I define installed sound as high power, high quality, permanently mounted indoor professional sound systems for theaters, clubs, halls, and churches, etc. at small to medium sized venues (up to about 400 people). They are usually comprised of wired or wireless microphones and DI boxes connected via permanently mounted jacks and snake to a desk style multi-channel mixer located toward the rear of the venue. The mixer inserts and outputs are connected to various sound processing devices such as compressors (if not integrated into the mixer), feedback destroyers, equalizers, crossovers and limiters. The mixer output is then transmitted via the permanently installed snake back to the stage or room where the power amps are located. For houses of worship, this is usually a separate room close to the altar. The amps then output the signal to the permanently mounted speakers. They may consist of one, two, or three way speaker enclosures, or line arrays, depending on the power ratings and sound dispersement properties. Line arrays get their name because they are arrays of separate sub, low, mid, and high frequency enclosures mounted in a line. Installed sound amps are usually rated at 250 watts RMS per channel or higher continuous duty, in single, bi or tri amp configurations. Line array or speaker enclosures with an integral, matched power amp are also available. This eliminates amp to speaker cabling, but adds AC mains and input cabling to the mix. The snake, mixer, processors, and amps are available as analog, or digital. Digital snakes digitize the inputs at the stage/altar and use Ethernet style connectivity to and from the mixer, eliminating the hums and signal loss of long analog cable runs. The power amps can have digital inputs allowing them to be chained together. Those amps also can have internal DSP processors to provide custom tunings for each amp. It is important to note that Churches, Houses of Worship, and sometimes theaters are very challenging in many ways. Many are esthetic masterpieces and finding a way to ‘hide’ the speakers or at least make them esthetically unobtrusive is usually the most challenging aspect. We offer as a service, individual custom enclosure design to meet these special needs, if possible. Please visit the Custom Enclosure Designs link under Services for more information. Mixers are usually mounted in the balcony and hiding the cabling is also quite challenging. Domes and arches destroy acoustics. In fact most domes act like side driven, mass loaded speaker enclosures that can cause extreme perceived variances in levels and frequency, just by the listener moving a few feet. The list goes on…. For installed sound, we highly recommend a site visit by one of our sound techs. The complexity of the subject coupled with the plethora of available and compatible components, limits the ability to offer an ‘over the counter’ approach. Therefore, detailed and in depth discussion and planning, component matching, tunings, and site visits are required to create a configuration that ultimately provides you with the best sound solution for your budget.
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