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Thread: Audio equipment specs

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    Audio equipment specs

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    Hey,

    Sorry if this is in the wrong forum!

    Any music tech tutors here?

    I'm currently teaching a level 3 BTEC qualification and there's some areas I'm a bit unsure about.

    I need to get the students to interpret audio equipment specifications, but i have no idea myself. yikes!

    Any help would be great as i'd like to get stuck into this side of things myself and not just the DAW all the time

    Chris

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    I suspect ecc83 will be along when it's morning in the UK and he will be a wealth of information.

    However, may I suggest a book: "The Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook" by Gary Davis and Ralph Jones should be the first reference book on the shelf of anyone getting involved with sound. Ignore the "Yamaha" and "Sound Reinforcement" parts of the title. The information in there is of use to any aspect of the sound industry. There's even a specific section on interpreting specifications and why, very often, manufacturers' specs are made meaningless by giving only half the story.

    Highly recommended.
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.
    -Tyrion Lannister (and Bobbsy)

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    I am flattered by Bobb's mention! I must point out however that I am totally "self taught"!
    I have been interested in electronics for well over 50 years and went into domestic electronics servicing at 16. Did "tech" and night school for my "Colour TV ticket" . I have always had an abiding love of music and an interest in recording and reproduction (MUSIC that is! Shut up that boy at the back!).

    I think I can claim to have coined the bastardized phrase "Lies, dammned Lies and Specifications"? For they are SO often such. Maybe not downright untruths but not, "................, The whole truth m'Lud".

    I do not have that book but shall hunt one down as soon as I am done here. I would strongly suggest a post to Sound on Sound forum where a group of "proper" graduate engineers will give you the very best advice I am sure.

    Also, investigate "DIN 45-500" an attempt many years ago to codify "hi fi" specifications. Much maligned at the time for being well below many people's concept of a really high quality specification but it was a least a fair go!

    Just bought the book.

    Dave.

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    Hi,
    I have a few music tech qualifications.
    Do you want to list some specific areas or questions?

    That said, I'm still just a hobbyist like most of the guys around here, and there are a few professionals too.
    Plenty of people should be able to help.
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    That's a tad too much terminology. What do you mean by 'mix'?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    Do you want to list some specific areas or questions?
    That. The topic is just too broad to even know where to start.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
    That. The topic is just too broad to even know where to start.
    Well, just a suggestion but I would start with a discussion about what is WRONG with many (most!) specifications as we get them?

    E.g. units not specified.."rms" bloody watts when they should say "continuous sine wave power". Lack of dB limits to frequency "ranges" e.g. "response to 35kHz". What response? Flames?

    Noise levels not tied to a gain level. Gains/inputs not tied to an output level (dBu or dBFS). Output levels not tied to a distortion level/load impedance. IMPEDANCE! All over the fekkin' shop!

    No wonder noobs are confused when manufacturers all sing from different song books, many written by the tea boy.

    If most of the audio companies advertised on UK TV the ASA would have their arses for breakfast!

    Dave.

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    ...and don't even start us on "phase" and "condensers".
    Quote Originally Posted by Grawlf View Post
    That's a tad too much terminology. What do you mean by 'mix'?
    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    No VST can emulate that smell.

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    Thankyou so much everyone for the replies so far!

    Considering the students are 16-18, i don't think its going to be all that involved to be honest!

    If it's cool with you, ill copy and paste something from the unit specifications to see if anyone can make sense of it.


    They need recommend equipment through the interpretation of audio equipment specifications

    Equipment specifications: eg frequency range, frequency response, power bandwidth, sensitivity, signalto-
    noise ratio, operating level, power rating/handling, RMS, peak, continuous, program, impedance;
    analogue devices eg microphones, pre-amps, crossovers, power supplies, amplifiers, filters, loudspeakers;
    analogue audio theory; Ohm’s law; voltage; current; resistance, power; decibels (dBu, dBV, dBSPL etc)

    To achieve, learners will produce evidence that they can recommend equipment through correct
    interpretation of audio specifications. It would be expected that a microphone, power amplifier and
    loudspeaker be included to allow coverage important principles relating to common specifications such
    as frequency, decibels, power and impedance. Evidence is likely to be brief but should explain what each
    specification means. Evidence should be produced during classroom sessions to allow proper assessment
    against the grading criteria.

    To make things a little trickier, the course finishes in a few weeks, so it's more trying to get them through than spending loads of time on it if you know what i mean?

    Is any of this making sense?

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    Just ordered the book thanks for the tip Bobbsy

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    Most of that sounds good but...

    ...unless it's on the syllabus I wouldn't worry quite so much about things like ohms law. As important as it is, I've never had to use it to interpret any part of an equipment spec.

    On the other hand, I WOULD include a section on what's needed to make a spec meaningful. For example, most mics or speakers you find will have a spec like "Frequency Response 40Hz to 18kHz" but unless they include something like +/- 2dB it doesn't tell you anything. That monitor could be down by 20dB at the 40Hz end and still make the claim.

    Similar applies to everything. If an amp is rated at 200 watts but the don't tell you how they were measuring it, the number is meaningless.

    There are pot holes like this all over so-called specifications.

    (FYI, you'll find a useful section on interpreting specs in that book you've ordered. I should warn you that it's not a book to sit down and read cover to cover--use it more like an encyclopedia and check the index for the bits you want/need to know. I'll also warn you that some sections have some pretty high level maths--but you certainly won't need this for the class--unless they misbehave and you want to freak them out. Or is that "freq them out" in an audio forum?)
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.
    -Tyrion Lannister (and Bobbsy)

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