Smaart Live and Basic System Tuning

When you’re dialing in a system you’ll want something to reference along with your ears.  Smaart Live has been around a long time and offers a lot of features.  I use it with an Earthworks reference mic that gets it’s phantom power from an internal battery.  This allows me to use Smaart on my laptop and be completely portable without a board or power cables.  With a standard mic you’ll need to get phantom power from a board which usually ties you down to one spot.

Typically I’ll start tuning a PA with some pink noise and make some larger adjustments to get the PA in the ball park.  The software make this a quicker process than going by ear alone.  Once I make some tweaks with pink noise I’ll use the transfer function in Smaart.  This looks at the reference signal from the board and the measured signal from the mic and shows you the difference.  Now you can see the frequency response of the PA without listening to pink noise which can get annoying.

Once some large adjustments are in place I’ll listen to some music I know really well and tweak by ear.  Then go back to Smaart and see what’s happening. Listen, move locations, measure, repeat, etc.  I find that you don’t want to realy just on ears or software. Ears fatigue, software doesn’t.  That said I try to leave the “last word” to my ears.

Do you have to have measurement software to tune a PA?  No, but it will allow you to work much faster and be more precise.  And for dailing in system delays that are measured in milliseconds, you really need software.

2 thoughts on “Smaart Live and Basic System Tuning

  1. I was wondering if you could help me out we have a portable church just purchased an x32 I’m looking for smart software and computer for a reasonable price that will help me set up foh eq I have a dbx prx rack drive with ev 15 two way 1000 watt a that ctive and 18 cerwin vega subs 700 watt active your input would be very welcomed trying to get the best possible sound

    1. Smaart is very cool and doesn’t require a very beefy computer. You will need a reference mic though if you want accurate, flat, frequency response, those can be pricey. While Smaart with a reference mic is ideal there are some other options.

      If you just want some help to accurately identify frequencies there are several iPad and iPhone apps that work well. http://www.faberacoustical.com/ has some apps that I use and work well. I mostly use them to identify feedback frequecies when tuning wireless or finding that exact tone that’s ringing in a room. Since they use the built device microphone the response isn’t perfectly flat so I wouldn’t trust them completely to tune a room.

      For PA tuning I have Smaart on my laptop. I only have version 5. The newer versions add a lot of features but I haven’t felt like spending the money. I did splurge on a nice microphone though that has is battery powered for phantom power. This makes it super easy to use with a laptop. You don’t need a small mixer with phantom power to feed your laptop. http://www.earthworksaudio.com/microphones/m-series/m30bx/

Leave a Reply