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Author Topic: New High School Gym - Mini Rant  (Read 530 times)

brian maddox

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New High School Gym - Mini Rant
« on: January 09, 2018, 09:25:27 pm »

Okay, so my daughter's High School got a brand new building just in time for her Senior year.  Which is super cool.  She is very active in sports and we are avid boosters for the Girls Basketball and Softball teams as a result.

While the old Gym was funky and cool in it's own weird way, i was really looking forward to enjoying watching games in a new state-of-the-art facility.  And with regards to watching the games, the place certainly doesn't disappoint, with superior sight lines, better climate control, Much better lighting, etc.

But then there's the sound system.  Mind you, my bar is VERY low when it comes to gymnasium sound.  It's a gym, and i don't expect it to NOT sound like a gym.  If i can understand the announcer and there isn't hideous clipping or distortion, i'm good.  But as soon as we walked in to take our seats in the bleachers i knew i was going to have a bad time...

There are approximately 12 full range speakers arranged in a symmetrical grid in the ceiling.  They are painted to match the ceiling with all the cables run neatly in conduit.  All in all a completely professional installation.  Except ALL of the speakers are placed over the Basketball court, and ALL are facing straight down.  There are exactly ZERO speakers pointed in the direction of the bleachers or any other spectator area in the room.  So unless you are on the actual court or in the 10 feet or so surrounding the court, you are completely out of the speakers coverage zone.  So, the announcer seated next to the court can hear GREAT.  I know because his mic was feeding back the entire time.  And the 10 players and 3 referees also hear perfectly.  But if you're anywhere else you're out of luck.

I mean, i know we talk about this sort of thing all the time but...  Come On.  How hard is it to know that you have to point the speakers to where the people are in order for them to function correctly? 

The best i can tell, the designer was given 2 criteria...

1.  You must use loudspeakers capable of clear undistorted vocal intelligibility.

2.  You must deploy those loudspeakers in such a way as to ensure they are as unintelligible as physically possible.

Mission Accomplished!

I don't even want to know how much was spent on this install, since it's my money they spent.

Why?  Why is this so hard?  Why do building designers make the same mistakes over and over and over!!!!!

[Shaking Fist At Cloud!!!!!!!!!!!]

/end rant
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brian maddox
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: New High School Gym - Mini Rant
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2018, 10:30:37 pm »

Okay, so my daughter's High School got a brand new building just in time for her Senior year.  Which is super cool.  She is very active in sports and we are avid boosters for the Girls Basketball and Softball teams as a result.

While the old Gym was funky and cool in it's own weird way, i was really looking forward to enjoying watching games in a new state-of-the-art facility.  And with regards to watching the games, the place certainly doesn't disappoint, with superior sight lines, better climate control, Much better lighting, etc.

But then there's the sound system.  Mind you, my bar is VERY low when it comes to gymnasium sound.  It's a gym, and i don't expect it to NOT sound like a gym.  If i can understand the announcer and there isn't hideous clipping or distortion, i'm good.  But as soon as we walked in to take our seats in the bleachers i knew i was going to have a bad time...

There are approximately 12 full range speakers arranged in a symmetrical grid in the ceiling.  They are painted to match the ceiling with all the cables run neatly in conduit.  All in all a completely professional installation.  Except ALL of the speakers are placed over the Basketball court, and ALL are facing straight down.  There are exactly ZERO speakers pointed in the direction of the bleachers or any other spectator area in the room.  So unless you are on the actual court or in the 10 feet or so surrounding the court, you are completely out of the speakers coverage zone.  So, the announcer seated next to the court can hear GREAT.  I know because his mic was feeding back the entire time.  And the 10 players and 3 referees also hear perfectly.  But if you're anywhere else you're out of luck.

I mean, i know we talk about this sort of thing all the time but...  Come On.  How hard is it to know that you have to point the speakers to where the people are in order for them to function correctly? 

The best i can tell, the designer was given 2 criteria...

1.  You must use loudspeakers capable of clear undistorted vocal intelligibility.

2.  You must deploy those loudspeakers in such a way as to ensure they are as unintelligible as physically possible.

Mission Accomplished!

I don't even want to know how much was spent on this install, since it's my money they spent.

Why?  Why is this so hard?  Why do building designers make the same mistakes over and over and over!!!!!

[Shaking Fist At Cloud!!!!!!!!!!!]

/end rant

In my other world I do a lot of school technology.  The pro installation kinda gives this away.  Whoever had the electrical contract probably also did the data, fire, controls and pretty much anything you can get a union electrician to do.  I bet they are hung with unistrut and allthread (this just screams electrician).  They bid it all as a package and met the contractors spec.  That is all the matters. 

We installed a 150k network with top of the line wireless.  They forgot to include connectivity to the Internet.  I heard of a contractor that named his boat "change order".

Now if you had gone over and gotten whomever had to sign off for them to get paid to bitch about the sound they would have moved heaven and earth to make them happy.

K-12 tech is its own special bizarro universe.

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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: New High School Gym - Mini Rant
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2018, 09:33:31 am »

Life typically gives us the answers only after we take the test, often we don't get do overs.

The good news in that gymnasium, the speakers can get repointed.

JR
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Craig Hauber

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Re: New High School Gym - Mini Rant
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2018, 11:06:18 am »


I don't even want to know how much was spent on this install, since it's my money they spent.

