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Author Topic: Looking at proposals - Need Advice  (Read 15428 times)

John Ward

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #40 on: December 17, 2006, 10:09:05 pm »

Because podium / lecturn mics are often problematic and prone to feedback my first mic of choice is the EV Polar Choice. The flexibility in having four polar patterns to choose from as well as a high pass filter can eliminate problems before they happen. A well thought out approach to design should always start with the simplest solution to problems whenever possible. Assuming Nathan's vendor speced redundant feedback suppression for front of house in my opinion is neither practical or saving the church money, and ultimately in the hands of inexperienced operators the second fastest route to signal degradation.  
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Brad Weber

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #41 on: December 18, 2006, 12:35:04 pm »

Quote:

Nathan and their church really don't know what they want and the contractor is giving them want they think they want. Nathan is the customer, but he is not qualified to spec the system. Why are they quoting a system so expensive and no subs are in the quote?
Let me start by saying my comments are intended in a generic sense and not directed at particular person(s), I'm only referencing specific statements as they made me think of an overall issue.

Maybe Nathan and most churches are indeed not "qualified" to "spec" their system, but if they aren't the ones who can define what they want, then who is?  Are you saying the bidders should all just bid whatever they think the church needs rather than what was asked for?  And sure, there are a lot of unknowns, but the bidders who visited the site and asked questions may know much more.  Even so, there are indeed many open ended issues that add to the confusion.  But I don't think that we know that budget is a specific concern with this bid or that any cost reductions or "value engineering" have been requested.

We do know that Nathan is probably more qualified than anyone else to identify his church's particular functional needs and desires and that he has attempted to do this in two documents.  Sure, it may not be as complete as we would desire or as detailed as you would like, but that doesn't mean you ignore what is defined.  It is also only common sense that everything else aside, any bid should focus on fulfilling those requirements.  Worrying about which model microphone or how the DSP is used are valid concerns, but should follow way after the number one concern which is "can what is proposed provide the functionality identified as being the basis for the bids?"

For example, if I were reviewing this bid, the fact that the mixer can't support the inputs identified, that the audio for the Parlor/Kitchen/Nursery is not even mentioned, that one can only assume the "Multi-purpose room" is the Fellowship Hall, that there is no line items for installation, design, programming, tuning, etc. would essentially disqualify this bid before even wasting much time looking at the specific equipment.  Who cares what equipment was bid if the system defined doesn't fit the needs?  That's like buying a home and worrying about the carpet colors and dishwasher model before looking at whether it has enough bedrooms and bathrooms for your family.  The one set of issues is easy to change or negotiate, but the other is a little harder to overcome and really needs to be considered before even worrying about the second set.  I think a simple "it doesn't look like the bid provides all the capabiolities you asked for" is a lot mnore relevant and helpful than worrying about whether the model bid is the one you personally prefer.

This is a very common problem.  Contractors submit equipment lists and the Owners start trying to compare individual items rather than comparing the system that list defines against what was requested.  In their defense, that is often all they can do as an equipment list is all the contractor provides.

I also commonly see this issue cause problems with "Value Engineering".  A small church may have a big music program or two very different services with a short changeover, so they want a lot of inputs.  To meet their needs I specify a 48 input console.  Some bidder offers a 24 input console and a big cost savings because "that's all the size church usually needs" and they didn't bother to find out if there was any reason it was there (Well of course I did it just because I want to rip off the Owner even though I wouldn't profit from it, it certainly wouldn't have been for any good reason now would it?).  What the Owner sees is somebody telling them this smaller console will work and save them money.  Because they never even asked if there was anything that would make their offer inappropriate and it won't work, what I see is a bidder is more interested in getting a sale than is providing what the Owner wants.  Then they get all upset that I'm "trying to cost the Owner money".

Quote:

For a small church, how long does it take to build the equipment list, make all the diagrams in StarDraw by dragging and dropping and produce a quote?

The client can look at the 500hz and 2khz plots and the Stardraw diagram and figure it out pretty easy.
All your clients can read an equipment list, functional diagram and coverage plot and really know what they represent?  Wish I had only clients like that!  My clients usually seem to need some help in interpreting what those documents show and some reassurance that what is shown does indeed provide what they asked for.  This is where Consultants and Contractors often differ significantly.  I don't expect a client to understand or interpret technical documents, which is why both the Program or Needs Analysis and the Systems' Descriptions in the specifications that a Consultant typically generates are plain language overviews of the system functionality, the how it works and what it does.  These are the basis for the drawings and equipment specs and the one without the other is typically an incomplete definition of the project for most clients and especially most churches.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #42 on: December 18, 2006, 01:13:07 pm »

All very true, especially the part about meeting the basic functionality. Don't buy a sports car if you really need a minivan or a pickup.  One may be "cooler" and percieved to be better by some, but if it doesn't meet your basic needs, then what good is it?  Back to that old proper tools for the job thingy.

I will add another thing, when looking at plots, you have to know a good bit of information about how the plot was actually generated, in order to get useful information out of it.  

