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In this episode of Sound Design Live I’m joined by Manager of Technical Services at GerrAudio Distribution, Ian Robertson, independent consultant and designer of AV systems, Arthur Skudra, and previous vice-president now board member of the AES for the Latin American Region, César Lamschtein. We discuss career advice coming out of the pandemic and how Tracebook can support your work in the field when you run into speakers you’re not familiar with.
Tracebook is an independent public non-profit community that promotes the open exchange of loudspeaker system reference data measured by audio professionals for audio professionals.
- A Downloadable Speech Track… The Royer Track
- Tracebook Measurement Procedure
- Tracebook Forum
- Keep that hunger to learn.
- it’s nice to know what the room is contributing versus what the loudspeaker naturally is doing it’s by itself or what the other loudspeaker is doing and contributing in the context of that measurement. So having a baseline measurement of a loudspeaker is a highly valuable thing.
- it can help me select the correct speaker or select complimentary speakers to go on a particular job site.
- One thing that the trace will give you an no manufacturer gives you is the availability to, to mix and match different brands of speakers.
- The first discussion is…verification. A lot of people say, “Oh, ours is fine.” Nine times out of ten, I find something wrong. But what happens if I’m not familiar with the speaker? And I don’t know what I’m walking into, how do I know exactly? And Tracebook is a great resource for exactly that.
- I think this is really an a prime opportunity for any rental house to measure their entire inventory. And that way you have a baseline of what those speakers should be doing.
This transcript was automatically generated. Please let me know if you discover any errors.
I’m Nathan Lively, and today I’m joined by the manager of technical services at Garre Audio Distribution, Ian Robertson, independent consultant and designer of AV Systems, Arthur Skudra and vice President of the AES for Latin American region, Caesar Lamschtein. Ian. Arthur Caesar, welcome to Sound Design Live. Okay, so I just gave it a tiny snippet of something that you guys are known for, but I’d love for you to talk a little bit more about your background, where you are in the world today so that people can relate to you and your experience. So maybe I’ll go to Ian first.
I’ll give you the short form history. 1970 is when I started all this. I started fiddling around with audio equipment. When I was in high school, a couple of friends of mine and I had a moderately successful DJ outfit that we ran around the high school dances and Church dances and things like that in the started a production company with a couple of friends in the went freelance and I was a Turing sound engineer. I worked at a production company. After I finished up, I had children, which brought me away from touring and I took a gig at a production company in the East Coast. I’m hail from Halifax, Nova Scotia originally, so I did that until the mid two thousand s. And then I made the move up here to Brock, Ontario to work with Gear Audio Distribution. So as a company, Gear Audio represents a variety of respected professional audio communications equipment, test and measurement equipment, pro audio equipment, console speakers, et cetera. And the primary function I hold here is I do technical support. I do a lot of system design and commissioning and education, basically for our product lines.
Awesome. And so I know that you’re teaching digital consoles smart. Anything else?
Myers Sound? I do training in Map 3D.
How excited are you about the Panther?
Very. Yeah. I think it’s going to be a really fantastic Swiss Army knife type of enclosure that’s small enough and light enough, portable enough to do mid size gigs, yet have enough horsepower to do real full size shows, Stadium shows.
I think it’s going to mean a lot of people can invest in a particular loudspeaker and use it across a wide variety of productions.
I immediately messaged Myers Sound and I was like, Is this in Map 3D already? And they’re like, no.
So I don’t know when that plan to come out, but I’m excited to play with it in Map three D. Okay, let’s go to Caesar. So, Caesar, tell us a little bit more about yourself and where you are in the world today.
You may have the Panther in Facebook first before I have anything that’s possible.
If someone has it, they could measure it. That’d be great if they could upload it.
Okay. Now I am for one more week in my hometown, Montevideo in South America, Uruguay. I have to correct yourself. I am since a month, no longer the Vice President for the Latin American region of the Audio Engineering Society. I have been thrown away because I was not very good. So after four years of taking the duty, I passed the torch to Jorge Sama from Lima, Peru who is in charge today of the office. I am now in fact a member of the board of directors of Das. So I guess I am a director, which seems nice. It feels important.
Okay, alright, thanks. And then, Arthur, what about you? Where are you? And tell us a little bit about your professional experience that might help people get to know you.
