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  • Speakers for a REAL theater

    I just found out today a good friend of my sister in law, who I happen to work with, purchased an older theater with her husband. It's a one screen type deal and is in a really cool part of town with a lot of old buildings. They're looking to refurbish the old theater and put it back into business.

    Now, I'm sure most all of you know how crappy most theaters sound, which is why I refuse to go to them when I have one that blows them out of the water. I would love to be able to help this couple out (nicest people you could meet) and put them together a great sound system for their theater but don't really know where to start. After some Googling I found some Klipsch speakers used in theaters that shouldn't be too hard to build something better. I'm thinking some massive line arrays, for instance, with some EQ :D

    So, with that, does anyone know where I should start with researching designs for movie theaters, or do people generally not build these sorts of systems and buy commercial? Any idea what types of subwoofers it would take to shake the pants off a room, I'm guessing, 70w x 120d x 30h (total guess, I'll get real drawings later)?

    3.5 hours of sleep, going to crash now. Apologize in advance if that was jumbled.

    http://www.klipsch.com/na-en/product...35-n-overview/
    http://www.klipsch.com/na-en/products/kpt-884-overview/

    Oh, and I haven't talked to them yet about doing a new sound system. I would like to get a rough estimate in how much it may cost (guessing $5-$10k minimum with amps and processing) before I get their hopes up. I think it would be a great marketing tool for people to talk about how great this old theater looks and how their sound is unlike anything they've experienced before.

  • #2
    Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

    Yeah, you're in the pro audio realm now. Here's what I'd do (chuckles to self)

    I'd get a few pro installers to give me estimates... get 'em real detailed like... then I'd go over to sweetwater.com and wwbw.com and buy the gear myself and install it (unless of course it involves flying stuff from rafters, which it probably does. I hate getting up in lifts)
    Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

    Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
    Twitter: @undefinition1

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    • #3
      Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

      Sounds like an awesome project! Sorry I can't help you with anything but I'll be watching this with interest.

      Comment


      • #4
        Start Here

        At Bill Fitzmaurice's Forum: http://billfitzmaurice.net/phpBB3/index.php? If you ever thought of DIY, his plans are worth every penny.
        And/Or get a copy of the Master Handbook of Acoustics by Everett
        Lou's Speaker Site [speakers.lonesaguaro.com]
        "Different" is objective, "better" is subjective. Taste is not a provable fact.
        Where are you John Galt? I may not be worthy, but I'm ready.

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        • #5
          Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

          Originally posted by christianb View Post
          I'm thinking some massive line arrays, for instance, with some EQ :D
          Since the speakers fire through the screen everything's different with theater installs. The best source to see what's needed is the JBL catalog, which has a section on theatrical gear.
          www.billfitzmaurice.com
          www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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          • #6
            Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

            As far as I can tell, the most critical components in a theater setup are the front behind-screen speakers - the L, C, and R channels (and the LF drivers, of course!)

            You COULD save money building yourself. Probably a lot of it. But, unless you've got a serious measurement setup, EQ'ing those mains is going to be really hard.

            Interestingly, the JBL 4000 series standard setup - which I know I've seen in certain venues, and some very large ones - only pulls 100dB/1w. This is not out of range for drivers available to the DIY'er. Even the giant 3-way 'screenarray' gets 107dB.
            I am trolling you.

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            • #7
              Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

              How about something like a PI Speakers 4 PI for LCR?

              I would probably stick with pro woofer for subs. Four Peavy 18" Low Riders tuned to 30hz would do 130db with 2000W.

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              • #8
                Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

                My first thought was that you will have to consider what movies will be shown and what format the sound from the movie is in. I don't know what they are using today but I am not impressed with most movie theater sound. Last movie I went to a couple of months ago, the sound was so loud I had to go to the bathroom and get some toilet paper to stuff in my ears and I ususally listen to music and home movies at 95-100 db. I see the movies advertise they are in "THX" or something like that and it doesn't impress me at all. I could be wrong but it sounds to me like small speakers trying to make a big sound when all it is is loud. Home movies often use Dolby sound and movie theaters may also, I don't know. It might be that you can get away with the "old sound" of movie theaters by having RCL channel if the movie format supports it.

