Church Live Audio SERIOUS HELP NEEDED

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by cstinn87, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. cstinn87

    cstinn87 Active Member

    (If this is wrong place for this question, let me know I'll correct it)
    First, Hello all, this is my first post on this forum.
    Second, a little explanation.
    My father began a church a year or so back and set up a decent audio system to run it, albeit not perfectly. Randomly get cracks and the noise level needs constant adjusting, but it works. I, being his son and being the only musician in the family, decided to help in making it better recently. And I am great on guitar and piano, but I am woefully uneducated in sound levels, EQ, mixing boards, mics, etc. etc. so to the questions.

    1. I just got a Yamaha GF24/12e and I have no clue on how to set up. My first problem is about the amp. I don't know what kind to get at all. To help answer, I believe you need a list of what will be used, so here you go.
    1. 3 wireless Mics, 2 cord mics.
    2. 2 floor monitor about 10-12 inch
    3. 2 Stand up PA speakers
    4. 1 Electric guitar(min. effects boxes. Distortion and maybe a delay.)
    5. 1 Acoustic guitar
    6. 1 Electronic Drumkit
    7. 1 Electric Keyboard
    8. The computer for playing mp3's and recording.
    If I'm not mistaken, that will be 13-14 channels(?)(mono?) with more to be added later.
    2. Its basically a square room about 20x30 with concrete walls, so any suggestions on where to place speakers and sound booth?
    3. Any suggestion on links to other threads about setting up the mixing board EQ etc.(I know i can look through but some of you might know good concrete ones I looks over, so just in case)

    That is it for now, for lack of educated questions to ask, since I'm new at this. Any help is appreciated and if it matters I'm on a tight budget so buying things is not a top priority. Thanks in advance for any answers.
     
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to RO,

    The Yamaha mixer should be more than capable.

    Some questions:
    Are you trying to mix from the side of the platform, or at the back of the sanctuary?
    Is there a snake (multi-channel cable) running to the back of the room?
    Are you considering a sub-woofer cabinet to help with the electronic drums and keyboard?
    Do you have the speakers already? If so, what make/model?


    Don't count the speakers and monitors in your channel count.
    I count 11 input channels needed, assuming you're running the Electronic Drumkit into one channel and the Computer into two channels.

    Wireless Mics 3
    Corded Mics 2
    Electric Guitar 1
    Acoustic Guitar 1
    Electronic Drums 1
    Electronic Keyboard 1

    Mono Inputs = 9

    Computer Audio Left/Right

    Stereo Inputs = 1 Pair

    You'll need at least one good dual channel amplifier, but two would be better. [Ideally you would have a two channel amp for the 2 Main Speakers and a separate two channel for the 2 Monitor Speakers]

    An alternative would be using active (self-powered) speakers that each contain their own amplifier inside the speaker cabinet. There are pros and cons to each. If you have a preference we can explore your choices.


    We can get into the nuts and bolts of hooking things up and draw a road map once we get a few more details of where you're going.

    2: Honestly the 20x30 concrete room is going to be a challenge no matter what sound system you have in there, or where you put it. Concrete walls are going to be very reflective in terms of sound.

    It's generally best to put the soundbooth somewhere near the back of the sanctuary so you can hear what the rest of the congregation hears. If you can, avoid putting your booth in the corners. The low frequencies that tend to build up in the corners will fool you into thinking the mix is too bass-heavy - if you make adjustments based on what you hear sitting in the corner the rest of the congregation will think it sounds very unbalanced, particularly bass deficient. It will sound VERY different in the corners of the rectangular room. So if you get stuck in the corner you have to be willing to walk around the room from time to time to stay in touch with what the people in the rest of the room hear.

    Can you tell us more about the room:

    Pews/chairs? Padded?
    Carpet on the floor?
    How high is the ceiling? Is it pitched or flat?
    What is the ceiling made of? (ceiling time, plaster/drywall, concrete, wood)

    As far as where to put your speakers, it's hard to say with the information you've provided. But as a rule-of-thumb, I would avoid putting them close to the walls. A few feet in from the walls and slightly turned a few degrees toward center might be a good place to start. Most cheap/moderate priced speakers have roughly a 90-degree pattern. You would like to avoid having the high-frequencies blaring out of the horn and reflecting off the side wall just a few feet in front of the speaker. Your main objective is to try to keep all mics out of the direct line of fire of the Main Speakers, so you can't angle them too far to the center. So visualize the horn pattern and make sure your speakers are far enough forward that they won't spill into the pastor's mic, or the pulpit/lectern mic(s). Nor do you want the Main Speakers aimed at the Praise Band and their related mics.

