The dangers of transferring settings from one DSP to another without verification

Bob McCarthy states in his book, “Sound Systems – Design and Optimization”, given the choice between one or the other, he would rather verify a system and not tune it than to tune a system that hasn’t been verified. Let that sink in. What is the purpose of tuning a sound system if the speakers aren’t aimed correctly? What if some of the speakers are out of polarity with others? What if some of the speakers aren’t working at all? What would be the point of trying to measure and tune a sound system like that if your goal is to optimize the system?

Dave Lawler has stated more than once to me that in his travels with artists such as KD Lang & Diane Krall, he has found something wrong with every system he measured (we’re talking about hundreds of systems). Let that sink in. Sadly my experience supports Dave’s statement. Anyone who gets in the habit of measuring sound systems is going to find issues along the way. The question is why? Why is it so rare to come across a properly designed, properly installed, properly optimized sound system regardless of the age or cost of the system? Here are few possible scenarios for a sound system.

1 – the system was well conceived, properly installed and optimized and it’s still in that state for all intent and purpose.

2 – the system was well conceived, properly installed and optimized but somewhere along the way, someone undid that good work thinking they could make the system better.

3 – the system was well conceived, properly installed but the person left in charge of optimization didn’t know what they were doing

4 – the system was poorly conceived, poorly installed & never optimized to begin with.

I’ve come across all 4 types of these systems multiple times. The rarest being #1. I can only think of a few sound systems that were good AS IS.

VCRH ceiling 2
VCRH ceiling 1

I was recently in a venue providing audio support for a birthday party. The original plan was to use the overhead house sound system in order to keep things simple. Once I setup my measurement rig I immediately noticed something very undesirable at the house sound system. The system was high frequency heavy and in a very live room, that is NOT a good thing. A tested the system with a handheld vocal microphone and it sounded thin and shrill too. With only a few minutes to regroup I went to my shop and grabbed some self powered speakers and speaker stands. I tuned my rig and the party was a success.

In the meantime, something is definitely not quite right with the venue sound system. I know the system designer and I actually installed the speakers so in theory the system should sound as good but it did not. Unusable as far as I was concerned. After discussing this situation with the house audio guy we made a plan to measure the entire system as soon as possible. He explained to me that the processing equipment had been updated recently from BSS Soundweb Green to BSS Soundweb London BLU but due to time restraints, the system had not been remeasured to verify proper function. Instead the DSP settings had been transferred from the old Soundweb units to the London BLU units.
VCRH BLU 160s
VCRH BLU BIB
In theory that should be a safe move but obviously something went wrong along the way. Yesterday we setup 3 measurement microphones to measure the rig and discovered there was more wrong that I had thought. A bit of information about the current system. There are (6) EAW KF300 90×45 speakers in the ceiling. In order to keep the ceiling clear of clutter (until the lighting instruments went in), the speakers were mounted above a acoustic grid aiming straight down. There are also (2) EAW SB330 single 18″ subs. The KF300 are being biamped. The SB330 specs say 35 Hz to 148 Hz. Recommended High Pass filter => 30hz, 12dB/octave Butterworth.

VCRH initial setup
VCRH 3 mics

Smaart 8 training in Vancouver Washington on June 1, 2, 3 – 2016

I’ve been trying to take a Smaart class with Jamie Anderson for over 2 years and my schedule has never allow for doing so without passing up work. This time I’ve done something dangerous and assumed that I will have the first week of June off.

Consequently, the class fee and airline ticket are paid for and rental car is reserved. If work comes up in the meantime I’ll have to do something I have a hard time doing and simply say I’m not available.

Smaart 8 training – Vancouver Washington 2016

Here is a break down of costs involved so far.
Rational Acoustics – 3 day Smaart training – $750
American Airlines roundtrip airfare between Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) & Portland (PDX)- $255.20
Dollar Rental Car – $224.03

Total investment at this point is $1229.13 before gas, food and incidentals.

When I pick up the rental car, I’ll gladly pay extra for the damage waiver the rental car company offers which will add another $150 or so to the cost. Peace of mind is worth it. I recently asked my car insurance company about rental car coverage. It is true in my case that any rental car is covered for damage up to $25,000 but if there is a claim, it will affect my premium. Also whatever amount of time the rental car may not be available to the rental car company is my responsibility without a damage waiver. The fee is called “LOSS OF USE”. Based on my research so far, nothing covers it (credit card / car insurance / etc…) besides the damage waiver the rental car company offers.

WIKI – Loss of use

Regarding a place to stay during the trip, fortunately I’ve got friends and family to stay with during my trip.

Meyer Sound – SIM3 rig for sale REVISED

To Whom It May Concern, the following Meyer Sound SIM3 rig which includes (1) SIM-3022, (1) SIM-3088 Line Switcher, (1) SIM-3081 mic switcher, two racks, SIM buss cabling, DB25 break out cables and custom road case is available for $3500 USD plus shipping / insurance.

Seller states: “The unit has been sparingly used the past four years and has been kept at my house.”

