Front Of House Sound System
Front Of House sound is distributed from a Zone Mixer in the Box Office, secured to the underside of the shelf immediately to the left of the Box Office computer.
The Zone Mixer takes up to six inputs and sends sound to three zones. Each zone can be independently set to play back one of the six inputs.
As of 2009-03-03 the mappings are:
- Input 1: Box Office CD player (set levels between 5 and 6 for a good sound*)
- Input 2: Unassigned
- Input 3: Box Office Minijack (for iPods, laptops, etc), when cable is bought
- Input 4: Unassigned
- Input 5: Unassigned
- Input 6: Tech Box Feed (set levels around 6 for a good sound*)
* This is assuming the amps are setup as shown below, as well as the tech box levels when using the tech box feed
- Zone 1: Café (All control of the cafe sound is run from the servery remote, on the wall near the chiller, this can be chaged at the push of a button if necessary)
- Zone 2: Box Office
- Zone 3: Toilet Corridor
The café is the only zone that has stereo playback - this is a limitation of the Zone Mixer. Additionally, the tech box feed is mono so all playback from the tech box is strictly mono. However, sound from other sources will be in stereo in the café.
Tech Box Feed
The tech box feed enters the box office via a cable on the right side of the box office cupboard door frame.
As of 2009-03-03 the FOH sound system has been setup in a way that should make it as easy as possible to use. The zone mixer ad amps in the box office have been set up so that the user pretty much just has to power the system on and maybe slightly adjust the zone mixer levels.
To get a good sound level in all 3 zones when using the tech box feed, make sure that both the main output faders and the channel faders are set to 0, then using the device volume and the gain get the PFL level to be around 0 as well. For reference the GRP 1 - MTX 1 and the GRP 2 - MTX 2 should be set to 0, the others should be off.
Then for the tech box feed the zone mixer levels for each zone should be at 6 (12 o clock position)
In theory if all the levels are left like this you can just turn the zone mixer on and then the amps on and the system will just work, but bear in mind that the tech box feed may not have been set up in advance so you should probably turn the zone mixer levels to 0 before turning it on.
It would probably make it easier to try and create a dedicated FOH feed from the tech box using a separate input which won't need to be messed with so that people in the tech box don't accidently turn it off or turn it up too loud thinking they're just changing auditorium levels.
Because of the low levels on the amps they can be turned on and off without turning the levels to 0 and it shouldn't burst the speakers, it just saves people randomly putting the amps at whatever levels they want, the lower the better really, it stops some lovely buzzing sounds.
As of 2008-07-26 there is cabling for a backstage feed but it is not connected as a zone (we instead are using this zone for the toilet corridor). The backstage feed is potentially useful as a stage monitor for actors in the dressing room, so if this suits you you may like to find the dangling connector pair hidden behind the amps and sub out a zone on the mixer in order to reconnect it.
The backstage feed is wired with cat5e (purple sheath) carrying both mono sound and the signal wires for the zone remote.
Any zone can be controlled remotely by attaching a (wall-mounted) remote. When the zone is controlled remotely the first two knobs for the zone (input select and volume) no longer have any effect on the mixer (having been overridden by the knobs on the remote). As of 2008-07-26, only the café zone is controlled by a remote, on the left wall of the café when facing out. This makes it easier for box office staff to keep the box office and toilet corridor playing from the same input.
Each zone has a separate amplifier, all amplifiers are stacked on the floor beneath the zone mixer. The toilet corridor amp is only driving one speaker, this is ideal because the other channel on the amplifier does not work. You make want to take this into account if repurposing the amps.
Don't change the gains on the amplifiers, use the zone volume knobs instead.
In the box office, the amps should be set up as follows: Cafe = 17 Box Office = 12 o clock position (not too technical but it works) Toilets = 30 on channel A and 0 on channel B (channel B doesn't actually work so it doesn't really matter what level it's at)
As with the tech box sound system, turn on the zone mixer before turning on the amplifiers. When powering down, turn off the amplifiers before turning off the zone mixer.
Adding more inputs
The back of the zone mixer is readily accessible by sticking your head into the shelf space and having a strong light source to hand. The inputs are at the right end of the back of the device (or your left, once you've stuck your head in the shelf). Input one is the edgemost, input six is nearest the middle.
Make sure any wires you add are cabletied neatly so that the shelf space beneath the zone mixer is still as usable as possible. Additionally, keep the next person to come along happy by labelling your cables at both ends. You will be loved.
Doing more interesting stuff with the Zone Mixer
If you need to mess with the zone mappings, remotes, zone EQs or other more advanced stuff you should unscrew the zone mixer from its brackets and get a better look - the device is completely self-documented in astonishingly detail by diagrams on the top and the bottom of the case - including required wiring configurations for the connectors and other useful stuff to know.