The first day I was introduced to the team I would be working with. Jesse Landis and Justin Hershey were from two different sound companies that were brought in to build a permanent sound system. They were designing a new system for an upcoming club in Harrisburg, Pa – Club XL. This new club is a redesigned factory so we discussed hurdles that would be coming up. We also went of the block diagrams and system diagrams as well.
Our first hurdle was to get rid of unwanted sound wave reflections. The plan was to create panels that were insulated with a treated material designed to absorb sound. These were large diamond shaped panels that were being hung along the sides near the roof. This was the best compromise between the sound designers and the location’s designers. We also covered all the safety guidelines for the equipment for building the panels.
The focus during this time was primarily on the stapling of fabric to the panels and the wiring of the panels. We talked with the designers about how we wanted to hide the panels. To make sure that no hanging panels from the roof could be easily seen, once they were hung the wires were spray painted black. These panels will be littering the ceiling so it was important to make sure each was hidden.
Today I was sent on a run to Home Depot to get supplies. Justin went over the supplies we needed for the paneling still. One new piece we were working on was what we would use for cable runs. What he decided I do was to buy pvc pipe and spray paint it black. The only issue was that the paint ran pretty easily and we didn’t have a proper way to hold the pvc. It took a little longer than expected, but we had it all done by the end of the day.
Today Justin went into detail of how to properly use scaffolding. He covered how to build it and take it apart, plus how to maneuver on it. Together we put up up a large percentage of the panels. Today I didn’t get to hang any of the panels, but next week I will be able to while supervised. He also gave me the spec sheets for the speakers and wanted me to calculate the total amperage for the system.
When we got back from the weekend Jesse and Justin both went over the amperage for the system. We talked about how we try to go through as little breakers as possible, while also not straining the system. They also discussed about how it is important to avoid ground loops in a system. The main goal of the day was the delivery of all the speakers. Everyone had to lend a hand getting the seven pallets of brand new hardware into the club.
These were the last days of paneling, and I was even allowed to hang a few. Justin spotted me and made sure my footing was okay while Jesse was up on the scaffolding with me. I have never been great with heights, so this was a bit of a challenge for me. After doing a few panels I switched back with Justin and we finished the rest. I was nervous at first, but now I feel a little more comfortable working high up.
Now that the paneling was done we began work on a new project. We now started designing and creating the rigging for the speaker arrays. They went over the math and the calculations to determine the grade of steel needed to hang the array. We went out to Home Depot to get the rest of the supplies before we started the work on the rigging. We cut the cross beams that are going to attach to the main structure and the cables the array would hang from as well.
The preparations for the rigging were completed, it was now time for installation. Justin had to first drill through the beams in the building for the crossbeam to connect to. After those were properly bolted together we had to connect the base of the array. Once it was attached I helped Jesse create latching to attach the speakers to one another. We used a crimping tool and high grade aircraft cable to create these latches, combined with the provided hardware for the speaker.
The difficult step was now connecting the speakers to the base and the other speakers to form the array. We had to be very careful on the scaffolding and we made sure it was properly stabilized. The purpose of the hang was installation alone, and it was not yet aimed correctly. The reason it wasn’t done was because they were having a professional come in to map the space. They then use a proprietary software that determines the optimum degrees and positioning of the array.
Justin was called today to fix a problem at another one of his clients and I joined him and Jesse there for this day. They had an overly complicated system setup for their live sound mix and they also wanted to begin streaming. Justin began working on dismantling the old system while Jesse and I began drilling holes and running cable for the video feed. We also redirected their speakers for better coverage. We weren’t able to finish everything so we had to schedule to come back again.
Now that the arrays were completed we went to another area of the club offstage to hang speakers. These were similar to the arrays at the base, but they only hang one speaker instead. This made installation go by so much faster than the arrays. Since the rigging and bases were already installed from the other day, the three of us were able to hang 8 separate speakers. Now that I have been getting a lot of hands on work I have been able to do a lot more quickly and safely.
Jesse took me to one of his clients today to work on a small installation with him. This was a new apartment complex being built in downtown York, PA. The client wanted an outdoor patio to have waterproof speakers connected to a bluetooth receiver. It would be open to anyone at the complex to connect to. Issues of people connecting and playing too loudly, too late, or too inappropriate came to my mind. Jesse said as of now the clients plan was to have it based on good faith, but they could change it if the need arises.
Today is the last day of my work at Club XL. I will still be working with Justin and Jesse, but at another location. On our last day here we got a shipment of cable for both the speakers and television sets that are coming in. We started by measuring all of the planned cuts and labeling them as we cut them. Once they were all laid out we began to attach the connections on the wires. We started to run the cable, but weren’t able to finish by the end of the day.
The last days of my internship were spent at Derry Animal Hospital. This small vets office had a few break in attempts and wanted a better security system. I helped install 2 dozen cameras around the building and outside as well. We had to run cabling around the building, through the basement, and in the walls. It was a rough couple of days and hard work getting them all installed. This internship was such a fantastic opportunity and I learned so much. I made great connections and I can’t wait to go back again.