Rational Acoustics



Chris Tsanjoures
December 12th, 2011, 02:32 PM
In a recent thread, Jay Barraccato mentioned using a dual spectro view to compare the output of the mix bus to a RTA mic at FOH to decide, or rather confirm, what you are hearing as a result of your mix output, or the room interacting with your system.

Some other uses I've been incorporating in my work flow are finding the key filters for drum gating, or the fundamental frequencies for instruments and really honing in on your Eq decisions or HPF settings.

For those of us that are responsible for mixing and tuning, how do you use Smaart as a tool to help you along while you mix?:cool:

Chris Tsanjoures
December 13th, 2011, 09:48 AM
Sometimes we don't get the most optimum position for the sound console (like side-stage, or backstage), especially in some of the more "combat audio" situations. Has anyone ever tried inconspicuously putting an RTA mic in the main listening area while you mix from say...the basement?

Rasmus Rosenberg
December 13th, 2011, 04:36 PM
In a recent thread, Jay Barraccato mentioned using a dual spectro view to compare the output of the mix bus to a RTA mic at FOH to decide, or rather confirm, what you are hearing as a result of your mix output, or the room interacting with your system.

Some other uses I've been incorporating in my work flow are finding the key filters for drum gating, or the fundamental frequencies for instruments and really honing in on your Eq decisions or HPF settings.

For those of us that are responsible for mixing and tuning, how do you use Smaart as a tool to help you along while you mix?:cool:

Hey Chris,
You mention the most common ways to use Smaart when mixing also. The problem lies in that mixing is based on subjective decisions (personal reference) and since Smaart don't have a clue what you like, it can't do much to help. It can provide a pretty image of different things, but if that will aid you in making decision is hard to tell. When thats said, I for one find it a very helpful tool to have for checking the spectral contents of different signals (spectrograph and RTA) send to the cue bus. You can do a lot of cool things by comparing a closed miced (or pick up) instrument to a measurement mic picking up the acoustic signal (no speakers). A method that a lot uses for laviar mic's.

Jay Barracato
December 15th, 2011, 12:04 PM
Hey Chris,

The problem lies in that mixing is based on subjective decisions (personal reference) and since Smaart don't have a clue what you like, it can't do much to help. It can provide a pretty image of different things, but if that will aid you in making decision is hard to tell.

I am not sure I agree. I am not saying that SMAART is making the decisions when mixing. I am saying that it is providing another data point to aid me in making that decision.

For example: To my ears 400 hz is hot in the mix. Many an old timer would be proud to recognize it as 400 and pull it down in the system graphic.

However, many of those old timers are simply "calibrated" to the third octave eq's. Having the spectrograph open quickly shows me what the exact band that is too hot is AND how wide it is. A quick jaunt through the spectrograph outputs of each channel through the cue bus tells me if one channel is the source, or if the system is the source.

All this extra information helps me to decide how I am going to respond to what I didn't like in the mix.

I do a lot of acoustic music. I often have 5-6 different string instruments sitting in exactly the same tonal area. Using the spectrograph helps me identify dominant frequency traits for each instrument to help create space in the mix for each.

While I have dropped a room mic when stuck in a projection booth for FOH, in general a room mic is actually the source I use the least. Unfortunately, it seems that is the most common source I see others running during show time, and I think part of the "just a pretty picture" reputation may be due to that.


But, I think understanding what the spectrograph shows me has definitely made me a better mixer.

Rasmus Rosenberg
December 15th, 2011, 02:38 PM
Well said Jay, I agree.
Im also getting good results now, using the a TF measurement, between the measurement mic (PA off) and a closed mixed, cued input. an example a TF between the Guitar mic and an measurement mic at the players position. Helps me get an idea how the player listens to the guitar and he want's it to sound. I will soon do a mic compare of the vocal to measurement mic's then (maybe) i can use them :)

Jay Barracato
December 16th, 2011, 08:49 AM
I haven't tried yet, but I having been thinking about dropping a measurement mic onstage, for all the shows I end up doing monitors from FOH.

Chris Tsanjoures
December 16th, 2011, 10:09 AM
While I have dropped a room mic when stuck in a projection booth for FOH, in general a room mic is actually the source I use the least. Unfortunately, it seems that is the most common source I see others running during show time, and I think part of the "just a pretty picture" reputation may be due to that.

Can you elaborate on this Jay?

