Behind the Curtain of Wireless Speakers


Wireless Home Theater Speaker Requirements
Behind-the-Curtain

In a traditional wired speaker setup, both the soundtrack impulses and the power needed to make the loudspeaker work are passed through speaker wire connections from an amplifier.

 
However, in a wireless speaker setup, a transmitter is typically required to transmit the needed audio signals, and a receiver needs to be used to receive the wirelessly transmitted audio signals.
In this type of setup, the transmitter will need to be physically connected to preamp outputs on a receiver, or, in the case where you have a packaged home theater system that incorporates a built-in or plug-in wireless transmitter. This transmitter then sends the music/movie soundtrack information to a speaker or secondary amplifier that has a built-in wireless receiver.
However, another connection is needed to complete the process—power. Since power cannot be transmitted wirelessly, in order to produce the audio signal that is wirelessly transmitted so you can actually hear it, the speaker needs additional power in order to work.
What this means that the speaker still has to be physically attached to a power source and an amplifier. The amplifier may be built right into the speaker housing or, in some cases, the speakers are physically attached with speaker wire to an external amplifier that is powered by batteries or plugged into the house AC power source. Obviously, the battery option severely limits the ability of a wireless speaker to output adequate power over a long period of time.
When Wireless Is Not Really Wireless
One way that so-called wireless speakers are applied in some Home-Theater-in-a-Box Systems that tout wireless surround speakers is they simply have a separate amplifier module for the surround speakers.
In other words, the main receiver unit has a built-in amplifier that physically connects to the left, center, and right front speakers, but has a transmitter that sends the surround sound signals to another amplifier module that is placed in the back of the room. The surround speakers are then connected by wire to the second amplifier module in the back of the room. In other words, you have not eliminated any wires, you have just relocated where they go. Of course, the second amplifier still needs to be connected to an AC power outlet, so you have actually added that.
So, in a wireless speaker setup, you may have eliminated the long wires that typically go from the signal source, such as a stereo or home theater receiver, but you still need to connect the so-called wireless speaker to its own power source, and, in most cases, a secondary amplifier module, in order for it to actually produce sound.
This can also limit speaker placement as the distance from an available AC power outlet then becomes a major concern. You may still need a rather long AC power cord if a convenient AC outlet is not nearby.

 

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Trust–Don’t let it cost you.


Puma_Thinkstock_HomeRemember that big home project you were doing that turned out to be a disaster? Remember, the always faithful and trust worthy, “trusted advisor”? Was it the friend…mom…dad…or maybe the neighbor? It’s OK we’ve all done it and experienced the result.  If you don’t know much about cars, you ask a friend who does know a lot what his opinion is after you hear from the mechanic. It’s smart to get second opinions from people you trust, and it happens to us all of the time.

Miscommunication between you and the contractor can spell disaster for your home AV project. It usually surfaces late in the project where the client gets an idea or input from their “trusted advisor” and then presents it to the contractor. While a client may ask for a second opinion from a trusted advisor, SpaceCoast AV knows the products and processes better than anyone else and so, we assert and leverage our knowledge and expertise on your behalf.

A few great examples might look something like this:

You might insist on using some Amazon deal speaker your brother-in-law insists in the best thing since sliced bread, but when paired with the amp you’ve carefully selected and calibrated, it sounds like crap (maybe because it’s a crap speaker or maybe because it doesn’t pair well with the rest of the equipment). or you could purchase your own AVR, but it doesn’t play well with the HDBaseT extender you plan to use and a reliable signal becomes an issue. Maybe the neighbor has a Harmony remote and is ridiculing you for spending thousands on a universal remote, so now you’re insisting on a Harmony, with all of the risks of reliability and lack of discrete control that entails. Or the client is adamant about using an Apple Airport Extreme as their router. There goes the managed network and  remote access to troubleshoot. In the short term any of these things could save you a lot of money, but in the long run, it will cost you in service calls that didn’t need to happen.