I prepared a little paper that we send out with all plots that shows the differences between identical systems and how the coverages can look very different, depending on how the designer deceided to actually show them.  I also talk about the little games that can be played with EASE in order to make things look better than they actually are.

I don't play those games and keep it as ugly was I can, knowing that the final result is going to be in reality, much better.
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2006, 12:12:04 am »

Very good comments all.
Can't know what the system is going to do without a spec that includes frequency response at a specified SPL and Weighting with a plus or minus figure for deviation.  On top of this the measurement of either the projected response or the measured response can be substantially doctored if you vary the sample rate (paper graph speed for older anaologue test units), scale used, etc.
This along with adequate power (which is rarely provided) and proper processing and system tuning design are the most important aspects of the system design.  All other components can be relatively simply changed or upgraded later.  You will rarely if ever change the speakers or amplifiers until the entire system is redone.  It can also be important to specify a noise floor for the sound system or that it must be inaudible at all seating locations with x number of mic channels open, etc.  This will eliminate problems of very noisy, cheap equipment being utilized.

I agree that a system contractor can not train people how to mix as part of the system spec but ongoing training is something that churches should consider.  Most can not effectively use the equipment they have and training in both use of that equipment (proper mic selection and placement, gain structure, principles of EQ and dynamics processing, etc.) and ear training for mixing well for balance and blend for various styles, etc.  The operators of the equipment are the single most important factor that most churches overlook.  They think that good or at least better equipment will improve sound and then, when the sound is great after the initial install and tuning but gets gradually worse over time they blame the system when the problem is actually the operators.

Just some thoughts.
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Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.
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Nathan Walker

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2006, 05:24:46 am »

Please delete this thread.
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Tom Young

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2006, 09:15:37 am »

There is a benefit to having the amps near to the greatest number of loudspeakers, which are usually near and on the platform. The benefit is that there will be less signal loss due to the resistance of the wire (wire runs will be shorter). For those more remote loudspeakers you can make up for the longer wire run by increasing wire size (gauge).

Usually there is precious little room at mix positions and not having this rack there would allow for more room.

Having the amps "more accessible" is a mixed blessing. They may be more easy to get to for servicing but they are also more easily accessed for unauthorized adjustment of their gain controls. They may also emit noise (if fan cooled) and this noise will more than likely be less audible if tucked away in the organ loft.

I would vote for tucking them away but also try to make their removal as easy as it can be.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2006, 12:18:08 pm »

Agreed totally, however he really needs to talk to the organ people, BOY THIS HURTS TO SAY THIS, but we have had real issues with organ people complaining about ANYTHING going in the pipe/speaker chambers because it ruins the precise tuning (give me a break-on one job I am sure they stacked up the organ cabinets and then just pushed them over, twisting as they went) that they have done and now the organ sound totally sucks because of that stupid amp rack. Evil or Very Mad

Other times they could care less, but when you get the organ people mad and they start to talk to the pastor and Music Minister, the sound company will usually end up loosing.  We have several times.

Having the amps at FOH for servicability reasons is a poor excuse to me.  How often do you expect them to fail? and when they do, are the operators of the system going to have enough knowledge to actually do anything about it?  Most likely not.  More often than not, as Tom said, they will mess with them untill they screw up the sound.  Just that one reason would make me suspicous of the reasoning for other ideas they have.

I vote for shorter cable lengths ANY day, for loss and damping factor reasons.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule and from time to time we do put the amps at FOH, but that is a last resort.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #47 on: December 20, 2006, 12:46:12 pm »

Ivan Beaver wrote on Wed, 20 December 2006 12:18

Of course there are exceptions to the rule and from time to time we do put the amps at FOH, but that is a last resort.
The biggest exception I can think of is power.  Amplifiers typically represent some of, if not the, biggest power requirements in an audio system.  If it is easy to get clean power to FOH and difficult or expensive to get it to an alternative location closer to the speakers, then that is definitely a consideration.  If a remote location closer to the speakers is practical, then I definitely second Tom's and Ivan's recommendations to locate the amps there.
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Tony Mah

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2006, 02:57:13 pm »

Nathan,

For a small church like yours I recommend leaving the amps at FoH. The main reasons are risk management related and not directly related to audio.

Pro
Lowest probability of getting a buzz or hum due to unknown quality of electrical system. Lowest labour, political, and financial costs. No new electrical circuits needed. Lowest chance of someone plugging in some lights into the the same circuit and blowing the fuse.

Con
1db-2db extra loss in high frequency compared to having it closer - nobody will notice
Fan noise - can be annoying to the tech, but audience won't notice
Slight  increase in wireing costs.
Psychological - some people are more idealistic and feel more comfortable with the amps close as possible to the stage. In a new building you would spec an equipment room under the stage (or where ever the architect will let you put one), but you would still have to run long speaker lines to the under balcony speakers.  

Assumptions
For a small church 1 circuit at FoH is plenty to power mains and monitors.  


Tony
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Nathan Walker

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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #49 on: December 22, 2006, 05:07:06 am »

Please delete this thread.
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Re: Looking at proposals - Need Advice
« Reply #49 on: December 22, 2006, 05:07:06 am »


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