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  • High School Gyms!

    So you're playing 50's and 60's music in a high school gym. 6 people in the band - including 3 guitars, bass, and drums. Three vocal mics going through the PA with a couple monitors. All the guitars just on their own amps so nobody's mixing sound. The sound is reverberating everywhere. None of us can hear what's going on. I wear musicians ear plugs (tinnitus) but we don't have the money to invest in in-ear monitoring.

    What other kinds of things can we do to make it better.......

    1) Will putting all the amps on stands make any difference?
    2) Should each amp be pointed at the respective player?
    3) Should we turn down the volume (which we started out doing but since we couldn't hear ourselves we turned it up).
    4) Should we never play in a high school gym again?

    Other suggestions?

  • #2
    How much PA are we dealing with here?

    You could put your guitar amps behind stage, mic them and just use monitors to hear yourself. Or better yet, get cabinet modelers (POD, etc.) and just run guitar>modeler>PA, and again just use monitors to hear yourself.
    "A performer without techs is standing naked, on a dark stage, and no one can hear them. A tech without a performer... has marketable skills."

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    • #3
      I am fairly certain that some of the echos from my high school DJ days are still echoing around that POS gymnasium!

      For any reverberant room, there are some helpful guidelines:

      1. Keep stage volume down. Use modelers and direct boxes where possible.
      2. Use a system with great pattern control. The less sound you spill on the walls and ceiling, the less energy gets bounced around the room. Avoid shooting sound straight on to flat surfaces.
      3. A little bass goes a long way.
      4. IEMs are great; floor wedges work, but keep #1 in mind.
      5. Gyms suck, from an acoustic standpoint.

      Can you tell us more about your system and the venue?
      Chief fader ape, wire monkey, mic macaque, and speaker chimp.

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      • #4
        Venue is just like any gym you've ever been in. We will have the choice of setting up on stage at one end or down on the floor.

        I never know what kind of PA system we might get - one of the band members borrows one from where he works.

        Are you saying to replace the guitar amps with PODs and just run them into the PA?

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        • #5
          Are you saying to replace the guitar amps with PODs and just run them into the PA?


          YES! Go to GC and try out a POD (or any other modelers they might have). You might never want to use an amp again!
          "A performer without techs is standing naked, on a dark stage, and no one can hear them. A tech without a performer... has marketable skills."

          Comment


          • #6
            In the past high school gyms were build to fit a budget, not for acoustics. Other than good EQ, keeping the stage volume low, and putting the coat rack against the back wall, your fighting an uphill challenge. The school district here just opened up a brand new high school / middle school. The acoustics in the new gym are excellent (for a gym). There are many sound damper panels installed in the ceiling and around the upper walls. Reverberation is quite low.

            The cheesy plastic speakers and improper aiming are a rant for another post!
            Engineering Axiom 21: Whomever has the key should be qualified.

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            • #7
              Not to hijack this thread but it brings up a question I've been meaning to ask. What kind of Acoustic treatments are available for gyms? The youth group at our church uses one for services. It is basically just a big shoe box w/no bleachers and thin carpet around the bottom half of the walls. I sometimes help with sound in there and it's pretty rough. They have been raising money for some much needed new equipment. I was just wondering what can be done for a more permanent solution to the acoustics. Cause with bad acoustics the best gear won't perform well. Thanks in advance.
              ∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆ Metric Halo 2882 Expanded +DSP, Event 20/20 bas, Etymotic ER4-PT and HF3, MacBook Pro 15" (early 2011 w/2.2 ghz i7 quad, 8GB Ram, 480 GB SSD), Pro Tools 11, Harrison Mixbus, and Reaper. Godin Progression, Godin LGSP-90 (NAMM ed.), Godin LGX-SA into an 11 Rack controlled by a FCB1010 with an Eureka Prom. A bunch of other stuff lying around.

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              • #8
                In my basement, old carpet works fine. Not the prettiest thing, but if you're hanging it on walls, you call always dye it. Usually this stuff gets thrown away. Price is right.

                In reverberant gyms. Turn all the bass knobs totally down and turn the treble up some extra. Keep the volume down and people will be able to dance. That's what we did for the St. Francis High School Prom in 1971. Only one couple danced, but they danced all night. (Only 20 couples there. It was a very small school and a normal sized gym.) Turned out the guy dancing was a drummer named Bing. Told us, he seldom got chances to dance. Turned out to be a very good drummer and fun to work with. Haven't seen him since 1973.

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                • #9
                  Not to hijack this thread but it brings up a question I've been meaning to ask. What kind of Acoustic treatments are available for gyms? The youth group at our church uses one for services. It is basically just a big shoe box w/no bleachers and thin carpet around the bottom half of the walls. I sometimes help with sound in there and it's pretty rough. They have been raising money for some much needed new equipment. I was just wondering what can be done for a more permanent solution to the acoustics. Cause with bad acoustics the best gear won't perform well. Thanks in advance.


                  The carpet on the lower walls is a huge step forward. Sounds like dampening near the ceiling will help. Depending on the ceiling, you probably have several options.
                  Engineering Axiom 21: Whomever has the key should be qualified.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The carpet on the lower walls is a huge step forward. Sounds like dampening near the ceiling will help. Depending on the ceiling, you probably have several options.


                    Yeah I guess I've been in worse sounding gyms, but it's still really reverberant. It is a flat roof gym where you can see the trusses if that helps. It has little to no insulation. Maybe I can take some pics soon. If I do I'll start a new thread. I have made sound absorbers for my little home studio. But some how doubt that'll be adequate for this situation. Any directions you can point me for some more research? and thanks again for your help.
                    ∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆ Metric Halo 2882 Expanded +DSP, Event 20/20 bas, Etymotic ER4-PT and HF3, MacBook Pro 15" (early 2011 w/2.2 ghz i7 quad, 8GB Ram, 480 GB SSD), Pro Tools 11, Harrison Mixbus, and Reaper. Godin Progression, Godin LGSP-90 (NAMM ed.), Godin LGX-SA into an 11 Rack controlled by a FCB1010 with an Eureka Prom. A bunch of other stuff lying around.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You'll need about a dozen 4x8 panels for starters...
                      Engineering Axiom 21: Whomever has the key should be qualified.

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