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Intelligence is a matter of sound

Although the term intelligence is widely used by investigative agencies such as the Police and the Army, it is also commonly used in professional audio to designate equipment whose main objective is to make life more comfortable for the end user.

By: Héctor Gómez Pérez

"It was a mission in which extensive intelligence was deployed," is a very military response and that is not infrequently heard in the media of our countries after a police force hits crime. But the term is not exhausted in the purely military.

Throughout the history of the world, intelligence, from any point that is analyzed, has been widely valued, and today occupies a privileged place when it comes to audio systems for considerations ranging from saving time, ease of handling the system, the integration of equipment and the fact of getting the most out of the different components of a sound system.

To talk about intelligent audio systems AVI LATINOAMÉRICA consulted the opinion of three experts in the field: Juan Fernando Montoya, sales manager for Latin America of the brands EV, Midas, KT, Telex and Bosch Audio; Carlos J. Guerra Castillo, sales manager for Latin America and the Caribbean of Speakercraft Inc, and Juan A. Tamayo, project director of Almacenes La Cita in Medellín, Colombia.

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Intelligence and intuition

An intelligent system seeks to automate many of the repetitive functions involved in the management of an audio system, hence what is sought is that it is very intuitive "that is why graphic interfaces are usually elaborated to the user tailored to each project or the user itself," explained Montoya.

Although Carlos J. Guerra opined that the denomination of intelligent sound systems for some equipment and systems "is a work of good marketing and advertising because the systems are as intelligent as the programming they receive."

Juan Tamayo, for his part, was clear in explaining the primary objective of these systems: "in a few words to make life easier for the end user. A complex system doesn't help the user, and the user ends up throwing it away." Regarding the issue of the complexity of systems, Montoya makes an important clarity by pointing out that in many cases audio systems are operated by personnel who are not audio specialists and that is where the intelligence of the system plays a prominent role. "That's where this intelligence allows these complex systems to appear very simple in the light of the operator and their operation to be transparent to him," he said.

It should be noted that this equipment is used in projects where the audio system is interconnected to others, for example alarms and evacuation sensors. In that case the system must know how to react to an alarm detection or what to do in case it finds a fault in the system.

In this regard, Juan Montoya said that intelligent systems such as the Netmax EV and TG amplifiers are focused on Tour and amplification systems for musical and theater events "where it is very important to have a system that is so intelligent that it manages to detect if a cable of the speakers is poorly connected or if any component of the speaker system has failed or even if due to the use or the abuse is still working, but it has dropped from its optimal level of performance."

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System Components

When talking about components of an intelligent audio system Guerra pointed out that it is basically composed of a brain as the main matrix, an amplifier or amplifiers for each zone, keyboard controls for the user and interfaces for audio sources.

Juan Tamayo, explains that they require a programmable signal processing system (matrix or digital mixer), intelligent amplifiers (if necessary it depends on the application), in addition to frequently used elements such as speakers, microphones, among others.

For his part, Montoya, when talking about intelligent audio components, pointed out that there are wireless microphones that detect the cleanest frequencies and are located in them to avoid falls and interference; they also allow you to monitor the status of the batteries and warn before they run out. As far as mixers are concerned, there are some that transport signals from different points digitally and that allow you to record scenes and default settings that advance as it is requested.

He also pointed out that there are automixers who know when to open and close microphones automatically without the need for an operator to perform this procedure. On the side of the matrixes said that there are some that allow to monitor the status of the microphones and their wiring and pass the information to the network or even send messages to a cell phone or an email. To all the above are added amplifiers that adapt exactly to the needs of the speaker they are handling, also monitor the status of the components and wiring; as far as software is concerned, there are some that unite all the previous systems and manage them from a common platform, so the audio system is a large whole and not a sum of many parts.

The panorama in Latin America

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Faced with the issue of the region and the implementation of these systems, there were common points on the part of the three guests and others that distanced themselves a little. Carlos J. Guerra said that "these audio systems are almost a requirement in homes of a certain level in the United States and Europe, although here it is not so required. Latin America is growing by leaps and bounds in this niche as Latinos love music and adequate training and awareness of these systems in the end user will make the growth of the market faster."

"The market is a bit stuck, there is still the philosophy of the table mixer to control areas and integrate. Additionally in the United States and Europe for large built areas there is legislation on emergencies and evacuation that requires these buildings to have an intelligent audio system, where they are monitored and are able to supervise the speakers and microphones connected to it, "said Juan A. Tamayo.

Juan Fernando Montoya thinks that the region is not lagging behind more industrialized regions and pointed out that "we see that every day there are more followers of this type of systems, it is a strong task to show people that this really is not a luxury or an extra cost, but on the contrary they are systems that lead to make the most of resources and become a very good investment of money. "

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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