One of the biggest reasons for doing a single point audio source is SAFETY. If one of your fire alarms trips you can kill ALL audio to the attraction and feed an emergency message all in about 2 seconds (manually) or you can go high tech and have a relay do it for you in about 1/2 of a second. I am not sure about the fire laws in your state but many I come across insist that in the event of an emergency (i.e. fire alarm triggers) all distracting sounds, noises, strobes, etc be shut down immediately
It also gives you more control of your show (from the comfort of the production office). It allows you to make changes on the fly (if need be) as well as be assured that Audio Track 6 is playing in Zone 13 as you can see it, and monitor it from your computer.
I have done many shows with multiple CD players in various locations but it made for several points of failure within a season (it also allowed actor intervention to the sound system….I would walk thru and hear a Snoop Dog track playing in a certain scene rather then the “Virgil” track the director had selected). If you break down the costs (which I have many times) your source, whether it be multiple cd players, ipods, etc VS a computer (that you probably already have) they are not all that far apart. What really makes a cost difference AND THE MAJOR DIFFERENCE IN THE SHOW is what’s on the other end of the source. If you bought it at Best Buy or Radio Shack it’s probably not moving the earth. If you bought it at Sam Ash or Guitar Center you are probably reshuffling internal organs :-) This is the difference in consumer audio and PRO audio. Marantz, Denon, Fisher, Radio Shack, Sony, Bose, etc is consumer audio.
EV, Dynacord, VDosc, EAW, etc is Pro Audio. These types of systems are designed for what we do. It’s a commercial application. Extreme weather conditions most of the time (unless you have a great space like The Netherworld…Hi Ben) and will hold up to long term, high SPL, high output, etc. Consumer audio is built for your living room and works well there….leave it there. Ever wonder why those computer speakers sound AWESOME at your desk and sound thin and not very loud when you put them in a space any bigger than an office? It’s the way they are designed. Pro Audio is not built for your living room nor would it work that well in there (unless you like it really loud all of the time). It is designed to get loud….typical noise floor of a Haunted Attraction (before any audio is played) is 102dB…think about the pneumatics alone. A consumer sound system cannot overcome this.
While pro audio is MUCH more expensive than consumer audio. Long term it is the correct and best investment. Please keep in mind my previous post (just a couple above this one) about relating the cost and importance of sound –vs- the cost of everything else we do in an attraction.
Hope this helps you understand a little about why we do it this way.
Please contact me with any questions….
Jay (pro audio dude)