We all have been in restaurants, bars, hotels, airports, and so many other places that have music playing. The music is there to keep us entertained, engaged, and distracted. It also helps to have a little bit of background sound during your time at places such as restaurants, hotels, etc.

As audio/visual integration professionals, do we actually fulfill our customer’s needs in each one of these applications? They may seem very similar, but in fact, all have very distinct differences, and this is one aspect that is extremely difficult to achieve.

Take a look at 3 different ways to listen to music in the places around you:

  1. Simple background music is a source that plays in stores, airports, or lobby ways of public areas and are the most basic of the background music that we provide. This type of music gives off some audible distraction so that it is not completely quiet in the environment. This is very basic and not as noticeable to guests.
  2. Restaurant background music is in no way the same as the simple background music as mentioned above. We are providing more than simple background audible distraction in this application. The music should be part of the atmosphere of the restaurant and help provide the atmosphere as well as create a tone and set a mood in the restaurant. As the restaurant fills with patrons the music should increase in level but too loudly. Music should assist in continuing the tone and mood. It should never create more noise to where the customers feel the need to raise their voices to be heard while talking amidst of their group. This is something an audio/visual integration professional should accomplish for those types of installations.
  3. Bar music systems are very different from the others and have a few different types and styles of applications. If a bar wants music driving the level, it will depend on the source of that music. Is it a juke box? Online music? Live instrumentation with musicians and vocalists? All of these have specific and yet very different types of equipment and installations. There is not a 1 system fits all solution. They all are to be evaluated independently and completely custom.A. Bar music from a juke box or an online streaming music will have relatively high output “Commercial Series” speakers and amplifiers capable of powering those speakers at increased volume levels compared to that of in average restaurant background music system for extended periods of time.B. Bar music from that of a DJ, in more of a high energy bar or night club environment, would require speakers and amplifiers that of what can be “Commercial or Pro Equipment” with the capabilities of much higher volume levels and including subwoofers for the type of dance music and sustained levels expected in these types of establishments.

    C. Bar music, consisting of primarily live performance and sound reinforcement of musicians, instrumentation and vocalists requires what is considered “Pro Gear” with higher quality, power, clarity and volume sustainability along with pro performance loudspeakers and professional digital mixing consoles, microphones and input capabilities far more elaborate than the basic online music or juke box.

All of these have independent and very specific types of equipment and setups as well. An Audio/Visual Integration Professional is necessary to help achieve these goals as well as recognize the need and have solutions for all.

-Brian Henderson

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