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A Funny Thing Happened

on the way to an article. It's interesting how things pan out sometimes. Actually, a couple of things happened as I was trying to find a new lead article

A Funny Thing Happened

Nov 1, 2003 12:00 PM,
Mark Johnson

… on the way to an article. It’s interesting how things pan out sometimes. Actually, a couple of things happened as I was trying to find a new lead article after the one I had originally planned on dropped out for this issue. I had been pitched an article about a new NFL stadium installation and thought that might make a good replacement. It’s timely from the standpoint that it’s a new facility, and it’s also football season. It had a good cross-section of technologies, with expansive sound and video capabilities. It’s perfect! But … is it a “sound reinforcement” system, or is it a “public address” system? A few phone calls got a disparity of thoughts from the people I polled informally. A call to the consultant who designed and spec’d the system confirmed that, at least in their eyes (and ears), it was a sound reinforcement system.

Well, due to unforeseen circumstances, that article didn’t happen either, but the question remained: what distinguishes a reinforcement system from a P.A. system? For a lively discussion about that subject, go to p. 36. Whether the question is answered completely, it’s always nice to get a little knowledge along the way.

During the initial research for sources and info, the author, Bruce Borgerson, and I found some interesting Web sites. Did you know that if you go to Sennheiser’s Web site ( from its German headquarters, there’s a glossary of audio terms prominently displayed? You can also take one of its online workshops (, which is about the voice. Take a look at; even if it doesn’t provide in-depth detail or technical info, it’s good stuff in the “fun facts to know and share” department. A cursory glance at other sites came up with Rane’s Web site (, which features a Reference navigation tab. Clicking on that yields another glossary, links to allied manufacturers, as well as a fairly extensive listing of books and reference materials and where you might get them. Extron’s Web site ( has an Education tab on the navigation bar. It has a quiz you can take to test your A/V IQ. It also has a glossary of video terms as well as graphics of pin configurations for various connectors. Also, there’s a listing of FAQs, some of which pertain specifically to Extron’s products, but there are also some about connectivity in general.

There is a plethora of sources for information that can be used in our daily routines, many supported by manufacturers by way of classes, seminars, or product training. Sometimes it’s information they’ve included on their Web sites. In an industry in which the lines of distinction are blurring between the disciplines and developments happen too fast to keep track, education and training are necessary. Having manufacturers share knowledge beyond just their products is commendable.

It’s also good business. Knowledge sharing is like a value-added commodity that is very much appreciated by customers (I know this because I’m a customer, too). Once you’ve taught something that can be of use in the workplace, that has value, and that creates customer loyalty.

I’d be interested in knowing about other industry resources (manufacturer sponsored or otherwise) that you find useful. Who knows — maybe that’s an article, as well.

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