PDA

View Full Version : Audio delima!



freak 'n' stein
01-12-2011, 02:01 AM
Okay, I did a QUICK search for audio solutions. Here is our problem for 2011...we want to centralize the audio to include ONE system that plays multiple channels to multiple rooms in our haunt for 2011. IS THERE SUCH A SYSTEM?! What it boils down to is replacing our multiple CD units with MP3 units that play different audio throughout our show and does it exist? If so, where can I find this system? Thank you! Scareproducts already provides the LED light system we want...we just need the same comprehensive system for audio!!! thanks in advance :)

Allen H
01-12-2011, 03:57 AM
This is exactly what you want
http://www.hauntworld.com/haunted_house_forums/showthread.php?t=13582

bhays
01-12-2011, 03:37 PM
I researched this a couple of years ago and found a centralized solution that has been working great for us for a few seasons now. I had looked at Alcorn McBride and theme park based solutions and they were just out of our budget. I put together a 16 zone solution for about $6000 including speakers and it is awesome, I can direct any one channel to all 16 zones, (which we do to play the radio in the whole building sometimes) or one channel per zone or any combination thereof... really flexible. I am adding an additional rack this season as we have outgrown the 16 zones this year.

I use American Audio SDJ1 players (SD card digital) for sources and Samson Servo amps, and a Behringer mixing board and an Audio Matrix for switching. All of these items are out there inexpensive used and make for a really nice solution.

Here's our current system before wiring as I was installing it.
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_oqozgcFa-PU/TS4dgh1yHQI/AAAAAAAAAdE/T_XwERhb_YQ/s512/rack.jpg

beardedbil
01-12-2011, 08:29 PM
Hey Freak 'n' Stein,
I PMed you.

rwrussom
01-13-2011, 10:29 AM
This year I put together the head unit for 32 channels of audio with used equipment for around $500.

Got an old athon computer and a rack case from craigs list. My main requirment was that it have 4 - PCI slots.

The audio output is with four M-Audio 1010lt cards that can be found for 80-120 on ebay. Each card outputs 8 anolog tracks to your basic RCA jack. (they also have 8 inputs if needed)

Software use to control it is Reaper, an open sorce free or low cost very powerful product.

Basically nothig else running on it. Never failed all season. Each track easily switched out and controllable.

Can be set up for on button mute and switch to mike input for PA (or whole haunt music during build season)

Allen H
01-13-2011, 10:37 AM
Randy- may I say you rock sir. I have a spare PC laying around and this seems like a perfect use. Reaper is a free download to try, then $150 for the liscence to use it (still a bargain).
http://www.reaper.fm/download.php

Allen H

freak 'n' stein
01-13-2011, 11:14 AM
this year i put together the head unit for 32 channels of audio with used equipment for around $500.

Got an old athon computer and a rack case from craigs list. My main requirment was that it have 4 - pci slots.

The audio output is with four m-audio 1010lt cards that can be found for 80-120 on ebay. Each card outputs 8 anolog tracks to your basic rca jack. (they also have 8 inputs if needed)

software use to control it is reaper, an open sorce free or low cost very powerful product.

Basically nothig else running on it. Never failed all season. Each track easily switched out and controllable.

Can be set up for on button mute and switch to mike input for pa (or whole haunt music during build season)

...pm sent!!!

bylogic
01-13-2011, 12:08 PM
Any suggestions on inexpensive amps? The Samson Servo amps seems a bit pricey.

bhays
01-13-2011, 04:31 PM
Software use to control it is Reaper, an open sorce free or low cost very powerful product.


With Reaper do all of your tracks have to be identical in length so that they all cycle together? That's something I ran into a couple of years ago when trying to do a soundcard based solution..

In other words if one mp3 files was 27 seconds long and another was 30 seconds you would have three seconds of silence until the 30 second file looped.

rwrussom
01-14-2011, 10:33 AM
Any suggestions on inexpensive amps? The Samson Servo amps seems a bit pricey.

Dont know how much power you are looking at but my system consists of 4 - 12 channel SpeakerCraft amps. They come as 35 or 65watt models for under $1000 on ebay. With some looking you might find a similar product there in the $600-$700 range.

The power of the more expensive amps would seem to be wasted in this application. The purpose is for multiple speaker localized sound, not blasting out over a large area. Besides, most of us budget minded builders are not using the quality of speakers that could use that power.

rwrussom
01-14-2011, 10:44 AM
With Reaper do all of your tracks have to be identical in length so that they all cycle together? That's something I ran into a couple of years ago when trying to do a soundcard based solution..

