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Author Topic: Sencore SP395 Audio Integrator  (Read 20531 times)

Bennett Prescott

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Re: Sencore SP395 Audio Integrator
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2006, 11:08:14 am »

Hey, Tom, admittedly I'm not just Joe Blow to them, but I had a charging circuit problem with the unit they shipped me (wouldn't charge at all) and they're advanced me a replacement and issued a pick up ticket for the old one, with practically 0 effort on my part. Because the unit arrives in a shoulder bag, braced in some foam, inside a box it takes about 10 seconds to box it back up and get it off to them. So that part is pretty good.

I've been doing some more work with it, and I've got a little more to do, so there's going to be one more update and then I think I'm going to wrap my part of this road test up and get it off to someone else to play with.

Tom Young wrote on Mon, 12 June 2006 17:20

Frankly, if their customer service / tech support was better that *might* be enough justification.

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-- Bennett Prescott
Director of North American Sales
ADRaudio d.o.o.
Cell: (518) 488-7190

"Give me 6dB and I shall move the world." -Archimedes

John Olsen

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Re: Sencore SP395 Audio Integrator
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2006, 10:16:06 pm »

Bennett, have you had the opportunity to use the Speech Inteligibility functions?  At InfoComm I was told by our Application Engineer, Tom Schulte, that we had nearly the same results as the other companies participating in the training session.
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John Olsen
Sencore Electronics
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Sioux Falls, SD

Bennett Prescott

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Re: Sencore SP395 Audio Integrator
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2006, 12:05:18 am »

Ahh, of course, and here I was playing with the TDA functions more. I'll get some measurements and see how it pans out.
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-- Bennett Prescott
Director of North American Sales
ADRaudio d.o.o.
Cell: (518) 488-7190

"Give me 6dB and I shall move the world." -Archimedes

Bennett Prescott

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Re: Sencore SP395 Audio Integrator
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2006, 03:06:12 pm »

Sorry I'm a little long between posts here, but I wanted to make sure I got as many opinions and thought about what I was trying to say as much as possible before I got back to y'all here on the board.

The reason I'm so conflicted is that I'm having an exceptionally difficult time determining the value of this instrument. It's got a lot of excellent features all rolled into one unit, some of which apply more to live sound than others.

For instance, it's got an excellent polarity checker. If you need a mobile unit to check polarity for a bunch of speakers, this is a great option. It's also got a cable tester, signal level meter and an audio scope... but it's not anywhere near as capable as, say, a Minilyzer in that regard. It's got a tone generator that's well put together, but because it's attached to a fairly large box it's of limited utility... I'll still be carrying a separate tone gen for use in the field.

There's TDA and soon-to-be-implemented Transfer Function and Energy/Time graph, and while the built in tools are certainly useful for basic confirmation and troubleshooting, they're not anywhere near the capability of Smaart (or TEF, I'm told), so I've still got to carry that. The RTA feature is nice, but not anything different from what I've already got in a $300 handheld unit. There's an easy to use impedance meter that saves me having to wire one up for Smaart, so that's a nice addition. The sound Study graph is also useful, but the stock microphone isn't accurate enough "for court", so if you needed that function you'd have to purchase the precision mic from Sencore.


For Live Sound use, which I keep coming back to seeing as this is a live sound forum, the Sencore SP395 does very little that I can't do already. For serious measurement I have to set up Smaart or equivalent anyway. The SP395 comes calibrated, which is very nice, but I can get a microphone calibrator that will let me do the same thing with my Smaart rig for $500 or so. It certainly takes the cake in the pick it up, walk on stage, and confirm your monitors aren't blown department. Again, though, I can get 95% of that functionality with a sweeping tone gen I own and a $300 handheld RTA I own. That extra 5% of usefulness certainly isn't worth the additional cost.

What I'm really getting at here is what I had a problem with at the beginning. For a unit that costs about the same as two entire Smaart rigs, I simply don't see enough benefit in the live sound field to justify the price. It's got a number of "fringe" features that are useful enough to make it attractive, but at $4,000 loaded I can buy a handful of other tools that are on their own more capable, with the only detriment being they're not all in one box.

It's not all bad, of course. I think for someone doing large installs or system troubleshooting on a regular basis the Sencore SP395 makes a lot of sense. It's got speech intelligibility and noise analysis and many different kinds of decay. It's got a built in tone generator and speaker for confirming what's going down your signal lines. If you're an install company and you need one box that you can send a tech out with to crawl around in the ceiling and figure out why such and such speaker system isn't working or performing as expected, there's not really anything else on the market that does as much in one physical unit as the Sencore. It does just enough of everything to be a great tool when you need to grab one thing and have a whole slew of functions available for you.

I just don't see how, for the price, it has a realistic benefit to someone working mainly in the live sound field. Were it $2,000, fully loaded, I'd probably think it was just expensive but probably worth the price to A level touring system engineers. At $4,000 though I can buy an armful of products that will do everything I could possibly need while out there in the trenches, and do it better for my needs than the Sencore unit I've been reviewing.

I would love, however, to hear some other opinions. It has been suggested by a few influential people that I'm looking at this with my head screwed on wrong, which is why I've taken so long to get this last post in. After much discussion with outside parties, however, I think I've come to a reasonable conclusion. I just hate to take this product that John Olsen from Sencore was so kind to send to me to evaluate and say that it's got no application to this section of the industry unless you're independently wealthy or can get your company to buy one for you, and even then you still need something like Smaart.

