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sound system for theater

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Joe Cughan:
Im the sound tech at a 1200 person theater.  The system there now is horrible.  The mains are two flown carvin TCS210 speakers, with two apogee subs flown behind big concrete pillars, and way out of time with the mains. There is only one good listening spot in the house.  the coverage of the system is terrible. In short, the system sucks.

The theater itself wasn't made for PA systems, and has a lot of concrete walls, with very little sound absorption or diffraction material.  The sides of the theater are 4 huge concrete pillars.  So there is a lot of reverberation from the speakers, causing feedback and somewhat incoherent sound.

My question, what kind of system would work for a place like this?  I'd love to get a line array with delayed balcony fills, mezzanine under fills, and front fills, but the cost is just out of the question for this theater.

We're looking at what we can do for 10k.  Any suggestions?  I can leave more info, i just didnt want to ramble on too long.

Karl P(eterson):
I am sure others will reply in long detail.. But let me try and be sweet and simple.

for a 1200 seat auditorium, take the 10k and hire an acoustical firm to come in, model the room, and make up what needs to be done to "help it" (since you probably can't "fix" it at this time) then spend the next 10~20k and implement those changes.

After that, take the model already made for your room, and have a consultant/design build house help you decide and get speakers for your space.

While you could do something like call McCauley up and have them model your room in EASE (they will for you if you ask) This isn't the solution you really want to go with, as it will more than likely product less than stellar results

Wayne A. Pflughaupt:

What’s up with those Carvins?  The TCS series are supposed to be pretty good stuff.  Not enough of them to cover the room perhaps?

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but in a concrete room, no amount of money spent on hardware will get you good sound. Unfortunately you’ve already ruled out the only thing that has a chance of working well – multiple near-field speakers.

It may make things more intelligible if you ditch the subs.  Theater is primarily for voice, after all.

Naturally the best thing you can do is acoustical treatment.  Probably the cheapest, easiest thing to do is apply carpet to as much of the walls as they will allow – starting at about 7’ and above will help considerably.

If the ceiling is also concrete, they could install a drop-ceiling.  That would also absorb a lot of sound.

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

Joe Cughan:

Thanks for your advice.  

The problem with the Carvin speakers is definitely the coverage.  

The subs I think we need to keep, we don't just do theater stuff, we cover a lot of different types of shows, especially concerts.  I'm going to at least get the subs hung in line with the mains so they're at least in time with each other.

As far as putting carpet on the walls, I've thought about that.  The problem is it would have to be aesthetically pleasing, and not very expensive, otherwise it would be a hard sell.  Do you or anyone know of any sort of acoustical treatment for live venues that doesn't look like someone threw some carpet or drapes up on concrete walls?



Joe Cughan:

Yeah, I think that is what I am probably going to end up doing.  I realized that this is a problem that is out of my area of expertise.

My only problem is trying to sell to them that we need to spend the money on hiring outside people to model the room.  This is a community theater, and is always in the red as far as income goes, because they charge such low rates, and give venue time to schools free of charge.  So I'm not sure I'll be able to convince anyone that we should go this route.

Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it!



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