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post #1 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
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A novice doing a huge job.

Hey guys,

Not totally sure if I'm posting this in the right forum, but I read a couple of responses here that make me think everyone here could help me out.

I'm working on building a sound installation in a building of ~40,000 sq ft. I know this is a WAY bigger thing than what usually gets discussed around here, but in a perfect world, I'd be able to run it all from one computer with speaker wires going throughout the space to speakers positioned around the building.

Is there a type of interface that comes to mind that would be particularly good for connecting to an iMac and running thousands of feet of speaker wires throughout a building?

I have a million other questions, but that one seems most pressing - I'm pretty sure I'll need an amplifier, and I know little to nothing about that side of things.

Any recommendations for cheap very long (or easily connectable/expandable) speaker wires, or versatile and not-massive speakers would be great, as well.

Thanks guys! You rock.
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post #2 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 09:18 AM
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Well, you're going to have to define what "sound installation" means to you, but assuming this is a commercial installation, you're really going to want a pro to help. Code compliance and other related issues that do not affect us DIY / residential installers can come back to bite you.

In the meantime, look up 70V audio systems - by your description if you're just trying to provide background music in a commercial space, that's the way you'll probably want to go...

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post #3 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
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If all goes to plan, it will be a composed component inside of an immersive theatre performance. Which is to say, there will be people involved who will be inspecting for code, etc., but due to budgetary restrictions, I question how much money we'll be able to pay someone to figure this out, when I'll be the one composing the music for the piece.

In my searching of 70V audio systems, it looks like it wouldn't work for what I'm working on - it needs to remain high-quality sound, and I should have made this more clear, but essentially each speaker will be playing a different track. So when you walk from one room of the space to another, you're not hearing the same thing, typically.
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post #4 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 01:40 PM
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And I'll reiterate my advice - get a pro involved - the words "novice" and "huge job" are red flags that usually result in "bad results" and "crying"...

In your case a pro may be a theater effects / performance PA consultant, not a commercial-space AV company.

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I should have made this more clear, but essentially each speaker will be playing a different track. So when you walk from one room of the space to another, you're not hearing the same thing, typically.
Ok, that's a completely different topic then, and the info you gave earlier isn't really relevant.

So how many tracks total, and are these all in sync, as in the entire playback is simultaneous, or are each of the speakers essentially independent?

From a single computer, a multi-track recording / playback could work if the number of tracks is 4-7 since you could compose in the available music tools and use a 7.1 soundcard as the output.

If they're all independent, some cheap streaming devices might do, like the Muzo device mentioned here on the forum yesterday: http://www.amazon.com/MUZO-Cobblesto...&keywords=muzo

(that may not be a "Sonos killer", but if it works even decently, it would probably fit your needs)


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post #5 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 02:28 PM
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I can't imagine 70v not sounding good enough for whatever it is you want to do? A JBL Control 28/29 with 70v xfmr sounds good enough to me. Even their 70v in-ceiling speakers sound fine to me. I would also probably never run speaker wire thousands of feet without going 70v. I've had decent results using 16ga over a couple hundred feet with efficient speakers, but never tried a cable run in the thousands. Maybe someone else can chime in there. Specifying how many independent zones, how many speakers per zone, etc. you want might be a good start.
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post #6 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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jautor - I definitely hear what you're saying. If it's possible to grab a professional (if I can even find one who knows how to do this that wouldn't immediately conflict with a similar production), then it's definitely the ideal situation.

The tracks would be in sync, although not always playing the same thing. They would have to be in sync though, as performers would likely need music cues to move from space to space within the building.

This Muzo thing looks interesting... I'll have to do some research into it. I'm looking into Sonos as a possibility as well - we're still shopping out spaces for the performance, so I can't say for sure that 32 devices (Sonos's max) would be enough, though.

eatenbacktolife - Is 70V capable of multiple sound sources though? From everything I'm reading, it's not, but perhaps I'm not reading the right things. As said above, I'm not totally sure how many spaces and speakers will be needed (although certainly at least 30 speakers, and at least 20 of those will be running different tracks, from any software I'd need, although in my experience, I'm tending to think Ableton, as each channel can be assigned a different output, and I'm already familiar(ish) with it).

