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Author Topic: Classroom setup  (Read 1497 times)

Stephen Swaffer

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Classroom setup
« on: August 30, 2022, 01:30:11 PM »

Our church is finishing a multipurpose building-primary use is Sunday School.  We will have 17-18 classrooms as well as a couple of other zones and then the gym that would double as a large assembly room.  From other discussions, I am leaning towards using an AHM-32 (since we are primarily A&H in rest of our facilities) to give us distributed audio/paging etc.  The classrooms themselves are small-think 15-20 children at the most-I want to say 15'X20'.

Lots of options out there.  We will likely use QSC k10's or 12's in the gym as that is pastor's preference.  I am more wondering about classrooms.  Is there an economical multichannel amp available?  Powered does seem ideal for multiple classrooms, though there will obviously be power there we could borrow-and I have at least 3 licensed electricians so installation is not a huge problem.

Suggestions specifically for class room speakers-other things I may be overlooking?  I know we could hire a contractor-but the project price has already ballooned due to covid/inflation and contractors walking away from signed contracts-and I feel confident we can setup a professional system.  I believe we had about $20,000 budgeted-if I can put most of that towards equipment and use the project to give some teens some good hands on experience on installation I think it would be a good project to do with volunteers.
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Steve Swaffer

Dave Garoutte

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2022, 01:50:41 PM »

Is this a distributed sound sort of thing, or independent systems?  Music, or speech?
I would think a single 8" Yamaha or QSC would work fine in each.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2022, 07:14:58 PM »

For what I'm picturing as a classroom I would go with ceiling speakers or if it's an open ceiling design maybe hanging pendent style speakers.
There are good sounding ceiling speakers and in a classroom they give good even coverage.

For what I picture as a typical multipurpose gym you may want to look at something other than K10's or 12", something with more directivity to put sound where the people are.

Erik Jerde

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2022, 08:04:28 PM »

For what I'm picturing as a classroom I would go with ceiling speakers or if it's an open ceiling design maybe hanging pendent style speakers.
There are good sounding ceiling speakers and in a classroom they give good even coverage.

For what I picture as a typical multipurpose gym you may want to look at something other than K10's or 12", something with more directivity to put sound where the people are.

I was thinking similar.  For church classrooms Iíve been happy with 70V ceiling speakers in a mono configuration.  The great thing here is that youíre not running too far you can just use standard cat5e cable and do 4 classrooms off of one cable run.  Keeps all your amps in a central location which can be nice.
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Paul Johnson

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2022, 10:14:31 AM »

Forgive me, but you've not said what they are for? If you go to modern schools, the need to play music in classrooms is mainly for playing YouTube from laptops, or sometimes dedicated media players. High voltage 70/100V line systems are fine but need controlling so you are into zone products to send certain sources to certain destinations - or the speakers in the room need to be for playing in music from another area as overflow rooms - that kind of thing. Some needs dictate big bassy speakers if they might be used for a dance class, or small loudspeakers if general audio only is needed. The system in the rooms to set volume needs to be a knob or fader - which dictates a small panel. This system sounds so simple, but needs starting at the user end. What needs to be enabled. If the idea is to pipe a service to the entire complex, that's different to an English teacher plugging in their MacBook and showing them a video. The dance class might really be a movement class for people with learning difficulties, but their requirements might be different.

This means central control, with local tie ins. Not an easy one to guess without second sight, from experience. The room panels might need to be mixers - taking in an external feed and local input too?
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2022, 01:02:21 PM »

This is primarily for walk-in music/paging and perhaps dismissal signals.  Children arrive over a 15-20 minute time frame.  I like the AHM platform as it should allow individual control in each room without physical controls-as much about keeping them from being messed with as cost.  There may be times when live "overflow" audio is sent to the speakers-possibly even from a different building if we get ambitious enough to set up a Dante network.

I'll be honest, I am familiar with and have been involved in installing 70V systems but overlooked this solution.  Any recommendations on multi-channel amps?  I don't want junk-but I do have a budget to consider.

We have looked at acousitc treatments-and being a PEMB, the ceiling and significant portions of the walls are exposed insulation which should help with reflections-I would hope?
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Steve Swaffer

Glen Kelley

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2022, 12:35:27 PM »

This is primarily for walk-in music/paging and perhaps dismissal signals.  Children arrive over a 15-20 minute time frame.  I like the AHM platform as it should allow individual control in each room without physical controls-as much about keeping them from being messed with as cost.  There may be times when live "overflow" audio is sent to the speakers-possibly even from a different building if we get ambitious enough to set up a Dante network.

I'll be honest, I am familiar with and have been involved in installing 70V systems but overlooked this solution.  Any recommendations on multi-channel amps?  I don't want junk-but I do have a budget to consider.


