- Matt Hall
3 Important AV Auditorium Equipment Tips & Ideas for Schools
Auditoriums in schools rarely serve one purpose. Most often, they’re multi-purpose spaces used as a gymnasium, a cafeteria, and a performing arts stage. The auditorium equipment purchased for such a space might serve a theatre group putting on a performance, as well as teachers and students at a pep rally or graduation ceremony.
Because of its multi-purpose nature, auditorium audio video (AV) equipment must meet a variety of needs. In this article, we’ll walk through three important tips for building an audio video system for auditorium use and make some AV equipment recommendations.
Auditorium equipment and design tips for high quality AV
1. Prioritize acoustic treatments over pricey auditorium AV equipment.
The hardest part about designing an audio system for auditorium use is ensuring sound travels evenly without echoing.
Auditoriums are often built to serve as a gymnasium with concrete walls and linoleum flooring, which reflect sound. These reflections might cause some people in the room to hear an echo or project sound at a much louder volume than is comfortable for listeners.
Even in these types of rooms, you can adjust the acoustics using floor coverings and wall panels that help reduce sound reflections. We recommend wall panels from Perdue Acoustics to improve your auditorium audio, as shown below:
Typically, people who want to upgrade their auditorium audio system design start by looking for electronics, but acoustics are really where to begin. Without the right acoustics, even the highest-quality equipment won’t produce high-quality sound in a reflective room.
For recommendations on how to improve your auditorium’s acoustics, reach out to Aspen’s certified and experienced AV professionals for a consultation today.
2. Purchase array speakers to distribute sound evenly throughout a large room.
Professional theatres are typically designed in the shape of a “U” or a “V” because these shapes are the most effective for moving sound evenly throughout a room.
When you’re building an auditorium sound system in a room without that shape, you need speakers that point in a variety of different directions at once.
Traditionally, you might have seen speakers set up at the front of a room, pointed in such a way that the sound travels from the front to the back, like these speakers from JBL Pro:
The problem with this type of sound system for school auditoriums is that people sitting directly in front of the speakers hear sound at a much higher volume than those in the back of the room.
We recommend array speakers for an auditorium sound system setup that covers a room evenly. Array speakers are a collection of many smaller speakers positioned behind a panel in an arch shape so they can be aimed in different directions throughout the room. This allows you to cover a large room at the same volume level, regardless of whether people sit at the front or the back.
Here’s an example of a curved array speaker from JBL Pro:
3. Choose a versatile microphone that won’t break the budget.
Another critical component to a full set of auditorium audio video equipment is a microphone. The two types of microphones we recommend most highly are from Sennheiser and Shure.
Sennheiser microphones have a reputation for producing high-quality sound and are often trusted by theatre and performing arts professionals.
These microphones often include waterproof body packs so they aren’t damaged if performers sweat and are considered the gold standard for sound quality. If you’re in need of multiple simultaneous speakers, then you may look to Shure’s ULX-D product line.
A more complex microphone we recommend to complement the rest of your auditorium AV equipment is the Shure ULXD microphone:
These microphones are wildly popular, as they operate in a digital frequency, which increasingly reduces the likelihood of interference or dropped signal. Ensure high-end speech intelligibility and reliability with these microphones. Shure has made a name for developing strong microphones that work well in an auditorium space where a variety of different events will rely on the technology.
Prioritize sound quality to deliver a great experience to your audience in any auditorium setting.
The most challenging part of designing an auditorium space is achieving great sound quality in a large room built with highly reflective materials. It can be easy to get caught up in the equipment when it comes to achieving good sound quality, but acoustics are just as, if not more, important.
For a consultation on how to outfit your auditorium space with high-quality AV equipment that will produce a great experience for your audience no matter the event type, contact the certified professionals at Aspen Custom Electronics.