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New Sound System

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by achstechdirector, May 27, 2009.

  1. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    I want a sound system for theatre (medium size) (like 35 mics) what do I need
    start from scratch and treat me as if I know absolutely about sound
    I really want something that can rock your socks with a band and still be gentle enough for theatrical shows
     
  2. Stookeybrd

    Stookeybrd Active Member

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    Well there will be a lot of people jumping in here, but I will get started on the basics. What is your budget?

    You will need:

    microphones- wired, wireless, DI
    mixer- analog, digital, small/large
    processing- analog, digital
    speakers- lcr, mono, array, delays

    We can help you here, but at some point, maybe now is it, hiring a designer for a from scratch system is a must.
     
  3. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
    Performing Arts Center Manager
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    Also, what is your space like? What architectural issues are there (balcony? Oddly placed columns? Limited hanging points? etc.)

    ~Dave
     
  4. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Occupation:
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    Forget the actual equipment for now and focus first on defining how you will use the system, what you expect the system to do, how it may have to integrate into the space, the budget, etc. Let your needs drive the equipment implemented and not the other way around. Also start thinking about how you plan on proceeding with the entire project, are you planning on doing everything yourself or involving design and installation professionals at some point?

    If it is an existing space then factors such as cabling paths (including conduit, floor boxes and such), possible equipment locations, power provisions, the physical space, etc. are critical information to establish as early as possible. If it is a new facility being designed then coordinating similar information with the rest of the design team should be addressed and may affect how you proceed.

    Taking your comment about treating you as though you know nothing about sound to heart, I strongly recommend you get a good Consultant or design-build Contractor involved as soon as possible. But you will still help yourself to start defining as many of the functional, physical and other considerations for the system that these professionals will need to consider.
     
  5. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    I want a portable sound system that can be used when I am hired as the sound company. There are theatres in my area from 200 seats to 1000 seats. It should be strong to fill the 1000 seat theatre with near perfect acoustics (it is amazing). and still be able to fit discretely into a 200 seat theatre. I want to be able to meet the wants of most clients but be realistic.

    I want an analog board. They are easier to work with in the spaces.

    How many wireless mics can you use in 1 space

    Budget: ~25000
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2009
  6. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    I'm confused -- are you planning on using 35 wireless mics, or just up to 35 inputs of any kind? And does the 25K need to include wireless, and if so, how many?

    Gut instinct:
    console - GL3x or 4x
    amps - Powerlights or PLXes
    tops - (2) 650 per side
    subs - (2) LA400 per side
    DSP - DR260 at least
    outboard as appropriate - comps, FX, playbacks, etc.

    Does it need to cover monitors as well? What about frontfills or outfills? Delays? Are there any size or weight limitations (e.g., has to fit in the pickup truck)?
     
  7. rwhealey

    rwhealey Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    Location:
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    Some thoughts:

    You can use a bunch of wireless in one space, but you'll probably have to end up buying more expensive wireless to do so. With Shure ULXP, you can get 20 to a band, but that's about $10,000 for 8 mics (if you go with handhelds for each receiver).

    It would be much cheaper to build a small system and rent for the larger. Is there a big sound company in your area?

    You can probably get a decent PA for $25,000, but you may not be able to get rock level in a 1,000 seat theater.

    You should be thinking about things like:
    Wireless: Shure ULX
    Speakers: EV QRX
    Board: Allen & Heath GL, Soundcraft MH2/3 APB Spectra. Yamaha LS9 is digital, but would be perfect for your application. Helps a lot for theater with lots of lav mics.

    Where will you store the system? How will you transport it? You need a pretty big truck to carry a system of the size you'll need.
     
  8. aminorking

    aminorking Member

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    With 35 mics, in a theatrical setting I would have thought that a digital desk would be an advantage. Much easier to recall settings on a digital desk, and if you are "touring" from venue to venue it provides you with much more versatility. They also provide a much smaller form factor, especially when you think of the outboard equipment they save.
    Yes, if you have never touched on before it will be more difficult to use a first than the analogue board that you could control in your sleep, but as more and more digital desks are made and used getting real practical knowledge of there use will only make you a more useful and better sound engineer.

    I have heard some good things about Allen-Heath's i-Live series, especially there T-series, which is very good quality for your money.
    If you are going analogue though, for theatre I would recommend a VCA desk ie ML-series.

    Just my two and a bit cents
     
  9. mixmaster

    mixmaster Active Member

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    Location:
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    $25K for a traveling system capable of doing 35+ input rock shows in a 1000 seat theatre complete with wireless mics?!?! Wow that's a tall order.

    First, +1 on what Brad says. You need to think things through and prioritize your thoughts. Do you have to start out big enough for the 1000 seat venue? Will you do enough shows in there to justify the cost of the gear?

