Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Speaker Placement

Speaker Placement Basics (101)

Most of you sound engineers are probably beyond this entry level tip but somebody out there has to start somewhere...

Each venue or club space is different acoustically. In general, you want to aim the Main Speakers at the audience. If you point them toward the stage (and microphones) it leads to feedback problems. If you point them at the ceiling it wastes power and muddies the sound. In a small setting, you might position the main speakers 5 feet off to either side, or possibly just use one speaker. In larger settings, you might set speakers on each side of the stage, anywhere from 10–30 feet away. Ideally you should raise the main speakers several feet over the level of the audience’s heads. In some settings it helps to angle the speakers slightly downward, so the sound goes directly into the audience instead of bouncing around off the ceiling and back walls. Putting speakers against a back wall or in corners increases bass response. Sometimes more bass occurs than is desired. In this case, you need to experiment, listen, and adjust the angle of the speakers.

Monitor Speakers should be close to the performer and aimed up toward his ears. These speakers are often wedge shaped. These speakers should not be too load because this leads to feedback problems and muddies the sound. It often helps to turn down the bass in the monitors too.

Avoiding Feedback
The best way to avoid feedback is by doing a thorough sound check ahead of time. Proper microphone selection and set up are essential. If howling/hum begins during a concert: turn down the master volume at once. Set the speakers further away from microphones, use better microphones and/or set them closer to singers/instruments so you don’t have to turn up the gain as much. Use mixer EQ section and graphic equalizers to reduce the problem frequencies during the sound check. If feedback is still a recurrent problem, you may need an auto feedback control unit and you will have to adjust the angle of the speakers.

The Rieker RAD2 Remote Angle Display significantly increases the efficiency of hanging speakers (line arrays), adjusting the angle, and decreasing the amount of time it takes to set up the sound system - for that precise fine tuning!

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