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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All of you know me as a CRT repair guy, I'll bet a lot of you didn't know that my main job up until about 2001 was owning a commercial sound installation company. I still do that, but since the Vancouver economy stinks, I've done a whole lot more video and CRT stuff recently.


But once in a while, a job comes across my desk that is interesting to me so that I quote on it. We got this one, and I'm kinda proud of it (esp. since I de-installed a recent system put in by my competitor), so let me share if I may.


The 'old' system was put in by one of the 'good ol' boys', who is a decent enough guy, but seems to have been slacking off lately with regards to the technical merits of his installs.


The below photos are from a 2500 seat arena in a small town in the middle of BC. My competitor (whose claim to fame is over 80 installations in BC arenas), put in a Peavey system in 1999 for beaucoup bucks. We got a call three weeks ago saying that the system needed to come out, and they were looking for quotes on a new system. I jumped on it.


Now, you don't need to be an acoustical engineer to know that arenas are quite reverberant. Acoustical treatment is usually minimal, so care needs to be taken with the speaker placement. My competitor uses what's called a distributed method, he hangs a series of speakers straight over the ice surface. I completely disagree with doing this, the sound bounc es off the hard ice, then bounces around the ceiling, comes back down and adds to the echo already present in the room. Hes done lots of arenas like this, and most gov't staff will never admit to mis-spending money on crapola, they simply go with him since he's done so many arenas, so he must know what he's doing, right?


Anyways, he also added speakers over the 2500 seats, six down each side, and two at each end zone. That part WOULD be fine, had be added a digital delay, so that the sound from the ice speakers arrives at the spectator's ears at the same time as the speakers over the bleachers. (the bleacher speakers are called the delay speakers, and the digital delay is on those).


NO delay was installed. THe speakers were hung with chain, so there was a skew of a few degrees to all speakers, causing phase shift. I'm not a big fan of Peavey to start with, but that's only my opinion. Had the speakers been installed correctly, in a center cluster arrangement and with a delay on the bleacher speakers, it would have been a much more intelligible system.


So I asked if they wanted to reuse any of the (relatively) recent equipment, they said no. I asked if I should give them trade in, and they said sure. SCORE! (they didn't know they were dealing with Mr eB ay here..
)


So we got the job, and I just came back from finishing it. It lists as follows:


Existing tuner, cassette deck and CD player driving a mono TOA preamplifier. THe various mic lines from around the arena also connected to this preamp.


The output of the preamp went into a compressor/limiter so that an inadvertent feedback spike (or loud rap music) wouldn't cause damage to the system. THe output of the comp/limiter split into two 31 band Rolls EQ. the output of the EQ went to a Bose 502 digital processor to provide the crossover and eq for the Bose speakers. We installed four 502A speakers on the scoreboard, and two 502B subs next to the scoreboard on either side (12" drivers, 800 watts RMS handling)


The bleachers had a total of 16 Bose 402 speakers over them, six down each side, two over each end zone. A TOA 3 output digital delay timed the arrival of the sound with the center cluster. WE used 7 Crest amps to drive all of the speakers.


End result after a week's worth of installation and eq'ing? Yet another happy customer who said that the system was significantly better than the Peavey. NOw I have to set up 26 Peavey 15" 2 way speakers in the driveway to annoy the neighbors!


Now, a lot of you will say "Damn Curt, I've lost respect for you, you actually sell that Bose crap".




Here's the deal. The Bose pro stuff is different than the consumer or car stuff, even though a lot of it uses similar 4" drivers. Not all Bose pro stuff meets my standards. I don't like the Freespace stuff for the most part, but the Model 32 is a great little speaker, the 402 and 502 stuff is super easy to sell next to all of the other companies that suggest large 15" 2 way speakers for commercial venues. We walk in with tiny 22" tall, 8" wide and 6" deep speakers, throw them on tripod stands and blow the customer's minds. The speakers aren't overly efficient, but with cheap amp power these days, a 1000 watt amp is cheep to sell to the customer. Check out pro.bose.com. It's not the end-all-be-all speaker for every job, but we've had excellent success in about 6 arenas now. We've also done a Westin hotel with 137 Model 32's, a large industrial auction facility, etc. Minimal warranty issues as well.


And of course, there are not many Bose dealers in town, but the brand recognition is instantaneous, and we have no competition with pricing. We almost always get full markup, that can't be said for a lot of other lines we carry.


So there, that's what I've done on the last two days of my summer vacation. INstallation pix below. The grunts in the company installed all of the speakers and wiring, I wired the rack and tuned and eq'd the system (and got the glory!)


I love my job!




 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Two more pix:

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
One more....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh heh, that was me on vacation, going to service a 9500LC high in Red Mountain in Utah.


Sheesh, the lengths I go to service customers..:)
 

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I'm glad you could show that "yuppy" up...no offense if he is your friend :D.


So, that's why you were gone for several days...cool.


How many competitors are there in your area?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Not a friend, just a competitor. It really bugs me when:


a) an uninformed customer makes a blind multi $K decision based on word of mouth. This arena was an exception. THey did research, and knew exactly what was wrong with the PEavey system. THey got 3 quotes, two from local companies that I'd never heard of. And yes, we also used references of the other arenas, so I guess that's word of mouth, but our customer did go to two of those arenas that we did 5 years ago, and listened. THEy liked what they heard.


b) The competition cuts corners when he has the job. With a bit of work, that 1999 system could have been fine.


It depends what you call competition. I work from home, so consider me a 'trunk slammer'. I haven't dropped my pricing, and I make money as a result, even with only $25K in sound sales a month. If I had a shop, no one would come to the showroom, and I'd have to sell $50K to make any money. Been there, done that, never again.


