I played a nightmarish gym last weekend, was going to post about it but decided not to. Anyway, here is what I was going to say:
TOPICPop Trio in Gym - Three L1s - Less than stellar sound
We played in a Gym yesterday, from one end, aiming the long way down the room. We played the same room last summer (see pic), but sat up near the end of the long wall and played across the gym, like this:
This time we sat up at the end of the room...to the right of the "Capt Marvel" wagon. About where the white picket fence is in this pic:
The echo made the guitar sound huge, and the guests were not there yet, so we were jamming on some old, heavy rock songs.
During one tune, I set the TD-12 drum module to a beat and walked out front while the guys jammed along. The drums sounded fine. As I walked out front, the high end of the lead vocal dropped dead at about 16' out. The further I went the worse it got. Shocking!
The vocal was muffled and very low volume...weak. I've never experienced this before, it was scarey. The gym at this time was empty, we hoped that when filled with bodies it might be better. But usually bodies absorb the highs so I was concerned.
First, we tilted the PS1 "up" a bit, it was in its Deluxe bag and was aiming down toward the floor a little. No noticable difference. I had Rick set the lows flat for his vocal mic and it improved quite a bit (he usually runs lows at 3 o'clock.) I then had him roll ALL the lows off and it sounded really good to me 40' out. Rick said it sounded awful on stage, so we wound up with a compromise at 11 o'clock on the bass EQ, flat mid, and highs at 2 o'clock (as usual).
Before we played to the guests, I rolled off the lows on my vocal too, just to be sure, though it sounded fine on stage. I only bring all this up, because it is the first time I've really heard a huge difference in the sound from stage to audience, especially at a distance of only 20'.
It was so odd, sounding powerful at my stage position, but really wimpy only a few feet out. We got no complaints from the audience who seemed to be having a great time.
After reading some if Hilmar's wiki entry on Spaciousness and localization, maybe “early lateral reflections” was what was missing standing that close to the band.
But, is this a gymnasium thing? Has anyone else experienced this?
Opus...I'm glad you gave me the opportunity to mention this...and yes, roll off the bass!
Ditto, ditto, ditto! This place was like yours but about 1/3 the size. The ceilings were probably 8'. Concrete walls, tile floor, suspended ceiling. It was AWFUL!!
The room was dead, dead, dead too. We did soundcheck when it was empty. Seemed fair, but no reverb whatsoever. When the place filled up (80 h ead), the vocals went out about 20' and poof. The soundtracks overpowered us at the back of the room, I was told. Well, not over powered us, but were louder than they were where I was standing.
With that all said, how do we compensate for this...without effect/reverb, etc. Was wondering if you could EQ the room before you start, with some random tones.
Were you set up in the center of the wall? That is, were you "symmetrically" placed in the room? Perfectly rectangular, hard-surfaced rooms are the absolute worst to play in (especially if they are square!).
Drumr: I suspect you were better on the long-side of the room last year because you were set up off-center, near (but not right in) a corner.
I really doubt reverb would help the overall room.
If a venue is NOT designed for decent sound (like a gym!), then give yourself enough time to set up into two or three locations in the room, if at all possible. If that's not possible, work with the folks doing the room set-up to see if you can at least start in a location which is not "symmetric" in the room -- those "symmetry points" are the places mostly likely to be where certain frequencies will either be greatly boosted and/or greatly reduced. (Avoid an absolute corner -- that has "diagonal symmetry"!) The L1 is easy to move -- move it!
Originally posted by opusthe2nd: There has got to be a way to tune this and make it somewhat acceptable....no?
Actually, I'm only half teasing. With simple 3-band EQ (such as on the L1 Remote), the best you can do is some poor compromise, as Drumr described.
The thing is that even with a sophisticated multi-band EQ/frequency analyzer/reference mic, etc. you can only compensate for the poor acoustics at particular locations in the room; what will work for one location can sound terrible at another location. With some rooms, you just can't 'win' ... just try some things, and do the best you can.