Why?  Why is this so hard?  Why do building designers make the same mistakes over and over and over!!!!!

[Shaking Fist At Cloud!!!!!!!!!!!]

/end rant
Did you check to see if the very expensive DSP was actually programmed and not just straight-lined in to out?

And at least your speakers were pointing down -ours had several pointing directly at the walls 20' up -actually increasing the slap-echo in the place.

Or how about the piles of un-installed gear that music teachers and custodian had to ask me about because they didn't know what it was for and had been sitting there for years.

None of the gear was crap, just deployed wrong, incompleted or simply not installed at all!


Frustrating is that it's public money and the school district gets over 2/3 of my total property tax bills.

There's never any repercussions to the architects and contractors yet they get to charge higher and get paid more than they could in private contracts.

A/V consultant who's nameplate is on all the racks also has every relevant "industry certification" that I keep reading about in System Contractor News.  Makes me now doubt the value of such certification if it still means that the resultant install is garbage.

Sorry, don't mean to get ranting too, but I've seen this type of thing in more than one project.

Something is seriously wrong with the "system" and it really casts doubt on other aspects of public projects. 
(Such as:  Is structural, electrical, hvac and plumbing also installed with the same attention given to the A/V?)
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Hal Bissinger/COMSYSTEC

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Re: New High School Gym - Mini Rant
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2018, 11:05:44 pm »

Quote
Is structural, electrical, hvac and plumbing also installed with the same attention given to the A/V?

Yes because it's installed by the same people. Consultant designs it and comes around later to collect the check.

-Hal
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: New High School Gym - Mini Rant
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 07:35:02 am »

Yes because it's installed by the same people. Consultant designs it and comes around later to collect the check.

-Hal
Designs = modified cut and paste. 

Yes AV is often a subset of the electrical bid portion.  For better or (typically) worse.

It seems that AV companies that focus on the K12 market focus on the classrooms - simple, tiny, copy/paste.  Anything more complex is too much and requires a consultant.  Not that adding a consultant into the mix guarantees a better outcome (yes there are actually a few good consultants).

I don't miss those projects.

Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk

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Ivan Beaver

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Re: New High School Gym - Mini Rant
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2018, 07:37:42 am »

Did you check to see if the very expensive DSP was actually programmed and not just straight-lined in to out?


I have actually seen that on a local large (gets all the new schools) install.

They had a biamp nexia DSP, and the input was wired to the output-no eq- no limiters-no highpass, not even a level control.

Because "everybody" knows that a DSP will make the sound better-----
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scottstephens

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Re: New High School Gym - Mini Rant
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2018, 10:08:13 am »

   I'm with ya, Brother.  Our local school went with the lowest bid and they got what they paid for. Crappy Sound Tech speakers with holes drilled into the sides and steel cable wrapped around the handles. No EQ except the mixer amp and no intelligibility. They  go "Boom, Boom Boom and at the vocals sound like MMMPPHFFF and MMMMPPPHHHFF.

  They company goes out of business and then they call us and ask "We have $200.00 left in the budget can you make it understandable?"  We said those speakers are NOT meant to hang or fly and will come down and hurt somebody AND WALKED AWAY.

By the way, the school spent $9500 on the 8 speakers, the mixer amp and 200 ft. of 16 gauge cable.  Our bid was $15K for Community's and things done right.

Scott
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Don T. Williams

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Re: New High School Gym - Mini Rant
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2018, 05:26:28 pm »

I have actually seen that on a local large (gets all the new schools) install.

They had a biamp nexia DSP, and the input was wired to the output-no eq- no limiters-no highpass, not even a level control.

Because "everybody" knows that a DSP will make the sound better-----

A local High School auditorium with a fairly decent installed speaker system was set up the exact same way with the Nexia wired directly to the amp inputs by the "sound contractor???" This auditorium was used for a lot of civic events and even Christian and country concerts.  The Nexia was set up for a maximum 95db (as defined by said contractor with no specific parameters) with a 100 to 1 limiter for any higher levels.  They convinced the Superintendent of Schools that this was "for the protection of the students".  They refused to give anyone the "code" to make changes.  When the system got anywhere close to 85 - 90dB it just choked and the sound was lifeless.  You can guess how well that went over with visiting engineers!  Someone (I can't say who) found a way to replace the Nexia with another speaker processor (when needed), and the Superintendent doesn't know any better.  It still sounds crappy for the kids the rest of the time!
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Craig Hauber

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Re: New High School Gym - Mini Rant
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2018, 01:48:58 pm »

A local High School auditorium with a fairly decent installed speaker system was set up the exact same way with the Nexia wired directly to the amp inputs by the "sound contractor???" This auditorium was used for a lot of civic events and even Christian and country concerts.  The Nexia was set up for a maximum 95db (as defined by said contractor with no specific parameters) with a 100 to 1 limiter for any higher levels.  They convinced the Superintendent of Schools that this was "for the protection of the students".  They refused to give anyone the "code" to make changes.  When the system got anywhere close to 85 - 90dB it just choked and the sound was lifeless.  You can guess how well that went over with visiting engineers!  Someone (I can't say who) found a way to replace the Nexia with another speaker processor (when needed), and the Superintendent doesn't know any better.  It still sounds crappy for the kids the rest of the time!

Telnet a "clear 0 devconfig" command to it.
-however be ready to go with a new configuration afterwards because it will be totally blank of everything.

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Craig Hauber
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