SynAudCon: Core Principles of Audio
This is a 2-day course designed by audio education leaders SynAudCon, and taught in Australia and New Zealand by Matt Vance. It is specifically designed for those who need to round out their knowledge of technical audio fundamentals through a live, interactive learning experience.
This is a concise and information-packed seminar. You’ll acquire knowledge that is essential for the setup and operation of a sound system. Important subjects such as signal flow, component interconnection, grounding, loudspeaker placement, microphone basics and mixer setup are covered. The emphasis is on the practical, using real-world explanations of potentially complex subjects.
The Objectives of the Seminar
1. Familiarize the attendee with the components necessary to form a sound reinforcement system.
2. Provide an overview of the purpose, interconnect and use of these components.
3. Provide the fundamentals regarding the use of microphones, signal processors and loudspeakers.
The seminar covers the essential theory of audio and focuses on what a practitioner needs to know to effectively deploy and operate a sound system.
The course costs $500 USD, which is approx. $675 AUD at the time of writing.
For upcoming dates and bookings, click on the button below (diverts to SynAudCon USA website)
Time, Frequency and Wavelength
System Gain Structure
Grounding and Shielding
Digital Mixer Overview
Day 1: Overview of the Audio System Signal Chain
Electronics for Audio
- Sources Loads & Interfaces
- The Voltage Divider in audio circuits
- Professional (Balanced) vs Consumer (Unbalanced) interfaces
- Connectors for sound systems
Audio Source Mixing
- The level / tone hierarchy
- Setting channel gains appropriately
- Summing room
Summary – Interfacing Audio Devices through the Signal Chain
- Review of interface requirements – voltage, impedance and topology
- Gain structure sequencing
Digital Mixer Overview
- Comparison with analogue mixers
- Analogue signals vs digital signals
- Digital sampling theory
- What is grounding? (and what it isn’t)
- Safety protection grounding vs signal ground (aka ‘common’, ‘earth’)
- Ground loop hum – how it occurs and tips for eliminating it (safely!)
Common Interfacing Problems
- Employing interface conversion boxes (Dis and ITs etc)
- Example interface issues and resolutions
Portable System Distribution and Grounding
- An example system to put all the theory into practice!
- Calculating wire line loss, and selecting appropriate wire
- Amplifier damping factor
- Parallel vs Series connection
Power Ratings – Amplifiers and Loudspeakers
- Understanding power ratings vs efficiency
- Matching power amplifiers to loudspeaker ratings
- Understanding loudspeaker sensitivity vs power rating
Day 2: The Decibel
- Why do we use decibels?
- Understanding the form of the decibel
- Subjective relationships with the decibel
- Decibel scales – what does 0dB mean?
- Describing acoustic and electrical quantities
Component Gain Structure
- What is good gain structure?
- Dynamic range vs signal-to-noise ratio
- Typical operating levels for consumer vs professional equipment
- Introduction to the variety of audio meters – VU, PPM, Peak
- Audio meter ballistics
- Audio meter scales
- Metering through the signal chain
Dynamic Range Control
- Limiting vs Compression vs Auto-Gain-Control
- Application of dynamics control
- Typical settings for dynamics control applications
- The audible frequency spectrum – 20Hz to 20kHz
- Audio bands; decades, octaves and fractional octaves
- Wavelengths of acoustic waves
Sound Pressure Level
- Human perception of loudness vs level and frequency – complex!
- Equal loudness contours and weighting scales: dBA, C
- Common real-world sound pressure levels
Time Frequency & Wavelength
- The difference between electrical (“audio”) waves and acoustic waves
- Relationships between time, frequency and wavelength for audio and acoustic waves
- Spherical spreading of acoustic waves and the inverse square law
- Acoustic wave interference
Anatomy of A Loudspeaker System
- Why do we need multiple transducers in a loudspeaker system?
- Multi-way loudspeakers and their transducers
- Crossover networks – passive and active
- Goals for all loudspeaker systems
- Define loudspeaker coverage angle – polar response
- Guidelines for loudspeaker aiming and placement
- Consider the relative merits of different approaches to audience coverage
- Define the requirements for the venue – e.g. Evenness? Acoustic imaging? Etc
- Decide on the solution that meets the requirements best
Optimum Loudspeaker Placements
- For speech / mono music
- For large mono systems requiring in-fill loudspeakers
- For stereo music
Line Arrays / Sound Columns
- The theories behind line arrays / column speakers
- Controlled coverage in vertical direction, but not horizontal
- Applications for arrays / columns
Guidelines for Loudspeaker Equalisation
- Measurement and signal processing equipment
- Where to place a microphone for measurement
- Which loudspeakers should be active when measuring?
- What to EQ and what not to EQ…
- Dynamic vs condenser microphones
- Phantom power
- Mic variables:
- Polar pattern
- Potential Acoustic Gain vs Needed Acoustic Gain (PAG NAG)
- How to increase feedback stability margin
- Feedback control methods
Signal Processing – Summary
A summary of the correct application of signal processing throughout the signal chain
System Setup Overview for Operators
A review and recap of the course material, in the context of setting up a system from start to finish