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Hello,

Basic question. Was sound engineering in a school hall/food mess and the acoustics were something horrible. Reflection city, which resulted in an extremely muffled (especially the low-end) and reverby mess.

Now I know with time/money I could have treated the room with materials to hand but this was a quick job with little time and little care for audio quality.

My question is, does anyone have any quick tips for getting the best out of a bad acoustic situation? I lowered the bass eq a little but missed it for only a little bit of extra clarity. Was there much else I could do to get a better sound? (WITHOUT TREATMENT!)

Cheers, N

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2 Answers 2

It's perhaps worth going into a bit more detail about the setup. From what you've said I presume it was a PA system and people speaking, right?

In makeshift situations like these I think the important things are:

  • Use a cardoid/hypercardoid mic. If it's a lectern situation miniature shotguns like the akg c474 are good for this sort of thing
  • Get your speaker close to the microphone, make sure they are aware they need to stay in front of the mic, not turn their head too much etc
  • Get the PA speakers as close to the audience as you can, the less volume you need the better. You want the audience to be getting as much direct sound from the speakers as possible, not the sound reflecting from the walls of the room. If you have multiple speakers (more than 2) distribute them around the audience so everyone is roughly the same distance from a speaker.
  • Use a parametric EQ to tightly notch out the frequencies which the room naturally resonates at.
  • Roll off the lows as you already have.

That's about it as far as I know... without spending loads of money!

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Thanks a lot for your answer. It was mostly playing back music and radio jingles, rather than having anyone mic'ed up. But aye, it was a basic PA system. I think I was on the right lines, luckily I don't have to go back to that room again. :-) –  Nicol J Craig Jun 21 '12 at 8:17
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Get the speakers high as you can and tilted down toward the audience, this is too use the audience to absorb some the sound (as a room-treatment would) rather hitting the back wall as it normally would.

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In my experience, most speakers aren't sufficiently directional for tilting-down to be much use. If you have line arrays, sure, but otherwise Mark Durham's advise close to the audience is more helpful. –  leftaroundabout Jan 29 at 14:23
    
line-array aren't the only full-range directional's in town, "Danley Sound Labs" have some interesting kit that may help in this situation (and without line-arrays price or complex setup). –  back_ache Feb 17 at 11:49
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