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Wanted: amp that calibrates itself to the room (like a Sonos system)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pickles, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I'm a Sonos fan. Just got rid of my killer MB Quarts after decades listening to them and loving their warmth and honesty. My sonos system sounds better and just hangs out with subtle beauty instead of needing furniture to hide it.

    The new Sonos app has a calibration feature where it plays pulsing sounds, you walk around with your phone, it listens to the response and corrects for room anomalies. The results are impressive. I want a bass amp that does this. Sample the stage, then the room, choose whic you want to optimize for.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  2. fast slapper

    fast slapper

    Dec 11, 2001
    Fresno, CA
    Buy the best powered PA speakers(or Bergantino B-amp) you can afford then manually eq to the room with a long cord or wireless system. You probably won't need much if you're looking for an honest tone. Lows and low mids are the hardest to fix in a room.
  3. JGbassman

    JGbassman Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    I just send a signal to my foh guy. He automatically adjusts in that very manner.. :)

    All joking aside, that would be a great feature for problem rooms, but I don't think I'd pay any extra for it. My ears still work pretty good, and foh gets a good signal to mix.
    Frenchy-Lefty likes this.
  4. synterx


    Jan 24, 2005
    Unless you get to the venue before a crowd does, it's impossible. I bought a dbx pa rack unit to do exactly that. And not once could I do it. Every bar had either a crowd already there, or music already cranking, or both. I asked the owner to please turn off the music for a few minutes. He said no. Another guy did, and when he heard the loud weird sounds blasting through the pa, and all the customers yelling about it, we never played there again. Even at an outdoor tent party it didn't work. The mic picked up the small crowd enough to mess it up.

    I'm sure it would rock if you could get to s club with no one in it the afternoon of the show. I never had that luxury and had to sell it.

    So while I love the idea, and thought about the same thing, it would have to be really quick, and easy.
    gumtown, Munjibunga and pickles like this.
  5. I got a Sonos from my business partner for Christmas, cool, but the tune to the room thing really didn't make that much difference to my ear, but that isn't to say it does not still sound good.

    In fact I reset it to factory specs and it sounder better, louder and fuller than the tuned to the room mode.

    You could likely adapt the same technology to guitar amps, but it would be a royal PITA to cover all of a big room to tune the thing, especially given the extreme level of quiet that is needed for the tune feature to work.

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  6. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    What if you had some sensors you could place around the room to sample and adjust ...
  7. synterx


    Jan 24, 2005
    If you didn't have to produce loud sounds to calibrate, maybe.

    Seems more like something a PA system would do though.

    Unless you have no bass in the pa, seems more important that the whole system gets calibrated.

    If you calibrate your stage amp, go in the pa and then get adjusted further, might be a mess?
    rufus.K likes this.
  8. Anemic_SluG

    Anemic_SluG Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2009
    Sounds just like a driverack. We use them on the mains and monitors. Since I get the glorious duty of running sound, it makes my life easy. I fire up my laptop and run the wizard. Make the drummer run around with the mic and bam everyone says we sound awesome.

    in theory if you are running to foh and it's optimized (eq') for the room it will adjust what you are feeding it, so then you too are optimized.

    It's rare anymore that my bass amp provides 100% sound to foh.
    pickles likes this.
  9. agedhorse

    agedhorse SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    We do this all the time in the pro audio and cinema worlds. The problem is that with only one source, you can tune the system to exactly one point in the room. You can average points, approximate areas, but it's pretty rough.

    Often we will use speakers/amps in zones and tune each zone, but that's far more than your situation.
    JackANSI likes this.
  10. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    See the fourth segmenment of this video. The app includes pink and white noise generators. There are other similar apps.

    A calibrated mic is available for more accuracy. It isn't really necessary for most application, the built in mic can suffice.

    The problem with any calibration is that an empty room and a full room will be different. You have to balance it out with multiple samples. Do an initial calibration then fine tune it when the room is full.

    In pro applications, samples are taken at different locations around the room. The data is wirelessly sent back to the console and the software compensates.

