Sound Design Question for CRY IT OUT

ThrownStoneSD

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I am designing sound for our upcoming production of CRY IT OUT. I am director by trade but dabble in sound design. The show calls for two baby monitors with the sound source being from the monitor itself. I am firing from Qlab 3. Obviously this would need to be a remote fire. I haven't the foggiest how to do this. All my designs up to this point have have sound come from speakers. Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

To be clear I don’t want the sound for this particular cue to come from speakers. I want it coming from the device itself. Or at least the very real Apperance/cheat that it is. Directional speakers aren’t really what I’m looking for.

Thanks in advance!

Best,

Jason Peck
[email protected]
 
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Aaron Becker

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I can't speak to the programming needed in Qlab, but if one of your questions is "how do I make the sound appear to have come from the baby monitor" - my solution would be to put a speaker as close to the intended source area as possible, with respect given to the set design/etc - and blend or balance a little fill into the center cluster for added volume if needed. Maybe I misunderstood the question, apologies if this isn't what you were asking.
 

Aaron Becker

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Sorry if I wasn’t clear. The actors move around a lot. Carry the monitor on their person. I don’t want it coming from a speaker. Speakers are Hong in a very intimate fifty seat house. Audience is right on top of the action. I want the sound to come from the device itself. Is this possible?
Okay, that makes the picture a little more clear for me. Again, I have limited background in Qlab, so perhaps someone will trickle along here shortly and help us bridge the gap between qlab and the sound coming from an actual baby monitor. If the actors are carrying around the baby monitor, that's going to make it even more difficult as concealing or adding components (wireless links, any type of remote-connectivity device) to the baby monitor becomes harder, if not impossible.
 
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seanandkate

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Would the baby monitor be large enough that you could tear the guts out and hide a Bluetooth speaker, then put one of your sends to a Bluetooth transmitter located somewhere nice and close onstage? (I'd still use the house speakers a little bit to fill the sound but not so much that it affects the directionality.)
 
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DrewE

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It would be possible to take a line output from Qlab and feed the baby monitor transmitter, in place of its microphone. It would require a handful of parts to pad the level and AC couple it. A little trial and error, plus some soldering is what it would take.
Another approach along those general lines might be to send the output from Qlab to a set of headphones that are taped to the baby monitor transmitter where its microphone is.

One potential concern I'd have with using the baby monitor directly is the possibility of interference from someone buying the same model of monitor next door to the theater the day before the performance; but the alternatives don't seem much better and a whole lot more work.
 

Dionysus

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Ive done several portable wireless props that needed audio in them. Often I use an IEM transmitter and receiver (beltpack) inside the prop with a small self-powered "Bluetooth" type speaker. I find its much more reliable than Bluetooth.
You have to send a low level "silence" signal through in order to keep the Bluetooth speaker from timing out and turning off.

For instance, a Gramophone with a wireless DMX receiver, battery, and motor to make it spin and a JBL Clip 2 with IEM receiver for audio was used for an in-the-round production of Glass Menagerie I worked on.

So yeah, look at your prop, or various prop options and make it happen... Its no different in QLAB than making it come out of any old speaker. Just your multiple outputs (for instance 1=Left, 2=Right, 3=Babymonitor, etc) more has to do with console setup, patching and creativity of your props team.
 

theatrewireless

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Ive done several portable wireless props that needed audio in them. Often I use an IEM transmitter and receiver (beltpack) inside the prop with a small self-powered "Bluetooth" type speaker. I find its much more reliable than Bluetooth.
You have to send a low level "silence" signal through in order to keep the Bluetooth speaker from timing out and turning off.

For instance, a Gramophone with a wireless DMX receiver, battery, and motor to make it spin and a JBL Clip 2 with IEM receiver for audio was used for an in-the-round production of Glass Menagerie I worked on.

So yeah, look at your prop, or various prop options and make it happen... Its no different in QLAB than making it come out of any old speaker. Just your multiple outputs (for instance 1=Left, 2=Right, 3=Babymonitor, etc) more has to do with console setup, patching and creativity of your props team.
I have used a very similar approach — I used a Sennheiser wireless mic, came up with an audio adaptor to plug into the transmitter pack, and hid the receiver in the prop with a small powered speaker. Look at all the good quality wireless mic systems on the market and choose the one with the very smallest receiver device.
 

josh88

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I guess my confusion with this is if you need sounds to come out of the baby monitor, like a baby monitor.... why not just use a working one? Set up a speaker somewhere where its easy to play an effect through it and stick the "baby" end in front of that speaker. Then the sound comes out of the "speaker" end on stage.

There are a lot of ways to complicate this, but it seems like using a working baby monitor would give you exactly what you need.
 

Dionysus

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I guess my confusion with this is if you need sounds to come out of the baby monitor, like a baby monitor.... why not just use a working one? Set up a speaker somewhere where its easy to play an effect through it and stick the "baby" end in front of that speaker. Then the sound comes out of the "speaker" end on stage.

There are a lot of ways to complicate this, but it seems like using a working baby monitor would give you exactly what you need.
Agreed that it can work. Note that you may or may not like the QUALITY of the audio from the baby monitor, and as previously mentioned interference is an issue. I've actually heard a few horror stories of baby monitor cross-talk appearing randomly from a neighbor, both into actual baby monitors and into other devices.

One such story where a baby monitor from down the block started showing up on coms for a show.

Yeah I'd take the same approach that I do for "dummy guitar amps"... Find a nice corner where noise from the speaker feeding into the monitor won't be an issue (you don't want to hear it elsewhere bleeding onto stage or in the booth). Also if you can building an enclosure for it can help a lot.
 

josh88

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Interference or cross talk would indeed be my hesitation. As far as sound quality, maybe I just expect it to sound like crap because it's a baby monitor. I think I'd be more thrown by decent sound coming from it when I'm expecting cheap garbage quality.
 

macsound

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If you're up to wiring something up, might be possible to fit a small digital recorder inside s baby monitor shell and copy the MP3s onto that device. Then, since youre in a small house, plug that into a $5 battery operated speaker.
Actor should just be able to push play to cycle through the cues.
 
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EDIT: Whoops missed a few responses - some beat me to this suggestion!

If I was pressed for time and had very limited resources and knowledge of how to do what others have suggested above with the bluetooth speaker or wireless belt pack then I would take a cue from the old-school echo chambers...

1. Find a room or space that's as isolated as possible as far as sound is concerned
2. Run a line to a studio monitor speaker or similar that the audio from QLab can come out of
3. Place the transmitting unit of the monitor in front of the speaker so that the QLab audio is picked up and transmitted to the receiving unit that's being used on stage

If your QLab audio is really clean, then this method will certainly dirty it up a lot once it's sent through the air and out of the actual baby monitor speaker. It'll certainly sound authentic. Only problem is - interference or it might be too distorted or you might not have the gear or space to accomplish it.

Also - major props to you for trying to accomplish this effect with the actual baby monitor. I get really annoyed when I see shows where the sound doesn't come from the source!
 

Ancient Engineer

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I'd use something like a Gilderfluke SD-10 hooked to a small powered speaker.

Rig a button to an out of scene area and have a backstage person operate it/them.


If that is impractical/impossible, then you need to be ready for some fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun setting up your software to use one of the methods mentioned above.

I'd do practically anything to avoid QLab and its well documented issues.

I apologize, I shouldn't bash the 'Lab because it is OK for some things, but it was the cause of multiple show failures for me a few years ago and I swore that I'd not use it again.

Your mileage may vary...
 
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