This past weekend I attended an event that was held in a very challenging space for sound reinforcement in.
The event was in a very, very nice pole barn. Did I say it was very nice?
It was a large steel building, the walls where made of solid wood paneling, the floor was a beautiful stained and sealed concrete. There was a full size industrial kitchen attached, and the place was impeccably clean.
The event was a formal ball and all attending were either in period clothing, dresses or suits. When I got there the guy setting up sound was trying to get an omnidirectional wireless lav working.
Right when I walked into the room I could tell that it was going to be difficult to obtain usable audio reinforcement in this space.
The ceiling was flat steel decking with no treatment, the floor as I mentioned was concrete and those beautifully paneled walls (the walls looked like the interior of a log home) were of course parallel. The room measured approximately 60’ x100’ in size.
Back to the poor sound guy who was trying to get the lav to work, along with the wireless he had a simple 8 channel mixer, CD player, amplifier and (1) 15” 2 way speaker (circa 1970’s). In a lot of ways things were getting even tougher.
First an omnidirectional lav placed at mid chest was going to make gain before feedback tough.
Second, the speaker with its smile shaped horn had very little effective pattern control.
Third, the board had very minimal eq. The typical high/mids and low knobs usually associated with a very in expensive mixing board.
Fourth, the speaker stood over three feet tall and probably weighed north of 100 lbs., so even if the sound guy had a tripod stand the speaker would be too heavy to go on it, so the speaker was left sitting on the floor with the associated equipment sitting on top of the speaker.
Needless to say he was getting nowhere with the lav mic. Thankfully he had a wireless handheld and began setting that up in place of the omnidirectional lav. Once he got the wireless working he began testing out the CD player. Right away I thought you’re playing ever thing way too loud. In this situation less is definitely more.
After a little (very loud) feedback caused when the caller for the dance went to turn off the cd player (sitting on top of the speaker) while holding the hand held mic by his side and pointed right in to the high frequency horn, the night began with instructions.
I understood very few of the instructions as I was sitting off to the side of the dance area and not in any direct coverage of the speakers high frequency horn.