In its simplest form, an audio zone is an area where all of the loudspeakers work together to deliver one consistent output. This means that every speaker in the zone will come on at the same time and play the same content – whether that is music or speech – at the same volume. A zone could be anything from a specific room, such as a private dining area in a restaurant, to a section of a larger space such as a hotel pool being a separate zone from its neighbouring terrace.
Breaking a venue down into different audio zones is a common practice in commercial audio installations. In a bar you could use it to have commentary for live sport on in one room and background music in another, while in transport hubs you can use them to send different announcements to different platforms. Zones can also be combined so the same content can play across multiple spaces, allowing venues flexibility with their daily operations.
Control for different zones will run through a zone mixer. Advances in audio processing technology mean that these have become considerably simpler to use. Modern installed systems are now GUI-based to provide simple touch panel controls allowing end-users to directly control the basic functions of the audio, such as source and volume, in different zones.
For most audio installations, zones will form a large collection of loudspeakers over a wide space. However, there are some applications where you need more flexibility to be able to create ever-changing audio environments.
When it comes to installing audio systems at casinos, creating flexible zones is one of the most important elements. It is highly unlikely that a casino will want to always have the same gaming footprint, and flexible zones will help them to move tables and bring in new features as and when they see fit.
In our experience, the best way to do this is by creating a large number of smaller audio zones. This is the method we followed at Time Square Casino in Pretoria. We have installed an audio system to cover the main gaming floor that was broken down into multiple small audio zones. These can be used individually or combined to meet the needs of any particular game. This gives the casino the ability to add new tables or games and to move them anywhere across the gaming floor.
Whatever your project, a zoned audio system is probably going to be a good fit. Contact Prosound’s experienced design team to learn more about how we can help with your project.