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Church and H.O.W. Forums for HOW Sound and AV - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Church and HOW Forums => Church Sound Archive => Topic started by: Brandon B. on May 17, 2006, 04:57:43 am

Title: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Brandon B. on May 17, 2006, 04:57:43 am

My church is about to build a new sanctuary and new youth center.  My friend and I have been told we'll have a $20k budget for audio and video and that we're in charge of getting it done when the time comes.  I'm thinking $5k to video, $15k to sound.  That may not work, but I think it should.

Anyways, I have a question or two.  I've roughly configured a system (which I would like to get your opinions on), but should we try to get an installer?  I'm worried our budget isn't big enough to justify having someone outside come in an install it.

Here's what I'm thinking:

Allen & Heath GL2400-32 channel
JBL Mpro 412 Mains (2 per side, 4 total)
JBL 18" MPro Subs (2 total)
Crown XTI 2000 power amps (x2, one for subs, one for mains)
JBL JRX112M Monitors (x6)
Crown XLS 402 monitor amps
Samson SCom4 compressor/gate (x2)
Peavey dual 15 eq's for monitor mixes (4 mixes, 2 dual 15 eq's)
Alesis MIDIVerb 4 for some 'verb Smile
Sennheiser E835's for vocals (x6), E609S for guitars (x2), and various Audix for drum mics.

What do you guys think?

I really want to do this right, whether doing it myself or not.  The stuff mentioned above comes to $13k, but I think we can strike a better deal spending that much.  The remaining planned $2k would go into cabling and installation hardware and whatnot (XLR plates, cables, etc.).  Almost all cabling will probably be done by me and my friend (I'm not completely sure how we're going to do that, but Elco's are looking nice Wink ).

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Brandon B. on May 17, 2006, 05:00:18 am
I forgot to mention, I'm not completely positive of the shape of this place.  I know it's supposed to be 5000 square feet, but that's all I know right now.  Also, we will probably be looking to address 300-500 people or so.  

I'm kind of thinking I may be able to get a better speaker setup, even if we go used.  This is for the youth facility, too, FWIW.  I'm afraid to ask what they're doing in the main sanctuary, but I hope they get something good!  Wink

I'll find out soon enough, I suppose.


Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Tom Young on May 17, 2006, 07:19:10 am
Everything about how this system design has been presented is not right.

First of all, creating a budget number "out of the air" with no considertaion for what is really needed is just plain silly.

You make no mention of the acoustics which impacts the design of the FOH loudspeaker system tremendously.

You make no mention of coverage from the FOH loudspeakers you listed, which indicates you have no idea how your loudspeakers will cover the congregation and not project sound onto the walls and ceiling.

There is no FOH system processing including equalization and also the crossover between fullrange ldspkrs and subwoofers.

How will the FOH loudfspeakers be installed, on stands or suspended ?

15-band graphic EQ's will not allow you to reduce feedback from the monitors without taking out huge amounts of useful energy.

How will the cables be run to reduce noise and meet code ?

How will you determine that you have enough dedictaed/isolated AC power for the system ?

With all due respect, you appear to be as in the dark as your church is. You desperately need a qualified system designer. And you need more money.

Whether it is a space for 100 people or for 3000, designing a loudspeaker system that will perform well is a non-trivial task that takes a great deal of training and experience.

Your present course of action will not work well.
Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Guest on May 17, 2006, 09:47:27 am
Tom is in the business of sound accoustics consulting - so, of course, he is biased to think that you need to have a pro design your system.

And he is exactly right.

You can't afford NOT to have one.

Everything he points out is dead on.   Forget what equipment you need. First get the space right.  Even small changes in the structure will have dramatic effect on what the sound equipment will need to be.  Yoou can spend tens of thousands on sound equipment to correct structural issues which could be eliminated through careful design of the building in the first place.

In the meantime read here. Check out the study hall. Read up on speakers, mics and digital. It has helped me immensly
Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Brandon B. on May 17, 2006, 08:46:45 pm
Hey guys... thanks for the replies.

As far as the building goes, as mentioned earlier, I don't know what it's going to be like as it has not yet been "added-on" to and I'm unfortunately not involved enough at present to even remotely know the plans they have in general.