In other words if one mp3 files was 27 seconds long and another was 30 seconds you would have three seconds of silence until the 30 second file looped.


Yes, Reaper is basically a multitrack mixing software that when combined with the M-audio cards can be used to pass the audio to multiple outputs instead of mixing it down. This is always the problem with mixing boards and most software that this setup overcomes.

So, to answer the question, all the tracks loop together. I just built out the tracks to something like a half hour long. Yes, they initially vary in length. With the software you can select all the items in a track and lengthen or shorten them (have them play faster or slower). This way the track lenths can be matched. The slight change change in pace lost over the half hour or more of an individual track is not noticed, especially with the type of audio most of us use.

Allen H
01-14-2011, 10:53 AM
I use audacity to create, lengthen, layer, and shorten tracks as necessary for my shows. It s a great free program that EFXtek guys told me about. Its also my favorite color-FREE!
http://www.gofree.com/audacity.php?gclid=CJiw7KSUuqYCFUHr7QodolZtHA
Allen H

rwrussom
01-14-2011, 11:10 AM
I agree, its one of the few other pieces of software on my audio dedicated computer. Yeah Free!

Allen H
01-14-2011, 03:11 PM
Randy,
can the set up you describe below play 32 different mp3 tracks at once?

audio hardware is NOT my strong point.
Allen H

DarkTikiEntertainment
01-14-2011, 03:47 PM
I researched this a couple of years ago and found a centralized solution that has been working great for us for a few seasons now. I had looked at Alcorn McBride and theme park based solutions and they were just out of our budget. I put together a 16 zone solution for about $6000 including speakers and it is awesome, I can direct any one channel to all 16 zones, (which we do to play the radio in the whole building sometimes) or one channel per zone or any combination thereof... really flexible. I am adding an additional rack this season as we have outgrown the 16 zones this year.

I use American Audio SDJ1 players (SD card digital) for sources and Samson Servo amps, and a Behringer mixing board and an Audio Matrix for switching. All of these items are out there inexpensive used and make for a really nice solution.

Here's our current system before wiring as I was installing it.
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_oqozgcFa-PU/TS4dgh1yHQI/AAAAAAAAAdE/T_XwERhb_YQ/s512/rack.jpg

I'm a full-time video game Sound Designer/Composer (and a wannabe haunt owner), and I have to say... I am impressed with the sound system you put together! Prior to my game audio career, I used to do live sound, and I've worked with some pretty complicated rigs before (with audio stored on swapable hard drives, controlled by an automated digital mixing board, linked to lighting boards and stage automation, etc.), but for a haunt situation I think your solution is perfect! Your SD players should be rock solid, and you have total routing flexibility... All at a VERY reasonable price. Kudos to you! Out of curiosity, what model number mixer and audio matrix you are using? I can't quite tell from the picture. Again, I think your solution is great!

DarkTikiEntertainment
01-14-2011, 03:51 PM
This year I put together the head unit for 32 channels of audio with used equipment for around $500.

Got an old athon computer and a rack case from craigs list. My main requirment was that it have 4 - PCI slots.

The audio output is with four M-Audio 1010lt cards that can be found for 80-120 on ebay. Each card outputs 8 anolog tracks to your basic RCA jack. (they also have 8 inputs if needed)

Software use to control it is Reaper, an open sorce free or low cost very powerful product.

Basically nothig else running on it. Never failed all season. Each track easily switched out and controllable.

Can be set up for on button mute and switch to mike input for PA (or whole haunt music during build season)


I've been hearing a lot of good things about Reaper lately, I might have to check it out. Kudos on an inventive solution!

rwrussom
01-14-2011, 07:32 PM
Randy,
can the set up you describe below play 32 different mp3 tracks at once?

audio hardware is NOT my strong point.
Allen H

Allen,
Short answer - Yes., that was what I designed it for.

The cards can do 8 tracks each and the M-Audio software maxes out at seeing 4 linked but indendent cards, so the best I have been able to figure is 32 tracks is the max from a single box. It is hard enough to find a mother board with 4 PCI slots as it is so more is unlikely.

Reaper has basically unlimited tracks. You assign a track to an output, or multiple outputs. You can have multiple tracks assigned to a single output and switch on and off as desired with a click of a mouse. It is a full mixing program, way more powerful than anything else in the price range.

Karl Fields
01-15-2011, 02:51 AM
Allan,
We have a similar system to Brett, but maxed out at 16 channels due to I/O slots available.

