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I am creating a performance space, mostly for music. Presently, it is a 4000sq. foot empty warehouse. We were thinking that the audience could be around 500. Someone said that we should get a flying PA set up, but I'm not sure that the space is large enough to require that. Also we are just starting out, so cost will be a consideration. Another musician told me that he doesn't think powered speakers sound as good as a traditional amp and speakers. Also being a warehouse there is a lot of reverb. What kind of baffling should I be thinking about. Or does anyone know an expert in improving acoustics, that I could hire? Any input y'all have is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Greg

  • I think this is actually a good question but quite hard to answer with the information given. How loud do you want it to be and how loud are you allowed to be? This in turn depends on the kind of music and the regulations in your area. A jazz venue would need a different approach than an EDM venue. One factor that you should definitely consider is how the space will resonate if you play too loud. Warehouses are known to rattle when they resonate with high SPL bass in which case a line array would somewhat improve because you have some level of directionality control. But not in bass.... – Schizomorph Sep 9 '17 at 10:38
  • This would be primarily rock and roll / Blues / Popular Music. I think somewhere in a mid-range of loudness is what we would be allowed, maybe around 90 Decibels? – Greg Eichman Sep 10 '17 at 17:47
  • Schizo - Please see that I have edited original Post, and thanks by the way. – Greg Eichman Sep 10 '17 at 17:50
  • I can't make a specific suggestion on the PA because I don't know the market but when I used to set up concerts, L'Acoustics was the rig I saw more often. It used to be the industry standard and they make different models you can combine. I'm not sure if it's hearsay but I think you need an engineer trained by them to set it up. If you're lucky, you might be able to get a second hand rig and the seller would be certified, so they could set them up as part of the deal. – Schizomorph Sep 11 '17 at 9:56
  • I suspect a set of flown ARCS with a set of subs under them would be sufficient but do check with a PA hire company near you. They will be better trained to answer this. – Schizomorph Sep 11 '17 at 10:01
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I would look for sound design companies or at least PA equipment vendors near you to give a recommendation; without being physically in the room it's impossible to give solid advice.

Even a couple hours of a consultant's time would probably be well worth it in the long run. Getting good sound in a warehouse-like space is notoriously difficult, and you could easily spend more on acoustic treatment than the sound system itself depending on the desired end result.

At the very least, a PA equipment vendor should be able to come out to your space to give you a rough estimate of wattage, recommend a few brands, and give you a quote. I'm not sure if they would do this for free, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

If you have a bit more to spend, I would recommend finding a company that will create an acoustic computer model of the room. This will help them be most efficient in sizing and aiming speakers, as well as knowing where to put your acoustic treatment for best effect.

The only such company I have worked with in the past is Spinnaker Multimedia Solutions, based in Pennsylvania. They are geared toward church installations but are very knowledgeable; they spent 2 weeks onsite at our church in Minnesota doing an install in our new building. (NOTE: I have no affiliation with Spinnaker and do not gain anything by recommending them.) But this is the type of company you are looking for if you want to create a professional-level performance space.

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