Oh gosh. I’ve been an independent consultant for 20 years now. Been here in Canada based out of Hamilton, which is about an hour west of Toronto. Just to give a perspective of where I’m located in this planet. But I’m an independent audio visual consultant. My realm is more in the install industry, although I do occasionally live shows and concerts, things like that. But really my realm is more in the install business and commercial audio. But it’s kind of hard to pigeonhole what I do and where I am and what projects I’m working on. Because one day I could be working on an airport paging system and the other day I could be doing a performing arts hall and another day I might be working on a house of worship. My background actually started in the house of worship market and that started as a full time tech director for two big huge megachurches. So I was in charge of all the technical aspects of 4005 thousand seat auditory. So I’m well aware of all the challenges of lifestyle and making things sound right and appeasing some very demanding circumstances in terms of trying to make a sound system work and also these very picky ears and taking care of a lot of people complaining and trying to make everyone happy.
It’s not easy and anyone that thinks Church is a walk in the park sadly mistaken because you’re melding the two things together. You’re not only trying to make things musical, but also very intelligible. The music is just as important as the spoken word and designing a sound system that does both is particularly challenging and to tune and optimize the system to do both is also very challenging, but it’s always finding the right compromises. Lately I’ve been doing all kinds of interesting projects in the install side of business and with COVID I’ve been doing a lot more remote work. That’s the first. Normally I insist on being there in person to Commission a system and kind of forced my hand. And now I have actually a couple of portable kits that I fly around that essentially is a full measurement rig that’s in a Pelican case. And I can quite literally go in and remotely optimize and program the system. So I’ve been doing a lot of Nathan Lively, much to my chagrin. I still want to be there in person to actually hear the system. And I think the opportunities are really right now to get back into the AV industry if you’ve taken a break.
Thanks, Arthur. I didn’t know this about you with the House of Worship. I may have some personal questions for you later about some challenges I’m dealing with.
It’s a very unique market and it’s quite unlike what we’re used to in live sound. It’s very different and lots of unique demands.
Once you get a sound system set up for the first time, what’s one piece of music you want to play through it?
Yeah. There’s one in particular that I tend to rely on. It’s a tune by Chris Jones called Sanctuary, and it has a really nice low end and it’s really well produced track. But in particular, the thing that I like about this track is that his vocal mix and his vocal tonality is very broad range. And when you get the low mid OPA system nicely in line with the upper registers of the local range, there’s this lovely magic that happens with this track and what’s right. It just falls in and what’s right and it’s really good because if it’s wrong, you also know it’s wrong.
Okay, Caesar, what about you?
I would say that my tune that is always good in any system. When I need this, I pull out my Joker card, which is Street Worker by Michael Jackson that has great loudness potential. The arrangement is so well done that when there’s bass, there’s nothing else. When there’s no drum, there’s nothing else. When there’s the voice, there’s nothing there harming. So it’s like having a system per musical component so clarity is perfect. Bruce did a great job with that.
Arthur, what about you? What’s something you like to play on a system once it’s set up?
If I’m setting up a speech system, I have a couple of speech tracks, of course, the ubiquitous Synodcon speech test tracks that you can download for free.
Modern electroacoustics began in 1015.
Those are really helpful, but one in particular that I play back quite often is a Garrison Taylor track from Prairie Home Companion called Giant Decoys.
There were some men in Lake Wabagan who were having a high old time notice last week. And I’m talking about the Sons of Canoe up at the Suns of Canoe Temple. They were busy all week down in the basement building duck decoys for duck hunting season, which starts in just a little bit, which is such a big deal for all those old guys.
I love the voice of Garrison. It’s like it has that deep rumble to it as well as the presence to it. And it’s just fantastic for setting up the sound systems. One thing, when you’re playing music through a system, your ears do tend to be a forgiving instrument in terms of any faults that are revealed in the loudspeaker deployment. If you throw a speech track through the system, your ears are a lot more attuned to whether something is right or wrong. And I find that to be absolutely invaluable to set up a system, especially if intelligibility is important. Run some speech through it and listen to it really carefully and critically. But other than that, for music gosh, I have a couple of Toto tracks. Of course, Steely Dan is the tried improving sound test tracks. Gaslighting Abbey, it’s fantastic, especially if you’re trying to pick up reflections or delays. You’re trying to time delay fills that snare drum and Gaslighting Abby is absolutely golden to be able to hear timing issues in the system.
