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Using Laptop With Speakers To Run Your Displays Sound


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Hi all,

I'm starting my first animated display this year and won't pretend to know it all, I'm getting a basic understanding of the LOR controllers and soon the software and have started building my mini trees and getting the bits together for my Mega tree.

I do have a question though which is what is the easiest best value option for running sound? I had looked at the LOR showtime director as I have a normal PC no laptop but though wait I'll have to buy a amp and speakers or run it to a stero with a AUX input which I also don't have so, I am wondering if I buy your basic smaller laptop (11" screen size nice and light and portable) would the on-board soundcard be powerful enough to run speakers? Surely someone else has tried this and I know I run a logitech 2.1 speaker pack through my PC's sound card and its very loud plus I will be using the FM transmitter.

So to sum it up which invloves less cost, less components and wires going everywhere whilst still doing the job?

On a seperate note I signed up on the LOR website for sales notices a week ago have I missed the spring sale or is it still coming? (if anyone knows)

Thanks

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The laptop would not have enough power to run a set of speaker for the outside public. Locally, meaning that you are using it for monitoring the show progress inside and have a transmitter for the public would be fine. Bottom line if you are trying to run outdoor speakers you will need an amp no matter what you have as the source - laptop or pc.

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You have not missed the LOR spring sale.For sound i use my home stereo and ran speaker wires outside from that.I bought some big speakers at a garage sale for $5.I send the signal to the stereo with my fm transimitter.I also use the MP3 director for my show.

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OK, my laptop is how I am pumping the audio to the FM transmitter and it works great. The outdoor speakers ans such, depending on your neighborhood, cannot be that loud anyway. Us a small "boombox" picked up at a resale shop or garage sale this summer. There is no need to have blaring music and a fm transmitter. We will be using an old Reciver from our house to play the msic just loud enough so people know there is music, if they cannot figure out the radio sign or so people that want to get closer can ear it, but noting that can be heard next door.

Just my opinion.

PS I have recived no Email from the LOR sale so you should be good to go

I read through again and saw something I missed.....

If you use the PC speakers you were talking about and have them outside, the sound will carry about 25-50' but who knows the quality...i say set it up out there just like you would try to do it and see what it sounds like. Most PC speakers have small amps built in already.

Edited by Joker4452
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I can't help you with the laptop question but I'd stay away from using the laptop to drive your speakers. The output is very low and you may overheat the internal audio amp.

I use an old beater XP PC to run the show in that LOR doesn't need much computer to run. The audio output goes to the FM transmitter. For the the walk-ups, I put two small outdoor speakers near the sidewalk. They come off the "B" speaker outputs on my garage stereo (everyone has one, right?) that is tuned to my transmitter frequency. I rig it this way because it's easy and it also assures me that the FM transmitter is working when I can hear the music from the garage stereo.

It's also the first thing that gets set up so I can listed to my christmas tunes while I set up the rest of the show.

Good luck with your show.

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I used an old laptop to run the show, fm transmitter and an old pair of speakers with no problems at all. We have a lot of walkers in the neighborhood, so the speakers are perfect for them. I simply wrapped the speakers in a couple plastic bags and set them up off the ground, out of snow.

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Well that should just about clear it up for you. Would you like any more "help"?

No I think thats enough lol, I'll give the laptop a go first - my street is very narrow so I only need sound to carry 20ft or so - and hey, if its not loud enough then along with more lights and displays the following year I will buy a amp too :D

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  • 4 weeks later...

At the start of my first year in 2010 I really didn't think I would need outdoor speakers since I was broadcasting on FM radio. However; I found that many people would choose to watch the show on foot in front of the house vs. wait in the long car line. So on busy nights I would put out speakers.

* I connected my PC to a stereo receiver and then put speakers at the garage door with the garage door opened about 6 inches. Plenty loud and then some.

* I also took a small boom box and put it in the bushes where no one could see and had it tuned into the frequency I was transmitting on.

I later put the external sound on a timer to shut off when the crowds started to die off. You don't want the speakers on when your show goes offline if you're tuned into radio since you'll get some loud static (not popular with neighbors).

People really seemed to appreciate it.

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I later put the external sound on a timer to shut off when the crowds started to die off. You don't want the speakers on when your show goes offline if you're tuned into radio since you'll get some loud static (not popular with neighbors).

That is great advice. I never would have thought of that.

Thanks

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That is great advice. I never would have thought of that.

Thanks

I do like Walleyes. But I leave my FM tranmistter on 24/7, when the show shuts down, it just sends a "dead carrier signal", so the radio tuned to the transmitter connected to my outdoor speakers has no static or hiss, just silent dead air, plus the radio was kept low for folks walking by on the sidewalk. This year I may plug the radio into a LOR channel so I can shut it and the speakers off completely, mainly because I am in a different environment this year (2011). Doing an apartment display this year.

Also at 7am, I run a non-light show, basically transmitting Halloween or Christmas music during the day until my show start tiime, so my shows ran like this for Halloween and Christmas (see below).

Halloween

Sunday-Thursday:7:00pm-11pm / Friday-Saturday 7:00pm-12:00am {midnight}(musical lightshow)

Sunday-Thursday 11:01pm- 6:58am / Friday-Saturday 12:01am-6:58am Slow cycle fading of all lights and decorations

7:00am-5:59pm FM Tranmission of Halloween Music and voiceovers

Christmas

Sunday-Thursday:5:00pm-11pm / Friday-Saturday 5:00pm-12:00am {midnight}(musical lightshow)

Sunday-Thursday 11:01pm- 6:58am / Friday-Saturday 12:01am-6:58am Slow cycle fading of all lights and decorations

7:00am-4:59pm FM Tranmission of Christmas Music and voiceovers

Edited by LOR-CF
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  • 3 weeks later...

But I leave my FM tranmistter on 24/7

I would do this, but I worry about 2 things:

1) Burning out my FM transmitter. I only have one, they don't make it anymore, and if it goes out in the middle of the show the natives may drag me out of the house.

2) I worry about unmarked FCC vans driving around with antennas and oscilloscopes. Although they would probably hone in on the guy in the next neighborhood over who thought it would be a good idea to get the 5 watt transmitter (LOL).

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