The problem with 70V, (again, from my readings about it, not from personal experience), is that the sound quality has to be good and loud enough to function as immersion - perhaps the descriptions of 70V I'm reading are just about spaces that don't aim for what I'm aiming for, but in theory it would be not only loud but rich in quality, with substantive bass.

If I'm wrong about this, well, oh boy, I would love to be.

Also, yes, I likely need a professional for this one. I can feel the tears and terrible sound from miles away! But just trying to see if I can acquire any knowledge to help me at least set up a base level understanding of what I should be looking at.

Thanks so much you guys!
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 05:09 PM
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As a professional in this area, yes. You should seek help with this project.

Working on the next one...
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post #8 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sven Britt View Post
The tracks would be in sync, although not always playing the same thing.
So let's get some terminology straight. I'm speaking 'track' as in one segment of a multi-track recording - we could also use the word 'channel' to describe that. As opposed to an individual song/file.

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They would have to be in sync though, as performers would likely need music cues to move from space to space within the building.
This is where you should clarify further - are the individual tracks (30 or so of them) kept in sync with each other? Meaning, they start and stop together and keep time together? As in instruments playing in an orchestra? Or are each of the 30-ish tracks just starting and stopping on cues?

I'm trying to help you determine whether this is just a control problem, or requires a non-trivial mixing and distribution infrastructure...

Quote:
As said above, I'm not totally sure how many spaces and speakers will be needed (although certainly at least 30 speakers, and at least 20 of those will be running different tracks, from any software I'd need, although in my experience, I'm tending to think Ableton, as each channel can be assigned a different output, and I'm already familiar(ish) with it).
Ok, so now you're down to 20-ish tracks. Don't worry yet about how many speakers (or whether they have independent volume controls or settings), but it does sound like your looking at like a 24-track recording/playback system...

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Also, yes, I likely need a professional for this one. I can feel the tears and terrible sound from miles away! But just trying to see if I can acquire any knowledge to help me at least set up a base level understanding of what I should be looking at.
Then describe, with as much detail as you can, what you're trying to accomplish as the end goal, without any thought on how its wired or what products are used. You'll get much better advice if we know WHAT you're trying to do, without preconceived notions about HOW it will be done. Stage, studio and pro-audio gear is a very large and varied product space, much different than home AV...

Jeff

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post #9 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 06:58 PM
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Something like this may be a really good place to start:

http://www.cymaticaudio.com/products/live-player-lp16

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post #10 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 07:16 PM
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I know Wildtracks can do this. It may be overkill for your application.

http://www.meyersound.com/products/matrix3/

Working on the next one...
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post #11 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sven Britt View Post
eatenbacktolife - Is 70V capable of multiple sound sources though? From everything I'm reading, it's not, but perhaps I'm not reading the right things. As said above, I'm not totally sure how many spaces and speakers will be needed (although certainly at least 30 speakers, and at least 20 of those will be running different tracks, from any software I'd need, although in my experience, I'm tending to think Ableton, as each channel can be assigned a different output, and I'm already familiar(ish) with it).

The problem with 70V, (again, from my readings about it, not from personal experience), is that the sound quality has to be good and loud enough to function as immersion - perhaps the descriptions of 70V I'm reading are just about spaces that don't aim for what I'm aiming for, but in theory it would be not only loud but rich in quality, with substantive bass.
The "70v" part is done in the amplifier and speakers, has nothing to do with your sources or mixers. Part of my small whole house audio system is 70v, I just don't use the capability since it's not needed. 70v just adds a cost; as you need a transformer on both ends (speaker and amp) which is usually built into the product or you can add one.


70v speakers usually have an adjustable tap setting so you can set the "power." Even at a low tap setting, I have a JBL Control 29 mounted in my garage that can play uncomfortably loud.


Keep in mind each different track will require an amp channel, 20x 70v amp channels can add up. The one nice thing about pro audio gear is the nice build quality and **** resale value, so if you do plan on tackling this yourself (I probably wouldn't recommend it) you can save some money buying used stuff.
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post #12 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 09:00 PM
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70V quality is pretty much a non-issue at this point. If you don't believe me seek out a Sonance SLS install or, as mentioned above, listen to JBL Control with a good source and amp. Both are staggeringly good.

