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Author Topic: Assisted Listening Systems  (Read 2266 times)

Gerry Seymour

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Assisted Listening Systems
« on: February 02, 2013, 09:00:34 pm »

I don't know if this belongs in the Lounge, instead, but it seemed appropriate here.

As I'm looking into bringing my own rig for talking head events, I'm trying to sort out what my ADA requirements will be. From the regs, it looks like any time amplification is used, ALS are required. The best deal I've seen in my short search was a Williams system with a transmitter and 4-pack of receivers (with 4 headsets and 2 neckloops). This would be sufficient up to 100 people, at about $800. I understand the purpose, and would like to do what I can to be compliant, but that's a bit steep. I haven't seen them for rental anywhere.

Does anyone know what the regs are when bringing in a rig? Does the ADA requirement only apply to installations, or should I start budgeting for this? And is there a less-expensive system out there?
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Gerry Seymour

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brian maddox

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Re: Assisted Listening Systems
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 02:52:54 pm »

I don't know if this belongs in the Lounge, instead, but it seemed appropriate here.

As I'm looking into bringing my own rig for talking head events, I'm trying to sort out what my ADA requirements will be. From the regs, it looks like any time amplification is used, ALS are required. The best deal I've seen in my short search was a Williams system with a transmitter and 4-pack of receivers (with 4 headsets and 2 neckloops). This would be sufficient up to 100 people, at about $800. I understand the purpose, and would like to do what I can to be compliant, but that's a bit steep. I haven't seen them for rental anywhere.

Does anyone know what the regs are when bringing in a rig? Does the ADA requirement only apply to installations, or should I start budgeting for this? And is there a less-expensive system out there?

In 20 years of supplying sound for every imaginable type of event, I've never provided an ALS system.  That doesn't mean the law doesn't require it.  I'm no expert.  But I think the law only applies to installed systems.  If I'm wrong, I've been 'living on the edge' a lot more than I knew.  :)
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Rick Earl

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Re: Assisted Listening Systems
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 09:25:46 am »

 The law states: "Assembly areas with fixed seating where audible communications are integral to the use of the space must have a permanently installed assistive listening system if they accommodate at least 50 persons, or if they have audio-amplification systems. The minimum number of receivers to be provided shall be equal to 4 percent of the total number of seats, but in no case less than two."

That being said, we provide and FM system for major events with temporary sound and seating, we do this as a courtesy to our guests.

 Interestingly enough, I have only been asked one time in 7 years for a unit in any of our permanent facilities.   However at graduation, we average about 3 requests per year.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Assisted Listening Systems
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 06:51:58 am »

The law states: "Assembly areas with fixed seating where audible communications are integral to the use of the space must have a permanently installed assistive listening system if they accommodate at least 50 persons, or if they have audio-amplification systems. The minimum number of receivers to be provided shall be equal to 4 percent of the total number of seats, but in no case less than two."
I believe that is quoting the previous version of the ADA, which could still apply to many venues, however in regards to Assistive Listening Systems Title III of the latest 2010 version states "219.2 Required Systems.  In each assembly area where audible communication is integral to the use of the space, an assistive listening system shall be provided.

EXCEPTION:  Other than in courtrooms, assistive listening systems shall not be required where audio amplification is not provided.
"

Note that the fixed seating, permanently installed and occupancy references were deleted in ADA 2010.  A new sliding scale for the number of receivers required, the option to look at that on a facility or campus rather than room-by-room basis and several technical requirements for the system were also introduced.

For reference, an "Assembly Area" is defined as "A building or facility, or portion thereof, used for the purpose of entertainment, educational or civic gatherings, or similar purposes.  For the purposes of these requirements, assembly areas include, but are not limited to, classrooms, lecture halls, courtrooms, public meeting rooms, public hearing rooms, legislative chambers, motion picture houses, auditoria, theaters, playhouses, dinner theaters, concert halls, centers for the performing arts, amphitheaters, arenas, stadiums, grandstands, or convention centers."

Also note that while Title III of the ADA addresses public and commercial facilities, Titles I and II address employment and municipal facilities.  That could lead to situations such as ALS for a corporate event being something an employer may want to address even if the venue does not require it.

This also means that if a space meets the definition of an Assembly Area and audio reinforcement is being used then ALS is likely required in order to be ADA compliant.  Because Title III relates to the facilities it would seem to suggest the onus for compliance lies with the venue.  However, that may be a little less clear where it is an event or the provision and use of an audio reinforcement system by other parties that would create a need for an Assistive Listening System in a facility that otherwise would not require ALS in order to be compliant.  Hopefully, any related agreements and/or contracts would identify who is responsible.
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Rick Earl

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Re: Assisted Listening Systems
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2013, 09:47:36 am »

That makes sense, I was unaware of the updates, but remain compliant.  We make a big effort in all of our events, including sign language interpreters if necessary.  We're also looking at adding inductive loops to some of our venues, including one outdoor space.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Assisted Listening Systems
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2013, 02:17:57 am »

That makes sense, I was unaware of the updates, but remain compliant.  We make a big effort in all of our events, including sign language interpreters if necessary.  We're also looking at adding inductive loops to some of our venues, including one outdoor space.

Oh god, no inductive loops unless you plan to ban single-coil instrument pickups and never plan on having simultaneous translation systems brought in for conventions.

Our PAC currently uses IR-based ALS.  All halls with permanent stages have emitters over the proscenium, and we bring in portable emitters if users will not be facing the stage or in the exhibit halls.

We have enough live entertainment in various parts of each hall that the potential for issues with instrument pickups, combined with terrazzo floors in 3 major halls means induction loops are pretty much a no-go for the PAC.
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Rick Earl

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Re: Assisted Listening Systems
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2013, 10:52:14 am »

Oh god, no inductive loops unless you plan to ban single-coil instrument pickups and never plan on having simultaneous translation systems brought in for conventions.

Our PAC currently uses IR-based ALS.  All halls with permanent stages have emitters over the proscenium, and we bring in portable emitters if users will not be facing the stage or in the exhibit halls.

We have enough live entertainment in various parts of each hall that the potential for issues with instrument pickups, combined with terrazzo floors in 3 major halls means induction loops are pretty much a no-go for the PAC.

The two venues are  the gym and an outdoor field where graduation is held.  The only time these would be used is for spoken word.   There are concerts and games in the gym, but they can use the FM system.   

On a side note: I remember touring into one venue with all the dimming under the stage.  Single coil pickups were a nightmare on  that stage.   The bass player had a "new" vintage Rickenbacker  and he was not willing to part with it to get rid of the noise.  Fortunately there was enough automated lighting to cover  most of the show.     The house electrician was able to re-patch around the dimmer right under the bass player and we got by for the show without too much noise.  A week later he was back to his P-Bass.
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Re: Assisted Listening Systems
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2013, 10:52:14 am »


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