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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => Audio Measurement and Testing => Topic started by: William Schnake on January 19, 2016, 01:19:17 pm

Title: SMAART v7x
Post by: William Schnake on January 19, 2016, 01:19:17 pm
We have decide to purchase some measurement software.  My first thought is to purchase SMAART v7.x.  We will be using the software to help tune 3 of our systems: KF850ef/SB1000, KF730/SB1000 and RCF HDL20-A/SB1000.

Before I spend another $900 does anyone have any other recommendations for measurement software that I should look into?

Thanks in advance for your help and recommendations.

Bill  ;)
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 19, 2016, 01:47:42 pm
The other primary option is SysTune from AFMG, the same folks who wrote EASE and EASE Focus.

Regardless of which measurement system you select I *strongly* suggest you take the training class.  It's not terribly difficult to get squiggly lines on the computer screen - what is difficult it making valid measurements and knowing when you look at the screen that you've not achieved that goal.

I took my first Smaart class in 2004 and spent weeks un-learning what I thought I knew (self training in 2003 wasn't such a good idea for me) and then still making hundreds more invalid measurements in the process of reinforcing my class training and learning to interpret what was displayed.

I've taken Smaart training from Jamie Anderson and Harry Brill, both very good instructors with very different styles.  If you take SysTune training try to get in a class taught by Bruce Olson and/or Charlie Hughes.  Training is also available from SynAudCon.
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: William Schnake on January 19, 2016, 01:51:20 pm
Regardless of which measurement system you select I *strongly* suggest you take the training class.  It's not terribly difficult to get squiggly lines on the computer screen - what is difficult it making valid measurements and knowing when you look at the screen that you've not achieved that goal.

If I decide on SMAART, there is a class coming up in a few weeks in Denver.  I plan on spending the additional $750 and doing it.  We are slow this time of year so I can afford the time away plus I will learn to do it right from the start.

Thanks Tim.

Bill
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: Doug Fowler on January 19, 2016, 02:41:34 pm
We have decide to purchase some measurement software.  My first thought is to purchase SMAART v7.x.  We will be using the software to help tune 3 of our systems: KF850ef/SB1000, KF730/SB1000 and RCF HDL20-A/SB1000.

Before I spend another $900 does anyone have any other recommendations for measurement software that I should look into?

Thanks in advance for your help and recommendations.

Bill  ;)

If you don't already have measurement or acoustic chops, go the Smaart route.  SysTune is quite powerful but much harder for beginners.  You have to make decisions which are already accounted for in Smaart.  Specifically, the main difference is the windowing mechanisms.  It's totally behind the scenes in Smaart.  With SysTune, you have to make some decisions, and you need to have the knowledge to make the correct decisions.

I teach both, use both, and they both have their places.
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: William Schnake on January 19, 2016, 03:41:17 pm
If you don't already have measurement or acoustic chops, go the Smaart route. 
Thanks Doug, I am fairly sure that is where we are headed.  You know this is all you fault, Doug. ;)  We have picked up some second tier work in the Granite City/St. Louis area and I feel that I need to be better prepared for the shows.

Thanks for all of your help.

Bill
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: Ivan Beaver on January 19, 2016, 05:29:08 pm
As others have suggested-getting the software is JUST STEP ONE.

The next BIG STEP is learning how to use it.

And that does not mean knowing how to get around on the software-that is easy.

The HARD part is knowing what to do-what the display is telling you etc.

All any of the measurement systems do is tell you information (BUT YOU have to determine if what they are telling you is correct)

They DO NOT tell you what to do about it.  THAT is the hard part.

If you do not have previous measurement experience (NO RTA does NOT count), then a couple of training (notice I said couple) courses need to be planned on.  Maybe training by different instructors on different gear.

The gear is easy-the understanding is a whole different story.
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: Scott Carneval on January 19, 2016, 05:34:01 pm

If you do not have previous measurement experience (NO RTA does NOT count), then a couple of training (notice I said couple) courses need to be planned on. 

