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Author Topic: Need advice for commercial install  (Read 5734 times)

St. Thomas LeDoux

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Need advice for commercial install
« on: July 01, 2011, 12:17:48 pm »

Hi all,

I've been asked to help with a commercial installation for a gym a friend of mine is opening; however, my background is in live (non-permanent) sound, and I am frankly not acquainted with permanent install gear whatsoever.  If anyone could point me in the direction of what kind of equipment to use, and any major considerations to keep in mind, I would really appreciate it. 

Some details of the project:

Sound will be for a weight lifting room.  Does not have to be concert quality, but does need to be louder than the clanking of weights and the grunting of large gorillas.  Could most likely make do without subs and minimal system processing.

Budget: $1500-$2000.  This was the client's initial estimation.  To me, that seemed kind of low, but since I don't know enough about the kind of gear I'll be looking at, I didn't bother trying to sway him just yet.

Room Details: 3000 sq. ft., 100ft x 30ft, long and narrow.  Drywall sides and a metal frame ceiling sprayed with insulation.  The ceiling is not lowered (a double ceiling), so I don't really have anywhere to easily hide wires.  I did not catch what the floor was made of, but I'm assuming concrete covered in rubber mats. 

For speakers, I was thinking either 4 large cabinets in each corner with narrow dispersion projecting longways across the room, or 6 smaller cabinets with ~90 degree coverage, 4 for the corners and 2 midway down the 100ft wall projecting perpendicular to the wall (or 45 degrees out of each corner).  I realize that practically anything I get isn't going to exhibit real pattern control though, so I'm more so open to whatever works.  Again, I don't even know what brands to look into, but I need something that can be wall-mounted in corners that can pivot vertically.

As far as processing, I simply need the capability to playback a handful of different sources, from CD, to mp3 player, to radio.  I was thinking of just getting a 4 to 6 channel receiver to help keep down budget, but figured that would be kind of janky.  If I went the more professional rout, I would only need an unpowered receiver with 4+ inputs, a 4 to 6 channel limiter, and power amplification.  Again, dunno' what brands.

Does anyone think it would be more practical to just get an underpowered home receiver so that it would just be really, really hard to actually blow any drivers, or should I bite the bullet and start digging around for the professional stuff?

Thank you so much,

St. Thomas LeDoux

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Paul Walters

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2011, 02:21:37 pm »

A 70v amp would be what you want, and some kind of line mixer for sources. A few JBL Control 28s or equivalent would work.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2011, 02:26:29 pm »

Hi all,

I've been asked to help with a commercial installation for a gym a friend of mine is opening; however, my background is in live (non-permanent) sound, and I am frankly not acquainted with permanent install gear whatsoever.  If anyone could point me in the direction of what kind of equipment to use, and any major considerations to keep in mind, I would really appreciate it. 

Some details of the project:

Sound will be for a weight lifting room.  Does not have to be concert quality, but does need to be louder than the clanking of weights and the grunting of large gorillas.  Could most likely make do without subs and minimal system processing.

Budget: $1500-$2000.  This was the client's initial estimation.  To me, that seemed kind of low, but since I don't know enough about the kind of gear I'll be looking at, I didn't bother trying to sway him just yet.

Room Details: 3000 sq. ft., 100ft x 30ft, long and narrow.  Drywall sides and a metal frame ceiling sprayed with insulation.  The ceiling is not lowered (a double ceiling), so I don't really have anywhere to easily hide wires.  I did not catch what the floor was made of, but I'm assuming concrete covered in rubber mats. 

For speakers, I was thinking either 4 large cabinets in each corner with narrow dispersion projecting longways across the room, or 6 smaller cabinets with ~90 degree coverage, 4 for the corners and 2 midway down the 100ft wall projecting perpendicular to the wall (or 45 degrees out of each corner).  I realize that practically anything I get isn't going to exhibit real pattern control though, so I'm more so open to whatever works.  Again, I don't even know what brands to look into, but I need something that can be wall-mounted in corners that can pivot vertically.

