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Author Topic: Dance Studio  (Read 6718 times)

Chris Jensen

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Dance Studio
« on: July 18, 2011, 02:39:54 pm »

Hello all, I have a new dance space that needs audio.  It is a room that is about 28' x 48' with a celling height of maybe 10'.  I am helping out the teacher who is a good friend to get something in there.  Her first idea was to go on down to the local music store and get some speakers on stands.  After some taking with her I got some idea of what she really wanted and it wasn't that. 

The goals ended up being:
-be able to reproduce various dance music from ballet to hip hop and anywhere in between
-to find something that could mount up high on the wall rather then stands
-be of good quality and reputable brand, not have a home stereo in in there if you know what I mean
-appearance although secondary be something fairly small and out of sight
-starting budget of $1000 with some room to go higher if necessary.  This includes speakers w/ mounting hardware, cables, a small 4-6 channel mixer, and amp.  A sub setup would get its own budget.

In doing some research I have found that the JBL Control 28's are a reasonable price.  The mouthing options and size are very attractive.  I am a little worried about output.  We talked about scaleability and adding a sub if needed or later as budget permits.  I know they are full range speakers but I kind of doubt that this little box can put out much low end that might be required by some of the program material.

As far as loudness goes that is what I am trying to predict.  I would think somewhere in the ballpark of 86dba?  I'm a little unsure about an actual db amount.  I can say that I belong to a small church that many many years ago had 6 of the Control 8's installed and it seems to get pretty loud in there for playback if needed(Loud for a small church).  It seems like a capable speaker. 

So what do you guys think about Control 28's in a room of that size?  Underpowered for that room?  Again a sub is a future option and most likely will be put in anyway.  I would love to get my hands on a pair of them for testing.  One more question is, how would you compare the Control 8's and the 28's.  At the church I mentioned there are 2 more pairs of the 8's that are not in use as they were installed in areas that are no longer in use.  I would be able to try those in this space as a demo, knowing that the 28 is the newer replacement would there be any value in this as an audition?

I must also leave you all with that I am a student of audio and by no means a pro.  I work as a TD and lighting tech most often.  But I do whenever possible work for sound companies and try to soak up as much as possible.  I have enough knowledge to get myself into trouble, case in point here.

Chris Jensen
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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2011, 03:05:38 pm »

Hello all, I have a new dance space that needs audio.  It is a room that is about 28' x 48' with a celling height of maybe 10'.  I am helping out the teacher who is a good friend to get something in there.  Her first idea was to go on down to the local music store and get some speakers on stands.  After some taking with her I got some idea of what she really wanted and it wasn't that. 

The goals ended up being:
-be able to reproduce various dance music from ballet to hip hop and anywhere in between
-to find something that could mount up high on the wall rather then stands
-be of good quality and reputable brand, not have a home stereo in in there if you know what I mean
-appearance although secondary be something fairly small and out of sight
-starting budget of $1000 with some room to go higher if necessary.  This includes speakers w/ mounting hardware, cables, a small 4-6 channel mixer, and amp.  A sub setup would get its own budget.

In doing some research I have found that the JBL Control 28's are a reasonable price.  The mouthing options and size are very attractive.  I am a little worried about output.  We talked about scaleability and adding a sub if needed or later as budget permits.  I know they are full range speakers but I kind of doubt that this little box can put out much low end that might be required by some of the program material.

As far as loudness goes that is what I am trying to predict.  I would think somewhere in the ballpark of 86dba?  I'm a little unsure about an actual db amount.  I can say that I belong to a small church that many many years ago had 6 of the Control 8's installed and it seems to get pretty loud in there for playback if needed(Loud for a small church).  It seems like a capable speaker. 

So what do you guys think about Control 28's in a room of that size?  Underpowered for that room?  Again a sub is a future option and most likely will be put in anyway.  I would love to get my hands on a pair of them for testing.  One more question is, how would you compare the Control 8's and the 28's.  At the church I mentioned there are 2 more pairs of the 8's that are not in use as they were installed in areas that are no longer in use.  I would be able to try those in this space as a demo, knowing that the 28 is the newer replacement would there be any value in this as an audition?

