By Val Pearson, MD Lillibrooke Manor
There is nothing more embarrassing than technology that fails to impress. Whether it’s for weddings or corporate events, it is vital that the audio equipment on site has had a considered and researched approach.
Getting the right setup for the audio equipment is always going to be tricky. Whether a large medieval barns venue (like our own Lillibrooke Manor in Berkshire), or a corporate conference centre, it is important to ensure that guests can easily move around the space and have the same the experience throughout. A client doesn’t want to hear the words ‘can everybody hear at the back?’
Not every venue has the benefit of a resident A/V expert, so if you are a venue that’s working with a vendor to deploy new audio equipment, it is vital that they visit the site and take the time to understand the venue. If you’re having trouble finding the right vendor, you can narrow down your choices by searching for a partner that has experience in venues similar to yours.
Indeed, a good vendor should be able to consider the venue in its entirety and recommend the optimum placement of power outlets, speaker mounts and wiring, in order to achieve the correct layout without compromising the integrity of the space. Good audio equipment should be non-intrusive and effective. Large floor mounted speakers are not always the most appropriate or aesthetically pleasing option.
In addition, high quality audio is increasingly in demand for outdoor spaces, where equipment selection and set-up are very different to internal spaces.
Some key initial questions to ask are:
· How can I maximise my floor space?
· Are there any features inherent to the layout of the space I can take advantage of?
· How can the event be fully experienced wherever guests are situated?
· What does my A/V equipment need to do?
Moreover, if it’s complex and high quality audio equipment you’re going for, make sure you take the appropriate training and ensure event managers are able to fully set up the equipment and optimise it for each event. It’s important to get the most out of it. There is nothing worse than technical issues in the middle of a client product launch.
Audio equipment needs to maximise the experience of the venue. However, that doesn’t mean it needs to break the bank and often some older systems are better than their younger counterparts. Research is invaluable, as such it is worth speaking to other venue owners to find out how they overcame their audio conundrum and also take time to gain advice from a number of vendors. You’ll be surprised how much pricing and advice differs.
Got a big space? Use line delays
Delivering sufficient sound volume throughout the space means the ability to play audio to the back of a venue without resorting to excessive sound volumes near the front. A key way to achieve this properly is to deploy additional loudspeakers closer to the rear of the audience.
Due to the fact that sound takes time to travel from one point to another – in larger venues, it’s important to measure difference in latency between the loudspeakers near the stage and the loudspeakers nearer the audience. It’s likely that it will be a matter of milliseconds, but it’s worth deploying a ‘line delay’ for a truly excellent audio experience. This will play the audio at fractionally different timings to ensure that sound is evenly distributed through the space, ensuring everyone in attendance has the best experience possible.