Large lecture theatre surround sound equipment recommendations

mark05

Standard Member
Hello all,

We have built ourselves a nice big lecture theatre at work and want to put a decent surround sound system in it.

The room is approximately 15m square with a ceiling height of 2.4m and will seat about 150 people, most of the walls are covered by curtains.

Do any of you out there have any ideas on what amplifier and speakers we could use to give us some big cinema sound without breaking the bank? (I reckon we'll be looking at upto £10k)
The room will be used for doing things like powerpoint presentations as well as showing movies and we'll need to be able to have a microphone available at all times so a mixer / or pre-amp may be required for that.

I need something that will impress all who hear it!

Thank you,

Mark
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
It depends whether you want to recreate the sound levels created in a cinema. Taking into account room sizes, Miller & Kreisel speakers will produce Reference Level with the right amplifier. You have a huge room, so you'll need something pretty serious.

You'll need to look at the M&K Studio 5 Pack, comprising of 3x MP150's, 2x S150 surrounds and an MX350 sub. These are a domestic version of the satellites that movies are mastered on, and the only speakers better than these are the active versions, which are outside your budget. They're all wall mountable and will sit flush to the wall (The MP150 can be bought as an 'in-room' box satellite, or an 'on-wall' flatter satellite).

Of course, speakers themselves are passive and need to be driven correctly. To keep within your budget, the Denon AVCA1HD at £3795 is a full THX Ultra 2 equipped amplifier designed for one purpose. This will drive the M&K's effortlessly. Also, there is the Marantz 8003 pre/power combination is a better 'hi-fi' option at £3,400, but I'll assume this isn't an issue for you. The Yamaha DSPZ11 is also an option, but at £4995 will take you over budget.

Having used Denon's top notch one box bad boys before with the top M&K's I'll vouch for this combination being everything you need. Speakerwise I wouldn't recommend anything less. With that size room though, it may be worth looking at a couple of subs to fill that room properly.

Regards
David
 

eviljohn2

Novice Member
Professional sound reinforcement is a whole different story and an integrated system of one form or another is probably the best bet. You'll be needing to think about things like:

* Radio microphones
* Fixed microphones (lectern, top table...)
* Laptop audio (from the lectern)
* Other playback
* Audio recording options

None of which is massively complicated but should be thought of as the priority as it's much easier to patch in surround sound afterwards than lots of microphones!

Something like EV SX200 speakers would be a good budget option with accompanying amplification, a decent sized mixing desk with enough channels for all of your microphones, playback and surround channels. I assume a projector is already fitted. Obviously cabling to the appropriate places would also be handy.

Without a better idea of what actually needs to be put into this hall it's hard to be definitive I'm afraid but I'd almost certainly say that you're best staying away from domestic speakers and amplification. :)
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Having Surround Sound is only of value if you have Surround Sound Media. It's not clear that you really have that.

What you need, it seems, is a PA system with good fidelity.

Consequently, I think EvilJohn2 is on the right track. Find a shop the specializes in PA systems for musician, DJs, or other professional sound systems, and see if they can help you.

Also, do you really need stereo or multi-channel amps? Some rock concerts are in stereo, but they use complex mic configurations to accomplish this. This is rarely need in a lecture hall.

Now, some of your multi-media presentations might be in stereo, but it think it is very unlikely that they will be in surround sound. So, a stereo PA amp might have some advantage.

However, if you have many professionally made videos, that are not pure lecture format, they could have some surround sound content, but even that is unlikely.

The only time and place I could see a need for surround sound would be if this were a lecture hall specifically for viewing and teaching Media Studies and Film. If you are reviewing many 'Hollywood' style films, then surround sound might have some advantage.

We have to be clear as to what your TRUE wants and needs are before we can make an effective recommendation.


Steve/bluewizard
 
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Member 116841

Distinguished Member
From the OP's description, we feel there is enough info there to make recommendations. More detail can tailor it, but the OP states that they want to show films, so for that, an AV system is required.

Mark05 - While we understand other peoples concerns for larger rooms etc, we stand by our recommendation. True, there won't be many domestic AV systems that can do what you need it to, but I've heard many M&K systems in large rooms to know that this will work.
 

dts_boy

Well-known Member
i would also say go down the professional sound route - we had our HQ boardrooms down a while back and an "AV" company specified a quite good surround system which just didn't perform what we needed.it eventually got ripped out and replaced with a dual stereo (front and back) PA speaker system with mic connections and integration into the tabletop voice conferencing system. all controlled by a crestron on table touchscreen which is so simple to use its untrue!!!
if its a decent budget as you say its worth getting in a Pro AV company to come up with the spec - we spent approx £25k in total (including putting the old system right) but initially spent £15k on the surround system.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
As others have said best to call in a Pro to design a system around your requirements/room layout - having a typical 5.1 layout used for voice reinforcement with fixed or mobile mics puts a lot of onus on the two 'surround' spks if you want to avoid feedback!