I must also leave you all with that I am a student of audio and by no means a pro.  I work as a TD and lighting tech most often.  But I do whenever possible work for sound companies and try to soak up as much as possible.  I have enough knowledge to get myself into trouble, case in point here.

Chris Jensen

Don't over-think this.  All things considered, a good "boom box" set up will probably take care of the needs and save a lot on budget.  Beyond that, look at "near field" speakers rather than PA stuff.  Use as few a possible to avoid a lot of time arrival issues. Actually, the two speakers on sticks would be just fine.......if they're the right speakers.

Since you admittedly don't do audio, don't be in too much of a hurry to try to develop a setup which is more complex than needed.  Others will chime in. 
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Marty McCann

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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2011, 04:02:21 pm »

If it is a real dance studio, i.e. one or more mirrored walls, then the less sources the better.

IMHO, have done a few and found a ceiling mounted array of near field speakers with minimum overlap works best.  If they must have real low end (Hip Hop), put 1 sub on each of the long walls 1/3 distance from opposite ends.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2011, 04:18:22 pm »

The goals ended up being:
-be able to reproduce various dance music from ballet to hip hop and anywhere in between
-to find something that could mount up high on the wall rather then stands
-be of good quality and reputable brand, not have a home stereo in in there if you know what I mean
-appearance although secondary be something fairly small and out of sight
-starting budget of $1000 with some room to go higher if necessary.  This includes speakers w/ mounting hardware, cables, a small 4-6 channel mixer, and amp.  A sub setup would get its own budget.
I'm guessing most sources would be stereo so it's not clear if the mixer would need to handle 2-3 stereo sources or 4-6 stereo sources, but you probably want the mixer simple to operate.  However, by the time you get that, the speakers and amp, and all the cable, connectors, any wall plates or conduit, brackets, etc. required to install it it is going to be difficult to do anything that effectively supports the use and space described that uses "good quality and reputable brand" professional gear with a $1,000 budget.  I sort of hate to say it, but a home stereo might be the appropriate solution, right down to probably having a wireless remote.
 
The one caveat is the separate subwoofer setup.  If that budget were sufficient to include the related amplification and processing as well as the subs then maybe you could use some smaller, less expensive mains.  But if you can't approach it as one integrated system then that may not be a practical approach.
 
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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2011, 04:20:45 pm »

If it is a real dance studio, i.e. one or more mirrored walls, then the less sources the better.

IMHO, have done a few and found a ceiling mounted array of near field speakers with minimum overlap works best.  If they must have real low end (Hip Hop), put 1 sub on each of the long walls 1/3 distance from opposite ends.

That's pretty much what I was thinking as well.  The only drawback here is his stated ceiling height of just around 10 feet........which makes arraying and coverage a bit tricky. 
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2011, 05:53:35 pm »

Hello all, I have a new dance space that needs audio.  It is a room that is about 28' x 48' with a celling height of maybe 10'.  I am helping out the teacher who is a good friend to get something in there.  Her first idea was to go on down to the local music store and get some speakers on stands.  After some taking with her I got some idea of what she really wanted and it wasn't that. 

The goals ended up being:
-be able to reproduce various dance music from ballet to hip hop and anywhere in between
-to find something that could mount up high on the wall rather then stands
-be of good quality and reputable brand, not have a home stereo in in there if you know what I mean
-appearance although secondary be something fairly small and out of sight
-starting budget of $1000 with some room to go higher if necessary.  This includes speakers w/ mounting hardware, cables, a small 4-6 channel mixer, and amp.  A sub setup would get its own budget.

In doing some research I have found that the JBL Control 28's are a reasonable price.  The mouthing options and size are very attractive.  I am a little worried about output.  We talked about scaleability and adding a sub if needed or later as budget permits.  I know they are full range speakers but I kind of doubt that this little box can put out much low end that might be required by some of the program material.