Okay, we are going to talk about Facebook here pretty soon. If you don’t know what Facebook is, you’re going to be excited to hear about what it is. But I do want us to talk for a little bit about career advice. You guys have been in the industry for many years. Currently, there are a lot of people who are struggling to find enough work or getting back into work coming out of the pandemic. And anytime listening to this in the future, there’s going to be people listening to this who are working on finding more work or just finding a better fit, the work that they really love, that they are really good at. So I want to know from each of you one piece of career advice that you would like to share with people listening who might be struggling right now to find enough work because of the pandemic. So I’ll go to Ian again. First, only one last you guys for one track, and then you each gave me ten. So it’s hard to it’s hard to stop.
I think there’s a couple of things. Part of it is related to the pandemic, and the other part is what about the regular world when we’re not in pandemic times? So what I’ve seen or I guess the piece of advice would be flexible. Take this opportunity to learn some new skills, learn some different equipment, maybe not audio. There’s a lot of companies that we’ve seen that have made a shift to hosting, streaming production, particularly for large corporations. So we’re taking what would normally be our AGM and all the money that gets paid to fly people into major centers and put them in hotels and feed them. That money has become available to do these events virtually. And there’s a few companies that I know quite well that have done an excellent job at making that shift to hosting virtual events. They have basically television production facilities set up in their warehouses, and they’re running these events. So that’s one thing.
Yeah. If you already know how to work on shows, it’s not a huge deal to switch from doing an audio part of it to doing another part of it that might be in higher demand right now because of the lives.
Exactly. You might not get to mix your favorite band. You might be on a corporate gig, which may not be a spot, but you’re still paying the bills. So that’s one thing that few of my friends have had some good success with in the not pandemic times, if you will, or the regular times on gigs or all the time. Really, one of the chunks of information one of the suggestions I have would be is the importance of keeping it simple. Balance your keen interest of the latest fancy new thing with the complexity and the risk that might create as you implement it. I’ve seen a lot of folks get themselves in trouble. Basically, I do tech support, and I’m the guy on the other end of the phone that people are talking to, and it’s not working, and it’s an emergency. It’s because somebody has overreached, basically.
Can you give me a specific example? What’s something that someone has tried to what’s the latest new thing that someone tried to install that didn’t work out?
It’s hard to put a finger on something like that because you don’t want to speak ill of any particular technology. But I’ve seen people make a lot of mistakes in digital networking.
Okay, so maybe they switched from completely analog transmission to we’re going to switch over to Dante, and it’s a mess or something like that.
Basically, you’re either you’re sending signals out of a console over a piece of cat five to another piece of hardware and then back again, or you’re doing a bunch of different things. And there’s some benefits to doing that. But just keep in mind that whenever you do something like that, you’re adding another failure point. And the kind of goofy example, for lack of a better one, that I like to throw at people. Sometimes if you have to run 100 foot mic cable, do you go to the bin and take out 100 foot mic cable, or do you take out ten ft. Mic cables and plug them together? You’ve got nine more points of failure if you use ten foot Mike cables.
Small anecdote. I used to work for a company in the Bay Area where the guy didn’t own any 100 ft. Mike cables. He just always bought ten ft. Mice cables. Exactly what you’re saying. And we would just string them together. And it hurt me so much.
Whenever you’re in a heated, troubleshooting situation and you’re under the gun feet to the flames and you have to figure out what’s wrong, the fewer variables that you have in your mind, the faster you’ll be able to solve the problem. It’s a game of minimizing the variables and being able to come up with the answer quicker because you don’t have seven or eight different things to consider. There’s only three things to consider and you can get through those three things pretty quickly in your mind or in your methodology.
Awesome. I think that will connect well with what’s coming back to talk about Facebook. So Caesar, what’s one piece of career advice?
As pilot says you have to fly the airplane from the nose else the airplane is flying. You what I mean regarding this, I have always worked a lot in pre production because I love and because for me, everything is done before. When you go to the same for cooking, same for everything. Everything is done before doing it is just assembly of things already done. So when you have taken care of everything, usually there are no problems to be solved. Everything runs smooth. Music is the King. You don’t have any more technical issues. Shit happens. But just imagine what can happen if you didn’t do the pre level work. It would be a nightmare work before the gig. That’s my advice.
Thanks either. What about you, Arthur?
