In our 40+ years in the media production industry, I have been involved in the design & building of world class music recording studios, recording trucks, broadcast facilities, video and audio production systems, conference centers, commercial properties, and houses of worship. We bring our experience and expertise to every project.
Many of our projects are Design /Build, where we bring our design expertise, production experience, integration skills, training programs, and a long-term maintenance relationship to the client. Having a complete stake in a project insures that every aspect of the project is done to our high standards quality control, and that our client is happy every step of the way.
When the project scale calls for more resources, we often collaborate with similar and larger integration firms.
When it comes right down to it, the main function of a sanctuary is assembly for the purpose of worship, which requires communication between the pulpit and the congregation. If that communication is not easily intelligible at every seat in the room, then the room cannot perform its primary function. Within the arc of worship is often music, intended to sooth or stir the soul, raise the spirit, and engage emotions. When that music is marred, smeared, unbalanced, too loud, too soft, or otherwise affected by room acoustics, inadequate equipment or untrained volunteers, that worship element is not fulfilling, enjoyable, or as effective as it should be .
To work with ATS Communications is to engage in a relationship where we bring our experience and expertise to you. We advise and help guide your system upgrades, we design and install Audio & Video systems, tune the sound system for your room, we offer acoustical analysis and treatments, and we offer training programs for your volunteers or staff in the skills of live mixing and recording.
With production experience in radio, television, music recording, and live events, we offer services for many types of clientel.
Given todays technology, high performance hardware is more affordable than ever, and there are so many options to choose from. Making the right choices for your particular application depends on a thorough understand of acoustics, loudspeaker design, mixing systems, your particular needs, your particular space, and especially important for houses of worship, the people who will be tasked to operate the system.
Making high quality recordings is technically easier today than ever. a single USB or ethernet wire between the mixer and a laptop computer can now replace and entire production truck (well, almost). Of course there is more to making good quality recordings than just the technical ability. An understanding of microphones & technique and the recording process is still required, which we can help with.
We take a wholeistic systematic approach to sound system design. By SYSTEM, we mean everything between the person standing in front of a microphone to the people listening to the loudspeakers, or the hearing assist system, or the broadcast, and everything in between. Any weak link in this “signal chain” can diminish the quality and performance of the entire system and the impact of your event.
DSP AUDIO & NETWORKING
Digital Signal Processing is at the heart of every digital console. The DSP “audio engine” can be found in small and large consoles, tablet mixers, auto-mixers, loudspeaker processors, and even in the speakers themselves. DSP is what enables function such as EQ, delay, and most all other digital audio functions. Most are built for a single purpose or a specific product.
A class of “Blank-Page” processors are powerful multi-channel DSP engines that are programmed by the audio system designer to replicate, often with superior results, a mixer and several racks worth of audio and control equipment, consolidating an entire audio chain down to 1-3 rack units of hardware. When appropriate, we have replaced the need for a traditional mixing console with DSP engines in houses of worship, conference centers and executive meeting rooms with a user interface that has the familiarity of a mixing surface.
We are a factory trained and authorized Symnet programmer and installer. Symnet is Dante networkable, enabling the distribution of audio signals and hardware across a facility or campus with the ability to share bidirectional digital audio channels across the network. 24bit digital audio and high quality mic pre’s maintain excellent audio quality, while the custom programmed GUI user interface makes for for easy control from any IP network connection. Symnet has the capability to interface with other control systems, monitor for certain conditions, change presets on a time clock or calendar, and send control signals to other devices.
Broadcast centers, Performance spaces, Conference centers, Conference rooms, Worship centers, Commercial background music systems, nearly any audio system can benefit from using a DSP audio engine. They can perform as highly effective auto-mixers, loudspeaker processors, mixers, equalizers, dynamics processors, distribution processors, in-ear /monitor processors, and more.
Here is a high-level schematic screen shot of a 3 zone conference room system that was built in software using a single piece of hardware. Within each module block is either a “process” such as a mixer or equalizer, or a combination of processors linked together as a sub-system. Once the design is built, we then design a Graphical User Interface to make it easy and familiar to control.