^^THIS

The first time I took the class was sort of like drinking from a fire hose. I've been using it for a year or so now and am signed up for another class next month.


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Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: Christian Güssmer on January 20, 2016, 03:52:56 pm
Before I spend another $900 does anyone have any other recommendations for measurement software that I should look into?

I totally agree with anything being said about learning. But the best is: if you then know what it is all about you might use more than just one of the measurement programs. Or the other way around: you might as well take a Meyer SIM3 course and be able to use what you've learned to operate Smaart, ...

And just to drop a note about a great measurement alternative: SATlive http://english.satlive.audio/ (http://english.satlive.audio/)
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: Jim McKeveny on January 21, 2016, 09:21:34 am
To quote Ivan yet again: It depends.

Smaart and similar are powerful enough to help with fastidious data acquisition used in the development of manufacturers' presets. For a "Hit n' Run" (I say that with first-hand knowledge and respect) regional sound provider, that may simply be too much.

I have seen plenty of top-flight, international FOH sound people use varying programs and techniques to get usable info and results out of a rig. It is typically a couple of IR waterfalls and Ye Olde SM58 walkaround, resulting in an informed notch here or there.

If your goal is greater understanding of how good/awful sound systems are and how limited we are to achieve an acoustic ideal, please do go for it.

If you think you can second-guess major manufacturers efforts and custom-FIR your way to glory, think again.

Good, modern PA gear, plus freeware/cheapware like REW, coupled with a HOSA Usb pre cable, a low cost omni condenser mic, and a whole lot of woodshedding can probably get you what we all desire: good sound routinely.

And wisdom.

What I am saying is your $1k may be better spent fixing the AC in the truck.

Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: Steve Payne on January 21, 2016, 09:53:19 am
What I am saying is your $1k may be better of spent fixing the AC in the truck.

It just doesn't get any better than this.  :-)
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: Jim McKeveny on January 21, 2016, 10:08:33 am
It just doesn't get any better than this.  :-)

Thank you.
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: William Schnake on January 21, 2016, 10:48:31 am
Thanks for all of the input guys.  I have purchased SMAART V7.4.  I have signed up for the SMAART Operator Fundamentals class in Denver this March. 

I am using a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface, but do not currently own a pair of reference mics that are up to the job.  What would be a good choice for reference mics?  I would like to stay under $1,000 for the pair if possible.  Getting smarter and using SMAART is starting to get expensive.

Thanks for all of the help.

Bill  ;)
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: Doug Fowler on January 21, 2016, 10:56:57 am
Thanks for all of the input guys.  I have purchased SMAART V7.4.  I have signed up for the SMAART Operator Fundamentals class in Denver this March. 

I am using a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface, but do not currently own a pair of reference mics that are up to the job.  What would be a good choice for reference mics?  I would like to stay under $1,000 for the pair if possible.  Getting smarter and using SMAART is starting to get expensive.

Thanks for all of the help.

Bill  ;)

No brainer: Isemcon mic from Rational store.

You don't need two.  You will learn how to average measurements together. I routinely use only one. 

Two types of averaging:

Averaging within a single measurement (temporal averaging).   This increases the signal to noise ratio in your current measurement.

Averaging amongst different measurements (spatial averaging).  You can do this in real time with multiple microphones, or after the fact with saved measurements.  I use the second method.  Averaging multiple measurements gives you the big picture and reveals trends present in multiple locations.   When you do this, you will see the two or three cuts that really need to be addressed. 

Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: Scott Carneval on January 21, 2016, 11:05:50 am
Thanks for all of the input guys.  I have purchased SMAART V7.4.  I have signed up for the SMAART Operator Fundamentals class in Denver this March. 

I am using a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface, but do not currently own a pair of reference mics that are up to the job.  What would be a good choice for reference mics?  I would like to stay under $1,000 for the pair if possible.  Getting smarter and using SMAART is starting to get expensive.

