What I am charged up about these days is my latest addition to my humble sound system, a Meyer SIM3 Audio Analyzer System (www.meyersound.com).
I have been able to do amazing things when I combine my system with a house system using Meyer SIM (Source Independent Measurement). It is the way to improve a sound system design live, because even the best ears can't derive what the perfect solution to a sound problem is. Also, it's very hard to “hear” the frequencies that are missing, but SIM displays that crucial data easily.
Finally, SIM also lets the user know which frequencies should not be adjusted because of poor system or room coherence. Sometimes you could crank a frequency way up and never get an increase in volume, just a swish to the sound. Well, now with SIM, those aren't played with; my EQ'ing is specific and to the point or otherwise left alone.
You can make the speakers no longer “sound” like speakers. You can match all kinds of gear and end up with one flat sonic response despite varying manufacturers and qualities of design.
Also, the testing of everything reveals many problems. And I now have a lot of repairs to do.
For instance, I have a bad cap in one of my secondary house EQs. Selecting bypass still goes through the cap, so I didn't notice it when comparing. But with SIM, I found it in 15 seconds — a roll-off in the low end. Finding what was wrong and fixing it takes more time, but at least I didn't buy more sub amps!
Also, sometimes I find something I thought was poorly designed really is working fine.
— David Muddiman
I am currently the sound and media supervisor for the 62 Center for Theatre and Dance at Williams College, sound supervisor at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and a freelance designer and engineer.I like: SFX ProAudio/ShowControl (www.stageresearch.com) for audio playback and show control. I record and mix on a few things depending on the application: Pro Tools HD (www.digidesign.com), Cubase (www.cubase.com), and sometimes even Apple Garage Band (if I feel cheap and easy — www.apple.com). I have Amplitude and others for plug-ins.
I also find it helpful to have off-line editors of Peavey Media Matrix (www.peavey.com), BSS Omnidrive (www.bssaudio.com), and Yamaha Studio Manager (www.yamahasynth.com) for the 0M1V and DM 1000. I try my best to keep the current versions of all.
I like to keep LimeWire (www.limewire) handy for quick downloads of music I (or a director) might come up with and need to hear right now!
— Brad Berridge, sound
What we are using that helps the most is a program named Audacity Audio Editor and Recorder (audacity.sourceforge.net). It is a free download and can be used to record or modify any sound. The second program is Cricket by Soundcrack (www.soundcrack.net). It is used on an Apple Mac G4 for cue playback. These have eliminated most of all our source equipment, i.e. Mini Disc, CD, cassette.
— Henry Hampton, technical director