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Changing The Game:
Turning School Gymnasiums

into Multipurpose Rooms

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High school gym equipped with an AFS sound system.

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SDSU Locker Room Sound System installed by AFS

Clarity and Distinction

     The typical school gym...hardwood floors, cement walls and plenty of echoes! For over 25 years as an A/V
contractor, Americas Finest Sound has installed and upgraded more gymnasiums than any other vendor in
San Diego.
     A few years ago, our company was using the standard methods with varying results, all good, but still a long way from the “outstanding” and “awesome” comments we get over our stadium installations and custom portable systems we build. That is because most gyms acoustics make for poor sound. However, we came up with a radically different method and started installing them this year. Now we get remarks like, “Our gym sounds better than our theater!” “We’ve gone back to holding assemblies here” and here’s our favorite remark... “I come into the gym at lunch break just to listen to how awesome music sounds!”
Normally, we don’t do any marketing, however, we have gotten such overwhelmingly positive responses that we have decided to share this with you and you have to hear the difference! We welcome you to contact us to set up a visit to your schools where we can give a simple demonstration and hear for yourself.

What’s so different?

     Recently, we attended the opening demonstration of a six-figure sound system engineered and installed by Bose Corporation. This took place in a local high school we had previously done installations. We went there to see what kind of result was possible at more than five times the budget we usually consider watermark for a high school gym sound system. We wanted to hear the very best. However, in the end, it was somewhat of a disappointment. Yes, the installed system was louder, but all agreed there was no marked improvement in clarity and distinction. The school still had the same issues of understanding the spoken words as before during games and especially during assembles with cheering students. It was disheartening because good quality equipment (line array speakers) and expensive design still left most of us shrugging our shoulders, saying this was the best the sound could be in a gym. But was it? We left thinking that if everyone installs one singular method of sound reinforcement in a gym... what would happen if you used a combination of methods?

The Grand Experiment!

     Steve Stopper, business owner of our company, got access to a school gym over an entire summer and decided to experiment using and combining different methods. Speaker line arrays, center clusters, split clusters, down throws and distributed speakers were all set up and tried out. He also experimented with signal processing, using active delay and room equalization to compensate for all the unusual anomalies a gym environment experiences. Steve tried a complex setup mixing all of these technologies using each specific speaker layouts best traits and advantages, and then applying it into the gym space. The results were dramatic! The new design uses as many as 22 separate overhead speakers. He arrived at a 3600-watt center cluster for sub frequencies, with delayed perimeter speakers over the individual bleachers and segmented down throw speakers. He designed electronics that adapt to different uses from games to assemblies, used automatic mixing and voice leveling and also actively addressed the “phons” effect (which is bass response competing with crowd noise). All this occurs in the digital electronics with no available knobs to be mis-adjusted. The school merely turns on the system, and it works! The clarity and impact are beyond anything we have done before.

       Is it expensive? These installed systems range between $12-18k REALLY, HOW GOOD IS IT? One of these new first systems we installed was in the Rancho Buena Vista High School’s gymnasium. The first event with the new system was a district-wide open house. Every other high school in the district that heard it there ORDERED AND INSTALLED a new system that year!

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..."Our gym now sounds better than our theatre!" "We've gone back to holding assemblies here"

What Are You Waiting For?

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