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In this episode of Sound Design Live I talk with Jamie Anderson from Rational Acoustics about how he is able to work faster with Smaart using strategic check points in his sound system tuning process to avoid time consuming errors. Anderson also explains why Smaart is not a silver bullet, the history and future of auto EQ, and why Germans don’t laugh at his jokes. I ask:
- How did you get your first job in audio?
- You were at Meyer Sound from 92-97. What was the hot topic at that time?
- Looking back on your career so far, what’s one of the best decisions you made to get more of the work that you really love?
- You have a pretty tough job selling and teaching a piece of software that many live sound engineers hope will be a silver bullet. You said something yesterday that I liked a lot, “Smaart is a tool that helps good sound engineers make better decisions.” Would it be fair to say that Smaart forces you to ask better questions?
- What do you do to save time in the field?
- In online forums I will regularly see this question come up: I’m working in a highly reflective room tomorrow. What are your tips? And someone will always suggest that they keep the volume low. But this is misleading because rooms are linear. The room doesn’t change with drive level. So what’s really going on here?
- Tell us about the biggest or maybe most painful mistake you’ve made on the job and how you recovered.
- What’s in your work bag?
Taste your food before you salt it.
- Music in this episode by Heavy Moan.
- Jamie’s go bag:
- Books: Siddhartha, Sound Systems: Design and Optimization, Sound System Engineering
- As a system engineer, my job is to get everyone the same show. That’s what I refer to as sound communism.
- There’s a lot of tuning that goes on that is dropping a microphone in a place and tuning to make the response sound great at that place and ignoring the fact that the rest of the place is wildly varying.
- The audio analyzer is going to help you create uniformity, but really only as far as the system design will allow you.
- People come to the Smaart course hoping to learn how to align and get a good sounding sound system, but they are skipping the whole system engineering. We are teaching them about a really useful tool, but you really have to understand system design and engineering first. There’s no short cut.
- I was feeling really bad, so I went to the doctor. He MRI’ed me and now I feel great.
- Imagine if you could run an MRI on a laptop. That’s great, but that’s not going to cure people.
- I try to shoot down people’s expectations that this is going to be a magic bullet. It’s a really powerful tool, but it’s just a tool.
- It’s nice when people say, “They Smaarted the system,” but it’s a misnomer. Really systems are Nathaned or Jamied or Ericaed or Bobbed or Karrened.
- The fundamental problem with auto EQ is that it assumes that EQ is the right decision. In fact, rarely is it. There are very few things that EQ is a good tool for addressing.
- In the real world there is time compression. Where you had 2 hours, now you have 15 minutes. If it takes you 15 minutes to setup and verify your analyzer then it is not a useful tool to you because you can’t apply it.
- I’m my own worst enemy. I can confuse myself with the best of them.
- One bad cable can turn a million dollar sound system into an AM radio.
- The worst place to mic a violin is in close because it sounds different at every location.