Digital Audio networking has replaced expensive multi-channel analog copper audio cabling for facility wiring and stage snakes. The ability to send 64 or more bidirectional channels of high quality digital audio over a single Cat5 or Cat6 wire to multiple locations and devices makes for highly efficient installations, highly portable systems, and lowers the maintenance costs for input and output wall plates, snakes, monitoring stations, recording stations, loudspeakers, and between buildings on a campus.
Every audio device in every room in a facility can provide their inputs and outputs over a standard Ethernet network, with the ability to control which audio channels get routed to which devices. Studio to studio, Sanctuary to overflow room, Stage to mixers, Computer to computer, Computer to mixer, even Microphone to mixer and Mixer to loudspeaker, all residing on a low latency digital audio network of standard Ethernet switches.
We take a wholeistic systematic approach to sound system design. By SYSTEM, we mean everything between the person standing in front of a microphone to the people listening to the loudspeakers (or the hearing assist system), and everything in between. Any weak link in this “signal chain” can diminish the quality and performance of the entire system. Often the weakest link is the loudspeaker system as it is coupled to the room - Yes, the room and loudspeakers are an inseparable pair when we talk about the “sound system”. Most professional loudspeakers sold today will perform perfectly in a well designed room. However the same speaker will perform differently in different rooms due to the room acoustics. In a room with poor acoustics, a loudspeaker can sound shrill, or dull, boomy or thin, or can be very prone to feedback.
There are many different loudspeaker designs. Multi-cellular line arrays, steerable column arrays, horn-loaded point-source, and many more. Choosing the most appropriate for a given room, and finding the optimum placement within a room can optimize their performance and minimize the need for expensive acoustical treatments.
For new construction or renovation projects, it is so much less expensive to design a room with proper acoustics than to have to correct the acoustics later.
Buying new wireless equipment today is extremely risky given the changing landscape of allowable frequencies. several years ago the FCC banned wireless microphone use from the then popular 700MHz band. The current spectrum auction has eliminated the now-popular 600 MHz band. The result is that many more transmitters will have to operate within a smaller spectrum space which makes the selection of the wireless products and their frequency coordination critical. We can provide a spectrum survey of your facility to determine what frequencies are already in use by others near by, and we can determine what frequency bands offer the best opportunity for interference-free performance at your location.
We carry a large variety of wireless mics and monitors in a number of frequency bands and prices for any application from church to broadcast to theater.
Curiously, houses of worship are exempt from the U.S. ADA law that requires a hearing assistance system in every room where communications via a sound system is important. Given that, it is not surprising that as a category, houses of worship have the highest compliance rate. However all rooms with sound systems, and all events should offer their attendees the assistance they need to make the most of attending.
There are currently three technologies available for hearing assistance - Radio(RF), Infra-Red (IR), and induction Loops. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, or advantages and disadvantages.
Radio- RF is the least expensive and easiest to deploy. A transmitter with an antenna can be placed nearly anywhere in or very near the intended room, and attendees are given a belt-pack receiver with a choice of headphones or a neck loop (see induction loops). Alternatively, the receiver and headphones can be combined in a stethescope-like product.
RF’s advantage is often its lower cost, ease of deployment, and taht the signal can often be extended to nearby rooms (ie: rest rooms).
Infra-Red- In an IR system a light emitter is mounted high near the front of the room, and attendees are given a receiver with a light receiver. Much like a television remote control, IR requires direct line of sight between emitter and receiver to work. Often, the receiver and headphones are combined in a stethescope-like product, which places the light receiver just under the chin.
IR’s advantage is its inherent security, The signal cannot be pickup up outside the room.
Induction Loop - In an IL system, wires placed in the floor radiate a magnetic field throughout the audience area that can be picked up directly by most modern hearing aides, minimizing the need for the venue to maintain and issue receivers and headphones. A reduced number of receivers should be available to those who do not have hearing aides.
See our pages on Induction Loops for more information.
We offer all three technologies for hearing assistance systems, with particular expertise and certifications in induction loop technology.