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Where's the beef?
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vostek



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:08 am    Post subject: Where's the beef?
Subject description: the sound systems at electro-music 2006
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Last night I noticed a distinct lack of sub frequencies in both the large gallery and theater. To me, this component of the sound is critical, and it is, in fact, fundamental. You can have a 100 dbs on your midrange and tweeters, but it will sound no good if you dont have a powered subwoofer to support it. For some music its not a big deal, and admittedly, many of the artists yesterday got away just fine without it. However, during my set I noticed the PA's inability to communicate the intended power regardless of how hard i pushed it. How does everyone else feel about this? Was it an oversight in the planning, or do people think it is not a necessary component of the PA system?
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deknow



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

all the sound equipment was brought by volunteers. if anyone had brought powered subs, we would be using them.

i don't own a powered sub, mostly because i don't have a vehicle that can fit one at the same time as the rest of my gear.

deknow
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mikronesia



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yeah i was in the large gallery on sat. night... i had a similar problem, couldn't get any low end frequencies at all during my set... i was kind of stressing during my set, because i felt like people were only hearing the upper frequencies of my music...

i appreciate the volunteers brining sound, i kinda thought some of the fee for the weekend went to renting sound....

oh well hopefully it sounded alright to everyone listening... had a great time saturday!

thanks
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Mohoyoho



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The specs for the PAs were posted long ago:

http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-11473.html

Everything sounded fine.

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sounds_of_impermanence



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yeah, I should have checked those specs out too, as some of my real low end stuff was breaking up a bit...Still, no worries, it sounded fine and the space and visuals kicked butt, so how can I complain...
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sounds_of_impermanence



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

...and Ace Paradise's speakers up in the jam session room were pretty amazing; I was really pushing them with some thundering sub bass tones and didn't hear a single crackle...
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dmosc



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yeah, there was definately a noticable improvement there. It's hard to complain as the monitors were shamelessly borrowed.
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cebec



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i thought once the mackie PA was moved to the rear corners of the large gallery, bass was enhanced by that placement, but without becoming muddy... probably due in part to the tremendous liveness of that room.
vytear's set in the theater sounded fantastic, despite the absence of a sub, for example, and his music is particularly bass-heavy. so, i think, most people did not notice the lack of one. i hope we can get one for next time, though...i'm going to be shopping for one in the not-to-distant future, so perhaps i can loan mine.
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synthblock



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, the speakers in the jam room reproduced the sound up there nicely. Kudos to AParadise!
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mosc
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I agree with all of the comments. It would be nice to get subs for both of the venues. Maybe next year we can make improvments in this area.

Moving the speakers to the back corners really did improve things in the large gallery. When you put speaker in the corners, often the bass is extended becuase the corner acts as a large horn. The large gallery is very live. I noticed there are several nodes in the room. If you walked around you could find places were the bass was very deep or very weak. In any case, a sub would have been a big improvement.

The accoustics upstairs are much better. I'd love to have concerts up there, but we can't get the room dark during the day because there are so many large windows. Video is becoming so connected with electro-music you almost have to have a dark room. I have mixed feelings about this. Maybe I'l start a new topic to discuss video.

Anyway, thanks for the comments...

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egw



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, subwoofers would be great.
Most people volunteering to bring equipment don't have them - too expensive, large or heavy. We'll look into renting them next time, if we can't borrow them. Hopefully that won't break the budget - it will help a lot if we can sell a few more tickets in advance.

The acoustics are good upstairs, but I think the issue there (more than the amount of light) is that it seems to be hard to get people up there for the performances, especially if there are other things going on downstairs.
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vytear



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I noticed that where I was standing during what I saw of the composition discussion it was nearly impossible to decipher what the panelists were saying. I also experienced this during some lectures and the Project Ruori performance (even with microphones). I think the large gallery is a very LIVELY space. IMO - I think it would best suit sound instalations, music that tends to be sparse and delicate, and video/visual only type events if they happen in the future. Upstairs and downstairs seem to be great conversation level areas as well as the demo room where Jason from Clavia was set up this year.

just ideas.
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mosc
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You are right - the large gallery is too live.
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deknow



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i missed the composers forum (was rehersing upstairs), but all of the talks i heard in the gallery i could understand fine (yes, it is a little live). i think project ruori was problematic partly because the speaker and monitor placement.....that was their own setup soup to nuts.

