View Full Version : Haunt Sound System

Moxley Manor
02-10-2010, 01:38 PM
I am trying to decide how I want to run sound through my haunt and wanted to get some suggestions and ideas from all you haunt pros. What is the best way to run sound? What equipment did you use? Thanks in advance for your help.

Phil Miller
02-10-2010, 07:01 PM
I like to use 12-15" crate speakers and 200- 700 watt power amps,try Sam Ash Music Center. our haunt is sprinkled and has ceilings so I made a bunch of cutout holes in each room, added wood lathe with enough space the sound will be heard throughout. I placed the crate speakers in the 2nd floor area. for the sound I use SD-10 from Guilderfluke instead of using Ipod or cd player, you won't have to hit play or loop to start the sound. I just turn on the breakers and the sound boots up itself. plus I hide the amps and SD-10 so the actors won't dick around with the volume, sound selection or theft. the SD-10 can be used for two different tracks if you split the right and left channels. you can download your sound on the SD card and pop it in.

02-10-2010, 07:13 PM
This is what we do for sound.

For the Atmosphere sound fx we use a few JBL JRX Series speakers (Professional PA, Very Loud)

For each room, we use either computer speakers (We like boston and cambridge sets) and sometimes some bookshelf kind speakers, around 50-100 watts.

We play all our audio off a dedicated computer control rack. Each computer controls it's own audio animatronic or animation, and outputs the audio for it as well. For basic audio repeating, one computer in the rack has 4 sound cards for outputing to 4 amps. We also keep all the amps in one location, along with audio mixers to control volume, fx, and eq from the main control room.

We are looking to move from PCs to a few Alcorn Mcbride 8traxx, but we need to save upsome major cash. When we do that, we are going to change the whole control system as well.

02-11-2010, 02:02 PM
Our setup is a bit complex, but very flexible, and we never have to re-run a cable to change audio in a room/area.

We have two behringer mx3282a 32 channel mixing consoles. I love these boards because I can get 16 addressable channels out of them (8 subgroups, 2 main mixes, and 6 aux sends). I have two boards for a total of 32 channels we can send around the haunt. This covers 30 rooms, plus a couple channels for "blanket" noise and pink noise.

From the mixing consoles I use regular 5-7 channel home audio receivers. Amps tend to be the things that die, and I like being able to send someone to wal-mart or best buy to pick up a replacement. It's important to use amps that have the discreet RCA input for each channel.

We also have some big pro audio amps for huge speakers, or subwoofers... but that's a different story all together.

On the input side, we use refurb ipods as well a PC's running some special software to get the most use of a sound card (I usually generate 4 or 5 channels of audio per PC). We also have wireless microphone systems for scenes, as well as a couple for PA/Emergency addressing over the audio system.

Toss on a rage of EQ's, crossovers, special effect generators, and suddenly 10 years of running a haunt has accumulated a ton of audio gear.

Changing the audio in a room is as easy as routing a different signal to it, or changing the playlist on an iPod or the PC. The mixing consoles make it easy to add special effects to channels if needed, too.

And, don't let cost scare you. The boards are fairly cheap and easy to find, especially if you go used/ebay/etc. We spent about $300-400 on each board. Home theater amps are cheap. You will spend more on cabling, and the gear is built to last so as long as you take minimal care of it, it should last pretty much forever.

If you need more details, let me know. I'm happy to help!

02-13-2010, 09:50 AM
For a while now I've been toying with the idea of placing an entire BOSE system in my future haunt. I've always been impressed with the sound quality, etc., I think that might be the way to go....at least for me.


Moxley Manor
02-15-2010, 11:27 AM
Thanks for all of the information. Very useful!

02-16-2010, 12:24 PM
we actually cheat :) not really.

we run a all ages music venue during nov through aug so we have a pa system already hung up and a sound booth :)

02-23-2010, 10:29 AM
We play all our audio off a dedicated computer control rack. Each computer controls it's own audio animatronic or animation, and outputs the audio for it as well. For basic audio repeating, one computer in the rack has 4 sound cards for outputing to 4 amps. We also keep all the amps in one location, along with audio mixers to control volume, fx, and eq from the main control room.