    3: You're doing fine. Answer the questions here and we can press on.


    I hope that helps a little for now.
     
  3. cstinn87

    cstinn87 Active Member

    Hello, thank you for the welcome and the valuable information, thus far.

    1.Are you trying to mix from the side of the platform, or at the back of the sanctuary?
    -Right now it is to the side in the back left corner of the room. We've been in talks about moving it into the back center of the room, for that specific reason.
    Should have it built in next month.

    2.Is there a snake (multi-channel cable) running to the back of the room?
    -Yes, it is a Rapco brand.

    3.Are you considering a sub-woofer cabinet to help with the electronic drums and keyboard?
    -I am now, but due to my lack of information on set-up, I would like to discuss more details about models and reasoning, for learning and application.

    4.Do you have the speakers already? If so, what make/model?
    -Yes,
    UBL Eon 1500 2-Way Speaker/Stage Monitor -2
    Johnson JC 150 12M 12" Monitor,wedge -2
    Optimus 10" speaker, wedge

    The Room-40'x70'x11' (I happened to be way off)
    View attachment 1042
    (Attachment is a overview of room, drawn quickly in paint program.)
    The Pink area is an open lounge with a few couches and tv.

    5.Pews/chairs? Padded?
    -Pews, padded

    6.Carpet on the floor?
    -All concrete except for few rugs here and there.

    7.How high is the ceiling? Is it pitched or flat?
    -11' ,flat

    8.What is the ceiling made of?
    -Tin

    I thank you for your time and input, and want you to know, it has already been very useful to me.
    Now a couple of questions.
    1:What exactly am I looking for in an amp? I have no exp. with them.
    2:Any suggestions on how to improve the sound because of the concrete walls?

    For information purposes, I will give a list of our equipment.
    2-UBL Eon 1500 2-Way Speaker/Stage Monitor
    2-Johnson JC 150 12M 12" Monitor
    1-Optimus 10" speaker
    -Rapco Multi-channel Snake
    -Yamaha GF24/12 Mixer
    -BFI 8250 8-Channel Dual-Powered Mixer
    -Ion iDM02 24-bit Stereo Drum Machine w/ Trigger Inputs
    -Hallet, Davis, & Co. 88-key Stand up Piano
    -Cable Midget 88-key Stand up Piano
    -Realpiano Digital Pro-1 Electronic Keyboard
    -3 cheap keyboards
    -Johnson Acoustic/Electric Guitar
    -Crate GFOC XL guitar amp
    -Stands for the 2 Eon Speakers
    -Mics: 3 Peavey PCX-U12 Wireless Mics
    1 Peavey PVi100 corded Mic
    1 Peavey PVi20 corded mic

    Thank you.
     
  4. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Sorry, but the attachment isn't working.


    1. Your sound booth will be fine just about anywhere in the back as long as you're not sitting in a corner. Hopefully you'll have it built up off the floor a foot or two so that your sound-tech can see over the congregation when they're standing. But don't forget, whatever the volume is at the back of the room - it's measurably louder 60ft. closer to the source. I also recommend buying a decibel meter so you can be consistent week to week.

    2. The snake is a good thing. If it has "returns" I'd put your future amplifier(s) somewhere toward the front of the room to keep you speaker cables as short as possible.

    3. A subwoofer (or two) will help reinforce the punchy lows you need with drums (acoustic or electronic), bass guitar, and low keyboard notes.

    4. The JBL Eons are nice, I'm not familiar with the Johnsons, and I would keep my expectations low with what the Optimus can do.

    Does the church have plans to run speakers in the "Lounge", Nursery, Cry Room, Classrooms? If so, it may influence the amp recommendation.

    I'm somewhat relieved the actual dimensions are bigger, but concrete and tin.... wow, that's going to be reflective. I'm going to guess the highs and mids ricochet around in there something fierce. That can be very fatiguing. If that's the case anything you can do to soften some of those surfaces will help lessen the din.

