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  • I don't think there's any way to fix this...

    ...but I thought I'd ask anyway, just to be sure.

    I wind up running sound a lot in a particular local bar. The walls are brick except for the front wall, which is glass, and the nodes in the place are TERRIBLE. Next to the walls the bass will knock you down. Ten feet out there's nothing. On the dance floor it's solid but not nearly as loud as by the walls. I've tried putting one sub per side, putting them in a center cluster, putting them both on one wall ... nothing helps.

    I don't think there's really anything I can do except recommend to the bar that they do something about their acoustics, but does anyone have any suggestions? I do my best to mix for the dance floor and split the difference for the rest of the bar, but when it's my band playing and I have someone else on the board I get paranoid about whether or not they spend enough time moving around to hear the whole room (even though I normally have a buddy run the board and I know he's good at it, I still get nervous when I'm not the one standing behind the mixer). Any ways to address this other than suggesting the bar invest in some acoustic treatment?

    Thanks for any input.
    Joshua L.Decatur, AL

  • #2
    Any chance you can measure the room yourself to see what's going on?

    Also, when you say bass, do you mean you're loosing the kick, or bass guitar or both?

    If it's a predominant standing wave frequency... by the wall that's not "needed", maybe you can dial it out and then boost - carefully!

    I'll quit now and see what the sub experts have to say.

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    • #3
      I would just not bother with subs and go vocals only, with a little bit of kick in the mains. Fight fire with water.

      I also wouldn't bother trying to tell the bar it's acoustics suck, at best he'll hang some carpet on a wall or two and say IT SOUNDS WAY BETTER RITE? If you know the bar owner very well, maybe you can talk him/her into investing in some proper acoustic design, but unless the owner is willing to spend a pretty penny on an acoustics expert, hanging acoustic treatments without knowing what you're doing is really just shooting yourself in the foot.

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      • #4
        I mostly mean the kick, although the low end on the bass guitar does drop out a well. I don't think it would work well to go vocals-only in the mains at this place - the guitar would have to crank his amp so much that we wouldn't be able to hear anything else. I think the keyboard player would have a problem with it, too...
        Joshua L.Decatur, AL

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        • #5
          I would just not bother with subs and go vocals only

          not having a sub or LOW end cab just seems wrong
          imo..
          try running your sub or low end out of phase,

          Comment


          • #6
            Here's an interesting idea (it might work or might not).

            The only kind of acoustic treatment that would help would be bass traps (since your predominant problems seem to be low end). I have seen simple bass traps do amazing things. Strangly enough bass traps while eliminating certain frequencies, sometimes help to ADD bass in some areas by eliminating phase cancellation. They can In the end, if implimented properly, help to smooth the whole low end situation out.

            It doesn't have to be that solid (in this case it's size (dimensions) that matters). What I've seen work is stretched canvas hung to make base traps in the rafters (not an extremly expensive fix - but you gotta get it right or it's usless). The one hitch is that the Canvas/heavy fabric must be fireproofed to meet local codes (like curtains).

            If it's an open rafter building (a lot of bars are) and you could scrounge up a couple of pieces of fire retardent canvas, you might try getting a few curtain clamps and experimenting to see what works. You could hire an acoustic consultant (some architects specialize in this stuff) but that would make your costs go through the roof (so that won't work). You'd be replacing their fee with a lot of your own sweat, ladder work and trial & error time to achieve the desired result.

            It depends on how motivated you are and the layout of the building but this MIGHT make it better.

            Once again SAFETY FIRST! Make sure you are within local building codes and that you secure things well (even if it's just a temporary test).

            FWIW as long as you don't interfere with the lighting & ventilation, this can be made to look good (with a little imagination) and it MIGHT save the bar owner some on their heating bills in the winter (just an extra thought).

            that's my .02
            J.R. Previously jrble

            See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

            Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
            If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.

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            • #7
              Here's an interesting idea (it might work or might not).

              The only kind of acoustic treatment that would help would be bass traps (since your predominant problems seem to be low end). I have seen simple bass traps do amazing things. Strangly enough bass traps while eliminating certain frequencies, sometimes help to ADD bass in some areas by eliminating phase cancellation. They can In the end, if implimented properly, help to smooth the whole low end situation out.