SpaceCoast AV has been a trusted, knowledgeable and professional Audio Visual for residents, businesses and houses of worship in Brevard since 2008. When it comes to your money and time, turn to the AV integration company who knows the products and processes better than anyone else and leverage our knowledge and expertise for your next AV project.

Tips for Setting up Church, Classroom and Ministry Room Projectors, Part 4 of 4


Other Key Considerations

From 4K/Ultra High Definition (UHD), which is four times the projectortable380resolution of full HD, to XGA, there are quite a few resolutions to choose from.  A key consideration is how much HD video content you plan to show.

Remote management is helpful in a classroom environment, especially if there are several classrooms. With remote management, lamp-based projectors can be powered off using a program timer built into the control software in order to conserve bulb life.

Video picture quality varies a lot depending on make and model of the projector.  That is because scalar chips and video processors in the projectors are not created equally.  This is important because audience expectations are getting higher due to the amount of HD content available.

Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Don’t try to get by with a “floating” projector that goes from room to room
  2. Don’t plan on turning out the lights. Dimly lit rooms, at times, reduce the audience’s attention.  The brightness of the projector needs to be high enough to overcome lighting
  3. Don’t worry about LCD versus DLP vs. laser phosphor vs. LED light engines – they all perform well
  4. Do assess whatever multimedia sources and computer sources your presenters will want to connect to the projectors, and map that to available connectors before buying a specific projector model
  5. Do talk to presenters about how they can integrate more multimedia to get them thinking about improving classroom techniques
  6. Do look for models with “eco-mode” that will conserve power and bulb life for lamp-based projectors
  7. Do select projectors that have the compatibility with newer video signal protocols and higher brightness to suit your evolving needs over time
  8. Do examine your mounting challenges prior to buying mounts and projectors
  9. Go with a good brand name – it will generally equate to longer product life and better product reliability
  10. Do ask an expert for advice about your unique circumstances

A Better Facility

Projectors have a big impact on the image your organization sends.  You want to make presentations a memorable experience for parishioners, guests and administrators.  There are many different options out there for hardware, and up-front planning is the best way to ensure you are happy with your selection.  If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to a noticeably better facility.

TIPS FOR SETTING UP YOUR PROJECTORS, PART 3


If you are running cables to the projector, you’ll need to consider the optimal location for the cable connectors to be available to users.  For example, the DVD player might be mounted in a cabinet and the cables will need to terminate there, but the instructor may need to connect a laptop from the front center of the room.  You might elect to run the cables inside the wall to a simple and neat wall-plate, or you could run a small electric raceway channel down the wall if you need a quicker solution (although that is probably less aesthetically pleasing).  Another alternative is a combination of wired devices and wireless access for presenters.projectortable380

Once you have planned for traditional analog/digital input connections from PCs, players, and other local multimedia devices, the next thing to consider is network connectivity for accessing network content and performing remote administration of the projector.

Not all projectors will be connected to the network, but there are some good reasons to do so.  If the projector is tied to a network, presentation files on a server or from a computer can be accessed in some cases through the projectors’ built-in access point. From an asset management standpoint, projectors can be remotely monitored and managed by an administrator in order to turn them on/off to extend the lamp life.

Often, in church facilities there is minimal existing network infrastructure, and running cable isn’t an attractive option.  In these instances, wireless projectors can have a lot of merit and can speed up the installation if your building is set up for Wi-Fi.  One final connection you will want to determine is the location of the power source for the projector.  Ideally, power can be tapped from electric boxes on the ceiling.

Brightness

Most people believe brightness specifications in the 2,000-5,000 lumen range are suitable for these types of room applications. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes these room environments will require more than 5,000 lumens of brightness to compensate for certain aspects of the space. For example, with larger screens, brighter ambient lighting, and longer throw distances, a brightness-range of 8,000 to 10,000 lumens and higher should be considered when selecting a projector.

