When the swarthmore
holds contra dances in upper tarble they like to
make a single really long line. The hall is quite large, and it's
nice to dance with everyone. I remember liking doing this when I
was a student there. One thing I didn't think very much about at
the time was how difficult it is to deal with sound when you have a
large live hall with a really long line. If you put your speaker at
the front, it's too loud in front and to quiet in back. If you put
it in the middle it doesn't disperse properly. If you put a second
one at the bottom of the hall facing back up dancers lose their
location cue of the music coming from the top of the hall and the
band. If you put a second speaker halfway down you need a delay and
the bass being non-directional will sound bad (a little muddy and
unclear) up the hall from the second speaker. All of these that use
a second, remote, speaker suffer from the annoyance of running
longer cables (and having an additional speaker). Getting the main
speaker higher would help a lot help, but the school wouldn't let
you hang anything and the speaker system the club usually uses puts
the speakers a little below head height.
When we played there in march (which was really fun!) we switched to
using one of our monitors (a QSC K10) as the only speaker near the
beginning of the night, and that worked well. I think much of it
was just getting the speaker to be a few feet above head height.
There was still too much of a volume difference between the top and
the bottom of the hall, but it was better.
A real solution would be to convince people to dance in two shorter
lines. But the dancers don't see it as being worth it.
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