Establishing Project Studio Reference Monitoring Levels |

Establishing Project Studio Reference Monitoring Levels | Sound on Sound

In essence, what I’m talking about is establishing a reference listening level in the control room, to use as a reliable base from which to make aural decisions. The good news is that this is very simple to achieve, and doesn’t require any major investment in new equipment, although it’s certainly easier and more intuitive if you have a well‑designed monitor controller and a simple SPL meter.

Today was a good day to re-calibrate the studio monitors.

The mains are JBL LSR305, waveguide at ear level. On top of those are the M-Audio AV40 pair (serve well for typical people listening, no bottom to speak of).

The room is 3.2m wide, 4.4m long, 2.4m tall — I calculate a tad more than 34 cubic meters. The suggested reference level is 74 dB.

Fired up Logic with pink noise at -20 db, pushed the outputs to 0, measured on my trusty iPhone SPL meter (been using it for 4 years, I trust it).

I put a Behringer Monitor2USB monitor controller into the audio path about a year or so ago. Volume knob is top-dead-center — marked 50.

73.9 dB on the LSR 305, 71 dB on the AV40. The JBL volume is excellent. Nudged the AV40 volume knob a bit past TDC and got to 74 dB. OK.

All of this is run through IK Multimedia ARC 2 room correction software. I AudioHijack the system output and send it through the plugin. Separate settings for the AV40, JBL Main, and JBL Center. Center is a tighter pattern right in front of the monitor, with Main being measured 4 feet from the monitors in a pattern for 2-3 people listening.

Master audio output from the Mac is set to -13.5 dB which gets me music playing at about 74-76 dB all the time.

Right now I’m running the Apple Music playlist “Classic Acoustic” for some change of pace. Normally I will play my “Mix Test” playlist to test the world.

The Blues Walk Lyle Lovett and His Large Band Lyle Lovett Rock 2:25
Cryin' Shame Lyle Lovett and His Large Band Lyle Lovett Rock 2:30
PowWow Unleashed Conspirator Electronic 5:46
Accent Unleashed Conspirator Electronic 6:44
Hidden In Snow TGWTDT - 6 Track Sampler Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Soundtrack 5:20
The Great Gig In the Sky Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd Rock 4:47
Poulenc: 4 Short Prayers Of St. Francis Of Assisi, FP 142 - 1. Salut, Dame Sainte Poulenc: Mass In G, Motets Robert Shaw: Robert Shaw Festival Singers Classical 2:26
Quatre Petite Prieres De St. Francois D'Assise The Anniversary Album 1978-1988 Chanticleer Classical 7:31
Tunes For Archbishop Parker's Psalter Thomas Tallis: The Complete English Anthems The Tallis Scholars Classical 7:53
Bernstein: West Side Story - Something's Coming Empire Brass Plays Music Of Bernstein, Gershwin & Tilson Thomas Empire Brass Classical 2:40
Bernstein: Mass - Simple Song Empire Brass Plays Music Of Bernstein, Gershwin & Tilson Thomas Empire Brass Classical 4:24
Hovhaness: Symphony No. 4 - 3. Andante espressivo West Point Symphony Eastman Wind Ensemble Band 7:47
Come Together JAZZIZ - 2004-11 - The Key Players 4 Lynne Arriale Trio Jazz 6:12
A Night In Tunisia JAZZIZ - 1998-03 Lynn Arriale Trio Jazz 4:36
My Favorite Things JAZZIZ - 2004-11 - The Key Players 4 Jean-Michel Pilc Jazz 4:32
Concrete And Steel Recycler ZZ Top Rock 3:49
Parce Mihi Domine Officium Jan Garbarek - Hilliard Ensemble Jazz 6:43
"Two for the Road" - Country Album Now Hear This! - The Winners of the 12th Independent Music Awards [Explicit] JP Harris and the Tough Choices Alternative 2:54
It's Only A Paper Moon Kisses On The Bottom Paul McCartney Pop 2:35Whiskey Lullaby A Hundred Miles Or More: A Collection Alison Krauss Feat. Brad Paisley Country & Folk 4:21

Trust me — the Trent Reznor track clearly “breaks” the room. The correction just can’t handle all the bass 😉 I follow that up with Pink Floyd which happily produces “master hiss” as remembered from the album and the CD.