Gosh, there’s just so many things that I can think of, but I think if anything, just keep that hunger to learn. I think that’s really key to being relevant and staying relevant in our industry. Things are changing so fast and I think there’s a lot of us that have been dragged kicking and screaming into this whole new audio networking craze that has pretty much taken over the industry. And let’s face it, yeah, analog is great, but I think that ship has sailed and it’s still sailing. But networking of audio and video, all the AV systems now are all going through network switches. And whether you like it or not, that’s here to stay and it’s going to continue to advance more and more. I think if anything, the adaptability that you can present yourself in terms of learning how to harness this technology and be able to deploy audio networks properly is absolutely key. And I know in my work and in installs, we’re dealing with it every single day. And in fact, yesterday we wasted so many hours because one project that I’m working on, they never bothered setting up the network switches properly and all that.
And quite literally we were just baffled because there were IEMs on the network that were dropping offline. And yeah, we reset the switch, put in the QoS and everything like that. But it was so troublesome getting all the straggling pieces that still had the old network credentials try to get all that corralled into the new network set up was just an absolute horrendous mess. And the earlier you learn about how to do all this and do it right, the better off you’re going to be. And there’s so many seminars. Yeah, one thing about COVID is I got seminars out. I got absolutely fed up watching podcast after podcast after seminar after webinar. It just really got tiring after a while, and it was like webinar overload. But there are some really good seminars out there that are free for the taking. And you can learn so much about networking and being able to harness those things and getting those skills is just absolutely invaluable. Whether you’re doing live sound for a tour or doing a big, huge installation in a hospital or an airport or whatever, those skills are so transferable, and they make you that much more valuable as a person to be hired onto a job.
And I think if you want job security, face the fact that you’re going to have to get some data networking chops behind you. Otherwise you’re not going to be able to stand out from the rest. So that’s my piece of advice.
Thanks, Arthur. So I’ve been teasing that we’re going to talk about Facebook this whole time, and we’re finally going to get to it now. So what is Tracebook? Facebook is a website. It is a community, an online community for the exchange of loudspeaker reference data. So the first question that I have for the three of you is, why is this important to you? Like, why did you get involved? Why are you here today? Why do you care? And what’s important to you? Why is Facebook important to you?
One of the things that I try to impress on people whenever IEM doing a class is the importance of verifying that things actually work correctly before you start making decisions based on the measurement data that you’ve captured. So Facebook is a way to help you do that. I think that it’s valuable and important for people to have access to good quality actionable data. They can take a loudspeaker that they’ve never encountered before or one that they even have encountered before, but they’re not sure if it’s working correctly. And they can go grab the measurement off of Facebook and they can repeat that measurement procedure, and they should get pretty much exactly the same result. It may not be perfect because of the environment that they happen to be working in versus the way the measurement was originally taken, but it should be pretty damn close. And that gives you some confidence that the piece of equipment that you have in your hands or sitting on the floor or whatever is actually a good piece of equipment, it’s wired correctly, it doesn’t have damaged, low driver, high driver, or whatever. The preset is correct all the different variables that might pop up relating to a particular given loudspeaker.
You can cover them off and you can go, okay, I’m now confident that this is a good quality loudspeaker. And then when it comes to looking at a loudspeaker in situ, when you stick a microphone up in front of a loudspeaker that’s sitting in the corner of a room somewhere. Whenever you measure something like that, you’re not only measuring the loudspeaker, you’re measuring the interaction between that loudspeaker and all the boundaries in the environment that it’s in. Or you’re measuring that loudspeaker in combination with maybe some other sources, other loudspeakers it might be on as well. So if I need to address something, it’s nice to know what the room is contributing versus what the loudspeaker naturally is doing by itself or what the other loudspeaker is doing and contributing in the context of that measurement. So having a baseline measurement of a loudspeaker is a highly valuable thing.
Yeah, for me, that’s super relatable. We have all been in the situation, especially at the beginning. But even when we forget or in a hurry or we’re doing like a last minute gig, you walk into a room and you’re like, okay, let’s get things set up. Get my audio Analyzer set up, take a measurement. Oh, wait, IEM just looking at data in the abstract. I have nothing to compare it to. What am I looking at? Is this correct? Is this incorrect? Why does it sound this way? Is my audio Analyzer said there’s all these questions come up that could really be helped out by having some sort of a comparison. So I appreciate you bringing that up.
