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Sounding a Gym

wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
edited June 2007 in 200 Series Connectivity
Hello all!

This is the continuation of my supplanted thread which I started on Kevin's thread with his permission. Thanks Kevin! Check here for nuggets I have posted within Kevin's posting, if you please.
http://www.dbxpro.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=611

My challenge was to get as good of sound out of this space as possible without replacing the speakers/amps and mixing board.

I will share my experiences attempting to get intelligible sound in this gym using limited resources, my ears, syn-aud-con training with Don and Carol Davis, various experiments and observations and about five years of experience mixing sound in WI.

The floor plan looks like this with the three original speaker positions and their orientation to the primary listening area.
Floor plan.
http://www.teamaai.net/kevin/jay/GymMeasurements.pdf

Establishing photo 1. Facing southwest from northeast corner.
DSCN0013.JPG

Listening area photo 2. Facing south.
DSCN0014.JPG

Original speaker rigging photo 3.
DSCN0018.JPG

The goal of this thread is to continue to understand sound and to share that understanding with others who venture into this type of challenging and rewarding endeavor.

That's all for now. I just needed to get started here, nothing fancy, but I think your visits will be worth the time and they will very likely create a better understanding for all involved if they include your comments and observations.

Cheers!

Comments

  • kpippenkpippen Posts: 551
    Hey Wolfie,

    I can't wait for an update report?...:)

    Kevin
  • GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    Yo!
    Hmmm.. Don and Carol ... some heady company there...I assume that you were part of a Seminar in the past? How long ago? I quote their luminary advice often. Fact is, the better we get at interpreting the information and techniques they and other professionals offer, the better we are at addressing the issues we run into when tackling jobs like this. Ones where we have to use whats available, and often treatments are not an option. In these cases it becomes paramount that you direct the energy on the audience, away from all reflective surfaces, and minimize the coverage overlaps that could cause further degradation in the form of comb filtering. The other thing is to not exceed the rooms \"point of no return\" that will provide decreasing clarity as the room modes overpower the speakers. Add volume, you decrease the intelligibility of the sound, and the flatter the sound sound the better, and the minimum energy to get the job done will help to insure that you get all you can out of the space...and the system.

    Thanks for moving your thread here... looks good, and helps keep your topic open. Not to mention It's easier to track.

    Be well
    Gary
    You know I/we will be interested in what you found with this space. Even if you have only got 'some' testing in, how about an update?
  • wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
    Gents -

    I spent a few days with Don and Carol in the late '80's in Chicago. I was very impressed with the depth of knowledge and absolute open communication about understanding sound. Their mission was/is to help you understand, not to show you how much they know. Carol is quite charming, always made you feel like you weren't as dumb as you felt. : )

    I can tell you two things quickly about the room. The mode spreadsheet calculations were right on. I listened as the bass drum, set exactly in an axial mode around 100Hz in the back corner of the room created a resonance that was actually more pronounced and louder than the original attack of the drumstick on the head.

    Next we were able to find an airhandler that was filling up our recording from 30-100Hz by using my ears and an RTA and shut it off. The added clarity was substantial.

    Gotta go for now.

    Cheers!
  • kpippenkpippen Posts: 551
    wolfgong wrote:
    Carol is quite charming, always made you feel like you weren't as dumb as you felt.
    That's what I like about my wife!...:)

    Wolfie,...thanks for the update! Can't wait to hear about the final results and see some pics...

    Kevin
  • wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
    Gents -

    I have been wanting to get deeper into understanding sound via visual representations such as TEF and SMAART.

    Gadget, do you know what kind of investment a SMAART system would be. From my research it's around $700 for software plus a good sound card and a good mic.

    I really like the physics of sound and the challenge of getting it right. Back when I was in class with the Davis's they were developing TEF.

    Can you hook me up with some resources to look further into this?

    Thanks,

    Wolfie

    BTW My nickname refers to Wolfgang Pauli. My 8th grade math teacher Mr. Fischer gave me that nickname. Mr. Fischer was blinkin' smart. It was an honor to be given a nickname by him.
  • GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    Ya and then gadget comes along and turns a perfectly good nickname into a caricature... :shock: sorry...