There are very few 'legit' sound contractors in Vancouver as far as I'm concerned. We've stopped doing bars, but my competition there was everthing from the bartender ('hey, he DJ's, so he knows what he's doing, and he's putting the system in at cost and $20.00 per hour labor). Happens so much that I've lost count.


There's a couple of legit companies. One is so big, they can't/don't touch stuff under $50K. They do airports the local rapid transit system, and do in the mils of $$ each year. So they are not really competition. Where I personally excel is servicing, so I can snag customers away from others when stuff breaks down and no one at the other company is a tech. Thus the success with CRT PC board repair.


:)
 

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Haha, thanks for the info. Sounds like you know what you are doing...


So...have a Barco 808 or any good 8" machines in the $7 - 800 range? :D:D
 

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nice clean install.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt Palme
Now, a lot of you will say "Damn Curt, I've lost respect for you, you actually sell that Bose crap".
OTOH, you are not installing audiophile quality systems in arenas. :)
 

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actually, couldn't the old system have been saved/slavaged/modified for many fewer $s? adding digital delay etc?
 

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Nice clean wiring Curt! Looks good! (Messy wiring [like what I have behind my A/V rack] is a pet peeve of mine :) ).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt Palme
a) an uninformed customer makes a blind multi $K decision based on word of mouth. This arena was an exception. THey did research, and knew exactly what was wrong with the PEavey system.
I'm confused though...

So why did the customer ever accept the 1999 Peavey install then in the first place if they knew it was poorly set up? Maybe someone new came to work for the arena recently and saw how poorly set up the previous install was?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt Palme
b) The competition cuts corners when he has the job. With a bit of work, that 1999 system could have been fine.
If the customer knew what was wrong with the Peavey system, why didn't they just ask you to 'tweak' the Peavey system to fix it? Would have been a lot cheaper for them for sure (though I'm sure you preferred a full re-install). :)


Kal
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Good points Kal and raoul, that's the first thing I offered to them.


However, we're talking hte gov't here, and they had it in their mind that EVERYTHING needed to come out.


THe scoreboard is a full video one, with LED panels for full motiion display. I found out last night that the new sound system and video board was part of the Olympic money, I understand that the venue will be used to view the Olympics via TV screens (thus the scoreboard), so the bucks were there to replace everything.


I've learned the hard way that if a gov't or city says to replace everything, don't quote on reusing old equipment. THere was a local venue 10 years ago that had JBL speakers in their arena. THe only problem was one blown tweeter and the placement of the speakers.


The winning bid was 3 X my price, and replaced everything. I had quoted on relocation and replacement of the tweeter. SO I now quote new as well..:)


BEsides, I gave them $5K for the old stuff. I should be able to sell it for $8K. That's more profit for me.
 

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As mentioned, clean wiring job. Very nice.


I have to echo everyone else. Why not fix the original system? I don't care too much for Peavey either, but for the price it's not bad stuff. It's strength is it's dependability. Peavey stuff rarely breaks.


Bose? Jesus! You have no shame Curt! ;) Frankly, I'd rather have the Peavey than the Bose.
 

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Nevermind! You answered my questions while I was typing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Seriously, the 402 and 502 speakers are great. I didn't believe it either until I demoed a set to an arena that had JBL's installed. Not only did the BOse sound better, they were 1/2 the price of the JBL's that were installed, and the intelligibility blew the JBL's away.


We did an installation for these guys:

http://www.rbauction.com/index_all.jsp


We installed 16 402's indoors and out, and they run very large trucks and bulldozers over the auction viewing ramp at each auction. The only item that drowns out the speakers is the Caterpillar D 9 bulldozer, the largest one they make (I think).


These speakers have been outside exposed to rain, snow, etc for 6 years with no issues at all.


Anyways, like I said, Bose isn't THE speaker for every application, but installed correctly they are a great alternative to the standard speaker box with a horn. Here's info on the 402.

http://www.bose.com/controller?event...d_txt_402&ck=0
 

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Bose aren't audiophile but they do do voice and midrange well. The lower midrange is usually weak and then the upper bass kicks in and they're competent. Lower bass tends to sound boomy but with a good amp, they'll play loud.


For an arena, that may just be the winning formula.
 

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Hi Curt,


So did you put in any temperature sensing devices to compensate the speaker delay's depending upon the ambient air temperature (and the corresponding speed of sound)? :)


You know, you could spoil a client with good sound! No one ever expects to actually hear sound clearly!


I use to do some design work for Lexicon, and it is amazing what appropriate high end sound processing can do for a really bad acoustical design. But even a low end system can be better configured by just proper placement of the speakers and microphones.


I walk into almost any school or government forum and am amazed how the sound system in their auditorium's can be so bad. Plenty of power & good speakers can not make up for bad acoustical layout. Of course, lining the walls with flammable acoustical foam is out of the question, but moving speakers even a couple of feet can make a world of difference!


Kudo's to you Curt!


Regards,


Ira
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt Palme
However, we're talking hte gov't here, and they had it in their mind that EVERYTHING needed to come out.


I've learned the hard way that if a gov't or city says to replace everything, don't quote on reusing old equipment. THere was a local venue 10 years ago that had JBL speakers in their arena. THe only problem was one blown tweeter and the placement of the speakers.


The winning bid was 3 X my price, and replaced everything. I had quoted on relocation and replacement of the tweeter. SO I now quote new as well..:)
Explains why our taxes are so high! Sheesh! :)


Kal
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzman
I hear western sound is good in vancouver curt ;)
Umm, I am assuming you know the story of me and Western Sound?


Been there, done that, don't wanna revisit..:)
 
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