I guess the other part of that is if you’re in a shop and you’re either in charge of a bunch of loudspeakers in a shop somewhere or you actually own them, you can verify that your stuff is not broken. But also, if you’ve been handed a pallet, okay, you’re going to go and do this show and you’ve got these four different loudspeakers that are going to get pulled off the shelf and put in the truck, and you’re going to go to a show. Are they going to work together? Do they have complimentary faces characteristics? If I’m going to put an infill in an outfill with a big speaker on a stack, am I going to be able to make the marriage between those two speakers in the acoustic crossover area? Is that going to be nice or is it going to be nasty and it can help me select the correct speaker or select complementary speakers to go on a particular job site?
That’s really interesting. I ran a poll recently on Twitter and YouTube asking people, do you typically assume that two loudspeakers from the same manufacturer are compatible face compatible with each other, or do you typically assume that they’re not until proven otherwise? And I thought pretty much everyone would say that they assume that they’re compatible, but 75% of people said that they assume that they’re not compatible. And that really, I think people understand this problem that you’re describing, which is that should be the first question that comes into your mind is, oh, wait, you want me to set up two speakers together, or how do I know that they’re going to play nicely together and how do I prepare for that and how do I prove that being able to do that? Preproduction using Facebook sounds like a really valuable tool. Caesar, what about you? Why is Facebook important?
One thing that Facebook gives you and no manufacturer gives you is the availability to mix and match different brands of speakers. You talk about a single one, but that’s not the reality for a lot of us. You are sometimes giving something that it was not meant to work together and you can have data that would prolong what you normally use to predict performance. I don’t know either Map for my sound or Vision for this or Rainbow for that, or Easy, etcetera. There you have actual data that is vetted that you can use regarding different things where you can mix and match. I think that’s pretty valuable from one point of view of interest of Traceable. The other one is exactly the contrary. It’s a place in the learning side where you feel empowered to give to share. Am I measuring okay? Is this good enough? Etcetera. I think that you get a boost of confidence in how you measure when some guys, clever guys like those that are there scrutinize your measurements and you follow guidelines and you understand the guidelines and you go through this process for getting accurate data and at the same time it helps you to get also this other thing that is obscure arcane knowledge of what is accurate enough so you lose some fear.
It’s okay, we all agree, and I don’t know if he or Nathan or Merline or Arthur says it, so it’d be okay. You can do a measurement in this situation, you just take care of this, take care of that. No more than ten degree of repo, etcetera. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So I think it helps you benchmarking your measurements, your own measurements, your own way to measure and to know how you get better at it. Basically, that’s it.
I think it’s pretty common that AV companies will reserve a sound system for the show they’re going to work on, but then for the little pieces for the front fills, side fills, delays, whatever. They might just use whatever is available at the time. They might be companies that are large enough or busy enough or just have a bunch of desperate systems that it’s just going to show up, whatever shows up and then it’s our job to make it all work together. And so the better that we can predict how that’s all going to go down, the better. Arthur, what about you? Why is Facebook important?
I think it’s great database to be able to do reality checks with. Oftentimes I get thrown into commissioning systems that I don’t know what the history is behind that system prior to me showing up on site and saying make something work here. Classic example. I had a house of worship and they had a cluster of two speakers, a center cluster, two identical speakers, and they were passively crossovered, and they were sharing the same signal on the power amp. So one amp channel powering, two speakers in a cluster, and we’re having a passive crossover. So to a loudspeaker from ex manufacturer, I come in, and the first thing I do whenever I come into an unfamiliar system is I’ll put a speech track through the system and a music track, and I’ll just walk the room, and I’ll just listen to the system and make some mental notes on what’s going on with that sound system. So I did that, and I started walking the coverage, and everything sounded fine on one side of the room. And then I went to the other side of the room that was covered by the other speaker, and things just didn’t sound right.
It was hollow. It was weird. And the transition between the two speakers was just really very odd. So out comes my smart rig, and I start measuring, and I’m going, okay, what’s going on here? And Unfortunately, I didn’t have the ability of turning one speaker off and just listening to one speaker by itself. Here I am speaker is 30ft up in the air. I don’t have any access to it. And I had to call the contractor and say, what happened to the system? We had a high frequency driver go out on it, and the alarm bells started going off. So I took some measurements of the system, and then I called up the manufacturer, and I knew personally the engineer there, and I shared them, my smart traces. And I said, is this real or is this not real? And if I had these traces in Facebook, Facebook obviously didn’t exist at that point in time. But if I had them available at that time, it would have saved me a phone call to the manufacturer, going through X number of different levels of support to get my question answered. When I’m on site, the clock is ticking, and I’ve got to be done X number of hours.