Barring any sudden revelations, I think I've probably got enough hands on time. Would anyone else like to play? I'd be happy to UPS it out to someone who thinks they'd be able to clock some hours on it and kick the tires.
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-- Bennett Prescott
Director of North American Sales
ADRaudio d.o.o.
Cell: (518) 488-7190

"Give me 6dB and I shall move the world." -Archimedes

Lee Jacobson

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Re: Sencore SP395 Audio Integrator
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2006, 04:04:35 pm »

I guess I was next on the list to check this thing out. Bennett sent it to me a while back. I have not had time to realy wrap my head around it as of yet. With the next "toys" slated to come my way for road test, I plan on putting this unit to good use. Then I can share my real world opinion of it here. What I think right now, is that while each function it performs reportedly can be done with more accuracy by a dedicated piece of hardware, I see value in carrying in ONE piece. As I told Bennett over dinner during Infocomm, perhaps this thing is more of an install guy/acoustician's tool than a live production guy's. I dunno. I'd think Ivan and Tom would be the target customer, and they have both given their less than glowing reviews. As I said before, when I get the latest toys, I'll really crack this thing open, see how she handles corners and whatnot. As perhaps I have established with the TT24 thread, my roadtests are "no hold barred" affairs.

More later,

Lee
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Lee Jacobson
Technical Director
Brevard Sound Systems
Deltona, FL
386 717 4600

Adam Ellsworth

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Re: Sencore SP395 Audio Integrator
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2006, 12:44:39 am »

This was really interesting to read... maybe a bit off-topic, but I have nothing to contribute other than I live a couple miles from Sencore and drive by several times a week. Neat to see it referenced and get some insight into what they actually make, although I'd rather live a mile from EAW, JBL, or QSC. Or Crown... you get the idea.

I wonder if they have a dumpster...
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Sencore SP395 Audio Integrator
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2006, 04:08:09 am »

Topic swerve...

A mile from EAW is by far more scenic than a mile from JBL...  Never been a mile from QSC and only driven through Elkhart.

Tim Mc
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Lee Jacobson

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Re: Sencore SP395 Audio Integrator
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2006, 06:47:05 pm »

I had an interesting conversation with two of the guys from Sencore today. I told them both to post here. They were tryng to tell me all the things their unit does, almost defending it as if I had attacked the thing. I told them I hadn't, and I was in fact trying to word a reply to Bennett's "it cost too much" stance. I agree that it does cost as much/more than a pile of separates that will each do ONE of this unit's functions, some maybe even "better" (more like you're used to, mayhaps??). That said, the fact that this thing is as small as it is, and does ALL of the things it does, is a "value added" thing, from where I sit. I told the guys from Sencore to post here. I believe they will. In the mean time, I'll try to spend more time with the thing, so I can post my "hands on" with something resembling an intelligent flow.

Fun stuff...
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Lee Jacobson
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Brevard Sound Systems
Deltona, FL
386 717 4600

Lee Jacobson

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Re: Sencore SP395 Audio Integrator
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2006, 02:44:32 pm »

OK, so I have a real world use for this thing! I picked up some wedges. I intend to ue this, and not smaart, to help with the dsp drive stuff. I'll get on that this afternoon and report my initial steps and findings....

Wedges are a PS15 inspired box, loaded with Mc Cauley 6000 series cone and RCF 2" on Renkus waveguide. Nicely built. I am considering purchasing same...
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Lee Jacobson
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Brevard Sound Systems
Deltona, FL
386 717 4600

Lee Jacobson

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Re: Sencore SP395 Audio Integrator
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2007, 08:40:27 pm »

Well, my time with the Sencore unit is up. They're calling me at least twice a week, asking for it back. I guess I should send it in. My review?? My thoughts have not changed since I got the unit. It does some things very well. Other things, you may get better results using dedicated tools JUST for those jobs. I still think the fact that this one box does so much is quite impressive. Sure you gotta hook it up to your computer to get all the data, so what?? Do you want to lug a laptop and whatever your smaart rig is around to do everything? I don't. I will say the fellows from Sencore are kind of  off with their "it takes 45 minutes to set up a smaart rig" company line. My smaart rig only takes 45 minutes to set up if I include grabbing breakfast, and a shit/shower/shave in that timeframe.... BUT, that doesn't change the fact that this unit does an awful lot, and does most of it VERY well. Is it pricey?? Sure. Would I buy it?? If I had a need for all of this in one box, you damn betchya I'd buy it. Seeing as I am more of a live production/occasional installed system guy, my needs for a tool like this are few and rare. Were I a full time instal guy, or an acoustician, this unit is on my list.

I will now take a moment to bust Bennett's ballz just a tad. This unit is a widget. There are other widgets. Sometimes, we buy a more costly widget because it'll do something the others won't. Now that BP is in the position he is with Alex's company, he should understand that sometimes tools, good tools, cost a bit. Is this the best tool for each of its functions?? Dunno, prolly not. Again, to me, the fact that it is the "swiss army knife" of audio measurement tools means alot. Now where did they put that corkscrew???????


Lee
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Lee Jacobson
Technical Director
Brevard Sound Systems
Deltona, FL
386 717 4600
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