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Old 16th February 2004, 03:42 AM   #1
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Default Worst audio system I've heard....

....gotta be the Power Plant Live area of 'clubs' in downtown Baltimore. Brief description, theres a conglomerate of small clubs in this area. Other cities may have similar clubs, theres Bar Baltimore, Have a Nice Day Cafe, McFaddens and a few others. Each club has its own little "theme' although most of its really cheesy with hand made decorations and the lighting system is a far cry for 'intelligent'.

Anyway, the audio absolutely SUX in all of the clubs. Even worse is that they use EV setups and being an EV person I know that they could make them sound good but some reason it does not. It wasnt the first time Ive been to those clubs but last night just illustrated how bad the audio was. First we stopped at Have a Nice Day Cafe. This particular club has 2 rooms, the main room and then a smaller back room. The theme here in the main room is 70's disco. The system is 4 EV T252's surrounding the main dance floor and many other T52s around the entire area. Bass is 4 EV MTL1 (not sure if x) spread around the entire room. One of them is sitting right next to an open hall way. Lotsa boundary support there eh? The dj thought it was funny to turn the treble control up real high at some points and blast the F outta everybody's ear drums. Good lord. The MTL1's were barely putting out any bass at all. I thought bass is supposed to make people dance, not treble. The sound overall was very very harsh.

So next was the 'back room'. Once again, the ratio of high's to lows was way out of proportion. EV T52s all around, then I heard a hint of some bass. Then I spotted what was making the bass. a SINGLE Sb180 sitting in the MIDDLE of the room next to a support column. What the F? Not only did it sound like crap, it was barely putting out any output. Sitting in the middle of the room I'm sure didnt help. I have 2 of these subs I use myself and I know their capability, but dang that one sub sitting all by itself in the middle of the room just wasnt cutting it. Poor thing.

Next was the club Bar. Again, similar setup to above, 4 EV t252's and many T52s all around, also 4 EV MTL1's, but 2 of the MTL1s right infront of the main dance floor laying on their sides next to each other. The DJ was really annoying, he kept on talking. But worse yet, he ran the amplifiers (or somethin else up the chain) into heavy distortion. It sounded really really bad, not only distorted but all muddy and harsh. And then the bass amplifier driving the MTL1s were probably going into thermal overload. They would cut off for 5 minutes or so, and then turn back on, then kept doing that. It wasnt even that loud, but by the time I got out of that club my ears were ringing probably from hearing all that distortion.

I know those EV T252 (especialy 4 of them surrounding such a small space) can get much louder then that. Sounds like the amps were seriously underpowered, or I wonder if they ran all the speakers in the entire place on one or 2 amps.

So next club, McFaddens, not really a club but more of a relaxing restarant style place with a mini dance floor. EV Sx100,200 or 300s mounted on the walls and one or 2 Eliminator subs. The speakers were ALL BLOWN! 1/2 the speakers had shiny woofers which obviously werent the OEMers, some of them didnt have woofers at all. All you could hear was a shrinkey tinny souding mess from probably the DH2010A drivers that may have survived whatever happened to the woofers. Good lord, I just walked out shaking my head. How the hell can these clubs who obviously have a steady customer base get away with sunch poor sounding systems? All it would take is just a few more amps, better speaker placement, a simple graphic EQ with some good tuning and a compressor/limiter to make that place sound much better. Geeze.
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Old 16th February 2004, 04:19 AM   #2
SY is offline SY  United States
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Probably before your time, but the worst ratio of sound to quality of music was at the old Famous Ballroom, on Charles Street near North Avenue. Horrible acoustics, more or less random PA setup. "Yeah, let's stick another column over there, it'll look cool."
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Old 16th February 2004, 05:01 AM   #3
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I was inspired to post the worst "setup' since the thread below looks like its more for worst recording. Anyway, this reminds me, the damn DJ last night was playing burned low quality MP3s. How do I know? cause on DJ Sammy's "heaven" there is this one burn that I had that already sounded like crap but it has a very distinctive gap at one part. This makes me wonder just how many 'professional' dj's just burn the stuff of the internet. The RiAA should really be going after those people cause they're the ones who are actually making money on downloading music, not just to have.
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Old 16th February 2004, 05:19 AM   #4
OliverD is offline OliverD  Germany
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Having done lots of PA setups in the past years, one thing I learnt is to always install a dedicated monitoring system for the DJ with separate bass/treble/volume controls. If they need a messed up sound to enjoy what they are doing, let them not spoil the dancefloor PA.

