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Unnecessary Equipment?

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by midgetgreen11, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    At my high school, a sound system was installed at the bare minimum, and being a lighting person with very little sound knowledge, I had never taken a good look at the system. There are two modules in the "rack," if can call it that, which are "Auditory assistance modules," one of which has an antenna that is wired on top of the rack. The other module has audio inputs (which I'm not sure where they go to), which has set-able frequencies (I think). We have no auditory "receivers" for the hearing impaired to use, and the two modules have no power. There is no power cable run to them.

    Also, isn't an Audio rack usually in the booth? Ours is backstage... even though the sound board is up in the booth...

    Can somebody explain this to me?
     
  2. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how to answer the first part other than leave them unless you need the rack space, but I can say that it depends on the second one. If there are things that need to be worked with every day in the rack, then the rack probably would be in the booth. However, if it does not need to be touched other than routine maintenance, then it usually is not in the booth to save space. I've seen racks in the booth at several places, but I've also seen the racks backstage or in equipment rooms in other places. In our new chapel the rack will be in an equipment room in the sacristy ("backstage" in a church,) and it was put there by our audio engineers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
  3. rwhealey

    rwhealey Active Member

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    Heh...

    I'm currently dealing with our video system. Apparently they needed 7 coax cables running between the booth and stage (for a projector and a couple monitors) and they ran a couple extra.

    By a couple I mean 20 more coax cables. And we had a couple of wireless video receivers. With no transmitters. And a bunch of infrared control devices. Not hooked up.

    What??????????????

    However, don't yank/cut anything if you don't know what it does. In dealing with this, we accidentally cut the audio from our booth DVD (which for some reason ran out on the stage video rack before going to the FOH position).
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  4. jowens

    jowens Member

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    Hi,
    It's generally A.D.A. compliant (i.e. required by law) to include an assisted listening devices whenever any bit of a public space that will use sound systems is renovated. Seems like they got one for you, but never hooked it up. The antenna is for the receivers, check with whomever the project manager was (custodian, director of music, principal, director of grounds) they may have been given the headsets.
    Good luck.
     
  5. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    But, all they had to do to make it actually work was plug it in...
     
  6. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    As far as the backstage rack, in the larger and professional theaters where you always have a backstage sound op (also called the "A2" -- the "A1" is usually the person who mixes the show), the wireless receivers and speaker amps would go back there. The A2 is in charge of all wireless body and costume mics and often has to run back and forth to the dressing rooms to change mic fittings on the actors during the show -- and of course deal with problems and outages related to the mics. The backstage area is their "workshop" to deal with the equipment and to monitor the wireless. I have seen two pro houses set up this way and it works quite well. The only requirement is that you have a full-time A2.

    The other equipment related to mixing the show (FX units, EQ, etc) are all up in the booth where the A1 can get to them as needed ... the booth is the A1's "workshop" :)
     
  7. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I'm sorry but I have to pull that one up given you are an English major...

    Racks exist for various purposes. There is no sense in placing an amp rack any further from the speakers it feeds than necessary, as you will lose a significant amount of power in the cabling... It makes sense for these to be somewhere around the stage...
    On the other hand there's no point putting a compressor or the like that you might need to adjust during a show on stage when you are mixing in the house.

    Since you admit to being lighting person, consider your desk as being a potential rack, since in most cases FOH racks hang are for the main console and consider your dimmers as being another rack, which makes sense to be one stage...

    You might have some very basic controls on stage for people for whom a lighting desk overcomplicates things, maybe an on off switch for stage workers and a fader for house lights or something of that concept. The same can happen for sound, where something might be installed for a basic mic on a stick job for lectures etc.

    Does that help clarify things?
     
  8. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    Recent high-cost audio install at a local theater included numerous similar cases, where equipment was barely installed and not connected. The end users were a school without any audio experts, so no one knew any different until they called myself and a few others to help with an unrelated problem. Tracing cables showed several pieces of equipment that were not connected. Moreover, there were three separate switches required to turn the system on, and with a few short extension cords we linked them all to a sequencer to eliminate equipment damage. "Budget" install seems to involve hiring a company that doesn't know beans about audio and couldn't care less about the quality of their work.

    As a user, put equipment where you want it - of course, as a student, check with the Powers That Be first. I like to be able to see the little flashing lights on my amps, and all of my other equipment, from the operational position, although certainly a strong argument could be made for placing the amps in a different physical location. Setup varies by use as well, of course.
     
  9. nicsim

    nicsim Member

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    My school has 2 Strong Supertrooper II that has been sitting in the lighting booth and has only clocked less then 20 hours in the last 3 years. And we also have a Wybro AutoPilot II system sitting on the cat walk collecting dust for 3 years.
     
  10. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Is this a new system? Have you asked if there is any documentation? There should be system and product documentation (drawings, manuals, etc.) provided that might answer some of your questions, but if it is an older system the documentation may have been lost or misplaced (or they simply may not have been provided). If nothing else, this information may identify the system installer and/or designer and give you someone to contact.

    There are numerous reasons to have racks in various locations, I've worked on theatre systems where the audio system had racks in four or more locations; for example at the stage (wireless mics, IEMs, monitor console connections, etc.), FOH (effects and sources), booth (alternate effects and sources as well as recording) and a dedicated amp/processing room (amplifiers and system processing) with comms to all of them.

    There are also numerous problems all too common with many school installs. The system installation typically goes to the "lowest, qualified bidder" and often there are little or no actual qualifications defined, resulting it in simply going to the lowest bidder which can unfortunately be the one who cut the most corners. Many times the systems are actually designed by or bid as part of other systems such as the electrical or "low voltage" systems, in some of these situations the firms designing those systems simply get a dealer or manufacturer's rep to put together the actual design and there is little qualified oversight of the subsequent bidding or installation. And many schools simply have no one qualified to review and accept the system, plug in a mic and have something come out of the speakers and the entire system may be accepted. These problems can all be avoided but there is a cost associated with getting qualified professionals involved to design the systems and oversee the construction, as well as in getting quality firms to provide and install the systems, and this cost is often seen by those making the decisions as not being required or of sufficient value.
     

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