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Noob teacher needs some classroom HiFi advice

emmanuelfeys

New member
Sep 22, 2013
1
0
0
So, here's my situation

the school principal has given me a budget of about 800 dollars to invest in a good, solid audio installation. I'm an art & history teacher and I want to be able to present a good sound when playing Schubert as well as The Doors or Daft Punk. I'm a bit of a music addict so I will not settle for make-shift solutions like active speakers hooked into a PC. These are my settings/limitations:

- the classroom is shaped like an auditorium, 10 meters by 10

- public school so the budget is only 800 dollars (give or take) for one amplifier + speakers

- I prefer an amplifier with bluetooth and wifi connections

- Our cleaning lady is sweet but smelly and a bit of a whackjob. She will destroy any floor standing speaker in a matter of months. So the speakers must be wall-mounted

- From time to time I will also use the audio installation to show movies or documentaries.

so, in short: I need some help from professionals/audiophiles like you. Thanks!
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
I can't even find Music Hall own-brand (direct sell) amp and speakers for less than $900 total. (A15.3 amp + Marimba speakers). Maybe they will do a discount for a school or have 'seconds'.

Even that is basically only a 50wpc amp with small bookshelf speakers (no wi-fi or Bluetooth) and wil flake out long before you get a room filling sound in a 10m x 10m space.

I would suggest finding a local Pro-Audio shop and seeing what they can do for you in the way of smaller PA systems.

Have any of the other staff got some old hi-fi they can sell or donate?

At my old school we once had a sponsored walk that over 1000 kids took part in. It raised enough money to buy a brand new Ford Transit mini-bus for school outings and sports events. (This was a 'state school' as we call them, located on a large, council housing estate.) Is anything like that possible at your school?
 

Sorreltiger

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2008
40
0
18,540
I am a (recently) retired music teacher, so my own experience may be of interest. My room was a similar size to yours, with a high ceiling - quite a big space to fill! I inherited a large screen, which had more impact, for my purposes, than a fancy interactive whiteboard. The school installed a projector (as in all the other rooms) although I had to make sure the image was bright enough - the throw is relatively long and the room not always 100% dark (I did get blackout curtains) The pupils sat round the sides at their workstations normally, a somewhat different situation to the ideal at home. They could easily move into the centre, facing forwards, as I wanted to use video/films to bring impact. Most kids are very visual creatures, I think - great if that helps them to engage with a broader range of music!

So - IMO - the criteria have to be:
a) an immersive experience for all, wherever they're sitting
b) plenty of power
c) wall mounted speakers, out of the way (as you've pointed out already)
d) the ability to show movies/video/computer clips

This led me in the direction of an AV system, with my laptop hooked up to it. I also wanted to be able to show movies in 5.1 surround on my big screen, so that the kids felt that this room was really special - not like anywhere else!

Chebby is right about trying to beg, steal or borrow kit. I certainly didn't have the budget to fit an all-new system. By chance, this project coincided with my dad's death, so rather than sell his Yamaha DSP-A5, I installed it at the heart of the system. This old warhorse was a 5-star award winner in its day, with bags of power - it's still going strong! You can still find examples on Ebay cheap as chips.

The rest of the system was sourced from Richer Sounds - basically Wharfedale Diamond 9.1speakers with one of their big, cheap subs (this turned out to be crucial for impact in the space). I also added a top-rated budget Toshiba DVD player for the best price I could find. Music came from my laptop (I used pro logic surround most of the time) and filled the room gloriously.

This was a very different set-up to the one I have at home, but I'm convinced that the AV sub-sat route will be best for you in your room. I hope you have as much fun with your new system as I had with mine!
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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0
Assuming your budget is relatively inflexible and 'fund raising' not really practical, then in all honesty you have no real chance of filling that space with music.

The only suggestion that will get you close to your requirements is the one you reject in your opening paragraph, ie 'pro' style active monitors.

If you are prepared to have rethink then the Mackie HR series of monitors will give you the best compromise between refinement, neutrality and room filling power.

The smaller HD624-2 should be available close to the limit of your budget, it has response adjustments that should allow it to be used close to, but not hard up against a wall.
 

emmanuelfeys

New member
Sep 22, 2013
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To be honest, I did not expect these active speakers/monitors to be quite that good. I did soms research and it seems these monitors can provide outstanding sound - 35 HZ lows arent too shabby. But are they powerful enough to fill a room that big?

Fundraisers are not an option - I live in Belgium, and all schools in my country are publicly funded. So there is no tradition on that matter.

I considered a 5.1 surround system, but being on a tight budget means settling with crappy sattellite speakers - no diamonds I'm afraid :) secondhand is not an option either, for fiscal reasons my schoolprinciple only purchases new stuff. Anyway, a big thanks to all of you - we're getting somewhere :)
 

Crocodile

New member
Jan 15, 2009
38
0
0
If you're in Belgium is your quoted budget really in dollars? If it is then you really are going to struggle.

I'd second a visit to a pro audio/disco dealer & see what they do in the way of an ex-rental PA. Coming froma dealer it should have some warranty to satisfy your principal. I suspect you'll need to sacrifice a little fidelity for robustness.
 

emmanuelfeys

New member
Sep 22, 2013
1
0
0
Well, I assumed this website was U.S. based, so I did the effort to convert my budget to U.S. currency :) as for my vocabulary: that's what you get when you live in a small trilingual country like Belgium, inundated by Anglo-Saxon culture ;) I do apologize. Everybody knows how to speak English over here - but with a serious 'Eric Cartman meets Game of Thrones' accent. And on that bombshell: off to the music store!
 

Crocodile

New member
Jan 15, 2009
38
0
0
Something like this would do the job & is within budget, assuming Euro prices are similar.

http://www.gak.co.uk/en/yamaha-stagepas-400i/77585

iPod input & a sub output if you need it to go lower. It would solve the clumsy cleaner issue as well by neatly packing away.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
Crocodile said:
Something like this would do the job & is within budget, assuming Euro prices are similar.

http://www.gak.co.uk/en/yamaha-stagepas-400i/77585

It would solve the clumsy cleaner issue as well by neatly packing away.
Rather a brutal solution I feel, will certainly fill the space well enough but what it would do to Schubert does not bear thinking about..... :pray:

The active monitor route is more of a 'half way house' solution, the largest affordable Yamaha HS or Adam F series would probably be a decent middle way.
 

desouza

Member
Aug 4, 2020
2
0
20
Connecting via theessayservice

Hello,
Total newbie and non-techie here. I'm a Montessori school teacher looking for help with the speaker system for a small gym (for 300 people approximately, but I will have only 30 seated all over the place, separately). I'm preparing a meeting and I need to make sure social distancing is preserved, so the administration allowed me to use our school gym. I've Bose F1 Model 812 and 2 subs - will those be enough?
 

desouza

Member
Aug 4, 2020
2
0
20
How do I determine appropriate speaker placement, volume levels and tolerance for mics? I'd appreciate any help.
 

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