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Surround sound help

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by fishyswishy, Nov 6, 2003.

  1. fishyswishy

    fishyswishy Member

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    Hey I am in need of some help with a setup for ethier surround sound in the house or using speakers on stage. i am planning on doing ethier for our winter musical Little Shop Of Horros and am somewhat stumped. any help will do. thanks
     
  2. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya,
    Welcome aboard. Can you elaborate more on what you need help with? Surround sound can be done in a few ways and we will need some more info to be of assistance. Usually Surround is not usually used for live shows except some of the larger tours, but for playback and FX it can be a great thing to do. Are you asking about Gear selection, placement, time delay & or surround sound processing, recording of surround fx?? For your house system--same questions--you asking about gear selection for coverage of audience etc, placement, power etc? Also--what would be your budget for such--will you be looking to rent or is this using what you have in house--and if so what do you have in house? Do you have Surround sound capability and processing or would you be looking at buying or renting--or looking to "improvise" with what you have somehow??

    Be glad to hel and offer suggestions--as I am sure others on here will be--we will just need some more information about what you are trying to achieve and some specific info about your situation.

    -wolf
     
  3. fishyswishy

    fishyswishy Member

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    ok heres what im looking to do- i am planning on setting up a system with 2 font channels and 2 rear channels. the front 2 will be used for somewhere around 12 body mics, mics for the pit(Using to process the pit), 2 hanging mics and 3 floor mics and for any sound effects comming from numerous playback units ie-CD,Mini,Tape,Mp3. i plan on using the rear channels for mostly ambient noise from the skid row(Little shop) for playing things like kids playing in the street cars and such. for my system i will be mixing the pit, hanging and floor mics into one mackie 12 channel 2 bus mixer. the mixer will then run into 2 channels on a 16 channel mackie 4 bus mixer. I will have 2 channels on the second board for sound effects. For processing i have a old rane 2 channel 16 octive EQ and a behringer digital eq with delay, compression, expander, FBD, and annalysis in one unit. i also have a berhinger virtulizer pro which can act as 2 processors. i have a somewhere around 3,000 to spend if needed. any help would be great thanks
     
  4. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya,
    Ok here are a few things to consider about this so far, and hopefully this will hep you figure out how best to do this. First--how deep is your room from where you have the stage edge to where you rear speakers will be placed? Also--how many people during a show are you trying to cover? Reason for this is as follows: Using the rear speakers for ambient noise etc is fine but you want to make sure you are not blasting the people in the rear to get the same sound to the folks in the front. Cause the folks in the rear will loose the vocals from the front if the SPL is too high from the rear--and vica versa--you dont' want to kill the folks in the front rows with the vocals just to get the levels to the back of the room. Do you have speakers that are flown or suspended in some way---or is this a "speakers on a stick" type of thing where the system is not permanent and is on tripods? The Higher up you can get the speakers the better your coverage areas for front projection. Side and rear--those can be placed lower IMO. Is this your house system you are augmenting?? Or is this the whole system cause there is no other sound system?
    I would suggest, Think "distribution" of speakers to various areas that do different things. Ambient noise should be just that--ambient and to do this the best way without blasting would need you do to a bit of change in your set up. I'll give you an example...in a hall that is 55' accross (wide) with a stage at one end, and say 100' deep to accommodate the seating, and is RAKED upwards, you would need to space out speakers in the middle areas to get the folks in the middle, and you would be best to use "delay" times from a processor to time these speakers out to each other--regardless of what you are playing back thru them, or things can get disorienting. Also consider if you will that the more speakers you add--the less hard "volume" you will need out of them to achieve the results you want. In a 50'x100' I would do a Left a Right and a Center fill from the front, Then every 35-40feet down the aisles I would have "fills" on a time delay that shoot sideways or slightly back to "fill in" the sound to the farther seats. This would allow me to use lesser overall volume and fill the room a whole lot more evenly with the sounds so all can hear well and no one person is getting blasted or uncomfortable. Keep in mind--doing this you can STILL do your surround sound, just you need to time delay and "fill" in the sound with your fill speakers. While you probably cannot do a center fill far back--I hope you are getting the idea here.

    Think of it like this as I try to do my ASCII art<g>...

