Speaking of Conferences

I attended a conference, in what is suppose to be a purpose built meeting/ small conference room. It looked reasonably nice. That is until I noticed that the speakers were mounted to the wall, but the stage with the talent on was in front of the speakers. The room was an odd shape and this had not been taken into account by the company that had installed the audio system. One speaker pointed into the body of the room, while the other speaker pointed at a near by wall that was in front of it. This speaker had not been positioned to avoid this wall. So the audio from this unit was bouncing of this wall back to the microphones and stage. A form of foldback maybe? Now this system must have been intended to be used in this manner, as it was eq’ed to death to catch frequencies that might cause offence in the feedback realm. You certainly could hear the effect, rather hard to understand what was being said by some of the speakers. Also rather difficult to hear at the back of the room and it was not a very big room. Turning the volume up of course made matters worse.

During the event there were some problems such as volume etc which one of the general staff tried to fix. Now this staff member had no real training in audio. They were just shown how to turn on the gear and make it louder of softer. Now since the event was a government sponsored event and a minister of that government was attending you would think that they would take a bit more care about what was happening audio wise and make sure that everybody could hear, or get a industry professional in. The worst thing that did happen was once of the radio mics failed part way through the proceedings, flat battery it turned out to be. But that was really bad form for a professional venue, surely you put new batteries in just before the event and good one at that.

Now a lot of the problems with this functions room were the result of an ill thought design. The installer had not taken into consideration the room shape or size. Surely part of the design brief would have the intended use and configuration. From this info the installer could work out the best possible solution for the venue. Instead they mounted the speakers to the wall equal distance from the perceived stage area. No consideration was taken into account of the microphones being placed in front of the speakers and being operated by non- skilled staff. This system seemed to be built down to a price. Speakers on stands or even properly installed ceiling speakers would have been a better solution.

So if you are going to present yourself as a pro venue you need to act like one and to have the best possible gear and it correctly set up.

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