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Author Topic: Looking at proposals - Need Advice  (Read 15580 times)

Nathan Walker

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Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« on: December 12, 2006, 03:50:17 pm »

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Aaron McQueen

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2006, 04:15:02 pm »

Nathan Walker wrote on Tue, 12 December 2006 15:50

... Our church has chosen to forgo a contractor, but we are seeking any sources of outside help....what are a few questions you all might ask a vendor besides how much experience they have, what type of maintenance they provide and that sort of thing?


I'm my opinion vendors generally supply the equipment and that is it.  The best price, return policy, and product support you can get, is the vendor you should go with.  A vendor is not there to provide installation information, system training, or system maintenance. Those are all roles of contractors.  If you want that level of support you need to hire a contractor.  Beware, as vendors usually just want to sell their products.  You should know what you need before you start looking for vendors to buy the items from.
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Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God - Romans 10:17 NKJV

Nathan Walker

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2006, 04:46:03 pm »

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Tom Young

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2006, 04:54:44 pm »

No. There is no need for breaking in professional loudspeakers.

There is a huge need to measure and optimize a loudspeaker system once it is in place. Are you being provided with this ?
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Tom Young, Church Sound section moderator
Electroacoustic Design Services
Oxford CT
Tel: 203.888.6217
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Tom Young

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2006, 04:56:30 pm »

Hopefully the 4 vendors have been given the same programming needs and other criteria and will therefore submit proposals that can sensibly be compared.

Is this the case ?
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Tom Young, Church Sound section moderator
Electroacoustic Design Services
Oxford CT
Tel: 203.888.6217
Email: dbspl@earthlink.net
www.dbspl.com

Brad Weber

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2006, 05:01:16 pm »

At the risk of the wrath of many audiophiles out there, a break-in is not required.  No burning in cables so the electrons know which way to flow or anything like that.

Perhaps it is terminology, but firms that not only sell equipment but that also install it and support it are contractors, that is pretty much the definition of what a contractor is.  Or did I misunderstand and you are doing the install yourself?

That being said, there are many differences between contractors.  Definitely check out references, make sure you try to talk to people who were directly involved rather than getting second or third hand information.  Also check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints.

Find out the background and experience of their staff.  Make sure they have the resources, a one or two person firm may be less expensive and do great work, but could that be a problem when something has a problem later and they are all tied up on another job.

Definitely check out how they plan to test, adjust and tune the systems as this has a great impact on the end result.  Poor gain structure or system tuning with an audio system and poor signal levels and display adjustment with a video system can more than offset using good equipment.  Find out the processes, personnel and equipment used for this critical part of the install.
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Brad Weber
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Aaron McQueen

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2006, 05:01:47 pm »

Nathan Walker wrote on Tue, 12 December 2006 16:46

It may not be as in depth as if it were from a contractor, but they said their business is to design and install audio and video solutions, train the people who run it, and occasionally come in for additional training and system maintenance.


This is more than a normal vendor would provide.  They are combining the role of a contractor and the vendor.  Something that is talked about here a lot is even speaker coverage throughout the room.  Ask for a coverage plot, such as and EASE plot.  Maybe Tom, Ivan, or Brad can give more information on this.
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Nathan Walker

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2006, 11:52:59 pm »

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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2006, 09:18:17 am »

Nathan Walker wrote on Tue, 12 December 2006 23:52

All the vendors/contractors have received the same technical specifications. The only differences that these proposals will have are their respective solutions to our specific needs.

I'm assuming that these guys are what you all would consider contractors. I think I confused contractor with consultant. Our committee has been using the term vendor as any company that will install our A/V system.


That clears things up a bit, depending on who you are talking to, the terms can mean different things to different people.

What sort of "specifications" were given out?  depending on how specific they are, you can get bids that are all over the place.

At a minimum what the contractor should do is to totally test everything in the system, all mic jacks, monitor jacks etc.  Do a complete system alignment (this often seperates the men from the boys) and the same system can have quite different results with the same gear in the same place, training on the system and a warranty period (at least 1 year) at which time they will come out at no charge "unless operator error-and that depends" and repair or replace any defective equipment.  Yes the equipment itself will be covered under manufacturers warranty, but what about the labor to actually do the work-that should be at no charge to the customer as well.  Stuff hanging from the ceiling gets expensive to repair.  That should be part of waht you pay for up front.  

They should also be available for phone questions at no charge.  I spend quite a bit of my time doing phone consultations-especially on digital consoles and how to do certain things.

The training issues can get a bit touchy, regarding exactly what is involved.  Those people that do not know anything about sound expect the training to make a sound person out of anybody, you can just train them right?  NO!

It is not the contractors job to make a sound person.  What we do is show them the features of the system, what they should and should not mess with, how to turn the system on, patchbays (if any) etc.  Most of the time is spent on a complete (OK, well almost complete) going over of the console and the functions.  I don't waste time showing how to skip tracks on the CD player, or what the pause button means.

I have heard of some "instructors" who spend all the training time showing how to plug in a mic, how to coil a cable etc. and very little time on how to operate the console.  You just make adjustments on that  Laughing .

While that is something that some people need, if they need that sort of level of training, that will be at additional charge and take a lot longer.

I would ask for references AND CALL THEM!!!!!!!!!!!  We have competitors that put down as references jobs that they did not even do, but have actually stolen work from us "because they did XYZ church so they must be good" when in fact they had NOTHING to do with that particular job and were not even allowed to bid it, much less do any work.

And they DARE go into a church to work?

If you can, go visit similar churches to yours that they have done and see what you  think.  Kinda like buying a new car, are you going to buy it without even sitting in it or driving it?  OK maybe if the color is right, nothing else matters  Laughing

But that is how some people buy sound systems, OH they are going to use so and so loudspeakers and I have heard so much about them.  Well what if those "pretty shiny" loudspeakers are not right for your room?

Talk to the engineers of the different companies and see what sort of a "feel" you get from them.  That might tell you a lot.  Ask them to tell you how they figure their design is RIGHT FOR YOUR ROOM, and not just because "everybody likes them" or "they used them is so and so church and they do the same worship style as you" etc.  Yes I have actually heard those comments.  But are they right for your room?

Ask them what do do to align a system.  What tools do they use, methodolgy etc.

How big are the particular companies?  That may or may not give you an idea of what sort of support you are going to get after they have your final payment.  The 1-2 man shops are often times going to be to busy on another install to bother with yours.  They will be cheaper on the front end, but what is it going to cost in the long run?

I am just finishing up a job in which the church could not get the cheap guy to come back and get the sound right.  After several years they had had enough.  They had decent gear.  We came in and took it all down, rehung it right, rewired the amp rack, reprogrammed DSP (WOW what a joke) and now they have a very good system. BTW the wiring was all pretty and clean, but jsut done wrong. But the equipment list stayed the same, so you cannot go simply on the list of gear, but HOW that list of gear is used is what really makes the difference.

We do this type of work fairly often, just selling labor and expertise and no gear.  It is a real shame that we have to do this.

That's where talking and visiting other churches can make a difference.  Anybody can sell gear, but using it properly is a whole idfferent issue.
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Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.

Nathan Walker

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2006, 11:51:30 am »

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2006, 11:51:30 am »


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