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Author Topic: Confused about SMAART  (Read 6711 times)

Lorne Hastings

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Confused about SMAART
« on: January 31, 2006, 08:29:39 am »

I was looking into Smaart and came to realize this software DOES tell you what problems your rig may have, it does NOT tell you how to fix it (correct me if I am wrong). What do you do if you find out that your horns are slightly out of phase? is there a way to fix that.

Basically I am trying to find out what this tool will do for me in the field. It seams to me that if you are a speaker builder this is a good tool to analize your design.

As I see it, the only thing this software is good for is to set your time alignment (which is usually provided by the manufacture) and to RTA your rig.

What am I missing here?
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Tom Young

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Re: Confused about SMAART
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2006, 08:46:46 am »

"this software DOES tell you what problems your rig may have, it does NOT tell you how to fix it"

Essentially this is correct.

However, through lots of study and use, the Smaart owner/user can learn to discern what it will take to fix anomalies in the loudspeaker/system response. Perhaps the best example of this is in cases where you discover problems through measurement, you apply a logical fix and then observe that the problem has not gone away or has not been effected enough. So, you look deeper. The key is that the measurement system (and your ears) are capable of telling you what you have accomplished.

More experienced and well-trained measurement folks can tell almost immediately that a certain anomaly is not equalizable and requires alignment, physical treatment (reaiming, acoustic treatment, etc) or a trip to the scrap heap.

I think that Smaart is more often used for RTA and delay adjustments by the majority of its endusers. Those who attend training classes, read lots of reference text and actually go out there and play around with things can reach a level where they are utlizing all that Smaart can reveal.

Other measurement systems such as SIM and TEF, by virtue of their cost, are more likely to end up in the hands of folks who have made this commitment.
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Tom Young
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John Penkala

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Re: Confused about SMAART
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2006, 10:08:44 am »

Lorne,

You are correct with the assertion that Smaart will not tell you how to fix the problem. The Smaart classes offered by Siasoft stress this point. They also focus on taking viable measurements, discerning good data from bogus data, and interpreting those measurements. The most valuable single thing that Jamie Anderson and Paul Tucci said was "EQ Last". It's amazing how many folks take a measurement and run to the graph to make adjustments. I have a system tuning procedure that I follow that's worked well for me.

After the speakers have been aimed. (minor adjustments may be necessary)

1. I use the manufacturers'recommended crossover points and bandpass delay settings.
2. Then I measure the Sub - Top alignment (ground plane measurement) and make the necessary adjustment on the input delay.
3. Then I take a measurement from the backline and delay the sub-top combo via the input delay's back to this point.

4. I take a measurement of the main sub-top combo and Front fills at the coverage seem and align them to this point.

This is my starting point.

5. Take measurements throughout the room with Smaart and listen for any peaks or valleys in the system response. If reaiming speakers solves the problem that's what we'll do. If reaiming doesn't work then corrective eq is applied.

6. Check results- correct if possible/necessary

-Come to terms that depending on the available system coverage and room acoustics you may not be able to get good sound to all of the seats. But you should have made improvements over what the norm is in those seats.

This is what I'm doing now and I can do it pretty quickly. I'm always looking for ways to get better results. So the Smaart guru's in the crowd are welcome to make any reccomendations.

JP



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John Penkala

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Re: Confused about SMAART
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2006, 10:25:47 am »

Lorne Hastings wrote on Tue, 31 January 2006 13:29

I was looking into Smaart and came to realize this software DOES tell you what problems your rig may have, it does NOT tell you how to fix it (correct me if I am wrong). What do you do if you find out that your horns are slightly out of phase? is there a way to fix that.

Basically I am trying to find out what this tool will do for me in the field. It seams to me that if you are a speaker builder this is a good tool to analize your design.

As I see it, the only thing this software is good for is to set your time alignment (which is usually provided by the manufacture) and to RTA your rig.

What am I missing here?



Lorne,
     I recommend reading all of the case studies and material on the Siasoft website, including the powerpoint presentations.

Make sure that Smaarts' internal measurement/reference delay is properly set. If this not set correctly will show up as poor phase response and poor coherence in the high frequencies. Another thing- How much eq do you have on the HF drivers? Over eq'ing will cause phase shift. If your horns are slightly out of phase there is a phase adjustment on most dsp outputs that enables you to fine tune the phase by the degree. Unfortunately, some phase shift is going to happen.

    In addition to what I noted in my other post I use:

RTA/Spectrograph Applications-
Monitors-put on cue bus to ring out wedges/sidefills
FOH- put on cue bus or main mix to see peaks in mix

Check out the through crossover alignment paper as well.

JP
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Abdul-EQ

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Re: Confused about SMAART
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2006, 07:57:44 pm »

Lorne Hastings wrote on Tue, 31 January 2006 13:29

 

As I see it, the only thing this software is good for is to ... RTA your rig.

