“Why do we need so many speakers?”
This is one of the most regular questions we get asked by clients. The answer is that the number of speakers we use in a sound system design depends on both the acoustics and the layout of a venue, and here at CGA we will only recommend the optimum number required to deliver the best possible audio experience; no more and no less.
Sound should be like great design and should envelop and surround you from the moment you enter a room. Visually, great interior design flows through a venue and demonstrates the careful thought put into creating a flawless experience for your guests. Audibly, a well-installed quality sound system will do the same. With the right number of speakers it will not be too loud or have audio ‘blackspots’, but the audio will be present equally across all areas and will be a key component of the overall sensory experience in your venue.
“But why does my venue appear to have more speakers than others?”
Calculating the number of speakers needed by comparing venues of a similar size will not always work, as acoustics play a key role in determining speaker numbers. For example, ceiling height has an impact. Counterintuitively, high ceilings often require fewer speakers than low ceilings, because as a ceiling is lowered, speakers become closer to a listener’s ears. So two identically sized rooms with different ceiling heights will require different numbers of speakers.
“How does that work?”
Each speaker works by emitting waves of sound, these start at the centre of the speaker cone and radiate outwards towards the floor. Ideally, to avoid any sound black-spots, the waves of sound from adjacent speakers should cross just above a listener’s ear height, but with low ceilings, unless you use a speaker with a much wider dispersion than normal, the number of speakers you need to achieve this significantly increases.
“But having lots of speakers makes my ceilings look ugly!”
How many of your guests enter your venue and look up at the ceiling? Unless you have wonderous artwork or lighting features on the ceiling, most guests gaze at their eyeline or just above or below this point. If however, you are concerned about this, CGA can now finish speakers to any RAL or Pantone colour to ensure that your speaker grills seamlessly blend into the ceiling whatever its colour.
So the key question to ask is not how can I reduce the number of ceiling speakers I need, but how many speakers do I need to get the best possible audio experience for my guests.