Working from home? Switch to the DIGITAL edition of FRONT of HOUSE. CLICK HERE to signup now!
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content

Signal to Noise… to Noise… to Noise

George Petersen • Editor's NoteSeptember 2021 • September 10, 2021

Starting out, we learn a lot of basics, and understanding elements like gain structure is key in achieving a clean signal pathway. However, in a sound reinforcement situation, optimizing signal pathways is often only a part of reducing the overall noise spectrum.

If I’m spec’ing a sound system for a quiet space — a small sanctuary or an intimate theater, I tend to opt for powered speakers (or amplifiers) with passive convection cooling to sidestep the issue of noisy fans suddenly kicking in during quiet passages. Of course, this is a non-issue if amplifiers are remoted to an offstage room or closet. The problem is not limited to amps and speakers, as a fan on a console (or even a laptop) will occasionally kick in unexpectedly.

As discussed in this month’s “Tech Feature” (page 23), there are unwanted sound sources we cannot easily control, such as noises/vibrations that are structure-borne, or caused by HVAC air handling systems or environmental issues — traffic, rain, noisy neighbors, etc. I recall hearing a story about a new church construction where uninsulated pipes from a bathroom in an adjacent wall transmitted the sound of every flush clearly into the sanctuary! Sad, but it illustrates how attention to small details in the construction phase can affect the final outcome.

A irksome noise issue to me is the trend of audiences who blather away incessantly throughout a concert. Yeah, that’s the norm for bars or dinner music, but it’s distracting to patrons and it’s rude to the artist. I need a plug-in to fix that! Sorry about the rant, but it’s just me hoping to return to an era when people attended shows to actually HEAR a performance.

Meanwhile, stay safe!

The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!