    TEF and SMAART are two different platforms. TEF is more like $10,000-20,000, but doesn't require quite the investment in education. Last I checked I think the investment was closer to $1000 or more depending on the hardware solutions you choose. The Software, an outboard preamp, a soundcard with two inputs, and a measurement mic. The TR40 by Audix would be the least expensive decent mic I would suggest. M Audio makes about the cheapest decent preamp. The big thing is the learning curve. Being able to interpret the data is the key here. Believe me it's not intuitive and it can take years to be able to really be able to know whats there. Mikey Kovach is one who is a practitioner of the technology. In fact he is a technical writer for the SMAART platform. He could explain the system better than I. But the basics are that you take an output from the board and one from the Mic, correct for the time differential and then compare the two and see what the speakers are doing to the sound. This takes into consideration not only frequency based volume, but time coherence and phase of the sound as well. There are workshops from time to time in various locations, but one or two won't be able to prepare you for the full potential of the program. Not trying to dissuade you only giving you the yin and the yang.. as is my proclivity right?

    Gadget

    BTW were all sitting here on pins and needles wondering whats going on there in that sonic boom factory of yours... :lol:
  • kpippenkpippen Posts: 551
    Gadget wrote:
    The TR40 by Audix would be the least expensive decent mic I would suggest.

    When I checked in to Smaart I also looked at the TR40,...but now I'm wondering if the DBX RTA mic would suffice? It appears to be pretty flat...

    Kevin
  • GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    Ahhh..my young padawan...you wonder.. that is why you fail...do or do not.. there is NO try. NOT flat enough... not consistent enough...not good enough...these are not my words..you did not hear them from me! Some would argue that only a mic that comes with an individual test sheet that offers the calibration information for compensation is good enough. The earthworks M50 for instance runs about $1400...thats an decent mic.. for critical measurement...

    My $.02...
    Gadget
  • kpippenkpippen Posts: 551
    Gadget wrote:
    Ahhh..my young padawan...you wonder.. that is why you fail...do or do not.. there is NO try. NOT flat enough... not consistent enough...not good enough...these are not my words..you did not hear them from me!
    Ahhh...but Master,...this is so confusing!... So a mic in the hand isn't better than two in a bush?...
  • GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    You see young grasshopper..(hows that for jumping movie if the consistency from mic to mic was more in line..that is the BIG issue with the Behringer.. that and the low frequency response is NOT accurate enough. Ok here's the deal. as the mic capsules are manufactured the higher priced mics buy up 10,000 capsules and select less than 100 of these... of those they pick a few that match up for pairs and the top of the top go into the best.. most expensive mics and then the next level and so on.. those that don't make the cut end up in the cheaper mics.. the frequency response of the behringer mics varies so much that it is really a crap shoot whether you get a mic that is accurate in ANY quadrant. I have a BEH 8000 and a Peavey PV1 and there is absolutely NO comparison... The Peavey is head over heals above the BEH and provides a far superior and smoother frequency response.
    G
  • wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
    You guys crack me up. It's great fun.

    OK, as long as we're sort of on microphones, I have a question for Gadget, Dra and nipper, et al.

    In my recent production I had five, count 'em, five wireless mics open, sometimes all at once.

    I had three Countryman E6 omni's (headworn) and two Shure WL183 (lav) capsules on Shure 4 UT transmitter packs and one SLX shure system.

    These were children so they did not project much. The WL's were almost worthless. The E6's were fine if you only opened two at a time.

    If you opened more than two mics, 'the return on your investment depreciated rapidly'.

    My question is this, what are the primary dynamics that cause the feedback and poor sound quality and instability?

    I know the essence is that the system is amplifying its own output, but I'm wondering what dynamics can be controlled and which ones can't.

