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Loudspeaker Management

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by mbenonis, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. mbenonis

    mbenonis Wireless Guy Administrator

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    Radio Engineer
    Washington, DC
    My latest project here is the complete rewiring and reorganization of our proscenium theatre's sound system. One thing that is bad about our current system is that we have a hodgepodge of components places over the mixes - separate graphic eq's, dynamics, crossovers, and delays. I'm curious to know how other systems are set up in this regard - do you have separate components to process your mixed audio, or an all-in-one system (a là DriveRack) over your mixes?

    Along this regard, how many separate mixes are you running? We were running 15 (due mainly to the film festival who shows movies in our theater every year): Mains L+R, Center Cluster L+R, Center Delay, Downstage L+R, Upstage L+R, House Mid L+R, House Rear L+R, and Sub (aux fed). Remember, this is a university theater, not a high school. :)
  2. Peter

    Peter Well-Known Member

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    MA, USA
    My college (university) runs events in so many venues with so many different sized setups that we just have various racks full of sets of equipment and grab whatever we need that day.

    We essentially have a rack of compressors / EQs for 6 channels of "big" front of house sends, a rack of 10 or 12 compressors and 6ish effects processors for channel inserts, a rack of EQs (and hopefully compressors soon) for monitors (8 channels), a drive rack (soon to be two), two "extra cases" with ~4 channels of EQ/Compressor, and two mixing racks with 24 channel mixers and 4 channels of eq/compressors. [Note that when i say compressor here, I really mean a compressor/gate/limiter all-in-one device]

    All our crossovers (beside the Big FOH setup which is usually handled by the drive rack) are in the same racks as our amps to cut down on the XLR runs from FOH / Monitors to the Amps.

    Really, the drive rack is great, however I usually find myself wanting EQs and compressors for more then 2 in /6 out channels at a time. Regardless of how much I like the drive rack, it's still faster to adjust a stand alone unit then it is to adjust the drive rack, and easier for a new guy to understand too. However stand alone stuff takes up a lot more space.

    About organizing this stuff... I would probably try to keep "insert" stuff separate from "send" stuff. In other words, have one rack / area for effects / eq / compressors that you are going to use on individual input channels, and one rack / area for processing the signals from your board to the amps. This will just save headaches later. If you want, you could make a box of say compressors that can be used in either capacity depending on the setup.

    Hopefully this has been clear, although really you are just going to want to consider how you operate and how you like things setup and what will work with your venue. Really a lot of this is going to come down to personal preference!
  3. cutlunch

    cutlunch Active Member

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    Auckland, New Zealand
    A couple of questions. Why are you running the centre cluster as a left and right? It seems a bit of an overkill. The downstage and upstage are they normaly used as monitors or what is their purpose?

    I would probably look at a piece of equipment called a Matrix Mixer. There are quite a few different brands. It always happens when you want the info you can't find it.

    For those of you who don't know what these are I'll give a quick explanation.
    Matrix Mixers are basicaly programmable digital signal processors. They have a number of audio inputs and audio outputs. In the middle is a range of programable processors and signal routing. In the simplest form you can have an input that goes through without any processing and come out the output un changed. Or you have it pass through an automatic gain control then through a crossover so that the one input now comes out as the high pass and low pass for the mains and subs. Obviously it can be more complicated then that.

    They are normaly programmed with a computer but you don't need it to run them. The programming is pretty simple and normally done using pictures like a flow chart idea.

    They also normally allow you to have multiple programs stored you can change at the touch of a button. For example in this case one program would be for general theatre use with the centre and the sides having the appropriate delays. Another setting would be for movies so all you do is plug the surround sound output into the appropriate connectors and the program would route them correctly.

    I worked in a school theatre last year where this was installed. We didn't have as many speakers as mbenonis needs but it showed the basic principles.

    The eq'ing for the theatre was done in the matrix mixer so people couldn't alter it after it was set correctly for the venue. If you wanted to change the eq you could still do it at the mixing desk.

    It would be good in this university setting because the theatre could have the proper EQ'ing and delays set so people couldn't change them from what was best for the venue. This saves a lot of time if you come in after another user has been mucking around with it.

    The matrix mixers also normaly come with remote control circuits such as volume controls and on/off switches. These can be good in multipurpose venues where say you only need one microphone, eg assembly. This gets programmed into the mixer so people only have to push one button and they have a mike setup.

    They are so flexible they will gradually become a standard item. Although they cost a $2000 - $3000 the lost time they save is worth the investment. Just my two cents ( Oops that has to be ten cents, NZ doesnt have any coin smaller then 10 cents now)
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2006
  4. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Sydney, Australia
    I do belive that the products being referred to by cutlunch would be those such as Allen & Heath's iDR. That might be what you are after. It has from memory, if expanded, 16 in and 16 out, which would appear to cover your options.
  5. audioslavematt

    audioslavematt Active Member

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    West Lafayette, IN

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