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Author Topic: Which mic for measurements?  (Read 3052 times)

Gene Maytak

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Which mic for measurements?
« on: September 15, 2014, 04:03:50 pm »

I have access to the DBX RTA-m and an Earthworks FW730. Given that the Earthworks has the same capsule as some of their measurement mic's, it makes sense to use it instead of the DBX alternative.

The only drawback I can see is that the FW730 is inconvenient for measurements and system tunings due to its size/shape. Aside from that, what to you think? Use the Earthworks?
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Don Davis

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Re: Which mic for measurements?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2014, 04:50:11 pm »

I have access to the DBX RTA-m and an Earthworks FW730. Given that the Earthworks has the same capsule as some of their measurement mic's, it makes sense to use it instead of the DBX alternative.

The only drawback I can see is that the FW730 is inconvenient for measurements and system tunings due to its size/shape. Aside from that, what to you think? Use the Earthworks?

Hi Gene,
What are your concerns about the DBX RTA? From what I remember Jamie Anderson saying about different reference mics in Smaart class was the DBX was fine for day in day out testing. There are much better mics out there but for all but the most demanding applications the DBX is fine. If I recall it has the same capsule as the mic that Rational Acoustic sells.

I'm not sure what the advantage of using the FW370 would be.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Which mic for measurements?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2014, 05:30:20 pm »

I have access to the DBX RTA-m and an Earthworks FW730. Given that the Earthworks has the same capsule as some of their measurement mic's, it makes sense to use it instead of the DBX alternative.

The only drawback I can see is that the FW730 is inconvenient for measurements and system tunings due to its size/shape. Aside from that, what to you think? Use the Earthworks?
It really depends on what you are using it for.

Measurements can mean lots of different things.  Everything from setting up a bar band system to producing spec sheets to having to testify in court.

If the later-you better be using the "real stuff" or you will quickly be put in your place.
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A complex question is easily answered by a simple-easy to understand WRONG answer!

Ivan Beaver
Danley Sound Labs

PHYSICS- NOT FADS!

Gene Maytak

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Re: Which mic for measurements?
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2014, 05:41:33 pm »

It really depends on what you are using it for.

I should have mentioned, but this would be for a system installed in a church.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Which mic for measurements?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2014, 07:15:24 pm »

I should have mentioned, but this would be for a system installed in a church.
To gather what information? 

"Measurement" can mean all sorts of different things-for different purposes.

The accuracy-level capability-freq response etc depends on what you are trying to get as an "answer".

I could probably go into "a church" and measure for weeks and come up will all kinds of data-yet none of it my be the type of information you are looking for.

ALSO there is A LOT more than simply getting a measurement system.  Knowing how to use it to get good meaningful data is often QUITE a different story and could take years of practice to get a good understanding-and even then there are things that will completely "unlearned".
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 07:17:29 pm by Ivan Beaver »
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Merlijn van Veen

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Re: Which mic for measurements?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2014, 03:53:55 am »

If you are using Smaart v7 and you have access to or know somebody with a more representative and reliable microphone you can make a correction curve, using the following procedure, to match that microphone:

http://www.rationalacoustics.com/forums/showthread.php?998-Make-your-own-microphone-calibration-curves

IFAICT most measurement microphones nowadays are pretty decent. The difference in price IMHO is partially caused by the quality of the production process. DPA 4007's come with less than 0.25 dB variance. You can imagine this requires a closely monitored production process and thorough quality control. My Audix TM-1's, despite sequential serial numbers, vary over 3 dB. I wouldn't be surprised if the inconsistencies in e.g. the Behringer ECM8000 production process are even bigger.

Whether this matters or not depends on your way of working. System tuning is mostly about relative tonal, level and temporal differences. As long as you're using the same mic AND gain settings, the results will be equally affected by the quality of the mic. Tonal information will evidently suffer the most from other-than-flat microphones.

It used to become troublesome when using more than one mic simultaneously. Despite the longer setup time, this is a very fast way of working and more important, allows you to monitor the improvements after adjustments have been made. But this way of working requires near identical and therefore costly microphones that report equal results.

Fortunately thanks to microphone correction curves, as far as Smaart v7 is concerned, this is no longer vital. You can buy mics that come with a mic correction curve or make them yourself.

Gene Maytak

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Re: Which mic for measurements?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2014, 02:12:13 pm »

To gather what information? 

Specifically, frequency response. I was told that the sound was "sharp" in the front rows, and I wanted to see what was going on so that I could make the appropriate changes.

Initially, I took some measurements for this with the DBX mic, but later got the idea of using the Earthworks to achieve a more accurate result.

If you are using Smaart v7 and you have access to or know somebody with a more representative and reliable microphone you can make a correction curve, using the following procedure, to match that microphone:

http://www.rationalacoustics.com/forums/showthread.php?998-Make-your-own-microphone-calibration-curves

This is a fantastic solution. Thanks for the link.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Which mic for measurements?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2014, 08:38:11 pm »

Specifically, frequency response. I was told that the sound was "sharp" in the front rows, and I wanted to see what was going on so that I could make the appropriate changes.

Initially, I took some measurements for this with the DBX mic, but later got the idea of using the Earthworks to achieve a more accurate result.

This is a fantastic solution. Thanks for the link.
It sounds as if you are simply making comparative measurements.

You could use the cheapest piece of crap that had the worst possible freq response and still get the answers you are looking for.

I know it sounds crazy-but it the front row sounds "sharp" and the rest of the room is fine- then simply measure at the front row and then other places and see what the difference is.

You are basically interested in comparative results-NOT absolute.

And let's say the front row is "sharp" what are you going to do to adjust it? There are all sorts of different things that could cause the "sharp" sound.  Sometimes freq response alone is not going to tell the whole story.

 Why not just listen FIRST and make your "adjustments" (what ever they are) based on what YOU hear and not just hearsay?

Listening is the most important part. 

I'm sorry, but so often people want a piece of gear to give them all the answers, but it often gives the wrong answers-if you don't know the "right question" to answer.

I don't know the whole story here-but trying to figure out what mic is "better" is not going to help give you a good answer.
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A complex question is easily answered by a simple-easy to understand WRONG answer!

Ivan Beaver
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Which mic for measurements?
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2014, 01:59:11 am »

Ivan is so right....Instrumentation without good ears is just data. 

Who could imagine a modern speaker with a non linear response over a given coverage area ;-)
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
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