deknow
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dmosc



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, the project ruori performance was the main example. I went over to the streaming booth for most of their performance because it sounded much better though the headphones! Was still one my my favorite acts this year though
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deknow



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

dmosc wrote:
Yes, the project ruori performance was the main example. I went over to the streaming booth for most of their performance because it sounded much better though the headphones! Was still one my my favorite acts this year though


it's worth noting that they resetup all the sound in the room (adding monitors and changning the speaker positions), added a digital graphic eq, ran white noise through the system and used a measurement microphone for an rta (real time analysis)....and ended up being less inteligible than they would have been with no monitors and the speakers in the back of the room where they were in the first place. i wouldn't have gone through all that, but i also wouldn't have assumed that the sound would have suffered as much as it did (we actually played through this setup). live and learn Smile

deknow
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smokris



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

deknow (and vytear and dmosc) -

Thanks for the feedback (no pun intended) regarding audio setup in the large gallery.

I'm sad about my contribution to the general-lack-of-decent-audio-quality in the large gallery. I was under the impression (after speaking briefly with Greg on Friday morning) that the monitors and RTA we provided were desired and/or helpful --- I would have gladly gotten them out of the way had I known others had issues with them.

The influence of the RTA was, I believe, relatively minimal: the digital eq it provided (which was the only feature in use) allegedly altered the signal by a maximum of only +/- 6dB per band. Of course, being yet-another-box-in-the-signal-chain, it probably subtly influenced the signal in other ways --- but I've used this particular device in the studio for the last few years and have been pleased with the results, so I thought it would be worth a try.

We also objectively (using a measurement microphone) and subjectively (a/b switching with a few signal types) tested the setup and found the RTA's influence to be a positive one --- it particularly helped to even out some fairly strong low-frequency resonances in the room and to tilt the overall spectrum slightly to compensate for these particular speaker cabinets. Rememering our sound reinforcement issues with the (hugely reverberant) large gallery last year, we considered quelling the resonances and spectral inconsistencies to be of fairly high importance.

Regarding speaker placement: yes, mains-in-back-of-stage would have generally been preferable to mains-plus-monitors. But (for our performance) given the amount we were using vocal microphones, we suspected there would be (worse-than-extant) issues with feedback in a mains-behind-performers configuration and therefore opted for a separate monitor mix with lowered vocal microphones.


[[ Footnote regarding the audio quality and intelligibility of the project ruori performance itself: I think the main problem here was the lack of a sound technician to actively mix the show. Given the number of live cues to hit and general technical complexity of the setup, having someone to concentrate solely on this and general mains-fidelity issues would have been preferable. Alas our typical sound technician found out not long before em2006 that he was unable to attend, so mixing and related duties were taken over (and botched) by me. *sigh*. Game over, play again. Or something. ]]
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deknow



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

smokris,

hindsight is always 20/20...and it's only in hindsight that i understand the problems (read: i did not anticipate them either)...i would have expected your setup to sound fine, but after hearing it i know why it didn't.

by putting the main speakers near the middle of the room (probably more like 1/3 of the way from the front), and putting the monitors back to back with the speakers, you have the sound hitting the audience from the mains, but also the sound from the monitors bouncing off the front wall (and floor, and celing) and then into the audience. this smears the sound quite a bit, and in the end, the room did sound better with just one set of speakers in the front corners.

for "a rainbow in curved air", the smearing sound was desirable, so we set them back up (i'm not sure who took them offline in the firstplace...it wasn't me), and we appreciated having them for that.

in the future, if you need a hand with sound, just ask....i didn't offer mostly because you seemed to have a bunch of folks working on it, and you seemed to know what you wanted to do....i had no idea you were short your sound guy. volunteering good gear for others to use is always appreciated Smile

deknow
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deknow



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

speech inteligibility is a whole specialty of it's own, and it is not autmaticaly improved with flat frequency response (time domain is very important here). i have some relatives who have made a specialty out of this (and have products). the projected words really helped with much of the performance, but if you need to assure the audience will understand your words, you might look at this stuff.

