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Old January 4th, 2010, 04:39 PM   #1
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Audio Solutions for Showing Movie at Receptions

When we show a SDE/Engagment trailer at receptions we bring:

1. HD Projector
2. Projector Screen
3. Laptop
4. Assortment of audio cables
5. Assortment of video cables

The problem we are running into is when we use 3.5mm to RCA input through the DJ/PA system. Audio seems to be very low. When turned up on the laptop, it clips or peaks out causing all sorts of hmms, hisses, cracks and distortion. We've tried turning the volume down on the laptop and turning up the main on the DJ/PA system, but you can barely hear anything with so many people talking over it. No matter what combination we've tried, we don't get clean audio plugging into systems that accepts only RCA plugs. XLR, 1/8", 1/4" inputs seem to work just fine.

Anyone else running into this problem? What solutions are others using?

One possible solution was to bring your own portable PA system. But then we run the risk of blowing out circuits if we use speakers that require a lot of power. Plus, that's added equipment that needs to be lugged around. Are there any systems that are recommended?

Any help/advice/comments/complaints/rants are welcomed. :)

Thanks.

antz
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Old January 4th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #2
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when having to use the DJ or House your getting into dependancy issues. and interfacing with a simple line level output should be quite simple for a DJ, but would vary hugely depending on the DJ , what if you run into one who wouldnt even allow it?
Something is going funkey, because the DJs (depending) are feeding in many regular line levels and making water jump out of glasses with thier output.
any line-out should be about the same, depending on how you set the software, and any pre-mix stuff that the audio device uses correctally.

a simple line level mixer could increase the levels, then a mixer with line and XLR output could interface with different options easier. With a line level mixer you could also see what your levels are, and mabey adjust any software items that are Pre-mixing Post-Mixing or sub-volume controlling, without peaking the digital signals anywhere and getting distortion.

a good simple stereo, with some good long throw hearty box metal speakers is what we use. its not 1000W but the quantity of watts output is somewhat logrythmatic , so 100W cranked up with good speakers (or 4 when the venue could use it) is enough.
that kit fits into one box, sets up in minutes , and i have blown the circuits only once, because they were using 1500W electric heaters <--- not my problem, they would have blow it without me.
even IF i will interface with a house or Audio persons system, leaving the home without a backup that i have tested at home, it like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. how many times have you seen the DJs system have issues? wherin you could whip up your own tested tried and true video system and get a video intermission going on while he solves a technical issue he has.

if the DJ takes a break while Your seperated assured non-dependant audio system is being used, you will have 1500W available easily :-) IF the DJ doesnt show up, or has some unsolvable problem, Well :-) then you also save the day.

oh one more. many Digital video cameras will only use the first 50% of the total audio range available in the bits. so that can be why some stuff shot 5 minutes ago doesnt have the output you desire, changing the "Main" output wont fix that, again you would have to Pre-Amp (in software somewhere) the output of the digital audio, prior to it getting to the audio card thing in the computer.
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Last edited by Marty Welk; January 4th, 2010 at 05:24 PM.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 06:04 PM   #3
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Thanks Marty for the advice!

It does make me feel better to have a "safe" system in place just in case something goes wrong. I suppose bringing extra equipment is infinitely better than having pissed off couples. :)

If you're bringing your own PA, are you setting the speakers on the ground? Using speaker stands?

How do you solve the problem of blasting sound so that people in the back can hear without making those close to the speakers deaf?

antz
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Old January 4th, 2010, 06:24 PM   #4
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Hi Anthony,

For presentation audio I bring gear along for three different options: My self-powered speakers, tapping into the house system, and sending a signal to the band or dj. I'm usually able to leave the speakers in the van (JBL E0N) but they are there in an emergency. I also come directly out of a laptop from the 1/8" stereo headphone output with an 1/8" stereo to a RCA L/R female cable. I've had good luck with a clean signal, regardless of the volume I have it set at. Is there a chance your laptop's output is bad?

