AV Technology Service
The planning of AV systems has become an increasingly large part of our work. We have extensive experience of planning, computer simulation and measurement in the field of electroacoustics. We plan AV, sound reinforcement, public address and recording systems for opera houses, concert halls, theatres, lecture halls, churches, studios, etc.
Akustikon has wide experience of planning AV systems. We specialise in electroacoustics. In recent years, we have also planned a large number of complete AV systems with audio, video, lighting and control functions. We also have solid experience of electroacoustical measurement and inspection of AV systems.
When planning AV systems, there are many technical requirements that must be met. We perform aesthetic and technical integration of the latest innovations in sound, video and control techniques. On larger projects, we sometimes also collaborate with lighting and stage technology consultants. Simple user function is vital for good end results, and we place strong emphasis on designing user-adapted interfaces. We can design easy-to-understand documentation for decision-making and cost calculations for the users before detailed technical specification and basis for quotation are issued. Other important elements of the technical description are requirements regarding system documentation and user training.
In many of our major projects, we have also been in charge of planning the room acoustics. The interaction between the loudspeakers and the room is vital to the final acoustic result.
Besides conventional systems, we also have expertise in several advanced electronic directivity systems, reflector systems and reverberation systems, such as Outboard electronics TiMax, Duran Audio DDC (Digital Directivity Control), ACS DSE (Direct Sound Enhancement), LCS SpaceMap, LCS VRAS, LARES, ACS, Carmen and SIAP.
For loudspeaker calculation, we use two software programmes for acoustical measurement: CATT and RAYCALC. Both programmes create a 3D model of the space, and the directivity of the loudspeakers is fed in. It is possible to use several loudspeakers with various delay times. With CATT, it is also possible to simulate clusters with in-phase addition of the loudspeakers used. In such cases, interference between the loudspeakers is taken into account. We have used both programmes in numerous projects, both for loudspeaker calculation and room acoustical calculation. We have been using RAYCALC, a programme developed by us, for over 15 years.
To our knowledge, we are the only company to have extensively published comparisons between predicted and measured values. At the 1995 International Congress on Acoustics (ICA) in Trondheim, Norway, we presented over 67 comparisons (positions) in 8 different halls. We have also participated in an independent Round Robin test prepared by Professor Forländer at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Braunschweig, Germany. The results showed a high level of agreement between predicted values derived with RAYCALC and actual measured values.
Both programmes are able to calculate all significant acoustic parameters. We also use CATT for auralisation (cf. visualisation), i.e. listening to the calculated results. Auralisation is a useful complement, since the existing criteria are fairly approximate. We have used auralisation in many projects in recent years, and are familiar with its possibilities and limitations.
At Akustikon, we are well aware that technical requirements are not enough to describe the acoustic quality of a room. For this reason, we also perform listening tests. Through our research, we have gained experience in the planning and analysis of subjective tests. In several of our projects, we have planned and performed controlled test listening of loudspeaker systems, for clients including the Gothenburg Opera (GöteborgsOperan), the Old Music Academy (Gamla Musikaliska Akademien) (Nybrokajen 11, Stockholm), and Växjö Concert Hall (Växjö Konserthus).
Video and control engineering
We favour goal-directed planning. In other words, we develop the technical solutions that are really necessary to produce the required AV functions. This working philosophy makes it easier to rank and prioritise the functions and the equipment used for them.
With regard to video solutions, we use the latest technology for front projection, back projection or plasma panels. The high light intensity of today's projectors makes front projection an attractive solution, while plasma panels (currently sizes of up to approx. 60') can be used to achieve maximum contrast and insensitivity to room lighting. We adapt the positioning of screens and data/ OH projectors to the relevant visibility and image size requirements. These factors often influence the layout of the room, the presentation wall and the audience seating. For this reason, early involvement in the planning is vital in order to achieve optimum results.
In many cases, practical tests known as 'shoot-outs', using several alternative projectors, can help the user determine which projector properties are vital in determining the quality of the image. The same method can be used for choosing electronic document cameras, the best of which can sometimes be used in place of traditional OH projectors. User handling and picture quality are vital factors in this evaluation process.
The latest technique using pressure-sensitive plasma panels offers the user new interactive options. The user can use the screen as a simple whiteboard or superimpose written text on the computer image. The final result is saved as a file that can easily be printed. The screen can also be used as a touchscreen for controlling the equipment in the room.
We normally use a multi-functional control system, whereby several functions can be controlled simultaneously. The user controls the system by means of a touchscreen with a menu system, or, in easier systems, through standard pushbuttons. Shows and theatrical performances require a control system with time- as well as event-based control functions (a show control system). In our planning, we can create simulations of the touchscreen's function and layout so that the user can try working the system early on in the project. This allows the user to practice using the system and assess its manageability.
Adjustment, measurement and inspection
We have wide experience of the adjustment and measurement of sound systems. We use sound level meters, real time analysers and the MLSSA and WinMLS measurement systems. We have also participated in a joint Nordic project, producing the new proposal, 'Measurement methods for testing and quality control of electro-acoustical systems' for NORDTEST, and has presented articles for conferences on room acoustical measurement technique.
We have inspected sound and AV systems for numerous projects. We have also been engaged to solve various problems. This has given us valuable user feedback, as well as experience of common practical problems and how to solve them.