Recommendations for Permanent install PA speakers - small black box theater


Well-Known Member
I'd like to respectfully ask for recommendations/advice for a speaker install and I thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.

My friend has decided to install a permanent install PA system in their relatively new black box theater he is repurposing from his former business. It is a quite small room, audience capacity of less than 100. Ceilings in audience area 10 feet and 8 feet onstage. 35 foot wide by roughly 30 feet deep audience area. Stage is 20 feet wide by 15 feet deep, raised roughly 2 feet. There's no formal proscenium or curtain (yet). Industrial carpeted floor (squares, small nap), cinderblock on one wall, drywall on others, suspended ceiling with 2x4 fiber tiles, and it is a relatively dead room with probably much less than a second of reverb time. He's got some other issues in there, the stage is noisy because it's a giant drum with virtually no damping underneath - heavy actor footsteps are an issue.

What my friend wants to do with the venue is to run small cast shows, sometimes children's theater, comedy shows, small music concerts and maybe an occasional corporate meeting. The last production in the space was a kids theater show with about 20 kids in the cast. He had some cast members miked with wireless and to be honest, the sound turned out quite nicely, even though some might say no mics were needed in that size room, they were a great help to intelligibility for the audience.

I did a rough paper drawing to determine that if we put the speakers close to the ceiling, We'd need a 40 degree vertical pattern to hit audience heads first row to last row and if we install 2 speakers equidistant above the stage we might be able to feed the audience with each speaker delivering a 90 or 100 degree horizontal pattern.

So far, my friend has been renting QSC K12s and he's used a few other speaker models in there, usually on floor tripods, with occasional feedback issues due to the low ceiling and proximity of PA to the stage (when and if mics are used). Usually these speakers are so large in profile that they need to be moved to the side of the stage, aimed inwards and this exacerbates the feedback.

I'm wondering if installing a pair of smaller speakers with a lower vertical profile up towards the ceiling might be a better way to go. Speakers I've looking at so far in that vein include the Nexo id24 i9040 series, and the Martin Audio DD6 and I was wondering if anyone else has encountered these in installations? They seem like they might be largely used for lip fill speakers. Is there anything else, any other make/models I should be looking at for my friend?

Thank you in advance


Well-Known Member
My gut would be to stick with as large a bass driver as possible, and/or for small speakers like that add a sub in the room to fill in the frequency range.

A couple other suggestions --

Polk Atrium 6 or 8 ... I installed a set (5 plus sub) of Atriums in the music room of the local middle school several years ago, the music teachers like the sound and they are still using them.

If you are willing to look at used check out the Miller & Kreisel (M&K) S-85 ... I have a set of these (actually the SW-85 in-wall equivalent) in the ceiling at home for the surround A/V system, along with an M&K 10" sub, and they sound great, very clear and crisp throughout the range.

-- John

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