I really don't expect to get any more money for this system, so $20,000 will have to be it (for now... it's possible, but I very seriously doubt it).  As silly as it is, as you pointed out, to do a budget before it is known what will be needed, it is the way of the uninformed (myself included until now Wink ) and I really don't know that I could personally convince my church to do otherwise than what has already been done.  We have some people at the church who "know sound" and would be slightly harder to convince (these are the same people who thought it would be great to build a room with 1/2 of one wall knocked out, in the balcony to mix from Wink ).  

I will definitely present the idea of getting a system designer.

Oh, and FOH EQ and Crossover work would have been done in the Xti, as foolish as that may or may not have been.  Wink

I am definitely open (and want) to learn the codes and noise isolation.  I know the basics, and I'm positive that I can't learn enough in 6 months to be a pro, but if they won't spend the money on a professionally designed system, then I'm all the PA's got, and I at least care.  

I understand your position, Tom, and you are absolutely right.  But, unfortunately, I don't know that the rest of my church would agree.  However, I will definitely try my best.

If it were up to me, I'd be trying to fit D&B Q-series into it, if an array would be best.  Wink  Those things are AMAZING.

Anyways, thanks for your criticism (honestly) and insights.  I will do my best to convince them to hire someone to do it, but if they don't, I'll be back with more questions to do the best that I can do with it.  Wink

Thanks again!

Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on May 17, 2006, 08:57:21 pm
To add to your good list:

Who is going to do system alignment? Properly.

How about extra equipment such as racks-a tool for the elco (not cheap) and what does Elco have to do with it-there might go his 2K for misc-of course depending---, guarantees, warranties, scaffolding/lift rental-hoists (if flying speakers), tools for PROPER flying (of course the cabinets do not have flying hardware) so they would have to fly a cage for the speakers, liability for the design-is there a true design?  The horns are pretty small for a gym.  But it will probably be fairly loud-just not clear.

Are the cables going to be run in conduit?  If so, who is going to do proper drawings for the electrician?

I wonder what kind of video he is going to get for 5K.  Nor big or bright-or flexable.  But hey-it will be cheap-in more ways than one.

It's just for the kids-so it doesn't have to be good does it?

Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Brandon B. on May 17, 2006, 09:19:55 pm

The points have already been made and an answer supplied.  I find your reply to be harshly critical and condescending.  On top of that, did you have to refer to me in third person, just as though I'm not here?  No.  I find it extremely unhelpful and offensive.

You must also understand that to have $20,000 to spend on sound and video for a youth center is really good for rural East TN and I am grateful to have it, even if it won't get us a perfect system or system design. Most churches in the area don't even spend but $2,000 or $3,000 at the most on their PAs.

I greatly appreciate any help, but further criticism on a point already made and addressed is unnecessary.  I should not have to, and will not, open myself up to attack just to get some help and guidance.

If I have misunderstood your post, then I apologize.

Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on May 17, 2006, 10:18:14 pm
I didn't intend to seem so harsh.  I was responding to Tom's post-so in reality it would be the 3rd person-I think?  English was/is my worst subject.  It is just that so often I see systems that while there is good intent, fall short because of lack of proper design.  Then they often spend money, again, to try to get it right-or just deal with the bad sound.

This is no reflection on you or your abilities-I have no idea what they are.

I think that Toms' concerns reflect your posts.  You said you do not have an idea of what size the room is, but yet you already know what loudspeakers are required for it? That just puts a shadow on other things.

The  1st thing that I start with in a design is the size/shape/height/acoustic signature etc. of the room and the coverage needed for it.  That rules everything.  Next comes the particular needs of the customer (music style-budget etc).  Then I start to go over the possible loudspeaker choices that meet those demands.

Given unlimited budgets, it doesn't matter how good or "amazing" a loudspeaker is/appears to be, if it is the wrong speaker for the job, it just doesn't matter, it is still the wrong loudspeaker.  There is a lot more to a particular loudspeakers proper application for a particular project than it's sound.

Something that I would possible consider-without knowing anything else, is that with a limited budget, you might want to lower the number of monitor mixes (amps-EQ-cabinets etc) in order to spend it someplace else it might be needed.  Also possibly loose the reverb.  Those are not large money items, but they do add up.  BTW did you figure tax into your price?  Go ahead and put in the cable for the extra monitor sends-so you just need to add the equipment when you can.

