This workshop presents practical approaches for efficient and objective quality control of stage loudspeakers and other sound system equipment using electro-acoustic test systems in rental and live production business context. It suggests fundamental guidelines for scalable test scenarios addressing topics like test environment, hardware setup, test signals, result parameters, limit setting, data management, diagnostics and root cause analysis. Focusing on the trade-off between accuracy, robustness and usability, the workshop is driven by the goal of keeping complexity and effort (time, handling) as low as possible for reliable and trouble-free operation in every-day business.
Sound reinforcement equipment for live events such as concerts and music festivals is subject to significant and frequent stress related to storage, transport, rigging, fierce climate conditions and demanding workload over many years. These influences are especially critical for the weakest and most exposed part of the audio chain – the loudspeakers. While the transducers and assembled systems like subwoofers, line array elements or floor wedges need to pass thorough objective testing at the manufacturer to ensure product quality, performance and reliability before they are sold, usually only basic functional tests are performed in daily business at rental and live production companies. While subjective listening tests at human ear-friendly levels can be sufficient for detecting major failure after a production, they cannot ensure the overall audio quality at realistic playback levels degraded by transducer, enclosure or electronics defects resulting in distortion, rattling, rubbing, buzzing, air noise, coloration or limited peak SPL.
For premium rental and production companies, objective tests are therefore indispensable in order to keep sound quality consistent and traceable, detect defects as early as possible, provide effective service and handle liability issues with clear evidence over the lifetime of the valuable equipment.