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Author Topic: Song suggestions for tuning PA  (Read 11051 times)

Steve Garris

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Song suggestions for tuning PA
« on: February 12, 2016, 05:03:32 pm »

I'm looking for some song suggestions for tuning my PA. I've concluded that Spotify's fidelity is not good enough, so I'm going to get some mp3 files on my i devices so that I can rough tune the system at any given club. I need punchy, rock music.

Speakers are JBL PRX
Rooms are small - 150-300
Music is typically classic rock / hair metal
iPhone / iPod playback devices - for this I'll use 2 channels and appropriate cables.

I usually get great sound, but I'm looking for a song or 2 to compare. What do you use?
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John L Nobile

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Re: Song suggestions for tuning PA
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2016, 05:17:03 pm »

Why would you use MP3 files? They're a very compressed format. I wouldn't use anything less than 44,1k/16 bit like a CD. Or a FLAC format. I believe iPods can play either.

I use whatever tracks that I'm very familiar with and suits the style of music that I'll be mixing.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Song suggestions for tuning PA
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2016, 05:19:52 pm »

I'm looking for some song suggestions for tuning my PA. I've concluded that Spotify's fidelity is not good enough, so I'm going to get some mp3 files on my i devices so that I can rough tune the system at any given club. I need punchy, rock music.

Speakers are JBL PRX
Rooms are small - 150-300
Music is typically classic rock / hair metal
iPhone / iPod playback devices - for this I'll use 2 channels and appropriate cables.

I usually get great sound, but I'm looking for a song or 2 to compare. What do you use?
The MOST IMPORTANT thing is to use HIGH RES files-not crappy MP3s.

You also need a variety of different songs by different artists recorded in different rooms.

Some songs will have more bass in them than others and so forth.

It all depends on how they were recorded.

What sounds fine with one song may not with another.

Another of the most important things is to use songs that YOU have heard-through many different systems in different rooms and KNOW what they sound like.

If you don't know what it is supposed to sound like-then how do you know it is right?

Often the guys at the shop get tired of me playing the same songs-but I have a reference in my head to compare to.
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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!

Stephen Kirby

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Re: Song suggestions for tuning PA
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2016, 05:22:01 pm »

My reference track is a Ricky Peterson tune called Drop Shot which I got off a compilation called Organized.  It's more of a funky organ and horn thing reminiscent of TOP though.  There are lots of spots where different instruments are playing alone.  The drums sound like an old Sheffield direct to disk recording, very punchy.  The horns are forward but not excruciatingly so.  There's enough different things happening in this track that I can get a pretty good idea how anything else is going to come out.

Most classic rock is bass, distorted guitar, and drums and not as revealing.  I guess you could use some Led Zeppelin where the drums are recorded well (Jeff Beck's Truth album also has very well recorded drums).  The highly damped drums of late '70-80s rock and pop make it hard to see how natural a system sounds.  When I hear the decay of a tom any spectral aberrations really jump out at me.  Hair metal is even more processed and harder to tell what is happening.

The more natural sounds there are on a reference the easier it is to spot something amiss.  With highly produced things it's difficult to separate the production on the recording from what the PA is doing.  Nitefly included.
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Kevin McDonough

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Re: Song suggestions for tuning PA
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2016, 05:36:23 pm »

hey

Yeah as Ivan says the most important thing is that you choose tunes that you know inside out, and know exactly how they should sound. Only then, if it doesn't sound the way you know it should, do you know something isn't quite right. Something that's well produced and recorded.

I usually follow a three step process of first pink noise to check everything is working the way it should and take any measurements if I'm going to, then a collection of the same 3 or 4 songs I know off by heart and that will let me hear pretty quickly if anything is amiss. 

Finally to finish off, some genre specific music. No point in testing with some acoustic singer song writer material if you're gonna be hammering out big bassy, aggressive hiphop, so once I know its pretty much there from my standard tunes, I have a little selection that covers most genres and will play a couple to make sure it sound good for the particularities of that show.

When using my laptop I have all the music stored as high quality wave files ripped from the CD's, but I also have the the MP3 versions on my phone in case I'm brought in somewhere last minute or for some reason am in a pinch. Importantly though I've converted them myself and they're not just off the net,  with the highest possible bit rate and quality, so even though it's not ideal I know at least it's the best of a bad situation and can get by.

k

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Dave Scarlett

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Re: Song suggestions for tuning PA
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2016, 05:38:47 pm »

Never a MP3 as everyone knows. Then "Calling Elvis"
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Dave Pluke

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Re: Song suggestions for tuning PA
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2016, 05:45:09 pm »

I've always enjoyed The Tubes' "She's a Beauty".  A few others on their "Best of..." are well recorded.  As are Sting's albums.

But, it's what your ears are most familiar with that'll matter.

Dave
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John Halliburton

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Re: Song suggestions for tuning PA
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2016, 05:56:05 pm »

hey

Yeah as Ivan says the most important thing is that you choose tunes that you know inside out, and know exactly how they should sound. Only then, if it doesn't sound the way you know it should, do you know something isn't quite right. Something that's well produced and recorded.

I usually follow a three step process of first pink noise to check everything is working the way it should and take any measurements if I'm going to, then a collection of the same 3 or 4 songs I know off by heart and that will let me hear pretty quickly if anything is amiss. 

Finally to finish off, some genre specific music. No point in testing with some acoustic singer song writer material if you're gonna be hammering out big bassy, aggressive hiphop, so once I know its pretty much there from my standard tunes, I have a little selection that covers most genres and will play a couple to make sure it sound good for the particularities of that show.

When using my laptop I have all the music stored as high quality wave files ripped from the CD's, but I also have the the MP3 versions on my phone in case I'm brought in somewhere last minute or for some reason am in a pinch. Importantly though I've converted them myself and they're not just off the net,  with the highest possible bit rate and quality, so even though it's not ideal I know at least it's the best of a bad situation and can get by.

k

This.  Material you know thoroughly, and in the highest quality format you can get.

I've used diverse material like our own band's CDs, as we've been together over 30 years, and then something like ZZ Top's greatest hits CD because I've used it for almost that long as a reference for kick drum-I know how it sounds.

Best regards,

John
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Kemper Watson

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Re: Song suggestions for tuning PA
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2016, 06:24:49 pm »

I'm looking for some song suggestions for tuning my PA. I've concluded that Spotify's fidelity is not good enough, so I'm going to get some mp3 files on my i devices so that I can rough tune the system at any given club. I need punchy, rock music.

Speakers are JBL PRX
Rooms are small - 150-300
Music is typically classic rock / hair metal
iPhone / iPod playback devices - for this I'll use 2 channels and appropriate cables.

I usually get great sound, but I'm looking for a song or 2 to compare. What do you use?

You can import WAV files onto your I Pod or phone, if you know your way around them
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Peter Kowalczyk

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Re: Song suggestions for tuning PA
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2016, 06:45:53 pm »

Steely Dan

... there, I said it  ;)

If you really are listening critically, then the playback signal path can make a big difference.  You say you'll use an iPod or iPhone, which in my subjective non-quantitative estimate are 'pretty good.'  But be aware that the DAC and headphone amp driving a typical PC's 3.5mm output may well be the weakest link.  I was AMAZED at the sound quality difference between my Dell's built-in analog output and this not-too-expensive aftermarket DAC, even just with streaming internet radio:
http://hifimediy.com/sabre-dac-uae23

If you're running through a digital console, eliminate an extra D-A & A-D conversion by sending your source into the console digitally - X32 family has this capability through the XUF card; I'm guessing others do too.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Song suggestions for tuning PA
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2016, 06:45:53 pm »


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