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Author Topic: Family Entertainment Center  (Read 810 times)

Jeremy Baker

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Family Entertainment Center
« on: February 14, 2017, 07:35:21 pm »

Working at a FEC that needs a reboot of an audio system, the facility is 3 separate buildings (all connected) with different speakers in each building, each building already has its own amps/mixers to allow localized music, mic, etc in each area. We have a centralized space(network closet) where we would like to broadcast music, & input from a phone paging system, as well as a night bell out to the other areas as an input on each areas mixer. We also need to be able to select which of those 3 global sources play in each area at a given time. Ex) one area will never receive the global audio as this area almost always plays local audio (roller rink), and other areas depending on events we may want paging to go through, but not music. There are about 7 different areas or "zones". Not sure what equipment would be best to do this, any advice appreciated
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Family Entertainment Center
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2017, 08:13:35 pm »

Working at a FEC that needs a reboot of an audio system, the facility is 3 separate buildings (all connected) with different speakers in each building, each building already has its own amps/mixers to allow localized music, mic, etc in each area. We have a centralized space(network closet) where we would like to broadcast music, & input from a phone paging system, as well as a night bell out to the other areas as an input on each areas mixer. We also need to be able to select which of those 3 global sources play in each area at a given time. Ex) one area will never receive the global audio as this area almost always plays local audio (roller rink), and other areas depending on events we may want paging to go through, but not music. There are about 7 different areas or "zones". Not sure what equipment would be best to do this, any advice appreciated


Sounds like a perfect job for BSS London controller and Dante interfaces.




Worked on a similar setup at the Columbus Zoo.  The BSS has a SIP client built in so if you have a modern phone system that supports IP SIP you can use the ducker in the BSS and terminate the paging calls directly into it.


Shoot me a PM if you want some design assistance.



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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
River Delta Audio is now:

Ghost Audio Visual Solutions, LLC
Cleveland OH
www.ghostav.rocks

Cailen Waddell

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Re: Family Entertainment Center
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2017, 08:46:23 pm »

So when I look at various DSPs and transport systems for our in house projects, I am constantly frustrated that the processors with the features I want don't have the control interfaces I want. 

We will not under any circumstances install a crestron based control system...  or any closed system where only factory technicians can make changes. 

We are working on an install that will use some of the atlas Dante products next week.  I have high hopes for their touch screen interface.


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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Family Entertainment Center
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2017, 03:21:42 am »


We will not under any circumstances install a crestron based control system...  or any closed system where only factory technicians can make changes. 



Amen......Control 4 is just as brutal as Crestron, run don't walk. 


OpenHAB and Calaos are both worth watching.  Sonos has a published API so the hope is these Open Source tools can be a bridge to the closed world.  Dante provides an independent routing framework but requires licensing.  I know of no one using Dante for a media platform.


The London was a strategic recommendation based on the OP's criteria.  If you want to add the requirement of a UI for source selection you could front end with the automation system and feed that to the London.  The London could be equipped with form C inputs and the automation system could make output routing selection.


This is why unless you have audio and IT skills rolling your own is a very risky proposition.  While it may save costs up front you end up with a system that can only be managed by one person.  Even with the best documentation it is hard to go behind someone and work on their creation.  Ultimately you save upfront capital but over the long term the cost savings erode as the system ultimately atrifies and ends up being replaced.  I wish this a worst case scenario but I have seen it play out over and over. 


I watched a couple of ladies struggle with a presentation and a borrowed projector for a 25 year high school reunion while I was setting up for the band.  I offered to help and ended up getting my laptop and setting up her projector and using the bands rig.  I ran the show on my own time (was going to rest in the van before the gig).  Afterward the organizers asked me what I would have charged to do that.  They responded back that they never even thought of engaging an AV company for a high school reunion.  Often we direct our anger at presenters to communicate with us but we need to do a better job of what our roles are.  There are customers that don't even know they need our services.  This thread is a great example of the kind of other work that can expand your business horizontally instead of the vertical growth we all focus on.


I should add that it is key you set boundaries for horizontal expansion.  These other services should be aligned with your core business and if possible feed back into it.  Haphazard revenue grabs are not a strategy, just desperation. 







« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 03:23:44 am by Scott Holtzman »
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
River Delta Audio is now:

Ghost Audio Visual Solutions, LLC
Cleveland OH
www.ghostav.rocks

Kevin McDonough

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Re: Family Entertainment Center
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2017, 08:02:33 am »

hey

With these things, simplicity for the end user is always key. The last thing you need is phone calls every 5 mins to show them how to work basic functions, so simple control panels and easy to use layout is what your priority should be.

In terms of your end, there is really 2 ways you could do it. On the one hand you could do it with a fairly simple zone controller in each area.  You're "central hub" of audio playback etc could send its signal split into all of the respective zones, and each zone could have a pretty cheap controller that took in those audio sources and also some local ones, and allowed the user to switch as needed.

