looking for some help - sound set up [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


View Full Version : looking for some help - sound set up

09-06-2006, 05:27 PM
Would appreciate some help. I am setting up a small bar/ café and want to have very good sound. The floors a timber. The room is a box – 4.7 meters wide 10 meters long and height is 3 meters. It possible to lift the ceiling another 1 meter if it would make for better acoustics for music and people chatting - please advise if I should!!. The walls are concrete, ceiling plasterboard and there is glass at one end (three window). The bar is on ones side from midway to the back.
I am considering older speakers – playing a mix of jazz, blues, RnB and some funky combinations. Older style furniture using timber with fabric and leather finishes – and some heavy curtaining at entrance and around windows at the front. Any advice would be fantastic!!
Dazed and confused.

09-07-2006, 06:08 AM
Hey phil,

Welcome to the forum. Without being in the room I can only answer in generalizations, but here goes...
To start with the basics, I would keep it simple. I would search out a medium level AV receiver that had A/B zone capabilities, and run two sets of speakers with one at each of the end of the cafe. By running both A and B simultaneously you will have a dual stereo effect that may eliminate the potential for one side of the venue being uncomfortably loud while the other causes the patrons to strain to hear anything. Presumably, you're talking about a drop ceiling, in which case you could run the speaker cable above the tiles for a clean appearance.
The most striking thing in your description is the amount of hard surfaces in the room. The curtains are a great inclusion, and you may want to consider plenty of plants, carpeting and wallhangings to absorb errant sound waves.
Good luck, it's a fun business but requires a great investment of time to attract a regular clientele...


Mr Peabody
09-07-2006, 08:00 PM
That's what caught my attention too, lot's of hard surface. I have drywall in my family room and even with carpet the reflections were there. I cured it with a tapestry. You don't have to have everything covered. The tapestry is on one wall about where the reflection of sound from the speaker would hit. This can be fairly accurately found by moving a mirror along the wall until you can see the speaker in it. I put curtains on the windows, my vinyl collection is on the back wall and with the carpet and furniture the room seemed to be balanced. I have a work out room with drywall and the loud music was killing my ears where the same level in other rooms was fine, it was the reflections. It's just a work out room so I found these cloth raps or throws, like a small blanket and put one on the wall in front of the speaker and another on the side wall where the sound would hit and it made an amazing difference. You can buy this sound absorbing material from music stores or on line that's like square sheets that attach to the wall but I think it would be hard to make them look good. Tapestries do the job and will just look like decor.

What would be cool is find a vintage Quadrophonic receiver on line for very cheap. You'd have four channels of amplification designed for music with no home theater crap, simple and easy to operate. And they can be found for little of nothing. Some of these by companies like Marantz or Sansui would sound pretty good. If you are pretty good with gadgets, I'd recommend one of these CD players with the built in harddrive. You could record just the songs you wanted to play on the harddrive and let it go, no changing discs, no skipping. Some of the fancy ones will even let you connect to the internet for streaming music or downloading music. It would be like having your own radio station.

09-07-2006, 10:38 PM
Accoustic tile ceilngs are misnamed, but they are better than drywall. Even ignoring the music issue I have been in far too many restaurants where the voices are too damn loud; a soft ceiling will help this a lot.

If you can't go for the sort of ugly "accoustic tile" then diffusers or triangle shapes on the ceiling will help. Even draping fabric from the ceiling will help (the thicker the better). Make your own corner absorbers (you can buy them, but they always seemed way overpriced to me)

If you visit the "Audio Advisor" site they will happilly sell you all this stuff but once looking at it you quickly get the basic idea; soft, variable surfaces, several inches thick when possible.

Table cloths will help, much better than those glass covers we see, 'course the glass is much easier to keep clean.

Do not aim speakers into corners or at glass walls.

09-09-2006, 06:52 PM
Dear All,
Thanks a million for your comments and suggestions - awesome.
I am still not sure if I should lift the current ceiling another metre or so OR lift it to follow the ceiling roof line whihc give an extra 3 metre in the middle and then angle down to the front and back of the room???? If you can let me know it would be terrific.
Cheers and thanks for the welcome to the forum.

09-10-2006, 03:16 AM
Hey phil,

I think there are two questions here, "Are there acoustic properties which should effect my decision on raising my ceiling?" and "Should I raise my ceiling?".

As to the first, yes there are issues. At 10 meters long, I would imagine for full dispersion you will want to have your speakers fairly high and angled downward toward the seating area. This is a better approach sonically than the partially-elevated shelving units with flat placement that one encounters often.
As to the second, regardless of sonics (which you'll find can be manipulated) I would raise the ceilng. I suspect your clientele will find it more aesthetically pleasing.

Good luck