Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Value for money

What do you think of when someone say "we want value for money"?

It is generally interpreted as Cheap or cheaper in today's financial climate

But a low cost of purchase is not always value for money - equally the dearest may not be either.

This is where you need to understand not only what you are buying, but how you are planning to use it and for how long.

A low cost of purchase with a high running cost may not be a value for money purchase (please see our blog on cost of ownership(coming shortly)) equally a dear purchase that need speacialist to support at premium rates may also offer poor value for money - unless the breakdown/failure rates are exceptionally low.

What should I look for?
We cannot tell you what you want, but at CGA Integration we always try to explain every element of the system and what it does for you. If a supplier cannot explain why you need an "XYZ" they you should not buy it!
Often the dearer items we specify are the units that have functionality to reduce running costs:
Many of the CGA systems now have processors that allow us to remotely monitor and test your system - so that we can reduce the need to come to site for minor issues and when we do come to site we know we have the correct parts for the fault and will resolve it with the minimum on site disruption and downtime

We also generally specify equipment with a sensible level of headroom, WHY?
The obvious analogy is a car engine - many of us have a car that has an 1800 or larger engine capable of speeds in excess of 100mph but we hardly ever drive it at these speeds. But we all know that a small engine car run flat out all day long will not last very long and the ride will not be very comfortable - but a big engined car will acheive the speed limit effortlessly, get you from A-B regularly without strain or stress and last you much longer.
The same is true of many other pieces of equipment - most notably power amplfiers
and if your amplifiers are running well within their limits your speakers will also last - leaving you with a good reliable system that is more likely to give you good value for money.

CGA Integration installed a small restaurant back in 1999, we have been called back a few times over the years, but the most serious problem thay have had is rodents eating the spaeker cables - the system still runs seven days a week and offers good sound to all areas of the restaurant - and it was not a dear system, it was just the correct system, installed sensibly and I like to think offers good value for money - 11 years later!

So when you are looking at your system - either replacing, upgrading or repairing, please contact us so that we can review your usage and make some suggestions to ensure that you have the correct equipment and acheive value for money.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Pizza on the park

On a recent trip to London to meetings on Park Lane I was disappointed to see that one of my favourite Jazz venues had shut down - "Pizza on the Park" was the Jazz room under the Pizza express on Hyde park Corner and had international acclaim for the acts that performed there.

Having had a quick look on google it would appear that I am not the only person upset by the closing of this fantastic and irreplaceable venue:

CGA first started dealing with Pizza on the Park back in 1995 when we where introduced to the current owner (and founder of Pizza Express) Mr Peter Boizot OBE.

We did lots of work with Peter improving the venue by installing new lights, speakers, monitors and microphones.

When we first arrived the venue boasted a pair on Bose 802 cabinets! and a crown/amcron DC300 amplifier. We swiftly replaced these with a pair of EV Motivator II cabinets and a Crown 1200 amplifier and then later added additional processing and some SX300 cabinets at the rear of the room.

Along with Peter Boizot and the management team we also had the pleasure of working with Mr Simon Becker the house pianist, who unfortunately is no longer with us. Under Simon's watchful eye acts came and went having been rehearsed, introduced and pampered

Our relationship finished a few years ago when Peter Sold the restaurant off to Pizza Express and the new management went with another sound company to maintain this venue, although I believe they kept the hardware installed by CGA Integration.

A huge shame this venue has gone.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Ceiling speakers

One of the most common questions we get asked by designers is:
"Can we have those small Bose cubes on the side walls of our new restaurant/bar?"
And unfortunately our answer is normally NO!
·        Bose will be the first people to tell you that these are NOT a commercial product and should not be installed in a commercial environment
·        Secondly designers normally choose these are they are discrete - but when you install small speakers such as these you always need to have a complimentary larger cabinet to fill in the bass and low frequencies that these cabinets cannot reproduce.
·        And most importantly mounting speakers around the outside of a venue is not always the best solution and can lead to an uneven sound field within a venue.

What do we need in a good restaurant?
When a guest dines in your restaurant they all receive the same quality of service, they have the same menu, linen, drinks offer, etc
So your sound system should be delivering to ALL your customers the same sound levels, ambience and atmosphere.

What is the best way to do this?
In a simple venue this even sound field is most evenly achieved by using a grid of ceiling speakers.
If you think about it a person walking through a room will always have their ear a constant. Distance from the ceiling, so if the speakers are placed correctly they will have a consistent sound level all the way throughout the room.
Unfortunately if we where to have used the wall mounted solution the same customer will find that the sound is louder near the walls and the sound will be lower in the middle of the room and then get louder again when he/she approaches the perimeter of the room
CGA use a ceiling speaker distribution calculator to match the height of the ceiling, the size of the room and the specification of the speakers to create an even sound field

We can apply this formula to most rooms and the current generation of ceiling speakers have white grills for white ceilings and as they are outside of our normal field of vision they disappear very quickly.

CGA Integration have used this formula in a wide range of venues, following are some of the CGA installations that use ceiling speakers to fulfil our clients requirements:

What if I have not got a flat ceiling?
We can apply this principal to ceilings with exposed beams or even open up to the apex.
In Spains hall in Essex CGA used the ceiling beams to create a virtual ceiling and mounted speakers on this level to create an even sound field across the main dining room.
At Great Fosters in Egham CGA used the apex of the ceiling to mount the speakers - putting all listeners in the far field of the speakers, but also ensuring that all customers are a consistent distance from the speakers creating an even sound field at the listening positions - I.e. At the tables

Obviously every room if differentand each customer requires a different exeperience for their clients. CGA Integration pride ourselves on understanding customer needs to try and apply the corrcet solution in every application. Please see subscribe/Follow this blog to see different ways we solve problems for our customers.

Best regards
CGA Integration

Saturday, 9 October 2010


Welcome to the CGA Integration blog - this is all a bit new to me but I thought this was a great way to tell you what is going on at CGA, new projects, customer news, exciting products that we have seen to use and also some explanations of what we do and why we do things as we do.
We hope that you find this blog interesting and informative.
Best regards
CGA Integration