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Author Topic: System and Room Tests  (Read 4765 times)

Dave Gould

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System and Room Tests
« on: January 14, 2011, 10:12:01 am »

Hey guys!

Currently I am doing a project on room acoustics and sound system optimization which requires me to test a room and then analyse the results. There are two rooms that I will be testing, the first, is 1500 cap. room with a line array and the other is 300 cap. room which is not a line array. Both of the rooms have fairly poor acoustics and are in dire needs of treatment in order to improve the intelligibility within the rooms.

My questions to the members of GearSlutz are as follows:

What are the best methods to analyse the room?

What aspects of the room and sound system should I be looking to test for analysis and optimization?

What is the best software to aid me in my tests?

What hardware is best to test the room?

Any help and suggestions are much appreciated!

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Mac Kerr

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Re: System and Room Tests
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2011, 11:01:44 am »


My questions to the members of GearSlutz are as follows:


In this forum your displayed name needs to be your real full name, as stated in the header.

Please go to your profile and change the name field to your real full name.

Mac
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Dave Gould

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Re: System and Room Tests
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2011, 02:06:06 pm »

name changed! and sorry about calling you guys members of GearSlutz, I posted the same topic on their site and forgot!

 :-[
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Doug Fowler

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Re: System and Room Tests
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2011, 03:08:57 pm »

Hey guys!

Currently I am doing a project on room acoustics and sound system optimization which requires me to test a room and then analyse the results. There are two rooms that I will be testing, the first, is 1500 cap. room with a line array and the other is 300 cap. room which is not a line array. Both of the rooms have fairly poor acoustics and are in dire needs of treatment in order to improve the intelligibility within the rooms.

My questions to the members of GearSlutz are as follows:

What are the best methods to analyse the room?

What aspects of the room and sound system should I be looking to test for analysis and optimization?

What is the best software to aid me in my tests?

What hardware is best to test the room?

Any help and suggestions are much appreciated!

Because of the acoustics issues, this may not be the best place to post, but here are my thoughts:

SysTune has a limited but useful feature set re: basic acoustic analysis.

EASERA, from which SysTune was "born",  has a full acoustics feature set and was conceived for this purpose.

SysTune is more suited for real time analysis, EASERA seems to be more suited for 'take measurements and go back to the office and work on it'.  I don't use EASERA but I use SysTune all the time for EQ and alignment tasks.

You can get demos of either from AFMG:

http://www.afmg.eu/index.php/products.html

If you go the EASERA route, like with other products a suggested procedure is to capture impulse responses from various parts of the room.  This can usually be done is a short period of time and will not irritate the client with incessant measurement on site.

SynAudCon is a very good resource for these topics.

Good luck.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: System and Room Tests
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2011, 08:56:40 pm »

It is not as much what software to use-but rather the big deal is knowing what you are trying to "get" out of the measurement and knowing what the measurement means.

That is not such an easy thing-and comes with quite a learing curve.

First you need to identify exactly what it is you are trying to "measure".  Is it freq response? difference in coverage level?  Reverb time?  Intelligibility score?  Reflections?

Or some thing else?

While it may seem "simple", doing it correctly and getting data that is meaningful is something that is not very simple.
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Brad Weber

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Re: System and Room Tests
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2011, 09:09:18 am »

Can you clarify what you mean by your "doing a project"?  Is this a hypothetical situation, perhaps for a school assignment?  Or are you creating specifications for others to follow?  Or are you bidding on or have an actual project?

Are there any considerations in terms of the existing systems and scope of changes possible?  Is this addressing permanent changes to the systems and/or space or is this from a different perspective such as a Band Engineer coming in to these venues for events?  Is the goal to make the best of what is already there or to make whatever modifications are required to meet any criteria defined or established? Would optimization potentially include physically moving or reaiming the speakers?  What signal processing is available to adjust?

What aspects of acoustics may need to be included?  Interfering sounds can negatively affect intelligibility so are interior or exterior sound isolation relevant?  Background noise levels also impact the system and intelligibility, so might mechanical and electrical system noise and vibration control be a factor?

What is the background and experience of the person(s) to be performing the measurements and optimization?  As Ivan mentioned, having all the latest and greatest software and hardware is nice but that means little if it is not effectively applied.  Is there a budgetary goal for the measurement equipment?  A goal for how much time to spend?

As you can see, we could offer some suggested tests and a number of related software and hardware recommendations but they would be just guesses without knowing more about the situation.
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Iain.Macdonald

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Re: System and Room Tests
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2011, 02:44:27 pm »

Dave,

Respectfully the first thing is to know what you are doing, and how to recognise meaningful measurements. It is not like putiing some test leads on a battery and measuring volts. Something that most can master in five minutes. Please reread Ivan's and Brad's posts. A primer on acoustic measurements, and their meaning can be had at the following link.

http://www.renkus-heinz.com/easera/fundamentals.html

To answer your question specifically. A comprehensive piece of software you might look at, is REW(room EQ Wizard) This is freeware, written by a really knowledgeable Electro-Acoustics and Mathematics wizz. It is a good start on the ladder to the programs mentioned in other posts. It will also give you experience in making measurements, and hopefully allow you to make a more informed choice, if and when you decide to pay(usually a lot) for something else. You might also have a look at ARTA.  I would also have a look at DIY Audio forums, where your question is asked almost weekly. Links below. Then come back here, and ask more questions.

http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/REWv5_Beta/

http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/rew-forum/

http://www.fesb.hr/~mateljan/arta/index.htm

Iain.
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Bruce Olson

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Re: System and Room Tests
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2011, 01:21:35 am »

Both of the rooms have fairly poor acoustics and are in dire needs of treatment in order to improve the intelligibility within the rooms.

I hear this a lot, and it always leads you to believe that bad sound is caused by bad acoustics. While it is also true that the common myth in some live sound circles that you can overcome bad acoustics by overpowering the room with your new uber-rig, they both are over-generalizations.

Having said that, the first thing to measure is the acoustics of the room without a sound system, then introduce a system of known directivity, and then finally measure a system designed to do the necessary job for the functions hosted in the room. I say it in this way because I don't know if the systems that are currently in the room are making a good situation bad, or making a bad situation just barely useful. At some point, that is what your measurements need to be able to help you understand.

Quote
What are the best methods to analyse the room?

Your ears and a measurement system that you thoroughly understand. That is to say, you have used it to measure lots of things that you have good experience with and that the little squiggly lines of those measurements correlate with what you hear.[/quote]

Quote
What aspects of the room and sound system should I be looking to test for analysis and optimization?

These need to be separated into at least the following:
  • Room acoustics
    • Ambient Noise
    • Useful reflections
    • Echos
    • Reverberation
    • ...
    • ISO 3382 has lots more
  • Sound System
    • Time alignment of multiple sources
    • Frequency Response
    • Energy Ratios (D/R, STI), and other factors related to intelligibility
Quote
What is the best software to aid me in my tests?

I won't disagree that EASERA is a good place to start. ;-D

Quote
What hardware is best to test the room?

A loudspeaker that simulates a talker in directivity, a dodec, an audio interface that works with your software, a good omni mic, a good directional mic, or three depending on how much of ISO 3382 you tackle.

Quote
Any help and suggestions are much appreciated!

And all three posts just above me. ;-)
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 01:33:30 am by Bruce Olson »
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Bruce C. Olson
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