It all just sounds GOOD.

Gain Staging In Your DAW Software

Gain Staging In Your DAW Software | Sound on Sound

On the face of it, gain staging couldn’t be simpler: you ensure that you feed an appropriate level from the first stage of your signal path to the next, and repeat this from the second stage to the third… and so on, all the way from your instruments, mics and preamps to the final stereo mix bus. By ‘appropriate’, I mean an ample level, which ensures a healthy signal-to-noise ratio (the difference between the wanted signal and the noise floor), while leaving enough headroom that you needn’t worry about whether the signal might be clipping.

Today is a good day to re-calibrate the studio monitors. I found the suggestion of setting DAW faders to about -6 dB to start in this article a long while back.

I set my Logic Pro X templates to have channels start there.

Dates and Times — been a struggle since before time began

Scripting News: Saturday, June 9, 2018

One of the things I’m learning is that there is are problems with date-time values. The question is whether or not the date part of the date-time should have hyphens. The Frontier implementation does not. The XML-RPC spec says not. But ISO 8601 seems to say they must be present. The built-in JavaScript function includes the hyphens. I don’t have any other implementations that I can easily check against, so I don’t know what offers the most interop with other XML-RPCs. For now I’m documenting the issue, and leaving the JavaScript implementation as it is, for now. This means in this area it does not interop with Frontier, in that Frontier will not understand the JavaScript date-time values. Going in the other direction there is no problem, because I’ve included a workaround.

Unreal. Fourteen years ago a standard was published (ISO 8601:2004) which clearly defined how things should be. Problem is that software developers do not spend their lives re-implementing “standard” software for the rest of their lives.

ISO gave us (back in 2004) this format 20180609T221145Z

What the world wants now is this format 2018-06-09T22:11:45+00:00 (we avoid timezone abbreviations and geo-political nonsense)

I retired from the big data world in 2004, so I never would have had cause to change my preferred world – 20180609T221145Z. To tell the truth, since just before 2000-01-01 I actually preferred the “Astronomical (Julian) day number (at noon UTC): 2458279.5” which for my machines this morning worked out to 2458279.03405093.

From the wikipedia we see

November 17, 1858, 00:00:00 UT is the zero of the Modified Julian Day (MJD) equivalent to Julian day 2400000.5[23]

and we all basically know that the VMS clock started there 😉 In earlier times (snicker) I discovered the “bad things” that would happen if one entered a proper geocentric clock offset in a TOPS-10 system — I mean, c’mon, I had it right within 200 yards. All hell broke loose in all time-based things. Wonder why it required an OS rebuild to set/change that value.

As a reminder to anyone who uses a database that I have built — 20180609 — is not a date, nor is 2018060915270001 — but it is a very fast integer index 😉 I can’t insert things in my databases faster than 10,000 per second. I learned the hard way that telescope telemetry databases surely can 😉

Ahhh, dates. I would rather slip the bass DI track by 87 samples so it lines up with the bass amp track these days.

Clearing Undo Data in Logic Pro X

Today I learned about the joys of “Undo Data.nosync” folders and “lost” WAV files hiding on my system.

I was investigating a problem someone brought up over on GearSlutz, offered a way to find the culprit. Got a response. Culprit was as expected.

I was doing some “Normalize” testing on newly acquired tracks and saw the very WAV files that can get lost show up in my project. I didn’t expect it, but hey, why not.

The key is that “Undo” settings are different for the “Audio File Editor” as opposed to the regular “Undo”. it is probably prudent to “Clear Undo History” in most cases.

Clear Undo History Audio File Editor

Why Do Concerts Sound So Bad? — ProSoundWeb

Why Do Concerts Sound So Bad? — ProSoundWeb

Concert sound reinforcement equipment is better than ever, yet we’re frequently burdened with a mess of auditory goo that just sucks the enjoyment from a live event.

I know a place here in Tucson that should really pay attention to Bobby O.’s words of wisdom. I’ve walked out of high-priced shows because the sound wasn’t just awful, it was painful.