View Full Version : Specifying new Audio Equipment for new Haunt

01-21-2010, 10:15 PM
I need to specify and price two ambinet audio set ups. Each would be covering a 5000sf haunt. I dont need individual sound in each room, I just need to do an overall ambient audio track for each haunt. I would need to specify speakers, amp(s), and an audio source. I would prefer to have the audio played from an output on a computer into the amp and then out to the speakers. Any help would be appreciated.

01-22-2010, 08:48 AM
Brian have you ever looked at Alcorn Mcbride's digital audio repeaters, they have an AMPtraXX that has 8 separate amps in one piece of equipment... along with the 8traXX digital player you can have 8 audio files playing at one time... Or if you need something simpler a single digital repeater would be better than a computer.

I am a dealer of Alcorn and would be happy to spec out some equipment for you including speakers.

01-22-2010, 09:02 AM
I don't belive I need anything as high end as Alcorn McBride equipment. This is a start up brand new haunt this year and I don't know how much of a budget I will have for the audio equipment yet. I may be able to upgrade them next year as long as things go well.

I only said computer because a few of my customers have that kind of set up. I am not oppsed to another option however.

My main concern is how powerful of speakers/amp would I need, and where to get them.

01-22-2010, 09:10 AM
I would then suggest gilderfluke repeaters... they wont break a budget and will never crash...at least in my experience with them, I have seen them run for years without problems. We also deal gilderfluke as well. I think for your situation I would go with powered speakers, makes it a very simple install with only routing audio. Just my opinion. I have just installed Behringer Truth speakers in an attraction, you might want to check those out.

If you want more power I have also used JBL EON speakers, they pack a punch and are also powered...

01-26-2010, 09:57 AM
A CD player (20$) a small mixer (50$) an 800 watt power amp (200$) or a 1500W if you want more umph (350$) and 4 PR15 speakers (100$). You'll floor yourself with this. And if all that is to much bling bling take that idea and head to the pawn shop.

Moxley Manor
02-16-2010, 12:56 PM
Good information. Thanks for posting!

02-16-2010, 04:00 PM
One tip:

Be careful in speaker placement. To cover a space that size won't require a *lot* of gear, but it may be VERY loud when in close proximity to one of the speakers, which may reduce the effect of whatever scene your guests may be in. Getting a couple cheap 5.1 home theater amps and 10 smaller speakers that you can drive at lower volume to cover the area may be more effective than 2 or 4 speakers driven at high volume.

And don't be fooled, it's easy to split a line level signal to all sorts of places, with negligible side effects... so you don't really need fancy equipment before the amplifier.

-- I

02-24-2010, 10:00 AM
Gilderfluke SD25, output to Crown XLS 400 - JBL Control 29's

Also, if you wanted to have the sound change abit during the haunt. I have always been a fan of the Boo Box. It has a standby ambient noise mode, then when triggered, it goes in the "scare" mode. I'd choose a prop, use the Boo Boxx as the control, wire my amps to the output. Kill two birds with one stone.


04-01-2010, 12:17 PM

Now that some time has passed since AMB originally introduced the 8Traxx, have you had the opportunity to try high sample rate encodes on all 8 channels?

I looked into buying 3 of them years ago, but they said (as does the manual) that if I was using 8 channels, I was limited to 112kbps or less encodes. I wasn't thrilled with that idea, so we went a different route. I now have a PC DAW setup, 1 machine, 1 firewire cable, 1 RU for the Firestudio, 32 channels of audio. I'm pleased with this as it lets me reroute a soundtrack easily without swapping cables (for the most part) and I can have 32 channels of FLAC lossless encoded audio.

I'm not knocking the AMB gear, it's extremely high quality. It's extremely spendy though too for what it is. If the encode rates are no longer an issue, I will say though that I think the 8Traxx is one of the best centralized solutions for triggered (prop) audio playback. I used to use SD 25's and 10's ganged onto Augat snap track, which worked though it wasn't really elegant, lots of wires and I'm partial to rackable equipment.

04-01-2010, 02:16 PM
Hey Brandon,
We should get together one day, It sounds like we would hit it off talking tech about haunted houses and such...

Anyways on to the 8TraXX. Unfortunately, the bit rate has nothing to do with the size or increased speed of the CF cards that have come to market lately. The processor inside of the equipment has a limited bandwidth, and since it is playing all 8 tracks from one CF card encoding at 320Kbs would be overkill. However 112Kbs was written more as a safety net than a guideline. I would suggest you could get at least 128-160Kbs when playing 8. The other thing to keep in mind is when encoding music all tracks should be encoded at the same bit otherwise your quality will suffer. I hope this helps out. Obviously the bigger players like Disney and Universal use the Digital Binloop for high quality playback.

I like your setup as well, I assume your using the Lightpipe? What are you using on your ADAT line to get the 32 channels outputted to your speakers? Hope this finds you well!
Bill Rod.

04-01-2010, 03:05 PM
I have seen Brandon's set up in person. It's impressive.