As far as processing, I simply need the capability to playback a handful of different sources, from CD, to mp3 player, to radio.  I was thinking of just getting a 4 to 6 channel receiver to help keep down budget, but figured that would be kind of janky.  If I went the more professional rout, I would only need an unpowered receiver with 4+ inputs, a 4 to 6 channel limiter, and power amplification.  Again, dunno' what brands.

Does anyone think it would be more practical to just get an underpowered home receiver so that it would just be really, really hard to actually blow any drivers, or should I bite the bullet and start digging around for the professional stuff?

Thank you so much,

St. Thomas LeDoux
It's hard to know the sound quality and quantity required - anything from a pair of JBL Control 23s powered by an stereo receiver all the way to serious buck high quality high output gear could work.  If the budget is really only $2000 (including labor), think boombox.

If the budget was $5000, I'd probably put in a DBX Zone Pro 641m with some controls for multiple inputs and some medium quality speakers, such as JBL Control 29s.  Subwoofers would change the game, and seem to indicate you want the system to be much louder than moderate background music.  If that's the case, multiply the budget X5.  Also, cancel my gym membership - 110dbC of Slayer, Eminem, Usher, etc. wouldn't be my idea of a fun environment for a workout.

Make sure the speakers are hung according to manufacturer's instructions by a competent, licensed, insured installer.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2011, 02:49:45 pm »

I will cast another vote for a 70V system. there are several good manufacturers and a simple mixer amp with adequate power won't bust your budget. I would put out a mono signal and use as many speakers as you can afford, with what's left over so you can keep the spot volume modest while filling the room.  The wire gauge for 70v is small, so you should be able to hide the wiring pretty easily.

JR
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duane massey

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2011, 03:28:54 am »

Having done several health clubs, my experience is that they typically want it louder than you might think, especially weight rooms. 70v systems are a lot easier to install, but only the bigger (more $$) speakers will really get loud.
You might consider the following:
4-6 JBL JRX 115i
1 QSC RMX2450 or equivalent Crown amp
1 simple mixer (American Audio, Rolls, etc)
Spread the speakers out, firing straight down. Keep it simple, probably won't need any other gear except music player (I'd put in a plate w/ 1/8" stereo jack and have them provide iPod or MP3 player) and maybe a mic.

Make sure you are confident in your abilities to fly the speakers; I've seen some pretty ugly things in health clubs done by "home stereo" or "music store" guys. It's not rocket surgery, but you do need to follow standard rigging procedures.
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Duane Massey
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Houston, Texas

St. Thomas LeDoux

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2011, 07:24:53 pm »

Hey guys,

Sorry for not getting back to anyone sooner, I was out of town last week.

I found a handful of 70v amp/mixer combos, as well as a few separate mixers and 70v amplifiers, and sent my buddy a few quotes.  I also sent him quotes for two different jbl loudspeakers, the control 25's and 23's.  I was wondering though, for a 70V system, is it imperative that I get the transducer models?  I figured it was, but wasn't sure.

From what I've gotten back, it seems like this guy is going for lowest possible budget, as he's really only showing interest in the least expensive components I showed him.  That is, he's looking most heavily at this:

Pyle PD450A PA Amplifier w/Built-In DVD/CD/USB/70V Output : $149

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=310-2066

and these:

JBL Control 23T 3-1/2" 2-Way Vented Speaker Pair Black : $228 each

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=246-722

Does anyone find any particular problems with this system?  I frankly think it won't get loud enough without distorting. 

Also, does anyone have any component sellers/sources they might recommend more than something like parts express?  I know one of our local sound companies is a JBL house, but dunno' what they use for small install, if they even do them.

Thanks again,

St. Thomas LeDoux
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2011, 07:36:25 pm »

Hey guys,

Sorry for not getting back to anyone sooner, I was out of town last week.

I found a handful of 70v amp/mixer combos, as well as a few separate mixers and 70v amplifiers, and sent my buddy a few quotes.  I also sent him quotes for two different jbl loudspeakers, the control 25's and 23's.  I was wondering though, for a 70V system, is it imperative that I get the transducer models?  I figured it was, but wasn't sure.

