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How to Avoid Echo in a Gym


I have a setup to do this week in a lare gym with high ceilings.

Question is: What do you guys suggest in avoiding echo? There is not stage at this gym.

I have JBL EON G2 speakers.

Do you suggest position on any specific angles?

Thanks for your advice and help.


pr0gr4m Tue, 07/11/2006 - 10:16
It's gonna be practically impossibe without spending lots of $$$$.

In a gym, I don't think that orientation will have much affect on reducing the "gym effect". You could try setting up in corner facing out, but the only thing that would really work without any sound absorption treatment would be to play at low volume...but it would have to be so low that no one would really hear it.

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 07/11/2006 - 10:31
Thanks for the reply.

So, you saying to setup in a corner.. This is something I did not think about.. but it seems like that this way there is less chance for sound being bounced back ...then setting up in a horizontal way.

So, I should not go too loud?
Do you suggest setting up 4 speakers for this event?
Do you suggest any angles?

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 07/11/2006 - 16:33
I suppose more speakers each at lower volumes might help with the echos.. It is somewhat approaching the ideal case where everyone gets a headphone. However the speaker placement for >2 speakers are tricky, the more speakers and solid walls the more the sound gets messed up and u get uneven acoustics.

I suggest to find as much curtains and cushioned furnishings as possible, something velvetty. Or hang cloth streamers. The best is still to "curtain" every wall.

The volume is pretty much fixed for the event, too soft you lower the echos but people can't hear. Go very loud and render the echos insignificant it will be a pain to hear....

moonbaby Wed, 07/12/2006 - 07:58
mikeil wrote: What if I leave the gym doors open?
You'll let the air-conditioned air out! :)
Gymnasiums are designed to be "echoey" so that the crowd noise is amplified. It's a fact of life. There isn't an architect on the globe that wouldn't have it any other way. This makes a lousy music venue. But a good venue for the home team!
You might try what is referred to as a "single point cluster". This is where you place your speakers all in a single location, instead of spreading them around the performers. This can maximize your "direct-to-reflected" sound ratio. Avoid aiming the speakers at a corner of the room, as this will aggravate the natural bass build-up you get from that. Not good, muddies up the sound. ALWAYS do what you can to place the direct sound from your speakers at your audience, avoid the walls! If you spread the speakers out, you start to have time-delay issues that will aggravate the situation.
I am contracted to do a Saturday evening worship service that is held in a local gym. I use a single-point set of (4) Radian 2-way boxes on poles, side-by-side in a type of 'arc'. At first the performers had to get used to the set-up, which is on one side of the staging area. But when we compared a 'traditional' 2-point set-up, there was more coherency and clarity with the single-point. So that's how I leave 'em. The Radians are probably out of your price range (that set of 4 set me back $10K, excluding everything else!) but the principle is the same. Try it. It sure beats climbing up to the ceiling to hang moving blankets!

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 07/13/2006 - 22:11
avoiding echo in gyms

After working on sound systems in gyms for the last thirty years or so, I can tell you the two pieces of advice already given here by moonbaby and djrr3k that matter the most are the single point of sound concept and filling it up with people which will soak up a huge amount of the echo. The many distributed small speaker speakers at a lower volume also works great as typifyed by all the big theme parks but is out of the question for a mobile system in a gym.

For serious gym installs; of course professionally engineered sound treatment panels and architectural design is mandatory.

sheet Mon, 07/17/2006 - 21:13
As everyone has said, it is a gymn. It is not an acoustically correct environment, so you are hosed.

Two EONs in there might be ok for a small group. If you keep them close and the horns at ear level. I would not set up from a corner, but would shoot down the long wall, to minimize the slap back. You are going to have some slap back, so you should distance yourself from the back wall.

Ideally in a highly reverberant environment, you need to use speakers that have a good hornloaded midrange, and preferably something with a co-entry hi/mid horn, so that you have good directional control down to 500Hz, if not lower. But you don't have it, so.....

You can't fix a room with a PA. You can't fix a room with acoustic treatment. You fix a room with dynamite, a crane and demolition ball, or bulldoser. If the room is not properly designed and built, it is what it is, and all the acoustical engineering in the world will not fix it after the fact. It is an expensive guess and bandaid.