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installing a loop


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Im involved in fitting out a new performance space, lighting and sound are about sorted, but this space is to be used for people with disablities and as such needs some sort of audio system for people with hearing problems.


Im going towards a loop for a few reasons, one of which is the space will have a coffee bar at one end, so when the stag isnt being used a mic covering the coffee bar can be used to reenforce the coffee bar area and room, and when a show is on the mics from the PA fed into the loop system. the loop can also incorperate the stage so the actors also have this feed.


outside this space is a 6foot corridor with another area opposite which may have its own loop (this is currently unknown)




how difficult is it to design a loop system that will work properly.


if there is any doubt in its performance can anyone recommend a company able to do it properly in the Leeds/Bradford Area

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A few questions / comments....


- What do you anticipate putting into the loop at the coffee bar end of the room? I'd be worried that a mic would simply pick up all the background noise and chatter...

- If the loop cable runs at the edge of the stage, it's quite likely that you will still get a usable signal on stage. Otherwise, incorporate the stage in the loop, but be aware of the extra loop area and the possibility of the loop signal being picked up by devices such as guitar pick ups (whether the loop covers the stage or not!).

- If you need to guarantee 'no loop spill' into the next room, this has to be designed in, not guessed at. The good folk at Ampetronic can help you design this.


As has been discussed a few times before, you will find a lot of people prefering IR systems (no spill, no leaking into other devices, no frequency dependent losses due to steel or aluminium etc.) but they will acknowledge that they require more maintenance and managing of the receivers.


I prefer to install loops, but it does look like you will need to plan this job quite carefully...





I can recommend an installer who's not too far away... PM for contact details

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so when the stag isnt being used a mic covering the coffee bar can be used to reenforce the coffee bar area and room,

Sorry, but there is no way a deaf person is going to want to listen to the general hubbub of the coffee bar!


Think about yourself with limited hearing, by that I mean limited frequency as well as volume, and being in the situations of watching a show and being at a coffee bar...


Show: you need to get the clearest audio down your loop, making a post aux mix is the best way as you point out.

Are you dealing with deaf actors as well?


Coffee Bar: when your sat in a cafe / bar ... what do you want to hear? the person you are talking to clearly? A 'general' mic in this situation is of no use, unless you want to snoop in to other peoples conversation.


As well as finding a suitable company to install the system, find one or more deaf people who would benefit from the system and talk to them, find out what the current problems they have in the venue are and what would make it a better experience.

I have seen a case where although there is a loop system installed, people don't switch to the 'T' position because it doesn't actually benefit them.



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Hi there ,


Iv installed over ten loop systems in various houses of worship in the North West.


If you do all your calculations correctly and plan your installation b4 you begin it , it is fairly straight forward to do.


Start by drawing a scaled plan of your room / area then work out the area volume size you need to cover.


Once you know this you will know which loop amplifier to puchase , my advice is to buy a bigger amp than you need so you have headroom

as you can reduce the field on a big amp if needed.


Its important you purchase a loop listening device to enable you to monitor and test you loop.


Its a good idea to just lay the loop cable around the area you wish to cover before you fasten it properly too and check it first.



If you need any advice or anyone to install it , PM me.



Happy to offer any more advice.


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The approach you describe works well in many cases, but I'd add:


- Carry out an initial background electromagnetic survey. Without this, the venue might turn out to be unusable as far as loops go.

- Determine whether there is structural steel - and adjust the design for its presence.

- Ensure correct loop plane height.

- Carry out field strength and frequency measurements, and add correction where necessary (or possible)

- Make sure that the input to the loop achieves a high signal to noise ratio - e.g. closely miced actors (I studiously avoid "overhead mics" - most of the time they provide very poor intelligibility for those with limited hearing).


Loops can be very effective, but I have a whole dossier of examples of badly planned, badly installed and never used loops. These confer "compliance" with DDA but in fact simply alienate dDeaf people.



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Have a look at the wealth of information on the Ampetronic website - www.ampetronic.com - it can give you a good idea of the problems you can encounter, and the things to look for on site. The support department there are very helpful and will give you all sorts of useful advice, specific to your application.


The advice about a site survey before hand is very good, if there is a lot of electro-magnetic noise around it may mean a loop is impractical.


A good tip with microphone placement is to imagine you are listening on a pair of isolating headphones and can only hear the sound picked up from your proposed microphone. A general mic that picks up the chatter and noise from a coffee bar is pretty useless, one that picks up the server's voice and isolates it from the background noise is much better. The favourite boundary microphone on the ceiling provided by electrical contractors who install loops is often useless, and therefore does not comply with the DDA.



(ex Ampetronic Support Dept - hence the plug!) :rolleyes:

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