    Spectrum Analyzer for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch
  11. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    What kind of music do you play where any of that would be necessary?
    lz4005 likes this.
  12. I have a Drew A Kaplin (remember DAK?) stereo equalizer. It came with a sampling mic and generated pink noise (maybe white?) and you could adjust the EQ for the room. However setting EQ for anything but flat made no sense, and I didn't like how flat sounded.
  13. popgadget

    popgadget Commercial User

    Sep 4, 2005
    Eastern, PA USA
    Authorized Greenboy Designs Builder, Scabbey Road
    And in any venue where the bass amp is carrying the room, the crowd will make a huge difference in the room acoustics, so doing any EQ in the empty room isn't relevant.
  14. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Wouldn't an empty venue react much differently sonically than one filled with people?
    Brad Johnson and 6Bass101 like this.
  15. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    This. It would be a rare venue that would allow you to use the thing even if you got it. Several bands I have been in over the years had RTA systems and other similar gadgets. NEVER at a private party and rarely at a bar were we ever able to use them. They only work if everyone holds still (including all of your band mates and all venue staff) and stays silent (including all of your band mates and all venue staff) during the process. A few times we were able to use them at bars where we knew the owners very well. In a few places they would actually unlock the door for us and take off for a couple hours. Our sound guy never noticed a huge difference when we used them anyway.

    The point is that if you got one, six weeks later you would be starting a thread about how your band mates and all bar owners suck because they don't see the importance of your new toy. :D

    Plus, you have to factor in that the physics of the room completely changes when you (hopefully) get hundreds of bodies in the room. So your "perfect room EQ" during sound check would be different from your "perfect room EQ" once the bodies hit the floor. That's not such a factor in your living room unless you throw lots of amazing house parties. :cool:

    Never mind that you would have to make a choice. You can either have your rig optimized for the room or the stage (or if you use the line out the FOH house sound should at least factor into the process). So standing out in the room it might sound like the left hand of God on a twenty foot Steinway, only to sound like crap when you get back on stage. Where's the fun in that?

    Also, no drums, guitar amps, etc. are optimized for the room and things work out pretty well in most cases.

    Then there are market forces. How many bassists would...
    1) ...believe the hype to begin with?
    2) ...fork over the money to get it?
    3) ...understand how to use it properly so it doesn't just frustrate them?

    Probably your money would be well spent getting cabs designed for great dispersion (Genzler array, etc.) and be done with it.

    It's a neat concept to daydream about though I suppose.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
    gumtown and Groove Doctor like this.
  16. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Then there's the stuff that really smart people like him think of that would never have crossed my mind. Yeah it would only work for the whole room if you had several speakers in different locations...or at least stacked and aimed at different points...and the latter would be crude at best I imagine.

    Physics is a B..... uh.....difficult. :cool:

    ("Bear". I was going to say "Bear".) :D
  17. THIS!! :thumbsup:

    My Baer ML112 has excellent clarity for acoustic & fretless instruments. Genzler cabs get rave comments about dispersion.
    godley69 and ExaltBass like this.
  18. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Talking bass amps----Quality stuff is already "calibrated".

    I have an 8 year old Yamaha board with "automatic notch filters" aka feed back control--- it works great for getting a flat sound with maximum headroom.

    As others have said--- pros have been ringing out their systems with analyzers for years.
  19. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
    I wouldn't use a cell phone mic to calibrate bass.
  20. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    DriveRack (already mentioned ) was popular awhile back for these features. There are a few RTA systems I've used in permanent installation settings, but they're for exactly that - permanent installations. Gear made by XTA was quite popular in the cinema world and still in use here and there.
    The application is most most aptly suited as everyone has already said when it's in the house system and not in the signal source.
    The "sound" you're looking to calibrate into your signal will not be the same proportions of EQ each placement each day, as has been mentioned.
    Your best option is an EQ, your ears, and maybe an analyser app once you master the 1st two things. Learning the identify the offending frequencies and apply the appropriate notch filter in a live on-the-go situation takes awhile.

    I have 2 DAK condenser mics that I adore for drum overheads. Got them at a yard sale for $20!!! I scored huge that day, everyone is always amazed at these, myself included.

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