Month: March 2019

Beware Autopilot and Flying Wrenches: Why I Am Uncomfortable with Getting Too Comfortable

Beware Autopilot and Flying Wrenches: Why I Am Uncomfortable with Getting Too Comfortable

“It’s an easy gig. Just three microphones.” Sounds good, right? But as the day went on, things began to change. The event was a “roundtable” discussion between a moderator and two CEOs who each had a net worth in excess of a billion dollars. They have “people.” There was a fair amount of “hovering” going …

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BTL#9 – How to Succeed in Optimization Without Really Trying

BTL#9 – How to Succeed in Optimization Without Really Trying

Here are three things I hear at least once a week: “I can’t afford Smaart.” “I only have speakers on sticks, not big fancy systems.” “I don’t have any system DSP so I can’t do anything.” Do you know the most common change I make to systems? Pointing the loudspeakers in the right direction. This requires nothing …

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So I tuned a system with an SM81….

So I tuned a system with an SM81….

Since I’m a doofus, I grabbed the wrong toolkit on the way out the door and arrived at the site without a reference mic. Being as that the primary goal in system optimization is uniformity, rather than absolute response, I figured I’d use one of the venue’s SM81 small-diaphragm omnidirectional condensers and see how well …

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Can GEQ Be Used for System Optimization?

Can GEQ Be Used for System Optimization?

“Graphic equalizers cannot produce the types of curves we use in system optimization.” I’ve made this statement numerous times over the years, and I haven’t been alone in saying so. It’s an axiom of many system techs I know and has been written about by at least one optimization luminary. So it’s certainly not a …

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The Dance Foldback Conundrum

The Dance Foldback Conundrum

A few times a year, I run audio for college dance performances. It’s a weird gig from an audio perspective, as it’s a single input show (Qlab from a solid state hard drive because after an embarrassing mishap years ago, I will never again trust a CD for live playback). Cue calling falls to the …

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The Importance of Fader Layout

The Importance of Fader Layout

One thing that I’ve found to have a disproportionately large effect on how smoothly my mix goes is where the faders fall under my fingers. I feel strongly that time spent banking / paging through a desk to find the right inputs is not time well spent in a performance environment. Case in point: this …

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BTL#8 – Observing the Comb Filter in the Wild

BTL#8 – Observing the Comb Filter in the Wild

One of the cardinal sins of the average FOH is measuring the PA with both sides on. This sounds perfectly normal to us, because it’s what we’re used to hearing, but the analyzer reveals the truth – the comb filter – if we know where to look. To illustrate, here are two actual traces measured …

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Running monitors from FOH? Here’s some tips.

Running monitors from FOH? Here’s some tips.

Never optimal to run monitors from FOH, but here’s my workflow to get the best results possible. I start by spraying all the wedges with pink noise, one at a time. If they all sound the same, we can move forward with the tuning. If not, we go find the blown up driver, misconfigured crossover, …

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Does my church/club/venue need a system processor?

Does my church/club/venue need a system processor?

This is one of the most common questions people ask me when they’re considering an install or upgrade of their venue. It is possible – to varying degrees depending on the specific features of the digital desk – to handle all your processing / matrix / crossover / delay tasks right in the console. For …

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