Managing Money

How to Choose the Right Commercial Sound System for Your Business

August 16, 2023

A sound system is a great way to promote your business and set the tone. However, there are many considerations when selecting a commercial sound system.

A high-quality listening experience helps to build trust and loyalty in customers. To ensure the best performance, consider these tips when choosing the right commercial sound system for your business:

Sound Quality

When it comes to commercial sound systems, the quality of the speakers and their amplification is one of the most important factors. This is because music played over the system will affect the overall sound quality. A well-designed commercial sound system will use a combination of large woofers and high-frequency tweeters to produce crisp, clear, and loud music (and paging) that will not distort.

Speakers in a commercial sound system vary from standard consumer-grade speakers to custom-built units designed for the business’s specific space and needs. A professional installation is the best way to ensure that speakers are positioned correctly, properly sized, and acoustically treated to deliver the best possible sound for the room.

Some spaces like restaurants, bars, and retail stores have a lot of people making noise and human bodies, furniture, items for sale, and the architecture of the building all absorb or change sound. Therefore, the sound system must be designed to overcome these ambient noises to provide an enjoyable experience for customers and employees.

Some modern sound systems for business will allow for changes to EQ settings and volume daily to keep the vibe of the business consistent throughout the day and adjust for busy periods. This can be a great way to keep customers and employees engaged.

Speakers

The speakers in a commercial sound system convert electrical audio signals into physical sounds that reach your audience’s ears. Once the mixer, signal processing gear and power amplifier have shaped the movement, the speaker drivers reinterpret it by applying a voltage to move their cones back and forth and produce acoustic vibrations. They typically reproduce frequencies in different ranges, with smaller drivers that can reproduce high frequencies called tweeters, middle-frequency speakers often called midranges and large woofers that produce low frequencies. A crossover network may be used to direct components of the electronic audio signal to drivers best able to reproduce specific frequencies.

Some important specs to know about when choosing a speaker for your business include its sensitivity, maximum power handling and dispersion (the spread of its acoustic output across the listening area). These specifications depend on complex magnetic, mechanical, and electrical theories supported by subjective perceptions, measurements, and experiments. They are usually tracked with high-precision equipment, sometimes in an anechoic chamber, to ensure room effects do not interfere with the results.

When buying speakers for a distributed 70-volt or 100-volt system, it’s also important to consider their SPL ratingsā€”a measure of how loud they can play and still sound good. A higher SPL rating requires less power to drive a given speaker, so a more sensitive speaker can be used with a more powerful power amplifier than a less-sensitive one. For example, a speaker with 3 dB more sensitivity than another will produce double the SPL for a given input power.

Amplifiers

Many power amplifiers are on the market, and choosing the right one can make or break your sound system. Most importantly, ensure that the amplifier’s wattage equals or exceeds the speaker’s RMS wattage rating. This will ensure that the speakers don’t damage or overheat.

In addition to the RMS wattage rating, you should consider the speaker’s sensitivity (or efficiency) specification. This refers to the sound pressure level the speaker can produce per watt of electric power. The lower this number is, the less efficient the speaker is.

Some amplifier manufacturers also provide a peak power rating, the maximum power the amplifier can deliver at a single point. This figure is often much higher than the continuous power rating and can only last for a fraction of a second, so it doesn’t have any bearing on the overall performance of the amp.

Alternatively, you can buy an all-in-one package with an amplifier and speakers in a single unit. However, this is generally more expensive than buying the components separately. Plus, upgrading the amplifier or speakers down the road can be more difficult if necessary. However, this may be your best option if you want a quick and easy solution.

Wiring

While some commercial music systems have a simple setup that includes a speaker or two, an amplifier and a CD player, the best sound system installation will do more than play your favorite tunes in a business environment, it will create an appropriate mood, entertain your guests, and keep them engaged. At the same time, they enjoy their meal or shopping at a store.

To do that, the right speaker size and type will be important, and ensuring the music can be heard by the entire crowd will also require a certain amount of power. The correct loudness will depend on the space and number of people, but an experienced contractor can use formulas to calculate the correct strength for a particular venue.

A power amplifier will power the commercial music system, and connecting the speakers to the amp requires the right wire. Many options are available, including XLR cables that are more durable than standard speaker wires, are more resistant to external agents, and feature click-type connectors that remain connected even if cable pulls occur.

Wired systems are also more reliable than wireless, providing better acoustic fidelity for background music broadcasting. They do, however, have the drawback of requiring a lot of cabling that can be unsightly, but creative design solutions can often mitigate this.

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