Milonga Sound Equipment

In a previous post I noted the sound quality problem with music in a dance hall.  The speaker’s mechanical distortions, the high frequency delay from the crossovers, the varying echo in different parts of the room, and the standing wave overlaps here and there, each cause muddiness and loss of crispness in the music.  Taken together they cause the music to sound like a mix of music and noise, and make it hard to hear the nuances of the rhythm that we want to dance to.  As I said before, speaker placement and room acoustics are important factors, but by far the biggest impact will come from the right electronics.  This is a description of the electronics I used to achieve the ultimate in sound quality.

The problems of distortion, echo, frequency delay, and wave interference can all be electronically solved.  Pioneer receivers have Multi Channel Acoustic Calibration (MCACC) which solves these issues by first creating an “adjustment profile”.  They do this by playing sound samples and patterns through the installed system, and listening with a calibrated microphone placed in the listening position.  As the receiver plays each sound or combination of sounds, it listens and records distortions, echoes, etc., to make the “adjustment profile”. 

When it plays a song, it adjusts each note, according to the profile, to compensate for all the distortions: where there is an echo, it plays the same note – inverted – a bit later, so it will cancel out the echo; where there is a high frequency delay from the crossover, it will play the high frequency part of the sound slightly before the low frequency component, so that they are heard at the same time; and so on for each type of distortion.  It does this for each frequency of each note for each speaker, so as to compensate for all the distortions from all the speakers in the room.  The sound you hear is “clean”, crisp, accurate, and without distortions or echoes.  Pioneer markets this receiver as their “Elite” line, in several different models.

To test this solution, I purchased a Pioneer Elite VSX-LX303 receiver, and a variety of speakers.  I installed everything in my living room and ran the “full auto MCACC” to create the profiles. It only takes 15 minutes to run it.  Some of my speakers are typical bookshelf speakers.  Some speakers are self-powered; for these, I used a small mixer, fed from the amplifier’s speaker outputs, and with the mixer output connected to the input of the self-powered speaker.  (To prevent ground-loop hum, the speakers must be isolated electrically from the amplifier.) 

This is a way to have incredibly clear sound, without distortion or echo, and it is available to any DJ or dance hall sound designer.  We don’t need to live with the poor quality sound and room echo that interrupt the dancers’ tango experience.

I have not yet been able to test this setup in a dance hall