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Sub Placement - Stage or Floor - Does it Matter?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by jaywa, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    We run our own P.A. for most of the shows we play and we've had some gigs recently where our BL has elected to put the subs on the stage instead of the floor (or ground, when playing outside). In one case (last weekend) the "stage" was a flatbed trailer meaning the subs were about 3 and a half feet off the ground.

    IMO this definitely affects our FOH sound (for the worst) and my belief is that subs ALWAYS belong on the floor/ground or as close to it as you can get. The BL doesn't think it matters that much. Hence the disagreement. He has a good ear for sound and we get along well on almost every other point so if it doesn't really matter I'm not going to fight him on it... but OTOH, this is a facet of our sound that we can pretty easily control, so if it does make a difference, then I'm going to start taking a harder line on this with him in the future.

    FWIW, the subs in question are Yorkvilles loaded with 2 18's.

  2. MrDOS

    MrDOS Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I like them on the floor also - they are typically more efficent that way. In an outdoor venue with a stage 3' off the ground you would typically lose a good bit of low end, and outdoors, you usually need as much as you can get because you don't have the room to help you. You might want to direct the BL to The ProSound Web - those folks are wuite knowledgable: http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?board=9.0
  3. Never put the subs over the stage. It will interact with your FOH sound making interferences in the low spectrum. You, as a bass player will be the great loser.

    The subs have to be over the ground and off the stage. The better position is centered.

    Good luck and please excuse me for my bad English.
  4. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Yeah... this gig with the flatbed we were running two of those Yorkville subs per side, and a Yorkville hi-pack on top of each of the subs. So, 4 subs and 4 hi-packs total. Powering each side with three 2,400-watt Crown Power amps that were cranked to the edge of clipping. And by the time you got about 30 feet out into the audience the volume and sound quality started going down and by 80 feet away you could talk over the P.A. without raising your voice and no bottom end whatsoever. Pretty weak and disappointing. Thankfully the crowd was not large.
  5. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    Subs on stage will vibrate the stage causing several sonic problems. They need to be on the ground.
  6. DuraMorte


    Mar 3, 2011
    That definitely sounds like some kind of cancellation was occurring, because 100 feet is not very far at all, especially with that kind of power (although a little bit of clipping never hurt a power amp ;) ).
    Subs on the ground (clustered in the center under the flatbed) would have definitely been the better option, but I'm wondering if the tops were comb-filtering each other and causing degradation.
  7. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Yeah... the bugger of that particular gig was, there was supposed to be a third party contracted for all the production but then they backed out a couple months ago so we had to step up to the plate for P.A. and lights for the whole event. Which made it a lot more labor intensive gig for us, on top of which the end result wasn't that good cause we simply don't have the cabinets and wattage for an outdoor venue like that. We were using every piece of P.A. we had and it still wasn't getting it done.
  8. DuraMorte


    Mar 3, 2011
    15kW should have been plenty.
    I can't tell you what the problem was, but I can tell you there was one, because you should have been clearly audible for at least 300 feet.
  9. uhdinator


    Apr 20, 2010
    3 1/2' = 1/4 wave length of 80hz= some cancelation @ 80hz.

    Subs or bass cabs are omni directional below 100hz. Placing a bass cab 3.5' from ground, side wall, and back wall, can cancel a huge amount of 80hz (3 boundaries).

    Placing on or under stage can make things resonate and add things you don't want either. The top cabs were prob canceling each other too if they are conventional 90 degree horns ( unlike line array design) which have narrower horns so they don't cancel each other when placed side by side.
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Masks, people, masks!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
  11. TOG

    TOG Inactive

    Jul 4, 2012
  12. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Stumbo -

    Good threads, thanks. I think it's gonna be a mighty tough sell to get my BL to cluster the subs in the middle of the stage but if I can at least get him to keep them on the ground, that will be a start.
  13. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    I think the finer points have been addressed above and can be found in the links by Stumbo.

    1) You will have cancelations.
    2) You loose floor/ground coupling.
    3) Subs will interact with your vocal/cab/drum mics, causing rumble and stealing even more headroom (You can use a high pass filter to eliminate some of that if your board has that option.)
    4) On a flatbed you should have more then enough room to center cluster your subs which is always preferable over splitting them. (Small rooms not included.)

    How were your high/mids boxes deployed?
  14. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    One hi-pack (mid and horn) stacked on top of each of the 4 subs.

    So, 2+2 on one side of the stage, and 2+2 on the other. The sub cabinets are close to 4 feet tall so with them already 3.5 ft off the ground that meant the mid drivers were firing a good 8 feet above ground level and the horns were even higher up in the air than that.

    Looked impressive... sound, not so much.
  15. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    Something to try if you need four High/Mids for bigger shows:

    Crossfire your cabs. (http://billfitzmaurice.info/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1293) This will help (but not eliminate) phase cancelations. On the right and left sides face two cabs towards each other, 90 degrees.

    The better solution is to place the two cabs one on top of the other, horn to horn (the top cab will be upside down.) Basically you are making a crude line array. With this method you can twist the top and bottom cabs slightly right or left and get better dispersion if needed.

    Since you will not be splitting your subs ;), you can build these cheap in an afternoon to elavate your high/mids. (Bah! I can't find the link atm. I'll edit later if I find it. Basically its two triangular braces made from plywood that can fold together and packs in a small area for cabs stands.)

    Good luck!
  16. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    So... if in the situation this past weekend we had laid the four subs end to end, on the ground under the stage... and kept the high-packs on the flatbed stage (where they would have been firing within a few inches of the height they do when stacked vertically on the subs)... how would that have worked out?

    I ask because we likely will be facing the same situation in a different town this coming weekend and maybe I can talk the BL into giving it a try.
  17. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    You should expect fuller, cleaner bass. (Not just bass guitar. All instruments involved, but especially the kick drum.) If you use the crossfire method, the highs and mids should sound better to your audience.
  18. You were also firing a great deal of your sound over the audiences' heads, which never helps.
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've played rooms that have had subs above the stage and I hate it. It works for FOH a lot better than folks are admitting to on here, but man, those subs just absolutely kill you! Since they're up high, they need to be cranked harder than floor subs, and they just take over the whole mix every time.
  20. There are several clubs with ceiling mounted subs in our area. Hate it!

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