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I take great pride in and spend an inordinate amount of time on my training productions. I call them productions instead of presentations because the word presentation allows the mindset of mediocrity to surreptitiously slink into the picture.
Anyone can build a PowerPoint slide show in about three hours, which ultimately will look like a typical, mediocre presentation. Always think production and always be revising, revamping and upgrading your productions.
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Another element that has always set my productions apart from most presentations is the element of dynamic sound. If you try to use a pair of typical desktop computer speakers, your results will be less than satisfactory. Bass sound frequencies will be almost nonexistent in a decent-sized room. Few, if any, can handle the sound volume needed without distortion. The result: Your presentation loses much of its potential effect due to the lack of dynamic sound. For years, I lugged around a huge, mega-watt computer gaming sound system that had a large bass driver and five speakers. The sound was great, but it made moving and seminar set-up logistics an absolute nightmare. The box was half the size of a bathtub, and the combined weight only added to the problem.
Sometimes when a negative event occurs, that negative opens the door to an unrelated positive. This rule definitely applied when the original gaming speaker system that I had on my home computer for ages, suffered a sudden and unexpected electronics death. Thus, my seminar speakers were rotated into my home computer system. I fully expected to just jump on the Internet and buy another identical set to use for teaching.
As luck would have it, that speaker set was no longer available.
Frankly, though, I’d grown tired of wrestling the oversized box to and from teaching engagements. The lengthy set up and break down time required to use them was no longer tolerable, as well. It was high-time for an upgrade to the good stuff.
I knew I needed something portable, yet powerful. I also thought I should get something with a wireless microphone setup.
I set off and began searching for the perfect system. I visited websites and the local music/guitar shops, and talked with some auctioneers about what they used for portable speakers. Although some units would’ve likely been adequate, none seemed to be what I really wanted. Most had multiple components, which would take an unavailable amount of time to setup and breakdown at the major training events. Sometimes there’s only a 15-minute break between classes.
I finally found the Amplivox SW915 Digital Audio Travel Partner.
It had everything I wanted and more. I’m not going to try and dazzle you with the specific performance specifications, mainly because I really don’t understand what much of the terminology actually means.
What I want to do is to relate my real-world experiences with the unit, while simultaneously encouraging other trainers to make the plunge into professional-grade sound equipment.
The first feature that makes the American-made Amplivox SW915 Digital Audio Travel Partner ideal for trainers is its portability. It’s 23" x 11.5" x 11" and weighs in at a manageable 35 lbs. Equipped with suitcase-type wheels and extendable handle, the unit is a breeze to move.
With its all-in-one design, there are no multiple components to worry about losing or forgetting. You can wheel it into your venue, plug it into power, plug in a 3.5 mm jack from your computer and you’re ready to go.
The wireless mic setup is an asset that you quickly adapt to. It projects your normal speaking voice far better than trying to raise and project your voice, without equipment.
It also has separate channel inputs -- all with separate volume controls -- allowing up to four different wireless microphones to be utilized simultaneously. In a class with multiple instructors, this feature can be an irreplaceable asset.
Ducking & the Mic
The unit also has a feature called “ducking,” which is great for making important points when showing video clips. Ducking is a talk-over feature that lowers the volume of a video or music that is playing, when you speak into the microphone. It will also produce adjustable reverb and echo effects should you have reason to do so. The controls are easy to learn. In addition, the channels, volumes and other controls are adjustable either through the supplied remote or by the push button menu on the unit.
If you can operate a TV/cable remote, you’ll be able to learn this one with ease. Although I haven’t had reason to use them yet, the built in CD player, USB and iPod input jacks will probably come in handy in the future.
The built-in wireless microphone system has eight channels to pick from, assuring interference-free operation should there be another wireless system in use at your venue.
The freedom of movement permitted by a wireless microphone is fantastic. It allows a level of audience interaction that would be otherwise impossible. However, you must use caution that you don’t get too close to the travel partner (or any speaker system, depending upon the volume setting), as you will create an ear-screeching feedback loop.
The manufacturer states the unit is powerful enough to handle a room up to 25,000 square feet, and an audience size of up to 7,500 people.
Although I haven’t had the opportunity to have an audience that large, I have little doubt that the Amplivox SW915 Audio Travel Partner can back up those claims. The unit’s sound is crystal-clear, even at high volume levels.
The Amplivox SW915 Digital Audio Travel Partner has other input/output jacks and numerous features that I won’t attempt to explain in this article. Nevertheless, for the vast majority of law enforcement trainers, this unit will perfectly suit your needs for high-quality sound. It’s not overly complicated to set-up, operate, or transport.
Overall, if you’re considering a professional audio upgrade for your production grade presentations, I’d highly recommend the Amplivox SW915 Digital Audio Travel Partner.
If the SW-915 Digital Travel Partner exceeds your needs, Amplivox offers a wide range of portable sound equipment that should fit any specific training needs. Visit their website at www.ampli.com.