And here I am faced with get the system up running. And right today they have a service coming in that night, and I figure everything all figured out and fixed and everything like that. So I had to call them up. But if I had Facebook, I would have instantly recognized, okay, on this side, that trace looks plausible. On this side, the trace doesn’t look plausible. There is something really wrong. And it ended up that they replaced a driver, and the silly contractor wired the high frequency replacement driver out of polarity, which is not that hard to do, because when I know you go inside a passive two way box and they’re going to use all kinds of different colors for the wires, and you don’t know whether a yellow or green are plus or minus. And it’s an honest mistake that contractors make all the time. Even manufacturers make that mistake coming out of the box. And I’ve seen that happen. And it’s frustrating. That kind of thing is absolutely invaluable to be able to figure out what is going on. And I had to call the contractor, and they had to come out with a scaffold, set it up and go up there and fix the speaker the second time.
And once they did that, then everything started falling into place. But I think Facebook could prove its value over and over again. When you find those problems and measure up to what a good measurement should be and be able to establish whether something is correct or not, I would.
Love to hear some other specific examples from each of you. So, Ian, I’d love the story that you shared at Live Sound Summit.
Yeah, sure. That’s a good example, Nathan, because it’s not always a defective loudspeaker or it’s not always miswired cable. In this particular instance, it was a Meyer Lion rig. And we went in to do the tuning on the rig, and the first thing I saw was six phase wraps in the lion, and it’s a lot more than a lion has when you take it out of the box brand new. So then the investigation started. It’s like, where? Why? What’s going on? There’s something wrong with my measurement rig. What is it? So ultimately I asked the question, is everything flat in the console? Because I was running into the console? And so I said, give me an output from the console and I’m going to do a transfer function of the console itself just to verify. Again, I didn’t verify it on the front end. And sure enough, there was five phaser apps in the console, and it turned out to be a plugin that was inserted on the master bus of the console. And there’s a couple of ways to build those compressors. And one of them is to insert a bunch of crossover filters in the signal chain, which results in a bunch of phase rap.
Or you can have a bunch of crossover filters and you can side chain into the compressor from the crossover filters, which results in the signal path that doesn’t affect the phase wrap. So that’s what it was. It was saying it was a compressor. So there’s a whole bunch of different things that can pop up. Thanks for bringing that up, Nathan. That’s a fun example.
You know what a lion is supposed to look like, but for someone that doesn’t know, how would they know? They would just be like, okay, yeah, six page reps. I guess that’s how it is.
This speaker sucks. And I had another one very similar to Arthur’s, where it was a center cluster of UPAs. It’s a very long time ago, but it was the center cluster of three UPAs up top and then two UPAs aimed down into the Orchestra. And it was exactly the same as Arthur’s example, I walked across the balcony and the entire you lost all the low mid out of the cluster in the balcony. Okay. And then when I went to investigate, I found that somebody had inverted the polarity of the channel. They actually was physical. They stuck a phase invert on the input to the minor processor running to that speaker because they had discovered it was out of polarity. But in fact, it wasn’t out of polarity. The Horn was out of polarity and they had measured it and decided that the entire speaker was out of polarity. So they flipped the entire polarity of the speaker, thus putting the twelve inch out of polarity. So the horns all work nicely together. The twelve did not. So the answer, of course, was pull the cluster down, fix the speaker and put it all back, take the polarity invert out of the input to the M one, a process.
But yeah, things like this happen quite often. Gas to go in and do a tuning on the sound system. And one of the first discussions is we’re going to need some time to do verification. And everybody not everybody, but a lot of people say, oh, no, it’s fine, our system is fine. You can be confident. And nine times out of ten, I find something wrong. And Facebook, if I can find something wrong and IEM familiar with the speaker, that’s one thing. But what happens if I’m not familiar with the speaker and I don’t know what I’m walking into? How do I know exactly. And Facebook is a great resource for exactly that.
Caesar, what about you? Can you tell us about some way that Facebook has shown up in your work?
