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DR260 and a High School Gymnasium

larryf1952larryf1952 Posts: 8
Hello, I am assisting in the design of a high school gym PA system to replace an outdated and worn out 70 volt distributed system. I wish to use a DR260 to drive a mono input into 3 Crown Xti 4000 or QSC PLX1804 amplifiers. The initial plan calls for the DR to be driven from the L&R outputs of a stereo mixer, such as the Ashly MX-406 or Alesis iMultimix9R. A mono mix from the DR would be input to each of the amps, which in turn would drive 2 EV SX300E full range speakers per channel.

The bleacher speakers will likely be mounted horizontally with an EV MB200 mount, about 25’ to 28’ off the floor, 4 per side, facing the bleachers. They will be located about 5’ in front of the first row of bleacher seats. They will likely be installed about 18’ apart, and aimed at the center of the bleachers.

The 3rd amp will drive 4 speakers centered above the court floor. They will be mounted at 90 degrees to the floor, pointing straight down. The environment is a typical high school gymnasium, with hard, reflective surfaces and a high ceiling. There will potentially be sound bouncing around everywhere.

I’d like to know your thoughts with regard to the equipment selections, or your suggestions for alternatives.

For my desired use with the DR, would it be preferable to send the mic and music signals out of both the L & R mixer outputs by leaving the pan pots centered; or, would it be better to separate them onto each channel and combine them in the DR? I'd like to read your recommendations for configuring the outputs to provide a mono feed to the amps, and any specific setups concerning the EQ's or crossovers. I've browsed the 260 manual, but I'm certain that I don't yet have a clear picture of how to configure it. I have not worked with a DR or a DSP before, so I'm learning, but this is all new to me. I've searched the forums for several days, but I'm not a performer or a DJ, so most of the questions don't very closely match what I'm looking for.

As a "Plan B", and since money could be a factor, would it be possible to run only 2 speakers above the court floor from only 1 channel of the 3rd amp, and leave the 2nd channel turned down and running with no load? Or, would it be more advisable to run 1 speaker per channel at 8 ohms, and increase the amp’s volume settings accordingly?

Finally, since the speakers will be mounted high above the bleachers, would the “best� place for the RTA mic when running a setup sequence be midway up the bleachers, directly in front of one of the speakers?

I know there’s a lot of questions here, but you all seem to be very willing to help those with limited knowledge of the equipment, so thanks very much for that!


  • Almost forgot...I should add that the court speakers would be zoned OFF during basketball games or other events where on court sound is not needed. :D Thanks!
  • DraDra Posts: 3,777
    What will the system be used for? (other than, "Starting at forward... JimBob Johnson." Bleachers on one side or both? If both, speakers for each? There is a really good thread related to this. I'll see if I can find it.

  • DraDra Posts: 3,777

    May be of some help.

  • DennisDennis Posts: 801
    Before you begin this project, I recommend you obtain a baseline setting for your EV speakers. If you are using Auto EQ, set up your speaker and microphone outdoors, away from buildings and reflective surfaces (maybe in the middle of the football field). Doing this extra step will deal with the speaker's characteristics only, without dealing with room acoustics at the same time. After doing this measurement, you will look at the trends of your results on the Graphic EQ and manually transfer them to the DR260's PEQ. Download DriveWare and use it to control the DR260 so that you can share screenshots of your results and we can help with the transfer. What you do in the gym after this measurement will deal with room acoustics only.

  • GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    Gymnasiums...the joy :mrgreen:
    Strait down? Hmmm for what?
    The only way your gonna really make this work is to get speakers with very good pattern control (and the SX300's are not in that category in my opinion) and get the sound on the people and off the hard surfaces. Otherwise the reverb time will destroy the intelligibility of the sound.

    You also NEED to get speakers that have built in engineered fly points to insure that there isn't an issue with liability. If you aren't a licensed installer you might want to think twice about doing it yourself, it's dangerous work and if one of those speakers should come down....BAD JUJU will rain down on you! :shock:

  • DennisDennis Posts: 801
    Gadget wrote:
    Strait down? Hmmm for what?
    There are times when people on the court have to hear what is being said through the sound system and they can't clearly hear the bleacher speakers...these downfills are not in use all of the time.

  • GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    Thanks Dennis I do realize that... but what I was getting at was it for paging type applications or full blown aerobics music :lol:
  • DennisDennis Posts: 801
    Gadget wrote:
    You also NEED to get speakers that have built in engineered fly points to insure that there isn't an issue with liability.
    I don't know if these are the correct speakers for the job, but they do appear to have M8 fly points and optional eyebolt kits are available for them.


