Building a PA system for a 3200 sq ft club! HELP!!

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Hey, so am planning to turn the old family barn into a nightclub and I've been researching PA systems online for a few days now and needless to say am still confused as hell, and would really appreciate some guidance.

The barn is a 82 ft x 39 ft (3198 sq ft) brick enclosure and the ceiling is about 16 ft high. Now instead of buying a system I've decided to get one build, what kind of PA would work to really light this place up? Here's what I've planned so far.

TOPS: 4 x three way line arrays (2 on each side) powered by 2 x 12" LF, 4 x 6" MF, 2 x 2" HF drivers.

SUBS: 2 x dual 18" front loaded. (I would love to have a folded horn or a scoop but research tells me they are best for outdoors and won't do justice in 3200 sq ft club...but let me know if you think otherwise)

Now a sound engineer friend of mine is suggesting I swap the 12" for 15" and get 6 x arrays (3 on each side) and 3 x dual 18" subs but I think that would a bit much, maybe keep the 12" but get 6 x arrays with 3 x dual 18", also I've no idea what kind of wattage would be adequate for the speakers as well as the system as a whole, also speaker sensitivity, SPL and all that jazz. As you can probably tell am quite confused and any help is appreciated, the club would be strictly electronic in nature between 90 bpm - 180 bpm, you know dub/house/techno all that goodness.
Try talking to the sales team at Sweetwater, they are known for their customer service.

Have you considered acoustics in that echo chamber?

Build? I like building things, but in a commercial application, why reinvent the wheel. Especially if you intend to fly the cabs.

I think the reason your pal suggested 15s for the mains is that you might get a hole between the 12s on their low end and the subwoofers on their top end. And that would be right where the meat of your bottom lies.

Look into cab coupling with environment. Subwoofers get a boost from being next to a wall, and in a corner, etc.

I am maybe reading too much into a short post, but it seems so far like your idea of a sound system is speakers. What thought have you put into amplification, and what sort of signal sources? is this for live music? or a DJ?

Speaking for myself, I don;t think you want the entire bar to be deafening. There is a place for loud thumping music, but any club needs places people can get out of the noise enough to talk, at least to exchange phone numbers.

WHy not call a professional sound contractor and ask for a bid. See what he proposes (or she). it may be similar to your ideas, or it may diverge considerably, and he may have some insights you never considered to suggest one route versus another. Frankly tossing a C-note or two to a pro to assess my sound needs and setup would be a worthwhile investment to me. Breaking up standing waves would be one thing alone that could make the difference between a boomy mess and a clean sound.

Dancers and drinkers want to hear the beat, they are not sitting in a sweet spot critically listening to the soundstaging and separation.
Oh boy. Get that friend of yours in there. Rent similar equipment for a day and set it up. He can use smarrt to balance out the sound somewhat. then if its both quality and loud enough, build replicas.
Remember you always want to have enough power and speakers in reserve so the system is not going full tilt all the time. Otherwise distortion and blown equipment.
Re; Help building a PA system for a 3200 sq ft club

Hey There,

Ok, you and your buddy are a bit misguided if this system is going to be used for electronic music playback predominantly. I have been successfully designing and building dance music playback systems for 35 years. One, throw out the line array idea. These things are not appropriate for his application; they are intended for throwing speech intelligibly (and music) for a long distance in an acoustically challenging space (ie, arena or outdoors). Additionally, to create the required directivity in the intended bandwidth, the array must be built to the right length (in other words, enough boxes in each array to complete the line source at each frequency range). Three boxes a side ain't gonna cut it! For proper dance playback, that keeps the music on the dancefloor (where it belongs), and out of the quieter areas for drinking and kanoodling, a point source system localized right over the dancers' heads, and a cardioid / directional bass array is the way to go. Roughly, off of the top of my head, a space as you have described would utilize 4 or 6, 3-way cabinets flanking the dance floor at it's perimeter , an array of ultra high-frequency bullet tweeters in the center, four horn loaded mid-bass (or kick) cabinets under the stage / dj booth, and a sub-bass array (stack of folded horns), far enough away so that the bass waves will deploy properly right at the dance floor. The trick here is proper, saturated coverage where you need it, and minimal spill-over into the quieter areas (low-level mid / high frequency fill in these areas. if needed, can be accomplished with ceiling speakers, appropriately delayed and equalized). Just my recommended start point for your mains. By the way, where are you located? (just curious). Give a shout back if you have any questions.
Robbies got it right! Surround sound is the way to go with this for sure and you get to save a bunch of money. I've done 200 in Auckland. I could do this job for $20k easily including 18 inch subs and front end. We used a lot of W bins lying on their sides and the chicks would dance on them. Great fun! Don't waste your good money on line arrays. Its just another example of BS audio terminology that achieves sweet naff all! Unless you've got at least 6 elements aside and then what do you get...projection you don't need!
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