Dr. Frederick Ampel

Dr. Frederick Ampel

Dr. Frederick J. Ampel has been involved in the professional A/V industry for more than 40 years, working as a systems designer, consultant, sales and marketing professional and market researcher. He was the founding editor of Sound & Video Contractor and for SCN, as well as an editorial development consultant for Residential Systems Magazine, Live Sound International and ProSoundWeb. He holds a PhD in Acoustics and MS in Broadcasting and Electrical Engineering from Boston University and has been published by the Institute of Acoustics (UK), Acoustical Society of America, AES, NSCA, InfoComm and quoted in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, and numerous industry publications. He volunteered with and taught for CEDIA, NSCA, InfoComm and AES. In 1991, Fred founded Technology Visions Analytics, a consultancy and market research firm, which he still runs today. Reach him via email at fred@proaudioweb.com.

Dropping the Ball

May 28, 2020

Responsiveness and Reliability As any regular reader of my columns will know, one of my significant beliefs is critical to any relationship between a manufacturer and consultants/specifiers. It’s about two things: responsiveness and reliability. Therefore, I present the following story as an illustration of precisely what NOT to do if you are a manufacturer. Take […]

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The Problem With Video Projection and Natural Light in Houses of Worship

May 21, 2020

It’s a given: This scenario will play out in almost any size house-of-worship project. I have lost track of the number of times (at least a hundred over the last decade) a HOW client has asked about the possibility of a large-screen projection installation in the middle of a beautiful, naturally lit sanctuary — in […]

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In the Cloud Part 2: Options for Analog Signal Processing Hardware

April 21, 2020

In October 2019, I wrote a column about how much of the industry was moving into the cloud. Well, as that was being written, several moving parts came into play and — poof — another cloud-based concept came to fruition. So maybe everything is going to move into the cloud, or at least a lot […]

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Golden Rules for Sound Systems in Houses of Worship

April 7, 2020

I recently reiterated what should be genetically embedded concepts for sound system design and deployment in the world of AV facilities and locations. (See: Golden Rules of Sound Implementation and Design.) Although those rules apply to the Houses of Worship segment of our industry as well, some particular and unique add-ons are crucial to success […]

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Part 1: How Audio Advertising Is Failing in the HOW Market

March 24, 2020

At the end of last year (2019) in his December column, my well-regarded rAVe colleague, Anthony Coppedge, presented his eagerly awaited advertising analysis of the HOW market. Anthony cogently broke down how products and services are being sold/marketed and promoted to the house of worship market(s). As is customary with Anthony’s analysis, it was spot-on. […]

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Online Versus Storefront: How the HOW Market Was Won

March 6, 2020

In several recent columns, I have pointed out the enormous and consistently expanding size of the online sales channel servicing the demand for pro audio, production, management information and numerous other categories of AV gear that the 230,000+ small houses of worship are generating. The best available estimates of the overall sales for the three […]

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The Golden Rules of Sound System Implementation and Design

February 25, 2020

Disclaimer: This is one of those topics that seems to require periodic reminders and refreshers. Why this is the case is one of the great mysteries of the AV life, but we seem to lose sight of the core principals reasonably regularly, and thus — the following is your scheduled reminder that the foundational rules […]

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Can We Help Houses of Worship Find and Vet AV Technology Vendors?

January 27, 2020

Help me! How do I ? Where do I? These and a lot of similar questions were the core of the responses we gathered during and after the seminar session on “How to Source and Purchase Equipment for a HOW AV System,” presented during the WFX Conference & Expo in September 2019, held in Orlando, […]

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Exploring Your Organizational DNA: Combining Inside and Outside Studies for Effective Results That Pay Real Dividends

January 14, 2020

Understanding the complex relationships between the inside perceptions of your organization and its culture and the equally vital external perceptions of those same elements is the key to empowering long-term strategic growth and expansion. If you do not have a good reference for both aspects of this crucial data, it’s impossible to develop a plan […]

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The “Can I” Question

December 26, 2019

Anyone who has ever sat in on a project meeting with end users, purchasers, IT, corporate, architects (and all the other professionals likely to be at the table) knows that perspectives are often significantly distorted. How? They’re distorted by either too much or too little understanding of the technologies involved. In this hypothetical project meeting, […]

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The Smartest Person in the Room

December 20, 2019

If you are working in the house of worship (HOW) market providing advice, guidance and expertise, you should be offering a clearly defined set of options and services to any customer or congregation. Given the enormous number of small HOWs in North America (well over 250,000 locations across all denominations), the need for clarity, flexibility […]

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Evaluate or Guesstimate

November 22, 2019

One of the things a consultant is often asked to do, especially for a repeat client, is to evaluate the work presented by others. Unfortunately, this is usually requested AFTER the proposal or submission has been generated and presented. If you’re asked to undertake such an analysis, what you’re really being asked is to determine […]

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Can You Hear Me Now?

November 1, 2019

Recently our rAVe colleague Jacob Blount wrote, in the rAVe HOW [House of Worship] newsletter, about a video of the Angel City Chorale showcasing very poor choir miking, and how this seriously detracted from the value and presentation intended — hardly a clean choir sound. I’m probably dating myself, but I couldn’t help but think […]

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The Rise of the Cloud and Networked Software and the Realities of Embedded Infrastructure

October 21, 2019

“It’s all going to be in the cloud” — that’s what researchers seem to be saying to the whole AV/IT world. Let’s dive into the hardware vs. software debate, for things are not always what they seem. Indeed, technologies like digital signage storage/retrieval and security archives are already on or are migrating to some conglomeration […]

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At Different Church Organization Types, Who’s in Charge?

