What Is “Acoustics” Anyway?

by Rob Farion

The word “acoustics” means so many different things to different people.  For example, the word often first brings to mind something about a type of music and most notably a guitar.  To some other’s its most relevant connection is to “noise”, (yet another exceedingly broad term).  When I first tell people I’m an acoustical consultant or that I work in architectural acoustics, I’m often faced with a confused look or a question like “what is that?”  When I start explaining that the majority of my work is geared towards either  facilitating pleasant or necessary sound transmission to aid in communication and listening enjoyment, Or assisting in the reduction of sound (often called “noise”) which is unpleasant or detrimental to communication or listening enjoyment, for any interior space, it starts to make sense.  Really though, both of those are essentially the same thing when you think about it…. Hmmm, increase the “good” sounds or decrease the “bad”? 

My area of acoustic specialty is in what’s called “room acoustics”.  Room acoustics defined in simple terms; refers to the way sound behaves in a room.  Try listening closely to various sound sources (speech, hand claps, music etc.) in different rooms around your home or work place.  Close your eyes to focus and listen intently as you listen to each room.  I’m sure you’ve noticed differences in the way things sound in different spaces (loud versus not so loud restaurants etc.), but the degree of difference, even between your bathroom and living room might be of surprise for you.  When “designing” for room acoustics, many variables are at play and bringing all the pieces together to form an environment that serves all of its requirements – including optimum sound quality is an awesome and rewarding challenge.  I see it as a bit of a balancing act between art and science!    

Recently, a client of mine, who is a very forward thinking and effective facilities superintendent, sent me a link to a TED talk he’d come across.  This short video blew me away because it is such an effective presentation of the things I try to share and promote throughout my work.  Please check it out!  

Roland M480 Console iPad App Is Here!

Roland Systems Group has released its new iPad app today that provides wireless remote control of any Roland M480 Digital Audio Console.  This app affords console operators tremendous flexibility in optimizing their main mix while walking the listening area, tweaking stage monitor mixes while on stage with stage performers, plus a host of other creative uses.  

The new app can be downloaded from the iTunes app store here free of charge.

The following are the configuration steps required to connect your iPad to the console:

Roland M-480 Wireless Connection

The purpose of this document is to outline the 2 methods of connecting your iPad to your Roland M-480 console for wireless remote control. The WNA-1100 wireless USB adapter can be used to setup a standalone ad hoc network, or connect your console into your existing wireless LAN.

In order to use the M-480 Remote app, your console must be updated to version 1.600 or higher. The update file and procedure can be downloaded here.

All wireless connect options can be found in the consoles SYSTEM menu by pressing the SYSTEM button, then F4 for the Remote options, then F6 for Wireless Control. Insure that the USB adapter is inserted into the USB port on the side of the M-480 and the Enable Wireless LAN button is selected. Then enter the SETUP menu to setup your connection.


Creating an Ad-Hoc Network:
This is the simplest way of controlling your console is to create an ad hoc wireless network. The limitations of the ad hoc network include not being able to communicate with the internet or other wireless devices as well as limitations in the range of the signal.
In the wireless LAN menu, press F3 to enter the Ad-Hoc menu.
Enabling Ad-Hoc Mode will allow your iPad to see the M-480 console as a Wi-Fi network. The 5 digit KEY is the password for that network.
Connecting to an existing Wi-Fi Network:
The easiest way to connect to an existing Wi-Fi network is to use the WPS function. To connect to a wireless access point via WPS, press the F-2 button in the Wireless LAN menu to enter the WPS connection window. Simply follow the instructions on the screen to connect to the network.
It is also possible to connect your M-480 to a selectable Wireless Access point. For Extended instructions, download the “M-480 Version 1.600 Added Functionality” Document here.
Controlling the console from your iPad:
Once you have connected your ipad to either the ad-hoc network or your existing Wi-Fi network open the M-480 Remote app on your iPad. Press the ONLINE button in the top right hand corner of the app to bring up the connection window. Your M-480 should be visible under the Select M-480 section. If your console does not appear, press the Refresh button. Once the M-480 is selected, toggle the Online button to ON to control your M-480 remotely.

FREE Roland Wireless Connect Adapter

FREE Roland Wireless Connect Adapter for the M-480 Remote iPad App – If you currently own a Roland M480 audio console, here is your chance to connect via the soon to be released iPad app for FREE! Submit your information at the link below to receive a free USB wireless interface that will connect with the iPad App scheduled for release in October 2012.