We're glad you asked. In this article we'll cover the basics you need to know in order to move forward with using eCarillon for your organization. You might be surprised just how close you might be to having a functional bell system without spending thousands of dollars.
For a digital bell system there are a number of options out there but eCarillon is one of the few that allows you to use off-the-shelf hardware to create your very own bell system. So what do we mean when we say "bell system"?
At its most basic, a bell system includes the following:
Many of our customers find us because their old systems have decided to go on strike-- permanently, and it is prohibitively expensive to replace them. In many cases, these old systems have parts that are still perfectly functional and can still be used as part of your eCarillon bell system. For example, your old control unit died but the separate amplifier and speakers still work. In that case, a small computer running eCarillon and some quick audio connections can have your bells up and running in no time. See our FAQ for more information on the type of computer needed to run eCarillon.
In addition to parts, many older systems include music that you have already purchased and can be used (once digitized) in your new eCarillon system. Depending on the type of media (tape, CD, disk, etc) that the original music was stored on, the process of digitizing your old music can be done yourself for free or by someone else for a modest fee. Practically any local audio system expert (and likely a few folks in your organization) can help you with this process and also help you get things connected.
If you are starting from scratch, you'll probably want to look at one of our packages to help with the first 2 items in the list. Next, you'll need to find a suitable computer to run the software. We recommend asking for donations from people in your organization as a starting point. Many people upgrade computers very often these days and a hand-me-down computer may easily satisfy eCarillon's minimum requirements. If you can't find a donated one, don't fear. Almost any desktop PC from any big-box store or online will easily run eCarillon. We're talking under $200, not thousands. Don't believe us? Check these out. Once you have that, you are down to the last 2 items. You'll need the speaker(s), amplifier and connecting cables. Again, your local audio supplier can help you find an appropriate speaker and an amplifier that is well suited for your needs.
Don't let yourself be intimidated. Although you might not be a tech wiz, you likely know enough to put the pieces together to make this happen. And, isn't it worth trying? If you have been letting your old, broken system collect dust or you've been wanting a system for a long time but couldn't find the funds, eCarillon can provide the answer you have been looking for. We know that it has for many customers already and we are confident it can for you as well.
- The Carillon Solutions Team