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Sound Systems and Equipment for the Theatre. Live Event Systems and Equipment. Loudspeakers and Speaker Systems. Basic Categories Woofer: Low frequency, 20-250 htz. Mid-Range: Middle of audible range, 200-1,000 htz. Tweeter: high frequency speakers, 1,000-20,000 htz. How a speaker works.

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sound systems and equipment for the theatre

Sound Systems and Equipment for the Theatre

Live Event Systems and Equipment

loudspeakers and speaker systems
Loudspeakers and Speaker Systems
  • Basic Categories
    • Woofer: Low frequency, 20-250 htz.
    • Mid-Range: Middle of audible range, 200-1,000 htz.
    • Tweeter: high frequency speakers, 1,000-20,000 htz.
speaker cabinets
Speaker Cabinets
  • Finite Baffle Enclosure
    • “Cabinet design that absorbs sound wave produced by reward excursion of the speaker cone.”
  • Base-Reflex Enclosure
    • Designed with a port to channel reflected base through cabinet.
  • Ducted Port Enclosure
    • Designed with a tube set into a port that is tuned to a specific frequency range.
speaker systems
Speaker Systems
  • Cross-Over Network
    • Electronic system to split and channel the frequency ranges to specific speakers within a system.
    • Small overlap between ranges to smooth transitions between speakers.
power amplifiers
Power Amplifiers
  • Basic function is to drive speaker systems with signal from mixer or source.
  • RMS wattage rating
    • Select speaker systems that match.
    • Rating allows operator to match power amplifier and speaker system to size and acoustics of a performance space.
      • Too low and you risk over-modulation or distortion.
mixers
Mixers
  • Designed to route (and/or mix) a signal from a source with other sources and send it to an amplifier or recording device.
  • Can be very complicated and perhaps the most troublesome element of the basic sound system.
mixers8
Mixers
  • Typical Configurations
    • (A) Recording
    • (B) Playback
    • (C) Reinforcement
digital signal processors
Digital Signal Processors
  • Designed to modify a live sound source.
  • Most Computer sound software can duplicate for pre-recorded sound.
more about microphones
More about Microphones
  • Basic Patterns
    • A. Omni
    • B. Bi-Directional
    • C. Cardioid
    • D. Hyper-Cardioid or “Shotgun”
microphone types
Microphone Types
  • Carbon Granules(no)
  • Crystal (poor)
  • Dynamic (good)
  • Condenser (best)
design of a typical radio show sound stage
Design of a typical Radio Show Sound Stage
  • The Basic Manual Sound Effects Kit
  • Hands-on Advice from Tony Palermo http://www.ruyasonic.com/sfx_kit.htm
  • On the radio drama list, somebody asked "What would you include in a good basic sound effects kit?" Here are my thoughts.
  • Of course, it all depends upon WHAT the radio play calls for. I work almost exclusively with live, manual (hand or foot operated) effects. I don't use sophisticated electronic samplers (devices that trigger pre-recorded sounds) much for live radio gigs--even though I host the Kurzweil Launch Pad, one of the world's most foremost websites devoted to the powerful Kurzweil samplers. In this article I'll stick with manual sound effects devices.
  • So, for a good SFX kit, I'd start with:
  • CRASH BOX --made from a metal Christmas popcorn container.  This is the single most useful device I have. See my "How to Make SFX" page for details on this and several other items on this list.
  • OLD DIAL TELEPHONE  - and ringer bell box -- the kind companies use for delivery doorbells. Don't bother trying to make the old phone ring--it'll cost for a step down transformer to deliver the 84 volts necessary to engage the phone ring circuit. Just build a $10 ringer box. (See my "advanced SFX" listing below).
  • THUNDER SHEET  - 2x4 foot 16th inch high-impact polystyrene. Look in your local yellow pages for "Plastics" and call around. It'll cost about $10.
design of a typical radio show sound stage14
Design of a typical Radio Show Sound Stage
  • WALKBOARD   - 2x3 foot doubled  3/4 inch plywood for footsteps. Put tile on one side to get a different sound.
  • SMALL DOOR   - Ideally, cut a regular door just after the latch and make a door frame to fit. I'll try to add a "how to make a door" tutorial for a much smaller unit to this site. Check back.
  • GRAVEL BOX  - Wooden drawer-type box with gravel--for horses/dirt. Also, coconuts and short 2x4s as "boots"--with spurs!
  • CAVEMAN CLUBS -- Large  hollow caveman style toy clubs--great for fights and bodies dropping to the floor. Contact Hollywood Toys & Costumes (800) 554-3444. If you call, they can ship them to you.  ($10 each--get two!) Their website doesn't list lots of small items, like phone toys and the clubs