For connecting to a house system I use one of these:

Comprehensive | RCA to XLR M INTERFACE | CPS-RX | B&H Photo Video

From that a standard shielded XLR runs to a wall jack input.

To connect to the dj or band ebay has great quality heavy duty 75 foot shielded stereo RCA cables for about $25.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 07:28 PM   #5
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i dont aim speakers the "normal" way, so i dont aim them right straight back, but out from the screen.
its a bit complex, but it comes down to this, with speakers []---------[] in your usual configuarions, only the center has some "perfect" stereo. Great for your Home unit.
The people in front of right or left speaker dont get crud for stereo. if you rotate it and shoot them out away from the screen partly or fully, up the 2 walls and out from there, everybody in the area using thier little ear horns can collect 2 different signals right and left out of the air like they normally do.

then with 4 you can pump 1/2 your signal from 2 different places, say 1/2 way down.

I dont have stands for them, if i did they would be a modified mic stand, so it could be retracted and have stability, fit in small places when packed. but i have put them in many different places. on tables, hanging off of fences, on top of the van, but they are usually on the floor, hidden.
my system is like a really Small Hd camera (say) that if the customer sees it they would think it wasnt big and bad enough, so it hides down where nobody sees it, and floods the place with music. just like the tiny HD cam which can potentially take good pics when used right.
and i am not a DJ, so i dont blast anyone :-) if there is blasting to be done, or the dj wants to laugh that the people arent cringing enough, then hook it up there.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 07:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Peregrine View Post
Hi Anthony,

For presentation audio I bring gear along for three different options: My self-powered speakers, tapping into the house system, and sending a signal to the band or dj. I'm usually able to leave the speakers in the van (JBL E0N) but they are there in an emergency. I also come directly out of a laptop from the 1/8" stereo headphone output with an 1/8" stereo to a RCA L/R female cable. I've had good luck with a clean signal, regardless of the volume I have it set at. Is there a chance your laptop's output is bad?

For connecting to a house system I use one of these:

Comprehensive | RCA to XLR M INTERFACE | CPS-RX | B&H Photo Video

From that a standard shielded XLR runs to a wall jack input.

To connect to the dj or band ebay has great quality heavy duty 75 foot shielded stereo RCA cables for about $25.
I typically output from a laptop from 1/8" to RCA R/L male into DJ. I've never had problems with bands. I've seen DJs running their audio with a mixer connected via USB. They don't even utilize the 1/8" jack. Those are the mixers that have like 2 channels using only RCAs. No XLR, 1/4", 1/8" inputs at all.

I thought perhaps it was the laptop, but I've tested it several times on my own PA system with my macbook and my fiancee's macbook pro, and I've always been able to get a clean signal. I just don't have a portable PA system. :(

I'm leaning towards having to lug around a portable PA just to ensure quality clean sound.

Thanks for the input Joel. It's very much appreciated.

antz
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Old January 4th, 2010, 09:07 PM   #7
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Having a range of connectors will normally suffice. But if I NEED audio I'll bring along a small PA. Like Joel says most of the time it stays in the car, but it's cheap insurance. I have a 100W Kustom rig - very basic - 7 band EQ. You can't really pointing fingers at the venue or the DJ when you can't get the job done.
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Old January 5th, 2010, 02:36 AM   #8
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Over the years we've found that some DJ equipment sounds terrific, while others may sound terrible (too much bass, or not equalized properly). In general, house systems sound tinny. Audio is half of your presentation. If your audio sucks, the entire presentation goes down the tube.

We always bring in our own sound system for consistency. We use the Bose L1 Model 2 with 2 B1 bass modules. This system is small enough for my wife to transport (on a cart) and set up by herself. Our sound is always crystal clear and full of impact. Bass notes go way down to fundamentals. People always come up and ask us how so much sound can come out of a skinny pole.
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