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CategoryAV Tips and Tricks Archives - Audio Visual Bend Blog

The Silence of the lam(p)s

February 7th, 2021
 
Solving volume and noise problems in a home.
noice tony

Photo By: Verywell Mind

By: Kate Couch and Tony Sprando
 
When most people contact Audio Visual for noise control and noise solutions they often don’t realize what’s truly contributing to the volume of the sound. When you’re in your home trying to get work done and you can hear the birds clattering outside or someone listening to music in the next room the noises meld together. Clients often think that their walls are too thin. Though this may be true what is actually bringing that noise to your attention is the other contributing quieter noises which in tandem compose that loud hum drumming in your ear.
 
In a client’s home working on solving an audio and volume problem, the first thing our employees do is listen. Much as we talked about in our last article listening is super important when it comes to having a reliable business with a good reputation. When solving volume and sound problems listening is also super important. Walk into a home and ask everyone to be quiet: when the initial noise they can identify is silenced you can open your ears to other disruptive noises. Things like the refrigerator, the dishwasher, heating and cooling, plumbing, creaking of cabinets, a distant train, traffic, and other clicking and fan noises of technology all slowly add up to increase the decibel count in a residential area.
 
Once you can identify these other noises in the home you can then make a structural plan to minimize how much of that your client hears on a day-to-day basis. If you go in and solve the problem that the client thinks they have it’s often a temporary fix that might not even fix the overarching problem. If the client believes that their son is too loud and just wants the room to be soundproofed, you can most certainly do that for them. What they will frequently find is it they still can’t focus because it wasn’t just their son’s loud bedroom that was contributing to their distracting noises, but, it was also the refrigerator and the birds outside. When you listen to a client’s home, listen to the extra noises around their house, you will find very quickly that the other noises contributing often go unnoticed. When recognizing these noises you can make a better plan for the client to achieve a more quiet home (or office) and satisfied with a job well done.
 
At AV Bend we promote listening to a client and listening to their home first before making an acoustical plan. This is why when giving quotes it is super important to go out and do so in person. Someone might call us on the phone and say “my kitchen is too loud because my entire family likes to cook.” Once you are there you may find, as we mentioned earlier, that there are a lot of other things going into that problem. When working with a client it’s important to solve the overarching problem, not just the one that they can identify. After you’ve identified the sounds that are contributing to the problem it’s also important to consider other things about a space like the ceiling walls and angles. These things all contribute to how noise is distributed throughout the home. It’s good to keep in mind that the solution for one home is not going to necessarily be the solution for another. Rooms are noisy for varying reasons and sound emanates off of walls differently based on their material and angles. These are all important things to take into account when building an acoustical treatment plan.
 
After listening to a client, listening to their home, considering the angles and materials in their home, an acoustical treatment plan almost makes itself. When you properly identify the problems, where they are, and how they need to be fixed, you will leave your client satisfied and their home quiet.
 
To know about Tony and his professional profile see these:
 

Like a fine wine

January 21st, 2021

Photo By: Ion Ceban

Written By: Tony Sprando and Kate Couch

 

“Age appears to be best in four things, – old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.” – Alonso Of Aragon

 

Age is something we have been redefining for many years as a human race. In the 40s children were seen and not heard, today children are brought to work and meetings and expected to be kept entertained by their 8×12 screens that they are constantly glued to. When I was a teenager I knew all the latest tech but now I’m (slowly) slipping behind. My mother-in-law though, not tech-savvy, picks up things as fast as ever. She is I presume sharper than most people her age. My beautiful wife does not keep up with technology and prefers to be outside. Due to this, she has much better eyesight than I do, however, I have better hearing. It’s a two-way street of what we choose to invest our time in. 

 

As we get older and more mature the brain changes drastically. Most people are aware of this, it’s called cognitive decline. It’s a sad thing to go through and to see others go through. When things that are so drastically important to us like, hearing, seeing, our ability to learn, and our memory slowly worsen with every year. It can be hard as a parent, friend, loved one, or business owner to know how to properly help people experiencing this. Age Is something not a lot of people take into account when doing custom work for clients. It’s something that’s overlooked but extraordinarily important. 

 

It’s important to understand at what ages different needs need to be met. As someone reaches the age of 60 they have a hard time keeping things organized, remembering things, and hearing and seeing things. If you have someone over the age of 60 for a client you want to make sure that you’re catering to these needs. For example, in audiovisual, if you have an older client it is important that you are making sure that the speakers in an in-home speaker system are arranged properly so they can hear it.  Checking that older clients technology you might be installing is easy for them to use, and that they understand what you’re putting in their home is another important thing you can consider. Solving organization problems and making sure that your clients know how to properly use what you’re installing and understand its function. Just because somebody comes to you with a problem, doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand the solution.

