Deciding When Your Old System Needs Something New
If your main Audio Visual system has been installed for a while you might be starting to wonder if it’s time to upgrade your system or start from scratch. We all try to save money if we can and Audio Visual is certainly an area we want to save money in. Sometimes a simple update in a piece of equipment is all you might need. Other times it might save you money over time to create a whole new system. How do you know when you can no longer upgrade? When is it time to tear out your legacy system and start over from scratch?
With older systems there are several options you might take: wait it out, simply maintain, or eliminate completely. Each has its pros and cons. Let’s walk you through each one.
If you wait as long as you possibly can to upgrade, it may save you money now but will probably cost you in the future. Many times, these systems are relied on a weekly, if not a daily basis. By waiting until pieces of your system fail, you put yourself in a position where you must make a quick, pressured decision to get the system back up and running. And sometimes you must settle for a piece of equipment that you might not like as much because the one that you want isn’t available that quickly. Or you might have to spend extra money to rent equipment until your new equipment can be ordered and installed.
Here at Lambda AV we always want to be incorporating the newest and best technology into the systems we design and install. One of the products we love is Dante!! So, what is Dante and why do we love it so much?
One of the other benefits of Dante is that huge cable snakes are now a thing of the past because all of the audio travels over an ethernet cable. Dante integrates media and control for your entire system over a single, standard IP network. Dante systems can easily scale from a simple pairing of a console to a computer, to large capacity networks running thousands of audio channels.
Because Dante uses logical routes instead of physical point-to-point connections, the network can be expanded and reconfigured at any time with just a few mouse clicks. Signal routing and system configuration with Dante is fast, simple, and incredibly flexible. Setting up a Dante network is typically just a matter of plugging devices into an Ethernet switch and connecting a computer to the network. All Dante devices are automatically discovered and displayed in Dante Controller, so you can be up and running in seconds.
So, next time you see Dante, hopefully you’ll know a little more about what it’s all about!
As you can see in these pictures, we use a combination of labels and color-coded heat shrink to identify each cable and what connection they have. Check through your list and make sure each is connected where it is supposed to be.
Labeling along with good documentation, like you can see here can help you trace a cable in seconds instead of minutes or hours!
One of the biggest things we like to push at Lambda Audio Visual is using your equipment to its fullest. Almost every piece of equipment we work with and sell is positioned not only fill your needs but to grow with you. Our tech tip this week is non-other than the equipment user Manual!
We affectionately speak of this amazing tool on our crews as our most important and knowledgeable crew member ‘El Manuel’ (of course we say it with an accent). “Have you checked with Manuel”, is a common day to day saying for us. This is because while our training's do a great job of getting teams started and helping to solve problems, it’s only when you dig in to what the manufacturer has designed the equipment for that you can fully understand it.
One of the things we get asked about a lot is how to get a Pro Presenter to output 2 different things at the same time. We love Pro Presenter, but the simple answer is…it can’t…unless you get tricky. This is where the multi display controllers enter the scene!
These devices have been used for years to display content across projector blends or multiple screens. The most common devices used were the triple ead 2 Go and the more robust Datapath 4. There was a trend, especially in church worship spaces, around 5-7 years ago to display ultra-wide content and use multiple projectors to display on a single very wide screen or 3 screens to fill up blank wall and create a more engaging stage. This trend has mostly disappeared, but the idea behind it, we can repurpose!
A few weeks back we talked about the “Lambda process” for turning your dreams of a new audio, video or lighting system into a reality. Part of that process is all about the gear testing that happens before the equipment ever gets to your location. After the gear has been ordered and has arrived in our shop, we set up all the equipment and each component in the shop just as it will be for the install. This ensures that when we arrive for the install, there aren’t any surprises and there won’t be “that one missing part.” Plus, we have an assurance that each piece of the gear we install will work for you leaving no questions of whether your new parts are faulty.
Once you get your design finished it might feel like everything else will go quickly and you’ll have your new equipment in a matter of a few weeks, but, sadly, nothing is ever quite that simple. Even approving a simple replacement part has a whole process behind it. So, today’s tech tip is about timing your AV equipment orders to make sure you’ll get what you need when you need it.
Let me give you a glimpse into what happens behind the scenes here at Lambda!
Right: Looking so professional as we work on an order.
Once you approve your design and equipment order, we begin to put together part lists for each of our amazing distributors. Once the Purchase Orders are created, they
are sent to the vendors who check on each item for availability, processing time and if anything is back ordered. Once the order is processed, it is finally sent for shipment.
As soon as we receive all the items for your order we open and test each one to ensure we are installing quality products in your building! We want only the best for you! Once we know we have everything, that it is all working, we order the cabling, structuring and any special tools needed to install it all for you.
So, ordering equipment can be a big process and though we do our best to keep timing short for you, items can be back ordered or damaged in the mail or have multiple other problems. Some items are only made upon order, such as speakers, and are finely handcrafted for you and only you! Keeping these things in mind when you place your order will help you to plan ahead about your install and hopefully decrease the stress of wondering when you will receive your new equipment.
You might think it’s silly to place an order three months before you’ll need it, but it’s always better to be ahead rather than trying to rush or force something that might not be possible. So, if you are thinking about doing anything for Easter this year, now would be a great time to plan and talk with us about your ideas. We’ll be able to help you come up with a schedule and if what you are hoping for is possible to achieve in your time frame!
The above picture may just look like colored tape but it is one of our owner’s @ryandrby favorite tools of trade. We call it spike tape. Spike tape is thin strips of Gaffers tape in bright reflective colors.
You might remember Gaffers tape from a previous article we did last year. It's commonly used on stages for taping down cables as it does not leave a residue and tears easily like light fabric. Spike tape is named differently because it is used to “spike” or mark a position or item and stand out rather than blend in like black gaffers tape. It’s especially useful for marking the edges of stairs in dark areas, mic stand positions on stage as well as labeling items like control surfaces and cables. It stands out, is easy to work with and easy to write on with a marker or sharpie.
Pick yourself up some to throw in your kit of day to day tech resources. We love to pick up the multi packs on amazon that come with 4 bright colors from our friends at Tape Ninja!
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All of the Lambda Staff contribute to the Blog. If you have any questions about the info we provide, please don't hesitate to ask!
Check out our resources page for FREE checklists and tools we mention in articles! We are here to help you improve and maintain your Audio Visual Systems!