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Height of mains

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by wish i was, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. wish i was

    wish i was

    Oct 24, 2014
    Eagle, MI
    While I was setting up for last night’s gig, I started thinking about how I set up our mains on their adjustable tripods.

    For no particular reason, I default to putting the mains at about the same level as my head (I’m 6’1”).

    However, we play acoustic stuff and the folks in the audience are generally sitting down.

    Since the folks are sitting down, should I adjust the tripods so the mains are belly-high and pointing directly at their faces?

    What’s the general rule, if any?
    MakoMan likes this.
  2. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    You still want them higher, because if they're belly-height, the sound will hit the first row and then bounce back or be absorbed and not reach people further back. Imagine the sound as a cone issuing out from the speaker. Aim the center axis of the cone just barely above their heads - for sitting people, probably not your belly height but maybe more like shoulder height. Or, you can put them higher if you can angle the speaker down.
  3. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Tweeters above the audience heads, so that people in back can see them. High frequencies do best with a straight path to the listener’s ears.
    dheafey and s0c9 like this.
  4. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Just over the heads of the folks in the front row.
  5. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    IMHO, you want the speakers high and aimed down. I use these: Speaker tilt connector

    There are a couple reason for this which I will try to explain.
    1. Acoustic Shadowing. If the speakers are at head level or only slightly higher, then an acoustic shadow will form behind the front listener that will block other audience members from hearing well. If you elevate the speakers and aim them down, you have a better chance of delivering the full range response to all listeners ears.

    2. Deliver Sound Where It Is Needed. One idea is to send the sound to the specific area where the audience is hanging out and avoid blasting the bar. Too much volume at the bar makes it hard to order drinks. So consider if elevating and tilting the speakers can help. Another important aspect is you want to avoid sending energy into reflective surfaces such as walls and ceilings. Tilting the speakers down will keep the mids and highs off the ceiling. Angling the speakers in keeps the sound off walls.

    If the idea is to project sound all the way to the back of the room, elevate the speakers and aim them so the high frequencies are heard clearly by standing audience members in the back of the room. Basically if the speakers have a 60x40 horn, imagine the 40 degree vertical pattern skimming along just above head height and the 60 degree horizontal pattern skimming along at the outer edge of the audience, or running parallel with the wall.

    3. Perhaps a third reason is you need a bit of space for the sound between the horn and woofer to integrate. If you audience is really tight on the band, elevating the speakers and aiming them down can create a much nicer listening experience.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Yep. Jack ‘em up, tilt them down, toe them in. This is my strategy in bouncy hard walled rooms as well. Focus the energy on the MAB’s and keep it off the walls. QSC K series has the tilt built in. Older JBL 612’s I had for a season had 2 pole sockets, 1 with tilt. K&M tilters work well for non-tilting top boxes.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
    s0c9 and Wasnex like this.
  7. kalle74


    Aug 27, 2004
    Tweeters above head height. Find out the dispersion angles on your tweeters, angle down to reach the last pair of ears at the back of the wall, angle in to avoid wall reflections and help the very lip of the stage.
  8. High frequency drivers should be above the heads.
  9. Does the same "jack 'em up, tilt them down" advice apply if audience is standing up the entire time? I don't have the sitting issue like OP has and people in the front row literally stand next to the mains
  10. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    That means the mains need to go even higher.
    s0c9 likes this.
  11. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    I aim everything at me because my opinion is the only one that matters.
    walterw likes this.
  12. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Is that the title of a new chapter in the "how to win friends and influence people" guide ?? :woot:
  13. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Not necessarily. This kinda depends on how large a space and how much system you have. In my case I might run a vocals only mix into front fills and let my mains carry the space. I have nestled up to 3 K12’s into my wedge line on a 36’ wide stage where the audience was up close and personal... aka mosh pit...
  14. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    That's where I run mine.
  15. Droopy_TX


    Jul 17, 2016
    What are MABs?
  16. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Mobile Acoustic Baffles... aka patrons;-)
    Droopy_TX likes this.
  17. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    True...but I don't consider front fills mains.
  18. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    They aren’t. They are front fills. I tend to use them where I have a long throw to the back of a space. My mains are up high to do that which leaves a dead space at the stage front. A vox only sub mix, balanced with stage wash handles the dead zone.

    I support many Park and outdoor amphitheater shows in the summer so that is a pretty common configuration for me. Inside it is fairly rare as there aren’t many spaces near me where that is necessary.
    Wasnex likes this.
  19. Droopy_TX


    Jul 17, 2016
    Ahh! Got it!! :thumbsup:
  20. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    yep, even if you're not set up for tilting them, keep the tops and especially the horns over the crowd's heads.

    they'll kind of miss the people up front but those people are closer, while they'll hit the people in back more directly but from further away, all resulting in somewhat more even coverage. anything lower and you're punishing the people right up front with treble while folks in the back can't distinguish the vocals.
    it's a pretty safe bet that anybody sitting down to listen to the band does not want speakers aimed right at their faces

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