Thanks for all of the help.

Bill  ;)

If you're just using it to align your personal rig, you can get by with the $89 RTA-420 sold by Rational Acoustics. It's accurate to within a couple dB of the expensive mics, and you get a calibration file from Rational that you can import into SMAART. This file basically tells the program about any anomalies in your particular mic, and the program will then compensate. Each mic is individually measured and gets it's own calibration file from the factory.  What you're really missing out on compared to the 'big-dog' mics is the ability to measure much louder. I'm going from memory here, but I believe the RTA-420 is good to about 120db. If you need to measure louder than that, then you'll need a different mic.

http://www.rationalacoustics.com/store/microphones/ra-rta-420.html

Also, I believe your interface only has 2 inputs. One will be used for the measurement mic, one will be used for the reference signal. So you don't really have the ability to use 2 mics, at least not for a transfer function.

EDIT: Sorry, I lied. The $89 mic does NOT include calibration files. The RTA-420 with calibration files is $149 and can be found here: http://www.rationalacoustics.com/store/microphones/ra-rta-420cal.html
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: William Schnake on January 21, 2016, 11:13:13 am
Thanks Doug, I am going to order a pair of the iSEMcon EMX-7150 Measurement Microphones as soon as they become available.

Thanks
Bill  8)
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: Kevin McDonough on January 21, 2016, 11:34:04 am
What you're really missing out on compared to the 'big-dog' mics is the ability to measure much louder.

Hi there,

Just to pick up on something quickly, the Scarlett 2i2 soundcard you mentioned having doesn't have a pad on the channels, and this is something that also caught me out when I started really focusing on learning about measurement (I went down the Systune route, but both that and Smaart are great programs).

While it'll be great for learning and for your training course, you might find that if you start to make measurements at show volume, even with the gain turned down as low as possible you'll be clipping the soundcard input. 

So just something to keep in mind; over time you may want to budget for it's bigger brother the 2i4 which gets you a pad on each channel, or a similarly capable interface.

k
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: William Schnake on January 21, 2016, 02:59:29 pm
Kevin, thanks for the info.  I think we can swing getting the Scarlett 2i4.  This is exactly the type of useful information that I have been wanting to get so that i don't make any purchasing mistakes.  I don't mind spending money, but i do mind spending it twice.

Bill  ;)

While it'll be great for learning and for your training course, you might find that if you start to make measurements at show volume, even with the gain turned down as low as possible you'll be clipping the soundcard input. 

So just something to keep in mind; over time you may want to budget for it's bigger brother the 2i4 which gets you a pad on each channel, or a similarly capable interface.

k
Title: Re: SMAART v7x
Post by: Jelmer de Jong on January 23, 2016, 03:00:15 am
You could also fabricate a 20dB pad-cable for less than a dollar.
Title: SMAART v7x
Post by: Merlijn van Veen on January 24, 2016, 02:28:29 am
Hi there,

Just to pick up on something quickly, the Scarlett 2i2 soundcard you mentioned having doesn't have a pad on the channels, and this is something that also caught me out when I started really focusing on learning about measurement (I went down the Systune route, but both that and Smaart are great programs).

While it'll be great for learning and for your training course, you might find that if you start to make measurements at show volume, even with the gain turned down as low as possible you'll be clipping the soundcard input. 

So just something to keep in mind; over time you may want to budget for it's bigger brother the 2i4 which gets you a pad on each channel, or a similarly capable interface.

k

If you stick to low sensitivity measurement microphones in the 5 mV/Pa range you should have no need for a pad.

The foremost purpose of a Smaart or similar rig, is measuring signal. Self-noise comes second. So stick to small membranes and low sensitivities.

Chances are environmental noise will drown the noise floor of your entire signal chain anyway. The coherence feature of the analyzer will tell the difference.


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