I have been asked as a consultant to see if they all have the same behavior, the same response. It was an RCF system that I didn’t know anything about. If I ask Myerson for data in order to buy a used Meyerson, what they are going to try to sell me a new one. They are not going to help me to buy a used one.
This is helping you do shopping because you’re thinking like, oh, if I buy a used system, I want some way to check to make sure that it’s performing.
You get confidence to get that.
Yeah, yeah, that’s great.
And I’ll just share personally, like this has happened. Day before yesterday, someone was asking me about two DMV speakers and they said, hey, how are you supposed to use these two DB speakers together? They don’t look like they match. And I was immediately suspicious because I’m not familiar with these speakers. I don’t know if maybe you did the measurement incorrectly, maybe you’re doing something wrong. It’s probably you. But I was able to go to Facebook, download those two speakers, look at them in my audio Analyzer, and move them around and adjust the delay and add filters and things. And I discovered that yes, he was right. These two speakers out of the box are not compatible, and you need to add an all pass filter for them to work together. Arthur, what about you? You already shared one story with us, but is there another thing that comes to mind for you for where Facebook has shown up for you and your work?
I’ve been using the database to compare different speakers. Now that we have the ability to do comparisons within Facebook, it’s been invaluable for me to evaluate different products to see whether from a design point of view, it will play together nicely. So that’s been one other area that I’ve been taking advantage of without having to Commission systems in the fields because we’re locked down. It’s been a very good design tool as well, not only for testing and verifying in the field, but also evaluating product that I’m considering to be part of a system. So very valuable in that regard, too.
We’re getting close to the end here, and I guess I want to see if there’s any last things that you guys want to say to people about potential ways they could be using Facebook or how to get started. And so one piece of news that I’ll share with people. Well, I’ll share two pieces of news. Number one, we have a little bit of new functionality on Facebook, which is that now you can make some adjustments to the measurements on the page so you can add and subtract delay invert polarity. And we have coherence blanking. And soon we’ll be able to look at two measurements on top of each other. So if you look at two things in the database, you can just grab one of them and put it on the same graph. And so we’re curious what other features people might want to make this a really valuable tool moving forward. We want this to be the de facto place that people go to when they have questions about what is this supposed to look like? Do these things work together? Any other exciting piece of news I want to share with people is that Caesar has spearheaded this work of translating the Facebook measurement procedure into Spanish.
And so there’s this whole other huge part of the world of sound engineers that we want to have access to Facebook to be able to use it, be able to do measurements and upload them to the website. And very soon we will have that document available in Spanish as well. So, Caesar, thank you for working on Turkish, not Spanish. Oh, Turkish. Sorry. Turkish.
You’re wrong. We are finishing it. The good news is that we already finished translation. We are reviewing it. We have input for the reviews from top of the top. You have Sauron Castanela, who already submitted his review. We will have people from Spain, from Peru, from Chile, Argentina, in order to be sure that it is neutral enough. So not anyone from a different place will find strange reading with some wording that could be locally. So it’s well done.
Awesome. Thank you for all of that hard work. I wouldn’t even have considered that we need to have Spanish speakers from different regions looking at it to make sure that is understandable globally.
I think I’d probably like to put a little bit more towards Caesar’s topic of community. I think Facebook is a wonderful community for like minded people to share and learn the skills of accurately measuring a loudspeaker and the procedures that we have put in place. And the document that has been drafted is a really great resource. It’s a really great guideline for how to measure a loudspeaker and get a good reference data trace out of it. It also clears up certain misconceptions and explains why the guidelines result in a quality measurement with actionable data. So it’s a learning document and it’s a growing document. It’s going to be something that evolves over time based on what we see as moderators with the submissions that are coming into the site. For example, I don’t know if other people agree, but the two things that I see that the mistakes I guess that people make is they either measure the loudspeaker too close to a boundary or they don’t get the tilt, so they don’t have the maximum high frequency on access in particular line of loudspeakers. And those are both outlined very clearly in the document.
So I think that Facebook has a great value on the educational side to help people in a very practical way to get really great data and learn more about measurement.
