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Audio Systems - Finding The Balance

Welcome to the Audioisms Blog by Equilibrium Audio. Equilibrium Audio, L.L.C. was founded on the principle of Finding the Balance Between Live and Perfection℠. As a live sound engineer, I am always looking to create the most authentic experience for the audience or for the artist – depending on for whom I am mixing. The ability to provide that experience comes primarily from critical listening. Listening to the natural sound of unamplified instruments gives me a reference point from which I can make aesthetic and artistic decisions. Listening to the natural sound through a microphone, preamplifier, effects unit, or mixing console allows me to compare the natural sound through the device under (listening) test to determine the neutrality or coloration of the device. Sometimes neutrality is preferred, and sometimes coloration is required.

Sound System Setup and Tuning

One of the core services provided by Equilibrium Audio is the “Tuning” of installed audio systems for performing arts facilities, along with various nightlife and day-life venues around the world. Audio system tuning is the process by which we address the opposing forces in nature and bring them into balance with the venue to provide a great sounding audio system. During this process we use a combination of critical listening and measurement to perform the system tuning and alignment. While trained ears are great at providing tonal and timing information, there are things that can be found in measurement, such as driver polarity inversion and phase relationship between acoustic sources, that can provide a roadmap for applying tonal and timing adjustments in the proper method.

Too often in the world of audio have art and science been viewed as diametrically opposed forces. A college professor of mine once quipped, “If it measures good and sounds good, it is good. If it measures good and sounds bad, then we are measuring the wrong thing.” Nowhere does this hold truer than in the world of audio system tuning and calibration. Designing, tuning, and operating an audio system is a quest of achieving equilibrium, or balance, by reconciling the “opposing” forces of art and science to achieve a result that measures well and accurately conveys the emotion of the music for which the system is the medium of ultimate expression.

The Love of Music and Sound

I love music. I really love live, acoustic music. Even as a live sound engineer, I can't always go to a show for pure enjoyment. This is where being a music lover and an audiophile cross paths. As an audiophile, I am constantly striving to re-create an authentic experience for my personal listening- either on the go or in the home. Using critical listening skills in the hi-fi environment helps me evaluate and authenticate my work in the field and, vice versa.

Audio, like everything else, is subject to the laws of economics. Reinforcing or replicating accurate audio waveforms is much easier when the highest quality equipment is deployed by highly trained and highly paid professionals in perfectly designed venues. This is rarely the case. On our quest for truth and beauty in audio, we will also need to bring into balance limited financial resources and physical limitations of our our audio systems including budgets, room acoustics, power sources, signal sources, and space limitations.

The Audioisms Blog is a documentation of our pursuit of “Balanced Audio” where I will cover the following topics: Professional Audio Systems, Home Audio Systems, Music, and Stories from the Field. In these sections I will include equipment reviews, music reviews for reference and enjoyment, design tips and tricks, and hopefully provide entertainment value along the way. It is my hope that the Audioisms blog will be a source of collaboration, entertainment, and research for posterity, and a tool to help you on your journey to achieve balance for your listening enjoyment.

Fiat Sonus

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