Jay Barracato
December 19th, 2011, 12:46 PM
Can you elaborate on this Jay?

Chris,

I haven't really gotten a handle on it when the mic is not located where my ears are. I am still working on that calibration.

But for one show, i was stuck in a projection booth about 15 feet above the audience with a 3 x 5 window to let the sound in. There also was no direct access from the booth to the floor. So I left the mic setup on the floor at the back of the room, figuring if nothing else it was the same place most of the ears would be. I am not sure if it really was any help because at that point I wasn't as used to using the spectrograph.

Kip Conner
April 12th, 2012, 01:15 PM
Sometimes, well most times, we do all that we can do with the limitations of our environment. And ideally mixing from a booth that is out of the coverage area of the main isn't great- but sometimes a necessary evil. If you decide to drop your RTA mic down to the floor and in the back of the room- just be aware of the wall bounce due to the close proximity. That factor might give you a skewed since of what the audience is hearing and lend to you making adjustments in your system processing that are unnecessary. If you were on the floor and got a good sound check then you might be better to just leave it alone if there's any question.

I have a history of getting some terrible mix positions and one the show starts the I set up Smaart to show the TF Magnitude (without coherence) on the bottom half and a standard RTA on top that gives a quicker visual for feedback. I use the same console on the same show every night so what I really want to see is the frequency response of my main mix leaving the console and mic for anomalies such as feedback. The split screen is often just a better visual because of the aspect ratio.

Jay Barracato
April 15th, 2012, 01:26 PM
I had a theater show this weekend where I was mixing FOH and monitors from sidestage. The seating was severely raked and there was absolutely no way to listen anywhere in the audience. Being extremely familiar with the bands material, listening in headphones and double checking against the spectrograph made it a doable situation.

As I said before the spectrograph is another tool but now that I am used to having it, I hate having to do without it.

Kip Conner
April 24th, 2012, 06:46 PM
I don't use the spectrograph very much. i should probably use it more but the movement is a little much for me, it's distracting.

gluis
May 1st, 2012, 10:49 AM
Sometimes we don't get the most optimum position for the sound console (like side-stage, or backstage), especially in some of the more "combat audio" situations. Has anyone ever tried inconspicuously putting an RTA mic in the main listening area while you mix from say...the basement?

Actually, if I'm in an extreme mixing position, I rather use console near fills and eq them to have the same tonal balance as my PA. If I'm in the "basement" I wouldn't dare leaving my measurement mic in the house. Anyway, unless it is a theater situation, a mic at the main listening position will get too much audience noise to be useful in my experience.

GS

eddiemapp
October 18th, 2012, 02:36 PM
CHris,

I've been using multiple mics for tuning for a while and occasionally use two mics at FOH for live outdoor events. Many times i'm stuck mixing in a plastic tent which is nice for shade and protection from the elements but this drives me crazy during show time since I'm normally on a riser a few feet up and also am stuck in a highly reflective area. I normally always have one mic positioned at FOH just in front of my console and then will place another mic outside of the tent near normal audience head level (since i'm about 2ft 4 tall). This gives me a more accurate idea of the true Spl level as well as a truer frequency response with out all of the added reflections that I have to listen to at mix position. Also this is convenient when sound cops come around since i can instantly switch to different SPL reading and continue mixing instead of walking around trying to explain why I don't consider their radio shack meter inside the FOH tent to be an accurate reading. Tomorrow i'll setup a measurement between the inside and outside mic to check their differences and i'll post my findings.

On a side note can we find some easily obtainable cost effective material for FOH construction to help maintain a more consistent listening environment for the engineer that translates better to what the audience is listening to? This is one of my current missions that i'm not really sure anyone else has much interest in. Oh well.

eddiemapp
October 18th, 2012, 03:56 PM
Sometimes we don't get the most optimum position for the sound console (like side-stage, or backstage), especially in some of the more "combat audio" situations. Has anyone ever tried inconspicuously putting an RTA mic in the main listening area while you mix from say...the basement?

Yes, I've had to mix at the back of a theater under a balcony and couldn't even see the P.A. I used my lectrosonics TM400 placed inside a wooden lighting box with a short cable to hang my measurement mic down a few feet from the balcony so that I could at least get some sort of reference at the front of the balcony and used that to judge Spl levels and give me a better view of what was happening where the people actually were instead of where I was.