B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 5 days ago

Designing quality speakers with Harman International & how they adapt to different environments

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Loudspeakers are a critical aspect of in-person event success that you rarely see. A well-placed speaker is one you don’t think about. 

JBL Pro makes it a priority to work with the architecture of a space in a way that ensures top-quality sound. 

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Rick Hamlet , Senior Manager of Product Management at Harman International , about: 

- Different loudspeakers for different spaces

- What to consider when placing a loudspeaker

- Innovation and working with architectural trends 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify , Apple Podcasts , or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website .

You are listening to be tob tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram micros imagine next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next DOT Ingram microcom to find out war. Let's get into it. Welcome to be to be tech talk with Ingram micro. I've your host. She'll be Skarhawk, I guess. Today is Rick Hamblet seen, a manager of product management at Harmon Rick, welcome, thanks for having me well. So today we are talking about commercial speakers and installed audio with jbl pro and so I know that commercial speakers can be a very broad topic. So, Rick, can you kind of give us an overview of the different categories of commercial loudspeakers or we're talking about? I understand that there are six. Yeah, we tend to divide our commercial outspeakers into six main categories. There's in ceiling on wall, which are also called surface amount speakers, in wall columns, which are the long narrow column speakers, pendants which hang down from the ceiling, and then a variety of landscape models. There are some specialty in want models that don't exactly fit into these six categories, but these are the six main ones, and so when we look at at the locations of those, I guess I'll say that, you know, there's kind of two audiences I see here. You know, one is the the it or the Av you know, a V professional who is responsible for the sounds at any given business event or setting. And there's also the bystander that maybe this is the executive, the laymen who maybe has taken sound for granted. It's just it's been there, it's been great, and so you haven't really noticed and put a lot of thought into,...

...you know, what those needs are. So let's start with the ladder. What are the primary considerations for installing commercial loudspeakers? I mean, where do you start? Well, you start with the general objectives, and I think of the general overall objectives as accomplishing whatever sound quality and character that's right for what's happening in the space. So for applications that include music, you want the music to be pleasant and clear, and for applications with voice, the voice needs to be highly intelligible, in other words understandable there's some technical principles that one then needs to follow, but pleasantness and intelligibility are the overall objectives. Now, taking this one step further, there many factors than to consider about how you accomplish that. You want to think about what sort of activities happening in the space and therefore how loud it needs to get at, how much base is going to be required, what form factor of speakers going to work best with the geometry of the space, how high the ceiling is and whether it seems suspended grid, a hard, hardcap ceiling or an open structure? What's going to fit into the decore, what the budget is for the project, where there are places for installing the speakers themselves, and things like whether the facility needs to meet certain safety regulations or fire regulations. So we make available various application tools that can be help with the designing of the system and help it work well. For example, for ceiling speaker systems, we make available for free a program called distributed system design that helps the designer figure out which speakers will get to the sound level that's needed, how far to space them apart if they need loudspeakers for additional base, and which loudspeaker fits...

...with the speakers they've chosen to pair with and how many to use, things like that. So our speakers and loudspeakers are those not so anonymous terms. They are. We sometimes try to stick with the term loudspeaker because speaker could be taken to mean the person who's talking like an in in a presentation space. That makes sense. And so pardon if I'm kind of getting a little bit into the the technical aspect. And that's the thing is that you know our audience. For the most part, you are ingram micro partners and resellers, but also and users, and I think this is something that people are interested in. They don't know a lot about and while you don't have to be a technical expert in all of this, because there is helped to, you know, to get all of these things assessed and taking care of, I do kind of want to just go over some of those basics. So so we're all a little bit smarter about about loudspeaker and sound design. So you said that the looking at and these are just, you know, terms that I'm just curious about. You said when it's music, it should be pleasant, when it's voice is should be intelligible. Pleasant. Is that a just an adjective or is this an actual noun to describe something? There are many things I think go into the idea of music being pleasant. It's a term that I use because it encompasses, you know, many aspects you know of the musical sound character. Okay, and then when you said you're looking at the geometry of the room. So how does a square or rectangular room differ than a room that is abnormally shaped or regularly shaped? I guess right, right. Well, the main things that I think are good to look at are how deep the room is and how wide the room is. So, for example, a room that's especially deep maybe especially challenging to get sound into the place where the far listeners are located. One that is wide and...