As far as loudness goes that is what I am trying to predict.  I would think somewhere in the ballpark of 86dba?  I'm a little unsure about an actual db amount.  I can say that I belong to a small church that many many years ago had 6 of the Control 8's installed and it seems to get pretty loud in there for playback if needed(Loud for a small church).  It seems like a capable speaker. 

So what do you guys think about Control 28's in a room of that size?  Underpowered for that room?  Again a sub is a future option and most likely will be put in anyway.  I would love to get my hands on a pair of them for testing.  One more question is, how would you compare the Control 8's and the 28's.  At the church I mentioned there are 2 more pairs of the 8's that are not in use as they were installed in areas that are no longer in use.  I would be able to try those in this space as a demo, knowing that the 28 is the newer replacement would there be any value in this as an audition?

I must also leave you all with that I am a student of audio and by no means a pro.  I work as a TD and lighting tech most often.  But I do whenever possible work for sound companies and try to soak up as much as possible.  I have enough knowledge to get myself into trouble, case in point here.

Chris Jensen

One thing to think about is which wall do they normally face when rehearsing. There is often a preferred "downstage" direction due to layout of the room, number of students, etc. Speakers then face into students. A good "home stereo" system is often a good solution due to ability to have remote control of source, volume, etc. You really don't need to "mix" sources as much as select them. You won't have to worry about feedback because they probably don't use a mic. The key element is the ability of the CD or other source device to easily pause or re-cue to start of a track. A highly visible track number readout is important too.
If the instructor has to fiddle too much with the remote or the player it won't matter how good it sounds.
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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2011, 07:55:47 pm »

Compromise, compromise, compromise. You're not gonna get it done "right" by professional standards on $1k, period. Forget even coverage, convenient features, all that stuff, and keep it simple.
4 Control 28"s will not be adequate in that large a space, especially if they are going to expect reasonable levels. Look at a pair of 2-way spkrs, 15/1", and a powered mixer. There are wall-mount brackets for speakers that will take the place of stands (they have pegs to set the speakers on), and let them provide their own music sources (Ipods, cd player, etc).
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Duane Massey
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Chris Jensen

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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2011, 01:45:34 am »

Thank you for the info guys.  To address a few of the questions.  As far as a mixer goes this is really open.  I considered a little sub $100 mixer, 2 stereo sources should be fine, so 4 to 6 channels total.  Most seem to be about that in the price range.  The other option is some sort of cd/tuner as a preamp device that could accommodate an aux function of a ipod or 2nd device that feeds an amp.  I imagine many of these types of devices would have a remote and be fairly cheep at best buy or similar.  There is no need for mic channels as the teachers are dancer not fitness instructors.  They have no interest in them whatsoever.

Maybe "pro" was a strong word, I didn't want the typical setup I have seen of 2 cheep looking Bose speakers, one of which is spliced on 4 pieces of cable to make one speaker cable, and the right speaker siting on a chair because the cable on the other side isn't long enough.  I know it's a silly description but it is just an example of one highly regarded studio around me that I am familiar with.  I know it takes money for an excellent set up, trust me if the budget was there I would go nuts. 

Now aside from that maybe after a few comments I can ask better questions.  As far as recommendations go there have been comments of 15" cabs to a boom box.  Vastly different.  But I'm getting the feeling the little Control cabs won't have enough oomph.  It made sense from the standpoint of amp power, I can pick up a Crown XLS, Crest CPX or Peavey IPR for under $400.  The room is a "real" dance studio, mirrors and all, wood floor at this point, hopefully marley will come soon, and block walls.  A sub will almost be a given just not in the beginning.  With a sub doing the heavy lifting at the bottom it seemed to me that the mains could be smaller. 

I did admit that I "don't do audio."  That isn't entirely true.  I do a lot of audio, I just don't bill myself as a pro.  I understand quite a bit but don't have the resources or connections to dealers to audition equipment.  I have studied quite a bit and crew shows all the time.  Again not trying to make something out of nothing here, but would say I'm quite capable with a little guidance. 

