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Help needed with large multi purpose room

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by jared555, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. jared555

    jared555 Member

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    I am inquiring in regard to a fairly large multi purpose room at a church camp that needs both acoustic treatment and equipment improvements. And sorry, I know there are individual sections for this but I figured creating one post with centralized information on the room would be easiest.... Sorry for the extremely long post

    First, details on the room:

    * Overall: 80 ft wide, 160 ft long
    * Stage takes up approximately the last 20 ft of the room
    * There is a room of approximately 20 ft by 20 ft on both sides of the stage
    * The ceiling is 22 ft high at the peak and 20 ft high where it meets the walls
    * The stage is approximately 3 1/2 ft high

    Reflective surfaces
    * Walls are covered about 8 ft high on both long walls with thin carpet
    * Above that point (and covering the ceiling) on the side walls is insulation with a plastic backing
    * The front and back walls (the main audible issues) are plain drywall with a couple steel doors on one end, and steel doors going into the closets

    * There are metal support beams every 20-30ft down the length of the room
    * The vents (round), lights, and fans are all dropped off the ceiling a couple feet

    Current Problems
    * Acoustic
    ** Echos. If I play a loud sharp tapping sound (if anyone has played guitar hero it is the sound lag calibration screen) over the sound system you hear the sound echoing off the front and back walls probably 5 times.

    * Electronic
    ** We need a way to make connections flexible (so people can hook in their own equipment) but easy for someone to fix when they are done and leave it all messed up. People need to be able to hook up laptops, recorders, video game systems, etc.

    ** Some kind of IR extender is needed to allow for control of the projector. Having a projector 20 ft up sucks when you have to turn it on/off or adjust settings. (Luckily the laser pointer in the remote helps in aiming the IR beam....)

    ** Currently the equalizers are being used to a very limited extent unless it is a band coming in to practice, record, or perform. Right now they are directly in between the outs on the sound board and the main amp/monitor amp

    ** All three monitors have blown tweeters (no sound system protection.... big surprise)

    ** The monitors are currently configured so the L goes to channel 1 of the amp, R goes to channel 2, and C goes to bridge. (considering they originally had problems with short circuits that were fixed I hate to even imagine what is going on inside that amp)

    * Other
    **Some method of protecting the sound board (primary problem) and other sound equipment that is in the rolling cart is desprately needed. If possible this should not majorly interfere with the operation of the equipment (clear plexiglass shield with an opening somewhere?).... This will be explained further down

    * Uses of the room
    ** Kids playing sports. This may result in basketballs, footballs, volleyballs, frisbees, kickballs, and anything else you can imagine flying through the air towards equipment.
    ** Independent bands coming in and playing either to practice, perform, or just record
    ** Sermons/other presentations to groups anywhere from kids to senior citizens
    ** Video games being projected on the projector/run through the sound system (mostly the college kid group that has just been started)
    ** Movies
    ** The annual super bowl party (yes we know how many of the NFL's rules are being broken....)
    ** Just about anything you can imagine a room of that size being used for..... Inflatable toys (the gigantic bounce houses, obstical courses, etc. are usually rented for the super bowl party)

    Current sound equipment
    Mixer: Peavey RSM4062

    Equalizer: 2x Peavey 431FX - Monitors
    Equalizer: Peavey 231FX - Mains

    Amp: Peavey 2000 Power Amp - Mains
    Amp: Peavey 1500 Power Amp - Monitors

    Mains: 2x Peavey SP5G 8 Ohm
    Subs: 2x Peavey SP 118X 8 Ohm

    Projector: Espon either PLC-XT11 or PLC-XT16

    The mains and subs are connected in parallel... (Main left + sub left on one channel, main right + sub right on the other channel) No crossover at all

    Echo treatment, etc. is a priority, followed by making the sound system as close to idiot proof as possible, followed by improving the sound system.

    Figure on a $5,000-$10,000 budget MAXIMUM (focused primarily on the acoustic treatment) at least initially.

    Please keep in mind that the acoustic treatment has to be something that can either be taken down easily or that if permanently installed can take a beating. (Preferably even if it can be taken down easily it should be able to take a fair bit of abuse) People are almost always supervised in the area, but when you have 200-300 kids in a room that can become difficult very easily. On wall coverings, etc. having them retractable at least would be nice.

