Music and rooms

Music and rooms

After reading through our series on rooms and tuning, my son Scott suggested I watch a video by Talking Heads leader David Byrne on how architecture changed music.

This talk, available on the wonderful TED Series, is an extraordinary piece of information and I was pleasantly surprised at what I learned.

If you have a moment give it a look. I think you’ll enjoy his ideas about how music evolved into its present form from Bach, Mahler, Mozart, Wagner to modern Stadium rock, it turns out the architecture of the rooms and the environment plays a significant role in what composers write and musicians play. I certainly learned a lot.

Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Actually measure what you have

When I used to be a part of loudspeaker manufacturing at Genesis one of the tools we relied on the most was something called an RTA. This stands for Real Time Analyzer and while the one we used was part of a fancy computer program called MLSSA (Maximum Length Sequence Analyzer) it was, none the less, the most valuable tool we had in the toolkit.

The real time analyzer was used to get a broad measurement of the loudspeakers we were designing at the time. Into the loudspeaker you put pink noise (which is white noise rolled off) and then point the microphone of the RTA towards the speaker to see its on-axis and off-axis response.

I know you’re not designing loudspeakers but you are building a high-end stereo system and so it is very helpful to get a quick snapshot of your room’s response to your setup – or perhaps what your speakers are outputting in the room. Are you getting flat bass response? High end sagging? Well here’s a way to get an RTA without having to spend the thousands upon thousands of dollars most RTA cost.

There’s an app for it! Yep, now I sound like an Apple commercial but if you have an Apple device that accepts apps and an extra $11, you can buy yourself a handy RTA and it’s extremely useful. Just click on this link to see or type in “RTA” in the search field of your Apple device’s app store icon.

Definitely one of the better $11 purchases I have made.

Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Inc.

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