    _____________________________________<--stage edge
    XX.......................xx.........................XX <--main speakers & ctr fill
    -
    -
    -
    -
    x (speaker)......................................... x (speaker)
    -
    - AUDIENCE AREA
    -
    -
    x (speaker).......................................... x (speaker)
    -
    -
    -------------------------------------------------------- <-back of hall

    The first set of speakers on the stage is on one mix and gets vocals, a snidge of the band to fill in, and a smidge of ambiance--so the folks in the front get the ambient noise. The speakers mid way back are on a second mix to get the ambiant noise, a bit of the band and a bit of the vocals to fill, The rear speakers get the vocals, the ambient noise and a smidge of the band. You adjust the blends of each so you get the effect you desire, but overall its to fill the room. If you have an effect that ONLY goes to the LEFT side--then you zone out your speakers instead to be LEFT zone 1, 2 and 3, and zone RIGHT 1, 2 and 3 and the center fill is a mix on its own. If left and rights dont' matter--then just do zone 1 stage, zone 2 fills and zone 3 rear. Either way--to do this where your sound doesn't turn into mush you need to delay the times in milliseconds to each of the zones depending on the distance from the first speaker to the next. If you want the calculating formula to do this (based on sound speed and distance travelled) I will post that--or you can do it the old fashioned way and listen. Delaying the sound allows the time from the front speakers to hit the area of the second or the rear speakers to all be in the same "time" and thus all is heard without the natural delay and decays playing in havoc to your sound--so all the sound is heard at once and without any delay or cancellations or disorientations to the audience who may hear one speaker area and then get a disorienting "reflection" or delay sound from behind them.

    A good Digital signal processor, or digital EQ will be able to do things like this. The Ashely Protea series of EQ and System processing is a good user friendly system to do things like this. Keep in mind each of these speakers or zones is an amp channel of its own--so calculate how many zones you want and will need. Does this help you figure out some of what you wish to do???

    Let me know and I will gladly assist more.

    -wolf
     
  5. anticowboyism

    anticowboyism Member

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    yeah a protea or driverack would help in managing eq/delay for so many speakers. What you are talking about though is not surround sound, but quad sound. It is fairly easy. You have a 4 buss mixer, so each corner gets a buss. You can add fills for the rear pair freely, as your speaker management box will allow.
     
  6. fishyswishy

    fishyswishy Member

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    ok back to this problem i guess i was going to try it for our production of little shop of horrors and fill the room. but i have a situation in the same setup somewhat probably looking at 4 to 6 buss mix of certain sounds for a band piece known as vodoo done in the dark. there are tons of sounds that i want heard and sent in diffrent areas of the room to offset the audience's minds.
     
  7. anticowboyism

    anticowboyism Member

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    In live surround situations you have the freedom to develop your own format for speaker placement. Don't limit yourself to the popular cinema and recording formats that have been established such as Dolby 5.1. Those work for the specific situation of watching a movie, or listening to a surround concert in the middle of your living room. Design the layout according to your hall's architecture.

    Don't get caught up with the idea of surround panning (making a sound rotate around the room). A listening area any larger than a sofa is never going to have precise surround panning. Also speakers more than 45° apart (at the listeners location) do not carry a sound's location from one to the next.

    Try close miking the instruments and sending each mic (or group of mics) to it's own speaker. That will bring better clarity and sense of envelopment than panning the mics between speakers.

    Remember you have aux sends as well, so you may have total of 10 outputs to play with.
     
  8. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

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    Ok, here's some tech info to consider when doing surround. Officially, tere's an actual rule to consider when placing speakers with regards of angles. However you're implementing some sort of "custom" quad system, so you get some freedom (yipeee!!! :D ). As previously noted, you have to take care with regards to levels, both physically (preventing blasting people) as well as artistically (background noise is that, background). Coverage is quite hard to achieve, and gets kinda weird to have delay towers pointing both to the back and to the front. I managed to do all from high Q boxes from the back of the room, stacks got pretty big and funky, but it was less visual clutter than 40 delay towers everywhere. It also reduced hot spots and nodes.
    I have done quad and surround various times. Quad is simpler, hands down. The only problem I had with quad was that my background material and my FOH material was on different discs, so synchronizing it was a total b*tch. We endedn dumpling all to ProTools and running all thru 4 different channels from a Digi001. Just to let ya know, you will go insane if you don't figure how to sync all up.
    Any info you need let me know, this little window is getting on my nerves and its hard to post lots of infe here..Ship, how do you do it?!?!?! :?
     
  9. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

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    So...I'm dying to know how you were doing wit the surround sound man!! Did it work??
     
  10. fishyswishy

    fishyswishy Member

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    I never did get to use it for the show. i am kinda angry that i didnt. we ended up lossing one of our main permenant speakers so i didnt have any money to rent speakers for the rear mixes so it never came out. i am now in college and am running a show in about a month with a 4 point system. it shall be fun. thanks for all the posts
     

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