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Thread: Sound Program?

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  1. Default  
    #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Green Bay, WI
    Posts
    984
    greg-

    cd players are alot cheaper then the whole sound computer set up but... it's ALOT more convientent to have all your sound being controled from one centeral area. That way you can control what happens instead of running room to room. We had used cd players with wires running to speakers in each room and we were constantly having to press play and repeate and what not. If you have the $$ a computer is the way to go. Your looking at 3,000 to 5,000 for the set up.

    Sean
    Sean De Wane
    ----------------------------------------------
    The De Wane Asylum
    www.dewaneasylum.com
     

  2. Default  
    #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    76
    We've had problems in the past with CD players in rooms with fog/smoke effects. Residue on CDs and on the players' lens made some CDs skip. We had to encase the players in boxes to seal them up a bit. Didn't happen all the time, but yet another reason to look at going with a computer/solid state sound reinforcement.
     

  3. Default  
    #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    10
    Greg,

    One of the biggest reasons for doing a single point audio source is SAFETY. If one of your fire alarms trips you can kill ALL audio to the attraction and feed an emergency message all in about 2 seconds (manually) or you can go high tech and have a relay do it for you in about 1/2 of a second. I am not sure about the fire laws in your state but many I come across insist that in the event of an emergency (i.e. fire alarm triggers) all distracting sounds, noises, strobes, etc be shut down immediately

    It also gives you more control of your show (from the comfort of the production office). It allows you to make changes on the fly (if need be) as well as be assured that Audio Track 6 is playing in Zone 13 as you can see it, and monitor it from your computer.

    I have done many shows with multiple CD players in various locations but it made for several points of failure within a season (it also allowed actor intervention to the sound system….I would walk thru and hear a Snoop Dog track playing in a certain scene rather then the “Virgil” track the director had selected). If you break down the costs (which I have many times) your source, whether it be multiple cd players, ipods, etc VS a computer (that you probably already have) they are not all that far apart. What really makes a cost difference AND THE MAJOR DIFFERENCE IN THE SHOW is what’s on the other end of the source. If you bought it at Best Buy or Radio Shack it’s probably not moving the earth. If you bought it at Sam Ash or Guitar Center you are probably reshuffling internal organs :-) This is the difference in consumer audio and PRO audio. Marantz, Denon, Fisher, Radio Shack, Sony, Bose, etc is consumer audio.

    EV, Dynacord, VDosc, EAW, etc is Pro Audio. These types of systems are designed for what we do. It’s a commercial application. Extreme weather conditions most of the time (unless you have a great space like The Netherworld…Hi Ben) and will hold up to long term, high SPL, high output, etc. Consumer audio is built for your living room and works well there….leave it there. Ever wonder why those computer speakers sound AWESOME at your desk and sound thin and not very loud when you put them in a space any bigger than an office? It’s the way they are designed. Pro Audio is not built for your living room nor would it work that well in there (unless you like it really loud all of the time). It is designed to get loud….typical noise floor of a Haunted Attraction (before any audio is played) is 102dB…think about the pneumatics alone. A consumer sound system cannot overcome this.

    While pro audio is MUCH more expensive than consumer audio. Long term it is the correct and best investment. Please keep in mind my previous post (just a couple above this one) about relating the cost and importance of sound –vs- the cost of everything else we do in an attraction.

    Hope this helps you understand a little about why we do it this way.

    Please contact me with any questions….

    Jay
    Jay (pro audio dude)
    Minneapolis
     

  4. Default  
    #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Coventry, CT
    Posts
    137
    Jay brings up many excellent points and I'm so happy that someone with his experience and knowledge is willing to enlighten the rest of us.

    Two points that provide strong argument for centralized control (not only of sound but of lighting and prop control as well):

    1) Safety

    What if you had a person have a panic attack with standalone systems? (I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced this). You've got no simple way to disable your show. With centralized control, One actor/security person can activated switches located at multiple locations and disable problem zone only or whole show and instead provide safety lighting to help get person out nearest exit.

    2) Flexibility of control.

    Changes on the fly. Making each groups experience different by running a random sequence of multiple show configurations. Disabling reactivation of prop/scene once triggered - these are just a few of many advantages. Not to mention changing your show up for next year.

    Jay is absolutely correct about sound budget. It is the thing that is most often overlooked. Earth and wall shaking bass creates an uneasy feeling and an animated prop without a loud sound is not nearly as effective.

    Thanks Jay for your outstanding advice and insight!!!
     

  5. Default  
    #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Antonio
    Posts
    204
    Can you reccomend a specific amp to use. Also, is the 50 amps that the Boobox comes with sufficient for prop sounds.

    Did I misunderstand you, do you reccomend centralizing sound but not prop controls
     

  6. Default Prop Controls 
    #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Coventry, CT
    Posts
    137
    I do believe in centralizing prop controls/lighting for the same reasons as stated for audio. On the safety front, you can disable props and turn on appropriate lighting in the problem area. It is much more flexible and easy to modify. For example, you can alternate which props actually get fired for different groups, thereby creating a more unpredictable experience for return visitors.

