Tech Talk: How Audio Speakers Affect the Look of Your Room
Q: Why are the audio speakers always ruining the look of my room? And my audio guy says there’s nothing he can do about it — is that true?by Warren K. Kong | Published in September 2008 event design | tech talk | technology | Departments
Q: Why are the audio speakers always ruining the look of my room? And my audio guy says there’s nothing he can do about it — is that true?
A: Audio speakers are one of those necessary evils for an event. They need to be in a good position to have proper coverage over your guests, but that means they will always be in the way. While your audio engineer may not be able to do anything about it on-site, with proper planning and foresight, you can incorporate the audio speakers (or any unsightly A/V) into the overall look of your event.
The easiest and best solution would be to hang (rig) the audio speakers in the air. This does take some preplanning with your audio vendor, and while this is the preferred method, there are few other considerations to take into account. When rigging equipment in the air, you must notify the venue that you will be doing so. In most cases, they will require that a rigging company become involved, typically a rigging company of their choice. Hanging the speakers in the air puts them at a much better angle to the audience, and the speakers can usually reside high enough not to affect the décor.
Another elegant solution, and my favorite, is to hide or screen the speakers in view of all the guests. By designing scenic elements that can house or disguise the audio speakers, you can create beautiful elements that will be more of a focal point to your event rather than an eyesore.
For example, one small conference I worked on (right) had a picture frame theme. You may not see the many technical elements that are built into the scenic, but there are plenty. The two beautiful paintings on either side of the stage are in reality a screen material that All Staging Unlimited (ASU) of Orlando, Fla., painted. Behind the screen hide the audio speakers. In addition to the audio screens, ASU created picture frames for the two LCD monitors that provided content for the event and a rollup screen in the center with projected video that was used to hide the band. Of course, if you choose this type of option, have your scenic vendor check with your audio vendor to ensure that the type of materials that are being used will not affect the quality of sound for your event.
With any solution you choose, it’s always prudent to involve your vendors and their designers prior to your event. While your audio guy on-site can’t do anything about the ugly speakers, with proper planning and good lead time, you can.
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