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In this episode of the Sound Design Live podcast I talk to Mauricio Ramirez, senior seminar instructor at Meyer Sound. We discuss some of the biggest mistakes he sees made by people who are new to sound system tuning. We also cover:
- Most popular test tracks.
- Which country has the most audio engineers who smoke?
- How did you get your first job in audio?
- What is the best choice you made to get more of the work that you love? (Hint: It rhymes with dedication.)
- Why parents shouldn’t teach their kids that they are special and why it’s good to be normal.
People want to see a beautiful graphic, but what people forget is that we are working with sound. We are not video guys or lighting guys. We are sound guys.
- All music in this episode by jACE the Caveat.
- Books: Don Davis Audio Encyclopedia, Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook, Modern Recording Techniques
- Software: Smaart, SATlive, Systune
- The most common sound system tuning mistakes you might be making:
- You have an older, cracked version of Smaart without all of the latest features. Buy a license and update.
- You are using smoothing. Turn it off (use 1/48 or 1/24 octave smoothing).
- You are trying to equalize comb filtering. Move the microphone 1m away. Don’t make decisions based on a single microphone position.
- You don’t have enough practice. Watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
- You trust what you see on the graphic more than what you hear. Trust your ears.
- Jiro Dreams of Sushi: “Nowadays, parents tell their children, ‘You can return if it doesn’t work out.’ When parents say stupid things like that, the kids turn out to be failures.”
- Wrecking Crew
- The big problem is that people smooth the graphic of the analyzer to ⅓. That is the biggest mistake. Smooth is easier to read, but what you are reading is a lie!
- Only correct what is common to all measurements.
- You need to compare the graphic of the analyzer with something that will be played during the concert. Some people only test the sound system with pink noise and then the graphic looks beautiful and they say, “It’s ready!”
- Start to learn what part of the information you can see that you can trust and what part you can see that you can not trust.
- Concerts in an anechoic chamber would be horrible because our ears are expecting reflections.
- Forget about what you see on the screen. We are sound guys, not video guys.
- If you are special, maybe only only special people will enjoy your mixing. But if you are an average guy, 90% of the population will enjoy it.
- It’s not important that you are working for famous artists. If people are calling you, you’re doing your job correctly.
- I normally prepare two snapshots. One before and one after the EQ. Then play music or speech and change the snapshots. Most people prefer the sound without the filters. So do I.
- Listen first. If your brain tells you it’s good, don’t do anything.
- If your delay error is less than 20ms, you might not hear an echo, but you’ll have comb filtering.