Saturday, February 1, 2014

Big Owie

I am blogery slacker, just mining for the time to set aside and brain data dump some things to share. I did have a bit of a hutch in my get-a-long as well. I love surfing and snowboarding but decided to take divergence into a 40 mile bike ride.


Which seemed like a reasonable enough idea. Off to the trails in Ojai staring in Ventura and oh maybe 15 miles in or so, KABLAAAM. Another bike rider flying down the trail on a brake-less fixie bike broadsided me and sent me flying. Owie to the bicycle

Owie to my shoulder


And super owie to my head left me 8 days in intensive care and a multi-month recovery


 Anyway, I am mostly healed up and getting back to my scatterbrained and quirky self enough to do some surfing


Hang out with My dog Bones




And especially spending time with my awesome gal and amazing daughters.  Oh yeah, and Gene too! 


Oh, and ya know something really cool about doing some hospital time and getting all screwed up? All the friends and family that come to visit. I can't begin to describe how magic it was to be laid up in a hazy world and feel so loved. Truly amazing and thank you so so much.


On another note, I have designed some BSS 960 fader link knobs 


and printed them out on my 3D printer 



that allow us to EQ left and right at the same time.


ILet me know if you want a set and will print some up. Am thinking 30 in a light gray color plus 2 printed in glow in the dark plastic so you can have a few that mark 250hz and 2.5K
 

Oh, so today I am in Brooklyn for a Peppers gig at Barclays Center today where I have the most curved line array hang I have ever mixed on.  Hmmmm, not sure I am digging it but we will see.


and then tomorrow Peppers play the Superbowl Halftime show.


And how about some audio nerdery I was working on before I got bike crashed.



Some thoughts on Equal-Loudness Contours (Fletcher-Munson curves)


Compensating for Fletcher-Munson curve effect was quite popular in home Hi-Fi for many years with the "loudness" button that boosted some lows and highs on nearly every home stereo receiver for decades. Interestingly it has all but vanished on current home hi-fi equipment.  Also of note is it has never become popular in live audio reinforcements systems. My personal experience is that it is something where studies and measurements show that it exists yet when I push the loudness button on my home stereo receiver, it makes the music sound unnatural and overly bass and treble heavy. Plus and more importantly the adding of a perceptual based compensation network brings with it some doubt.  Was the recording made with a predictive intent for this button to be pressed to induce a desired alteration? When the band plays soft or loud in the rehearsal space, where is Fletcher and Munson compensating for my hearing? Am I hearing it incorrectly so it needs to be fixed?

My take on it is, yes I believe that it does exist, at low volumes sub lows and HF are less perceptually prominent.  Yes, they can measure and approximate a compensation that electronically corrects for volume dependent frequency perceptions. And I believe that the utilizing the concept of attempting to compensate may be short sighted.

Perhaps just perhaps we as humans already naturally expect to hear less sub-lows and high frequencies at lower volumes, we expect naturally to hear a differing balance at higher volume levels. Perhaps an  automated volume dependent compensation circuit is an unnatural event and though it may correct for our hearing, perhaps these loudness buttons have faded from favor, vanished from usage because though technically an argument can be made that it is a valid correction. For us live engineers there are additional challenges in as we deal with a dynamic range that is so great and the distance variations to listeners so vast and then add in ear plug usage, differentials in age related hearing loss/sensitivity of the listeners and so on.

That is not to say that having control over volume dependent tonality is not useful and valuable. And conversely, a major issue with many sound systems is that the tonality changes with volume in undesirable ways. Most typically when turning up a sound system resulting in having everything go into limit except the 2" drivers which creates a reverse Fletcher-Munson curve scenario, that is difficult to compensate for.

I have had some success with applying Fletcher-Munson curve type compensation in live audio in the form of implementing subs and tweeters on auxillary sends with manual control of the volume that the subs and tweeter limiters.  Soft songs have full subs/tweets, louder sound push subs/tweets into limit offering a Hi-Fi sound at lower volumes and a 'rock' sound at higher volumes.  I do find this useful as a manual control and this had a side effect of increased intelligibility of  the artist speaking between songs. That said, it has been years since I felt compelled to implement that control and on modern high end systems, it just does not seem necessary to add that complexity, at least for the artists I have been mixing.

One aspect I have been focusing on more recently is "Should we try and force the sound systems to maintain the same HF EQ at long distance listening positions or is it a do we as humans prefer to hear some HF roll off when the source is far away?"  As systems improve, we are gaining the ability to throw HF father and farther yet in my opinion, a bit duller less edgy sound when listening from long distances can often be a more enjoyable experience and it sounds more natural as long as sufficient intelligibility and volume is maintained.


Ok, no promises but will try and blog and share more soon.

DR


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5 comments:

  1. Dave....I ve been doing subs on aux for years....but never ever thought of hi's. There've been so many times when the hi's in some systems I've used (850's In particular) that I would say to myself "Damn...I wish I had more than eq to correct this".
    Once again you have blown my mind on a simple concept.
    Thanks!!!
    Bob Ranalli

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  2. The Rat Trap 5 was a 4-way box with both 2" and 1" drivers. So Dave was able to put the 1" drivers on an aux to selectively add sparkle to the top end of selected channels.

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  3. Glad you're ok! Looked scary.

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  4. Holy shit Dave, I was just checking in and saw the pictures, I'm really glad your ok. Man, health is such a critical thing, I just celebrated my 5 year "cure" from cancer over the weekend I got hit at the age of 27, it never ceases to amaze me. Wishin' you a good, speedy recovery... The Superbowl Halftime was impressive, the best part of the day. (Either I'm getting older or halftime shows are getting way better). -peace, Jamie Fox (twisted power guy).

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  5. Look at that bicycle's tire! Can't believe it has gone so much rough distances!
    Jumping Castle Hire

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