Loudspeaker Demos : The Questions to Have

Kevin Watson, CTS-D | AVL Engineer – Business Development

One of the best tools a sounds system designer can use is to have a demo of their intended loudspeaker in the space it will be going. But making it a worthwhile demo takes more than just putting the speaker there.

System designers have various methods to help choose the proper loudspeaker for a venue, but as there are hundreds of loudspeakers, there are hundreds of options. Most designers work with software first, which allows us to create a room in 3D, insert loudspeakers into the room and then “map” various data points to determine performance. For new construction venues, this is one of the best gadgets we can utilize. For renovations, it gets us most of the way there.

In many renovation situations, we can go one step beyond that – loudspeaker demos!  Demonstrations give the designer and client the ability to hear the intended loudspeaker within the space it’s going before it’s installed in order to make sure it meets everyone’s expectations. It can help confirm the coverage over the audience, any spill that might get into microphones – and for the architects out there – how pretty the loudspeaker looks!

If you are fortunate enough to have a demo, make sure to coordinate the following points with the designer and your team to make sure you answer all your questions in one try.

What is the main goal of the loudspeaker demo?
Understand what the designer is listening for, and that he or she knows what you are looking for.  Sometimes you may just want to hear the quality of the speaker. Other venues, like churches, want to make sure spoken word is intelligible.  There are also people who will just want to see what it looks like and how big it is. It’s important to define and communicate the goals of a new system.

Where can the demo loudspeaker be located?
The best location for the demo is where the loudspeaker will permanently be located. This will provide the most accurate information and analysis of how it performs within that space.  It’s also important to note whether the speaker will ever be moved or adjusted during installation.  If it’s placed lower, how will the loudness be effected? Will there be more reverberation once installed?  If off to the side, how does that effect the chance for feedback into microphones?

What source will be used during the demo?
This may seem insignificant, but if you have a lecture hall, then listening to hard rock may not tell you if spoken word is intelligible. On the other hand, if you are in a music hall then spoken word will not tell you how loud or warm the loudspeaker will perform.  If you’re a church, then you get to deal with both!

Who will be attending?
Since it does take a lot of coordination for the designer to set up demos (coordinating equipment, man power, manufacturers) it is important to ensure you have the right people attend the demo, people who will want to both listen and look at the loudspeakers. This way there are no surprised stakeholders once equipment is purchased.

Make the most of a loudspeaker demonstration by thinking through and coordinating these questions ahead of time. And as always, if you need to find the right loudspeaker for your venue, let us know and one of our engineers will be happy to help!

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