Setting up for a club gig is hard enough without having to haul a lot of test gear to tweak the space properly. More often than not, the board op plays it by ear, making the quality of the sound a hit-or-miss proposition. Planet Telephonics’ Audio Quality Management Suite (AQMS) is a PC software-based set of tools that gives a quick, effective take on the live audio environment.
The AQMS includes several different tools for analyzing audio. These can be had separately or purchased in a bundle. The full suite of applications includes SoundGuy, Real-Time Dynamics Analyzer, SignalGen, PeakWatch, SpecAn and SpectroPLUS. For most club work, the Audio Engineer’s Suite ($999) with SoundGuy, SpecAn, SignalGen and the RTDA does the trick.
All the tools are written with a combination of C++ and Assembler – they have incredibly fast response times. Also, they can be used with most any Windows-based soundcard.
SignalGen offers a variety of tones to test a setup and get the room EQ right. Frequencies are set by synching in with the PC’s onboard clock. Five waveform types – sine, square, triangle, sawtooth, sawtooth+ and noise give a good pallet of sound to see what a space does to the signal. These can be adjusted to a reference frequency. Also, sweeps can be set for frequency range and duration. Typically, SignalGen will run in the background while conducting analysis with any of the other tools.
The most useful tool of the suite is SoundGuy. It is a combination of oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer and level meter. Each of these windows into the soundscape is customizable. The engineer can set the level meter for gain, delay, level and peaks. Also, the display can represent the information in a variety of styles (step-up, exponential, uniform) to suit individual tastes. The oscilloscope also shares this flexibility. But the real gem is the spectrum analyzer. It displays in dots, lines, bars, peaks or waterfall.
The AQMS is a fast and easy way to take an acoustic snapshot of an environment. The controls/interface are simple to figure out. The units are priced separately or bundled as the Audio Engineer’s suite, making this a flexibly priced tool for the audio pro.
Prices: SoundGuy: $699; RTDA: $299; SignalGen: $149; SpecAn: $149; bundled as Audio Engineer Suite: $999
Contact: Planet Telephonics at 973-541-9600