I am keeping the system as the M-audio and CuBase also control our outside yard show, via MIDI, but am setting up for 2011 with EFX-TEK's AP16+ boards. Each board gives me 20 RMS amps and two channels. I got 14 boards and this should work well for our room tracks. 50 watts @ 18vdc per board was a bitch, but overall I think I'll be happy with it. For a little over $100 each, I think the boards are a great deal - just add speakers and an SD card.

beardedbil
01-15-2011, 10:25 AM
I just wanted to post some other solutions that are out there as well... I do understand that budget comes into play but sometimes haunts try to go with the cheapest method available but that isn't always the best method in the long run. I do like Brett's system as well as Karl's mainly because they stay away from computers. While you may never experience any issues with crashing or corruption on your audio computers, there is a much higher chance of failure using an old or used computer then with equipment that was designed to be running 24/7 as an audio repeater.

Alcorn McBride: (expensive but most reliable)
AM4 - Single Channel Audio Repeater
8TraXX - 8 Stereo channels or 16 mono channels of audio in one rack space.
AmpTraXX - 16 channel amplifier to power your speakers.
ProTraXX - 8 stereo tracks that can be triggered by a dedicated input, allowing for proximity sensor or switches, plus microphone/aux input for Zone paging.
Binloop - 32 Tracks of 16 or 24-bit audio (one of the most powerful repeaters on the market)

Gilderfluke:
SD-10 - One Stereo channel
SD-25 - One Stereo channel, with Amp.

While Gilderfluke does not offer any multi channel audio repeaters, the SD-10 is so small it is easy to create as many channels as you need. Just add an audio matrix to route any one SD-10 to any speaker in your attraction.

Hauntbots:
Standalone MP3 Player - One Stereo Channel, provides triggerable audio files

Again can stack these players, so you can have as many channels as you need.

Dark Tech Effects are dealers of all the above audio equipment and can assist you in creating the right audio system for your needs and budget. If you have any questions regarding any of these products please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Best,
Bill Rod

bhays
01-15-2011, 03:44 PM
Out of curiosity, what model number mixer and audio matrix you are using? I can't quite tell from the picture. Again, I think your solution is great!

It's a 360 Systems Audio Matrix 16. They've been out of production for quite a few years, but still pop up on eBay fairly often. They are dirt simple and do the job so well, can't imagine why they discontinued them.. I have two for the active system and a backup unit in stock and will probably pick up another if the opportunity arises.

http://www.robertsonics.com/MatrixRV1.htm

Allen H
01-15-2011, 06:23 PM
I just want to say that this is a great thread packed with awesome info. I really appreciate everyones input and seeing different styles of slaying the same beast.
Allen H

DarkTikiEntertainment
01-19-2011, 07:13 PM
I just want to say that this is a great thread packed with awesome info. I really appreciate everyones input and seeing different styles of slaying the same beast.
Allen H

Ah, you beat me to it, Allen! When I got finished reading the end of Page 2, I had decided that I was going to write "Best Thread Ever", then I got to Page 3, and you had basically already written it, and more eloquently at that. I'm going to write it anyhow:

BEST THREAD EVER! (at least from the perspective of a sound guy, ha ha!).

I hope more people add pictures and descriptions of their audio set-ups!

vahaunt
01-23-2011, 08:33 PM
Iím a long time lurker but first time poster. I figured I would throw in my two cents as well. As usual I am a few days behind the rest of the world in posting.

We have several attractions and have tried a variety of systems throughout the years. We currently have 2 primary set-ups that we use.


- For our smaller attractions we use Gilderfluke SD-10ís for playback. We split the L/R channels into separate feeds so that we can feed two zones from one player. We have been using these for a couple of years with no problems at all.

- For our larger attractions we use an Alesis HD24 for playback. While it is a more expensive option, it gives us 24 audio zones in a single player. One nice feature is that several units can be synchronized to create a larger system.
With both configurations we loop the audio on the players so that they only repeat once every hour or two.

Allen H
01-23-2011, 09:42 PM
More great input!

freak 'n' stein
01-23-2011, 11:23 PM
Thanks VAhaunt!! I think my delima is solved!! You CAN NOT beat 24 tracks for that price!!! (I ebay'd a few units...great price for used or new!!!)

DarkTikiEntertainment
02-03-2011, 06:31 PM
Those are some very inventive systems everyone!

It looks like the approach to sound design here is starting long repeating loops, and letting them cycle all night. Is that the total approach, or are these systems playing the long loops in addition to more event-driven sound effects/music (such as an alligator sound triggering when an alligator prop pops out of a swamp scene)??

