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Old 28th April 2011, 03:05 AM   #1
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Default DIY guidance - commercial application

First off, I want to apologize for the noob(ish) first post. I've got some experience in the diy audio arena, but nowhere near enough for design - or even to know where to start looking, especially in a project like this one. That's where you all come in!

I recently purchased a business - a children's fitness center where we do mommy & me classes, birthday parties, gymnastics, that sort of stuff (Gymnastics and Birthday Parties for Children | Mommy and me | MY GYM - Children's Fitness Center, if you're curious). We play a lot of music in the gym - probably 40 minutes out of every hour the gym is open (7 days a week, 6-11 hours a day), and the current audio setup is HORRIBLE. Take 4 of the cheapest crap-tastic home-theater-in-a-box speakers you can imagine, drive them with an even cheaper receiver from a different home-theater-in-a-box, and ask them to fill a room that's 2000 sq. ft with 11 foot ceilings. Add in bad/old/scratchy recordings of kids music played out of the headphones port of an 8 year old laptop . . . . :shudder:

So while people don't complain specifically about the sound quality, the business would be better served by something more pleasant. When we're not doing kids songs, the majority of the time is with pop/rock/current music, an eclectic mix aimed for young parents to enjoy.

So for budget reasons, I'd like to build speakers for the gym, rather than just buying some. i.e. use the same money I would spend on buying something adequate, and build something decidedly better. The space they'd need to fill is 44'x34' (don't care about the lobby that's another 36'x12' up front). Thick pile carpet on the entire floor, half a dozen pillars, and lots of gymnastics mats and equipment (wooden climbers, slides, ballpit, crashmats, etc.). Total budget of $1,000 at the VERY most (ideally $6-800, if possible). 4 speakers if it's possible to get a wide enough sound-stage from each individual speaker, or spread it out between 6 speakers depending on budget (2 extra speakers + an amp with more outputs = $$??). And oh yeah, no place for a sub, so as broad a frequency response as possible (down to 100hz would be fantastic).

As for my skills, pre-fab cabinets like ones sold from Parts Express would be ideal, since my woodworking ability is rudimentary at best. It's a part of the project that I don't have time to muck around with (super busy with a new business and all - plus no access to a table saw). But I do have experience designing & building a few subwoofers for 12v applications, and can read a schematic well enough to build a cross-over - but wouldn't know where to begin in designing one.

Any advice on projects to look at that would fit the bill? I'm looking forward to your ideas/responses!
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Old 28th April 2011, 07:46 AM   #2
NEO Dan is offline NEO Dan  United States
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Have a look at the EconoWave
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Old 28th April 2011, 08:38 AM   #3
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Eminence Beta12LTA in a simple reflex box might be good, they are pretty cheap, go loud and don't sound too bad. HF response is a bit wobbly but anything over 10k or so is probably just a nuisance anyway...

Econowaves better if the budget goes that far. Far better HF dispersion.

Put a properly connected piezo tweeter in each box if the HF is an issue.

Last edited by blakkshepeaudio; 28th April 2011 at 08:40 AM. Reason: Added piezo one liner...
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Old 28th April 2011, 10:52 AM   #4
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Distributed sound from above (ceiling speakers) can work really well, and a pair of cabinets in a particular spot independently volume controlled can really make the total system crank....when you want it.
Modern 2 way ceiling speakers from a modern 100V line system can give really good sound with a bit of eq.

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Old 28th April 2011, 07:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEO Dan View Post
Have a look at the EconoWave
Good tip - thanks. I'll have to dig through to find a version that best suits my application. Using those knock-down cabinets, I wonder how they'd look just covered with truck-bed liner. I really don't have the aptitude or patience for a lot of finish work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blakkshepeaudio View Post
Econowaves better if the budget goes that far. Far better HF dispersion.
Thanks - it looks like the Econowaves are affordable enough. Although I still need to look into how burly of an amp I need to drive them, and see what that's going cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfeedback View Post
Distributed sound from above (ceiling speakers) can work really well, and a pair of cabinets in a particular spot independently volume controlled can really make the total system crank....when you want it.
Modern 2 way ceiling speakers from a modern 100V line system can give really good sound with a bit of eq.
Huh, I have a horrible memory of some in-ceiling speakers in a different My Gym that I used to work at. Blaringly loud while standing directly underneath one, and weird response everywhere else. I'm working with a flimsy dropped ceiling, and several feet of irregular space above it (ducts & girders). How much bracing is required to run a good in-ceiling setup?

