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Macbook

QLab – 02 – Preparing a Mac

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Qlab 4

Background Tasks

A Mac, like every other computer, has things going on in the background. Even when you are scrolling through facebook, the Mac OS will be busy in the background checking for updates, syncing to iCloud etc. If you are using your Mac to play back audio cues that need to be played back flawlessly on time, you don’t want your Mac to be thinking about doing something else. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to minimise this happening.

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Speaker Systems

Introduction to Speaker Systems

Most speaker systems will use a simple “Stereo” system. A speaker on the left, and on the right of the performance area. This has the effect of making the sound come from between the two sources. Sounds like a good plan? Well, only when you are the same distance from each speaker. If you are off to the side, sound will arrive at different times from each speaker. This coupled with being closer to one making it sound louder means the stereo effect is lost on most positions apart from directly between them. Sometimes the fact that there is one on each side is for coverage purposes. If you have a stereo audio track with instruments or voices panned hard left and right, you may not hear the intended track if you are not in the firing line of both speakers.

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Midi, Qlab & ETC Eos

Overview

Recently I have been working on a show at a theatre that is basically a game installation. There is a game that has been developed that runs in the space. The audience generate data and at the end of the game it gets displayed on the screens. This part of the show uses OSC commands to communicate between various macs dotted around.

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The Ins and Out of Audio Signal Paths

One of the most important things to understand if you are operating any kind of sound desk whether in a live or studio environment is the Audio Signal Path.

It took me a good while to see the significance of understanding the signal path on the sound desk I was using. I thought that, because there was a button for everything, I could just wing it. I could always find what I wanted and away I went. Until it goes wrong, and you can’t understand why you’re not getting the results you want from the desk.

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Fault Finding

Fault finding is a brilliant skill to have. The best at it are those who take a step back and think outside the box – so as not to waste time on something that is less likely to have a fault. Oh and btw, it’s always the jack lead. (that the guitarist has bought with him) Read More

What is Sound? – The Basics

Sound is vibration¬†through a medium such as air or water. This vibration causes a mechanical pressure and displacement of particles, the frequency of which affects the pitch and the amplitude of which affects the volume. A good analogy for sound is dropping rocks into a pond. A big rock makes large ripples (waves) and travels further. The smaller rock makes smaller ripples (waves) and doesn’t travel as far. Sound travels at 330mps.

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