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PAT MCCARTHY SPM AUDIO ENGINEERING Follow spmaudio on Twitter
Reliable, No-Nonsense Audio Expertise since 1990
Reliable, No-Nonsense Audio Expertise since 1990

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SYSTEM DESIGN

Are you a house of worship, entertainment venue or conference center looking for an all-new sound or audio-visual system? Or a traveling act, ministry, or exhibit looking for a reliable, solid, plug-and-play portable system? Either way, a highly recommended approach is to get a consultant to design and specify the system according to your needs, then work with you on getting and selecting bids from qualified contractors and suppliers. This ensures that all bids are “apples-to-apples”, and that each bid proposes a system truly aligned with your requirements, instead of being whatever products the suppliers want to move, or whatever tricks they’re comfortable with (commonly known as the “design-build” approach). Also, it provides a single point of accountability, and a channel through which your needs are translated into a language that sound and audio-visual suppliers can understand and act on. (This is similar to an architect designing a building or a home addition.)

While this approach may seem like it would increase costs (compared to design-build), it really doesn’t in the long run. Since the consultant does all the initial planning with the client as well as the engineering work, there is much less work for the contractors to do, so their prices come in lower. Also, the process of gathering bids is expedited, which, in new construction, cuts down on delays. (Not to mention that getting the right specifications to other trades up front can save a lot of money.) In cases where planning and bid selection is done by committee, the committee members’ valuable time is saved by only having to meet with the consultant once, and only having to review bids once. (The consultant coordinates with contractors on site surveys and bid submission.)

As a consultant, I can do all this design and specification work, and see the project through from bidding all the way to completion. I work closely with contractors and suppliers to make sure they are following the designs and specifications during the fabrication and installation phases, and I check their work closely during the completion and testing phases. Whether new or existing construction, permanent or portable, a whole new system or a partial replacement, I can design a system that sounds great, looks clean, is reliable and easy-to-use, and done right the first time. And I can help find contractors who do top-notch work at competitive prices. From my many years as a live sound engineer, I am up to speed on the technologies and techniques that work best for any environment, any budget, and any level of operator skill. And from the time I've spent doing installations of all types, I am very familiar with construction techniques and the construction industry in general.

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Copyright 2010-2014 by Samuel Patrick McCarthy

Last updated 11/3/2014

Thanks to Carl Miller and Elena Papastefan for site development and design assistance