    Also, suggestions on a projector screen would be great.... I forget the dimensions but right now it is just being projected onto a white(ish) wall. They have a scissor lift, scaffolding, etc. to help with installation.

    Keep in mind: the goal isn't perfection, it is just a major improvement wanted. Hanging tarps from something similar to clothesline made a significant improvement when they tried it, so I am sure anything actually designed to help will help a lot.

    Thank you in advance for any help, and thanks for reading this insanely long post)

    Edit: Oh, and there are no catwalks, stage lights (just a few florescents for the stage and HID lighting for the rest of the room), stage curtains, etc. it is just an elevated, carpeted area with a couple stage boxes (6 or 8 XLRs and two 20 amp 120 volt circuits each (regular US 3 prong, not stage pin). There are also outlets running all the way around the stage and all the way around the main room, not that it really matters. There is a large power panel close to the amps with a 200 amp feed (all the outlets on the stage and in the back rooms). Also there is a 100 amp 220V switchbox (electricution waiting to happen) with 2 big fuses (one per 120V leg) and raw wire connectors to tie into.... no padlock.... in the back room. I think it is basically a fused shutoff box meant for permanent wiring.

    This camp is not big on locking things

    Edit 2:
    It is a solid concrete floor, in addition.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
  2. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Stageline Operator/Staging Supervisor
    Howell, NJ
    I think you need to find a few contractors.
    Where are you?
  3. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Central Wisconsin
    I would agree.

    My suggestion would be to hang some type of movable theatrical drape. This will help "deaden" the sound bouncing off the walls. Then, if they're not needed or you don't want to chance them getting dirty, then simply roll them out of the way. This, however, will probably cost you more than the $10,000. Perhaps simply get ones that go from the steel girders to 8ft above the floor (carpeting). Don't worry about balls hitting them, we have them in front of the stage in our church (which also happens to be a very busy grade-school gym). They take abuse from basketballs, volleyballs, footballs, dodgeballs, and have survived so far without indecent. Perhaps a neutral color or darker color to allow any dirt spots to blend in.

    Also, look into getting some acoustical/sound absorbing tiling in the ceiling. There are those made specifically for gyms and are quite durable.

    Perhaps look into throwing some sort of protection in the system to prevent anything else from blowing. Although, if there is no trained person to watch teh system, they'll probably end up breaking something else anyway...
  4. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Acoustical, audio and audiovisual consultant
    Marietta, GA
    Don't waste money, get an expert, or experts, in to look at the space and make specific recommendations. That may use up part of your budget but probably better to have an informed opinion than to spend what you have on something that doesn't work.

    One of my first concerns on the acoustics would be making sure that what is done affects the right aspects. With carpet on the walls and exposed insulation for the ceiling, you may not want to add too much absorption or take a 'shotgun' approach, you probably do want to make sure that what you do uses the right materials in the right places and solves the problems without creating others. You might also have to account for sprinklers, ductwork, fans, lights, etc. that could affect what treatments are practical. Only being in the room could probably really allow someone to get the full perspective on what might be both practical and effective.

    Because of the wide range of use, you may also have to focus on what is a proper acoustical environment and what compromises are most acceptable.

    On the sound system, it sounds like a comprehensive assessment of what you have, how it is installed and what you goals are is required. Again, it may make sense to spend some of the budget on developing a more comprehensive plan rather than potentially spending it on something that seems to help in the short term but may not fit in any longer term goals.
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Seattle, Washington
    I think the first thing I would do is look into carpet that you can still play basket ball on. It does deaden the ball just a touch but I've played on it before and it's fine. It would have a MAJOR impact on your acoustics.

    To give us a more accurate assessment of your echo problem stand in the room with it silent, clap once as loud as you can, and count how long it takes for the sound to go away.

    and hire an acoustic consultant! It'll cost you more but you will have much better results.
  6. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    As others have said, get a consultant/contractor. Unfortunately, even under the BEST of circumstances, even qualified consultants and contractors can royally screw up an install, so make sure you have detailed requests. Your key items you want to address with the contractor would be, in this order:

    1. Safety (safety cages, safety cables)
    2. Security (of equipment, locked cabinets, desks, etc).
    3. Acoustical treatment/readiness (wall treatments, ceiling treatments)
    4. Ease of use (So you're not getting phone calls at 10PM because somebody can't figure out how to get the mic working for the chicken-dance).

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