To my ears, the EV EVID c8.2 ceiling speakers are the best bang for the buck. They go decently low and sound good doing it, have an integrated back-can with safety tie-off, and a simple dial on the front face to set the output tap. They can also run in 8-ohm mode.

Extron makes some relatively inexpensive 4 channel amps in both standard and Dante versions. They are something like 100w or 200w per channel, which is perfect for a small classroom. I don't know if they extend the same pricing to churches, but they do have education pricing that is quite competitive. Another plus....the controls are on the BACK of the amp, away from 'helpers'!
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2022, 01:14:42 PM »

Out of curiosity, why are pastors involved in loudspeaker selection?  Even/especially in a HoW, we soundies do not inject ourselves into theology.
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Lee Douglas

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2022, 04:25:41 PM »

Have you considered IP Network speakers?  They are available in a variety of form factors, including in-ceiling, require only a POE connection and  may be group or individually paged.  If you don't need individual paging I would go with a simple 70v system.
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Erik Jerde

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2022, 06:17:24 PM »

Out of curiosity, why are pastors involved in loudspeaker selection?  Even/especially in a HoW, we soundies do not inject ourselves into theology.

For the same reason that some CEOs stick their fingers in everything - they are control freaks.  Good competent leadership in any industry will define what a system needs to do with input from subject matter experts and then let the experts execute.  Control freak micro-managers take a different approach and the results will often give you a good idea of what kind of organization youíre looking at.
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brian maddox

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2022, 07:52:11 PM »

Out of curiosity, why are pastors involved in loudspeaker selection?  Even/especially in a HoW, we soundies do not inject ourselves into theology.

You've clearly never worked at a church...

[not that you're wrong, to be clear]
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Paul Johnson

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2022, 07:35:43 AM »

If it's for announcements and background music, the cost of installation points to high voltage distribution and remote amps. Vastly more cheap to instigate. One thin, cheap cable to each cluster of rooms, and no messing with power to each speaker and also the need to run long lengths of screen cable. Ground loops with a large site and remote grounding potentials suggest all kinds of hum issues may suddenly arise when you have two very different ground potentials, so that will mean testing different products and maybe finding transformer couplers. For a few announcements with no need for local input, just run some cable to multi tap transformer speakers for volume.
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Hal Bissinger/COMSYSTEC

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2022, 05:18:09 PM »

You've clearly never worked at a church...

[not that you're wrong, to be clear]


Where was it said that churches that work like that will never have an acceptable installation?


-Hal
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2022, 01:58:58 PM »

Out of curiosity, why are pastors involved in loudspeaker selection?  Even/especially in a HoW, we soundies do not inject ourselves into theology.

To be fair Tim, I have had multiple theological give and take discussions with my pastor (the substance of which is not suitable fodder for this forum so I will not include examples).

I feel like there is room for a pastor/leader to have a vision for what he wants-especially if he is inclined to study the subject enough to be conversant and know more than the average keyboard warrior about the subject.  I would far rather have a leader passionate about the sound and "production" (though I hate that term as I feel it devalues the purpose of a service) even if he takes an occasional wrong turn than one that doesn't care and doesn't move enough to take a turn that might be wrong.

I have also had soundies come in and say "You can't do that-pastor has to change what he does and what he wants"-then I proceeded to find a way to do what the pastor wanted with a decent sounding system (based on 'customer feedback' not my opinion).  I get it that cookie cutter installs make money quicker-but sometimes other solutions fit the customer better.

It looks like Extron has some attractive offerings-now to find a reseller
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Steve Swaffer

Erik Jerde

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2022, 10:47:21 PM »

I feel like there is room for a pastor/leader to have a vision for what he wants-especially if he is inclined to study the subject enough to be conversant and know more than the average keyboard warrior about the subject.

I completely agree with this.  It's leadership's role to supply mission and vision and on the tech side we get to figure out how to accomplish that.  Oftentimes that vision is expressed in ways that we have to decode.  It's a lot like mixing monitors for an artist who tells you that their monitor is too brown (I think I know what that means) or too purple (no idea).  Having a good relationship with your leadership helps immensely.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2022, 12:39:58 AM »

I completely agree with this.  It's leadership's role to supply mission and vision and on the tech side we get to figure out how to accomplish that.  Oftentimes that vision is expressed in ways that we have to decode.  It's a lot like mixing monitors for an artist who tells you that their monitor is too brown (I think I know what that means) or too purple (no idea).  Having a good relationship with your leadership helps immensely.

Mind-reading.  Check.  Especially helps if you're mixing monitors.

