System Design

Soundscape, with particular expertise in audio and acoustics, offers a technical audio and video system design service for new build and refurbishment projects. For projects where a simple approach to video and projection is required, all the design process can be done in-house. However for larger projects, Soundscape works with several independent video consultants who are not tied to manufacturers or sales companies and who will bring a their expertise to complete a high quality AV system design. Where lighting designs are to be included in a project (i.e. AVL), all of that work will be outsourced to consultant designer colleagues who have knowledge of the electrical regulations and requirements in that area, as well as the necessary design skills to offer a high quality lighting system.

Technical system design is now an integral part of many
client’s expectations and yet it can fall well short of what is required to actually achieve the necessary results. Better results for a successful AVL system can be obtained if the designs are implemented during the architectural design process, rather than after the structure of the building is completed. Occasionally a system design request can even arise after electrical contractors have, to the best of their knowledge, installed cable types which will not fulfil the specifications of a successful AVL system and do not start or end in the correct locations. All of these simple errors cost time and use up limited resources and budget. The end result can be a building or room with a poor quality AVL system, which cost large amounts of time and money, where unattractive construction alterations may have been made to accommodate technical equipment that could easily have been designed into the room.

In particular, audio is regularly allocated insufficient time and budget to be successfully deployed and is sadly seen as the poor cousin to video and lighting. The fact that most rooms or buildings with a technical system will be used for the conveyance of information using audio e.g. lectures, theatre, music, seems to elude budget and resource planning. Flashing lights and moving images are extremely attractive and should be well implemented to work to their optimum levels - they are very important to grab and hold peoples’ attention - but they do not help audio factors like audience coverage or speech intelligibility in any way.

Audio is often said to be a “black art,” but it is a very technical subject, involving maths and physics combined with artistic expression and thoughtful design, to achieve a result which when good, is usually ignored but when bad can be catastrophic from a business perspective. Without annoying too many colleagues in the video world, after some technical consideration and calculations have been taken into account and once an image is on a suitable screen in front of an audience, that’s the intended result. It does not matter if there is an audience or not, if the seats are upholstered or not, if the room has curtains, if the image is of a single person or of a rock concert or if the the video is in mono, stereo or surround sound.

An audio system’s design is only just beginning once the method of signal input, output and transportation has been decided upon. The type and number of speakers, amplifier output and headroom, room acoustics, speaker dispersion pattern and how they interact with each other in an acoustic space all have to be calculated into account. A system which is capable of good speech reproduction may not be able to reproduce full range music well enough for a client’s intended function and a stereo system will never output surround sound regardless of how it is installed.

Soundscape is not an equipment supply/sales company and is completely independent of ties with manufacturers. In exceptional circumstances, equipment can be supplied to a project through trade contacts but it is not recommended due to lack of after-sales resources. A list of reliable equipment suppliers and installers can be supplied if necessary. There are no hidden agendas of sales targets or profit margins which may otherwise affect the equipment specified in a technical design. Any equipment specified within a design will be what is required to achieve the desired performance and budget targets as agreed with the client and stakeholders in the project.


Section Drawing with speaker placement

Audio System Overview Schematic

Audio Matrix - Overview