I've been asked to improve the sound in many clubs and often found pieces of excellent equipment mixed up with horribly sounding low-cost gear. I often wondered what they must have been thinking when placing the speakers. This is what happens when everybody throws in their old used gear from their days as a school band musician. Often the club owner or DJ is the one who sets up the system or they select the cheapest company from the phone book. I don't know about the US, but in Germany you don't need any kind of proof of qualification to call yourself a "PA technician".

One example I'll never forget: One club I reworked the PA for in the early 90's had Klipsch horns with EV bass drivers, built out of concrete and installed below the dance floor, driven by an array of 8 Accuphase M-100. The bass was very clean and deep, just excellent. Probably just running out of money after this kind of extreme approach, they added cheapish self-made piezo arrays as tops. Mids were completely missing and I never heard tops more harsh than this.
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Old 16th February 2004, 11:09 AM   #5
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A little hint, if you are engineering, with a DJ in the band, they sometimes keep turning up the output of their desk, past overload and distortion, if you turn them down in the mix. Got caught very badly, by this, a couple of months ago. Took 10 mins to figure it out By then people were yelling at us, and the dancefloor waz empty. Very embarrassing!
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Old 18th February 2004, 01:03 PM   #6
OliverD is offline OliverD  Germany
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Quote:
A little hint, if you are engineering, with a DJ in the band, they sometimes keep turning up the output of their desk, past overload and distortion, if you turn them down in the mix.
A compressor between you and the DJ works wonders

It might be a good idea anyway as most of them are unable to maintain a constant output. What do they think the input meters and gain pots are for? Getting louder record after record

Another problem I had was this: The cleaner the sound, the less the DJ realizes how loud it actually is - the typical artefacts he got used to are missing, and he will try to compensate.

Most clubs here have some kind of "volume processor" which will automatically track a bell curve for the SPL - quiet at the beginning of the party, loudest at the climax and getting quieter again towards the morning hours to make people go home. From my experience I can only recommend that the DJ gets his own monitoring system (with EQ so he can play) and has no access to the main PA.
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Old 25th February 2004, 09:03 PM   #7
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Anyway, this reminds me, the damn DJ last night was playing burned low quality MP3s. How do I know? cause on DJ Sammy's "heaven" there is this one burn that I had that already sounded like crap but it has a very distinctive gap at one part.
nooo!

not that song..i cant stand audio at under 192kbps

I was in a nice place,unknown speakers, listening to some live acoustiucal music,was good,too loud tho lack of 30hz ;-) and then straight after that was finished, we had blink182 and dj sammy blaring in our ears,not even mixed, with a 5sec gap inbetween songs, and they turned on the main rig jus above the dancefloor , stacks of PA with 12"s and 15"s blaring at max volume,it was bassicaly squarewave..no one danced funnily enuf ,we left!

im going to a Drum n bass concert this saturday-im expecting an excellent night and il shoot the audioguy if he ruins it with harsh highs or lack of lows
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Old 25th February 2004, 09:24 PM   #8
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Kinda sounds a bit foolish, drum and bass without any bass

Not that i listen to any but hey any music with bass, played without it is not good.

Thats the problem with us guys if you havnt had the good sound you dont miss it. Once you have once the crap comes in your ****ed off . I sometimes envy all those ppl who dont care and dont notice, they are perfectly happy with their boombox and crap club sound as they dont know anything else.

I am now designing a pair of stanmounts with 8" sealed. Now Im used to 10" sealed which give me f3 of about 40hz then f12 of 20. Now my room is quite small so I dont get LOW LOW Bass easily. and 40hz aint as low as u can go. These 8" do f3 of about 60hz, do you miss that extra 20hz, LIKE HELL U DO!

Other ppl would listen to them tho and go wow the bass, makes you think if this hobby is really as good as we say it is.

HUH what was that!! I cant believe i said that, ofcourse it is!!! DIY is brilliant. It just annoying when you do go somewhere to have fun with noise and all you think is, god I wish that trebble wasnt as tinny, and that bass booms like mad.

Oh well again it has its upsides, at hifi show listening to some expensive kit thinking, yeah its ok, not as good as mine tho. Mine cost much less to build HA!
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