I don't disagree that the CTO (chief theology officer) sets a vision for whatever the mission, task, or goal.  I guess I've worked with too many micro-managers that want me to provide some confirmation for their choices made, rather than accept my Zen-like approach to understanding what they want - not necessarily what they say they want - and have me develop options for their review.

My role is to 'help tell the story'.  What hardware, software, and wetware is available and what combinations affect the way the story is told, is heard, is interpreted, and is recorded?  How do the tellers want to be presented, what's important to them?

So yes, ultimately this exploration may get into theology and ritual that are specific or especially meaningful to a particular group, and really that's not a bad thing.  But K2 vs something else?  I'd hope the Sr pastor has things of greater importance on the schedule.  Tell us what you want it to do and sound like, and we're on it...
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2022, 02:29:17 PM »

I had forgotten the whole path to QSC.  At one point Bose was a serious consideration-I had a hand in redirecting that.  What I find interesting is that we started with an EV array-the horns "looked" like they wouldn't sound musical (that array was probably the best we've ever had) and the thought was the QSC powered speakers would have a flat response and more low end and sound more musical.  I had (out of necessity) EQ'd the other speakers and tweaked to a preference that give a little preference to spoken word-given that the stated most important part of our service is the message.  Interestingly, about 3 weeks ago I was asked to make music vocals just a little "crisper" so they would be easier to understand.  Our pastor had spent a fair amount of time traveling to various summer camps and churches this summer-and he told me that he found that the sound systems he preferred were the ones that had a clearer sound.

I certainly agree that "show me the vision" and let me execute is the most efficient way.  Clergy are just as human as the rest of us-sometimes it pays to let them make mistakes without getting bent out of shape.
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Steve Swaffer

Scott Carneval

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2022, 09:19:43 AM »

I like the AHM platform as it should allow individual control in each room without physical controls-as much about keeping them from being messed with as cost. 

How do you intend to provide control if not using physical controls? I assume you plan to use the Custom Control app on a phone or tablet? It can certainly work, but with 15-20 different rooms you will need to create a separate login (username and password) for each room. This can be really cumbersome if the end user has to log in just to make a minor volume change. I would probably look at the IP-1 for each room. https://www.allen-heath.com/ahproducts/ip1/
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2022, 05:55:05 PM »

Unless you keep things STUPIDLY simple, you're going to have a tech support nightmare on your hands.

The requirement of having paging ability puts this into a completely different class of system.

While you can use 2 inputs on the speakers, one for the in-room stuff and 1 for the paging, if there's a control on the speaker, someone WILL end up dicking with it.

If you can run speaker cables back from each room to a central location, now you have unlimited flexibility to re-patch and move stuff around, or do upgrades when needed.  Failed amps will all be in ONE place instead of having to deal with a failed powered speaker at some point.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2022, 01:21:48 PM »

Unless you keep things STUPIDLY simple, you're going to have a tech support nightmare on your hands.

The requirement of having paging ability puts this into a completely different class of system.

While you can use 2 inputs on the speakers, one for the in-room stuff and 1 for the paging, if there's a control on the speaker, someone WILL end up dicking with it.

If you can run speaker cables back from each room to a central location, now you have unlimited flexibility to re-patch and move stuff around, or do upgrades when needed.  Failed amps will all be in ONE place instead of having to deal with a failed powered speaker at some point.

Sounds kind of like "dressing room" loudspeakers.  Either a mixed feed of PGM and page, or a separate feed and amplifier, with relays at each dressing room that activate with paging; even if the "talent" turns down the PGM, the pages come thru at the full, pre-set levels.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Classroom setup
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2022, 12:54:28 PM »

Unless I am missing something the AHM either 16 or 32 should handle all paging switching-it allows two priority channels  and appears I can control the source prior to the priority channels so a music source can be turned off while leaving the paging volume at a predetermined level?

Someone clicking it is precisely why I don't want a physical control.  Pastor wanted walk in music in the foyers last year with a volume control-he initially wanted a physical control.  It took some configuring-but I convinced him to simply use aux mixes off the auditorium mixer with an usher login that only has access to those auxes.  That has worked great-essentially transparent to the tech mixing the service.

Scott, I like the IP1-but at $399/room plus install?  I'm sorry-but if they can make an Android tablet for $50, $400 for a pot and a switch with a coms IC seems a little like price gouging-but if they can sell it that's their business.  Just hard for me to justify an extra $7000-8000 in my situation.

I'm sure there are limitations I haven't discovered-number of users seems to be one (certainly understandable on the processing side).
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Steve Swaffer

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Classroom setup
¬ę Reply #20 on: October 25, 2022, 12:54:28 PM ¬Ľ


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