amp combo I could get for around $2000 to $2500? The room is 45'x35'. The ceiling is 14'. I have read suggestions for the Yamaha club series speakers (which I like) but also suggestions for the Communities. I also like the Yamaha 166C mixer. Amps I'm not as fussy about. The majority of sound will be speaking, but with the ability for contemporary worship/choir/soloists and even movies. I am not concerned with rack mounting any of it. We are building a sound booth too. Almost all the wires have been run, so wires are not a cost concern either. It already is an acoustical nightmare, so that will require acoustical panels in the near future. I am also curious about where speakers should be mounted? on stands or ceiling or wall mounts?? And does anyone know where I can get some really affordable xlr floor boxes? the kind that insert into the stage floor? Here is a picture of the church (it is 35' feet wide) any feed back is appreciated...index.php/fa/227/0/
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Adam Sabo

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Re: Sound system ideas needed...
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2008, 12:20:29 am »

Here also is a picture of the back, not that it may make any difference... The sound booth is on the left of the photo.

index.php/fa/228/0/
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Sound system ideas needed...
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2008, 08:08:20 am »

That is a VERY small budget for all the stuff you need.  Have you also considered the cost of cables, racks, INSTALL LABOR etc.

Your best bet would be to go to music store and get the best deal on a "PA on a stick" for that budget.

Once you start to consider what it would take to "do it right" or "the best", you are over budget.

It looks like you have waited way to long before considering sound equipment.

I assume you have access to under that stage to run your wires?

I like the ACE products for floor boxes.  Very reasonable cost for the quality.

Sorry.
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Can I have some more talent in the monitors--PLEASE?

Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.

Jeff Ekstrand

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Re: Sound system ideas needed...
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2008, 09:58:22 am »

Yikes, indeed. Um, let's get on the solution-side of this.

For starters, you'll need to minimize your labor expenditures. Install labor to hang speakers will exceed your budget before you even purchase a box. You're looking at stands.

I would recommend a small pair of JBL Eons for speakers. They're self-powered, so you don't need an amp, and they'll mount on stands.

I would recommend a cheap, 100-150' snake (take measurments), forget floor-boxes. If you get floor boxes, you'll need bare wire run (tearing up the stage floor you paid to have installed), and all the wire will need to be terminated, costing more in labor. Your snake will need to be surface run, which is unfortunate because it could have been buried in the wall(s) or ceiling if done during construction. As it stands, you'll have to figure-out how to run something on the floor while avoiding any obstruction to the fire exit stage left. Sad

You're going to have to go cheap with a console, too. It hurts me to say, but you're probably looking at a small Behringer, 8-16 channels. Most of the consoles that we recommend in this forum would cost 100% of your budget, or more. I'm thinking outside the box, here.

Of course, when that's all done, you still need mircophones. you could just buy the cheap, $30 specials, but you're just going to have to replace them when they go bad in a few months, thus you will end-up spending more money in the long run. Get yourself 4-5 SM58s at approx. $100/ea.

Cables... you'll need lots of mic cables, and probably some adaptors. Doing a system that doesn't require adaptors costs money. Smile You're probably looking at a couple hundred for cables, at least.

Recap:

- Snake, surface run, not buried, no floor boxes
- JBL Eons on stands, no subs
- Mackie/Behringer mixer, find one used???
- No stage monitors
- Small mic arsenal
- Cables

Bottom line, Ivan is right. You've painted yourself into a pretty little corner. All of us here love church production, and we want to see all of use thrive and succeed. This stuff takes time and money, though, just like electrical, lighting, HVAC, and plumming. It's unfortunate that this was overlooked until everything else is done.

I'll be praying that you find a solution that will serve your church well.

One last piece of advice. Make sure to effectively communicate all of this to the church leadership, and set the expectation that it might not look pretty, and you might not be able to pull-off everything right away, given the budget and the timing. Managing expectations is the HARDEST part of being in church production. Smile
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Jeff Ekstrand

Technical Director, North Shore Campus
Willow Creek Community Church
Northfield, IL

Adam Sabo

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Re: Sound system ideas needed...
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2008, 10:41:50 am »

Thanks for the replies! There were some details I didn't mention because I was truly looking for the best speaker/mixer/amp recommendation in that price range, but I see that was negligent on my part as the first post and the picture made it seem like "No wires are run, no mics are mentioned..." So sorry about that...