    And yes, before you say it Gadget, I did EQ flat to start with. : )

    Cheers for now. I'll try to post pictures of the new position of the speakers tonight.
  • GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    Ok Wolfie.. as the one who coined the \"Wolfie\" I have a question...I first looked at the moniker and thought... HMMM I wonder if that isn't Volfgong.. because Wolfgang would be pronounced that way in German.. I don't know just kinda caught me by surprise...So.. I thought well.. perhaps wolfie would be more my style.. no compromises...but still compact and compartmentalized...

    Ok ...Lavs... YUCK! no chance in a good enviorn.. ABSOLUTELY NO chance in your Boom factory... EVER...Let me tell you a story... I did a church recently and they had the requisite Mackie SR24/4 mixer ( man I hate those pieces of crap!) and cheap ass disco speakers .. thankfully mounted in a center cluster with marginal EV amps and a 15 band sound scrambler EQ...(what I wouldn't have given for a Driverack...) UGH after spending about a day dicking with the system trying to make that system respond to any of the three lapel wireless mics I was ready to GIVE UP... GOD why did you allow these pieces of crap to populate the churches of this world! Sorry... On a whim I asked if they had a coat hanger.. yes a standard black heavy metal coat hanger... I fashioned a head piece and mounted the LAV to it and set the system up in minutes to a very usable sound... guys this wasn't anything special.. it wasn't invisable.. and I had been trying to talk them into a Countryman headset for their platform but I needed to PROVE that that would work...better? so I made the headset and set up the system and asked the pastor... somewhat of a pontificator... and singer in his own right... to try this contraption... He said ok took it and headed to the bathroom... to \"check his look in the mirror\" I was already somewhat of an enigma there to begin with or I''m quite sure he wouldn't have been willing to even entertain the thought of this thing... well, he came out and said all right.. doesn't look too bad... he walked into the sanctuary and (remember this is the SAME mic he had been using to absolutely NO real good effect... and BOOM I thought he was going to fall over... there were those that had hung around to see this home spun 'cure' and and they were DUMBSTRUCK! the sound was absolutely wonderful... and no matter where he went ( believe me the system needed some EQ when he was under the mains...but...) the sound was AMAZING(comparatively) ( I'm sure the Countryman would have been much better... Oh and by the way the Countryman OMNI is much better than the uni-directional..and cheaper...) DO you know to this day he LOVES his \"coathanger\" mic! and the church is enjoying an expansion that is unprecedented in it's history...(yes an expansion is planned and a whole system is being requested of me for that eventuality...)

    The point... well you can't turn a pig into a ... well you get the picture.. If you have NOTHING to work with.. your going to be hard pressed to get ANYHTING out of it... FORGET lav's... they blow! you would have been better served by PZM's in that application... Its all about proximity and projection... especially in a challenging enviorn like your BOOM factory...sorry but less is MORE! Hanging Omni's would have been better! In a lively room such as that there is little that would have been acceptable, but suffice it to say that the law of diminishing returns was in full effect here...

    Gadget
  • wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
    OK, here are some images to show the new position of the speakers and also to show the orientation to the typical staging area.

    Here's a shot facing west. You can see the speakers are now about 25 feet closer to the listening area, (bleachers).
    DSCN2096.JPG

    Here's a similar shot looking right down the yellow line. I had planned on two rows of seats on the floor in front of the bleachers, so naturally they put in four rows.
    DSCN2101.JPG

    Here's a shot from the mixing area.
    DSCN2103.JPG

    All in all the reposition worked very well.

    Here are some observations about the new position:
    More bass response from flying cabs.
    Entire gym is much quieter during program.
    PA can be run at lower volume.
    Clarity was significantly improved.
    Lines could be heard and understood.
    On the HD video recording the children's singing is so clear you can actually learn the words to the song by listening to the tape.
    As a result of some of these improvments the audience was able to respond more spontaneously; laughter and chuckles.
    Many people actually took away the message of the stories the children were acting out.

    Many people commented on the improved sound quality. I was disappointed with the feedback issues.

    I still have a lot of work to do to increase Gain Before Feedback, but now I have a fighting chance.

    Before this simple change of moving the speakers, there wasn't much that was going to help this room get better sound.

    I'd like to post a short bit on critical distances once I get the image to Kevin.

    Cheers!

