Thread: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

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  1. #1
    Craves piCklEmiLk Got punched for singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"
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    Default Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    Thinking towards a conference style event, how would you go about this? I realise the size and reverberation of the room accounts a lot towards the set up choice but could be discuss...

    PA choice
    PA positioning
    output setups including any time delay measurement
    Reference software used if any
    Mics used
    EQ used

    Obviously music playback is going to sound crap thru a pa setup for voice but a lot of engineers use a number of techniques and setup states... could you discuss yours?


    Looking forward to the reply's.

    Cheers,
  2. #2
    Roadside Outcast Dept. Mallory's missing camera
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    So much depends on the room the conference is to be held in, as well as if it's a "round table" style of gig, or a lecture given to the hall.

    However, if speech intelligibility is your primary concern, I would look at a distributed system...lots of small boxes running at low level. Think "many whispers vs few shouts".

    It's not unheard of to have 2 distinct PA's. One for low level stuff...the talking bits, and one for high-levels...video packages etc.


    Cheers,
    Tim
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    foam pop filters on all mics

    generous HPF

    I hate plosives
  4. #4
    Craves piCklEmiLk Got punched for singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    So much depends on the room the conference is to be held in, as well as if it's a "round table" style of gig, or a lecture given to the hall.
    Good point.

    I have worked on a few distributed systems mainly in hotel conference halls some good, some not so good... the latter ones have mainly been mounted into the ceiling with the speaker cone showing but facing downwards towards the floor.
    Last edited by henry miller; December 16th, 2012 at 12:03 AM.
  5. #5
    Craves piCklEmiLk Got punched for singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    foam pop filters on all mics

    generous HPF
    Good call....
  6. #6
    Craves piCklEmiLk Got punched for singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    edited post
    Last edited by henry miller; December 16th, 2012 at 12:01 AM.
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    Avoid monitors/fold back for speakers. Put the music and video feed in them.

    Most speakers are not used to any form of hearing themselves. They will keep backing off the mic as they hear way more than they want. You will keep turning them up as they back away more and more until......
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  8. #8
    Craves piCklEmiLk Got punched for singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    Avoid monitors/fold back for speakers. Put the music and video feed in them.

    Most speakers are not used to any form of hearing themselves. They will keep backing off the mic as they hear way more than they want. You will keep turning them up as they back away more and more until......
    99% of the time this is how I do it and works well.
  9. #9
    Craves piCklEmiLk Got punched for singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    interesting article on in ceiling distributed systems and how speakers apply coverage dispersion.

    http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/e...stribubed_/P4/
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    I dial in a system to sound natural first.

    deal with issues next.

    I don't see speech only as that much different.

    I can tell you I would not be excited to listen to a system with exaggerated mids
    at a hefty volume for any length of time.

    I would sense a flat quality system that goes down to 80 ( I might filter as high as 150 anyways is it was speech only, it depends, I would need to hear it first before I would say that)

    Should be fine.
  11. #11
    Craves piCklEmiLk Got punched for singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    I don't see speech only as that much different.

    I can tell you I would not be excited to listen to a system with exaggerated mids
    at a hefty volume for any length of time.


    I feel the same... It just gives me a headache....

    I dial in a system to sound natural first.
    same.

    For lack of a better word I like to be encased In speech rather than hit in the face with it... I've been asked in the past to step up the eq from 2 - 2.5k upwards Its awful but keeps clients happy.
  12. #12
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    Default

    Personally, I despise ceiling mounted systems. But then, most of the ones I've used have been poorly designed.

    Actually, speaking gigs are the only place I really like line arrays. They sound like shit for music, but for talking the even coverage is a really big plus. If you aren't going with line arrays, distributed, delayed, small boxes with the volume kept as low as possible is clearly the way to go. Getting the delays set right is critical, though. Doing them wrong will ruin the job.


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  13. #13
    Craves piCklEmiLk Got punched for singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    Personally, I despise ceiling mounted systems. But then, most of the ones I've used have been poorly designed.
    Me too, I cringe when I have to make them work... especially at a 6am call.

    If you aren't going with line arrays, distributed, delayed, small boxes with the volume kept as low as possible is clearly the way to go. Getting the delays set right is critical, though. Doing them wrong will ruin the job.
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    Back in the days when I worked for a college, I'd be called to mic the board meetings (why I don't know....I think these people wanted to feel more important than the subjects they actually discussed) The exec sec had a single mic recorder we put in the middle of a series of hard wood tables set in a square configuration. She never had a problem transcribing the minutes. The room was 16 x 20 at best and there were only 12 people there at most. Well one of them decided they wanted to install ceiling mounted speakers and a pa. They bought some piece of shit system and had maintenance perform the abortion of installing the 3 or 4 ceiling speakers, then they called me in to wire it. I first had to reposition the speakers, I don't know what the hell maintenance was thinking, then they sent me out to radio shack to get some shitty 30w amp. The jack bay consisted of 6 mic inputs and 1 output. Come meeting time, I'd throw 6 sm-58's on the tables, carefully putting mouse pads under every mic stand to eliminate noise coming off the hard wood tabletops. I dipped the treble on the amp and it worked, they all felt more important.This went on for about 6 months till they did a remod on the board room and put these plastic pzm's on the tables for the meetings, and that thankfully ended my involvement.
  15. #15
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    Personally, I despise ceiling mounted systems. But then, most of the ones I've used have been poorly designed.

    Actually, speaking gigs are the only place I really like line arrays. They sound like shit for music, but for talking the even coverage is a really big plus. If you aren't going with line arrays, distributed, delayed, small boxes with the volume kept as low as possible is clearly the way to go. Getting the delays set right is critical, though. Doing them wrong will ruin the job.


    Gabriel

    Can't agree with you more on this one.

    In fact pending on size of room/audience - The early version of the Bose L1 system (Model 1) wins hands down.
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    Get your system tuned correctly and it'll work for both speech *and* music just fine.

    But for corpy gigs, definitely distribute instead of planning on doing it all with the big speakers by the stage. Save those for the videos.
  17. #17
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    Get your system tuned correctly and it'll work for both speech *and* music just fine.
    I've never heard a line array sound good for music. They all have some really awful artifacts which are very fatiguing to listen to, at least for me.


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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    I've never heard a line array sound good for music. They all have some really awful artifacts which are very fatiguing to listen to, at least for me.


    Gabriel
    I've only heard ONE line array system sound good in all my years watching music. DIY venue with insulation blown into the entire ceiling, four array speakers mounted atop subs -- the whole thing no more than 10 ft off the ground.

    It was the best sound I've ever heard for live performance. I've never heard that kind of power and clarity replicated, and it's not particularly close.

    * * *

    And may I also comment, as a until-recently employee of a major luxury hotel, on how embarrassing ceiling installs are in ballrooms. I felt ashamed at what I would have to bill these conferences for their use.
  19. #19
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    Default Re: Setting up a PA for speech intelligibility

    So no one has used a well tuned Meyer array then... Heh.
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  20. #20
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    So no one has used a well tuned Meyer array then... Heh.
    I haven't, but given how much more I like their conventional systems than anyone else's, I would be happy to try one, or at least to hear a show on one. The first time I ran monitors on a powered Meyer rig was one of my favorite memories doing sound - it was so EASY to make them work!!!


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