I’m really glad you brought that up. I forgot that this is a great opportunity for us to give tips to people who are interested in Facebook and want to use it not only to just like browse records and download things and load them into their audio Analyzer, which is the big first easy step, but for people who are going to take some measurements and go through that process, the people that we have here in the group today are the people that are going to look at that. For people who are totally new to Facebook, what happens is that you upload something, but then to actually have it be approved and accepted into the official database for trace book, it has to be approved by two moderators. So that means that someone like Ian and then someone like Caesar are going to look at it, compare it to any best known data that we have, and look at all of the details and decide if it meets the Facebook guidelines, which are all outlined in the measurement procedure. And that’s really helpful to know. Ian is saying that you got to get the vertical aim correct.
So that’s a big thing we’ve been working on in Facebook when you’re doing and we don’t tell people how you have to do the measurements. The ultimate result is that they have to meet the guidelines, and that’s it. But we are recommending that if people don’t have access to some sort of anechoic environment or other way to make a measurement that will meet the guidelines, we are recommending that they do ground plane measurements, and we go into a lot of detail on the measurement procedure about exactly how to do that. But Ian is just highlighting that one of the things that most commonly is done incorrectly and that we have to ask people to remeasure is when either the vertical aim is not correct and that means that you don’t have the speaker perfectly on access with the microphone, which we talk about how to do in the measurement guide, or what was the other one that you mentioned?
Too close to boundaries.
Too close to boundaries. So you see people measuring too close.
To the wall, too small a space.
So you either need to be in a large room typically, and then near the center of the room, but not exactly in center, but nine times out of ten, I just have to go outside, especially if it’s anything but a very small speaker. So I’ll throw it to Caesar and Arthur. Do either of you have some common mistakes?
The biggest mistake I see everyone making it is getting into audio. They should leave audio and go to something else. Where the money is and where happiness is. Video and lightning. But video mostly happiness isn’t video.
Yeah, I say jump in and make some measurements. I think if anything, too often people rush in and throw some gear together and make the measurements. Maybe they put some effort into it, but not enough effort. Let’s put it that way. I think if anything, we want to keep the data as pristine as possible to present to the world. We don’t want to put a speaker in bad light because of a bad measurement. And that’s why sometimes we’ll reject a measurement because we know that it doesn’t represent what that speaker can truly do. Don’t think of rejection as a personal thing against you, or don’t make it a point of frustration. Oh, I’m giving up on this because it’s too hard. It really isn’t. And I’ll be honest with you, any of us that are involved with Facebook would be more than happy to come out and help you make those measurements if we’re close enough.
Yeah, we can get on a Zoom call, whatever.
Absolutely. We’re all approachable, and we would love to help you make those measurements. I think this is really a prime opportunity for any rental house to measure their entire inventory. And that way you have a baseline of what those speakers should be doing whenever they go out on a gig and take advantage of this downtime that you have now, waiting for the show to come back to start prepping your inventory, measuring it all, making sure it all is working correctly, and take advantage of Facebook as your database to keep all those measurements stored somewhere and your gear ends up on a show. My goodness. This is a valuable resource for anyone using Facebook to be able to look at your equipment and be able to figure out, okay, how do I make these different systems work together nicely but jump in and really take some measurements and don’t take rejection personally. We all want to help each other and produce some great data here that everyone can use.
Yeah, I think you are. There. There. I hate to see people go to all the trouble of setting up their measurements and then there’s some really obvious problems. So what I’ve been recommending to people is to do something easy. Do something at home that you have easy access to So that you could just set it up in your driveway or a tiny speaker you could even just set up in your living room or your warehouse, take your first measurement, go through the entire procedure so you can see what it’s like. So that way we have problems with and we say, hey, you did this slightly wrong or can you do this a little bit better? It’s easy for you to set up again. If you have to get out of forklift and get down some giant speaker and clear out the room and go to a bunch of trouble and then we’re like, oh, but you had this thing upside down or whatever, then it’ll be disappointing. So do something easy first for your first time and then once you have hang of it or have the entire process then get out the forklift. All right.
Ian Caesar, Arthur, thank you so much for being with me here today. Final question where can people follow your work online?
I worked at gear audio distribution in Canada. We have our own internal Facebook and some stuff on YouTube and Instagram and whatnot Caesar, what about you?
I am on Facebook sometimes and the music I do in the studio using Spotify.
What about you, Arthur?
You can find me on Facebook or Instagram by all means find me there.
Or on LinkedIn trace book firstname.lastname@example.org and obviously I’ll put all the links links with the show notes for this interview but in Caesar and Arthur, thank you so much for joining me today on sound design live.
It’s great to be here.
Sound design. Bye.