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Sound System in primary school


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was wondering if anyone could offer some advice


a friend of mine is a primary school teacher and someone has let her down as far as sorting out what to buy to install in her school hall so has turned to me, the room is your standard fare with probably capacity for upto 100 kids


her budget is £1800 but needs to keep some back for electrician fees


I reckon for her needs it can be brought well in under budget


im looking at 2 pairs of gale gold monitors


A storm 8 sub


a TEAC AG790 Amp


A Cam Audio CD5 player


Need a locking rack on wheels and 4 mics with an adaptor


The mics im thinking maplins


how does this sound to those of you who are actually knowlageble in these things?


also where would be the best place online to get the ack?


Cheers for now

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More information please!


What is your teacher friend hoping to do with the system? Most of it sounds like she simply needs something to playback CDs for her students but then you mention microphones which implies some sound reinforcement.


If it's for sound reinforcement purposes, then you're very seriously on the wrong track but we can get into that when you explain what the system will be used for.



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As Bobbsy rightly suggests, more information is needed...


I would add, however, that in my experience a) the technical ability of junior schoolteachers may not be too great and b) the equipment used needs to be robust or cheap enough to be easily replaced when it dies. There are, of course, exceptions to this (before someone sends a photo of their year 5 kid sitting behind an XL8!).


Many schools use Coomber equipment - not necessarily good quality, but tough and simple to use.


Whatever your friend's technical requirements are, 'ease of use' and 'ability to withstand abuse' are factors which should be paramount in the decision process!




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Another vote for more info, but also a voice from one who's done work for quite a few schools over the years, and who's missus is a primary school teacher...


Whatever the school has needs to be:

Simple to use


Have nice BIG buttons where it counts (eg PLAY and STOP)


Lockable (which you've covered)

Did I mention hard-wearing?


The kids WILL be allowed, nay, encouraged to use the kit I'll guarantee and many won't really appreciate the delicacy of certain components.


It does NOT, however, need to be especially fancy.

Mics I can see being feasible - in those schools I've worked in (and watched my daughters' assemblies etc) they often have a mic passed around small groups so the darlings can be heard. Though no suggestion here to go for anything in the radio mic bracket - not a great deal of point there.

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I've done school installs, and echo all the comments above. I used a wall-mounted rack enclosure with lockable front, and that's worked well - really solidly bolted to the wall. I used the Monacor combined mixer/amp/CD player from CPC - nothing fancy, but simple to use. Speakers - use installation speakers from Toa or JBL Control-1s or something similar. I'd be very surprised if the 'hi-fi' kit you've specified would be robust enough. And it would have too many irrelevant controls. Too much to fiddle with! I doubt that a sub of any kind would be needed. Mics - don't go to Maplin. SM58 (bulletproof) would be good; or (to disagree a little with the previous post) a handheld radio mic - I used one on my last install, and it has been really popular with the kids.


But more information is needed - what's it to do? How big / what shape is the hall? School productions? Will the kit be needed elsewhere on the premises?

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I'd be very surprised if the 'hi-fi' kit you've specified would be robust enough.


Speaking as someone who owns a Cambridge Audio CD5... nice CD player at a reasonable price - but I wouldn't let it within 100 ft of a primary school child. Not the most robust thing in the world. I'd look for gear that'll stand a beating.

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CD playback for kids to sing along to during assembly


'fashion shows', loud music and a compere


to be honest with you the 'number of buttons' I dont think is an issue, kids will know or easily be taught their way around a CD player.


any advice would have links gratefully recieved


music to fill a hall, kids to use it, voice amplification, large square hall with wood floors, basically exactly the same as where any of us sat through assembly


any specific information anyone would need?

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the mics are the real conundrum


you could spent a few pounds and get cheap plastic mics from maplins (which have a moulded lead which cannot be replaced) and you dont care if they get broken or lost (but sound horrible)


you could buy SM58's, expensive, but very good, however very likely to go Walkies.....


Personally id go for a Twin Radio Mic set, Kam do one for approx £99 (for both and its rackmount too)

Its not great, but its affordable and does the job. The kids will love cordless and it means its alot easier to get to the children (who will be mic shy)

As reinforcement for the Twin Radio Mic, id buy a couple of decent Metal microphones. I had a play with a couple Sennheiser E815 the other day, metal build, decent sound quality yet only around £35 each

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Where to start.......


Last week, we did a £ 350+ hire in a local primary school (end of year musical), because the £ 5000 worth of equipment they'd just purchased through the local authority WAS TOTALLY UNSUITABLE FOR THE JOB...........


you could buy SM58's, expensive, but very good, however very likely to go Walkies.....


In a primary school? The teachers must be bl00dy scary then :o


The OP.....

'fashion shows', loud music and a compere


Decent CD played ( robust as previously stated). Loud .....er that's another subject in it's own right ...Do you really want to make the kids ears bleed ;) And the compere would be better off with a headworn mic (or handheld), as this could be used for other shows.