              It doesn't have to be that solid (in this case it's size (dimensions) that matters). What I've seen work is stretched canvas hung to make base traps in the rafters (not an extremly expensive fix - but you gotta get it right or it's usless). The one hitch is that the Canvas/heavy fabric must be fireproofed to meet local codes (like curtains).

              If it's an open rafter building (a lot of bars are) and you could scrounge up a couple of pieces of fire retardent canvas, you might try getting a few curtain clamps and experimenting to see what works. You could hire an acoustic consultant (some architects specialize in this stuff) but that would make your costs go through the roof (so that won't work). You'd be replacing their fee with a lot of your own sweat, ladder work and trial & error time to achieve the desired result.

              It depends on how motivated you are and the layout of the building but this MIGHT make it better.

              Once again SAFETY FIRST! Make sure you are within local building codes and that you secure things well (even if it's just a temporary test).

              FWIW as long as you don't interfere with the lighting & ventilation, this can be made to look good (with a little imagination) and it MIGHT save the bar owner some on their heating bills in the winter (just an extra thought).

              that's my .02


              I was kind of thinking the same thing, but with some 'curtains' hung at an angle (One end of the curtain bracket thingy is bolted to the wall as per usual and the other end gets an angled wood shim to take it 3-4 inches away from the wall to act as a dampening material or trap) against the walls with thick fireproof material. Just a little sound absorption in the right place can make all the difference in the world.
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              • #8
                I think Shaster is on the right track. A cheap thing to try would be taking loads of frequencies out of as many sources as you can, from the bass amp to the monitors to, (least difficult) the mains.
                My Business: Media Production in the Texas Hill Country

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                • #9
                  If you can take measurements with a spectrum analyzer... make sure that you do it in several locations in the room.

                  FWIW - I've worked in rooms like this and in almost every situation... less is more when it comes to running stuff through the PA. I've also recommended sound treatments to several clubs that would benefit and those that implemented bass traps had the most marked improvements and those that also put up some "artwork"... basically some DIY Rockwool panels (made to look like some of their motocycle-theme art, flaming gas tanks, etc.) mounted about 2" out from the walls along the sides about 10-15' out from the edge of the stage are now head and shoulders above their competition sound-wise.
                  Where the Mississippi River runs west...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Unless your fan base is incapable of moving around, even coverage of the room may not be as big a problem as you fear. Especially in the bass frequencies. If you know where the nodes are, you could turn that to your advantage with a little stage banter, "I see the ground-pounders are scrunched up against the wall again, So if you like a lot of bass, buy another beer and head over to the wall!"

                    As for the subs themselves, I'd be inclined to keep them. But remember that moving them around in the X and Y axes is only part of the equation. Changing the way the subs couple to the floor (spiking them or floating/flying them) can make a noticeable change.

                    best,

                    john

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                    • #11
                      ...As for the subs themselves, I'd be inclined to keep them. But remember that moving them around in the X and Y axes is only part of the equation. Changing the way the subs couple to the floor (spiking them or floating/flying them) can make a noticeable change...


                      ... and read this.
                      Where the Mississippi River runs west...

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                      • #12


                        As for the subs themselves, I'd be inclined to keep them. But remember that moving them around in the X and Y axes is only part of the equation. Changing the way the subs couple to the floor (spiking them or floating/flying them) can make a noticeable change.

                        best,

                        john


                        Thanks, but I'd be pretty leery of trying to fly a Peavey SP218. It's just a bar rig, nothing super fancy obviously, and the subs aren't designed for that.

                        I think next time I run sound there I'm going to put both subs against one wall, side-by-side. It's been a while since I tried that and I don't really remember how it sounded.

                        It's not a huge issue. We make it sound good on the dancefloor and while there are definite nulls in spots and a LOT of bass by the walls, people can and do move around.

                        I appreciate the input from everyone, though, and y'all have definitely given me some things to think about.
                        Joshua L.Decatur, AL

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