What’s new in PA systems?

Does your school’s PA system need an overhaul on a tight budget? Jamie Cashmore and Jenny Barrett from Edwards Sound explain how it’s done…

Roscommon School is a decile one primary school in Manurewa, Auckland with just under 600 students. The school came to Edwards Sound with a very common problem: their Soundcraft PA system was giving up and they only had a limited budget available to renew their existing infrastructure.

The school management team had heard about the many benefits of audio-over-IP. They were eager to take advantage of all that an audio-over-IP system has to offer, particularly the integrated school bell and the flexible zoning capabilities e.g. paging the whole school, one syndicate or outside areas.

Edwards came up with a proposal utilising their breakthrough IP paging system but re-used as much of the existing 100v line gear as possible, keeping costs down.
Key features
SND30-PROPERTY-PA SYSTEMS-Amp & DecodersIntegration with the existing system
To make the installation more cost effective, Edwards split the existing classroom zones into four groups. The Soundcraft amplifier was replaced with a four zone amplifier to run the classroom speakers. Each input on the amplifier was connected to an IP Audio Decoder to integrate with the existing infrastructure. This meant that the existing speakers were able to receive the school bell, and paging once again.

Multiple zoning
The IP audio decoders made it possible to divide the 28 classrooms by syndicate, into four separate paging groups. By dividing the existing speakers up, Edwards was able to save a significant amount of money for the school.

No classroom left behind!
There were three classrooms that had lost their connection back to the original Soundcraft amplifier.  Edwards suggested using IP Speakers. These speakers simply connect to the new system over the LAN (local area network) meaning that there was no expensive audio cabling required.

Outdoor integration
Roscommon had another problem with their paging system – their outdoor horns kept getting stolen. Edwards replaced the horns and used IP audio decoders utilising the built-in 8W amplifier to power the speakers. The outdoor zones can now be paged individually.

Ease of use
An IP microphone now sits at reception for paging classrooms and zones, making school wide announcements and triggering pre-recorded content such as emergency announcements. The 12 buttons on the microphone can be programmed to either page to a group of classrooms or play a pre-recorded message making it easy to customize should Roscommon want to add or remove content at a later stage.

Not just paging
Audio over IP has far more uses than just classroom paging. Using the network to send audio is just a futuristic way of doing just that – sending audio signal. However, of course, there are benefits of new technology! Here are a few examples of what is possible with audio over IP.

School radio
The days of vinyl are over! With audio over IP, school children can now be DJ’s! All they need is a computer on the school network and an IP audio system. After the children choose a playlist of songs, schedule the radio station to play over morning tea and lunch time!

Daily reminders
Record some daily reminders that the school receptionist would usually have to do live – reminders of after school activities, lunch orders, or wet lunch time announcements. Programme these into a scheduler or a button on a IP microphone

Classroom sound

Connect a microphone to a local PC in a classroom so the teacher can use their IP speaker to talk to the class.

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