 

When it comes to this in Audio Visual it’s important to take into account age with any client you have. For example, if you are installing soundproof panels into a nursery something that is professional, business style, and chic probably wouldn’t cater to that age or audience. You need to take into account the problems that you are solving will also considering the age of the client installing something that is more child-proof and childlike is more likely to leave the customer satisfied.

 

 If you are installing a meeting room for a business whose employees are young and tech-savvy you can keep that in mind when integrating the latest and smartest technology. Integrating a necessary thing like a zoom room into a company that has older employees that don’t know how to use technology but are going to rely on Zoom calls. You can use technology that’s more straightforward organized and easy to use. It’s very easy to cater to a client’s age if you just consider the problem that they need to solve and how their age affects that problem. 

 

What is Smart?

January 14th, 2021

Defining the word that has had so many meanings over the past one hundred years.

Written By: Kate Couch

 

“Okay, Einstien.” “That was smart!” “You’re baby is so smart.”These are all common sayings we’ve heard that center around the idea of smart or intelligence. But what is smart? As we progressed further into the 21st century, technology seems to be out doing itself every day. The stock market is skyrocketing, the way we interact with each other and do business has changed completely, and the internet seems to rule our lives. So when we hear the word “smart” how has its meaning changed? Most of you have a smartphone in your pocket, many teachers have smart boards (a technology integrated touch screen whiteboard with a proprietary pen with software) and our kitchen is filled with “smart” appliances. 

 

How this applies today

 

Today the word smart can be used to reference technology, specifically artificial intelligence technology. AI was a word that scared a lot of people a decade or two ago. Now it’s nearly unavoidable. With the word smart directly correlating to an item having some sort of artificial intelligence, smart devices, and AI devices, are in more places than we realize. The demonizing of artificial intelligence through science fiction movies is what caused a lot of pandemonium when it came to the idea of your technology being “smart.” The truth is, there’s a lot of benefits to having smart technology. We know it’s constantly making our lives easier and more efficient. Especially right now, as we heavily rely on technology to carry our schools and jobs. 

 

Where does AV come in?

Audio and visual technology and setup have become extremely important during the pandemic; especially relating to zoom rooms. Audio Visual Bend does Zoom rooms for clients since the pandemic. A Zoom room is essentially a room with an acoustical treatment plan, cameras, microphones, and a speaker setup for Zoom meetings. It’s an essential function to help schools and businesses have effective and efficient meetings. Having properly set up cameras, speakers, and microphone systems make the stress of having a zoom meeting melt away. In addition to this, the soundproofing and acoustical treatment plan will diminish the possibility disrupting of others and minimize others disrupting you. 

 

Audio Visual and smart technology doesn’t end with Zoom meetings though. Before the pandemic audiovisual mixed with smart technology often looked like integrating smart devices and appliances. Often customers would want in-home speaker systems and automatic lighting that can be adjusted with simpler panels or even from their phones. Customers often strived for a result that was less autonomous. 

Where is it going? 

Audio-visual definitely has some changes coming in the future with the way technology is going. 10 years ago audiovisual was more corporate-based and for wealthier clients. But as technology progresses audio-visual becomes more affordable. Audio Visual Bend predicts that more of our customers want to be integrating systems into their homes like speakers, cameras, projectors, and acoustical treatments over the next few years. It will start to look more like an in-home service industry model, rather than a one-time installation of a product or solving a problem. It’ll be something that’s ongoing integrating new technology into homes and corporate offices. 

 

Smart is definitely a peculiar word with lots of meaning. But with new waves of technology coming out all the time and audio and visual being thrown into an entirely new pool of opportunities the word “smart” really has developed its own new meaning. 

DIY Music and Workout Studio

January 9th, 2021

 

 

Earlier this year I found myself in predicament. Late at night, I would like to lift weights, work out, and do a bit of overtime, all while blasting music to keep the energy up. This quickly caused a problem as the rest of the household didn’t appreciate the concerts I held in the middle of the night, not to mention the neighbors that didn’t want that either. So I had a couple of options, I could go to a 24-hour gym (which at the time were open but little did I know that would have been a temporary fix) Or I could design my own workspace that would reduce the sound by drafting an acoustical treatment plan. 

 

Avoiding the sweaty gyms and having the freedom of being in my own home while having the option to have my music through a speaker was a no brainer choice. So my wife and I designed an acoustical plan. 

What is an acoustical treatment plan? 

