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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Friday, September 4th, 2009, 10:30 AM
rschultz's Avatar
Just a rookie

 
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Equalizing a Room - RTA, TDS, FFT, etc.

Hi,

There is an article on ProSoundWeb.com called Equalizing a Room. An interesting read, it basically says RTA is archaic... and this is basically what I'm doing. They mention tools like TDS and FFT are the modern alternative to RTA. Maybe it doesn't matter with my small 50' x 50' room, not sure.

Questions:
1) Which one or both would be beneficial to me?
2) Is there free software programs that can do this for me with little hardware investment?
3) Could a technical guy like myself (degree in engineering) who has a good musical ear but no formal audio/acoustical training understand/learn how to do this?

Thanks.
Ryan
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Old Friday, September 4th, 2009, 10:59 AM
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I think that some of the issues have already been noted, particularly in regards to RTAs being 'time blind' and looking solely at amplitude (level) and frequency but not time (and thus also not phase).

While Smaart, SysTune, SIM, etc. are the most common professional tools for system tuning, most of which are dual channel system that allow you to look at the transfer function or to compare a source signal to the signal a mic receives including in the time domain. There are some less expensive expensive options but the accuracy and flexibility are typically lesser as well. There is also a learning curve to using them correctly, you can get results but may not recognize if they are valid or what they are showing. Unless you do this type of work on a fairly routine basis or just have some spare time and cash, it is usually more effective to hire someone.
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rschultz (Friday, September 4th, 2009)
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Old Friday, September 4th, 2009, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Weber View Post
There is also a learning curve to using them correctly, you can get results but may not recognize if they are valid or what they are showing.
Yes, this is what I suspected. I may figure out how to setup the equipment and figure out the software and do the test, but understanding the results is a different story... and discerning what to change is another issue altogether.

Thanks for confirming my suspicion.
Ryan
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Old Friday, September 4th, 2009, 08:03 PM
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I currently use an old flavor of Signal Scope from Faber Acoustical. It's a Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch only platform.
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Old Friday, September 4th, 2009, 09:19 PM
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Hmmm... I'm a mac guy with a laptop, no iPhone but I do have a non-touch iPod. The non-pro version is only $99. Very possible.

So is the iPhone the mic? That's too cool.
If I just did the laptop, I'd need some sort of I/O device...

Thanks.
Ryan
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Old Saturday, September 5th, 2009, 12:30 AM
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I'm a Smaart guy, no the software not my intellect.

The truth is that measuring the way that everyone does is incorrect. Can you imagine the audacity of someone using a omnidirectional mic to emulate the complex pickup pattern of the binaural listening structure of the average human? The idea is to use mics and gear/software to help guide you on the tuning of your system. Of course the more data you can acquire from your measurements the more informed decisions you can make.

I wouldn't worry with getting into timing issues with the simplicity of your system but if you are working with multiple drive components that need to be aligned or you need to diagnose acoustic issues in a room you might want to consider stepping up from an RTA.

Of course your going to need highly accurate microphones and generally multiple microphones to make the measurement system efficient. Save your money unless you want to do this for a living. I've spend around $10k on a system that just verifies what i already know. Even if i tune a room first with an fft i'm still going to tweak it out so that it is more pleasing to the ear and fits the particular room needs.

Save your money and just train your ears.

crt
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Old Saturday, September 5th, 2009, 12:44 AM
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I heard it once said that "a person with a meter and a tin ear is dangerous". I agree: RTAs and such are useful tools, but they're only tools. Use them in context, and don't let them be a crutch. Just like you don't want to shade your video cameras only by looking at the waveform monitor and never the picture monitor, you don't want to tune your PA by RTA et al without using your ears too.
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Old Saturday, September 5th, 2009, 11:08 AM
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I under stand your point, but some of us have location problems. I run the

sound from a bacony area with a 10 ft by 5 ft opening the sound I hear

does not equal the sound of our faithful. I'm trying to use RTA to get a

starting point for EQing the room. Does anyone have TIPS to help?

Sorry to add another question to this thread, Thanks
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Old Tuesday, September 8th, 2009, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chevelle1970 View Post
I under stand your point, but some of us have location problems. I run the

sound from a bacony area with a 10 ft by 5 ft opening the sound I hear

does not equal the sound of our faithful. I'm trying to use RTA to get a

starting point for EQing the room. Does anyone have TIPS to help?

Sorry to add another question to this thread, Thanks
There have been many discussions of 'tuning' basics with an RTA, so a search for "RTA" will probably find several useful discussions. Your situation sounds like it is really not much different, you need to base any system adjustments on how they affect the listeners and then learn the difference between that and what is heard at the mix location so that you can compensate for those differences in your mix.
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