Low drop ceiling sound issues

Mathias Paul

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Jan 22, 2021
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Hey. So I’m new to this forum and a but of a sound noob. I’m trying to make the sound in our church more full/big without much success.

our Room is approximately 50x60ft with 12.5 high drop ceiling. Above the drop ceiling, there is drywall about 1.5 feet up.

we run 2 behringer eurolive b1520 pro (mounted sideways up against the drop ceiling). We also run 2 Mackie 15” thump subwoofers. Behringer X32 board.

the front and back walls are drywall, the side walls are masonry and one of the walls is basically a giant window.(we’re in a storefront)

there are no acoustical treatments.

i realize it’s never going to get great big sound but there has to be some improvements that could be made right?

acoustical treatments?
new loudspeakers?
more speakers with delays?
remove drop ceiling to gain 1.5 feet more height?

what you guys think?

oh yeah, about halfway along the left wall there is a furnace room that protrudes out about 4 feet

the Pic I added is kind of crap..also doesn’t have the behringer speakers in it
 
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There are a large number of things that could be done, but without clearly understanding what the problem is, it's not clear if the problem can be fixed with a better mix, better deployment of the existing gear, new gear, modifications to the space, or some combination of the above. That said, a few things stand out:
  • I don't see any indication that the b1520 pro speakers have any sort of provision for mounting on anything but a speaker stand, so I'm curious how they are mounted (there's a high probability that the mounting method is unsafe). Additionally, how the speakers are aimed can make a pronounced difference in the sound quality - generally speakers should be pointed at the audience and away from hard surfaces.
  • The speakers you list are entry-level gear (there's certainly room for improvement there), but that's also not a big space so the system you have should be at least adequate for the space. It's highly unlikely that adding more loudspeakers (e.g. delays) will be an improvement
  • How do things sound with commercially-produced tracks? This is the easiest way to tell if the problem is with the system, or the mix. If things sound fine with a good input source, the problem is not the system.
 

Chris Hindle

Freshman
Apr 18, 2011
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Montreal
Have you rotated the horns correctly for "sideways" use? I've never seen / used these, but the on-line manual says:

an outstanding feature of the B1220 PRO, B1520 PRO and the B2520 PRO are their asymmetrically formed horns (“Asymmetrical Dispersion Constant Directivity Horn”). By turning the horns 90°, you can optimize the directional pattern for both vertical and horizontal speaker positioning. The default horn setting is the “front of house” vertical configuration, whereby the wide dispersion side (100°) is pointed downward and the narrow dispersion side (50°) is pointed upward. If you want to position your speaker horizontally (as a “floor” monitor), you can modify the horn position to assure optimal dispersion (turning the horn by 90°).

I'd make sure the 50 degree is to the ceiling,
Chris.
FYI: Change ONE thing at a time, and evaluate the results.
Don't be afraid to go back a step or two...
 
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Could be many things.
How is the system configured?
What are you powering the main speakers with?

Are you using some form of a high pass filter/crossover on the main speakers, about a 100hz, you can do
that in the X32.

How are the subs fed from the system? I just looked those up and it looks like they have a built in 140hz crossover.
with that I would low pass the subs around 90hz.

How is the system Eq'd? Too much EQ can suck the life out of a system, do not boost a bunch of frequencies on the main EQ that make the system just turn into a dull roar with no clarity, cut what sounds bad, not boost.
If everything else is in decent shape look at the mix itself.

That's a small room, do you have a full band playing on stage? If so and the stage volume is too loud you need to get that under control.

The X32 has lots of features making for lots of ways to get a good mix and sound or looking at it another way lots of features to over use resulting in not such great sound.

Maybe look bringing a true sound person that knows what there doing to help you go through the system and get what you have working the best that it can be.

The mounting of the B1520's is concerning, Chris had a good point on the horns though,

Maybe post a picture or two of the room.
 
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Mathias Paul

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Jan 22, 2021
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Could be many things.
How is the system configured?
What are you powering the main speakers with?

Are you using some form of a high pass filter/crossover on the main speakers, about a 100hz, you can do
that in the X32.

How are the subs fed from the system? I just looked those up and it looks like they have a built in 140hz crossover.
with that I would low pass the subs around 90hz.