Contact the seller directly if you’re interested:
SIM3b contact information

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miniDSP

Sometimes you don’t have the budget or need for a professional audio dsp

Transmission Lines – acoustic & electronic

Transmission line

There are two types of transmission lines as they relate to loudspeakers. One is acoustic and one is electronic.
WIKI – Acoustic Transmission Line
WIKI – Transmission Line Loudspeaker

The electronic version allows for time correction between woofers and tweeters in a passive speaker design. Using inductors and capacitors, you can delay which ever loudspeaker arrives early (typically the tweeter) and phase align it with the woofer.

I have yet to find a good internet link to explain the electronic version. More soon…

If Bad Sound Were Fatal

If Bad Sound Were Fatal - Audio Would Be The Leading Cause Of Death

QUOTE:

“If Bad Sound Were Fatal, Audio Would be the Leading Cause of Death is about the “mind set” surrounding the most successful education idea in the audio industry, started by Don & Carolyn Davis, the founders of Synergetic Audio Concepts. Taken from over twenty years of Syn-Aud-Con Newsletters, If Bad Sound Were Fatal– is the non technical side of what was shared world-wide with thousands of Syn-Aud-Con “grads.” It is a look at what inspired, thrilled, educated, re-directed, and entertained those on the journey to professionalism in audio and acoustics. It is what the Davises found interesting, both in their own experiences and in the experiences of their grads. Liberally annotated with 2003 comments on the original articles, it reveals the humorous, the travel experiences, philosophy, management mishaps, mistakes and myths, and is a cornucopia of shared synergetic insights on everything from audio to xylophones. There is a heavy dose of history of audio giants, many of whom the Davises knew personally, and the explosion of audio knowledge moving the audio industry out of the 1920s into the 21st century. The majority of the book can serve as an “ink blot” of diverse individuals who shared what amused, entertained and informed them. If you approach this book logically, you’re doomed to failure. It is an extreme case of “free association” reminiscences.”

Zoom F8

The Zoom F8 is an interesting device which might prove to be an excellent 8×4 USB measurement platform.

 

Zoom F8_front_2 Zoom F8_Left Zoom F8_Rear Zoom F8_Right

Roland Octa-Capture versus Studio-Capture

I recently learned that the Roland Studio Capture can’t power more than (8) Earthworks mics which is the same as a Roland Octa Capture. With that in mind, IF you are using Earthworks mics, you would be buying a larger device with more mic preamps that won’t do you any good. If you’re looking for a device for measurement purposes and not planning on using Earthworks mics, the additional 4 mic pres may be useful.

Based on the recommendations of trustworthy measurement engineers that already own and use the Roland Octa-Capture device, I am strongly considering purchasing one or more for portable measurement purposes. The one thing that is stopping me at this point is the 8×8 limitation of the device. For measurement purposes you’re typically going to use one input / output for a reference signal loop. That leaves you with (7) mic inputs which isn’t enough for serious measurement purposes.
Roland Octa-Capture front
Roland Octa-Capture back

The Roland Studio-Capture on the other hand is a 16×10 audio interface that includes (12) mic inputs. Not as portable but it has it’s charm.
Roland Studio Capture front
Roland Studio-Capture back
12 mic inputs in one portable device would be very useful for measurement purposes as well as recording. I’m waiting to hear back from a fellow engineer who just purchased a Studio-Capture and will report back once he has verified the device meets his requirements. The price difference between the two devices isn’t terribly far apart and having 12 instead of 8 mic inputs may just be worth the extra investment. More soon.

Meyer Sound – SIM3 rig for sale

To Whom It May Concern, this Meyer Sound SIM3 rig is for sale.

Seller states: “The unit has been sparingly used the past four years and has been kept at my house. I have over $10K invested and asking $6K for all components shown.” Contact the seller directly if you’re interested:
SIM3b contact information

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SIM3b Earthworks matched pair
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Sound Systems – Design & Optimization 3rd Edition

After waiting for what seems like an eternity, Bob “6o6” McCarthy’s, “Sound Systems – Design & Optimization – 3rd Edition” is finally available!
Sound Systems - Design & Optimization 3rd Edition small
Considering how vital this book will be to anyone interested in system design and optimization, I have arranged for visitors to be able to buy the book directly from the publisher via a 20% discount code. If you do purchase from the publisher, I’d be curious to know what it ends up costing by the time you pay shipping charges. The discount code is “SSD20” and you will enter it at checkout.
Sound Systems – Design & Optimization 3rd Edition
A note from the publisher. “This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount and only applies to books purchased directly via Routledge.com”

Read the first 61 pages for free here:
Sound Systems – Design & Optimization 3rd Edition – intro, Chapter 1 & part of Chapter 2

If you want to purchase the book from Amazon:
“Sound Systems – Design & Optimization 3rd Edition”

MISD 2016 – Texas Ballet Theater’s Peter and the Wolf production

I spent the last two days at Mansfield ISD Center for The Performing Arts in Mansfield Texas with Texas Ballet Theater doing our yearly production of Peter and the Wolf for ISD students.  Always a pleasure.

During this stay, I learned that the sound system was designed by BAI of Austin.

http://www.baiaustin.com/#!untitled/zoom/c1lxh/image1ehk
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