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Upgrade Your Audio System: How To Know When It’s Time

Thanks to rapid developments in technology and business operation — especially the accelerated push toward digital transformation forced by the pandemic — audio systems are aging faster than ever nowadays. Businesses, organizations, and institutions need to keep up to deliver professional quality audio systems for events, customer experiences, and employee meetings.

But how does an IT director or facilities manager know it’s time to upgrade their audio system? Here’s a closer look at some of the most critical signs that it’s time to consider audio system upgrades and how to streamline the process.

Common Red Flag

Over time, even the best audio systems require upgrades as hardware inevitably loses performance and efficiency in the later stages of the lifecycle. However, like eyesight, these systems can degrade so gradually that you may not even notice until you hear a new one.

These early warning signs can alert you that something is wrong and it’s time to consider an upgrade:

  • Sound failures or the need for frequent repairs to existing audio equipment
  • Sound quality, volume, or velocity no longer meet user needs
  • Outdated designs that create ergonomic or visual concerns
  • Cable bundles that create physical safety hazards
  • Physical business expansions that go beyond what the original sound systems were built for
  • New virtual platforms that have different sound needs than what your current audio system provides
  •  New policies that increase capablities, offerings, and expectations of employees

An audio systems upgrade can improve sound quality in any space, from conference rooms to event spaces.

One red flag is very often followed by another. If you recognize these issues, it can give you the advanced warning to head them off before they snowball into something worse — and potentially more costly.

Upgrade and Transition Management

Once an organization decides to upgrade its audio systems, a solid transition plan is key to its success. There are several factors to consider when developing an audio system upgrade roadmap.

  • Assessment of the spaces being fitted for new sound systems: It’s essential to understand how the spaces in question are being or will be used. For example, a small conference room that’s used primarily for videoconferences with remote employees has specific needs. This knowledge can help determine which systems and solutions are best designed for that area’s designated purpose.
  • Advice of professional audio-visual partner: However clear your vision for an upgraded system is, you still need a tech-savvy expert to translate it into an achievable plan that’s executed efficiently. A professional audio-visual partner can point out possible weak points in the vision, anticipate challenges, and develop a transition plan that’s minimally disruptive. They can also provide the training to operate and maintain the new system.
  • Timing of upgrade: During the transition from older systems to new, it is helpful to identify timing gaps when large events aren’t being held or when staff may be offsite, such as over weekends or during planned shutdowns. The right timing can minimize the disruption from the installation of new sound equipment.

Key Areas To Upgrade

Upgrades to your audio system can enhance all parts of your business or organization. However, these areas particularly benefit.

Conference Rooms

Conference rooms have become crucial to adapting to today’s hybrid workforce models, and audio-visual systems need to deliver professional quality audio playback, intelligent recording, and video as required. Ease of operations is crucial, or IT employees are going to spend significant time troubleshooting an endless string of challenges.

Videobar devices like the Bose Professional Videobar VB-S and Bose Professional Videobar VB1 provide the audio and video capabilities required by today’s most popular collaboration and communication platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. They bring flexibility, too, and can be optimized for specific conference spaces, delivering the quality sound and image that makes collaboration a natural extension of the daily workflow. Furthermore, they’re easy to operate, empowering individuals to run meetings without requiring significant IT support.

Auditoriums and Event Spaces

Upgrading the audio system in a main event space can transform the attendee experience and even elevate a company meeting to a professional-level event, be it with bold sound arrays or low-profile sound system options.

It’s easy to optimize the sound experience of even the largest spaces with today’s technology. DeltaQ technology, for example, defines the next-generation in loudspeaker array design with selectable coverage patterns that more precisely direct sound to audience areas for the best sound quality and vocal clarity throughout the listening area.

For spaces with aesthetic concerns, technologies like EdgeMax allow for ceiling mounted audio with low profiles that can adapt to any architectual vision. For more custom spaces, solutions such as DesignMax offer 15 options that can tune the sound experience to a unique space.

Lobbies and Hallways

The sound quality in common areas such as lobbies and hallways is an often overlooked aspect of a professional sound experience but just as important. Enhanced clarity for announcements and background music can impact the employee and customer experience in a positive way and yield important returns. Often, high-traffic areas have unique configurations and needs. Options such as the FreeSpace FS provide the ability to easily configure a solution.

Sound Rejuvenation

An aging audio solution can cause challenges and create significant maintenance issues for businesses, organizations, and institutions in any industry. Considering the pace of development and action in nearly all of them, a blip on the audio-visual radar can quickly turn into a full-blown meltdown, costing even more than an upgrade.

Ultimately, upgrading audio systems can eliminate the challenges of dealing with aging equipment and offer the streamlined audio sounds that today’s organizations demand. As part of an organization’s hardware lifecycle management plan, reviewing the performance and life expectancy of equipment — including audio visual systems — is crucial to meeting the fast-changing needs of today’s business world.