Nothing against the Crown amps w/DSP.  You should be able to do everything you need in it.  However, it might be less expensive to use a seperate DSP and less expensive amplifiers.  You only need 2 channels of DSP for your proposed system (assuming it is in mono-which would be the less expensive way to go).  If you really want stereo, just put the wiring in place and upgrade with another DSP/amps? later.

Those things are easily added as needed.  You need to get your infrastructure right from the start.  That is a lot more costly to fix later.

I understand limited budgets, but with a limited budget, you often have to have more realistic needs/expectations.

There was a local church here that a couple of years ago had a meeting and was going to expand their sanc. so they voted a budgetary amount.  $100.  Yes, 100 NOT 100K.  They thought that that was a lot of money.  They did not have any idea of what it would take to do anything.

Again, I'm sorry for any bad feeling this may have caused.  But you did ask what we thought.

Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Steve Harris on May 17, 2006, 11:39:20 pm
Hey Brandon!

New sanctuary eh? This tells me that they will have to consider acoustics in the architecture. If they are planning both the sanctuary and the youth center simultaneously some thought (and design $) could be spent on the youth center as well.

You need to be in on the planning and make your voice heard for the youth. Good sound for the youth is really important. What you can do is ask for acoustical consideration in the design of the youth center. If there is extra cost for this, it should be an architectural cost and not come out of your $20k budget.

Resist with your life any multi-purpose type facility that has no acoustical consideration. I watched a church build one of these that would house the youth activities, dining, basketball, etc. It was a cinder-block gym and soundman's nightmare. The youth endured maybe 4 weeks in it before retreating back to their crowded former tiny room so they could hear the music and the message. More $ was spent to treat it than would have been spent to design it well in the first place. The youth have still not returned.

Push for a simple architecture that will accomodate a system on a lower budget. Keep the speakers in a single plane and limit the depth of the room to avoid the necessity of purchasing a speaker alignment processor. Flying the speakers will require an experienced installer. You can mount them on stands yourself. If the design is not acoustically acceptable, ask that the walls be treated, if necessary, outside of your budget. Also ask for an isolated electrical circuit. As long as there will electrical contractors around, they do that kind of stuff. Don't try to fabricate the cabling yourself unless you have a lot of experience. You can get shielded snakes that will resist noise and meet code (leave some slack in both ends of the snake for flexible positioning - those installed jacks are never where you need them!).

So get involved with the planning now to make your job easier down the road.
Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Brandon B. on May 18, 2006, 02:39:40 am
Hello Ivan.

I apologize for misinterpreting your post.  Smile

Thanks for the insights.

At this point, I'm just hoping I can get them to get a system designer, especially before construction begins, but we'll see.  If not, I'll go from there!  Smile

I'm thinking we can probably have one designer do both the main sanctuary and the student center at once.

Thanks again!  I'll post back when I find out more.

Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Brandon B. on May 18, 2006, 02:47:14 am
Hi Steve!

Thanks for the advice.  That's what I'm hoping to do.  Unfortunately, though, I am 225 miles away (this is a former church that I'm still involved with from time to time), but some of my best friends still go there (including the one who was unofficially put in charge of this and has asked me to help).  I'm also about to get married, so that takes away from my free time as well, needless to say... hehe.

I am seriously considering system install as a career.  Any advice from you guys on how I could possibly pursue that?

I am currently working on (and should finish next year... I'm now officially a senior Wink ) my Recording Industry degree at Middle Tennessee State University.  I'm also doing backline for a major Christian band out of Nashville when the need arises and they have room on the bus for me.  Wink  This has allowed me to network a bit and also pick their FOH guy's brain and also has exposed me slightly to some higher end gear (Midas Heritage, Sienna, Yamaha DM2000's, JBL Vertec's, d&b Q-series, etc., etc.).  I am also minoring in electronics and I'm considering getting my EE from a local technical school after I finish my bachelors.

What specifically should I do?  Pursue a part-time job helping someone install and learn my way from there?  

Again, advice is greatly appreciated.  Smile

Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Tom Young on May 18, 2006, 07:17:30 am
In some ways you are not the best person for this church to have as their sound consultant. Yes, you are an ex-parishioner and a friend. But you are way too eager to do whatever it takes to spend the $20k if/when they choose to ignore our advice. Why are you not concerned that it will not turn out well ? Why are you not concerned that when it does not turn out well you may be held accountable ?