The main problem we have found, when doing school jobs, is the lack of control gear. The job we did last week, had a CD player (Tascam) 2x Senny head worn mics, 1 hand held (Senny) a Piano, and no mixer of any sort, or graphics to eq the room .....and that was the downfall.

When I attended the dress rehersal, they were in feedback city, not just one or two frequencies, but multiple ones.. They couldn't get any gain from the mic's because of this. At very least you need some form of control


At this level, most teacher / students just want to 'switch it on and go', but in the real world, it's not as simple as that....If it was, then I'd have a much easier life.




Spec you're products well, but also appreciate how the user is going to operate the gear. The operator would usually be classed as a teacher who has no knowledge of sound whatsoever.


Could you budget for a little training for a few key staff members?


Get the mixing / processing end right, you can have the best mics / CD players in the world, but you need to plug them into something before the amp.


Neither you're original post, or you're subsequent follow up, mentioned any kind of mixer whatsoever......so what are you going to plug all these products into.


A reply to this question would be a good stepping stone for people to help you further.




Edit.....Quotes fixed...

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as other people have said you should be looking at PA equipment, not hifi. perfectly possible to do something basic on that budget, then expand when more funds are available. I'd have a look at the Studiospares website as a starting point. something like the Yamaha Stagepas 500 would take care of your speakers, amp and mixing capability for £650 inc VAT, 250W, enough to fill a small hall for the sort of thing you describe. By the way, why suggest the TEAC receiver? Do primary school children still listen to the radio? I recall sitting in class listening to educational broadcasts, but that was 40 yrs ago, and I didn't realise it still happened now we've all got the internet and HD tv etc.


regarding the mics - I've heard it said that SM58s aren't the most flattering to childrens voices - too much presence for very trebly voices - and I tend to agree with that - however , you'll probably only need to spend your £65 plus VAT once, as they are not likely to need replacing, unless someone pinches them! Studiospares are currently doing a mic pack offer - SM58, mic stand and cable for £96 inc vat - that's not too bad value-wise. plenty left out of your £1800 to get a decent CD player - possibly not the cambridge audio - likewise I've got one at home - a bargain from Richer Sounds, but not convinced it's robust enough, regardless of the number of buttons, and even some reasonably priced radiomic systems - most of the main manufacturers do reasonably priced entry level systems - sure PG sereis for example, or similar thing from Sennheiser. This doesn't allow for any cases like the lancelyn system, so that would need to be considered as well, I guess.


just to say studiospares aren't the only place to look, but a good starting point.

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Domestic hi-fi also won't really have much of a guarantee when used in a 'work' environment. The kids will wreck it in no time - they will turn the bass full up, the volume full up and wait for the smoke! At my old college, they put a decent hi-fi in the dance studio. Blew the first speaker after somebody turned the balance control fully one way, meaning they turned the other up to compensate. Then they blew the other while a replacement was being obtained!


Small plastic PA speakers - probably powered ones for simplicity, a rack mount CD and maybe a small, simple mixer to let you merge cd with mics - which need to be almost treated as disposable.


Hi-fi is useless in a school environment - and, volume wise, proper PA Watts seem much, much louder!

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I dont understand the idea of puttin cheap kit into a school. why should we treat any school differently to proffesional venues. as standard we train people on the kit we are selling to them why can this not be the case?
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Personally, being a Stagepas 500 owner, I doubt it's completely necessary. The Stagepas 300 would do perfectly well.


Also, the SM58 may be bulletproof and arguably the best microphone ever made in terms of it's flexibility, sound, robustness and all-round performance for it's price, but that's not strictly necessary in what you seem to be talking about.


PG58s would probably do the job fine. The mixer in the Stagepas systems would be enough just to roll some high-end off the mics (children's voices are usually horiffically shrill, I know this having spent too much time trying to record/mic my school's choir with a pair of C1000s, a notoriously metallic and shrill mic). However, bear in mind you're going to need some kind of experience with this if you want to set an EQ up. Bear in mind more complex EQing isn't possible with the Stagepas systems isn't possible as they don't have any Insert points, meaning an external mixer would be needed to go MIXER > EQ > Stagepas.

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You won't get any arguement from this forum on AKG C1000s. Don't mention them here, but have a search and you will find some info.


To Sam - in schools there is NO requirement for professional equipment. In many cases, it just isn't suitable. Schools and colleges teach quite happily by simulation - and to be frank, the kit gets abused far too much to make certain pro kity worth risking getting out of the box. However, certain pieces of pro kit are designed to be abused, to be thumped about and givenm harsh treatment. This is a sensible type of kit to have around.


Coomber was mentioned (by Simon?) earlier. I agree. It's pretty grim in terms of ultimate sonic quality, but they know how to build tough boxes, chunky buttons and in general, Coomber seem to have worked out what is best.


Hi-fi kit isn't meant for the 90% of users who bang the box if no sound comes out - we used to have kit that was dented for this very reason, just because the amp autoswitched to input 1 on powerup, and the CD was in input 2. Pushing one small button was too much. Students and teachers often find reading equipment labels impossible, or a waste of time - that is what some think technicians are for!!

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