If you're using more event-driven sound design, what kinds of triggers/players are you using for those sounds?

gadget-evilusions
02-03-2011, 07:25 PM
Those are some very inventive systems everyone!

It looks like the approach to sound design here is starting long repeating loops, and letting them cycle all night. Is that the total approach, or are these systems playing the long loops in addition to more event-driven sound effects/music (such as an alligator sound triggering when an alligator prop pops out of a swamp scene)??

If you're using more event-driven sound design, what kinds of triggers/players are you using for those sounds?

For event driven sound, such as a triggered sound effect, I use Ap-16's from EFX-TEK, http://www.efx-tek.com/topics/ap-16.html or Hauntbot's http://www.hauntbots.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=66&zenid=1ts6f79pe8unedb6rja2i3ssi2

jakprintsHAUNT
02-03-2011, 09:00 PM
If you go the multi unit route, or even to maximize existing channels, as long as your soundtrack or ambient noise isnt too complex, what I did for an attraction to use multiple soundtracks with the same units was redesigned the sound to have a different unique track in the left and right channels.

For example there was one attraction inside a pavilion that needed one track, and then a woods walkthrough that needed another, so I ran only left speakers to the indoor, and only right speakers to the outdoor. A cheap way to extend the capabilities some, as long as you dont need panning effects.


Mike "Pogo" Hach

Karl Fields
02-04-2011, 12:12 PM
Don't know about the others. but I have found that MAudio and CuBase and don't lend themselves very well to individual triggered events. I run basically an hour long loop, all of the audio tracks each loop multiple times within that hour. Our front of the house stuff (impaler, flame cannons, DC pirate, etc) are all Midi controlled from the same system and are incorporated within that same hour long loop. If you knew exactly when the loop was ending, and were listening very intently for it, you can hear the 1/2 second or so pause on the hour, but most can't hear it.

We use EFX AP16+ for the triggered prop sounds, and plan on using many more of them this season, replacing most of the MAudio system. The control over the AP16+ is fantastic and they lend themselves extremely well to prop related sounds.

Most of our self container props are triggered with IR beams with a few pressure mats. Some props we simply have on their own little loop so they trigger over and over, whether there is a customer near or not. Actors love it - not! A few props are actually manually activated.



It looks like the approach to sound design here is starting long repeating loops, and letting them cycle all night. Is that the total approach, or are these systems playing the long loops in addition to more event-driven sound effects/music (such as an alligator sound triggering when an alligator prop pops out of a swamp scene)??

spookjj
03-25-2011, 03:21 PM
Instead of buying the Delta M-Audio 1010lt pci card with 8 in/outs, getting 4 for 32 channels, why not just buy the 8 channel surround cards as they alot cheaper and use something like reaper software to control? The surround cards come in any motherboard configurations (pci, pci-express..etc) the Big question is, can you control each channel via the reaper/audacity software say if you have 3-4 sound cards for 24/32 channels in the same PC unit, anybody try this? Additionally, you'd still need an ampliflier as the audio output as I don't think these pc cards have much power to drive bigger speakers...other than pc speakers.

wickedfarmer
03-25-2011, 04:26 PM
Oh yeah....well....um...I use a couple cd players inside pop up deer blinds spread out along my 1/3 mile long trail. I run speaker wire to a couple different speakers to other pop up deer blinds so sound comes from several directions. Oh wait that isn't impressive...never mind.

spookjj
03-27-2011, 11:55 AM
lol, yeah I might just use CD players...nothing fancy, but you know, it's the fastest and probably cheapest solution. On the other side, if you want to manipulate your sound tracks just takes a bit more time than say having everything on a single PC, obviously. I'm going to test out using cheapo 8 channel PC card suround cards, maybe 2 together for 14-16 channels... not sure if will even work be honest, but, if does, for $50 bucks could have 16 channels!

freak 'n' stein
03-27-2011, 10:54 PM
Iím a long time lurker but first time poster. I figured I would throw in my two cents as well. As usual I am a few days behind the rest of the world in posting.

We have several attractions and have tried a variety of systems throughout the years. We currently have 2 primary set-ups that we use.


- For our smaller attractions we use Gilderfluke SD-10ís for playback. We split the L/R channels into separate feeds so that we can feed two zones from one player. We have been using these for a couple of years with no problems at all.

- For our larger attractions we use an Alesis HD24 for playback. While it is a more expensive option, it gives us 24 audio zones in a single player. One nice feature is that several units can be synchronized to create a larger system.
With both configurations we loop the audio on the players so that they only repeat once every hour or two.

Just bought our Alesis HD24!! Thanks for all your help vahaunt !!!