AVE Services were called in to help with Thorngrove school’s sound system – the current system was no longer adequate for the large range of activities that take places in the sports hall.
The brief was to install a system that was easy to use, easy to maintain and with as little setup time as possible with zero cables to need connecting; the school doesn’t have a technician to setup and run events meaning teaching staff must take additional time to get things ready before events.
We installed a complete PA system that integrated digital signal processing, digital sound desks and digital snakes to keep cabling to a minimum and allow for settings and configuration to be changed at a central location.
We chose the QSC line of equipment for their durability, serviceability and high-quality components.
The main elements of the sound setup will be 2 full range flown 15” cabinets coupled with 2 flown 18” low frequency subwoofers – this will provide the backbone to the audio, allowing vocals and dance music to be reproduced perfectly across the auditorium. Due to the acoustic properties of the hall, we specified 6 additional relay speakers – these will help the clarity for people in the rear rows – a digital delay will be added to compensate echo/reverb from the hard walls.
The QSC Amplifiers will help protect the system, they have a built in DSP (Digital signal processor) which will allow frequency cuts to perfect the sound, limiting to protect speaker overloading and delay time alignment to create a seamless blend between each speakers output. Once the configuration file is set, the amplifiers will be locked out to avoid any future changes which could damage the system.
10 Sennheiser G4 wireless microphones were setup and installed, providing headset microphones and handheld systems for choirs, drama performances and general day to day assemblies – the equipment is all kept safely locked away in a secure rack enclosure – along with antenna distribution and the amplifiers.
We chose the Sennheiser range of microphones to help with the longevity, each belt pack is a cast metal rather than plastic, uses tough threaded connections and has easy serviceability compared to other manufacturers.
The microphones allow locking of certain features, such as RX/TX Mute, frequency changes and gain changes- this will help the engineer avoid unwanted changes by actors/musicians etc.
Each transmitter comes with a durable head worn strap to keep the microphone sturdy and positioned correctly, great for small voices – they are easy to put on and simple to change between people.
The antenna kit bonds all of the microphones together and links them to two high-gain antenna paddles. This allows the receivers to keep a high signal level to avoid unwanted dropouts and background RF noise.
To keep setup times as quick as possible, all delays/speaker processing will be handled by the amplifiers – while the X32 sound desk is more than capable of handling this duty, we find its best to leave the overall system plug and play ready. This means any out of house engineers can come in, connect equipment and still be bound by the same speaker/amplifier protection.
The desk can then be reset after each performance without having to reload the halls configuration.
The X32 desk was chosen to allow students and staff an easy to use but highly functional interface – the desk has 32 local XLR microphone inputs as well as 16 local XLR outputs for foldback, monitors, In Ear Monitoring (IEMs) Etc.
We specified an SD16 stage box which allows a single networking cable (Cat5/6) to transmit and received 32 microphone inputs and 16 balanced outputs to the stage area. This is perfect for music events where multiple wired microphones are required.
The desk features a network interface to allow mixing from Ipads/Laptops/Android tablets – perfect for sound checks and simplicity during small events.
The system has been a great success, no more having to run long XLRs around the room and prop speakers up on tripod stands – the staff can run music over Bluetooth for PE groups and afterschool activities and the projectors HDMI feed audio is extracted directly into the system.
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