Smaart Operator Fundamentals Course Description

Overview
The Operator Fundamentals covers the fundamentals of setting up a Smaart measurement rig and using Smaart to make basic RTA, Spectrograph, Transfer Function and Impulse Response measurements. Special attention is paid throughout the course to the subject of how to make valid and useful measurements, as opposed to simply making cool squiggly lines appear on the screen. This course begins with an overview of both the general system measurement theory involved as well as the operational context in which Smaart is used, namely in Sound System Engineering and Alignment. This course focuses on providing the attendee with a functional knowledge of how Smaart operates as a tool before expanding to the application of that tool in sound system engineering, and as much as possible, examines data interpretation as much as acquisition.

The first 2 days of class are primarily a classroom lecture and lab format, relying heavily on in-class measurements and utilizing a signal distribution system to distribute the instructor’s stereo measurement signals to the entire class.  The 3rd day involves a hands-on practicum focusing on the implementation of the information presented in the first 2 days.  It presents the use of Smaart in a methodical process of evaluating and adjusting the individual system components, and the subsequent combination of multiple subsystems into a multi-channel / distributed sound system. Throughout this alignment practicum, the session seeks to reinforce the necessary collaboration of measurement and listening skills

The Operator Fundamentals Class provides:

  • A fundamental description of the measurement concepts involved in dual-channel FFT based analysis (as used in our industry)
  • A systematic breakdown of how they are realized in Smaart measurement software
  • A detailed and hands-on (as possible) examination of the requirements for configuring and controlling a Smaart measurement rig.

Topics Covered Include (but not limited to):

Fundamental Measurement Concepts:
Single channel vs. dual-channel measurements / Time domain vs. frequency domain analysis / What the heck is an FFT?

Smaart Software Overview:
Software install/update & upgrade / Measurement Configuration / Measurement control & interface navigation

Anatomy of a Measurement Rig :
Hardware requirements / Standard Configurations / Basic Troubleshooting

RTA and Spectrograph Measurements:
Averaging and Banding / Feedback identification (& other cool things to do with Spectrograph / Calibration for SPL

Transfer Function Measurements:
Magnitude, Phase & Coherence traces: how they are generated and how to read them / Data Thresholding Functions and Improving Measurement Quality / Data Storage and Trace Averaging

Impulse Response Measurements:
Setting up the delay for Transfer Function measurements: Live IR and Delay Tracking / Measuring delay times for speaker system time alignment / Tips for improving IR measurement quality / The Impact of FFT Time Constant (window length) on Measurements

Measurement Position Choice and Microphone Placement

  • Measurement position selection – choosing our system alignment decision points
  • Microphone placement and coping with boundary conditions (e.g. ground bounce)
  • Single vs. Multiple position

Measuring and Tuning an Individual Speaker System

  • Determining proper loudspeaker operation – near field measurements
  • Evaluating loudspeaker coverage
  • Measuring and adjusting speaker response in coverage area

Extension of Coverage: the Addition of Fill and Delay Systems

  • Alignment checklist for each system – Freq. Response, Level, Delay and Polarity
  • LTC: Level – Time – Combine, a systematic process for combining systems
  • The 5-minute delay: a quick procedure for setting initial delay system parameters

Subwoofer Mania

  • The curious issues involved in measuring sub woofers in the “real world”
  • Timing the crossover between main systems and subs
  • Cardioid subwoofer arrays – controlling / steering sub energy

Prerequisites:
The Smaart Operator Fundamentals course is open to all interested persons.  Prior system alignment experience is not required, but is definitely helpful. This course does assume a working knowledge of professional sound system engineering practices and basic audio fundamentals. If you have any questions concerning course prerequisites, please do not hesitate to contact Rational Acoustics prior to registration.