Joe

PS And remember to contact these guys if your showing 'movies' - Welcome to the MCPS-PRS Alliance
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
From the OP's description, we feel there is enough info there to make recommendations. More detail can tailor it, but the OP states that they want to show films, so for that, an AV system is required.

...
Yes, 'films' but exactly what does 'films' mean? My point was that if these are training video or some other industrial production, then surround sound is not likely to be needed. However, if these are Hollywood-style movies for entertainment, then a surround system might be needed.

Keep in mind that we tend to think in terms of 5 channel or 7 channel amps, but 10 channel AV amp are becoming more common. Further, I agree that, depending on the need, an M&K system might do an excellent job of it.

But I question how that will work for voice amplification? You can't set an AV amp, to my knowledge, to send all the signal to all the speakers. If you don't have surround content, then only the front speaker are going to work properly.

And while you can set an AV to use rear channels as front channels (A/B), how quickly can you change that in a lecture situation.

Given that they have £10,000, I would think a basic PA system combined with a separate AV system would be a better choice.

Also, we need to consider installation. Is this somewhat of a do-it-yourself project, or are we talking professional installation?

I still say for a system like this, it would be better to consult with someone who could evaluate the room and a clear statement of your needs, and recommend and install an adequate system.

Steve/bluewizard
 

ARNOLD AKIEN

Novice Member
Hello all,

We have built ourselves a nice big lecture theatre at work and want to put a decent surround sound system in it.

The room is approximately 15m square with a ceiling height of 2.4m and will seat about 150 people, most of the walls are covered by curtains.

Do any of you out there have any ideas on what amplifier and speakers we could use to give us some big cinema sound without breaking the bank? (I reckon we'll be looking at upto £10k)
The room will be used for doing things like powerpoint presentations as well as showing movies and we'll need to be able to have a microphone available at all times so a mixer / or pre-amp may be required for that.

I need something that will impress all who hear it!

Thank you,

Mark
Hi Mark,

You will need to supply much more information about this room and its present use and equipage if people here are to have any sort of a hope of making useful suggestions.

I have had charge of Lecture Theaters, Class Rooms, TV Studios, and - only once Thank Gaud ! -a Real Theater that had a stage and banked seating .... as well as more hazards to public safety than you would believe possible. All of my charges were in peculiar spaces and all of them had been equipped at modest budgets ... moreover Politics always crept in with the budgeting. :devil: Nothings Ever easy but you can make your problem a little more straightforward by posting photos and diagrams of the your room as well as going into more detail about its equipage.

For instance, the seating - is it fixed tilt up cinema/theater type seating or just chairs?

How is the room laid out - where are the entrances and exits .. thats a fair sized audience and you must be aware that there are all sorts of public safety regulations for that kind of facility.

You mention curtained walls? I've only ever used those as backdrops in simple TV studios and in a presentation venue they may well be more of a liability than an advantage.

You haven't mentioned the Video/TV equipment that the sound gear is to be used with. Will you be using Video Projection onto a fixed or a drop down projection screen?

Is your control and amplification equipment to go into the room or will it be in a control room outside of that room? Will all of the equipment be operated by the presenter and/or presentation team or by a technician?

You say ...

" The room is approximately 15m square with a ceiling height of 2.4m and will seat about 150 people, most of the walls are covered by curtains. "

More or less than 150 people ? And how many people in the presentation team? Is this a total of less than 200 people in that room?

Where does the audience enter the room? Where is the Emergency Exit?

Have a think about it, do some properly scaled diagrams with measurements as well as few photos- if you haven't done them already - and then post them here and people will be able to give you much better informed opinions. Not necessarily me since I have avoided all professional work for several years now, but you have had some useful .. though slightly frustrated :D .. responses already.

There are specialists who deal with this sort of situation of course. See hotelmanagement-network


Still, don't despair ... I once equipped an entire hotel - in which an organization that I was involved with was staging an arts convention - with speakers and power amps intended for domestic use that I borrowed from a Sponsoring Loud Speaker Company. The company also provided the Technical staff to set it up and those technicians wired the audio equipment with high grade domestic speaker cable ... over 2000 potential speaker cable pilferers were at that event!

Its amazing what you can do with equipment that is nominally intended for domestic use, always provided that the equipment is aimed toward the higher end of the market and then set up properly.

I just hope that you have as a first principle given thought to public safety since this sort of venue can be Bloody Dangerous if it isn't properly laid out and managed, and IF anything goes wrong ... The People In Charge will be looking for someone to blame and You Have Requested Help on a Public Forum.... talk about painting a target on your own back :devil:

I wish you luck,


Arnold.
 
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