October 11, 2019

Knowing not only the type of leadership structure each of the different church organization types has, but also who within the congregation actually holds and wields that leadership power, is a critical element in guiding any HOW technical project from concept to completion. In a recent webinar created for the WFX Expo audience (available online […]

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The End of the Beginning

September 18, 2019

It’s all going to be in the cloud — that’s what the researchers seem to be saying to the whole AV/IT world. 
Certainly technologies like digital signage storage and retrieval and a lot of security archive are already on or migrating to cloud or some hybrid of the cloud based platforms. The reality is perhaps […]

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Needs Analysis for Small Houses of Worship (Part 3)

September 9, 2019

In the first two parts of this series (part one, part two) we broke down the information regarding who is involved in the decision tree, who should be what did the congregation/facility/staff/leadership say they wanted? More importantly what did you hear and finally, what do they really need? As we strongly emphasized in part one, […]

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So Much More Acoustical Data, So Little Improvement in Results

August 21, 2019

Half a century ago, the world of audio and acoustic measurement was changed forever with the invention of Time Delay Spectrometry and its evolution into what would later come the TEF Analyzer and other more sophisticated hardware. The original documents, patent and explanation can be found here. Dr. Heyser’s original sketch of the system is […]

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Needs Analysis for Small Houses of Worship (Part 2)

August 12, 2019

What did they say they wanted? More importantly what did you hear and finally, what do they really need? The answers to these key questions are the roadmap to winning the job, but more often than not, just finding the map is a huge issue in and of itself. As was discussed in the first […]

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Is It a Standard if Nobody Uses it?

July 10, 2019

The AV/IT industry has a problem, one of its own making and one that is getting worse by the micro-second. There are just too many conflicting and confusing “standards” and best practices. Between those created by trade groups, those developed by technical associations or technology consortia (worse yet as these tend to be proprietary) and […]

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Needs Analysis for Small Houses of Worship (Part 1)

June 27, 2019

There are well in excess of a quarter of a million small houses of worship in North America, according to the latest data from the National Congregations Study, conducted through Duke University. (For additional information about the National Congregations Study, go here.) For reference, the generally accepted definition of a small congregation is characterized by […]

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Together or Not at All, Part 2

April 22, 2019

In a previous column, “Signal to Noise,” I discussed the ever-increasing amount of marketing communications besieging our end-users/customers. And while that trend in and of itself has a multifaceted impact on the industry, there is an underlying issue that has a much, much, much larger potential impact and is truly the dark side of the […]

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Together or Not at All, Part 3: The Other Direct Problem

April 16, 2019

In two previous columns on the regular rAVe Blogsquad feed, I explored the issues surrounding both manufacturer communications and the increasing perceived problem of direct sales by manufacturers and suppliers to end users, essentially going around the establish dealer/integrator/retail distribution structure. However, there is another side to this story, one that is often being treated […]

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The Hybrid Approach to Acoustics Instrument Reinforcement

March 14, 2019

Of all the various issues that generate the most questions from potential and current clients in the HOW markets, creating and managing the musical aspects of a service are definitely at the top of the list. It matters not whether it’s a simple guitar and piano accompaniment to a traditional service or a full-on praise-band […]

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Signal to Noise

March 7, 2019

Once again my rAVe blogsquad colleague Anthony Coppedge took out his 40-ounce framing hammer and hit the nail right on the head in his recent post about email noise in brand marketing for the house of worship market-space. Almost simultaneously with that post another group of articles appeared in several publications focused on dealing with […]

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Understanding the Mission — Supporting the Mission

February 20, 2019

At the heart of every faith-based organization are two core ideas. To achieve their goals, any such group needs one, a clear vision of what it wants to achieve and two, a specific methodology or mission, which will allow them to reach that goal. Unfortunately, not every group does an equally solid job of putting […]

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The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth

February 14, 2019

Ned Beatty, the highly regarded character actor, playing shady US Senator Charles F. Meachum in the 2007 film, Shooter famously said: “The truth is what I say it is.” I have a question for the AV industry – is it? (If you have seen or don’t remember the movie — the clip can be found […]

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Making the Sale… or Not

February 9, 2019

In his annual year end post this past December, my rAVe HOW colleague Anthony Coppedge presented his analysis of the advertising to the HOW market he though represented the best and worst of the numerous marketing messages he reviewed. His column is well worth your time whether you’re a buyer, seller or just curious. The […]

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The Golden Year

February 1, 2019

Although you are reading this in February 2019, it was written in December of 2018 due to the weird schedules needed for online publishing. December of 2018 was a personally momentous month because it represented a major milestone — my 50th year as a member of the Audio Engineering Society and the professional audio community […]

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Scope Creep

January 9, 2019

One of the most prevalent themes in any AV/IT industry discussion is the continually increasing globalization of the sourcing for product development and most specifically software. No longer is the underlying code for the majority of AV products written by the brand on the front panel. In fact, more often than not, that software is […]

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Situational Awareness, Part 2: The Technology Lag Factor

December 27, 2018

Scott Brinker, editor at chiefmartec.com, better known as the Chief Marketing Technologist blogger, said in a recent post, “The funny and frustrating truth is that organizations change (far) more slowly than technology.” In fact, the speed of technology uptake (or change) is usually a fraction of the speed at which the technology is actually evolving. […]

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Solving the Problem, Part One

December 11, 2018

Over the past few months, my esteemed rAVe HOW colleague, Anthony Coppedge, has written several columns that raised significant and critical issues regarding the supply of and sales of AV hardware and related products into the house of worship markets. His focus has been on the issues facing integrators and why many of them are […]

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