I had an inclining to try some kind of full range line-array. Mostly for the form-factor of it (smaller speakers spread out and tucked up by the ceiling so they're out of the way). Is a line array more of a novelty than a realistic option? I've never had a chance to demo or build one.
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Old 28th April 2011, 09:48 PM   #6
T101 is offline T101  Bulgaria
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With 200 sq ft there is a probability that you have 15-20 m distances in the jym.

That means that a single stereo pair just does not fit your needs. You risk the closest to the speakers people to have great discomfort and the most further to feel disengaged from the happening due to low spl.

Your options are two - either a distributed sound system or a speaker column.

JBL CBT 50LA Array Loudspeaker & more Column Speaker Arrays within Commercial Loudspeakers at www.ProAcousticsUsa.com
The idea behind these devices is thyat you get the same spl in one meter before them and in any other covered distance.

Some rely on electronics to accomplish that, some rely on phisical placement of the drivers in the array column.
For instance 1-1-1-0-1 where 1 is a speaker in the respektive place and 0 is a lack of speaker but center to center between two neighbouring 1's is as if the 0 was 1 too...
There are 7 digit and 9 digits columns too.

All do one and the same thing - even distribution in the covered area, it is mainly accomplished by the vertical tilt towards the covered area, so they have to be elevated and tilted in order to work
And you can DIY your own sound columns line arrays... especially if I find the book that had a chapter on that matter

The range under which the quality noticabely decreases is 300 hz to 3 khz - that is according to the theory. While this is too conservative it holds quite alot of truth. You can extend the range towards the low frequencies almost with no penalty from the audience, but what can really make them feel bad are compression drivers in horns driven to wild SPL's. People would rather accept nice 6khz to 11 khz high range.

Four columns and a monster sub could do it for you.

Last edited by T101; 28th April 2011 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 28th April 2011, 10:27 PM   #7
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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mrfeedback and T101 have the right idea.
Look at distributed audio - there is a guide to designing distributed audio systems at JBL. http://www.jblpro.com/pub/manuals/pssdm_1.pdf
and JBL Professional Technical Library

As long as you are not looking for ear busting levels, you could probably get away with 6-10 70V ceiling speakers:
Amazon.com: JBL Professional CSS8018 10W 8 in. Ceiling Speakers: Musical Instruments
and a distribution amp:
http://www.amazon.com/Rolls-RA2100b-...029452&sr=1-20

I am not specifically recommending these products, just showing your budget may be adequate for an all commercial system.
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Old 29th April 2011, 01:04 AM   #8
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I'm not against the idea of ceiling speakers - but the problem comes down to budget - have any of you priced dropped ceiling work recently? Scary expensive, and to redo one to be appropriate for good speaker mounting, I can't imagine.

Right now to "fix" the distance vs. stereo issue I just run all the music mono with a DSP in foobar2000.

Anyone have any actual experience with line arrays in a large room application?
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Old 29th April 2011, 04:15 AM   #9
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daemione View Post
I'm not against the idea of ceiling speakers - but the problem comes down to budget - have any of you priced dropped ceiling work recently? Scary expensive, and to redo one to be appropriate for good speaker mounting, I can't imagine.
Just put them in back boxes (perhaps DIY) and hang them. you don't need a drop ceiling, although they _are_ probably voiced for an infinite baffle. You might need a L-R BSC circuit.
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Old 29th April 2011, 05:08 AM   #10
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You don't have a suspended grid type ceiling ???.
An alternative is to find cheap 8" two way pre-built speakers, mount them to the ceiling and connect them via 70V/100V line transformers fed from a 70V/100V line output amplifier and run the whole lot in mono.
An amplifier like this AMC+ 120 Mixer Amplifier is very suitable.
Click the image to open in full size.
You can also use any old amplifier to drive a transformer like this Amazon.com: 70V 200W High Power Line Matching Transformer: Electronics which then drives the 70V/100V distributed line.
Click the image to open in full size.

At each loudspeaker use one of these http://www.amazon.com/NXG-Technology...4054137&sr=1-8
Click the image to open in full size.

Eric.
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Last edited by mrfeedback; 29th April 2011 at 05:18 AM.
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