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Ummm...What About Octagonal Rooms?!


Edendude

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We just got booked to play corporate gig in a room that's a 70 to 80 foot diameter OCTAGONAL shaped room with a hard-surfaced floor and a post and beam CONICAL shaped ceiling.

 

One of our band members has played the room with another band once before. He says it was an acoustical nightmare.

 

Any useful tips or things to think about?

 

The stage is set into one of the side walls which forms the octagon.

 

:freak:

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Why is GB the only one who could answer this question?

 

We've all played in miserable rooms.

 

Turn down. Turn the lows down. Get the cabinets off the floor. Have the drummmer play with hot rods instead of sticks.

 

And if it's a corporate gig you will be getting paid nicely for your suffering and they don't really care what you sound like anyway.

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I'd have to see it. But so far, the problem seems to be mostly that it's hard surfaces. Not that different than a lot of other hard-surfaced rooms (yeah, what was that FZ said about hockey rinks), except that it could actually be better for low frequencies than many.

 

And actually it might not be so bad from the audience's perspective. It might only seem like a nightmare on stage. So bring your rugs, tapestries, carpets, egg cartons, foam, and mattresses, situate them around the back walls of the stage - and make a show of it ; }

 

...Also, I would not sometimes that I've seen bands freak out in DECENT acoustic environments that were sufficiently different that they noticed it wasn't more what they were used to. People are really weird, can convince themselves they can't hear certain things, can hear other things all too well, etc.

 

If it ain't one thing, it's another...

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I was hoping anyone and everyone would chime in with some tips as help, but 'Garcon Vert' does seem to know a thing or two about acoustics. I figured I'd tap his brain on this one, in particular.

 

Thanks for your input 'J'. I can see we'll have to have a serious chat with oure drummer before this gig.

 

Also...

 

I'm guessing setting up my bass wedge on the floor and facing upwards will exasperate things? Better to stand it on it's end like a conventional cab for this room, especially?

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We once played a four-band bill at a local woman's college (yeah, I knowwhat were we thinking?) in a hexagonal room made entirely of concrete and tile... with a 30-foot ceiling. The room was maybe 100 feet from end to end, and there were about 60 heads in the audience.

 

We watched three bands bounce sounds all over the place before we played... they sounded ridiculously echoey, and they all missed a lot of cues. We tried putting extra rugs under the guitar and bass rigs, and we put them behind the drummer so that he could hear us before the echo off of the walls hit him. We used our vocal monitors more like side fills, and tried not to listen to the sound bouncing back at us from the opposite walls. We did play a bit more quietly than usual, IIRC, as the sound was really harsh in the room for the other bands, who wound up screwing themselves by playing too loudly...

 

Anyway.. Edendude... yeah... play a little quieter, try to maintain eye contact and when in doubt... smile.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Also, ED,

 

Tell me what was considered a nightmare about it. I was just thinking of a lodge about 50 miles distant that has a bunch of adjoining sections meeting under an A-frame roof, and I'm guessing there will be some similarities in spite of that venue's fair amount of absorptive materials and surfaces.

 

The first set I played there was rather nightmarelike, had me convinced we needed better mains placements and stage rigs rearrangement.

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Sorry, I was having a dreadful attack of sarcasm - must be my coming of age...

 

Anyway, maybe I'm way wide of the mark but I'd postulate that the shape of the room isn't usually the problem, just the hard surfaces and lack of soft furnishings (though your average audience - particularly in the USA - will help alleviate that).

 

I'm guessing there'll be a standing wave of the diameter but that should be so low as to not be too problematic, and the conical ceiling will mean there are millions of different standing waves in that plane. In which case the issue is the excess of reflected high (and mid) frequency sound from all the different hard surfaces, the solution to which would be to try and position your speakers to get as much direct sound vs reflected sound to the audience.

 

Of course, I'm probably way wide of the mark being a total amateur at all this. But I'll learn (eventually)...

 

Alex

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Some may recall my posts about playing solo gigs and band gigs with a 4-bus mixer and four self-powered biamped Barbettas, where I mentioned DISTRBUTED PA. Typically this might be placing speakers in four corners of the room facing toward the center (adjusted for room shape, odd walls, etc), usually with horns sitting at head level (better yet when most are sitting).

 

No monitors needed, best advantage when stage rigs are very small or non-existent, and DIing is the norm.

.
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There may be hope...

 

They seem to have built dividing walls, and the room where we will perform (Meeting Room) is not as large (1200 sq ft), and includes only three sides of the octagonal perimeter...

 

http://www.fluvarium.ca/rental/floorplan.jpg

 

What was bad about it?

 

Jon (our guitarist) said it was the bounciest room he'd ever played in. Everything sounded strident and harsh, and you could barely hear your own instrument properly, let alone any of the other band memebers, or the vocals in the monitor mix.

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When it has been possible it has been great to put some mid-height gobos around the drummer. That often satifies both the audience and the other bandmates. I've also had one drummer remark on how much he liked it in back of a eggcrated foam and insulated MDF Vee I built - saying it was great to hear the kick the way it sounds when ytou are out on the dance floor 20 feet or so.

 

Seems like the main guy to hate a room like that would be the drummer. And you have to wonder sometimes about them. Many actually like to be jammed up between a wall, a low ceiling, and their kit - with the snare and all those cymbals just slicing through them...

.
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As far as I know...placement of the portable riser stage will be optional, but they may have something permanent these days. I'm not sure. So I'll shoot that question back at you...

 

Where would you locate the stage if you had the option?

 

And I suspected an octagonal room would be problematic, because of the myriad of symetrical angled surfaces. Myth or not?

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Square floorplans suck. Rectangles suck. Extreme rectangles (like an old four lane bowling alley - long and narrow) suck. It's good to have non-parallel walls (and ceilings), though picking better POSITIONS for the main soundstage still matters.

 

As was noted near the top of the thread, the main problem is proably REFLECTIVITY - of there is even much of a problem at all. Note too that 1200 sq feet is teensy eensy.

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Originally posted by greenboy:

When it has been possible it has been great to put some mid-height gobos around the drummer. That often satifies both the audience and the other bandmates. I've also had one drummer remark on how much he liked it in back of a eggcrated foam and insulated MDF Vee I built - saying it was great to hear the kick the way it sounds when ytou are out on the dance floor 20 feet or so.

 

I second that. One of our local soundpeople (working in a lounge with a lot of wood paneling) came up with the idea of pre-cut, hinged lucite panels approx. 4-5 ft. high that assemble together to form a "Chinese partition" around the drummer. That allowed for close-miking and reduced the amout of reflections caused by drum-transients bouncing around the room. It also allowed you to see the drumkit. Isolating the drum transients from bouncing around the room is part of the solution. What also works is running the low (below 100 Hz) bass through the house system and having the soundperson manage that.

 

The less rumble and roar onstage, the better.

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I've played in a similar room.

 

I assume there will be tables and chairs. And People? They will act as a damping factor.

 

The parallel wall problem exists in this room...3 sections of parallel wall.

 

The room is tiny for a performance area. You could play this gig acoustically, with mics, and be fine.

 

Let's analyze that. URB, Acoustic gtr, hand drum. Sounds good.

 

The point it, it's quiet. The mics just barely bring the level up to fill the room.

 

I know some bands get their energy from volume onstage....which is why MTV Unplugged was so popular...the exception that proved the rule.

 

In this space, I'd set up to face the fireplace, allowing those who wanted to immerse themselves in the music to sit there, and those who wanted to talk to sit in the wings.

 

I'd want something like the BBE Sonic Maximizer to add definition to the final mix, and turn way down.

 

Good luck.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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