ADA sound consultant

darinlwebb

Active Member
I'm only interested in the research and data, not about making political statements. Plenty of others doing that.

Probably too much snark in my response. In my software dev day job I have been in lots of meetings with people making decisions based on their current audience that end up furthering exclusion of their potential audience ("none of our staff is color blind", "everybody speaks english", "everybody has a smartphone"). My ears perk up when I hear things like "how many people have complained?"

There was a sign posted in the kitchen at a restaurant I worked at, "Of 10 dissatisfied customers, only 1 will tell you what went wrong, the other 9 just won't come back".
 

Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
There’s often a stigma ...


Question for loop experts- I was specing out a loop system for a well to do men’s club in a beautiful room with stone flooring ... mfr told me best performance obtained by running the loop at baseboard level to get ground plane effect, and strongly suggested notching out the stone floor at each doorway to keep the loop at ground level. That’s wasn’t very well received. Question for those more experienced ... how do you deal with doorways in a looping retrofit install?
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
There’s often a stigma ...


Question for loop experts- I was specing out a loop system for a well to do men’s club in a beautiful room with stone flooring ... mfr told me best performance obtained by running the loop at baseboard level to get ground plane effect, and strongly suggested notching out the stone floor at each doorway to keep the loop at ground level. That’s wasn’t very well received. Question for those more experienced ... how do you deal with doorways in a looping retrofit install?
@Ben Stiegler Is the floor carpeted? Can you install your loop under the carpet around the perimeter of the room WITHOUT your loop wiring being damaged by those nasty / sharp carpet tensioning / securing strips carpet layers often install around the perimeter??
EDIT 1: As an alternate; is there any molding running uninterrupted all the way around the room above the door ways; plate or picture rails for example??? Granted floor level MAY perform better but if floor level is ruled out, being higher up MAY work acceptably in your situation.
If you're lucky, running around the perimeter out of sight above molding MAY be an acceptable option.
Last ditch possibility: What's the ceiling, I doubt you're dealing with lay-in tiles????
EDIT 2
: Is there a basement; if so, is it possible your loop could run around the basement walls directly below your spiffy room????? @Ben Stiegler Please not I've added a few additional comments.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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Anyone have a recommendation for a audio consultant? BACK STORY: I have taken over a small theater program at a tiny university out in Montana and find that I have also become the venue manager by default. I have two venues a 1950's and a 1910's ,each over 100 seating capacity and both more of an auditorium with theatrical ability then a proper theater space, if that makes sense. They have not had a strong tech/production person here..maybe ever. Just a revolving door of personal who purchased what they needed to make it work while they were here. I have a mixed mess of sound gear ( ok all the different systems, you should see the lighting mess) from the 50's up to the early 2000's. all cobbled together kind of working. Nothing is set up for ADA hearing compliance or for actual working a play. So no mics monitoring the stage for backstage/dressing room monitions that I could buy an off the shelf system and hook into. I don't even have backstage or dressing room monitors. We are that bare bones. I have explained to the powers that be that federal requirements indicate that we should have something to be ADA compliant and they agreed. To be fair, they really didn't know that this was an issue. We have all the wheel chair and other type of ADA needs pretty much taken care of. I also know when I am in over my head and this is such a Hodge podge of pieces that I dont want to add more to the mess. So I have a little money to get a consultant to come take a look and hopeful develop a plan so I can start begging for funds to update the system. anyone know anyone who is good but also imaginative? We are not going to be able to get a full remodel for this place so I need some out of the box thinking . thanks
Hey man, im the TD of a theater in Billings, and we just started renovating our theater shoot me a message and I'll see how I can help!
 

NickVon

Well-Known Member
Does somewhere like a Florida venue get more requests for such Hearing Asssit devices.... you know.... with all the retiree's and those that flock south in the colder months?
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Does somewhere like a Florida venue get more requests for such Hearing Asssit devices.... you know.... with all the retiree's and those that flock south in the colder months?
@NickVon On the other hand; many of us oldsters neither want to hear, nor care to hear, any more.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
@NickVon On the other hand; many of us oldsters neither want to hear, nor care to hear, any more.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

"Speak up, Sonny, I'm trying to obviously ignore you." /curmudgeonliness
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
Does somewhere like a Florida venue get more requests for such Hearing Asssit devices.... you know.... with all the retiree's and those that flock south in the colder months?

