If you are familiar with Google's Picasa image management software, you'll have met the rather amazing "I'm Feeling Lucky" one-touch button that attempts to optimise exposure, brightness, contrast, black and white balance, colour balance and a few more image parameters all in a single pass. The results are often quite impressive, as witness this before and after aerial shot of Muntazah Park.
With time, and a little knowledge, the same or possibly better results could be achieved by individual manipulation of the variables, but time and knowledge are the operative words. Which brings me to what I'm really writing about:
It is a great shame to hear an otherwise enjoyable live performance ruined by a badly set up sound system. Sadly, it is also the norm, except for top professionals who can afford to pay for a decent sound guy. The fact is, even the simplest sound desk is too complex for most folk to drive properly without training. There are too many inter-related controls, too many ways to mess up.
What we need (are you listening, Yamaha?) is a big red "I'm Feeling Lucky" button in the middle of the desk. And here's what it would do, for starters:
1. Reset all Equalisation settings to flat
2. Adjust all input presets for normal fader positions
3. Wind out all reverb (echo) on all channels
4. Perform a basic balance on vocal mic channels
5. Apply judicious bass cut and presence to vocals
6. Re-apply minimal reverb to vocals
And I'd guarantee that it would vastly improve the listening pleasure of night club audiences the World over, but nowhere more than Doha Oasis!
(Muntazah Park, for any followers of the saga, is still closed and shows no sign of reopening in the near future).
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