...not very deep than you know, there are different challenges that that one looks at. If it's a high ceiling, it may be difficult to use ceiling speakers at a above a certain height because the sound has to travel quite a distance from that high ceiling. That's one of the reasons why they're pendant speakers, for example, in today's open architecture, ceilings to space the sound closer to the listeners and make it again more pleasant from music and more intelligible for speech. So those kinds of architectural or geometric features, yeah, well, and that makes sense then being able to you need that ceiling mount but, you know, having the actual source of the sound of you know, too high. It's got to travel further. Does again I feel like I'm kind of going back to the basics here, but do sound differ? Does it change as the further that it travels? It does, it does. It's clear when it's fairly immediate. As it travels, there's air absorption that absorbs some of the high frequencies and so on. With high ceilings, one of the things that that trips you up is the fact that the ceiling speakers often overlap with each other and the farther away from you they are, the longer the differences are in how long it takes the sound from each speaker to reach your ear. So if you're doing a high ceiling, you want to use a speaker with a very narrow coverage so that the listeners are only listening to the speaker that's that's above their head rather than listening to every speaker in the room hit their ear. At a different time sync, which then makes the music unpleasant and the speech unintelligible. Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense well. So we talked a little bit about the categories of speakers and...

...then where in turn they end up being place, especially for indoors. We talk a little bit about outdoor speaker placement and then, as a follow up to that, what are maybe some unexpected places? So some kind of cool places that we might find commercial outspeakers? Well, really, anywhere there sound they're allowed speakers. So designers try their best to hide the loudspeakers. You know, architects and fittiscility managers don't want the speakers to be terribly visual or to be a major thing that people see when they go into the space. So if you look around you often spot speakers and really unexpected places. Designers try to make systems on obtrusive outdoor speakers. You can find hidden in bushes, in landscape spaces, hidden in software recesses and and just all sorts of places. What would you say then, the the most creative place to put, you know, the speaker in the Bush, speaker in outdoor trash. Can you know they're there are places that that build them into trash cans. Some of the more unique places include building them into lighting posts, where they're just grills on the sides of the lighting posts. You know that that all. You don't realize there's a loud speaker in there. We just introduced to Speaker that probably falls into this category, called the GSB. They are garden subwoffers and it takes a little bit of excavation, but they actually go into the ground, they go underground and the only thing that sticks up above the ground is the is the port outlet for the sound and a little cap that goes on that. So it's kind of reminiscent of a mushroom. Yeah, a little bit, but but the real, you know, business end of the subworfer is actually buried underground. Huh. Interesting also for the A v...

Pro tell us about some of the new commercial speakers that were introduced at Infocom recently? Yeah, so I just mentioned the GSB. Those are the in the ground landscape subworfers. We also introduced control eighty nine MS, which is enough, is an above the ground landscape subworfer. So those would go into places where you really don't want to excavate or or where it's very close to the water table or whatever things like that GSF full range landscape speakers. So we introduced, that's two full range models that are aimable, one with us three inch and one with a six inch. We also introduced SLP speakers, which stands for sleek, low profile speakers that go on the walls and they're so they're so tight to the wall that they actually meet ADA requirements to go into spaces where that's needed. And then we lastly, we introduced control sixty eight HP, which stands for high power. It's a high power pendant speaker. We've had control sixty series speakers in the line for a number of years and people love the idea of pendant speakers and constant tra activity coverage and so on, and this is one that then gets louder than any of the other speakers in that line that we make. So most of these new speakers that we introduced at the Infocom show have been recognized by red dot for their industrial design excellence. So we hope that gives customers confidence even before the installation takes place, these speakers will fit into their decor make a nice, you know, elegant appearance. Yeah, yeah, not to not some big cookie industrial looking thing, but something that you know it's meant to kind of blend in...

