Category: System Optimization

Twenty-Minute Theater Tuning

Twenty-Minute Theater Tuning

Such is the reality of things that we often have very little time to wrestle a sound system into a performance-ready condition. Here is a tuning I did today of a 1200-seat theater that took twenty minutes start to finish, and most of that time was running around with a microphone. A lot of the …

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Black Box Theater Spatial System Tuning

Black Box Theater Spatial System Tuning

This week I am involved in an event featuring onstage puppetry with some unique technical challenges. The production was originally staged in a small black box theater with carefully controlled sightlines. Adapting the touring version of the production to the 700-seat theater required an out of the box approach – or more literally, an in …

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Measurement Methods Explained (RTA? FFT? TDS? WTF?)

Measurement Methods Explained (RTA? FFT? TDS? WTF?)

This is a basic explanation of the common measurement methods. This is brand-agnostic, with specific products mentioned only for historical context – we are concerned here with what’s happening under the hood – how the data is obtained and displayed, and what that means for our work. It’s also not exhaustive – there are decades …

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User Question: Smaart Practice

User Question: Smaart Practice

I received a message from Jedidia, a church audio engineer in Africa, asking if I could look over his measurement data and talk about time alignment between the two sources. Here is Jedidia’s measurement setup: And here are his traces for his main and his sub: Thank you to Jedidia for allowing me to share …

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Exploring Large-System Level Variance Compromises

Exploring Large-System Level Variance Compromises

Our heroes find themselves in a larger reverberant space (an armory, actually) which is, of course, the best environment for events requiring speech intelligibility. PA is twelve dual-15 boxes per side with a sub “mono block” on the ground front and center. The optimization you see here was masterminded by my friend David, whom I …

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Control Booth Monitor Calibration

Control Booth Monitor Calibration

I don’t like mixing from within a booth any more than the next person, and for any serious audio work, I will fight hard for a FOH mix position. However, for “talking head” events or playback-based dance shows, sometimes a booth mix position is a reality. (In the case of the dance shows, it’s actually …

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Make It A Double: Inside Approaches to Parallel Processing

Make It A Double: Inside Approaches to Parallel Processing

One of the earliest studio mixing tricks that I learned was parallel processing – running the same signal through several mixer channels and processing them independently. There are a few variants of this technique, the most common being parallel compression. For example, the first application I saw of this was when a studio engineer double-patched …

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Trimming the Fat

Trimming the Fat

My mixing technique is largely subtractive in nature (remove things from the mix that don’t need to be there). If I’m getting a lot of hi hat bleed through the other drum mics, I’ll pull the hat fader back. I’ll high pass, low pass, and mid-scoop mix elements that aren’t contributing necessary energy (or contributing …

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