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Author Topic: Audio Consultant Selling me a DSP  (Read 5283 times)

Dustin Corey

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Audio Consultant Selling me a DSP
« on: July 18, 2016, 10:15:51 am »

Good Morning,

My church has started the process of moving to a larger facility. I'm trying to do things right by hiring an audio professional to help with system design.

  • ~400 members
  • Need complete new audio system from IO/Mixer/Amps/Speakers for a large auditorium with balcony and vaulted ceilings.
  • Contemporary worship with need for loud sound with good headroom and heavy LF for youth events.


In the process of settling on scope and budget, the consultant offered to provide system tuning for free if we purchased a BiAmp Nexia / Tesira Forte (DSP) from them for ~$2,300. While the exact model wasn't specified in the scope document, this whole line of products seems to be for smaller classrooms and teleconferencing? I don't know much about the DSP hardware world, the amps and mixer we use today have provided enough processing for us. Is this a good recommendation, or are we in the wrong park?

Also, what should I expect for consulting prices for loudspeaker recommendation including model numbers/quantity/fly points/ and mounting angles/heights with Power and infrastructure requirements of the recommended design? Cost per hour? Percentage of project total? This is my first time going through this and want to make sure everything is tracking properly.

Thanks!

« Last Edit: July 18, 2016, 10:53:00 am by Dustin Corey »
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Scott Carneval

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Re: Audio Consultant Selling me a DSP
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2016, 10:41:55 am »

...the consultant offered to provide system tuning for free if we purchased a BiAmp Nexia / Tesira Forte (DSP) from them for ~$2,300.

This right here is a red flag. System tuning/alignment should cost a whole lot more than the $500 or so margin they might be making off the DSP. If the consultant is coming in with a ~$2k+ SMAART rig and planning to spend 4-8 hours tuning the system, they shouldn't be giving that away for free. Maybe they're making up for it somewhere else, but this just seems questionable to me.

Quote
While the exact model wasn't specified in the scope document, this whole line of products seems to be for smaller classrooms and teleconferencing? I don't know much about the DSP hardware world, the amps and mixer we use today have provided enough processing for us. Is this a good recommendation, or are we in the wrong park?

A system DSP that can be locked out is always good to have, even if the amps have their own DSP built in. There are just certain things with routing and signal flow that are better accomplished with one main DSP. Biamp stuff is great, but they're generally better suited to conferencing applications. They do have a few models that would work fine as speaker processors.

Quote
Also, what should I expect for consulting prices for loudspeaker recommendation including model numbers/quantity/fly points/ and mounting angles/heights with Power and infrastructure requirements of the recommended design? Cost per hour? Percentage of project total? This is my first time going through this and want to make sure everything is tracking properly.

This will depend heavily on your market and the exact scope of what the consultant is providing. If they're trying to sell you equipment, this doesn't sound like a consultant to me.
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Audio Consultant Selling me a DSP
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2016, 11:21:35 am »

the consultant offered to provide system tuning for free if we purchased a BiAmp Nexia / Tesira Forte (DSP) from them for ~$2,300.
+1 on the Red Flag!
Seems like a lot to spend on DSP for your application.
Just my $.02 worth.
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Audio Consultant Selling me a DSP
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2016, 01:08:06 pm »

If they're trying to sell you equipment, this doesn't sound like a consultant to me.

Yep. Good Reading as always is the article entitled "Why Churches Buy 3 Sound Systems". The audio consultant needs to be on your side and not just trying to sell you equipment or labor to install it. Often, the salesperson is trying to sell you either what (s)he has a LOT of on the shelf, or simply what's in stock-- or most likely, the product(s) that have the highest profit margin.

You need to make certain your audio consultant is helping you to not only get the best deal, but also make those hard choices about system design and deployment, to ensure this is the last sound system you have to purchase.

-Ray
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Audio Consultant Selling me a DSP
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2016, 05:49:36 pm »

That said, I have lots of nice things to say about the Biamp product line.  I wish they had a better controller option, but the nexia/tessera stuff is good if it's the right tool for the job

Perhaps the vendor needs a sale to make their Biamp minimum for the year and is willing to take a hit on the system tuning to get the sales?


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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Audio Consultant Selling me a DSP
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2016, 07:03:11 pm »

There are SEVERAL RED FLAGS here.

1:  A consultant is "supposed" to be unbiased and they don't sell gear.
That is a conflict of interest.

2: A system for 400 people SHOULD be pretty simple.  So a "simple DSP" should be all that is required-NOT a $2300 unit.

3: System tuning for a room that size "should" be about an hour.
If it takes longer-something is either wrong with the design or lack of knowledge on the part of the "tuner".

Total "commissioning" of the system would take longer.  But for only 400 people, it "should not" be that complex.

Just curious-what is the speaker design that would take such a DSP?

There may be a reason that we are not aware of.
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Chris Penny

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Re: Audio Consultant Selling me a DSP
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2016, 09:57:37 pm »

I agree with others sounds a bit iffy. 

Unless there is some crazy/unique speaker or input distribution going on, I would assume the in-built dsp on your new amps will most likely be sufficient.  I know for our current trial Danley Rig (and future installed rig once the speakers are built/arrive) we are just relying on the new amp's dsp and so far it all seems fine to me.

As indicated it may just be better value to pay for tuning using the amp dsps.
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Audio Consultant Selling me a DSP
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2016, 10:00:24 am »

That said, I have lots of nice things to say about the Biamp product line.  I wish they had a better controller option, but the nexia/tessera stuff is good if it's the right tool for the job

Perhaps the vendor needs a sale to make their Biamp minimum for the year and is willing to take a hit on the system tuning to get the sales?
Meeting the minimum for the year is certainly important- as a reseller myself (for other brands, not Biamp), I do know that if I don't make my quotas, and lose dealer status, that's bad for me! -- but the key point I bolded- if this processor isn't the right tool for this job, then it's wrong for the vendor to suggest that product simply to maintain their sales level.

-Ray
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Karl Maciag

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Re: Audio Consultant Selling me a DSP
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2016, 10:10:20 am »

Dustin,

I agree with the others here, the Biamp product line is great, but has a lot of features, and hence cost that you likely don't need for your speaker system DSP.

It sounds like you are working with an integrator, and not a consultant. This isn't always a bad thing, but be sure to do your homework on them (as you should with any service provider), and see what their track record is like with other churches. If they're worth their salt, they should not have a problem referring you to other churches they have had successful installations with. Give these churches a call, and even visit them to see and hear the quality of the work. Would these churches use this company again?

Are you moving into an existing building, or are you building from the ground up? If it's a new build, your architect would likely have some recommendations of a consultant, or an integrator in your area that has a good reputation.

Last thing, be sure to pay attention to acoustic treatment, and the acoustic properties of your new space. Getting the room sounding right before you put the PA in will make a huge difference in your overall satisfaction of the new digs.
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Dustin Corey

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Re: Audio Consultant Selling me a DSP
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2016, 10:43:29 am »

Thanks for all the great input!

I had a feeling things weren't going well with the DSP sales pitch.
I've had a hard time finding someone in the Birmingham, AL area to call me back. Any suggestions for a consultant here for my project?
I will try to recover my scope with this company in the meantime, but I would like to call another company and see if we can get on a better track from the start.
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