Analyzing Your Home Theater
While the talented staff at Ready Acoustics can tell you a lot about your room just by looking, the only way we can ensure true audio excellence is though acoustic measurement. Measuring your room allows us to take a much deeper look into your acoustic situation and helps us to determine the very best solution to your acoustic problems. Since all rooms have the same basic needs, The experienced Ready Acoustics staff can solve most of your room’s problems using only very basic information about your room, but every room is different, and measurement allows us to see how these differences impact your sonic experience.
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have access to expensive acoustic analysis gear. Luckily, at Ready Acoustics, this is not a problem. To perform the necessary measurements, you only need three things: a suitable microphone, a microphone preamplifier, and a digital recorder.
Microphones suitable for acoustic measurement must be omnidirectional, that is, the type that picks up sound from all directions equally, and they must have a flat frequency response, meaning that they treat every frequency with equal weight. This type of microphone captures the sound in your room exactly as it is without changing it. While there are very fine and expensive measurement microphones on the market, that kind of quality is not at all necessary for basic room acoustics measurement. There are a few very inexpensive microphones on the market that will provide you with everything you’ll need for room measurement, namely the Nady CM-100 and the Behringer ECM8000. If you are an audio engineer looking for a higher quality microphone whose purpose extends beyond room measurement, look to Earthworks or DPA.
For those of you who may not know, a microphone’s output signal is electrically very weak. In order to be recorded, this weak signal must be amplified by a microphone preamplifier. If you are looking for a simple, inexpensive microphone preamplifier, look at the ART Tube MP, Behringer MIC100, or M-Audio Audiobuddy. Though they are not the highest quality preamplifiers available, they are more than adequate for the purposes of room measurement. For the recording engineers out there, just about any preamp in your rack will do, though uncolored transistor-based pres are preferable.
In order to get the data back to us, you will need some type of digital recording device. This can be a standalone CD or Hard Disk recorder, but most likely it will take the form of a computer. Just about every computer today has an audio card with recording capabilities, and both Mac OS and Windows come with simple audio recording programs. If you are looking for a nice, free audio recording program that works on both platforms, look no further than Audacity.
So, you have the gear, but how does all this work? It’s really quite simple. All you’ll have to do is place the microphone where your head usually goes, play a special test signal through your speakers, and record the signal with the digital recorder. Then, through the miracle of modern technology, we can transform the recorded signal into information about your acoustic environment.
If you’re interested in performing acoustic measurements of your room, contact us, and we’ll send you a test tone along with detailed instructions on how to proceed. After you send us the recorded signal, our staff will take a look at the data and use it to help your room be the best that it can be.