From what I've gotten back, it seems like this guy is going for lowest possible budget, as he's really only showing interest in the least expensive components I showed him.  That is, he's looking most heavily at this:

Pyle PD450A PA Amplifier w/Built-In DVD/CD/USB/70V Output : $149

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=310-2066

and these:

JBL Control 23T 3-1/2" 2-Way Vented Speaker Pair Black : $228 each

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=246-722

Does anyone find any particular problems with this system?  I frankly think it won't get loud enough without distorting. 

Also, does anyone have any component sellers/sources they might recommend more than something like parts express?  I know one of our local sound companies is a JBL house, but dunno' what they use for small install, if they even do them.

Thanks again,

St. Thomas LeDoux

The Pyle is a pile of shit.  The Control 23, without subs, will not be loud enough to satisfy the requirement of being louder than clanking weights and grunting gorillas.

If they just want noize to fill in between the clanks and grunts, this will work until the Pyle dies (about 2 days out of warranty), presuming it worked satisfactorily to begin with... but it's not going to meet the design goal.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2011, 08:18:43 pm »

What every you put in there it will need to be simple and bullet proof!!! What ever gets put in the "gorillas" will be putting it to the test. No frills but solid speakers in each corner, 15 x 1, power amp Crown XTi series 2, or one of the larger Peavey IPR DSP amps, set it and lock it out and a simple strip mixer.
Putting cheap and underpowered stuff will just get shredded after no time at all.

If this is more of a country club weight room where no one really sweats then maybe something lighter duty would work.

duane massey

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2011, 10:39:01 pm »

The JBL's you are looking at will not even come close.
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Duane Massey
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Houston, Texas

Chris Carpenter

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2011, 01:04:00 am »

Your friend isn't going to want to pony up the money required for a proper sound system. Let's just get that out of the way. If you go 70v, you can get a system installed, but it wont impress anyone. If you go with jrx, you'll hit your budget very very quickly and wont have enough coverage (think 2x speakers + a decent mixer/amp combo).

I'm being nice in telling you this, because I'm about to get crucified by the rest of the board. If I were in your situation, I would look to the Behringer actives. You can get 4 of the B212D for about 1K if you talk to a local dealer. Buy the wall mount kit, some cables, and have a few bucks left over to pay yourself. If you just have a 1/8" jack in the wall, you can set the level of each speaker low enough where blasting an ipod wont clip the drivers, and your good to go.
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St. Thomas LeDoux

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2011, 12:42:09 pm »

Thanks again guys,

I'll try and steer my "client" away from the Pyle amps and the smaller JBL's.  While I know Behringer is a cursed brand 'round these parts, I'm not necessarily opposed to going to the low-quality budget route if it fulfills my volume needs.  The active solution seems tempting, but Behringer would really be the only affordable brand for this project, anything nicer goes immediately above our budget.  I realize that with my budget I am not going to achieve any kind of remarkable fidelity in this system anyways; besides, a weight room is not a proper listening environment.  I suppose if it came to it, I would rather have a room filled with Behringer 15's than Jbl 3.5's.  If I were providing sound for a clothes store, I might go the smaller route, but knowing the guy who owns this gym, this is going to be a loud room and he will mostly be playing heavy metal.
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Dave Scarlett

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Chris Carpenter

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2011, 02:21:23 pm »

These would seem like a better alternate:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Mackie-TH-15A-TH15A-15-Powered-PA-LoudSpeaker-/370522898746?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5644e2c13a
These will definitely be better speakers that will likely sound better and be built better. The only issue I see is that they are not wall mountable/flyable. Perhaps do some shopping and see if you can find some cheap actives that have this capacity.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2011, 10:32:14 pm »

Comment withdrawn. Didn't help the conversation.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2011, 11:45:37 pm by Jonathan Johnson »
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2011, 10:43:42 pm »

On a side note, an underpowered amp can damage speakers just as quickly (if not more quickly) than an overpowered amp. If it's regularly driven into clipping, the resulting square wave can cause the voice coil of the speaker to overheat, even if the wattage is less than the spec'd peak or RMS wattage of the speaker.