An alternative to going along with their plan when they ignore our advice is to say "sorry, this is simply wrong. I won't be involved in wasting church money and ending up with severely compromised sound (and video)"  

That is what most professionals with ethics do when faced with such unreal expectations.

No one here would recommend a D&B system. It is simply not justified. But there are a good number of loudspeakers well below what D&B costs that would work very well here. Including JBL.

I obviously do not know what the overall construction budget is. But it is a safe bet that this project can easily absorb as much money as it would take for the proper design and installation of acoustics and an appropriate (in function and cost) sound system. But the owners need to be convinced.

I don't see you doing that.

And please do not criticize me if this seems harsh. We have provided you with good, honest advice.

That's what you asked for (when you said, "I really want to do this right, whether doing it myself or not") and that's what we try to provide here.
Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Guest on May 18, 2006, 12:43:47 pm
It is one thing when someone asks "what system can we design for our present facility?" it is a completely different animal when you are considering a whole new building. Long before any sound equipment is even on the radar would be the accoustic disign of the buiding.

I just got to see another unfortunate result.  A local church put up a nice new building. It is a meatal building, and I am sure that the buiding manufacturer did the design.  Not only is it an asthetic and accoustic letdown, there are examples everywhere where a competent dsesigner could have taken just OK to fantastic.

Al of the equipment is 'top notch' but the sound is poor at best. There was WAY too much spent to get such lackluster results. And it is very likely that there would not have been a significant amount more to have gotten things done right.
Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Clayton Luckie on May 18, 2006, 10:27:38 pm
This article seems to have a good deal of wisdom.  Spending more money now can save you a lot more money in the future.

Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Clayton Luckie on May 18, 2006, 10:38:01 pm
Ivan Beaver wrote on Wed, 17 May 2006 21:18

There was a local church here that a couple of years ago had a meeting and was going to expand their sanc. so they voted a budgetary amount.  $100.  Yes, 100 NOT 100K.  They thought that that was a lot of money.  They did not have any idea of what it would take to do anything.

Why does that sound all too familiar?  The western church is in an interesting spot, where it takes professional grade equipment to do what they need.  Hopefully as the generations come and go, this kind of thing will become more rare.  ...maybe

Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Handy Brent on May 18, 2006, 11:47:55 pm
I am getting in late on this.  Here are my 2 cents, seeing how I grew up in a church where $20k for sound would have been a huge unbiblical waste of money (so they thought).  It is common and traditional for these small churches to not think.  That is not a slam, but the truth.  I don't know what happens.  But the minute that builders, electricians, and wannabe's that go to church think that they can all of a sudden forget about laws, codes, and physics when it comes to building a church.

I once did a retrofit for a church in Louisiananana.  They built this 1,000 seater with no permit, on an easement, and it was condemned eventually.  The speakers were JBL M series, not MRs.  The "cluster" was suspended by a drop tile grid.  Their projector screens were anchored with crapp hardware through the firewall.  The lazer level revealed +/-24" of wave in the drop tile ceiling.  Complete crap.

All that to say that people don't WANT to think in churches, because that costs them money that they think that they do not have.  Personally, I think that if your church does not have the cash to do things legally, properly, safely, then you shouldn't be operating and that God will not honor poor stewardship and testitmony.

Picking out gear before even knowing what the room is going to be is insane.  Using JBL MRs is insane.  those are ok for music playback.  But they really aren't voiced for church, spoken word, etc.  Those are hiss and mud boxes IMNSHO.  This church should hire somebody that they can hold liable legally, can service the gear and the people.  In that price range they will not pay for a designer.  And really they might be able to get by with a one stop shop like All Pro, etc that does inhouse design for no charge.
Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Brandon B. on May 19, 2006, 04:28:35 am
Hey guys... thanks again for the replies.

Tom, in a lot of ways I'm not the best person for this church as a sound consultant.  Wink  I had considered that it wouldn't turn out the best, but I will not turn my back just because they won't do the best thing and since I'm not professional and don't have a company to protect, that is something I'm willing to live with, IF I have to.  I am honestly wanting the best in this and I'm considering doing a presentation to them on why it is necessary to hire a designer.

I do agree with you, and I hope so desperately that they get a designer (and I WILL do my best to convince them of that, despite what I may have portrayed up to this point Wink ).  The D&B system I just mentioned because it is a very nice sounding system (we've used them in the band I do backline for and are using them on a 60 date fall tour).

