Pat’s Blog – A Forgotten Skill Set


These days we all spend a lot of time looking at computers. In today’s connected, app-driven world, there can be little time for anything else. A skill set that is fading into the sunset is the ability to work with tools.

The previous generation had a different experience. Sound companies once carved their place in the market by their ability to fabricate. Visit a loudspeaker designer and you would find a fully-equipped wood and metal shop for hammering out ideas. Without the ability to fabricate, a sound contractor was at a great disadvantage. If they couldn’t source a part, they had to make it – sometimes on-site. tools

When my son went off to college in the early 2000’s, he was immediately designated the handyman for his frat house because “None of the other guys knew how to use tools.”

I recently performed some polar measurements on a loudspeaker array prototype. As part of the project I needed to isolate one of the small array transducers into a box of its own, a box which didn’t exist. It had to have exact external dimensions for the edge diffraction to be right, and it had to rotate about an exact point in space for the polar measurements. By the time an hour had passed, I had used a table saw, jig saw, electric drill (with Forstner bit), pneumatic nail gun, and band saw, along with a MIG welder, on some scrap materials that I harvested from the wood and metal shop bone yards. It was ugly and cost nothing, but it was exactly what I needed.

Modern audio practitioners have to know a lot of stuff – much more than previous generations. The time that could once be devoted solely to audio must now be divided between multiple technical fields, each of which could take a full-time effort to master. There’s only so much time, and becoming proficient with tools can get crowded out. There’s just no time. But is there?

Time is a resource, and it can be reallocated. My advice to the up-and-comers? Put down the smart phone, turn off the social media and the fantasy sports, and learn how to use tools. Browse the tool department at Home Depot and ask “What’s this for?” Buy some tools and start tinkering. Fix, repair, modify, destroy. Learn what makes stuff “tick.” Can you solder? Why not? Over time you will develop a skill set that will make you indispensable to your employer, or set you apart from your competition.

That app that we are staring at will soon be obsolete. The ability to use tools will never be.  pb


Pat’s Blog – A Simple HDMI Ground Loop Fix


We recently held SynAudCon seminars in Singapore, Bangkok, and Shenzhen (China). I brought along my usual case of audio gear, and each venue provided a house AV system. The evolution of the PC – in my case, a MacBook running Win7 under Boot Camp – has pushed me into using HDMI for my video output. The up side is the small connector and cabling size, which is nice for travel, along with being able to carry my own ultra portable HDMI switcher. The down side is that mixing consumer and pro interfaces can result in grounding issues.

My usual process is to setup my tabletop of gear, and then make the final connections to the house AV system. In all three venues, these final connections produced a significant hum and buzz through the house PA. In each case, disconnecting the HDMI video feed killed the hum. We went through the usual litany of “remedies” to get through the events, changing some things that shouldn’t matter in a fully pro audio system until it worked. Remember, HDMI is a consumer format and sticking into a sound system can produce grounding issues. This was a self-inflicted wound, and the price paid for the benefits of HDMI.

The ultimate fix? Another upside of HDMI is the availability of small, low-cost, RF links. The wireless HDMI link that I use in my domestic system would have solved the problem in each venue. It will now live in my travel case as a must-have for presentations on-the-road. pb


SynAudCon Takes Their Audio Training Abroad

Pat and I are enjoying taking our training outside of US borders. In 2015, we have given training in China (twice), Brazil, Singapore and Thailand. We are very thankful to the below companies for making this possible. It takes the cooperation of a lot of people. Needless to say, it has been a very interesting and rewarding experience.

The total attendance between of the five seminars was 560. The attendees were very motivated learners. They welcomed us graciously and they were grateful for the training. We received several requests to return in 2016.

Enjoy the class photos of each seminar.

366C8183 - Version 2

Sound System Design – March 18-20, 2015 Shenzhen China


Line Array Theory and Deployment - May 25-26, 2015 AES Brazil

Line Array Theory and Deployment – May 25-26, 2015 AES Brazil

Principles of Sound System Design - August 20-21, 2015 Singapore

Principles of Sound System Design – August 20-21, 2015 Singapore

Sound System Design - Aug. 24-26, 2015 Bangkok Thailand

Sound System Design – Aug. 24-26, 2015 Bangkok Thailand

OptEQ - August 31-Sept 1, 2015   Shenzhen China

OptEQ – August 31-Sept 1, 2015 Shenzhen China

SynAudCon Ice Cream Social Was a Big Hit

“Standing room only” is how I would describe the SynAudCon Ice Cream social. Pat and I were so grateful to see such a nice response.

We would like to thank everyone for attending. It was a very special evening.

I received this thank you note from Phil Cartier. I think he summed the evening up quite nicely.