    I think we tried to post at the same time...
  • DraDra Posts: 3,777
    Things like... ceiling height? Sloped? Peaked? Height of bleachers? Additional wall height above bleachers? would all help. Pictures?
    Would a center cluster work? Thats how MSG, etc do it.

  • larryf1952larryf1952 Posts: 8
    edited January 2011
    Thanks, everyone, for your replies. I'll try to address a few of the points that you've made.

    The system will replace the gym's current PA system, which is old, doesn't have sufficient volume and is basically unintelligble. It's a 70 volt distributed system, with the speakers housed in metal enclosures attached to the ceiling. They're looking for increased volume such that it will overcome ambient noise...i.e., yelling kids and high SPL's that are commonly present in a HS gymnasium during basketball games. But, of, course, they also want the sound to be intelligible and pleasing. It will not be used as a paging system.

    The center court speakers are intended to be used during ceremonies or other events when there are people seated on the court floor. These speakers would be zoned OFF during games or events where most of the activity is in the bleachers, or persons (like the athletes) on the court don't need to hear what's being sent through the speakers. When in use, the court speakers would likely not need to be as loud as the bleacher speakers.

    I was involved in another gym project that included the installation of 4 EV EVI-15 speakers. They were hung directly above the center of the court, 2 per side. Their mounting height and angle were set so that their throws roughly filled the bleachers top to bottom and side to side. On one side, there was an upper mezzanine in which additional bleachers could be pulled out and used for larger crowds. To fill this area, we mounted 4 SX100e's in front of them. The system sounded very good, and the school was very pleased with it.

    I've tried other speakers, but the EV's always seem to sound as good as anything else, so I keep coming back to them in spaces such as this. I've been interested in trying the EAW JF29 or JF59's, but I haven't had the opportunity to do so as yet.

    The SX300E's do have built in flypoints, but we'll likely be using the MB200 U bracket mounts, and safety chaining them. We decided against a center cluster because of the need to zone the court speakers.

    Ceiling height is about 30', and has a slight peak at center. There are bleachers on both sides of the gym, and I'm guessing that those speakers (4 per side) would be mounted about 25' off the floor. When fully extended, the bleachers are probably about 20' deep, and about 12' high where they meet the side wall, so there's probably another 12' to 15' feet of cinderblock wall above the bleachers. This is an old gym, built in 1965, so it wasn't really built with good acoustical qualities in mind.

    If you have alternate suggestions for a better speaker, that would be great. With regard to the 260, I'm primarily concerned with how to configure it for mono output from each of the 6 outputs. By using full range passive speakers with internal crossovers, I'm assuming that I would not need to worry about the crossovers in the 260, and that the auto EQ sequence should take care of any EQ settings that might need to be made. If the truth be known, I'm actually a bit hesitant to use a DR in this system, as I'm concerned that should the DR take a power hit and dump its settings back to default, the sound will go to he** and there'll be no one available with the knowledge to quickly bring it back online.

    So, maybe I'm looking for as much encouragement as I am technical assistance. :)
  • GadgetGadget Posts: 4,915
    As for the Driverack ... I have :
    1 PX
    2 DRPA
    1 DRPA+
    2 240
    3 260
    1 4800

    I have been using these driveracks for years (some over 10) and never, ever had one go down for any reason. The 260's and the 4800 live in trailers and do festivals, concerts, bar gigs and everything in between. They go from being in 20+ below zero to gig speed in an hour or so (usually) or a 120 degree trailer to a 85 degree beach with 100% humidity with out a single failure ... I know others (not very many in the whole scheme of things.. at least not in the nearly 10 years I've been here..) have had issues but not me.

    The Driverack will make quick work of your different zones and speaker types, in your case what you would benefit from is (as Dennis said) flat frequency response, and bandpass filters. The limiters would also help stabilize the announcers as they get cranked up a bit during the game. All you will need to do is mute the zones you don't want to use.

    Yes, EV makes some fine speakers, and the SX 200's were a really great choice, the 300 with a 65X65 pattern ...well that vertical 65 degrees is a LOT of coverage...pretty hard to keep the sound off the walls and floors, the speakers will have to be VERY close to the people.

    If you have the means... it's pretty hard to beat Danley sound speakers for pattern control (think flashlight analogy... walk out of the sound beam and be... in the dark), but they are more expensive... but as I said REALLY incredible pattern control, balanced, sound that needs little if any EQ...

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