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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Advice needed for new H.O.W. sound install

Hey All,

I am new to this forum and a former DJ/AV Tech that is trying to assist their local H.O.W. with a new sound installation (vocal reinforcement, no instruments). I’ve spoken with 2-3 AV design/installation companies regarding speaker and amp offerings, but would like to get some opinions/advice from others that have used these products. I have experience with JBL and Crown, but not with brands such as, Renkus Heinz and Crestron. I’ve done quite a lot of research on RH, but reviews seem to be mixed.

Essentially, I’m trying to get feedback/opinions on the following (full details in attachments):
  • SPEAKERS: JBL vs. Renkus-Heinz vs. something else?
  • AMPS: Crown vs. Crestron vs. Powersoft vs. Biamp
  • DSP’s: DBX vs. Symetrix vs. etc.

I was leaning towards the JBL solution, but I’m not sure if the models we’ve been quoted are good vs. what models/series’ might be better? Online searching doesn’t prove very effective.

I’ve attached a floor plan of the space (not a ceiling/speaker layout), if it helps, and 2 material lists. Budget is of course a consideration, but high-quality vocal communication is of the utmost importance.

I understand that each space and application are different and that there are vast differences with product lines within the same brand, but any recommendations on your experience with XYZ brands and model speakers/amps would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance.


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The floor plan is great but you need a proposed speaker location plan based on a reflected ceiling plan that shows lighting, fire protection, and HVAC. To get that you need ceiling height too.

The Toa stuff is junk, short life-span, cheaply made. It'll work moderately, for a while, but not great. Unless the system is used for performance music with a qualified mixer operator, I'd look at the Shure SCM-810 or SCM-820 automatic mixers. You still should have an operator to deal with levels, but at least mics will be on when they need to be.

The dbx 131 is a 1/3 octave graphic, state of the art ca 1985. We're doing DSP based equalizers with full parametric EQ, dynamics control, feedback processing, etc. now. I know it's cheap, ditch it anyway. I've used the Shure DFR-22 for years, still a good piece. I also now use Behringer FBQ-2496, and DEQ-2496. Behringer are not particularly long lifespan products, but they're cheap enough to get the job done then budget for a 5 year replacement.

Nobody should be distributing video using composite! There are no composite source devices, composite is SD not HD, and looks terrible on any modern TV. Distribute either HDMI over Cat5, or better, SDI over coax. Budget up for this, but it's well worth it, and gets you a system up to date from the get go, which will last for quite some time.

All ceiling speakers need Eq, no matter where they are. Don't cheap out on EQ. Some power amps have basic EQ built in, which is fine for spaces without microphones. Otherwise use the DSP units I mentioned above.

Keep microphones that will be used together in the same space of the same basic type. That minimizes feedback issues by permitting systems to be equalized well for all mics in use.

You may not have a real need for the programmable zone control. Your call, but in-room volume controls should do the job just fine in most cases.

Sorry for the scattered nature of this...
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