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Author Topic: Sound Measurement and Calibration Information  (Read 7347 times)

Mario Pollio

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Sound Measurement and Calibration Information
« on: September 19, 2014, 02:17:18 pm »

I have a few newb questions regarding more advanced/complex sound systems, so bear with me. I'm a week end mobile DJ that is also very passionate about sound and am looking to take my mobile DJ sound system to the next level. I've never calibrated a professional sound system other than with the onboard dsp some powered speakers may have in them. I currently own JBL PRX speakers I'm looking into getting a Danley set up in the future (TH118's and SM80's) I already know what amps I'm probably going to get (most likely Crown I-tech/XTi) but I was wondering what should I be looking at for signal processing, eq, etc? How would I measure and calibrate a system like this? What software/hardware would I need? Any information or links anybody can provide me with would be greatly appreciated. We all have to learn sometime.

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David Sturzenbecher

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Re: Sound Measurement and Calibration Information
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2014, 02:32:32 pm »

I have a few newb questions regarding more advanced/complex sound systems, so bear with me. I'm a week end mobile DJ that is also very passionate about sound and am looking to take my mobile DJ sound system to the next level. I've never calibrated a professional sound system other than with the onboard dsp some powered speakers may have in them. I currently own JBL PRX speakers I'm looking into getting a Danley set up in the future (TH118's and SM80's) I already know what amps I'm probably going to get (most likely Crown I-tech/XTi) but I was wondering what should I be looking at for signal processing, eq, etc? How would I measure and calibrate a system like this? What software/hardware would I need? Any information or links anybody can provide me with would be greatly appreciated. We all have to learn sometime.

Your first step in learning about how to measure and calibrate a system should be reading this book at least twice.

http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Systems-Optimization-Techniques-Alignment/dp/0240521560
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Chris Tsanjoures

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Re: Sound Measurement and Calibration Information
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2014, 03:37:56 pm »

Your first step in learning about how to measure and calibrate a system should be reading this book at least twice.

http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Systems-Optimization-Techniques-Alignment/dp/0240521560

+1 many in the industry consider 606's book to be the 'bible' of system optimization. I've slogged through it in sections - it is by no means a weekend read.

You may consider taking a Smaart Seminar (rational acoustics.com/training)

Even the experts in the industry will tell you they are still learning. So - as long as you are committed to absorbing information and committed to actually using that information in practice (by measuring and making decisions in the field) then you will make progress.

Now would be a great time to dispel a misconception that you may have - there is no such thing as a universal EQ that will work for every application and room you find yourself in - so if you think that you can eq a preset into your digital amps and it will sound the same in every environment, it just doesn't work that way. Presets are useful for setting the initial tuning, or voicing, of a loudspeaker. They are there to optimize driver to driver relationships at xover - and generally supplied by the manufacturer - 'rolling your own' xover settings is not as common a practice as it was in days of yore.

The use of measurement and Eq (in concert with real-world practical knowledge) is primarily to 'tune' your system so that you achieve a desired response. Consider looking into the Presonus SL line of mixing consoles as well if you don't already have a desk - it offers a TF wizard that is a great starting point for someone such as your self who is relatively new to measurement.

full discloser: I am an employee of Rational Acoustics, though I would give you the same advice regardless of my affiliation with the products mentioned above.
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I am employed by Rational Acoustics. Besides being a Product Manager for the Smaart Platform, I operate as a fully deployable Smaart Ninja (aka Instructor/System Guy).

Mario Pollio

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Re: Sound Measurement and Calibration Information
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2014, 03:46:54 pm »

Your first step in learning about how to measure and calibrate a system should be reading this book at least twice.

http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Systems-Optimization-Techniques-Alignment/dp/0240521560

Order placed, thanks for the link!

+1 many in the industry consider 606's book to be the 'bible' of system optimization. I've slogged through it in sections - it is by no means a weekend read.

You may consider taking a Smaart Seminar (rational acoustics.com/training)

Even the experts in the industry will tell you they are still learning. So - as long as you are committed to absorbing information and committed to actually using that information in practice (by measuring and making decisions in the field) then you will make progress.

Now would be a great time to dispel a misconception that you may have - there is no such thing as a universal EQ that will work for every application and room you find yourself in - so if you think that you can eq a preset into your digital amps and it will sound the same in every environment, it just doesn't work that way. Presets are useful for setting the initial tuning, or voicing, of a loudspeaker. They are there to optimize driver to driver relationships at xover - and generally supplied by the manufacturer - 'rolling your own' xover settings is not as common a practice as it was in days of yore.

The use of measurement and Eq (in concert with real-world practical knowledge) is primarily to 'tune' your system so that you achieve a desired response. Consider looking into the Presonus SL line of mixing consoles as well if you don't already have a desk - it offers a TF wizard that is a great starting point for someone such as your self who is relatively new to measurement.

full discloser: I am an employee of Rational Acoustics, though I would give you the same advice regardless of my affiliation with the products mentioned above.

I'm definitely interested in taking a seminar or any course that will teach me.

I learned that about EQ-ing with my home audio stuff with calibrating home audio equipment, acoustic treatments etc. Every room effects sound differently, and every room has it's own sound. When EQ-ing a sound system, you are basically eq-ing it for the best sound in the room that it is in.

