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Sound Mill - Like Ringing a Bell

"I am very happy with the software as well as the unique setup we have."
School Administrator

A school uses Sound Mill to automate ringing period bells in 16 classrooms and group rooms throughout the school day.

It's Back to School Time for Sound Mill

School The Requirement

An administrator for a school with 16 classrooms, located in New York state, contacted us with an interesting question.

"Could Sound Mill be used in a school bell system application? I am especially interested in the ability to output to multiple zones simultaneously. I may setup each classroom on a separate cable and want groups of classrooms to ring at the same time."

To be honest, we hadn't even thought of this type of application, but the answer was Yes. Leave it to users to come up with novel and interesting ways to apply a program.

The bell ring would be a simple audio file (MP3 or WAV) played through a speaker in each room. So for example, they might want to ring general period bells in all classrooms at specific times of day. But they also want to ring special bells in designated zones such as the teachers lounge, cafeteria or gym. They may also want to use the system to make standard pre-recorded announcements in some zones. And the entire system needs to be automated to run unattended. And automated to the point that the only operater intervention needed is to have an office worker boot up the computer on Monday morning and let it run for the week.

Classroom The Sound Mill Solution

To solve this requirement, the administrator created a Sound List with one audio WAV file for the bell ring sound. Then using Sound Mill Output Groups, he created a group that would pipe the sound to all classrooms and several other groups that pipe sound to only a specific set of rooms. Using Sound Mill Automation Scripts, he created a simple script for each time a bell should ring. For example, bells need to ring for: start and end of each period; end of home room period; end of day dismissal; Teachers' Meeting, etc. Using the Sound Mill Scheduler, each script was scheduled to execute at a specific time of day. There is one step in the script that Plays the bell sound and specifies which Output Group to pipe the sound to.

To achieve unattended operation, Sound Mill is automatically started when the computer is booted up. This is done by a Windows batch file which starts the program and specifies which Sound List to load. The batch file is placed in the Windows Start-Up folder so it executes on computer boot-up. Sound Mill options are set to auto-start the Scheduler when the program is started and to rebuild the Scheduler daily schedule plan every day at 12AM.

The computer can even be multi-purposed for other office work if desired while Sound Mill runs quietly in the background. And ad-hoc, recorded announcements can be played manually at any time with Sound Mill without disturbing the period bells automation.


  • Computer: Standard Windows 7.
  • USB External Soundcards, connected to a USB Hub, one for each target room.
  • Each conference room has its own powered speaker system.

Sound Mill Product Information