Please take the advice you have been offered. Find a professional who can help. For you to pull off what you have described the cost of equipment alone is likely to be staggering. Heck, the cost of the wiring would be substantial if you decide to run passive speakers with amplification in only a single location.

Before you invest tons of time in research, and tons of money in equipment, invest a little in a consultation with a professional. Especially if cost is a concern.

If it helps I am a professional who works with a team of professionals, and even we would hire a professional to do what I think you are hoping to accomplish. Especially if it were to be done as part of a live performance.
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post #13 of 17 Old 06-30-2015, 09:47 PM
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You have an overall layout of the space you are working with? I mean, is it just a large rectangle?

Man, large room acoustics are a whole other beast. I'm sure you could get decent results from following the advice of people on this forum, but the modeling and other tools at the disposal of an installation specialist could mean the difference between a decent installation and a great installation.

What is your time frame... You will need to build in ample time to research and learn a lot during this process if you want to do everything to the best of your ability.
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-01-2015, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
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All right, I'll try to hit these point by point.

jautor - Each of the sound spaces will be a track (channel) that is of uniform length, but they will be composed (by me) to function as an environment that you can traverse. So it's not like while you're walking through the whole space, it's all playing parts of the same song, but it is important that, to the best of my ability, they are synced without large latency problems. But the main task of that is in the composition of each channel for each room.

The idea is this: throughout a building (that is a minimum of 40,000 square feet, likely 40-70 individual rooms/spaces inside of the building), there will be a performance happening. While the performance is happening, speakers throughout the space will score it. There will be some rooms where there is no direct sound source, just bled sound from other rooms, and some larger rooms that will require more than one speaker playing the same channel. Each individual channel will be composed ahead of time, so what I'm needing to accomplish is a way to play all the channels (be they 20 or 40 or however many [as the performance may transfer to a bigger space at a later time, the fewer restrictions in terms of number of speakers, the better]), definitely in time with each other, from preferably a single sound source.
Hope that clarifies something.

The LP16 looks super relevant to this. I was hoping to stay away from quarter inch cables as they're even more absurdly expensive than most cables, but perhaps there's a way around that I'm not thinking of right now.

AV Hack - I do think Wildtracks would be overkill for this iteration, at least, but I'm going to keep looking at it - their gear could be great for the version of the show that needs audio and lights synced more professionally. Also, I'm reading into it because I'm just so interested in it.

eatenbacktolife - My bad, everything that was showing up on my searches regarding 70v was very one-note. I'm definitely going to be looking at buying used - especially for the speakers. I'll have to look more into 70v then.

XJBaylor - The cost is definitely going to be nothing to balk at - we're acquiring funders for the project so it's not as though it's all going to be coming out-of-pocket, at least. That being said, do you have any recommendations for how to even find a professional that would have advice in NYC/Detroit re: something like this? The people I've spoken to in entertainment and theatre up here are generally more clueless than I am about how to set something like this up.

popalock - No layout yet, since space isn't finalized. It's definitely not a large rectangle though, there will be tons of rooms. And time frame is nice. Well over a month to build.
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-01-2015, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
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And time frame is nice. Well over a month to build.
Like a month from now? Between designing, engineering, sourcing parts, setup, testing and (I assume) final setup in the venue that doesn't sound like much time at all.

Hopefully you mean that you have a month to install in the venue, but it is many months out?
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post #16 of 17 Old 07-02-2015, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, XJ, that is what I mean. There will be over a month to install it in the space, and we're still months out.
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post #17 of 17 Old Today, 06:59 PM
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Just so you know, the price tag of this system will be in the tens of thousands.

If I were doing this, two options come to mind initially:

1) PC that outputs network audio via Dante. Supports hundreads of tracks. This hooks up over a network (with a good quality switch!) to either Dante I/O boxes, or directly to Dante enabled amplifiers. This would let you spread the amplifiers out over the space so the speaker runs are shorter. Downside is a lot of this gear is new and there isn't much of a secondary market for them (you can't get them used for cheap).

2) PC outputing analog audio using an audio interface (MOTU or something similar), then analog to whatever amps you have. Can't distribute the gear as easily, but if you buy things used would probably be cheaper. This is the "old school" way of doing it.
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