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Author Topic: Are Choir Monitors in High Ceiling Possible?  (Read 3194 times)

David Foulke

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Are Choir Monitors in High Ceiling Possible?
« on: August 04, 2004, 09:41:07 pm »

Hello.  I used to hang out a lot on LAB when you had only the single forum.  A few months ago I made a post there about using an EAW AS660 in our church.  Several responded and gave me good advice.  Found out the designer (two and a half years ago) spec'd a driveRack PA and an EAW engineer recommends an Ashly Protea instead.  I have the specific details and we're heading down that direction.

Now that we're close to install time, the pastor is asking us about putting choir monitors in the ceiling and I would like to know if this is even possible.  In the past, I mounted a pair of EVid 6.2s on the modesty rail.  However, any time there was a wedding, the wedding coordinator objected to the larger oval structures and had them taken down and it became cumbersome. I floated the idea of moving the EVids into the organ chamber directly behind the choir loft (it's an electronic organ so there's no pipes -- just a very large acoustic cloth).  The pastor was not as warm to this idea and wants to explore the flown in the ceiling option. Here's the situation...

The ceiling peak is about 35 feet.  The ceiling line is cylindrical with a radius of about 45 feet.  The "curve" is left to right (not front to back).  The new AS660 will go up close to the peak, and slightly forward of the stage.  The front stage is elevated about 3 ft off the floor and is hardwood.  The platform spans the width of the seating area, approximately 65 feet.  It touches the front wall (rear of stage) and measures about 26 feet from the front of the platform to the wall.  The choir riser is along the back of the stage, centered.  It has four risers and the choir sits on all four risers.  The total choir area is about a 12 foot by 20 foot rectangle.

The pulpit (podium) is a large, hardwood structure that is front and center on the stage as close to the front as we can get it.

We have a small band consisting primarily of vocalists, and a few mic'd instruments.  The pastors both use wireless lavs (omni) and the pulpit itself has a directional Audio-Technica gong that works fairly well.  The band has a couple of 12" Community floor wedges (XLTe-12 I believe).  We've never had a problem with feedback in monitors.

Given the relatively small distance from the front of the choir loft to where the pastor and other speakers address the congregation (about 12 feet), is it even possible to have a choir monitor in the ceiling?

Oops!  One very important detail...  The primary purpose of the monitor is to enable the choir to hear the person speaking at the pulpit.  It would also carry some musical material such as the piano mic and the band's rhythm section.  We do not at this time have a drum kit so they often need to hear the guitar strumming etc.  Before I go and approach our designer with this change proposal/request for the study, I wanted a sanity check.  Could you guys weigh in?  I'd really appreciate it!

- David Foulke,
 Leesburg, Virginia
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David Foulke

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Re: Are Choir Monitors in High Ceiling Possible?
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2004, 09:48:00 am »

OOPS!  Embarassed  Make that an AS690--not the 660.

- David
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Tom Young

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Re: Are Choir Monitors in High Ceiling Possible?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2004, 03:32:40 pm »

As long as it is only pastor and announcements, just about any old speaker will do *provided* you don't put lots of acoustic energy into the choir mic's and then not mute them.

If you need music through the choir monitors then the only way to do it successfuly is to use fairly directional speakers that are aimed at the choir and also into the rear of the choir mic's.  In other words: these need to be flown. Often the best place to position these choir monitors is at the rear of the FOH speaker cluster.

Your cylindrical ceiling respresents the potential to focus acoustic energy back down from where it originates.  I'd keep my eye (and ears) on this, perhaps it needs acoustic absorption.
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Tom Young
Electroacoustic Design Services
Oxford CT
Tel: 203.888.6217
Email: dbspl@earthlink.net
www.dbspl.com

David Foulke

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Re: Are Choir Monitors in High Ceiling Possible?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2004, 08:45:05 pm »

Thanks for the sanity check.  I spoke to the design-build installer we're working with for the AS-690 and he thinks there are a few options so we'll see what he has to say.  BTW, it's long story how we ended up there, but he thinks he can make it work fairly well--wasn't his fault, we messed ourselves up with an inadvertent approval from the building committee during the major building upgrade.  However, between some advice from a message post on the LAB, the EAW engineers and the (current) design-build team, we all think we can make it work quite well for our needs.  The biggest change was to spec the correct signal processor.

Thanks for the point about the focusing of acoustic energy and the ceiling.  Indeed that is a problem with the current setup and it's quite noticeable in certain spots in the room.  The installer expressed some reservation about flying a monitor that high due to the back lobe (would have to have it up quite high).  Perhaps that was one of his concerns.  If we start going down the path of flying the choir monitor cabinet(s), I'll certainly ask that question.

We use the Shure choir mics (two of them) and we need to lower them another few feet to get a more optimal distance from the choir.  A ceiling speaker mounted in the cluster would definitely be aft of the mics, but slightly off axis, which I understand is better than behind and on-axis.  We use them mostly for piping "ambient" sound to the CCTV, etc., but there are a few occasions where we've used them for reinforcement and/or recording.  The choir also needs to hear a monitor mix as well -- not themselves, but the rhythm section and the piano, and at times, the lead vocal.  I don't think this will be easy so I'm thrilled to not have to do it myself.  I really need the design-build help we're getting this time.
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Tom Bennett

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Re: Are Choir Monitors in High Ceiling Possible?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2004, 11:19:26 pm »

Hi David,

Listen to everything that Tom Young says, they are words of wisdom.

With your room dimensions, 32 feet vertical and 26 deep, it would seem that ceiling mounted monitors would be pointed down at a fair angle, which would cause me to wonder about potential problems with feedback and ringing if the omni lav is put in the monitors.

Monitors in the organ chambers pointed forward could cause some interference problems with the mains, and add reverb/echo.

The modesty rail seems like a decent idea, but of course the wedding coordinators love to rule the roost. We had a battle over this issue and finally won, due to the sheer amount of stuff that had to be moved every other weekend, everybody got burnt out on moving it off and back on, on a Saturday night, and hoping that no problems crept in. We put a modesty rail in front of the band and choir for weddings, but what is behind it is what you get. If they do not like it, then they can put in plants, trees, columns, backdrops or whatever to hide it.

Have you tried side fill speakers, either floor wedges, or speakers on stands? How about sidefill speakers mounted inside something placed on the sides, for example fake dressy columns or plant arrangements? Or how about behind backdrops or banners on the sides?

In our setup, we use ceiling mounted monitors that are right behind the mains, but our dimensions are mostly opposite of yours, it is further back than it is tall. We also switched from from 12" x 1" monitors to DIY horns that have much better pattern control, but at some loss of fidelity. The choir does not really need hifi, so it has worked well.

I hope this helps some. I do not know if you tried posting in the church sound forum here, but it is also worth a try.

Tom Bennett
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