The budget could be pushed up to 2k but I need to justify it before I go there.  It was just a thought I threw out using this equipment spec as 60% of the program material will be a single piano playing ballet tracks.  Certainly not taxing on a system.  There will be some more bass heavy music but it is not for kids looking to create a club in the space. 

Any other suggestions?  The last thing, and correct me if this is a bad idea, was to center cluster 2 speakers with their patterns parallel right up the middle running mono.  Stereo seems like it isn't an issue here.  That way the side walls are as far as possible away from the source to help decrease bounce off of them.  Pattern overlap would be minimal right up the middle of the room.  As the layout goes, it looks as if the sides and back corners of the room will have little usage to be filled with sound so if the speakers are mounted apart they will be working to get to the center where sound is needed.  This is close to what Marty might have suggested, but just from the front of the room.  The front is a long wall not a short wall.

I thank you all for your consideration.  I just don't want to slam a cheap inefficient dj system in there and walk away.

Chris Jensen
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Brian Ehlers

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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2011, 06:33:51 pm »

 For an affordable, professional loudspeaker that will handle that size room and almost make you forget you ever considered a sub, look in the the EV ZX1.  Sounds great, with surprising punch; rotatable horn; available in an "install" version with wall-mount; andcheaper than most home stereo speakers.

Like the others said, the user interface is probably the most important part of the whole job.
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duane massey

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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2011, 10:14:07 pm »

Chris, you're on the right track, but I'd go for a powered mixer if budget is tight. Yamaha EMX-series is high quality and cost-effective. Stereo would be a non-issue, and you could experiment with speaker locations before you actually install them on the wall/ceiling.
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Duane Massey
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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2011, 10:24:55 pm »

Chris, you're on the right track, but I'd go for a powered mixer if budget is tight. Yamaha EMX-series is high quality and cost-effective. Stereo would be a non-issue, and you could experiment with speaker locations before you actually install them on the wall/ceiling.

I'll vote for powered speakers.  The powered mixer idea means running bigger cables and being locked into a single position for the unit.  It also may be a bit of over-kill for the purpose, like "all your eggs in one...larger....basket".  A simple 2XLR and a couple of stereo line input mix pad feeding the powered speakers will offer a lower profile, flexible setup independent of the larger, fixed minimum length speaker cabling implicit in the powered head/mixer setup.

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duane massey

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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2011, 10:48:50 pm »

I'd agree with Dick unless getting 110v to the speaker locations is a challenge. Permanent installs require the power to be within reach of the 6' power cord. Heavy speaker wire is not as big an issue in this application, I've done several installs of this nature using #16 and #14 cable with acceptable results. Either way would work.
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Duane Massey
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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2011, 11:21:06 pm »

I'd agree with Dick unless getting 110v to the speaker locations is a challenge. Permanent installs require the power to be within reach of the 6' power cord. Heavy speaker wire is not as big an issue in this application, I've done several installs of this nature using #16 and #14 cable with acceptable results. Either way would work.

Good point on the power proximity.

I've done it both ways, passive and powered speakers.  I've had nominally fewer failures overall with the powered option and find that option to be a bit easier to trouble-shoot via telephone......
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Brad Weber

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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2011, 08:38:08 am »

Chris, you're on the right track, but I'd go for a powered mixer if budget is tight. Yamaha EMX-series is high quality and cost-effective. Stereo would be a non-issue, and you could experiment with speaker locations before you actually install them on the wall/ceiling.
My experience in this type of application is that something like the EMX series may not be the best approach and that you typically want a very simple mixer or source selector.  That is actually why home stereo systems, or perhaps some of the 'receivers' from D&M Pro, actually often work well as the operation is simple and familiar, including possibly having a simple remote for source selection and volume control.
 