http://www.gold-line.com/dspsti.htm

deknow
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egw



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, I can't tell you how many performances I've seen where I couldn't understand any of the words (whether spoken or sung).
Including Xeroid Entity's set on Sunday night! (but that was a different kind of error).
Project Ruori's set was much better than most - I could understand much, but not all of it. Clearly it requires some special expertise and/or equipment to accomplish this, in a live room, and especially when combined with other music. Or maybe just some extra care in setting up and adjusting the sound, which we will be sure to do next time.
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have been reading some of the posts regarding the sound system and have a few possible solutions:

Problem:
LACK OF BASS ENERGY

Solution:

I would suggest using a Mackie SWA1501 active subwoofer in each performance area in addition to those fine active speakers that Ace had brought. The price for the SWA1501 is a hefty $975.00 so purchasing them is probably out of the question. Renting them is more reasonable. I am trying to nail down a price but I WILL DONATE THE FIRST $150.00 TOWARDS THE RENTAL PRICE OF TWO UNITS FOR THE DURATION OF EM2007. GREG/HOWARD PLEASE NOTE THIS IF YOU ARE READING THIS. They are rather compact and weigh about 100 pounds each so they would be much easier to move around for setup than some other s I have seen.

Main features of the Mackie SUB are at the very end of this post

Problem:

Gallery to lively and causing "hot spots" in the rooms bass response.

Solution:

As most of us know, a room has the most dominance over the frequency regions that include bass. A "real time spectral analysis" using the DEQ2496 RTA mode, as I saw, is simply not enough to deal with the rooms NULL points. It's good, just not a complete solution. It will only equalize the area where the measurement microphones are placed. The best way to reduce nulls/enhancements is to reduce sound reflections. I would suggest adding sound absorbtion, as a minimum, at the rooms trihedral (two walls and ceiling meeting point) or more commonly know as the rooms corners.

Also, keeping the subwoofer away from the corner of the room will help also.

So,

Room EQ / RTA
Sound Absorbtion
Careful subwoofer placement

May improve our situation.

Problem:

Microphone feedback.

Solution:

Use of a feedback "destroyer". I have Shark DSP 110's and associated cabling that I will bring to EM2007 to insert into the Mic channels in the Theater and in the Gallery. I will help connect and calibrate each unit.

http://www.behringer.com/DSP110/index.cfm?lang=ENG

I hope my suggestions help .... Very Happy

Main Features:
SWA1501 active subwoofer


Mackie 500 watt power amp is fully integrated
into the enclosure and is cooled by a massive aluminum heat sink
15" long throw woofer
Highly detailed and articulate bass response down to 40Hz
128dB Peak Output.
Extremely powerful system capable of real, professional output levels.
Extended bass response from a compact enclosure allows you to enhance and extend the bass performance of any small to medium full range active or passive PA cabinet.
Compact cabinet provides highest output per cubic inch possible in its class.
Level control (-15dB to +5dB).
High efficiency 15" woofer with high temperature inside/outside coil technology.
Drivers are designed specifically for the SWAY1501 - no "off the shelf" components.
13-ply Baltic Birch enclosure finished in black splatter paint.
Cast aluminum side handles.
Signal present LED.
Limit LED (Indicates that active protection circuitry is engaged
Size: 24"h x 18"w x 23.6"d. Wt. 105 lbs. [/url]
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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Very generous, Bill. Thanks...

Those little Sharks look very useful, perfect for our stage mics.

Acoustic treating of the large gallery would help, but it's a big project.

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State Machine
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Howard, it's the least I could do as this forum and the EM event has given me MUCH inspiration! You, Greg, your family, and the rest of the gang were great that weekend at EM06.

OK then, the Sharks it will be for feedback control. I will have two units and the cabling for them. Mine works really well and really does a nice job of squelching the feedback as it can apply up to ten Hi-Q digital trap filters to account for multiple FB paths.

I agree, treating a room is work and lots of $$$ for good absorbers. We could just treat it at a very minimum. I anticipate this will have to be a subject of more discussion.

I would like to see more feedback on the active subwoofer topic.
We have months to decide. Very Happy

Chat soon!!
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egw



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks Bill, for the suggestions and offer to contribute!
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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't know what's to discuss about an active subwoofer. I've used them before - they're excellent. The Mackie sub should work well with the Mackie PAs we used.
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