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In this episode of Sound Design Live, I speak with sound consultant and educator Merlijn van Veen while attending his Calibration and Design Techniques for Modern Sound Systems workshop at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. We talk about the way that audio analyzers used in sound system tuning can easily be abused for micromanagement and over EQing, my learnings from the workshop, and your questions on line array vs point source. I ask:
- What manly songs can I play at soundcheck to make sure everyone knows what a big deal I am?
- What’s one of the best decisions you made to get more of the work that you really love?
- What is one concept or idea you wish everyone understood better before attending your workshops?
- What is the main benefit or transformation you’ve observed for your students?
- What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people make when they are new to sound system optimization?
- Describe a loudspeaker crime scene investigation, and how can we try it at home.
- True or false:
- A doubling of distance results in a halving of sound pressure level.
- A doubling of distance results in a 6 dB reduction in SPL.
- A doubling of distance sounds twice as quiet.
- What’s in your work bag?
- Ajax or PSV?
- Why is the stereo image so much better with point source systems comparing to line array systems?
- Why are so many people using line array system, when single source system is better, cheaper, and easier to set up?
The modern line array speaker is 25 years old. It’s been around just as long as the point source, maybe even longer. It’s just another tool. Don’t obsess about it.
- All music in this episode by Young Link.
- Check Merlijn’s FB page for the most up-to-date information on seminars.
- My first interview with Merlijn – Understandable Misunderstandings
- Merlijn’s calculators, including Subwoofer Array Designer.
- Crime scene investigation:
- Measure On-axis
- Move off-axis (while keeping the delay locator unchanged so that you are equidistant) until you observe 6 dB of angular attenuation.
- Merlijn’s box of toys: Genelec Acoustic Tape, iSEMcon EMX7150, piston calibrator, protractor, laser range finder, Ampro humidistat hydrometer, transformer-based DI to handle up to 200V.
- The popularity of line array loudspeakers: less real estate, better range ratio.
- The FOH position is self-calibrating. If you don’t like what you hear, your brain will instruct your hands to start pushing buttons until you like what you hear. But there’s no guarantee that what you perceive in that square foot is the same art that the rest of the audience is perceiving.
- As much as I like to do art, ultimately, it’s a physics class.
- Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. -Seneca
- Acknowledging that there is room for improvement is half the battle.
- You have this X-ray photo of your sound system, and it’s very tempting to start addressing every minor deviation. I did this in the beginning. It sets the table for micromanagement.
- Every new technological development, by definition, in the beginning, is used too often and in the wrong way. -George Lucas.
- If what we hear does not correlate with what we measure, we lose confidence in the measurement platform. And then most people will rely on their ears. But if you can connect the two, then you gain confidence in the things you are doing and you will feel more secure in approaching a new situation.
- The modern line array speaker is 25 years old. It’s been around just as long as the point source, maybe even longer. It’s just another tool. Don’t obsess about it.
- What I like about point source [speakers] is that afterward, I suffer less from listening fatigue.
Will this episode released on iTunes?
Nathan Lively says
Hey Joachim, I’m so glad that you mentioned this. I hadn’t realized that isn’t wasn’t there until now. I fixed it. Do you see it there?
Will Castillo says
Yep , there it is …
Could you list the tools mentioned in the podcast, the level, hydrometer, etc.
Nathan Lively says
Hey Russell, thanks for asking. I was just being lazy. I’ll go back and listen and maybe reach out to Merlijn.