                I was never a big movie goer but I loved going to the "drive in" theaters.:D:D

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                • #9
                  Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

                  If you're talking a regular movie theater, then I wish the new purchasers good luck! To say theaters are struggling now would be an understatement. Oh, I know, the summer block busters bring in some bucks, but generally the theater experience is waning thanks to improvements in home theater gear, not to mention the obnoxious adults doing their obligatory running dialogue throughout the flick, their obnoxious kids kicking your seat, the obnoxious sound that's either way to soft or way too loud or way too distorted, the obnoxious out of focus picture because the pimply faced punk making minimum wage could care less about adjusting the projector lens, THEN the $12 soda/ popcorn combo. Thank you . . I'll wait on the Blu-ray to come out and enjoy a better experience in my home theater, 10 ft. away from the draft beer towers.

                  I know you could build a system that probably surpasses the THX requirements, and as LouC said Bill's got the goods that will do it, but marketing is a very important to commercial ventures and being able to say you're THX certified is probably pretty important with the plethora of action movies featuring bowel evacuating explosions . . and something you won't be able to do DIY.

                  Sounds like a fun project, I just think it's fraught with challenges for success.
                  Dave H

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                  • #10
                    Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

                    I would not DIY something like this even though it could save a lot of money and could be a better system. You could put yourself in a bad situation with them if they have a lot of trouble with the system or they perceive there are problems with the system. Sometimes what seems like the better thing to do to help someone can turn on you. Best thing to do would be to help them out with research side of things and maybe some of the setup and configuration.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

                      Originally posted by whatatrip View Post
                      ...I don't know what they are using today but I am not impressed with most movie theater sound. Last movie I went to a couple of months ago, the sound was so loud I had to go to the bathroom and get some toilet paper to stuff in my ears and I ususally listen to music and home movies at 95-100 db.
                      One popcorn in each ear works fine for me. They squeeze to custom fit the ear just nicely with just the right amount of attenuation, for those theatres with excessive dynamic range expansion.

                      Bob
                      -=VA7KOR=-

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                      • #12
                        Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

                        Originally posted by Paul Carmody View Post
                        Yeah, you're in the pro audio realm now. Here's what I'd do (chuckles to self)

                        I'd get a few pro installers to give me estimates... get 'em real detailed like... then I'd go over to sweetwater.com and wwbw.com and buy the gear myself and install it (unless of course it involves flying stuff from rafters, which it probably does. I hate getting up in lifts)
                        Good luck. Savvy designers won't release a full equipment and installation spec. Instead, they will specify certain aspects of the installation (dual-15" two-way system with large-format HF horn, 4-in/8-out 24bit/96kHz digital signal processing unit, 8" two-way surround loudspeakers with angled enclosures). They do this to protect themselves and their valuable time from being taken advantage of, just like this, and one can hardly blame them.

                        Try 25-40 grand for the system, not 10. Unless you're buying used equipment. Then you've still got to find a surround audio processor. But remember, your friend and his wife will be making money from this establishment, so the investment will be recovered eventually. I understand that JTR Speakers Triple-12s make excellent screen channels. Cinema loudspeakers are designed for greater linearity at lower levels, and usually use a large-format horn crossed low (around 600 Hz) to a number of vented bass drivers.
                        Best Regards,

                        Rory Buszka

                        Taterworks Audio

                        "The work of the individual still remains the spark which moves mankind ahead, even more than teamwork." - Igor I. Sikorsky

                        If it works, but you don't know why it works, then you haven't done any engineering.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

                          Originally posted by Hackomatic View Post
                          marketing is a very important to commercial ventures and being able to say you're THX certified is probably pretty important with the plethora of action movies featuring bowel evacuating explosions . . and something you won't be able to do DIY.
                          Nobody checks for THX certification before buying a ticket, and getting the requisite 105dB at the listening position, as best I recall that's the spec, isn't all that big a deal. But you do have to know how to figure out what you need to get there.
                          www.billfitzmaurice.com
                          www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

                            Just curious, what theatre is this? I'm from Columbus. Long ago, a friend from school (Eastmoor) bought the old Drexel Theatre and fixed it up and ran it. It was a very popular place for years, don't know about now.

                            just googled it, seems to be doing fine.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Speakers for a REAL theater

                              Originally posted by billfitzmaurice View Post
                              Nobody checks for THX certification before buying a ticket, and getting the requisite 105dB at the listening position, as best I recall that's the spec, isn't all that big a deal. But you do have to know how to figure out what you need to get there.
                              You can get there with a bunch of JBL JRX115s all around. But listenability is another thing entirely. And we've still said nothing of the multichannel processing that's needed in a theater.
                              Best Regards,

                              Rory Buszka

                              Taterworks Audio

                              "The work of the individual still remains the spark which moves mankind ahead, even more than teamwork." - Igor I. Sikorsky

                              If it works, but you don't know why it works, then you haven't done any engineering.

                              Comment

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