Solid State Light Sources

Laser phosphor projectors, which use solid state light sources in lieu of lamps, are giving houses of worship new technology options for brightness and longevity. Their low-maintenance design makes them perfectly suited to classrooms, sanctuaries and boardrooms alike.  Lasers have a lifespan of about 20,000 hours – up to 10 times as long as traditional installation projectors using lamps. That means the laser projector in most applications will last well beyond 6 years (depends on the usage model), compared to projection lamps that may need to be replaced within 1-2 years.  That longevity adds up to big savings for budget-conscious environments. It also saves the time and manpower typically associated with projector maintenance.

5 Steps for Organized AV Wiring


 

When it comes to AV wiring, the old axiom “out of sight, out of mind” wireapplies. We tend to forget about what we don’t wiresee. Take the “infrastructure” of your entertainment system.

 

When was the last time you thought twice about the cables that run between your TV, DVD/Blu-ray player, AV receiver, cable/satellite box, and whatever other components you may have? For most of us, it’s the last thing we think about – as long as everything is working properly. But the minute there’s a problem, all those wires suddenly take on a life of their own.

When faced with a glitch that requires you (or a professional) to check, replace, or upgrade a component and/or the cables connected to it, the last thing you want to see when you get on your knees and peer into the bowels of your AV cabinet, or crawl behind your AV rack, is a rat’s nest of tangled wires. Yet, for most of us, that’s exactly what we find – and it’s enough to make you scream.

Get Organized
Pros take a number of steps to avoid the panic that cable chaos can cause, starting with organization.

1. Choose the right AV furniture (and location).
When setting up (or overhauling) an entertainment system, the first step is to choose an AV cabinet or rack that makes it easy to access the “business end” of your gear as well as a location that lends itself to accessibility; if you can’t position the cabinet or rack so there’s some room behind it, you at least want to be able to pull it away from the wall without too much trouble.

It’s also worth looking for AV furniture that offers built-in cable management; things like cutouts and channels for cabling and built-in power strips can come in handy. And while you’re at it, choose a cabinet or rack that takes ventilation into account (not all do). Bottom line: You want to be able to get behind your gear without becoming a contortionist.

2. Create a plan.
Take the time to map out the best position for your components and, more important, where the cables protruding from them will go. For example, it doesn’t make sense to put your primary disc player on a bottom shelf. Put it where it’s easy to get to! Next, take the time to neatly arrange all cables and use stickers (or tape) to label where each one goes.

3. Keep cables tidy.
In addition to avoiding tangles (a.k.a. “black spaghetti”) use tie wraps or wire clamps to bundle cables (not too tight).
Each of these steps requires a little foresight and patience but the payoff will be huge when it’s time for a system upgrade or maintenance.

Cable Type and Integrity
Looking beyond the physical location of your component stack, here are a few other things to keep in mind.

4. Integrity of wire runs.
Snaking wires haphazardly through walls, ceilings and crawl spaces can lead to frayed cables, which can degrade or, worse yet, cut off signal transmission. A professional installer will make sure that holes drilled in joists and studs are not only large enough to accommodate the cable(s) passing through, but also smooth. Pulling wire through ragged holes can damage a cable’s protective outer jacket or the insulation that separates the conductors within.

5. Quality and type of wire.
It’s important to select the cables and connectors that are best suited for the task at hand. This means using cables that are sufficiently flexible and rugged, especially if they run through crawl spaces or exposed/semi-exposed areas; poor cable construction can lead to wear and tear that hinders signal transmission.

It also means using cables that have the appropriate insulation and electrical characteristics for the intended application. For example, for long speaker runs – say, from one side of a large room to the other – it’s important to use wire that’s thick enough to ensure signal integrity. Using too thin of a cable – the higher the “gauge,” the thinner the wire – can degrade the quality (and volume) of the sound; professional installers consider a variety of factors, including component type, speaker impedance, and more.

To learn more about the ins and outs of audio/video installation, consult a SpaceCoast AV professional. Click here to contact SpaceCoast AV for a in home consult at no charge.