...and but you know, when you see it, it's not unpleasant, as you say. Yeah, yeah, and and it's not unusual to try to make speakers UNCLUNKY. You know, there's their large installation speakers that jbl pro is known for, the Co into things like scoreboards and screens at stadiums and and arenas and you don't even know they're there. You just hear the sound coming out of them. Right, right. Well, so tell us a little bit about jbl pro, like I guess a little bit what that is, and then, as a follow up again I'd ask you know what's what's possible then, with today's loudspeakers that maybe wasn't available and possible ten years ago. Yeah, well, JBO PRO has been around for seventy five years. The company was started by James B Lansing and we are part of Harmon International, which is a collection of a number of professional audio brands. Then include amplifiers and DSP and and so on. As of a couple of years ago, we are also part of the Samsung family of companies and you know as far as what's possible today that maybe wasn't ten years ago. We're finding that, you know, we have to move with the demands of the marketplace and their changes in architecture that we have to adjust to. We're we're making smaller, low lower profile, fitting in better all the time with with the decor of spaces. There's a movement to column loud speakers in the industry right now. They're less visually obtrusive. They provide better coverage of a particularly a deep space. We're talking about the room geometries. They excite the room reverberation less, they're clearer for speech even better for high fidelity music. So we make...

...from very small to very large column speakers. The largest are and televox columns, which are used in very large reverb and places like cathedrals and so on. And then another change that's come to mind, which is become much more top of mind the last ten years, is more environmental consciousness. So all of our speakers are they comply with certifications. Rojas and reach are two main ones. We're using more recycled materials all the time. We're making our speakers lighter weight and sometimes that's not thought of as being environmental. But what it does is it it requires not such heavy support structures and buildings and and so on, and we're making them more energy efficient as far as turning voltage into sound and we are also putting more energy efficiency into the manufacture processes. Yeah, well, so that makes a lot of sense. So the the the trends you're seeing than, you know, column loudspeakers. This you know, environmental consciousness, and you're right. I mean you wouldn't necessarily think of a lighter speaker being environmentally but you know, aside from the from the bearing that it has, you know how it's mounted. I would think that shipping costs that sort of thing. I'm sure it's, you know, a little bit lighter weight maybe probably more compactly packed. Yeah, I could see the kind of the onion peeling there. Well. So, as we start to wrap up our episode, I'd love to to get your your take on a little bit of the the industry at large. We always ask our guest where do you see technology going in the next year? I know that's a broad question, but you know, within the spaces that you're seeing, where do you see this technology going in the next year? Well, there are many exciting technologies that unfortunately I can't talk about to now, still going through the patent...

...process and so on. But in general there are always changes in architectural preferences and when that happens, we loudspeakers adapt to the trends in architecture. So, for example, there is a continuing trend toward more open structure or open architecture ceilings. I touched on that already, but we've been seeing it happening more and more last decade retail stores, restaurants and so on. So we came out with our control sixty serious line of pendance speakers to make them easier install to the beams that you find in these open structure ceilings and to get the sound closer to listeners for better sonic quality. So it'll be exciting to see what changes take place. Will be there to adapt our offerings to meet any new requirements. Yeah, absolutely well, I appreciate all of your insight today, rick a. f our lesteners have more questions when I find out more about what we talked about today. How can they retail? The two main websites that I'd recommend. One is the Jabi'll professional website, which is jbl procom and the other is the harmon professional website, which is Prodt Harmoncom, and those are the places I'd start. Excellent. Well, Rick, thank you so much for joining me. It was the pleasure talking to you. Thank you. It's been a pleasure being here, absolutely and thank you listeners, for tuning in and subscribing to be to be tech talk with Ingram micro. If you like this episode or have a question, please start the discussion on twitter with the Hashtag be tob tech talk. Until next time, I'm shall be scarehawk. You've been listening to be tob tech talk with anger micro. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micros imagine next. Beb Tech Talk is a joint production with sweet fish media and anger micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe...

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