I've kind of gone out on a limb here, and I'm glad I did.  My ignorance has shone more than brightly... lol... but I am learning quite a bit from this little thread.  I know to some of you guys I am probably a young punk looking to spend the church's money in the way I see fit.

Thanks for the link, Clayton.  I may just use that in my presentation, should there be one.  Wink

Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on May 20, 2006, 06:38:47 pm
Last week we did a job in a small/medium church east of Knoxville.  They spent what was considered quite a bit for the system (for the area).

The response from them upon hearing it was "WOW, I had no idea how much of a difference a new sound system could make".  I told them that it was not because of a "new" system, but the "right" system for the room.  This particular job involved the use of 3 different loudspeaker manufacturers products, because no 1 manufacturer made what was right for the different needs at a price point that we were shooting for.

They are looking at us to redo their youth/gym system in the very near future.  While not cheap, it will be a great system.
Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Brandon B. on May 21, 2006, 01:18:41 am
That's good to know, Ivan.

They're about 30 miles east of Knoxville.  Would you mind telling me which church it was?  It may help to have an example they can hear locally.  


Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on May 21, 2006, 10:13:49 am
The church is Maryville FUMC.  We did the Sanc. week before last and hopefully will be doing the gym soon.

The Sanc has double stacked TOA line sources per side with a Danley TH28 sub flown at the peak.

A Danley SH100 was used for the balcony fill.  Atlas was used in the foyer.

An 01v96 performs FOH duty. Yamaha P series amps and Biamp Nexia processing.

This room is a VERY traditional type service.

Their gym is the youth room.  They currently have powered Mackies with a Pheonix? 24 or 32 channel mixer.  They are looking at putting Danley SH50's mains and SH100's fills and TH115 subs in there.  I think the FOH will be either 2 01V96's or a single one with mic pres for 32 channels.  Then they can really rock.
Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Brandon B. on May 24, 2006, 04:20:56 pm
Hey Ivan!

Thanks for replying.  Sorry it took so long for me to reply.  I'm going home today and I will see what I can come up with in terms of their plans as-is and see if I can at least just mention an audio consultant.  We'll see what happens!  Thanks again!

Title: Re: $20k Budget on New A/V System... what do we do?
Post by: Vinny Worley on June 20, 2006, 12:56:31 am
Like someone else said- I am getting in late on this. It seems that most of us have seen first hand or heard of situations such as this. As stated, it is a whole different ballgame when you are  designing for a room that doesn't exist. At least with a room that already exists, you can take some mechanical and acoustic measurements that will aid you in determining what the room needs. When the room isn't much more than a thought, you have to contend with the never ending stream of design changes that will inevitibly come down the road- pastor wants drywall ceiling instead of acoustic tile- or vise versa! Couple with that the fact that the church's project manager likely has no concept that even a 'minor' change could make a drastic change to the sonic performance of the room and the designed sound system. (Been there, done all of that.)

As the group pointed out- it is always best to identify the requirements up front before selecting any solutions- and this means not just components. If you have the solution in mind before even seeing what the space will look like, you are already blinded to the potential pitfalls of the solution that you chose. Before you can even begin to consider anything else related to this project, you have to fully examine the nuances of the room- without that, you are- as put earlier- shooting in the dark. Sound system engineering is not a "one size fits all" discipline; each design choice brings with it the potential to wreck what would otherwise work well. Just because a particular product worked spectacularly in one instance doesn't mean that it will always work in every application. EAW makes great hardware, for example, but yet, not every (and, perhaps not any) EAW cabinet  is appropriate for a given situation.

Likewise, the design has to do more than "look" right. I once evalutated a system in a church where the worship leader installed the system. This room was 30ft wide and 50ft long; he had a pair of 90 X 40 Yamaha cabinets "arrayed" from the ceiling (which was disproportionately low to the room size); needless to say, the results were underwhelming. This person saw other systems where speakers were arrayed together and decided that that is how it is done. Please avoid this kind of thinking.

If you really want to help these folks out- and you would like to learn- perhaps you could find a mentor who would be willing to invest his/her time in walking you and the church through this project. Your physical distance and the fact that you are behind the 8 ball time wise may not make this practical. This project will be a sizable undertaking- a smaller project would defnitely be a less overwhelming place for you to start learning. Read this link too; and copy to the principles involved in the project:

A wise person once told me: "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want."