I'm glad I'm not a total stranger to sound in general, I'm just a complete novice when it comes to calibrating pro stuff, the equipment that is used to calibrate pro stuff and how it is done. I'm looking forward to getting that book, it looks like a good read.
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Alfredo Prada

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Re: Sound Measurement and Calibration Information
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2014, 04:43:13 pm »

Order placed, thanks for the link!

I'm definitely interested in taking a seminar or any course that will teach me.

I learned that about EQ-ing with my home audio stuff with calibrating home audio equipment, acoustic treatments etc. Every room effects sound differently, and every room has it's own sound. When EQ-ing a sound system, you are basically eq-ing it for the best sound in the room that it is in.

I'm glad I'm not a total stranger to sound in general, I'm just a complete novice when it comes to calibrating pro stuff, the equipment that is used to calibrate pro stuff and how it is done. I'm looking forward to getting that book, it looks like a good read.


I back up what Chris said, to me the Smaart class was a life changing experience!
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Mario Pollio

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Re: Sound Measurement and Calibration Information
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2014, 05:47:35 pm »


I back up what Chris said, to me the Smaart class was a life changing experience!

I'm definitely very interested in taking it. Hopefully it is somewhat local. When I get home later, I'll read more up on it.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Sound Measurement and Calibration Information
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2014, 09:34:48 am »

I have a few newb questions regarding more advanced/complex sound systems, so bear with me. I'm a week end mobile DJ that is also very passionate about sound and am looking to take my mobile DJ sound system to the next level. I've never calibrated a professional sound system other than with the onboard dsp some powered speakers may have in them. I currently own JBL PRX speakers I'm looking into getting a Danley set up in the future (TH118's and SM80's) I already know what amps I'm probably going to get (most likely Crown I-tech/XTi) but I was wondering what should I be looking at for signal processing, eq, etc? How would I measure and calibrate a system like this? What software/hardware would I need? Any information or links anybody can provide me with would be greatly appreciated. We all have to learn sometime.
The question is what do you mean by "calibration"?

It appears as if you are talking about system alignment-not calibration.

Calibration is something you do to a device so as to have a reference to measure OTHER things.  System alignment is getting the system to work together as a single unit.

When you have a piece of test equipment calibrated-you are not actually measuring anything practical.  You are comparing it to a know reference-this could be voltage-SPL-weight-length-cubic volume etc.

The only time you calibrate a mic is if you are going to make absolute measurements-like for a spec sheet or to go to court.  Any other times (what most people do most of the time) it is all relative and if using the same mic-who cares if it is 100dB off or not.

I think you have your terms mixed up. It happens.

If you are using a Danley DSLP48 DSP-we can send you the basic "starting" settings to get a good alignment.

Other DSPs may require changing some or all of the parameters a little bit-as different DSPs have different "meanings/values" assigned to different functions-but the Danley settings would still be a good "starting point".
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Ivan Beaver
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Mario Pollio

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Re: Sound Measurement and Calibration Information
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2014, 10:20:11 am »

The question is what do you mean by "calibration"?

It appears as if you are talking about system alignment-not calibration.

Calibration is something you do to a device so as to have a reference to measure OTHER things.  System alignment is getting the system to work together as a single unit.

When you have a piece of test equipment calibrated-you are not actually measuring anything practical.  You are comparing it to a know reference-this could be voltage-SPL-weight-length-cubic volume etc.

The only time you calibrate a mic is if you are going to make absolute measurements-like for a spec sheet or to go to court.  Any other times (what most people do most of the time) it is all relative and if using the same mic-who cares if it is 100dB off or not.

I think you have your terms mixed up. It happens.

If you are using a Danley DSLP48 DSP-we can send you the basic "starting" settings to get a good alignment.

Other DSPs may require changing some or all of the parameters a little bit-as different DSPs have different "meanings/values" assigned to different functions-but the Danley settings would still be a good "starting point".

You're right, I have my terminology mixed up.

What DSP equipment would I need for system alignment (what equipment would I be putting in your basic settings as a starting point)? I'm assuming a Driverack? That's the part I need to learn, the equipment needed for system alignment and how to use said equipment. I've only used the onboard DSP in powered speakers before. The amps are gonna be crown XTi/I-tech amps.

I'm sorry, I know I sound very newb-ish, but that's because I am when it comes to a professional system alignment with a passive rig. I've only done this with home audio stuff using home audio processors. 
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Sound Measurement and Calibration Information
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2014, 08:42:16 pm »

You're right, I have my terminology mixed up.

What DSP equipment would I need for system alignment (what equipment would I be putting in your basic settings as a starting point)? I'm assuming a Driverack? That's the part I need to learn, the equipment needed for system alignment and how to use said equipment. I've only used the onboard DSP in powered speakers before. The amps are gonna be crown XTi/I-tech amps.

I'm sorry, I know I sound very newb-ish, but that's because I am when it comes to a professional system alignment with a passive rig. I've only done this with home audio stuff using home audio processors.
You just need the dsp and a computer. You dump the program into the dsp via serial or USB or Ethernet

We don't have settings for the driverack dsps
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Ivan Beaver
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Mario Pollio

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Re: Sound Measurement and Calibration Information
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2014, 01:39:56 am »

You just need the dsp and a computer. You dump the program into the dsp via serial or USB or Ethernet

We don't have settings for the driverack dsps

Which DSP's do you have settings for?
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Sound Measurement and Calibration Information
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2014, 01:39:56 am »


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