Why Measure

An industry heavyweight working with a top tier artist once stated, “I’ve been all over the world & I find something wrong with every sound system I measure”.

In the live sound reinforcement realm, many of us are faced with the daunting task of using an unfamiliar sound system in an unfamiliar venue for a career. The only way to know whether the rig is designed, installed & tuned well is to measure the components ourselves upon arrival. This goal requires that we schedule the time & commit to efficiently taking the measurements & knowing what to do once we have the facts in front of us. Is there time to fix things? Do we have the tools necessary to correct any issues we might find? Was the system brought in for this one show & we will be starting from scratch? Lots of possible scenarios.

Let’s be practical & logical since that is what audio people do. There is no good excuse to be an audio engineer that doesn’t know how to use the tools & take the measurements anymore. It’s mandatory in my view. The tools are inexpensive & the techniques are documented. Even if it takes years, we’ll all be better off if even the small fish in the pond starts the journey. We’ll all be better off when everyone understands how to measure correctly & what to do with the data.

In the studio or shop, being able to verify proper function of system components is vital when you rely on your gear to earn a living. Microphones get dropped. Speakers develop mechanical defects. Audio gear drifts out of spec. Gear malfunctions. Cables get build incorrectly. All these issues can be easily tested for & diagnosed with a basic measurement rig.

In the year 2014, we should have the tools and skills needed to verify proper function of any component in a sound system or studio environment. We should be able to quickly measure & verify whether or not a sound system is properly spec-ed & installed in a given venue. Hope is not an acceptable substitute.

This is why this site exists. To help audio engineers & system designers that don’t yet know all there is to know about audio measurements & sound system design & optimization learn how to measure correctly, take the results & know what to do with them.

The forefathers of this field thought that it would be months before audio measurement tools & the principles learned by measuring became common. Sadly, I don’t think we’re there even today as much of the time, my measurement rig is the only one in the venue & yet I’m not the system tech. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel though & I think it’s a laptop running measurement software lighting up the face of a diligent audio engineer who yearns to learn the truth & provide the coming audience with a pleasing sonic experience 🙂