First, we built the church addition ourselves, so we have tried to think of all this along the way.  As far as wiring, I have run all the wires already. The square hole that you see in the center of the front wall, against the back wall of the stage is for a A/V plate that we already have had built. I have run all the wires for this plate from the stage through conduit in the walls and back to the sound booth. (I will attach a diagram of the plate that we have.) So every wire to connect the plate is run. We have also made a way for the stage to be wired from the wallplate to underneath the floor boxes (that we have to purchase).

Our entire budget is $5000 for a whole A/V system which would include a projector/screen/additional mics... so the $2000-$2500 range is for those three components speakers+mixer+amp. Looking at the A/V panel should help to see the idea that we have in mind, perhaps not able to do all at once, but in stages.

To be honest I never calculated in Labor Costs because I intended to do all the Labor (my brother also will do the wire terminating for all the connectors). I have installed a few simple sound systems in youth rooms and have read as much as I could online, so I have a basic understanding of A/V... very basic. We have some old A/V that we will be bringing in, such as wireless+handheld+pulpit mics. Also a CD Player and Tape Deck... Those kinds of components.

I don't believe we need a rack, and we still have plenty of mic wire left over. I suppose additional items to come out of the other half of the budget would be mic stands, a few more mics, DI boxes, 2 Monitors, projector, those type of things... Thanks again for the reply and here is the 8"x8" A/V plateindex.php/fa/229/0/
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Dennis Huff

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Re: Sound system ideas needed...
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2008, 11:07:38 am »

We are small and big dreams with little money..isn't that the way it always is  Sad

I'm wondering if a powered mixer might not supply what you need.  The Yamaha club series 12" speakers are going to set you back  600 dollars.  A Yamaha 16 channel powered mixer is about 1000.

I've not seen anyone recommend the Peavey mixers but there are plenty of those in your money range too both powered and unpowered.  

One thing I like about the 16 channel Yamaha mixer I've mentioned and we have is the number of stereo channels it has.  I can run our tape deck and cd player to it.  I'm using 4 stereo channels right now.  One tape and one from our CD recorder (our cd player does not play back the recorded disks which occasionally we'll do when were are testing things).  I'm using two channels for out CD player.  I've split the L/R signal so that I've got one channel that is stereo and one that is L/L for split track cd's.  Something to think about.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Sound system ideas needed...
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2008, 12:59:17 pm »

I hope you have transformers on the inputs that are unbalanced.

I have never seen an input panel with all those different inputs.

Some are self explanitory, but others I cannot make any sense of.

Would you care to tell what they are for?

In particular the line inputs (I assume they are for instruments)-hence the need for the transformers.

It would be far better to use mic inputs and DI boxes as needed.

The RCA jacks have a V labeled on one.  Is that for video?  How long is that run?

The MON L and MON R jacks-are those for monitors?  They are ususally labeled 1 and 2 or A and B.  Are they input or output jacks?

What are the Stereo jacks for?  Is each jack a stereo unbalanced jack or a balanced jack for each side?

Not trying to be rude, but just wondering as it looks like you may have some problems that need to headed off before it is to late.
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Can I have some more talent in the monitors--PLEASE?

Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.

Adam Sabo

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Re: Sound system ideas needed...
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2008, 01:06:04 pm »

I really like the Yamaha powered mixer idea. I checked out the Yamaha EMX5016CF 16-Input Powered Mixer, I thought it had some great features. Any red flags on that one? I was also thinking the Yamaha C115V so they could be painted. Should I be considering something less than 15" for a room this size? Thanks again.
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Adam Sabo

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Re: Sound system ideas needed...
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2008, 02:44:52 pm »

Ivan Beaver wrote on Tue, 26 February 2008 12:59

I hope you have transformers on the inputs that are unbalanced.

I have never seen an input panel with all those different inputs.

Some are self explanitory, but others I cannot make any sense of.

Would you care to tell what they are for?

In particular the line inputs (I assume they are for instruments)-hence the need for the transformers.