    PS Thanks for your support in getting me this far! The children and the parents and grandparents were the main benefactors of your assistance!
  • wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
    Gadget -

    I continue to be extremely encouraged by your postings for the simple reason that they either prove that both of us are insane or neither of us are insane. For now I chose the later.

    I came within inches of doing the exact same thing with my Lav's that you proved in your story, but did not have the time and experience to take that leap.

    I postulated, and I believe correctly, that the main difference between a lav and a headworn is proximity to the source. (Assuming both have omni patterns).

    The lav basically dangles aimlessly around just far enough away from the source of sound to be almost completely ineffective.

    The headworn, which is beautiful in its simplicity, is consistently near the source you wish to capture.

    Thanks for another nugget of knowledge from the Old Sound Man!

    Cheers!

    PS Upon reading this article my LOL meter was pegging. Thanks for the humor.

    Volfie
  • kpippenkpippen Posts: 551
    wolfgong wrote:
    I was disappointed with the feedback issues. I still have a lot of work to do to increase Gain Before Feedback, but now I have a fighting chance.

    Hello Wolfgong,...I can't remember...did you install a 260 on this system? If so,...I would love to help you ring the system out and set-up the channel PEQs... Who knows...I might even learn it better myself if I try to walk you through it...:)

    PS. Stuff arrived from JBL today... The cap is way too cool!...8)

    Kevin
  • GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    You know, I did my first head set many years ago.. I got the Nady headsets and they were crap but the mics were good.. the plastic kept breaking, so I fashioned wire headsets to replace the plastic ones. It was a bit of a challenge to make them adjustable, and that was a later project...if only one person will be using it it's a breeze, but if it needs to fit adults and kids.. thats a challenge! Some people WILL NOT WEAR those headsets though! Oh well...
    When it comes to people.. they can't be depended upon to do whats necessary so you have to often punt (read be creative) ...

    Kevin, contact me via PM or email about your thread... I hate to kill it totally.. other people get usable info from our posts.. so it's a tough deal to get TOTALLY rid of a thread...perhaps you can pull your pics, and leave the thread? I have been warned that people really don't like to have threads removed... they remember them and want to search them out.. and when they can't find them.... Oui Vei!... Oh.. and I was kidding you.. you know that right? How do you think I got to this point? I tripped, fell got bitch slapped, flammed.. even here...yes.. you will definately learn a lot by helping others.. and it's a really good feeling as well!

    Well a weekend off for a change! I get one or two a year! The weather is supposed to be CRAP too so .. oh well...fishing instead of biking!

    Be well every one!
    G
  • kpippenkpippen Posts: 551
    edited May 2007
    doo wrote:
    cheap gold chandelier, cheap chandelier, beautifull chandelier, gold chandelier and lamp
    http://www.freewebs.com/cheapgoldchandelier
    Hey Wolfie,

    By any chance...you in the market for a chandelier?...:lol:

    Kevin
  • GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    Dirtbag left ton of crap for me to clean up...

    G
  • wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
    Gents -

    I agree with Gadget. Don't remove Kevin's thread, but find a way to deal with the images.

    Kevin's thread has a lot of valuable information about all kinds of issues that other people are going to run into and need help with.

    My two bits...

    Wolfie
  • DraDra Posts: 3,844
    four bits, six bits, a dollar.
    All for keeping the thread (less pics),
    stand up and hollar.

    yeah

    Dra
  • wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
    Gents -

    I'll try to answer some questions I've been missing.

    A No to the Chandlaier.
    B Yes the 260 is installed.
    C Sonic boom factory is very well, but not as boomy as it used to be.

    I had another 'gig' in the gym Tuesday, I think it was Tuesday, and all went well.

    By moving the speakers forward and auto EQ'ing the DR260 to Flat, the results were 'spot on'. The presence of the system is incredible.

    I continue to receive unsolicited positive comments on the sound.

    I gotta go for now.

