You could get better than this, but you couldn’t pay more for it.

Meet the Jazz Jams exhibit.


This ginormous inverted pyramid of piffle is supposed to use a multi track recording of a jazz performance to interactively demonstrate to a visitor how each instrument contributes to the piece.

Unfortunately it’s implemented very badly. For one thing, if the signage is to be believed, it doesn’t work right at all. When you press a button, the selected instrument is bumped up a couple dB, but it’s by no means noticeably isolated.


Second, check this baby out. This is the speaker system seen at the top of the first picture. Not shown: in the table base is a powered subwoofer that’s not shown on the prints, I have no clue where its audio source comes from, and it was once guilty of having blown out violently, filling the gallery with capaci-funk.


That’s twelve Klipsch 70v driven speakers, each on its own circuit back to the central a/v system, where it has twelve different amplifier channels.

One for each instrument track.


So today the time came to simplify… when two of the 8 channel amplifiers flipped out. The prints at left are next to useless due to countless undocumented emergency repairs over the years.


It’s not looking so great in the rack right now; the cabling will need to be cleaned up. For now it’s kinda one-year-temporary until many of the exhibits using the current system will be decommissioned.

Looks like bukkake udon all up in that poor rack. ... No, get your mind out of the gutter.

What a mess… At least Jazz Jam was using a TON of still usable amp channels, and it sounds perfectly fine with the inputs and outputs merged.

I made an awful little passive mixer out of 1k resistors and perfboard that shall never be spoken of again. Okay, as my boss says, “Good Enough For Museum Work”. Yaaaaaaaaaggghhhhh

There’s a bright side to this– when those Crown amps die, Crown fixes them. It’s $402 maximum to get the amp back to us fully happy and operational again. A new one runs about $3600, so…. that’s a damn good repair cost.

I’ve been equally happy with the support and service from Crown’s broadcast/rf division. Always a nice company to work with.

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