It would be far better to use mic inputs and DI boxes as needed.

The RCA jacks have a V labeled on one.  Is that for video?  How long is that run?

The MON L and MON R jacks-are those for monitors?  They are ususally labeled 1 and 2 or A and B.  Are they input or output jacks?

What are the Stereo jacks for?  Is each jack a stereo unbalanced jack or a balanced jack for each side?

Not trying to be rude, but just wondering as it looks like you may have some problems that need to headed off before it is to late.


I guess I've got a lot on my plate   Rolling Eyes  uh, A/V plate I mean...

This is the run down on the plate. It was made by RCI Custom and contains:

6- Switchcraft 11 1/4" jacks
10- Switchcraft D3F Xlr's
1- Mini stereo
2- Neutrik NCJ6FI-S Combo
1- VGA input
1- RJ 45 com port (why? just tried to think of rare situations...)
3- RCA ports (V is for Video. The sound booth is a 100' run from the stage, but we have a signal booster)

I wasn't aware of the need for transformers on the 1/4" jacks, can that still be put inline?
The left and right monitors are intended for on stage monitor from the mixer.

I could post a picture of the back of the av plate if that would help, it is not connected yet... Thanks
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Stephen Geiger

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Re: Sound system ideas needed...
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2008, 01:25:26 am »

Hey Adam (and whoever else might be reading this) ...

Here are some thoughts for you. I have spent a bit of time around sound for my church and for bands and stuff and learned a lot from various forums and what not.

Here are some what I hope are some general thoughts followed by concrete suggestions:

GENERAL

1.) Expectations -- if you spend your $2500 effectively, and follow some basic principles in running the system you should be able to get to or close to sound you are happy with. You may need to allocate some money in future years for small upgrades and possibly make some compromises (e.g. one monitor). Again you may need to pick good basic equipment and run the system intelligently.

It will not be a professional rock and roll concert system or setup for Broadway quality theatre.

2.) Acoustics -- the room matters, hopefully once you get it all done get chairs and people in their, the room is ok. I don't know much about acoustics, but I don't think there are simple fixes. The room looks fairly typical and assuming its carpeted and doesn't resonate in funky ways -- my rather uneducated guess is you might be fine here.

3.) At this point -- with your budget -- equipment choices are important -- don't just go buy ANY mic, any mixer, any speaker etc. cuz it looks nice  -- you are making a good choice by coming here for advice.

[And you want to hear want Ivan has to say (we'll hopefully get to balanced/unbalanced lines/DI Boxes later), even though he is coming from maybe more of a more "professional" less of a country church trying to pull things together perspective]

4.) Just to review a sound system setup involves the following pieces:

Sound Source > Microphone > Microphone Cable > [Snake] > Mixer > Output Cable > Power Amplifier > Speaker Cable > Speaker > Listener

In some cases the input chain is different, e.g. a keyboard ...  Keyboard > 1/4" cable >  DI box > Microphone Cable > Snake > Mixer
or a CD player ... CD Player > some cable (can vary) > mixer

With powered speakers the output chain is simpler:
Mixer > Microphone Cable > [Snake] > Powered Speaker

5.) Speaker on Stick VS Flying - at this budget I would look at speakers on stands. (See also wall mount speaker brackets that have been on market lately). (Or build a *quality* shelf). It is very important that you don't fly or mount speakers incorrectly (such that they fall and potentially injure someone).

6.) Don't forget to have power (i.e. electrical outlets) readily accessible.

EQUIPMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

5.) MAIN SPEAKERS (LEFT and RIGHT)- strongly strongly strongly recommend Mackie SRM450s, running about $600 a piece (maybe cheaper in the next few months as V2 was just released). Just a good fit in the small church sound scenario. They sound clean, can get put some volume and are easy to use. (no worrying about speaker cables and power amp settings).  

Also -- should you upgrade the system and put in something nicer down the road, these will make quite usable monitors or good portable system for retreats or the youth group or the event in th park, etc.

DON'T TRY TO SKIMP ON SPEAKERS!!

6.) MIXER -- haven't used this one, but the specs, reputation, pricepoint looks right - Peavey PV14 - 10 mic inputs, monitor and fx mix, real faders, even a little FX section for 300 bucks. Seems hard to go wrong - as Peavey has a decent reputation.

