The Friday Five

Friday 5 LogoEach Friday we share five interesting links we’ve come across throughout the week.

Most will be related to the audio industry, but we’ll also throw in some random topics as well.

Here’s this week’s Friday Five:

To Match Or Not To Match? Paying Attention To Impedance

A common task in “audioland” is the need to feed a number of inputs from a single signal source. This may include driving a rack of amplifiers, providing feeds to the press, or distributing a signal around a building or campus.

The methods used to accomplish this range from the profoundly simple to quite complex, and the appropriate method can only be determined after sizing up the situation.

Impedance matching means that an output is terminated with a “mirror” input impedance. This configuration yields maximum power transfer, and more importantly, reduces reflections from a load back to the source.   [Click to read more…]

SM57 on Steroids: The Shure SM7(B) Story

Shure’s SM7 vocal mic for recording applications, introduced in 1976, is a mic (available today as SM7B) with an amazing history that’s generated a tremendous amount of buzz in the last year or two.

We wondered why.  So to find out, we talked to John Born, Product Manager at Shure, who answered the question, but advised us that any even lighthearted discussion of the SM7B had to include the SM5 and SM57 microphones.  These two mics were, at different times, the standard by which the SM7 was measured.   [Click to read more…]

Intercoms on Set: How to keep in touch with your crew

Communications during a film or video shoot are essential for both the talent and the production team.  If the event is to move forward efficiently (and as they say, “Time is money”), a flexible means of providing cues and information to a crew that might be spread out across a wide area is a major bonus.  Conventional walkie-talkies offer an immediate solution, but need to be implemented carefully, and definitely turned off during a take or when the red recording light goes on during a live event.

A better approach is to integrate the communications within an adaptable infrastructure that enables zones to be created for different crew members, thereby allowing the director or AD to talk directly with the lighting and/or sound crew, let’s say, without distracting the camera and grip team.  Such an interruptible foldback system, or IFB, for short, provides monitoring and cueing between various locations.  On a film shoot, for example, an AD can cue the pyrotechnics crew; during an industrial-video shoot, the director can communicate directly with the talking-head talent and give interactive notes on a script segment.   [Click to read more…]

Developing System Diagrams as a Useful Road Map

If you are designing a sound system from scratch, a block diagram is the starting point. You can use it to generate a list of necessary components.

Also, with a block diagram you can easily see where to wire in new pieces of equipment.

Perhaps most important, a block diagram is a tremendous aid in troubleshooting the system.

In this article I’ll describe how to create a block diagram, and how to use it to troubleshoot a sound system. You can sketch a block diagram with a pencil or draw it more neatly with a computer drawing program such as Windows Paint, Adobe Illustrator, Autocad, and so on.   [Click to read more…]

The Flawless Mars Landing That Almost Wasn’t

Last Sunday night, a complicated set of precise operations took place in perfect coordination, setting the Mars rover Curiosity down gently on the martian surface. But it didn’t have to be that way; in fact, the whole contraption looked downright absurd from the very beginning.

The new National Geographic documentary Martian Mega Rover* offers a timely behind-the-scenes look into the design, construction, and launch of the Curiosity rover. Producer Mark Davis tracked the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) engineering team for years, documenting the highs and lows of the assembly and testing process.   [Click to read more…]


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