This erroneous statement has been debunked many times in these forums.

Mac
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Brad Weber

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2011, 08:14:13 am »

I know some won't like this but I'm surprised with some of the advice in this thread.
 
The room is 100'x30' and based on having designed systems for numerous health and fitness spaces I'm guessing has equipment, people, etc. breaking up the space, so how do you plan on getting anywhere near an even level throughout the space with speakers in two or four of the corners?  To get anywhere near the same level throughout the space you need multiple speakers either on the side walls or from above.  It may also be beneficial to have a system that would let you have slightly different levels in different areas of the gym.  Having the speakers overhead typically helps in terms of getting the sound where you want it and may also let you have slightly different levels in different areas, however that may take a fairly large number of speakers.  One significant factor in anything regarding the speakers is the ceiling height, which I don't believe we know.
 
Saying that a 70V systems won't cut it or won't impress reflects a limited knowledge of such systems.  First, "70V' is the signal distribution method, you could use any speakers in a 70V system.  But even if what was meant was a typical 70V, distributed ceiling speaker system then systems that deliver 100dB+ of high quality, full range sound are still quite possible, I've been involved with several.  You won't get that with a $1,000 to $1,500 budget but that is a budget constraint and not a limitation of the general approach.
 
It's also interesting that people seem to have focused almost exclusively on the speakers and not addressed the source, mix and control aspects.  What are the sources and are they to be included in the budget?  Do they want to switch between multiple sources?  Do you need to mix stereo sources to mono?  If they want a CD player, AM/FM tuner, inputs for an iPod and some way to switch or mix those sources, or anything similar to that, then the source and switching/mixing equipment could require a significant portion of the budget.  Or the use of consumer equipment that is not intended for commercial use and may have no warranty with such use.
 
With the budget noted you have to be careful to not forget that while speaker cable, speaker mounts, mounting hardware and so on may not be big value items on a per piece basis, they can start to add up.
 
I think this may be just another example of the common situation where you need to go back to your friend and ask them if they want you to proceed based on the budget number given and you'll give them what you can within that budget (budget drives the results) or do they have certain goals and expectations that have to be met and the budget will be what it needs to be to cost effectively as possible support those goals and expectations (the results drive the budget).  They may well go with the budget being the fixed factor but the $1,000 to $1,500 budget noted would make it easy to then tell them that you'll do what you can but the results will be limited.
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Chris Carpenter

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2011, 03:47:51 pm »

Saying that a 70V systems won't cut it or won't impress reflects a limited knowledge of such systems.  First, "70V' is the signal distribution method, you could use any speakers in a 70V system.  But even if what was meant was a typical 70V, distributed ceiling speaker system then systems that deliver 100dB+ of high quality, full range sound are still quite possible, I've been involved with several.  You won't get that with a $1,000 to $1,500 budget but that is a budget constraint and not a limitation of the general approach.
Thomas stated his client's budget range. Afterward, he made it clear that his client was really looking to spend on the lower end of the limit. I have nothing against 70v, but for the available budget, it is not going to deliver 100dB+ of full range sound.

I think we can agree that with the stated budget, some serious cuts will need to be made. If Thomas can convince his client to spend more, that is up to him (but I'm not placing any bets).

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duane massey

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Re: Need advice for commercial install
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2011, 05:36:52 pm »

Most of my clients are low-budget "can't win" customers, and occasionally I will walk away if the goal vs budget is impossible. Perhaps my standards are too low, or maybe I deal with a different reality than most of you, but I manage to satisfy nearly all my customers, as long as it is clearly understood upfront (in writing) that there are limitations to the system as installed.
For a one-man company, such as myself, this works, especially in the Houston market. For a larger company, it would not work at all. Know the risks, and don't tackle something you are not prepared to deal with.
Everyone (well, most, anyway) here has made good points, just depends upon your point of view.
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Duane Massey
Technician, musician, stubborn old guy
Houston, Texas
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