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Thread: Sound Program?

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  1. Default  
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    San Antonio
    I appreciate the fact that you are willing to help. I am new to the haunt industry and I have to say that it is the first business I have been in where people were so willing to help. What a great community this is.

  2. Default  
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Two channels does indeed mean you can run two separate effects with the one amp. Just think of it as if someone stuffed to completely separate amps in one box. Even if they call it a "stereo" amp it means you have two channels to play with.

    Elaborating on what proaudiodude said, think of each channel as a grouping of sounds. If you want two speakers with a different sound coming out of each then you need two amp channels. If you want four speakers but they all would have the same sound coming out of them then you only need one amp channel. If you have two sounds, but your design dictates that they can both come out of the same speaker then you only need one amp channel.

    As you are designing your sound you first need to figure out what sounds need to come from where, then break it down into how many different playback/amplifier channels you need.

    As far as layout goes, in your master control room you would have a computer with a multi-out sound card. Let's say we're using the FireWire 410, which has 8 outputs. Next to that you would have a stack of 4 2-channel amplifiers. The 8 line outputs of the sound card would each go into one of the 8 amplifier inputs. You would then run speaker wire from the 8 amplifier outputs out into wherever the speakers are in your haunted house.

    Your source and your amplification are all centrally located in master control so you can make adjustments to them while you are kicking back drinking Red Bull or whatever. The only things out in your haunt exposed to the elements and customers are some speakers and some speaker wire.

    You also mentioned lighting and pneumatic props in your scenario. Central location of lighting control is easy. I use a light board and dimmer packs for all my stuff, so the light board goes in master control with a DMX cable running out to the dimmer packs throughout the haunt. Need to bring up the lights in the entire haunt quickly? Just bring them up on the light board with the hand that's not holding the Red Bull. If you don't have dimmer packs you can run the power cables from all your lights to whatever switch box/dimmer panel you are using for control. After a couple years of running that much cable you will want dimmer packs.

    Centrally controlling props depends on how you are activating them. If it is manually, run wires from your solenoid valve to a button in Master Control. If it is triggered by a motion detector you could run the wires from the detector to Master Control, through whatever controller/relay box/etc you are using, then back out to the solenoid valve. This gives you the ability to trigger the prop manually if you'd like or disable it if necessary. You could also use that same motion sensor signal to trigger a sound effect that goes along with your prop.

    That was kind of rambly and oversimplified but I hope it answered your questions.

  3. Default  
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Salt Lake City Utah
    THanks for all of the great advice on music and audio everyone u helped me out alot! Mason Healy www.deadendhauntedhouse coming to salt lake fall 2007!!

  4. Default trigger'able sound with computer based sound sys 
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Say if you have a m-audio 1010Lt or Firewire 410..etc and you want to make you sounds triggerable, how does this work? Are the sounds playing constantly and then your seloniod turns on the amp? aka, what are the triggerable methods when using centralized DAW type pc equipment/software ? Is there really a way to have a sound paused and played when a prop is activated within the software such as cubase, reaper or sonar?

  5. Default  
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Las Vegas
    All great posts with a lot of helpful info. But most of it is leaning ot the technical side.

    Jim Warfield made a good comment that kinda got glossed over....

    What REAL environment has a musical sound track???
    Now if the haunt is supposedly trying to put you IN a movie it might work,
    but if you are trying to add a sense of realism, reality doesn't have a music track!!!

    I'm not downplaying music setting a tone. We use music exclusively OUTSIDE the attraction.

    Once they are IN the haunt, I want a high level of realism. There is a soundscape, but it is
    strictly environmental. We have an all around sound that is heard everywhere in the attraction.
    The Asylum has the sounds of a hospital, moans and occasional muffled screams, PA announcements
    calling doctors to various rooms.The Hotel is supposed populated by the ghosts of people killed there.
    You hear background screaming, moaning, "ghostly" noises.

    Individual props are triggered with specific sounds for that effect.

    Music IN the haunt would be effective say if you had it playing out of an old radio in a setting room.

    So we utilize a 70volt PA system that provides the ambient sound throughout the entire haunt.
    The other advantage is that with this system you have a mic input which allows you to also utilize
    it as your emergency sound system. You can also make announcements to your cast, either before
    you open, a closing announcement or even a special warning message.

    Example: you have a group you want to keep an eye on. You make a themed code announcement,
    "Paging Dr. Jones to Admitting." Everyone hears it and knows it is code to watch out for a group in
    the haunt.

    A lot depends on the level of realism you want to have in your attraction. Personally I just feel
    real life doesn't have a music track. Music in the attraction should have a realistic reason for
    being there, organ music coming out of an organ, music coming out of a radio, voices coming out
    of a TV, but not a music track for inside the haunt, outside...perfect!

    Just an opinion!

    Good Thread!

    R&J Productions
    Las Vegas, NV

  6. Default  
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Running triggered sounds off of a DAW isn't effective. I gave up on that a few years ago. It requires running huge amounts of cable (at least in our haunt. A single trigger cable could be 500') for little to no gain and most software has no way of accepting a triggered command. If you have a small haunt and don't mind running cable, I would suggest something like Alcorn's 8TraXX, but it's a huge cost for again, little to no gain. It also adds unneeded complexity to what should be a simple circuit. I ultimately ended up using small powered mixers at each prop, usually with a 10" cab, paired with a HauntBots Wav Runner. PLENTY loud, great bass response, etc. There are other triggerable audio players out there like the WavRunner, but I'm a huge fan of Pete's gear.