    Is this a temporary place, or a long-term space you'll be using for some time to come?

    If it's long-term, addressing (what I imagine are) less than ideal acoustics by coming up with a plan for some sound absorbing and diffusing panels will make the entire Sunday morning experience more enjoyable for everyone. You obviously want people to feel comfortable and at peace in your sanctuary - and bad acoustics have a very negative effect on your state-of-mind. A lot of churches have members who range from 'handy' to 'craftsmen' when it comes to woodworking. DIY acoustical panels can be built by anyone with a 'handy' rating or above and could potentially save the church a lot of money - but would ABSOLUTELY have to made of materials and fabrics that comply with ALL fire codes.

    5. Padded pews will provide a tiny bit of help with the absorption and diffusion, but (hopefully lots of) parishioners will be very good absorbers and diffusers as well.

    6. If this is going to be your permanent location, carpeting the floor will help with certain frequencies and improve some of the din in two ways. Covering the entire floor would account for 35% of your surface area [2800 of 8020 sq.ft.], but again don't expect miracles from the carpet. It will only improve a certain part of the audio spectrum. Secondly, if the congregation moves their feet on concrete it probably makes a sound - especially hard soled shoes. Shuffling your feet around on carpet would be virtually silent. That's noise that never gets started bouncing around between the concrete and tin. Please resist the temptation to put carpet on the walls. It looks tacky and probably would not pass code in most cases.

    7/8. If this is going to be your permanent location, a suspended acoustical tile ceiling should be a noticeable improvement over tin. (unless it's one of those old fashion embossed tin ceilings with lots of texture - those can sound pretty good) With 11ft. of height you should be able to spare the necessary height to put in the drop-ceiling.


    As far as amplifier recommendations go, I'd generally go with something from Crown, QSC, or Crest - even their budget-friendly lines are better than anything else in their class. Budget permitting, I'd start with two amps. One for the Main speakers left/right, and another to provide two Monitor mixes. (often the e-drums necessitate a separate mix to give the drummer something he can live with.) If you're running speakers to a nursery, etc. then a different 70v system would be in order - which requires a specific type of amplifier(s) and speaker(s).

    I don't see any equalizers on your list. I'd be shopping for at least 3 (one for Mains, and two for the Monitor mixes). And a couple decent compressors will be VERY useful for getting some of your volume fluctuations under control. The random cracking and popping noises are usually nothing more than bad cables that need ferreted out. You will need do some methodical testing to see if you can find what causes the noise in question. Test each channel of the mixer (sliders can get grungy), and test each cable - you'll probably turn up something intermittent. Cracking and popping not only distracts from the church service, but it can also damage your equipment. If you're not skilled with a soldering iron, I highly recommend learning. If you don't have a good cable tester or other multi-meter with a continuity checker, that's another good investment.


    I know you're on a tight budget and can't just throw money at every problem. Believe me I wish more of these suggestions didn't have a monetary cost associated with them, but if you spend your money wisely you can do this over time. I'd rather see someone in your position buy one good building-block, than throw their money away on something that will never get the job done and need to be replaced almost immediately.

    Feel free to ask any follow-up questions. I'm happy to help.
     
  5. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    I would recommend:

    Amazon.com: The Sound Reinforcement Handbook (0073999009644): Gary Davis, Ralph Jones: Books

    and

    Amazon.com: Exploring Sound Reinforcement: A Practical Guide to Understanding PA Systems, Applications and Operation: Musical Instruments

    This will give you and your volunteers a well rounded reference for how to and why.

    Now, I would recommend getting in touch with a local contractor who can hold your hand through this process. Forums are great, but even on-site visitors mis-read what may work for your room and church. I would encourage you to build a relationship locally so that when your system has issues, you have someone to bail you out of trouble, lend or rent gear, etc.
     
  6. cstinn87

    cstinn87 Active Member

    Thank you, I am currently in my first week of a new job, so my next update will come as soon as possible.

    I'll take your post dvdhawk into account and answer when things progress(and get some free time. Hectic week.)
    My first goal is to get those amps. Thank you for such detailed answers.

    Thank you as well Sheets, I will heed that advice. I'll check out those books as well. Thank you.
     

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