Incendiary Arts

integrated multimedia

system design & consulting

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Common audio problems (mostly with humans)

05/07/2021

I hear this a lot: “Music sounds terrible in here. Can you install some better speakers?”

More often than not, the issue is with the hall and not the audio equipment. (Okay, usually it is both.) I then try to explain that I could put in the most incredible, expensive speakers the world has to offer, but the slap echo between the, oh, say, perfectly parallel, painted, CMU walls will ensure that music will still sound terrible unless the hall acoustics are treated first.

Nobody wants to believe this. No amount of demonstrating the slap echo and explaining the physics will help. People want a gadget that will fix everything with an illuminated button or, better, a snazzy phone app. If such a gadget existed, I would gladly install it. Electronic adaptive acoustics and magical DSP are not the answer. One must actually install acoustic diffusion and absorption material in the hall.

Ultimately, they will hire someone who will tell them what they want to hear, be initially impressed by the novelty effect, and everything will still sound terrible.

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