7.) MONITOR -- not sure what to say here. I would probably try and either one Mackie SRM350 or SRM450 to start.

8.) MICROPHONES -- you should probably buy Shure SM58s for your standard vocal mics. There are a number of good reasons to do so. If you really really can't afford SM58s -- I have had good experience with the Samson R11 model at about $30 a piece, other people like other cheap mics, but if you are going to spend more than $50 on a basic vocal mic get SM58s. Speaking mics vary a bit more by application - lavaliers, pulpit, headset etc.. you can speak through an SM58.

DON'T TRY TO SKIMP ON MICROPHONES!!

9.) MIC STANDS - K & M Boom stands are good. It hurts to pay $80 for a mic stand -- but they actually work and work for a length of time it seems.

10.) MIC CABLES - EWI quad cables -- have had excellent experience with these at around $15 a piece. Many cheap mic cables don't last -- these have worked great in my experience.
Where can you by EWI -- audiopile.net. Its a legit site -- the owner is a frequent poster at Harmony Central forums.

11.) DIRECT BOX - I like the EWI stereo DI

12.) FLOOR BOXES -- For most scenarios I would probably suggest snakes with stage boxes as they can be moved (what if the floor box becomes in the wrong spot when your service changes) and if you have enough extra cable, they can be moved for specific event (the majority of the cable can still be run out of site). Again EWI/audiopile.net has worked for this in my experience.
I believe looking at about $120 for an 8 channel subsnake [Not sure how this would integrate in your current plan.]

EQUIPMENT LIST
$1200 - (two) Main Speakers (Mackie SRM450)
$300 - Mixer (Peavey PV14)
$500 - monitor (Mackie SRM350)
$200 - 2 vocal mics (Shure SM58)
$160 - 2 K & M boom stands
$40 - EWI stereo DI
$150 - 10 EWI Mic Cables

TOTAL: $2550 (pretty close to the goal)

MISSING FROM LIST: Pulpit Mic, Wireless/Lavalier Mics, Snakes, CD Player, Adaptors, additional mics, Speaker Stands etc.

Don't worry about: fancy reverb, compression, rackmount eqs, feedback removers, speaker management systems etc. with the budget you have.

SETUP RECOMMENDATIONS

11.) CLEAN SIGNAL IN try to get a good sounding, clean signal coming in, whether from instrument, CD, singer.

12.) FEEDBACK is a big problem in small rooms. PAY ATTENTION to speaker and mic placement. Generally the further the speakers are in front of the microphones the less issue you have (as long as you keep monitor volume down). DON'T mount speakers until you have satisfactorily addressed this.

13.) DISTORTION there are number of volume controls in a PA system. IF any one of them is too loud -- it can distort even if the overall sound coming out of the speakers isn't loud. You don't want to distort in PA (save that for guitar amps).

14.) EQ - on the mixer don't go nuts with the eq. For vocal channels engage the high pass filter button, and maybe cut the mids a little. Generally make small changes, look to cut, not boost -- don't feel like you have to do a lot with the eq -- if it seems like you do -- see note #11 above. If you have a hollow almost feedback sound -- cutting the low, mid or high depending whether the hollow sound is low mid or high, might help, and allow you to get a little more volume.

15.) WHAT's COMING OFF THE STAGE MATTERS try to keep stage volume controlled, listen for how guitar amps cover the room, pay attention to volume of the mix. Don't just ask what can I turn up? But what can I turn down?

15.) LITTLE THINGS flaky cables make funny noises, not using direct boxes invites buzzes, turn down things you aren't using, make sure the CD is cued up  etc.

Hope these are helpful as you think about things whether you use the recommendations or not. It looks like you are doing a nice job with the building and hope everything goes well as you try to pull all the sound stuff together!

VIDEO

16.) PROJECTOR Epson Powerlite 77c about $750 (have used the 76c, check the reviews on the newer model) 76c seems very well engineered, the 77c adds better bulb life, cheaper bulb. I would not go cheaper than this. I would maybe go more expensive depending on room lighting.


May God be glorified in our churches!!
Steve
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