    Something else to consider, even if you could afford to buy all the necessary gear to do the jobs, have you looked at the price of cases lately? You're going to need a rack of some sort on stage for amps and a rack at FOH for all the outboard. You'll need a case for your mixer, and you'll probably want at least one trunk for your snake, cables and stage gak. Then you've got mains and monitors, the first time you make 10 trips to the truck carrying speakers you'll start thinking about dollyboards or cases for them. If you're handy in the shop, you might save yourself a couple of bucks building you own cases but there's still the cost of materials

    Often times people overlook the cost of cables too. For a 35 input system, I'd be looking, at a minimum, 50 mic cords or more, a couple short subsnakes, a handful of instrument cords, misc. adapters, and a 40 or 48 pair snake. The you need speaker cable for mains and monitors, and AC cable. Some of this stuff you can save money and buy bulk cable and large quantities of connectors, but copper's pretty expensive right now. I just built a snake with Belden cable from W'wind and the bulk cable alone was $10 a foot + shipping. That also assumes that you have a good soldering iron and the skillz to use it,

    Speaking of soldering irons, there are some tools that a good traveling system shouldn't be without. Soldering iron, multimeter, basic hand tools, a supply of gaff tape, electrical tape, and shrink tube. We also carried a cordless screw driver, with drill bits, screw bits, and a spare battery and charger. Toss in a spare castor, horn diaphrahm, packing blankets, straps, a leanght of rope, and a couple energy bars to get through a late loadout hours after catering closes, and your tool kit just might outgrow you amp rack. We're eating up your budget pretty fast.
     
  10. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Occupation:
    Acoustical, audio and audiovisual consultant
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    Marietta, GA
    Okay, a portable system, that helps. Are you planning on potentially addressing power distro and trussing? Are you envisioning the speakers being ground stacked, flown, on sticks? Are you planning on providing monitors and would they be a separate mix? Do any of the theatres have balconies or any other special considerations?

    Sorry, but a pet peeve here. Near perfect acoustics for what? What is a desirable acoustic environment for choral or orchestral performances may be a poor environment for speech and rock, and vice versa.

    Easier in what sense? With onboard effects and typically a smaller footprint than an equivalent analog console I believe that digital consoles would be very common for situations like the one you note.

    More than your 35 inputs if you so desire. However, it will likely be a more a matter of how many you realistically think you can afford within your budget and that number will probably be quite low.

    I just had a 600 seat college concert hall bid last week and the FOH system (with splits for monitors but no monitor console or speakers) was over $350,000, recording was another $100,000+. That did include some electrical and rigging work and may be on a different level than you are envisioning, but while dollars per seat is a really bad way to estimate cost, even most 1,000 seat contemporary churches would typically spend two to four times your budget. To stay within your budget is probably going to take really defining what matters most and maybe planning for cross-renting or other options for larger events.


    On the realistic side, your $25,000 budget will certainly be one factor. As mixmaster noted, you will probably have to invest a good portion of your budget in cables, snakes, cases, power distro, gaff tape, mic and speaker stands, DI boxes, adapters and all the other small items involved. Depending on your approach and what you may already have, you may also require tools for system setup and tuning, possibly everything from a soldering iron to sound analysis tools.

    Another potential consideration is how you plan to transport and store the equipment. The issues can range from what type of transport you have available to what personnel resources you will have for load in and load out. And not knowing the facilities or events involved, you may also have to consider how tech riders or similar requirements could affect the general capability specific equipment you need to provide.

    I'm not trying to be negative, just realistic as well. A good idea in many such situations is to find out what the theatres have already been renting or groups bringing in and how those solutions have worked. That may provide some insights into what they find to be important to them and an 'acceptable' solution.
     
  11. TimmyP1955

    TimmyP1955 Active Member

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    For wireless, I'd say that you are looking at a minimum of $1000 per performer (a bit less for those that have only a handheld for that channel), but $1500 would be more like it. Plus there will be another $500 to $1500 (or more, depending on the number of channels) for proper antenna distribution.

    We have to know the dimensions of the room before we can comment on loudspeakers. Without that, we don't know if you need one loud 50 degree box per side, or a pair of arrayed 60 degree, 75 degree, or even 90 degree boxes per side. Whether or not they can be flown will make a difference as well.

    How many monitor mixes? IEMs, wedges, or a combination thereof?

    I was adamant about using analog consoles until I got some time on a digital console. Now I want a digital console (an LS9-32 to be specific, though that would change if I could justify doubling - or more - the money.)
     
  12. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Occupation:
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    Since you know the venues and clients and already have a budget set, maybe it would be better to turn this around. Assuming that your $25,000 budget was based on your knowledge of the venues and events involved, how did you come up with that number and what were you envisioning? This might help give a better idea of the level of quality, performance, etc. that you had in mind.

    If the budget number was set arbitrarily rather than based on some conceptual solution for the application, then you may have some work ahead of you in reconciling the expectations and desires with the budget. However, that all depends on first defining those expectations and desires. We don't know the clients or venues, you do. So you are going to have to be proactive in defining what the system needs to do and how you plan to use it.
     
  13. epimetheus

    epimetheus Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Electrical Engineer
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    I spent a couple of years running an LS9-16 with a 16 ch. ADAT add-in card. The LS9 series are excellent around boards and I think would do quite well in a portable situation even if only considered on size alone. A completely analog setup with similar capabilities would be a PITA in portable form. After having used the digital board, going back to analog has been a little bit of a struggle. The principles are the same of course, it's just the loss of options that kills me. How many analog setups have dual dynamic processors per channel and recallable eq's on each input and output?
     
