Small Board that Even Idiots Can Run

Foxinabox10

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May 1, 2004
Location
Boston, MA
I'm looking for a small (cd, 4 mic) rack-mountable sound board that is easy to use, reliable and can be used by someone that has never seen a sound board before. This is going to be used for a backstage control system for small assemblies and rentals so that no one has to be there to run sound. Any ideas?

Also, I have to figure out a switch for the speakers so that we can switch between the small and the main board. I would like it to be switchable in the booth and in the back. Any thoughts on this?

Thanks.
 

AVGuyAndy

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May 1, 2005
Rolls makes a few 1RU rack mixers. I forget the models, but I can let you know what I think in a few weeks when we get the PA installed in the library.
 

koncept

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Mar 6, 2005
Location
.
i would look at the dj boards or inline rack mixers.

i guess take a look at this link they might have something along the lines of what you are searching for
 

sound_nerd

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Nov 24, 2004
Location
Toronto Ontario
You can use any 1RU board. Just something simple. Behringer makes a few if you aren't into spending much money.
 

mbenonis

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Chicago, IL
You might look at Rane. They make some nice small mixers that take up 1RU of space and are simple to use. I bought one about a year ago for a portable wireless rack, and it's worked very well.
 

soundlight

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Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
Bogen 4+1 mixer

This appears to be exactly what you're looking for in the mixer, and you can get the rackmount kit for it.
 

Foxinabox10

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May 1, 2004
Location
Boston, MA
We are going to have our amps back in the booth and so my thought was to put an old amp on this dummy system, because this only needs to run to the center cluster and not all of the speakers and I'll have the amp available when we get new ones. So, I would need to be able to switch the signal to the speakers...or could I run both to the speakers?
 

koncept

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Location
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there are some electronic current based switches so that when that board is on it will turn other devices on in a set order or you can have a master switch to do the same thing. bascialy they turn one switch on and it starts the system up in a set order and then reverses it for shut down. someone on here knows the name of this product. I wish i could think of it, i know it has been brought up in discussion a few times and is in use at my old high school. If i remember it i'll post a link. but something like that might be of use in this situation.
 

AVGuyAndy

Active Member
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May 1, 2005
Here's what I would do...

Leave the amps backstage. Put security covers on all the amps so no one can touch anything. Wire all power to the amps up to a wall switch. When doing shows with the booth gear, just tape over the switch to the amps so no one can mess with it. Use a combiner and combine the feed from the booth with the feed from the small mixer. That way all the speakers are used .
 

Chris15

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koncept said:
there are some electronic current based switches so that when that board is on it will turn other devices on in a set order or you can have a master switch to do the same thing. bascialy they turn one switch on and it starts the system up in a set order and then reverses it for shut down. someone on here knows the name of this product. I wish i could think of it, i know it has been brought up in discussion a few times and is in use at my old high school. If i remember it i'll post a link. but something like that might be of use in this situation.
I think you mean the Furman Power Sequencers something like this.

Using a different amp could have its advantages. From what you say, the system is being designed for people who know little to nothing. These people will not understand clipping. I figure that there would be a reasonable chance that they could do nasty things to your amps. An older amp may be the solution. What could be worse than finding that the amps don't work for your important show because someone who didn't know what they were doing.

To switch the speakers, you would need to find / work out what current you need to switch and then probably the best option would be to use a relay appropriately rated. If you could get a mechanically latched one, then you could install multiple control points each with two switches, one for lets call it simple and the other for the full system. You would need at least an SPDT relay if not a DPDT. Wire the centre contact to the speakers and say the NC terminal to the simple system and the NO terminal to the full system amp. It might be easier to just omit the switches and have a power supply such that when the board in the booth is on, it powers the relay and switches the speakers over to the full system. In this case, when you had you board on, the speakers would be switched over to the amp fed from the board. In this case you would not need a mechanically latched relay.

Just some thoughts.
 

Foxinabox10

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Location
Boston, MA
That would require that the main board and all of the main equipment to stay on all the time. This system is for when I'm not around to run the main system.
 

koncept

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Mar 6, 2005
Location
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going off the thought of someone destroying an amp, adding a compressor/limiter/gate might be the best solution there. you can use a blocking dioed and have your simple board out go into your main amps.

yes i was refeering to something like the furman power sequecers, thanks for posting a link
 

Mayhem

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Well I agree with the earlier comment of placing all your amps back stage. The reason being is that the closer your amps are to the speakers, the less power is going to be wasted with long speaker runs. The longer the speaker cable, the more resistance the amp will see, which means that more of the power form the amp goes into heating up the cable rather than powering the speakers.

Placing them in some sort of a cage will help keep them secure and ventilated and an external power switch will be sufficient for powering them up. However, if you do have volume controls on the front of your amps, you may wish to make these accessible through the cage so that they cam be powered up and down more safely (especially in older amps that may not have speaker protectors built in).

A comp/limiter set correctly will prevent them from blowing your system if it is set up correctly.

There are several options for speaker routing/switching and most have been covered here. The power sequencer will turn things on in sequence for you and you would then need to have (build) a relay switch for your speakers so that when this system is powered up, the small speakers are switched on. Although, if you were to use a dedicated amp for the small system, you would not require this.

One other option is to have a key switch installed into your system so that when the switch is off (key out) only the small system is activated. With the switch on (key must remain in) the main system is active.

Guess your main problem here is to decide how you want to set up the system – i.e., do you want an amp for each or a single amp to switch between speakers. At the end of the day, it is not a difficult task to set up a tamper proof, stand alone system. I have a small rack that I send out on hires that has a lockable door on the front (it is actually an old computer network rack) and I have a master volume control wired into the back but the compressor/limiter is set so that at full volume (on the master) the system will not clip or distort.
 

Chris15

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Mayhem said:
However, if you do have volume controls on the front of your amps, you may wish to make these accessible through the cage so that they cam be powered up and down more safely (especially in older amps that may not have speaker protectors built in).
Good point. However if your amps don't have speaker protectors, yo can build some. I remember seeing a circuit to do this a while ago. I'm sure that if I looked I could find it. Essentially its a relay with a timer so that until a few seconds have elapsed, the speakers are not connected.
 

Foxinabox10

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Boston, MA
Mayhem said:
Well I agree with the earlier comment of placing all your amps back stage. The reason being is that the closer your amps are to the speakers, the less power is going to be wasted with long speaker runs. The longer the speaker cable, the more resistance the amp will see, which means that more of the power form the amp goes into heating up the cable rather than powering the speakers.
Mayhem, I'm not sure if you saw my earlier post that putting the amps in the booth would actually cause a shorter run cable because of how our auditorium is set up and the high walls that surround backstage.
 

Mayhem

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Foxinabox10 said:
Mayhem, I'm not sure if you saw my earlier post that putting the amps in the booth would actually cause a shorter run cable because of how our auditorium is set up and the high walls that surround backstage.
Sorry - missed that part.