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Articles July-August 2020

Bay Owl Studios – Not Just Music by the Bay

Launched in February 2020, Bay Owl Studios was founded by Varun Parikh who is an audio engineer and had no significant musical influence while growing up. His first exposure to music came when he was in high school..... read more

Harman all the Way

India’s First Domestic Hotel Chain – the Luxurious MAYFAIR Lake Resort – hires Qubix Technologies to provide state-of-the-art, end-to-end Integration with HARMAN Professional Solutions. PT reports..... read more

ANGRIYA Cruises the Seas with Bose

Latest cruise ships are teaming with audiovisual technology designed to keep passengers awed and coming back for more. In this feature PT reports on the audio installation of one such cruise ship - The Angriya Luxury Cruise Liner..... read more

Sennheiser 75-year Milestone

June 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the foundation of Sennheiser, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of headphones, loudspeakers, microphones and wireless transmission systems. Through these 75 years, Sennheiser..... read more

Adiyogi Divya Darshanam Continues to Raise Standards

Since it’s unveiling in 2019 by the President of India Shri Ram NathKovind, the Adiyogi Divya Darshanam has enthralled spectators from across the globe. In May this year, this one of its kind projection mapping..... read more

Shankar & Siddharth Mahadevan’s Lambodara Studios

In the March-June 2020 issue of PALM Technology, PT did a cover story on Shankar and Siddharth Mahadevan’s new studio Lambodara. Here are some more images of the new studio..... read more

Acoustic and Audio System Design for Small Rooms- Part 2

In part 1 of this series we defined a small room, introduced the concept of sound waves as they relate to phase shift and comb filtering, and even touched on the Haas (precedence) effect. In this article, we will talk..... read more

IRAA 2020 Goes Virtual

PALM expo’s concern to ensure safety from ongoing pandemic mandated cancelation of the 2020 edition of PALM expo and in the best interest of the industry and business, decided not to move forward with the expo in 2020, carrying forward the show to May 2021..... read more

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Sound System ‘Design Education’

Many of us wonder why we do not get the most of our loudspeaker systems and despite having great gear we have not managed to get the results we have envisaged based on our expectations out of our PA systems. Why such a scientific and logical method is such a black art for most. So many of the rental houses who have made strategic investments also ask me so many questions about how to get the best out of their sound systems and why does it sound so different in parity when they use it or silently feel so without a word of mention.

The key aspect that I have seen over the years is that most rental companies lack what I call a ‘Design Education’ which according to me is the genesis of a successful total audio integration package of a turnkey sound system. And now that manufacturers over the years have seen that void, they are taking that power away from the customers and integrating everything into their tour sound systems package. Now what remains is that the customer just uses applications engineering of his investment to its fullest potential.

Sound systems today are extremely costly to own and operate for most people, and within a period of 8 years you needs to replace that investment with whatever is the latest generation system. Modern line-arrays have made great leaps and bounds in rigging ease & flying, transporting, acoustical plumbing and well as, off course better driver component technology.

Not far behind is the amplification that has been consolidated by the speaker manufacturers by buying of reputed amplifier manufacturers or developing their amplifier enterprise from ground-up. The hierarchy has been like this since you first choose your speaker systems (in the past) and then what amps you will drive them and not the other way around. This has not only allowed the speaker manufacturers to have a hold on consistency and quality of the PA systems but also allowed them to grow other verticals of their manufacturing process. The entire workflow of design and calibration using the companies proprietary software’s are directly proportional to how serious each of them are in their long term plan to action. A few organizations have pushed the boat out there in loudspeaker engineering and prediction software leaving the dust in the wind for many others, until they try and play catch up, till there is almost an entire new technology or new approach to do it.

Being a designer (first) and integrator of sound systems in various venues across India and abroad for very diversified audio applications in sports, entertainment, enterprise and TV, these advances in loudspeaker technology completely fascinate me. What also fascinates me is the amount of money the companies and their investors are willing to put in to fund research and development of great sound systems for entertainment purposes. On the other side of things so many end users who buy these products crib and complain of the huge costs they incur in their investments

This leads me to the point of having to appreciate and understand why these things are costly and when you invest in an organization the product cost is nothing compared to the investment in the culture, design, research and future developments to make world class sound systems for the best artists in the world and for the punters in return (who fork ticket money for these concerts and our B2C customers)

I love to see the intense competing at this level in research, design in Electro-Acoustics and the current times have been the best in all these years I have known in my career span. I have also seen how this very owner designer driven business has now changed over the years to a conglomerate style of product development & manufacture, where there isn’t an iconic front that the entire organization relies on to make a speaker system. So the era of the Meyer, Heil, Forsythe, Andrew & Adamson - our leading families of loudspeaker design themselves have their founder/entrepreneur step back a bit for the sake of the enterprise to grow rather than an individual’s brand equity & iconism.

Talking about the amplifiers of today, I would say that isn’t what we should call them any more. Its now a individual command centre of processing & power generation for todays line array elements both amp and speaker broken up into elements for the sake of portability. If your not in the game for a high power 4 channel 2U amp with processing horsepower of stallion, then make way for your competitors to run over you. Now that maximum complaints I have seen from customers is the sheer cost of each amplifier, I honestly urge most of the end users to understand that this is a relationship with the principal and if you don’t feel good about it don’t invest. That’s why your plan with a PA system manufacturer has to be very long term, because not only are you investing in their product, but you are also paying for their R&D to support you in return in the long run. You should now not call it an amp anymore but an ‘amplified controller’.

The exciting developments have also been in the innovative rigging I have seen in the past two years too. They have been outstanding and nobody really understands how important the flying hardware is in achieving very good acoustically qualities in various environments. Small angles can make such huge improvements in trajectory of PA systems over distances over 50 metres that your prediction software simply demonstrates the advantages, Imagine how much better it must be practically in the field.

Wider coverage patterns and special boxes to cover the first 5 to 15 metres in a concert also have become of paramount importance and its ability the work with its narrower counterpart in the same array have made a few manufacturers take it so seriously that they have released the narrow and wider box at the same time since they were testing them parallel in the design stage rather than release wider boxes a year or so later because of the pressure they have received from their customers to do so.

Assisted hardware for ease of measurements and calibration in the sound systems, like laser brackets, disto’s, rangefinders cover the field hardware use and many of them are indispensible tools for vital design accuracy. Prediction proprietary software’s to place a virtual microphone anywhere in the room to see how your sound system has been performing has been astonishingly good if the venue has been plotted well. And now the manufacturers are doing so for you too and most of the venues in Europe already have been mapped by the packaged loudspeaker and amplified controller companies, making your life even simpler.

So what I am trying to say to all of you through my column is that, think and then invest and if you do not have the knowledge, then take Sound System Design Education very seriously or merely hire someone knowledgeable to do so.

Warren D’souza - Founder, Managing Director, & Working Member of Sound.Com