    Choa!
  • kpippenkpippen Posts: 551
    wolfgong wrote:
    I continue to receive unsolicited positive comments on the sound.
    Wolfgong,...I know...it's a great feeling!... Especially when you have a lot people counting on you!... If there wasn't a place like this to get help from people like: Gadget, Dra, and yourself...my install would have been catastrophic!...:)

    Kevin
  • DraDra Posts: 3,844
    Wolfgong, just curious...
    How drastic were the EQ adjustments in the \"trusted zone\" and what did you end up with in the upper and lower \"ear tuned\" ranges?

    Did you use the AFS and perminately fix any feedback problems with the gym? What were your findings?

    Have you tried the Notch filter to match any of the more narrow problems?

    Ain't the 260 a piece of work.

    Oh, after thought...
    Did you have to fool with a system delay at all for the staged events?

    Dra
  • wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
    Dra -

    You always ask such good questions. It's kind of irritating! : )

    I don't know how to articulate the EQ so I'm heading over to the gym to take a picture of the GEQ settings.

    I can tell you the EQ I came away with from the auto EQ seemed pretty drastic on the high end. For instance all the high frequency stuff was significantly 'above the line' as you look at the GEQ settings. I dumped it on the low end, like the first two or three filter frequencies for the same reasons pointed out by Gadg in his recent mixing lesson #1.

    I have not yet had time to do an AFS. I would love to do that once I get the EQ figured out. I think I still have major questions about the EQ. I didn't notch anything yet either.

    I love the DR260, except for the fact that it only has two inputs. I delayed the Sub output to better match the SRM450 tops. I used the tone generator that Kevin gave me and ended up delaying the sub about 10.28 feet.

    PS My other install project is still lurking. If you think this gym is a challenge, wait til you see this space. I'll post once we have the go ahead from the board of directors.

    Take care guys!
  • wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
    OK, I will soon be able to get back into the gym to do some more damage.

    In the mean time let me make a little statement from my own library of things I didn't learn in kindergarten.

    Rule number something, something:
    You cannot capture a good live sound recording while using a poor sound reinforcement system.

    If you don't believe me, just try it some time.

    That is all. Carry on!

    W
  • wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
    Gadget -

    What is the approx street price of a Digam 5000 amp?

    I also need to fly a JBL JRX118S which has no rigging or even enough structure to the cabinet to do much with, therefore I am thinking about building a structure around it using UniStrut and securing it that way. So it will be more like building a load rated frame structure and attaching the sub to it. It also won't really be flying but instead it will sit on the a couple of unistrut 1 5/8\" crossmembers and then be attached to them.

    If you look at this picture of the SRM, picture the sub being mounted by having two crossmembers instead of one and then securing the sub on top of the two crossmembers.

    DSCN0018.JPG


    What say ye?

    W
  • wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
    Dra -

    OK, in your avatar, which one is you? Eyes open or eyes shut?

    This has really been bothering me. : )

    W
  • GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    Last I checked anywhere from 2250-3 grand...but when you consider that the MAC 5000 is almost 3 grand.. weighs in at about 80 lbs and draws 35 amps.. the price is not bad...

    As for the hanging I have left thoughts on your other thread for internal bracing and flying hdwr... but your proposal for an external solution should would be fine.. just looks like hell....

    G
  • DraDra Posts: 3,844
    Which ever one you think is sexy... I'm the other one.

    Dra
  • wolfgongwolfgong Posts: 74
    Well Dra, at the risk of hurting your feelings, I would not characterize either of these entities as such. : )

    OK, on flying the sub. I think I've decided to use a hybrid of your suggestions. I'll lay two unistrut channels across the 'great divide'. Modify the cab by adding a few T nuts in strategic locations and secure with the usual washers and hardware. I'll show you a picture as soon as this gets closer.

    I still owe you a picture of the EQ settings from the DR, too.

    I thought I was done for this year mixing in this room but I have a little 'gig' Friday morning at the school. Then I can work on flying the sub.

    That will be so nice, because currently every time there is any program material that needs to go to a sub cab, I have to strategically hide it in the room and recalibrate the delay, etc.

    If you look back at the recent photos of the set you may be able to locate the sub just off the corner of the stage.

    Good day!

    W
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