Distributed Audio are audio systems that allow for playback and often control of music throughout an entire home, restaurant, fitness centre or office building.
Distributed audio systems must be designed to suit individual needs. For example, quiet office buildings and recreation centers generally require soft background music that comes with the ability to page. Meanwhile, health clubs usually require loud background music in the treadmill area with quiet ambient music in the yoga room. They also need the ability to page members and trainers throughout the gym.
These distributed audio systems are classified as:
1) Single Source and Single Zone
These systems distribute the same audio source everywhere throughout the whole house or building. All individual rooms must listen to the same audio source. These systems are usually installed in retail environments and large buildings.
2) Single Source and Multiple Zone
In each room, separate volume controls are installed as to cater to different room size and shape. All rooms still must listen to the same audio source except that the audio could be turned off and the volume could be controlled.
3) Multiple Source and Multiple Zone
Here, different rooms can choose and control different audio sources independently. This kind of system is more complicated and is assembled from separate components. Some systems distribute speaker-level over Cat 5 cable to amplifiers installed in each room. Whereas some systems have all equipment centralized and distribute speaker-level audio from the head-end equipment location.
Home audio systems usually make use of in-ceiling and in-wall speakers or small “satellite” speakers. Larger spaces would opt for larger speakers. For outdoor installations, speakers may be camouflaged as rocks or hidden in landscaping.
Limitations in the space structure should be taken into consideration when designing a distributed audio system. Varying construction materials will affect your designing options.
There are 2 types of speakers used for fixed installations:
1) Ceiling-Mount Speakers (internal) – These offer better sound quality for music
2) Surface-Mount Speakers (external) – These are hidden away inside of walls and ceilings, which are visually non-invasive
In designing audio distribution system, the sound sources may include microphones, a CD player, an MP3 player, radio, satellite radio, the audio output from a DVD player, cassette players etc. It is very common to have an installation that require mixing more than one of these sound sources.
Other aspects to consider are options such as remotely positioned volume controls. These would be very handy for a yoga instructor to turn down the volume. There is equipment available that gives you the option of installing a wall-mounted volume control that also features a microphone input and a button to select the proper audio for the room. There are many different components available to customize a system that could give your business a creative edge.