How is the system Eq'd? Too much EQ can suck the life out of a system, do not boost a bunch of frequencies on the main EQ that make the system just turn into a dull roar with no clarity, cut what sounds bad, not boost.
If everything else is in decent shape look at the mix itself.

That's a small room, do you have a full band playing on stage? If so and the stage volume is too loud you need to get that under control.

The X32 has lots of features making for lots of ways to get a good mix and sound or looking at it another way lots of features to over use resulting in not such great sound.

Maybe look bringing a true sound person that knows what there doing to help you go through the system and get what you have working the best that it can be.

The mounting of the B1520's is concerning, Chris had a good point on the horns though,

Maybe post a picture or two of the room.
Hey..thanks for the reply. I’m not sure on how we’re running stuff in the board honestly..I’ll be back tomorrow and I’ll take some pics of the board.
I do know that the 2 subs are powered and Go to the boards mono channel.
i attached some pics of the room here though if it helps.
what I’m trying to achieve is a sound that fills the room and is inviting for people to join in singing. Currently, it just seems like you can hear the sound in front of you, but doesn’t have that feel like it’s surrounding you if that makes sense.
 

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Thanks for the pictures.

You mentioned the sound sounds like it is just in front of you, well be cause it is.
Your not going to get the movie theater surround experience in there.
It's good to see that you are using in ear monitors and an electronic drum set that will really
help out getting a solid mix in a smaller room like that.

Getting the system properly set up and EQ'd with a good full mix topped off with a
touch or reverb on the vocals could go a long way in the sound and feel of the room.

Now for the speakers.........

You speakers need to be aimed down they are aimed parallel to the ceiling.
How are they suspended? It looks like some chain links hooked to eye bolts.
At the very least please tell me those are not eye bolt lag screws just ran into the speaker
cabinet. I'm not sure those Behringer speakers are even built with plywood.
 

Mathias Paul

New member
Jan 22, 2021
3
0
1
36
Toledo
Thanks for the pictures.

You mentioned the sound sounds like it is just in front of you, well be cause it is.
Your not going to get the movie theater surround experience in there.
It's good to see that you are using in ear monitors and an electronic drum set that will really
help out getting a solid mix in a smaller room like that.

Getting the system properly set up and EQ'd with a good full mix topped off with a
touch or reverb on the vocals could go a long way in the sound and feel of the room.

Now for the speakers.........

You speakers need to be aimed down they are aimed parallel to the ceiling.
How are they suspended? It looks like some chain links hooked to eye bolts.
At the very least please tell me those are not eye bolt lag screws just ran into the speaker
cabinet. I'm not sure those Behringer speakers are even built with plywood.
agreed...the room will never hit the standard I’m looking for. I’m hoping to improve it a bit though. It just sounds so dead. whether it’s a band on stage or a person speaking, the sound comes out and dies instantly (I know you can only do so much with this with the room.) Again, Im a bit of a noob here so let me run some random thoughts by you and you tell me if they’re dumb or not lol.

1. Sound diffusion- do you think sound diffusers could help make the room sound bigger? I know they make ones you can put in drop ceiling and of course ones for on the wall
2. Do you think those speakers need turned vertically?
3. should I flip the speakers around (still horizontally) so that the horn is higher?
4. any other acoustic treatments?

also...idk exactly how the speakers were hung. We have a dude who does a lot of work like that do it for us. They’ve burn up like that for about a year now though...no problems
 
A "dead" room is generally preferable for amplified sound, as it is significantly easier to add reverberation than to remove it. It sounds to me that you should be able to make improvements with your existing system by making changes to your mix (mostly adding appropriate reverb). That said, a "dead" room isn't generally conducive to non-amplified music, so for congregational singing, you may need to make acoustical changes to the space (adding some hard surfaces will help). Finding the correct balance between "live" and "dead" and implementing it in a space is how acoustical consultants earn their fee, so contracting with one is probably going to be your best option long-term.

The way your speakers are suspended is very concerning, and unless those speakers have manufacturer-integrated flypoints that are being used to suspend the speaker (highly unlikely for speakers at that level), what has been done is almost certainly unsafe. Cabinet joints behave differently in compression and tension, and just because something hasn't failed yet doesn't make it safe long-term (there are several examples of things like bridges collapsing after being "fine" for several years, and not just due to neglect).