    House (ambient) sound is a totally different game and I agree 100% with Jay. My house system consists of a Presonus FireStudio Lightpipe, using Alesis DEQ830's for EQ and D>A. From there the front of house sound ends up going through some additional mixers, compressors (sidechained to a mic for auto-ducking), finally through a 3way crossover, out to the amps and finally to the top and sub stacks.

    The rest of the house audio is pretty basic, it comes out of the DEQ's and most run straight to the amps, from the amps to the speakers. Some are constant impedance, some are 70v, it depends on where the speaker is, what use it has and how many there will be. Our haunt is pretty large, over 200' wide and over 500' long in a campus layout.

    The beauty of a central system is multifold. The system is expandable in banks of 8 channels from 8 to 32, all controlled by a single piece of DAW software. I can adjust volume on the fly, from a central location. I can mount speakers where they belong (IE, high) and I can also cover larger rooms with 2, 3, 4 speakers if need be. I can mount them to reflect and bounce off of walls so you don't "hear" it from a single point, more of an all around you type of feel. Have you tried mounting a boom box on a ceiling? I prefer to use multiple small speakers to cover an area rather than a single large speaker, it's more natural that way. A few switches to turn on the rack at the start of the night, click play on the DAW and the entire house is up and running. This takes away the tech crew needing to go around a turn on boomboxes every night. Volume is all central. Crazy Friday or Saturday night when the house is at capacity? I can turn up the entire system with a few small tweaks. I can kill all ambient audio in a matter of a half a second and then do an emergency page if needed (thankfully, we've never needed! But, I have the ability)

    Is it expensive? Maybe. Haunts, IMO generally don't invest nearly enough coin into audio, which is just as an important sense as seeing the haunt is. Everyone will go out and buy a $5000 prop that looks AMAZING, but it comes with the cheapest guitar amp/speaker or computer speakers that they can find with the absolute lowest quality chipcorder sound playback they can get their hands on. Seriously, a small powered mixer with a proper cab and playback device isn't THAT much more expensive than what they include now and its a night and day difference in sound quality.

    Back to the expense bit, centralized audio requires running LOTS of cable. I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 7000' of audio cable run through our haunt. Long cable runs require large cable (all of my runs are 12/2), cable alone will blow many haunts budgets. Source gear is pretty reasonable priced. If you wanted to start out with 16 channels, you would need ~$1500 worth of gear (not including interconnects, amps or computer, this is just the source gear), which works out to a little less than $100 per channel, very reasonable. 32 channels works out to less than $80/channel.

    I'll post up pics of our racks (currently being re-racked for this season) if anyone is interested.
    -Brandon Kelm
    Operations Manager & Technical Director


  7. Default DMX/Speakerwire 
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    So all this info is great, but I have a question. How far can you run speaker wire/DMX wire? We are an outdoor event and are looking into centralizing our sound/lighting, but we are worried about the distances. We are talking about rough estimate of 1000ft from where the source would be to the furthest point from the source. Any thoughts?

    Jason Weber
    Midnight Terror Productions, LLC
    Nightmare Forest

  8. Default  
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Thanks! I've never seen much posted on triggerable sounds via pc software so I sorta thought I might have missed something here. But, as you clarified...centralized sound systems are sounds are 100% ambience/atmospheric and/or it's just not feasible to make them triggerable---although, would there be a way to do this if say your prop PIR/sensor activated a switch in the mid-line run from the PC to the speakers for the prop. So in other words, the prop 'A' sound is always playing looped, however, the wire run is disconnected by a switch that when the prop 'A' is activated it flips the switch on to allow the sound to "flow" to the prop 'A' speaker. The downside, when the switch gets activated the loop maybe in middle of it's cycle so might now sound that great.... just thinking it through. I'll check out hauntbots site... thanks for your input. I think this is one of the best threads going on now. What's the name of your haunt? if don't mind, sounds like you have a heck of a setup going. NM, your haunt name is on the bottom of you posts, da me...lol
    Last edited by spookjj; 04-12-2011 at 03:21 PM.

  9. Default  
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Speaker level and DMX control are two very different things. DMX over proper DMX cable, like Belden 9829 can go ~1500'. If you're using CAT5, it's recommended to keep it under 500' (and additionally, don't use Category cable for temporary DMX cables, only use Category cable in a permanent install).

    Speaker cable on the other hand... If you're running a constant impedance system, you can go a few hundred feet with it, but keep in mind you need to run heavy cable (as I said, I run nothing but 12/2 anymore) and you're still going to get a pretty decent voltage drop. My constant impedance speakers that are ~400' out definitely require more gain than one that's only 60' away. It also depends on how much power you're actually trying to send down the cable. If you're trying to power a sub stack a few hundred feet away off of something like a pair of Macrotech 5k's, you best be looking at #8's (of course, ideally in that situation, you're going to have your amps in your FOH rack).

    If you go with a 70v system, you can go hundreds, even thousands of feet on basic 18/2 or 16/2 zipcord. 70v systems have the added ability of not needing to worry about impedance, since it's a constant voltage system. The biggest drawbacks are that it's almost always more expensive to do (additional transformers drive the cost up, plus you're paying for "commercial" gear) and it's not always the best for things with low end bass as the transformers can become saturated quickly.
    -Brandon Kelm
    Operations Manager & Technical Director


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