While the actual zone controllers would be much cheaper, the savings in cost may be offset by increased wiring needed. And it would give you redundancy in that if a zone controller jumped the shark or someone done something silly, it would only affect that zone. But it would be a bit of a faff running all the extra cabling to split the central signal.

On the other hand you have a centralised system, such as a soundweb or maybe the newer QSC one.  A central controller "brain" sits in the central location with the playback stuff, and local inputs and control panels can be fed to each of the zones.

While a little more expensive, it's a much more flexible and complete system, i.e. any audio from anywhere in the system can be fed anywhere else, even local input from one part of the building fed to another if needed. Also allows you to set up whatever over-ride audio is needed, so for example the paging mic will always play over whatever audio source is selected etc. However the more flexible you make it, the more chance there is of someone messing it up and not knowing what they're doing, so you need to show some restraint while programming it all to make sure it's easy to use for the end user.


k
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Craig Hauber

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Re: Family Entertainment Center
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2017, 11:12:22 am »

So when I look at various DSPs and transport systems for our in house projects, I am constantly frustrated that the processors with the features I want don't have the control interfaces I want. 

We will not under any circumstances install a crestron based control system...  or any closed system where only factory technicians can make changes. 

From the client's perspective it's no more closed than your own company's programming of a DSP or whatever wall controls you provide.

We do all our own crestron programming with our own staff and the end result is amazing compared to what we tried doing before by kludging together whatever control elements the audio DSP vendors provided. 

I simply can't express how much more design freedom I have at my disposal as a designer now that we've made that jump into control systems. 
It's definitely well worth it!


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Craig Hauber
Mondak Sound Design
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John Rutirasiri

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Re: Family Entertainment Center
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2017, 07:36:09 pm »

From the client's perspective it's no more closed than your own company's programming of a DSP or whatever wall controls you provide.
$200/hr for a simple control panel change.  $1400 to replace a DM-TX-400 wall plate.
But that's the price one pays for a closed, proprietary system.

The novelty wears off fast.


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ClearImpact Sound & Event Services, Inc.
Sound/Lighting/Corporate A/V

"If it ain't broke, make it better."

Scott Holtzman

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Re: Family Entertainment Center
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2017, 07:47:44 pm »

$200/hr for a simple control panel change.  $1400 to replace a DM-TX-400 wall plate.
But that's the price one pays for a closed, proprietary system.

The novelty wears off fast.


They do a good job of protecting their channel partners. 
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
River Delta Audio is now:

Ghost Audio Visual Solutions, LLC
Cleveland OH
www.ghostav.rocks

John Rutirasiri

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Re: Family Entertainment Center
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2017, 08:04:49 pm »


They do a good job of protecting their channel partners.

Yup.  No way for end-user to upgrade firmware, download configuration software etc. 

Nothing is serviceable.  You just replace.




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ClearImpact Sound & Event Services, Inc.
Sound/Lighting/Corporate A/V

"If it ain't broke, make it better."

Adam Kane

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Re: Family Entertainment Center
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2017, 05:10:33 pm »

Yup.  No way for end-user to upgrade firmware, download configuration software etc. 

Nothing is serviceable.  You just replace.

Stuff like this is why I've become so fond of QSYS. Previous to using that, we'd have to employ one manufacturer's piece of equipment (or pieces) to provide a nice control interface, and another manufacturer's piece of equipment to get flexible, quality audio processing. There always had to be a demarc of sorts between the two pieces, which meant that changing anything in audio land meant changing things in control world as well. Usually a hassle, but do-able.

With QSYS, you really get a very nice user interface and great audio DSP all under one roof. So changes are quick and painless for the most part. It's incredibly simple to take whatever controls you've built in your schematic pages (audio, 3rd party gear, et al) and drop them into the control interface. Using good quality network gear, you can have a solid and easily expandable system with comparatively little effort. Not to mention the provisions for 3rd party control have opened the door for us to put together some pretty complex systems controlling audio, video, lighting, etc, that would not have been possible without going the AMX or Crestron route.

Don't get me wrong...I'm not dogging AMX or Crestron as they make fine equipment and when properly configured can result in some awesome systems.

But I've lost count of the number of times the clients want to rip out a 4-year old system because a minor change (new piece of gear, additional speaker zones, additional sources, you name it) equates to an astronomical programming bill. In my neck of the woods, these systems get installed in a flash by a huge company with gobs of manpower and it seems the people that end up using the system on a daily basis are never given the opportunity to offer input that would be useful when configuring the system and control interfaces. The result is lots of $$$$$ for a system that no one is happy with but choose to live with because of what it just cost them to install. Then the sticker shock for changes usually steers them away from anything with the AMX or Crestron badge on it for the rest of their lives.

Didn't mean to derail the thread...point of the story is, we've made the switch to QSYS and have had no reason yet to look back.
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