“Thank you so much for a very enjoyable evening at InfoComm. As always, the conversation was stimulating and seeing the old friends and the new list-serve posters was great fun.”

I would like to share some photos that were taken at the event. Read more »

SynAudCon’s Ice Cream Social at InfoComm

SynAudCon will have an Ice Cream Social at InfoComm.

  • Date: Wednesday, June 17th
  • Time: 5 – 7 pm
  • Location: Upstairs at the Convention Center in classroom W312A

Stop in to enjoy an Ice Cream Sundae and to say hello to everyone.

Please RSVP to Brenda at by June 8th.

We hope to see you there.

Pat and Brenda Brown

Audio Veterans Shared at a SynAudCon Seminar

On March 9-11, 2015, forty-two AV practitioners attended the Sound System Design seminar in Atlanta, GA. The first day of the seminar was spent on measuring and interpreting the room impulse response – RIR. Day 2 is spent on electro-acoustics, primarily loudspeaker directivity and coverage, along with amplifier-sizing. Day 3 “puts it all together” and demonstrates the efficient use of computer modeling for designing systems with high speech intelligibility and music clarity.

IMG_0016Atlanta is city filled with audio veterans. On the first night of the seminar, SynAudCon provided dinner for the seminar attendees and invited several of the local audio giants to share with the group. The guests included Dr. Eugene Patronis, Bill Thrasher Sr., Wayne Lee, Chris Hamlin, and several from Danley Sound Labs. Read more »

SynAudCon Presents in Shenzhen China

In March 2015, eighty sound system designers came together in Shenzhen China to take SynAudCon’s 3-day Sound System Design seminar. The seminar was hosted by EZPro International, a distributor for Community Professional, EAW, Mackie, Symetrix and 15 others brands.

Pat Brown and Tao Zhang

Pat Brown and Tao Zhang

Tao Zhang, VP of EZPro International, approached us to present in China a few months ago. Tao lived in the United States for several years. During that time worked for Community Professional and  attended several of our seminars. In 2013, Tao moved back to China. He soon became aware of the their need for audio education. Read more »

OptEQ – Optimized System Tuning

System tuning and equalization in a logical, accurate and repeatable process…

by Kent Margraves

OptEQ Class Photo

Attendees of the OptEQ workshop at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, with instructors (left to right) Pat Brown, John Murray and Deward Timothy up front.

AS THE NAME IMPLIES, “OptEQ”is an optimized sound system tuning process developed by SynAudCon (Synergetic Audio Concepts), and it was presented to an audience of more than 100 consultants, contractors and end users over the course of two days in early January at the American Airlines Training Center in Ft. Worth. I was fortunate to be one of those attendees.

As usual, the workshop was brilliantly prepared, hosted, and presented. Pat and Brenda Brown of SynAudCon are simply the best in the pro audio business at delivering exceptional education and training in both audio theory and practical application. The course manual, loaded with relevant information,analogies, and useful graphics, is worth the cost of the workshop alone. Read more »

Seminar Report: SynAudCon’s Making Wireless Work Training Event

by Curt Taipale, Taipale Media

Curt Taipale, Taipale Media

Curt Taipale, Taipale Media

I’ve just returned from attending the latest special topic seminar hosted by Pat & Brenda Brown from SynAudCon called “Making Wireless Work”, and wanted to share my experiences with you.

What an honor it was to sit under the teaching of industry veterans James Stoffo, Tim Vear and Karl Winkler. In just those two days I was both comforted to learn that much of what I thought I knew on the topic of wireless audio systems was in fact correct, and oddly encouraged to discover just how many things I didn’t know about this topic.

If you’re like me, you have invested a significant part of your career working with wireless microphones and IEM systems. The tendency is to design such systems on autopilot, doing it a certain way because it worked the last time, but never truly understanding why it worked. Read more »

Neutrik USA hosts SynAudCon Seminar

In September 2014, Neutrik USA host the SynAudCon’s “Sound Reinforcement for Technicians” seminar.


Werner Bachmann, Pete Milbery, Brenda & Pat Brown

A couple of years ago at InfoComm, Pete Milbery and Mark Boyadjian told us that their new Charlotte headquarters had a training center and invited SynAudCon to use it.  This year when we decided to go to Charlotte for a seminar, Neutrik was on the top of the list.

It was a wonderful experience.  Neutrik USA headquarters is a beautiful facility with a great training center.  They welcomed us and the attendees graciously and Neutrik staff was extremely helpful.  We even had a visit from Werner Bachmann, Neutrik’s CEO, who was visiting from Neutrik AG in Liechtenstein.

A special thank you to Neutrik USA. Their warm welcome and beautiful facility provided an excellent atmosphere for learning and synergy.  I would also like to thank the attendees for their synergetic spirit.  It was a very enjoyable week for all of us.






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