Something that is observed in the different events is that it is believed that if everything is IP, the system will be more efficient. And for certain types of projects it can be. But in the installation of audiovisual projects not everything must necessarily be digital.

Juan Tamayo *

Communications data transmission networks evolved enough in the last 25 years. We spent a minute or more waiting to download a photograph to be able to watch an event in high resolution streaming without having to wait, well, wait a lot. Big changes in a very short time.

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Now, what happens to the audiovisual project industry that is still thinking about analog? It is not a matter of technological advancement, it is a matter of thought. I hope in this article to be able to provide some tools on how and when to use digital transmission technologies for your projects.

Before starting any design you should ask what kind of content is going to be transmitted, how it will be transmitted and to whom it will be transmitted. A live event is not the same as an announcement for calls. Some recommendations:

Live events where people can see the presentation require a lower latency, the minimum possible, so that the brain of the spectators process what they see along with what they hear in a correct synchronism. The brain is such a powerful machine that it can match small time differences to achieve internal synchronism.

In broadcasts like distributed audio in large areas you can work with latencies of 5, 10 or even more. This without any problem because the person is only listening to a message and does not have a visual relationship in which you can identify a delay, the optimal is to work with 5 ms.

When transmitting content in digital format you have to be careful with the bandwidth, which in simple words is the space that is required to transfer the information. The bandwidth that is required to transport video is very different from the one that is required to transport audio. Basically to transport video in high quality a cargo truck is required, for the audio in stereo a compact car is required. The calculation formulas can be obtained from the AVIXA courses, they are simple.

The how is still a little more complex, because it requires defining the type of digital technology and the means by which it will be transmitted. In digital technologies there are many, for the purposes of the article I will talk about audio, in which you can find technologies by coaxial cable of 75 Ohm like Madi or technologies based on IP topologies like Dante. Additionally, when selecting technology, it must be checked that all the elements in the chain are compatible with that technology or version, and that they will work without any inconvenience. Even as a designer you must ensure what external elements are required, such as global or other clocks.

For any technology to use, one of its critical points is the wiring. Do not skimp on the type of wiring, but do not overdo it by installing cable with gold filaments. Each type of project requires a special cable, a good design and the correct calculations will be fundamental to select the appropriate cable. Consultancy with the manufacturer can help, even manufacturers constantly launch applications to calculate them.

Not everything must be digital
Something that I have been able to observe in the different events that I attend is that it is believed that if everything is IP the system will be more efficient. And for certain types of projects it can be, such as security (cameras), access, among others. But in the installation of audiovisual projects not everything must necessarily be digital.

We can see this with an example of design: it is requested to install a distributed audio system in warehouses for storage at a height higher than the 4 meters. Around 200 speakers will be installed. You can imagine this type of installation, 200 data points. Wiring for each point and if it is IP must at least have a PoE source. The administration and maintenance of this system would be very expensive.

Before recommending the installation of a digital system versus an analog system, make a cost matrix in which you take maintenance costs into account. Very few projects quantify this cost, but in reality it is among the most important items in the development of the project.

The staff requires training
In general, for all audiovisual projects, the personnel must be trained or trained. Not all personnel should have the same degree of knowledge, you can sectorize according to the level of development in each project, the installer must know data networks, correct installation. The programmed engineer must know his program, theory of design and thus each actor must have clear concepts to carry out his activity.

In the market there are many possibilities of training in person or online. A good place to start are the AVIXA courses and trainings like those offered by Audio-Technica in theory of microphones or Audinate in Dante.

Remember that to develop a good digital project (any audiovisual project):
- Analyze where it will be installed, who will operate or enjoy it and what the implementation will be like
- Not everything must necessarily be digital. Analyze cost benefit of digital, analog or hybrid solutions
- Do not reduce installation costs by using inexpensive cables and connectors, this will make the post-sale cost rise
- Keep your staff trained in both new and existing technologies.

I hope this article will help you have more successful projects. If you have any questions or would like Audio-Technica to advise you on an installation project, do not hesitate to contact me at

* Juan Tamayo is a senior applications engineer for Audio-Technica Latin America, with more than 10 years of experience doing audiovisual projects as a designer, integrator, consultant, among other functions.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Journalist from the University of Antioquia (2010), with experience in technology and economics. Editor of the magazines TVyVideo + Radio and AVI Latin America. Academic Coordinator of TecnoTelevisión & Radio.


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