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Sound Design Classroom

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Herr_Sprecker, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Herr_Sprecker

    Herr_Sprecker Member

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    Apologies if this subject has been discussed in other forum posts. I am seeking some equipment advice to create a classroom for teaching theatrical sound design. My current plan is two computer workstations (mac), and a powered speaker environment that will be flexible to reasonably simulate different listening environments. The primary configuration will be 7.1, with options for moving the speaker locations as needed.

    Where I'm slightly stuck is determine the best way for either computer to talk to the speaker system. A couple audio interfaces and a mixer might do the job, but I'm hoping for something a bit more elegant. Even in this small scale, I'd like to include dante configuration, as that would be beneficial for some of our projects. I know that ramps the price up, but if the equipment is the right size/configuration, it could be worth it.

    if anyone has thoughts or suggestions of what kind of gear you think would work well for this situation, that'd be great. Thanks much!
     
  2. Aaron Becker

    Aaron Becker Active Member

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    The first thing that comes to me is what's the purpose of the computer? Just to generate sounds? If that's the case, you may not need any type of interface beyond something to pipe the output into your speaker system. Ideally, I'd want something that similar to how theatrical sound is reproduced, which could be specific to the space you're teaching in - to demonstrate sounds from different directions, etc. Is the 7.1 a setup you currently use in your theatre? If not, why 7.1?

    The computer workstation may not need to be very big or powerful if you aren't intending on running editing or playback software on it besides a simple VLC to play a sound track. A simple DI box will suffice if all you're doing is sending a stereo track into a mixer. If you want something to natively send the 7.1 into the interface, you're in a whole different ballgame.
     
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  3. themuzicman

    themuzicman Well-Known Member

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    What are you hoping to do with the room over time? Is 7.1 a baseline for the room with hope to scale up in the future? Are you hoping to teach both playback design and musical mixing? That'll all really change how I'd interface with a room.

    There are a few places Dante makes sense, if there's a console involved it'd be DVS between computer and console, otherwise you'll probably be getting speaker processors and can use DVS from computers to Dante enabled Speaker processors or Amplifiers.
     
  4. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    Are you teaching sound design for motion pictures?

    Side swipe at academia - you all are teaching a bunch of kids nothing. They don't have the experience or exposure to sounds, voices or music of substantial variety, ethnicities, historic periods... and not a clue as to how most sources sound in their natural state. I don't call myself a designer (even when I am). I'm a Sound Schlepper. I move sound from one place to another and hope I'm doing it well, picking the right sounds at appropriate levels. The *system* is of little consequence if it's being fed garbage on the input side.

    Teach loudspeaker coverage. Teach how to make a GOOD stereo mix before you worry about "x.x" or other cinema-type designs. Teach students how to critically LISTEN, as well as HOW TO HEAR. Until they can do those 2 things the rest is fundamentally immaterial.
     
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  5. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    You should be using something to drive this system that can also be used in your venue(s) for actual design playback. We would need more info about what you're trying to accomplish, what your venue's sound system components including mix console, speaker locations, DSP, etc are.

    Please be mindful that almost no performance theaters are set up for surround sound, even the ones that are set up for L/C/R can only effectively be mixed as mono systems. The systems that are fully designed for correct L/C/R usage usually don't have people mixing on them who understand how to mix an L/C/R system.

    If you are trying to teach how to deploy effects speakers, then I would aim for getting powered speakers that you could also use on-stage and integrate into the set, up in lighting positions, or anywhere else you can reasonably use effects speakers with your current systems installed.
     
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  6. Matt Marcus

    Matt Marcus Member

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    Aside from all the good responses above- especially Tim’s about teaching critical listening, if you want to get into Dante, simply purchase enough AVIO adapters to cover the number of outputs necessary. $125 per pair of outputs is quite affordable.
     
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  7. mbrown3039

    mbrown3039 Member

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    I agree with Tim. Start with how microphones, processors, amplifiers and speakers work. Demonstrate different speaker coverage patterns and how to maximize those patterns with speaker position/placement. Some basic understanding on how acoustic treatments impact how a sound system sounds -- it's timbre -- would be valuable. Microphone pickup patterns, cardioid subwoofer arrays, gain structure, hanging speakers horn down -- these are some of the "little" things that a competent sound designer knows about, and any competent sound designer can make a $10,000 PA sound better than a novice running a $100,000 PA ever will. And -- assuming that you're in the theater world -- forget about 7.1. Work on the basics and then move into mix types (L/R and LCR being the most common) and how to set up either with/without delay rings.
     
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