Another approach I've used for the speaker system, and this may be similar to what Marty was suggesting, was more of a distributed approach with smaller speakers running at lower levels and each covering a smaller area, then add low frequency reinforcement if desired.  This could be done with ceiling speakers or multiple speakers mounted on the walls.  The problem here may be the number of speakers required due to the relatively low ceiling conflicting with the limited budget.
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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2011, 11:36:34 am »

My experience in this type of application is that something like the EMX series may not be the best approach and that you typically want a very simple mixer or source selector.  That is actually why home stereo systems, or perhaps some of the 'receivers' from D&M Pro, actually often work well as the operation is simple and familiar, including possibly having a simple remote for source selection and volume control.
 
Another approach I've used for the speaker system, and this may be similar to what Marty was suggesting, was more of a distributed approach with smaller speakers running at lower levels and each covering a smaller area, then add low frequency reinforcement if desired.  This could be done with ceiling speakers or multiple speakers mounted on the walls.  The problem here may be the number of speakers required due to the relatively low ceiling conflicting with the limited budget.

Brad et al.....


I don't know why it took me so long to think of this, but I've had great success using products like this:

http://www.jblpro.com/businessmusic/SMS1/sms1.htm

Very low profile, huge sound presence and the ability to "duck" the playback with a mic.  Very likely a good fit for such an application and lots of bang for your budget bucks.

DR
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Kyle Leonard

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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2011, 12:11:13 pm »

I'm surprised no one has suggested something like a Soundsphere speaker. They run about $350 each MSRP. According to their specs, two would work with a third being optimal (but out of your price range). Add in a distributed amp and you're right at $1000. Of course, that doesn't leave room for cabling and profit. :(


I agrees that you should explain to your friend what $1000 gets in the real world. Double that and it would make them much happier with the result.


Kyle
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Brad Weber

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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2011, 02:24:56 pm »

I'm surprised no one has suggested something like a Soundsphere speaker.  They run about $350 each MSRP.
I'm not surprised at all.  Soundsphere offers something like a dozen speaker models, so I'm not sure which one you were addressing, but if you were thinking of something like the Q-6 then imagine how those would look in the middle of a 10' ceiling and remember that ballet can include jumps and even lifts.
 
Also consider that the usable low frequency response of the Q-6 is more like 150Hz, which happens to be the crossover frequency for the matching Q-LB product.  While a sensitivity of 88dB at 1W/1M is specified, according to the 1W/1m response chart that, being generous, apparently applies only between about 400Hz and 8kHz.  So you would probably want some additional low frequency support in this application.
 
They run about $350 each MSRP. According to their specs, two would work with a third being optimal (but out of your price range).
Admittedly, coverage may not be that critical in this application, but with a 10' ceiling physics says you can't cover a 28'x48' space properly with two speakers.  And that is not even accounting for any off axis loss of the speaker, according to their published data the 250Hz-1kHz averaged polar data the 'omnidirectional' Q-6 appears to be about 5dB down relative to the on-axis response at just 30 degrees off axis.
 
A good example of where looking at the specifics of a product can give a much different perspective than what the manufacturer may like you to believe.[/quote]
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2011, 11:52:06 pm »

I considered a little sub $100 mixer, 2 stereo sources should be fine, so 4 to 6 channels total.  Most seem to be about that in the price range.

If *cough*Behringer*cough* is among the ones you've researched, I'll warn you that the wall-wart power supplies on Behringer's low-end mixers are well-known for dying if they are plugged into the wall but not into the mixer. (Don't ask me how I know this.) Since there's no power switch on the mixer, it's tempting to turn them off by disconnecting the power cord. DON'T DO IT. If you do get a Behringer small format mixer, also buy a tube of epoxy or a hot glue gun; glue that sucker in place to make sure it's never disconnected from the mixer.
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Re: Dance Studio
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2011, 10:06:05 pm »

Look into a B52 Matrix 1000 system. Add in mixer, cable, and some rigging (speakers have fly points as well as pole cups) Can't be beat for the price. It is my go-to system for budget full-range installs.
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