21) Knowing The ABCs of DSPs is a Sound Idea

In 35 Things Learned in 35 Years by djscottshirley

35 Things Learned in 35 Years # 21

Alphabet soup! It seems everything from government agencies to computer components must have initials. If it has a plug or a “wall wart” it probably has initials.

Audio-visual (AV) technology is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And PM Celebrations has always embraced new technologies as they develop, which means learning a lot of alphabet soup.

DSP is the most important one for audio: Digital Signal Processing. All manner of tools are available to improve sound quality.

The RTA (Real Time Analyzer) has existed for many years, but is now more automated. Using a special RTA microphone, a signal from a PNG (Pink Noise Generator, though it is actually “white” noise. WNG doesn’t seem as cool to audio geeks) is amplified until it sounds like a jet engine. The RTA “listens” to the sound bouncing off the room, and automatically equalizes (EQs) sound frequencies to the room’s unique acoustic properties.

This enables a beautiful room like the Texas and Pacific Building (T & P, everything has initials!) to sound great, that would otherwise be a tiresome echo chamber. It also helps to use PM wireless satellite speakers in a room like that, with a DD. You guessed it, another little magic box, the Digital Delay, totally eliminates the echo.

The marble walls of the T & P Terminal in Fort Worth look great, but make it an echo chamber. The magic of DSP makes it sound as good as it looks.

The SPL (Sound Pressure Level) meter is an old tool we have used for many years to measure and control the volume of our sound systems.

Modern electronics also helps us fight the good fight against our old enemies Feedback and Interference. Of course even interference has initials, EMI and RF, and they affect our VHF and UHF wireless systems. So does GSM interference from Blackberrys.

Don’t get me started on lighting technology. Our LEDs are DMX, controlled by OS-X with D-Fi on UHF, OK?