04-01-2010, 03:19 PM
Bill, absolutely, I love to talk shop, especially the A/V / lighting / controllers end of our industry.

Indeed I'm using a Firestudio Lightpipe. It was going to be the Presonus kit or the M-Audio ProFire Lightbridge. I've used M-Audio's gear in the past and it's usually pretty good (though some of their drivers have sucked, badly). From what I could figure, the M-Audio product might have actually worked better for me. I *think* their software would have allowed me to route 1 input to multiple outputs, in essence a matrix switcher, but unfortunately it seems like every tech in that company has their head up their ass and couldn't (or rather, wasn't willing to) find out.

I went with the PreSonus for a few reasons; Their techs are awesome, answering every question I threw their way. They were willing to send out a demo unit to test with (M-Audio literally laughed at me when asked for a demo). Rackable out of the box, no dicking with custom panels or slapping it on a tray. The last nice feature was an assload of blinking LED's. Who doesn't like blinking LED's? The PreSonus has 131 of them ;) Seriously though, it's nice to be able to monitor a channel at a glance.

For D/A & A/D, I was originally looking at some gear from Apogee, but the cost was just absolutely rediculous, over 3k per bank of 8 channels EACH WAY. I put off researching DAC solutions and starting looking into EQ's, I actually almost wrote off the whole project due to the cost of the DAC's, but anyhow... I really only looked at DBX and Alesis as those are the two that I'm most in love with for EQ'ing. Then I came across my golden ticket as it were, the Alesis DEQ-830. Basically, it's an 8 channel, 30 band digital EQ that fits in only 1 (!!!) RU. I noticed it happened to sport a ADAT I/O and 8 analog TRS I/O's, quickly downloading the manual, I confirmed it does A to D and D to A conversion. So, out of the Firestudio with a single optical into the DEQ830 gets me 8 analog, EQ'd outputs which then feed the power amps. (Though some of the channels run into crossovers and compressors, depending on where it's going).

Last year I started off with a single DEQ-830 to test with. I didn't have much test time before the season got started so I kept most of the previous sources in place (Denon dual tape wells and dual well CD decks). I figured if the sound was going to go down, I would rather 8 channels go out than the entire house. It worked well with only a few (not major) glitches. I'm going to expand it to 4 DEQ830's this year giving me 32 channels and finally get rid of the flakey CD decks and the takes-for-hell-and-ever-to-dub tape decks.

It's nice to be able to click a single icon on the desktop and the sound comes up. I'm using Ableton Live as the DAC source and while it works, it has a very steep learning curve, at least to use it how I want. The way you have to build the playlists per channel is incredibly time consuming and not perfect. You have to set forward points and loops based off of musical time (bars, notes, etc) rather than just based off of linear time. I'm looking for a better way to playback the tracks but so far, I haven't come across anything. Since the software has to support an ASIO driver, it's a little more difficult to find a software package.

In addition to the DEQ-830's this year, I'll be upgrading our front of house rig, new compressors, a wireless mic setup for providing announcements to the line, a QSC PLX 3602 (big power!) and I'm thinking right now a pair of JBL JRX 125 tops with some flavor of an 18 or dual 18 sub box. This will go hand in hand with a fully automated and chorographed DMX lightshow utilizing a number of Chauvet COLORado's on the front of the haunt. It should be pretty sweet, I'm excited to get started with it, though not looking forward to the hours since I can really only do it at night.

It's a shame they haven't done a new rev on the 8Traxx, it's such a nice piece of kit, the limitations really bother me though. I want 192k at minimum, per channel. For the cost and the limitations, it's very hard to justify to me. You can buy eight, 8gb Nano's brandy new for significantly less than what an 8Traxx cost. Obviously you lose the triggered input capability, but for general house soundtracks... Again, not knocking the product, AMB makes some awesome gear, but it's certainly "Disney priced". Not including the cost of the computer, the Lightbridge / DEQ setup works out to $75 per channel of audio. Even with 8 channels last year, using FLAC encodes for the source files, the 4 year old Compaq (I think it's an Athlon of some variant) that I used for the DAC was only touching 10% of processing power. Another 24 channels shouldn't max it out (though, it will probably max out disk speed as FLAC's are rather high bitrates. I'll probably do a RAID stripe or something). I picked up a few dual Opteron server blades that will be the computing power for most of the haunt now to run ticketing, VoIP phone system / Trixbox, audio, DMX, etc etc.

Should be a great year for us technical wise :)

04-01-2010, 10:12 PM
Wow Brandon, I would think most haunts/haunters would be jealous of the amount of time and effort you put into the technical side of haunting... If you ever need some help or an additional hand to program some DMX or anything let me know.

If you want to go crazy with the Chauvet's, a neat thing you can do is hook them up to a media server to control intensity and color, get some crazy effects this way, and in a 1/4 of the time it would take to program them. I just met with Matt Mills who is on tour with Daughtry and that is what he is using to push his Martin Stagebars (http://www.martin.com/product/product.asp?product=stagebar54) and they rock!