 

In short, it is a design that will solve your problems and make the room better for recording and listening to audio. When making an acoustical treatment plan you need to decide what your main problems are and how much coverage you need. Most people need between 25% and 75% coverage. This is only for the walls and ceiling. Most people forget when treating a room that the ceiling is just as important when it comes to treating a room as the walls are. So when buying or collecting materials make sure to pick up some for the ceiling too. 

 

How do you go about it?

 

When I was making mine I decided to use scraps from a previous project. I had odd shapes of sound silencer material, which was perfect for the outcome but the shapes would be a creative challenge. My wife and I spent time maneuvering the pieces into intricate designs that would get the job done while still being aesthetically pleasing. This process saved us money and kept our room design unique, compared to the typical soundproofing methods. 

 

Find a store that sells soundproofing materials then draw out a design for your room while placement is important that doesn’t mean you can’t make pieces that look good in the right places. The sound silencer is a unique product, from an initial look it looks like styrofoam but it is actually tiny engineered beads molded together, which is both functional and pleasing to the eyes.

 

After implementing this plan the sound was reduced drastically. I now have a place where I can do work and be as loud as needed while others can sleep peacefully just a wall away. My wife and I had a great time working on this together it was a good problem-solving experience and gave us some extra time together. Most people think that acoustical treatments are eyesores…and they wouldn’t be completely wrong. It’s great that we were able to come up with something that worked for our space and looked cool. 

Putting soundproof panels behind canvas pictures, or cutting them into unique designs are simple ways you can make acoustical treatments a designing choice instead of a functional eyesore. This project was cost-effective, made use of old material, and solved our main problem. 

By Tony Sprando

Sources used

https://advancedacoustics-uk.com/pages/how-much-acoustic-treatment-should-i-install

 

Is Digital Wayfinding Right for You?

November 21st, 2017

Consider helping your customers find their way around your campus by looking into a digital wayfinding solution.

The Dilemma – You are Lost

When you visit a large school campus, or a hospital, or a large corporate center for the first time you do your best to find the main entrance. Sometimes it is easy to spot, but other times you end up in the wrong place or across the campus from where you are supposed to be.  Now, try to find someone to ask for directions.  There is a good chance you may not find someone, or if you do, just hope they give you good enough directions. Maybe I am alone in this, but this has happened a lot to me. Read more »

Should AV Be Seen?

November 13th, 2017

Stealthy AV equipment is readily available and can make for a very sleek and highly functional project.

In the AV industry, for as long as I can remember, the idea of being able to have an AV system of some kind and making it as invisible as possible has been a request of clients.  At the end of the day, can you ever really hide all of the equipment in a system?  Obviously, this depends entirely on the installation and equipment being used. Read more »

Infrasound: The Noise You Feel

October 31st, 2017

Infrasound is a very real problem. Take steps to minimize the noise.

Imagine that you have just moved into a new home and you continue to hear a disturbing, pulsating, low frequency rumbling noise.  You think it is coming from outside.  It is drowned out during the day time.  But at night, when the neighborhood is quiet, you can hear it. Actually, it is noise that you can feel.  What would you do? Read more »

Choosing the Right Piano Mic

October 3rd, 2017

Microphones and Acoustic Pianos

Over the years of designing AVL systems, I have had the pleasure of walking into many churches of all denominations, shapes and sizes.  It is always a treat because I get to see the wide variety of equipment used, both new and especially old.  Because digital pianos are quite good these days, I don’t get to see acoustic pianos used in services much anymore. But when I do, I get quite curious about how they position microphones to capture the sound. Read more »

Prevent a Projector Nightmare

September 12th, 2017

Prevent a Projector Nightmare. Set a maintenance schedule.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Everyone is familiar with this quote by Benjamin Franklin.  But how does it apply to your digital projector?  Every machine needs maintenance.  We either pay a little up front to maintain, or we kick the snowball down the hill and pay a lot later to repair.  Read more »

Microphones – A Small Tool with a Big Effect

July 19th, 2017

Part 1 in our new “Lost in Translation” series

Too often, the first time a microphone is heard is when a new system is being commissioned.

The end-user, for any and every AV project, is very important and their input is invaluable. From the inception, to design, during construction, and finally installation, they really do need to be involved.  However, I am not sure many end-users have the time or really want to be consulted.  They just want the job done, quickly and within budget.  And this is how many AV professionals enter the “Lost in Translation” zone with their clients.  For this next series of blogs, I want to promote clarity through the AV design process and promote best practices for end-user satisfaction. Let’s begin with microphones, a small AV tool with a big effect for the end-user. Read more »