Having provided sound equipment installations to several school halls, the system required by Stocks Green Primary in Kent fell under what we now consider to be a standard specification for this type of usage, with options available depending on the overall budget available.
School PA Systems
The school hall is the very definition of a multiple use space, with assemblies and gatherings, drama productions, live orchestra performances, discos, quiz nights, awards ceremonies, and anything else you can think of that falls under the wide arch of education.
Whilst it will never need to be nightclub levels of performance, or even a hi-fi level of sound quality, school pa systems do need to cover a lot of ground in the space of the average term or year, with ease of use and reliability also being key factors.
Stocks Green Primary requirements were for an audio system suitable for both foreground and background use when needed, along with the ability to playback music from a choice of sources, and for hook up to the hall’s PC for presentations and slideshows
We also were asked to supply a wireless microphone system for general use, and a modern LCD projector unit that was easy to operate, to replace the hall’s ageing and bulky system.
Sound System for School Hall
With a hall size of 20m x 20m, it was decided to go with four of the powerful Amate Audio B8 wall speakers, one in each corner of the room at height, giving maximum coverage to the entire space.
The Amate B8 is a high performance passive speaker unit, with its 8 inch woofer being larger than most wall installation speakers, providing ample bass response for most situations, along with its titanium tweeter ensuring crystal clear vocals and sound detail with music and speech.
To power these, the equally impressive Amate HD1200 power amplifier, a perfect partner for the B8 speakers, with its high performance output power and features such as soft start and fan cooling for constant usage. It has plenty of power on tap, and its sophisticated circuitry stops any clipping or signal distortion from reaching the speakers.
As expected, the four Amate B8 speakers being fed from the HD1200 amplifier sound superb, with a powerful level of sound delivery that would be more than enough for any end of term parties or discos, whilst providing a fantastic atmosphere at lower volumes for all the day to day duties it will perform.
School Public Address System
At the heart of the system we went with a classic sloped top mixing console for its functions and ease of use for the staff, with everything clearly labelled and pre-set so it can be used with little to no knowledge of PA equipment.
The Hill Audio Multimix LMR-1204FX-C-USB was perfect for this particular system setup, as its USB input is a fully wired as a stereo audio soundcard interface, allowing us to have a digital audio connection to the PC, which eliminates unwanted noise that often comes with using an analog connection from the computer’s sound card or headphone output.
This versatile audio mixer offers great features such as reverb and delay effects for the microphone outputs, a full eq to each channel, and a selection of both balanced and unbalanced audio inputs that allow pretty much any equipment you want to be easily connected in.
The easy to use slider controls and logical layout make it ideal for this installation, with all the necessary functions to hand, and the futureproof extra inputs allowing for additional equipment at a later date if required.
School Audio System Installation
For playback functions, we hooked up a smart little unit from Power Dynamics called the PDC60, which is perfect for this type of install, giving you a CD player, USB MP3 playback, and both FM and DAB radio reception. The units slim 1U enclosure fits smartly into the provided rack mount cabinet along with the mixer and amplifier, keeping everything contained to one location.
A favourite of ours for its outstanding value and performance, the QWM 1960 wireless microphone system provides real high end features for such low cost, with its multi channel pll scanning and UHF transmission for interference free use, with a range of upto 50m being more than enough for this hall.
Its dual handheld mics have their own volume slider and eq controls on the mixer to allow adjustment for different users, and the handsets offer long battery life for those extended events.
With the new NEC MEX series projector unit fed via HDMI from the PC, and the audio via USB to the mixer, the picture output and sound are perfectly synchronized, with the projector having built in adjustment to get the timing exact.
This education oriented projector unit ia a 4000 lumens LCD design, with a variety of both analog and digital inputs, both mechanical and digital zoom function, and keystone correction to help align the picture to the pull down screen that was already in the hall.
Though not in daily use like the sound system will be, the projector system will certainly be included a lot more now it’s so easy to use, with the ability to show anything that the PC outputs, from a DVD or Blu Ray disc, to slideshows and powerpoint presentations, or a direct screen mirror. It basically will act as a sedentary monitor, with audio fed out the main speakers.
DBS Checked Installation
Part upgrade, part installation, our DBS checked school installation team fitted the four Amate B8 speakers to each corner of the hall at an out of reach height, with all wiring neatly concealed within the existing white conduit that runs the length of the hall.
The old projector system was removed and replaced, with its composite connection being replaced with modern HDMI cable, routed above the ceiling tiles.
The mixer, audio player, power amplifier and wireless mic system were all housed within a lockable 10U rack cabinet positioned at the front of the hall. The simple USB and HDMI connections allow quick hook up of any laptop, Mac, or desktop PC to both the audio system and projector for total convenience.
The system was fully set up and tested before handover, with volume limiters on the Amate HD1200 being set making damage by over volume impossible. The mixers volume sliders were labelled clearly for intuitive use by anyone, and the system was fully explained and demonstrated to the senior staff on hand, who were thrilled with the sound performance and the ease of use.
The Equipment Supplied:
- 4 x Amate B8 Black wall mounts – high performance 8” speakers
- 1 x Amate HD800 amp – high performance amp
- 1 x QWM 1960 wireless handheld mics
- 1 x Power dynamics CD media player
- 1 x Hill Audio Multimix LMR-1204FX-C-USB
- 1 x NEC ME401X Projector
Plus all required Speaker Cable and Audio Interconnects.