What am I missing here?



Lorne,

What you are missing is the experience and perspective of a highly skilled professional quoted in the February 2006 issue of Mix magazine;  page 76 for those playing along at home.

"SIA Software's SmaartLive helps" he says.

Now do you understand?

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Abdul-EQ
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Jake Scudder

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Re: Confused about SMAART
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2006, 02:09:28 pm »

I've seen plenty of guys doing more harm than good with SMAART.  Eq WILL NOT fix time alignment issues.  In fact if you have a comb filter from a 1 ft offset your first cancellation will be around 500Hz.  If you go and try to boost 500Hz on a graph you will actually make the problem worse in most cases.  Like was said earlier, I usually start with the transfer function and compare the phase traces of the subs and array (or tower).  To provide a direct answer of how to fix the alignment you need to have a multitap delay or a strong back to physically move things into alignment.  Once the subs are aligned to the mains I locate the delays of the backline, frontfill and the now-aligned "PA" in impulse mode.  You can save the impulse peaks and hit compare and it will tell you how much more delay you need to add to the FF, mains, and subs.  Most boxes like the DriveRack or the Brooks Sirens stuff can be adjusted directly from SMAART with the appropriate midi connections.  If not input the data directly.  Once I get the system aligned I move to the RTA for room eq.

All of this is great but don't forget to use (and trust) your ears in this process.  It's not likely that the audience members are going to be using analyzers to listen to the show.

Jake
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Matt Leonard

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Re: Confused about SMAART
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2006, 02:24:58 pm »

Ditto on what other folks have said - for me in the real world, I primarily just use SMAART for time alignment of various components.  Yes, you (and I) can do this without smaart - but it's much faster and more accurate (I've found), and thus a great tool.

The biggest situation where I'll use Smaart for EQ'ing purposes (AFTER dealing with alignment/phase/crossover stuff) is when I'm in a room with accoustics that I know will change substantially with a crowd.  In some rooms, when empty, your ears CAN'T alyways tell you exactly what is the PA and what are room reflections. In  rooms where I can't get a good feel on my own on PA-versus-reflections - I'll use SMAART to take several measurements at various points (all within the critical distance) of the PA - and use Smaart to identify any big holes or peaks in the PA that are consistent at different measurement locations.

I'm not big on using Smaart mid-show - because I want to get good measurements from many different audience positions, not just at mix position. Walk around, try to hear what the crowd hears, and continue to use your ears....

-Matt
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Josh Evans

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Re: Confused about SMAART
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2006, 04:27:22 pm »



Great Comments!!!!!!
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Andy Peters

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Re: Confused about SMAART
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2006, 05:01:08 pm »

Lorne Hastings wrote on Tue, 31 January 2006 06:29

I was looking into Smaart and came to realize this software DOES tell you what problems your rig may have, it does NOT tell you how to fix it (correct me if I am wrong).


In this respect, Smaart is similar to any other piece of general test equipment.

Your voltmeter may tell you that the mains are measuring 140VAC, but the meter cannot tell you how to remedy this.  The meter cannot distinguish between genny power (maybe it's running too fast?) or utility service (maybe everyone on the block just turned off their air conditioners?).

My logic analyzer tells me that I have a timing issue on my memory bus but it can't tell me which lines of VHDL need to be changed.

Yngwie's guitar tuner may indicate that whatever string he just plucked is making an F#, but it can't tell whether it was his G string that was flat, or some other circumstance.

The test equipment gives you visibility into a problem that you ordinarily wouldn't have.  This visibility, combined with experience and/or training, enables you to fix the problem.

-a
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Gian P. Portanova

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Re: Confused about SMAART
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2006, 05:23:39 pm »

Andy Peters wrote on Thu, 02 February 2006 17:01

Lorne Hastings wrote on Tue, 31 January 2006 06:29

I was looking into Smaart and came to realize this software DOES tell you what problems your rig may have, it does NOT tell you how to fix it (correct me if I am wrong).


In this respect, Smaart is similar to any other piece of general test equipment.

Your voltmeter may tell you that the mains are measuring 140VAC, but the meter cannot tell you how to remedy this.  The meter cannot distinguish between genny power (maybe it's running too fast?) or utility service (maybe everyone on the block just turned off their air conditioners?).

My logic analyzer tells me that I have a timing issue on my memory bus but it can't tell me which lines of VHDL need to be changed.

Yngwie's guitar tuner may indicate that whatever string he just plucked is making an F#, but it can't tell whether it was his G string that was flat, or some other circumstance.

The test equipment gives you visibility into a problem that you ordinarily wouldn't have.  This visibility, combined with experience and/or training, enables you to fix the problem.

-a


-AMEN!
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