I would love to hear more detail about this set up. How about some more info on the computer control you are using for animation.

How have you worked out the 4 sound card system? This always seems to be an area of struggle. What software are you using, etc?


02-24-2010, 08:47 AM
A few years ago I needed seperate stereo tracks for five seperate rooms. I used five pairs of smaller speakers and shared a large subwoofer. I used a sound board program on a pc to trigger the sounds and used a speaker switch box to switch between the pairs of speakers. Since low frequency sound is non directional every pair of speakers had a loud low end. The down side was only one group could go through at a time. In this case that was not an issue anyways. I need something cheap and effective and it worked. Hope this sparks something.


02-24-2010, 08:52 AM
I'm a Big Fan of Steve and Alcorn Mcbride Products.... If you can get them, best investment. Sometimes you can luck out on Ebay... No Joke.

Also, a Cheaper Alternative is Gilderfluke. Brick Players. SD25, SD50's.... But, make sure you get a separate amp.... the on board amp sucks.

02-24-2010, 04:10 PM
We are dealers of Alcorn and like they say you get what you pay for... If you have the money I would highly recommend the 8-TraXX player, 8 stereo or 16 mono tracks all from one compact flash card... Bundle it with some powered speakers, or the AmpTraXX and some speakers and you have a great system. Feel free to contact us for a quote!
Bill Rod

07-14-2011, 08:48 AM
I do the same as imax. As an audio engineer and technician from theater and rock and roll (roadie for many years) I am very comfortable with audio consoles and have been using mine in the same fashion as imax. Although I believe there is a need for something better and I plan on building that hopefully this year. I would be interested in everyones feedback as to requirements for the interfaces needed, keeping in mind the speakers you use, and any otehr unique capabilities that would be beneficial to running your haunt from a control room rather than having controllers and CD players in every room.

Mike Goff
08-01-2011, 06:20 PM
Just reading this thread, gets the ideas rolling. It sounds like you guys have got it together.

We like to use many layers of sound. We start with a 70v system with speakers that vary anywhere from 10 to 60 watts. I call this the first layer, it usually runs throughout the haunt from beginning to end. I like to use whispers, or backward masking or a combination of both. In the case of my outdoor haunt this sound track has banjo music in the distance and crickets and animals layered. Whatever I decide to use, it has a rhythm to it, almost hypnotic. Sometimes I supplement this layer with subs. Favorite gear for this duty: a combination of cheap speakers for 30 watts and less and Atlas speakers for everything else.

The next layer would be PA speakers that cover the whole building or in the case of our outdoor haunt, stadium speakers. This layer consists of nothing but Sound FX. The sound FX are intermittent but very loud. The more power the better. I usually do not buy a speaker for this duty that is rated for less than 300 watts. I don't know the rating of the stadium speakers, but I put 1200 watts through each at 4ohm and have no problems. The key is to keep it intermittent so that they don't get desensatized to it, and to keep the customers a safe distance from the speaker. This is a great place to incorporate crazy stereo or Doppler effects. Eventually I will do 5.1. In certain areas we add subs and transducers to really pull them in.
Favorite gear for this duty: Peavey black widows, EV's and Atlas stadium speakers. Favorite amps Crown. Mackies can be picked up on the cheap when buying used but are disposable.

Some rooms have thier own distinct soundtrack like flies in a kitchen, or babies crying in a nursery. I usually just throw in a cheap mp3 player and a powered speaker. I have used high dollar powered speakers and cheap ones, still haven't made up my mind what is the best route to take.

We also have actors with headsets plugged into FX processors to interact with the customers. Have used shure mics and cheap mics careless actors break them at about the same rate.

Finally powered speakers for props.