Well, my other house, in which I did 12-15 shows over the last 4 years, 10-12 performances each, we had a total of zero requests during that period, and our audience average age was probably 55-60 over all. But I dutifully checked the system and all 6 receivers before curtain at the dress, every run.
 

mtodd2qq

Member
So MT - do any people that come to your theatre ask for this? (Just stirring the pot.)
Well that's were it gets fun. I just started last year along with a new staff person. He is deaf and has been asking for it. And he is right, we should have it. But he seems to be the first person in a long long time to ask. But we also don't have up the signs we are suppose to have up letting people know it was available. Which it wasn't. I keep finding pieces of what was something that looks like it was cannibalized. And sorry I have been off line for a bit.
 

mtodd2qq

Member
It's pretty well accepted at high schools, large presentation spaces, and such that you need to equip them with assistive listening systems. They are indeed among the more underutilized features but their cost is low and the reason they get a bad rap is because patrons have learned to cope without them because of how terribly implemented they usually are. The last few high schools I've been working on I've put the same ALS transmitter in the gym, cafeteria, football field, and theater. They can meet their minimum number of receivers for the theater, let's say that's 25, and then disburse a handful to each space (you can share receivers between spaces on a campus). That way you aren't buying 25 just to throw in a box where 3-4 times a year only 1-2 people at a time may ask to use them.

The caveat though: don't bother if you're not going to have a process in placing for handing out receivers, setting up a quality audio feed for it, and posting signage and informing your patrons that this is available to them. If they use it once and it sucks, they'll never bother again. If they don't know it's available, almost nobody will ever ask.

By the way, when I say quality feed I mean setting up an aux/matrix mix on the console that's typically vocals only. Then in the DSP using the house mic as as a primary source but ducking it and giving priority to the vocal console mix when someone is speaking. Ambiance is nice in ALS but what most people need is vocal clarity and intelligibility. Many people will wear the ALS earbud on only one ear and use their other ear which may or may not have their hearing aid to listen to the room. They don't need drum kit or a crack of thunder effect fed directly into their ears. Usually their are compressors in ALS transmitters but a little compression in the DSP also helps intelligibility by reducing the dynamic range of speech.

A full FM kit with signage and charging stations is under $5k. If you don't have a house mic or DSP, then those are costs that also need to be considered but you can use those for much more than just ALS like recording or backstage/lobby feeds. It's really not an extravagant or unjustified expense. There are just a lot of people who it treat it like necessary evil and thus venues end up with hot garbage fires for ALS.
A hot dumpster fire is what I am trying to prevent right now.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Well that's were it gets fun. I just started last year along with a new staff person. He is deaf and has been asking for it. And he is right, we should have it. But he seems to be the first person in a long long time to ask. But we also don't have up the signs we are suppose to have up letting people know it was available. Which it wasn't. I keep finding pieces of what was something that looks like it was cannibalized. And sorry I have been off line for a bit.

First, help me correctly understand your needs, as they could be one, the other, or both.... Audience assisted listening system for patrons, or do you need to provide audio and/or video monitoring of the performance to the people back stage, and lack that capability, plus you need a way to send any backstage audio to your new worker?

For the audience ASL lack of notice and signage *may* have something to do with the non-request rate. Another contributing factor could be dissatisfaction with previous use of such devices or the perceived stigma of having to request, publicly use, and return the device.

Backstage monitoring needs can run the gamut of "it's nice to hear the show" to "critical necessity". If a hearing impaired employee needs access to the information in the audio monitor signal the employer is largely required to find some means of accommodating the worker's handicap. Does the employee use a hearing aid? With induction loop capability? If the employee does not use a hearing aid at all how are work communications currently handled? ADA compliance for employees is usually not a "one size fits all" thing and accommodation is specific to the individual worker.
 

mtodd2qq

Member
First, help me correctly understand your needs, as they could be one, the other, or both.... Audience assisted listening system for patrons, or do you need to provide audio and/or video monitoring of the performance to the people back stage, and lack that capability, plus you need a way to send any backstage audio to your new worker?

For the audience ASL lack of notice and signage *may* have something to do with the non-request rate. Another contributing factor could be dissatisfaction with previous use of such devices or the perceived stigma of having to request, publicly use, and return the device.

