In this article, we’re giving you 6 tips to help your sound system sound better inside a gymnasium. Those large concrete gym walls create a muddy, hard-to-understand sound that bounces everywhere and creates feedback. Keep reading for 6 ways you can make your gym audio sound a whole lot better.
Quick Answer: Place your stage on the broadside of the gym and add sound dampening to the walls. Use more speakers at a lower volume, position them evenly throughout the space, point them down at the audience slightly, and angle them inward. Finally, use EQ to eliminate bad frequencies in the room.
1. Stage Location & Gym Orientation
Put your stage on the broadside (long wall) of the gym. If you place the stage and speakers at the narrow side of the gym, sound waves from the speakers travel back and forth along the length of the gym. The resulting delay causes problems and adds to the unintelligibility of the sound inside the gym.
Placing the stage and speakers on the broadside of the gym reduces the distance the sound travels, giving you less of a delay. The shorter distance may allow the sound to bounce back a forth a few more times but, combined with some of our other strategies, it will help to clean up your audio a lot.
2. Audio Treatment & Sound Dampening
Adding any type of audio treatment to the walls of your gym will work hand in hand with the previous step to further reduce sound bouncing around the room. Options include permanent sound dampening tiles or temporary velour drapes. Both prevent the muddy, confusing audio caused by sound bouncing around.
Depending on budget, you can treat the whole room, just the wall opposite the stage, or the wall behind the stage. This will make a huge difference, and your event will sound more like it’s in a theatre than a gym.
3. Quantity of Speakers
If we’re worried about sound bouncing around the gym, it would seem counterintuitive to add more speakers to the space. Yet, adding more speakers will actually help to improve the quality of sound inside a gym.
Instead of having two speakers cranked up to 11 blasting the whole gym, more speakers give you the ability to focus them on specific regions in the audience and reduce the volume. Additional speakers allow you to distribute sound more evenly and eliminate the problem of audio being too loud at the front and too quiet at the back.
4. Raise Your Speakers & Point Them Down
If you look at an audience from above, you’ll notice all types of different textures created by the people, their hair, clothes, and empty chairs. This all creates a pattern that can help to absorb the sound inside your venue.
Raising your speakers and tilting them down so that the sound hits the audience instead of the far wall will help to stop sound from bouncing around the room.
5. Angle Your Speakers Inward
Continuing the theme of stopping sound bouncing straight back off the back wall, positioning your speakers slightly wider apart, and turning them in towards the audience is another method to help avoid this.
Instead, the sound might hit a side wall, then the back wall, and then the other side wall. By this time, hopefully, all the sound will be gone before it has a chance to head back towards the stage.
6. Tune The Room & EQ Bad Frequencies
Inside a gym, there will generally be 3-4 really bad frequencies. If you have a digital audio console, you can position a condenser mic on the stage and gradually turn it up until it starts to feedback. The digital console will show you the frequency causing this, allowing you to adjust your EQ to prevent it from happening again.
Do this for each of the bad frequencies, and it’ll help to really clean up your sound inside the gym and make it much more intelligible for your guests.
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