  • STIFF PLASTIC BAGS  - For fire, static, even marching feet.
  • CLIP BOARDS  - For gun shots--but they need a resonator box under them to sound "bigger". I think a metal trash can might be the ticket.
  • TOY RATCHET  - Plastic New Year's noisemaker. Good for handcuffs, winches, drawbridges... ratchets.
  • VIBRO PEN  - A "Dizzy Doodler" pen that writes wobbly--for planes/jackhammers. Turn it on and apply the top (not the pen) to a cardboard box for a convincing airplane. Do the same on a stack of saucers and you'll have a great jack-hammer. The KB Toy liquidator chain sells them for $4.
design of a typical radio show sound stage15
Design of a typical Radio Show Sound Stage
  • TOY CELL-PHONE  - For radars, space beeps, even cell-phones! Lately, these have been really hard to find. Contact Hollywood Toys & Costumes (800) 554-3444. If you call, they can ship them to you. Their website doesn't list lots of small items, like clubs and phone toys They also sell toy beepers.
  • SLIDE WHISTLE  - Besides eeeeeYOOOP, it can also be quickly slid back and forth for radars and space sounds.
  • PLASTIC EGG MARACAS  - for jungles, rattlesnakes, weirdness. You could make some with plastic Easter eggs and rice, but many music stores sell them for $2 each and those have a finer gravel that sounds very good.
  • WIND MACHINE  - also useful for other mechanical sounds--machine guns, cars, rotors. See my "How to Make SFX" page for details on this and several other items on this list.
  • TEACUP SAUCERS - Good "dishes" sound. Apply vibro-pen to two stacked saucers for a great jack-hammer.
  • METAL SPOONS/SPATULAS -- Get a really big pancake flipping spatula and some large metal cooking spoons for great sword fights.
  • PLASTIC TUMBLER - For pouring water. Drop AA batteries in empty tumblers for ice cubes.
  • CIRCUIT BREAKER - A home circuit breaker (the kind that go in electrical panels) gives you that old fashioned, LOUD click of a light switch.
design of a typical radio show sound stage16
Design of a typical Radio Show Sound Stage
  • Advanced Sound Effects DevicesI'm also build more complicated devices. These are modeled after old NBC and CBS SFX from the golden age. At some point in 2005, I'll include "how to" instructions here on the "How to Make SFX" page and also offer them fully-built for sale.
  • GLASS SCRATCH -- A box with a 6x6 inch plate of 1/4 inch thick glass. It has a spring loaded X-brace with spikes in it. You  rotate a crank and it scratches the glass. Sounds like a train brake or fingernails on a chalkboard. Yikes!
  • DOORBELLS/BUZZER/BELL -- A wooden box with the typical ding-dong (and single "ding"--for hospital pages) and an office door latch buzzer, and a ringing bell to simulate an old style telephone--4 seconds on, two seconds off.
  • CREAKER BOX  - Cotton clothesline wrapped around a dowel rubbed with  violin rosin--sounds like a creaking door or thumbscrews.  It's rigged in a wooden shoe-box sized thing. Wow!
  • CREAKER DOWEL -- A 1/2 inch dowel wrapped by a rubber hose with a hose clamp. It's a different kind of creak.
  • BOING STICK -- A box with a plywood bow that has a banjo string on it.  You pluck the string and bend the bow for the famous "Road Runner" cartoon "beeeeyoooooooo" boing sound.
  • SCREEN DOOR SLAMMER -- a hinged door with a long screen door spring.
final project for sound design
Final Project for Sound Design
  • PROJECT #1 – “Sound Effects for a Radio Play” (30% - 15% group/15% individual) Due May 3rd (during finals week)
  • This is a group project that will rely heavily on the total participation of each member of the group. The team will perform a 3-5 minute radio play and the group will develop the sound effects to support the presentation of the script. The presentation will be recorded and archived for your portfolio.
  • Your group project should include:
  • The script, which should be 3-5 minutes in length, can be original or an existing script (e.g. you could use a Garrison Keillor Guy Noir script if you chose, or a stage play that you adapt as a radio play) The subject matter is optional with instructor approval.
  • Genres could include (but are not limited to) Noir, Horror, Mystery, Comedy, Drama, or Western.
  • A minimum of 10 sound effects should be included in the presentation ( a minimum of five of which should be live effects created during the presentation).
  • Background (plus bridge) music should be included to set the mood for the presentation and help with any transitions.
  • Additional Voice talent performers can be used.
  • Project Timeline:
  • Presentation due May 3rd at 1pm
  • Scripts due February 19th
  • Now is the time to begin to plan your script and build/equip the Radio Sound Effects Lab.