Backstage monitoring needs can run the gamut of "it's nice to hear the show" to "critical necessity". If a hearing impaired employee needs access to the information in the audio monitor signal the employer is largely required to find some means of accommodating the worker's handicap. Does the employee use a hearing aid? With induction loop capability? If the employee does not use a hearing aid at all how are work communications currently handled? ADA compliance for employees is usually not a "one size fits all" thing and accommodation is specific to the individual worker.
The Employee I mentioned is a member of the Campus staff and works in housing. So when he comes to a performance or an kind of event hosted in the venues, such as a training seminar, he cant understand most of what's going on. He seems to be the first person in a while to actual step up and point out that accommodations should be meet. We started a the same time and when he asked me what we had, quickly came to realize, we had nothing in place. And on his end, he cant seem to get certain people to understand what a big deal this is for not just him but also potential students. Its just not clicking for a couple of key people. Its been a rough year. I have found all the pieces to an older RF system that I now have kind of working. And by kind of I don't have any kind of area mic overstage. Nothing hanging or a shotgun mic or anything. There has also never been a backstage or lobby monitoring system installed. I am not sure how they used the ALS in the past but it couldn't have been effective. So as of now I can supply sound to the RF system from people that are mic or other such imputes. And I am finding most people don't want to use mics here. And as for quality, the system sounds terrible. My guess matches up with yours that a mixture of poor signage, ineffective configurations, the stigma, and operator ignorance, has caused people to stop asking for it. And that's just for the larger venue. At some point in the past , someone added a sound system to the smaller venue, but did not include any kind of ALS. I think part of what I am finding , is that someone was just shuffling the ALS back and for, losing pieces as they went. As to what I need.... That's a great question and I am working with a Vice President to determine what the main purpose of the spaces is. Are they classrooms, lecture halls, performance spaces, what. Depending on who you talk to, the answer is yes. That's why I am hopeful that if a get an expert in who is not me, cuz they never listen to the person that is there, we all know how that goes, the pro might lead the questioning in a productive direction to help figure out what we need.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
So the other gent is an employee of the *school*, but not of the facility; got it.

Well, that's good, actually, as far as I can see; he's a "customer", but he's also an employee, not directly responsible for the systems in question.
 

Craig Hauber

Active Member
Anyone have a recommendation for a audio consultant? BACK STORY: I have taken over a small theater program at a tiny university out in Montana and find that I have also become the venue manager by default. I have two venues a 1950's and a 1910's ,each over 100 seating capacity and both more of an auditorium with theatrical ability then a proper theater space, if that makes sense. They have not had a strong tech/production person here..maybe ever. Just a revolving door of personal who purchased what they needed to make it work while they were here. I have a mixed mess of sound gear ( ok all the different systems, you should see the lighting mess) from the 50's up to the early 2000's. all cobbled together kind of working. Nothing is set up for ADA hearing compliance or for actual working a play. So no mics monitoring the stage for backstage/dressing room monitions that I could buy an off the shelf system and hook into. I don't even have backstage or dressing room monitors. We are that bare bones. I have explained to the powers that be that federal requirements indicate that we should have something to be ADA compliant and they agreed. To be fair, they really didn't know that this was an issue. We have all the wheel chair and other type of ADA needs pretty much taken care of. I also know when I am in over my head and this is such a Hodge podge of pieces that I dont want to add more to the mess. So I have a little money to get a consultant to come take a look and hopeful develop a plan so I can start begging for funds to update the system. anyone know anyone who is good but also imaginative? We are not going to be able to get a full remodel for this place so I need some out of the box thinking . thanks

I drive through Dillon many times each year from my place in the far northeast of your state to southern California.
Nice area!
I would recommend talking to your local churches.
Because I have found in my consulting business that even tiny little country churches commonly have a wireless or infrared assistive listening system that comes pre-packaged and easily managed by untrained users.
Mostly of the rechargeable belt pack variety that you sign out to users in the lobby.
One common name I see is "Williams sound" but there are also many I don't recognize. (I did notice that the Williams Sound site has ADA Compliance info)
 

FMEng

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Williams has served that market for decades. They made the first RF based, hearing assistance systems that I became aware of. Telex is still making the Soundmate series, too. You can't go wrong with either brand.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I think a search of the Intertoobs will reveal a cottage industry of "ADA lawyers" finding a person with disability to attempt to access and use a facility, office building, retail store, etc and when the disabled person encounters a barrier to access or use, that person becomes the named plaintiff if the resulting lawsuit. While I don't endorse this kind of "gotcha!" legal stuff the almost 100% win rate might open the eyes of your reluctant administrators.

The campus worker almost certainly has a claim when attending an event in the theater because he's a patron. He likely has other workplace accommodation claims that he hasn't had reason to mention - yet.

I think your institution's board of directors or trustees need to consult with an ADA compliance attorney to find out what their exposure is.
 

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