Hi, all.We're getting a bit of pushback on volume levels so I'm looking to set up some logging in order to see if we can correlate the complaints with any specific aspect.It's not clear from the complaints whether it's more of an issue of peak or average levels, or if there's one part of the frequency spectrum that's particularly obnoxious. What I'd like to be able to do at minimum is concurrently log SPL levels in the room with a couple of different averaging times and frequency weightings, and ideally some RTA information as well. We'd need to buy any measurement mics and software to make this happen but we do have a Presonus Firestudio interface and computer available.What do you use/recommend to do this? Any other things I should be thinking about here?
Jeff....Showing numbers to people has a dubious value. If they don't like the music or the arrangements are over-full and busy with "everybody playing everything all the time", it is not so much a question of sound level, but an issue with the content of the sound itself.The most important thing in making music is to play only what is absolutely necessary in the ensemble/arrangement. Everyone can have a chance to contribute, but it should be made clear that differing textures and dynamics are desirable. Not every instrument/voice needs to be in the mix 100% of the time.Once the musicians have worked diligently to present a coherent arrangement, then the band as a whole can be "mixable". If the sound person's job is simply to push the vocals over the stage sound, then no SPL or RTA data will mollify those who find it difficult to deal with more or less undifferentiated sound.IOW, a clean mix is tolerable at a higher SPL. A noisy "mix" will sound bad at any volume level.
>>>If you record one of the main outputs of your console and know how its recorded levels match up with SPL in the room, then portions of your recording can be analyzed at any time to obtain the data you want.<<<NOT, if the Bass Guitar and Drums are driving the acoustical space at such a level that the portion of these instruments actually in the mix are minimal.
Please consider what I meant by "know how recorded levels match up with SPL in the room" Yes there may be a difference, but if the difference is predictable, then at least you know something that is representative.Any single point measurement is going to be some kind of approximation of the entire room or any point in it. Therefore assuming that the volume of the sounds that go through the sound system is going be a fair approximation of the sounds that bypass it, may not be that much of a disaster. IOW if the band stays in balance with itself, then the part you can measure this way should track the part that bypasses it.Fuirthermore, if you use a digital recorder to record the line output of the SPL meter or just the output of a mic at some representative location, and figure out how that relates to SPL, then you will be that much close.
Personally, I have the blue Galaxy Checkmate and I also have the AudioTools app for my phone. The AudioTools app will let you record levels, but I have never used it for this.I don't use either meter for the absolute numbers, but I will use them to get relative numbers for different portions of the service and week-to-week variances. I also used them to get a sense of the level differences in different places in the sanctuary, as well as to figure out who consistently mixed louder/quieter than others.I spent a good six months taking notes in my bulletin and writing down rough average and peak SPL for every portion of the service (and who was playing guitar and drums). With this, I was able to really handle the last "Can you mix to X dB?" from a session member. I was able to show him that the level of the band wasn't all that much louder than the pipe organ and the congregation singing a "favorite" hymn. From there we were able to work out next steps that weren't combative or involved arbitrary SPL values.
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