    The one problem with centralized control is failure of that control takes out the whole event instead of one scene, but that can be overcome by 1) Buying Industrial Controls which are much more reliable and 2) having a backup system.

    This is not as expensive as you think - especially if you build your own animations. If not, some prop builders/suppliers are willing to sell without stand-alone controller and discount prop. At a certain point, generally a few animations, it becomes cheaper to have centralized control.

    I do not have recommendation on amp. Jay is much more knowledgeable in this area, but to answer your question on the built in 50Amp being loud enough - It depends on how big of an area it will be located in and how much ambient noise you have. Obviously, you will want it to be louder than ambient. You may have to test it to find out.
     

  7. Default  
    #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Abcynthiana
    Posts
    1,179
    I think this is probably one of the most helpful topics I have seen in a while. This is the kind of topic that helps haunters take their events to the next level. It really would be nice to see most haunts have both centralized complete scene control from prop, lighting, audio, and safety. If you can keep an eye on everything in your house from 1 location you have an upper hand when things do happen, and they always do.
    But it is an expensive project to undertake.
     

  8. Default  
    #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    48
    I'm a big fan of centralized control. It can get more complex and you have to run more cable, but every time something seems to come up that makes me glad I did it (emergencies, need to make changes, fixes, etc).

    As far as audio gear goes, I can't tell you how many haunts I've been through where everything looked great but the tiny blown speaker in the ceiling that was trying to pump out some massive bass-heavy sound effect was really distracting me (Greg: remember Old Town Haunt?) I guess I'm kind of an audio snob, but still... Even if you don't go with pro gear, don't go too cheap either.

    I prefer to have smaller (but good) speakers in each room rather than have one giant set of PA speakers at one end of a haunt trying to cover the whole thing. That way you can create a different ambiance for each room. Also, the sounds are much closer to your victims, possibly giving them the illusion that whatever they are hearing is a much more immediate threat.

    Try to position your speakers appropriately for whatever is making the sound. If it is a monster, put it in or near the monster's head. If it is an electric chair, it should be near the chair. If it is thunder or something else more diffused, place your speakers farther away to avoid localization, but not so far away that your whole haunt hears them. If they have to be close, use several to spread out the sound source.

    For audio interfaces, I have a FireWire 410 and it works great. TheGallows: Get a couple of them and that will give you about the number of outputs it sounds like you need. Other posters have pretty much covered software you could use if you go this route.

    If that is still outside your budget you could do the CD player thing. I would still centrally locate them, however, to protect them from environmental factors (especially if you use cheap ones) and make operation easier on you. I actually prefer to use MD instead of CD for my cheap sound sources because the players have shock protection/buffer memory to protect them from bumps, etc. which pretty much eliminates skipping. If you go the cheaper CD/MD route, you can still trigger them as an effect if you want. Just open the player up, solder two wires to the pins on the "Play" button, then connect these two wires to whatever sensor/switch you want. It's ghetto, but it works if you are looking for cheap.

    For amplification, Samson makes some amps which are pretty good quality but arent too expensive (Servo 200, about $170 for 2 channels). $85/channel isn't horrible. They would be good to use wheter you go with a FW-410 or with cheap CD/MD players.
     

  9. Default  
    #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Antonio
    Posts
    204
    Hey Scott...good to see you posting. I am sorry to be dense, but if the amp has two channels does that mean I can use it for two completely different sounds /scennes?

    So if I had a 20 room haunt that had a seperate ambient sound in each scene with a pnuematic prop in each scene and lighting effects in each scene (I realize that this is not likely, but it will help clear up my confusion) what would the equipment layout look like to control all of that in a central location.
     

  10. Default  
    #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    10
    Greg,

    This is where is gets interesting. Lets say 20 rooms, with sound for props and ambient "house" sound in that room. You can "share" a loudspeaker and amp channel if you dont mind them coming from the same location (this can actualy has a very strong pyscological effect with the prop scream coming from the overhead area where the "house" sound is as opposed to from the prop...they call this pyscoacoustics and I use it all the time in many different ways...but I digress) OR if you want a different loudspeaker for each effect (house sound, and prop sound) you will need 40 channels of amplification (which equates to 20 dual channel amplifiers). Thats a lot, but gives you the ultimate in control.

    I am short on time right now but will elaborate more this weekend. There are ways to use Boo boxes in the scene yet still contol them from a master control center along with your "house" sound.

    Scott...
    I concur on the smaller speaker concept. Just because its "Pro" does not mean it is big...just more powerful and has more impact. I will elaborate more on this later as well.

    Sorry I am short on time but I am actually teaching a matrix audio class this week and my attendees are waiting for me to take them to dinner...

    Cheers

    Jay
    Jay (pro audio dude)
    Minneapolis
     

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