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.