Interview On Sound Design Live

Last week Nathan Lively published a great interview with me on his podcast, Sound Design Live. Enjoy!

In this episode of Sound Design Live I speak with Bob McCarthy, author of Sound System Design & Optimization and Director of System Optimization at Meyer Sound. We talk about variable acoustic architecture, why we must optimize before we mix, and how to prioritize our system check list. We also discuss why graphic EQs are useless, common misconceptions about stereo, the pitfalls of L/R stacked subs, why sound is so difficult to teach, tips for finding on-axis points and relative splay angles between speakers, wireless microphones for measurement, hardware and software measurement systems, and how to get what you want without humiliating the client. Hold on to your hats and bring a snack, we have a lot of ground to cover.

System optimization is dedicated to a very simple scientific concept: Not to make it sound good, but to make it sound the same. We are a waveform delivery service.

sound-design-live-sound-system-design-optimization-bob-mccarthy-melodieDetails from the podcast:

  1. All music in this episode by Gala Drop
  2. Bob’s website and his seminars at Meyer Sound
  3. Bob’s forward to my eBook, Sound Design Live
  4. Jazz At Lincoln Center, The Alan Room, Julliard
  5. Constellation Electroacoustic Architecture
  6. The musical Wicked, with sound design by Tony Meola assisted by Kai Harada
  7. AES 50th conference on education: There is currently no audio or video of the conference to share, but I did get some a nice photo and Bob’s presentation slides. See below.
    1. Why is sound so difficult?
      1. It’s invisible.
      2. It’s almost inaudible. [You can only experience it at the location you are right now, unlike light which can be seen at many different locations at once.]
      3. We experience it logarithmically, but talk about it linearly. You cannot ignore the science or the art.
  8. Sound system check list:
    1. Basic signal flow: Correct sound out of the correct speakers. Is the cabinet wired right? Are all drivers functioning?
    2. Speaker position: Aim, relative splay, relative spacing. Is it pointed at the right place? Is it splayed correctly compared to its neighbor? Is anything obstructing the sound?
  9. Measurement systems: SIM, SMAART, SATLive
  10. Sound & Video Contractor magazine
    1. “The reason you can’t just go to your artistic place & start mixing is that your canvas might have a giant rip in it.”
    2. “If you want to get your artistic message delivered, you have to go through the science to get there.”
    3. “Never humiliate a client.”

Photo by Kelly Ford and used with permission courtesy of the AES 50th International Conference.

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