  14. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    Maybe I'm breaking the flow of conversation but here is my envisionment


    40 Channel Mixer
    2 31 band stereo graphic eq
    CD/Tape Deck
    Compressor
    10 wireless mics (handheld/headsets)
    15 handheld mics (PG58 style)(used for everything from vocals to some instruments)
    6 piece drum kit
    2-3 direct boxes
    4 condenser choir mics
    4 powered speakers
    2 monitors
    snake


    I probably just contradicted a previous post but i rethought it so i would like to see some good equipment names. I know most of the stuff i just want to know what you all think are good mixers, mics, etc. for the price I can afford if I have to sacrifice anything it will be wireless mics.
     
  15. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    On a limb here....

    For speakers consider a pair of KV2 EX2.5 subs with a pair of EV ZXA5's Both are active cabinets and this combination will give you 3200 watts of sub and 2500 watts of mid/hi.

    Very portable, very powerful and very articulate. Cost $ 10,000.00

    FOH: Midas Venice 320. Cost $ 5,500.00

    Wireless mics: ATW 3000 series $ 500.00 each

    Wired mics: Budget $ 250.00 each for a combination of vocal and instrument mics.

    Cabling: Budget $ 2500.00 (without monitor split)

    Other expenses: Road cases for mixer, wireless, wired and cabling.
     
  16. mixmaster

    mixmaster Active Member

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    Perhaps a bit of a tangent here, but worth thinking about. In your first post you mentioned wanting to meet riders, but being reasonable.What kind of riders are you wanting to meet? A band that cares enough to forward a rider will probably be.....concerned.... with the idea of using sure PG series mics, and a 58 (PG, SM, or beta) is not a rider friendly instrument mic, however you define reasonable.

    I assume you are wanting mics for a 6 peice drum kit, not the kit itself. Again, rider friendly is not going to be cheap. Look at kits from Audix(my favorite), Shure, or Sennhieser and plan on spending $1000 + for a kit.

    If your convinced that you need to stay in the analog FOH, the Midas Venice wouldn't be a bad board, and would be very rider friendly. However, to meet riders, you're going to need more than one channel of compression. I'd think about getting at least one 4 channel unit. Most riders are also going to call for some sort of effects at FOH also, verb, delay, or multi-effects box.TC, Lexicon, and Yamaha all make good units, but you kill another couple grand putting together a decent FOH toy rack. Or you can go digital, and get tons more stuff, built into the board, for less money. And it will be easier to move.

    Just food for thought.
    Matt
     
  17. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    i did not say that i wanted to meet a rider. I said that I wanted to meet the needs of my clients which will be everything from small rock bands, church meetings (mens retreat), I do several gospel singings each year and meet things such as battle of the bands, large variety shows, etc. I pretty much can tell them what they get and what they don't. I just want to be able to do the sound with good quality and be able to accomodate some of these groups
     
  18. rwhealey

    rwhealey Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    I still think it would be a good idea to find out what other sound companies in your area are using.

    For instance, if you only go to the 1,000 seat theater twice a year, it might make more sense to design for the 600 seat theater you go to every week and rent for the two occasions.
     
  19. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    A meeting in a 200 seat house and a 1,000 seat venue for a battle of the bands are very different situations. To keep in budget you may just have somewhat limit the combination of venue and event the system can handle so maybe you can identify some smaller range of venues and/or events that would represent the vast majority of the applications.

    If you look at Bill's list that's over $24,000 without the cabling and that also does not include any speaker or mic stands, choir mics, drum mics, effects or signal processing, monitors, CD player, racks, cases, power distribution, DI boxes and so on. So add in those and you are way over your budget and probably over it even if you deleted all the wireless mics. However, the identification of PG58 mics may indicate that you are thinking more along the lines of Behringer, Mackie and Peavey than Midas and KV Audio. Is that a fair assessment? Quite frankly, I would have to disagree with the Midas Venice suggestion anyways, not enough inputs (a maximum of 4 stereo but only 24 mono for mics and instruments) and 60mm faders probably make it a poor fit for this application. There are a number of Allen & Heath, Yamaha, etc. console options that might be a better fit for the application and budget.

    Speaker recommendations will be difficult without knowing any specific level, coverage, response, etc. performance goals and without any information on the size and shape of the audience areas, the type of music and audiences involved and so forth. I will say that some of the events noted make me think that mains and subs would be appropriate. And the range of venues may make it where something like arrayable 60 degree boxes might work well so you can use one or two per side depending upon the horizontal coverage needed. But these types of solutions also start to raise the cost of the speaker system.

    On some specifics, by 'choir' mics were you referencing hanging mics or stick mics or simply a better quality handheld mic? By 'drum kit' were you referencing an actual drum kit or a drum mic package? Are two monitors going to be sufficient, some of the applications noted would typically require more than that?
     

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