Remote-Controlled Program Source

by Pat Brown

Remote-Controlled Program Source – Pat Brown presents a very practical way to change sound tracks remotely when evaluating a sound system.

The best sound system evaluation tool in existence is the human ear/brain system. While I believe that anything that is audible is measurable (a controversial topic!), listening is the best way to determine what you want/need to measure.

Most audio practitioners have some favorite tracks that they use to evaluate systems. We select a track, walk and listen, and then return to change the track. I recently stumbled across a very practical way to change tracks remotely, from anywhere in the venue.

A few months back I blogged about using Apple’s AirPlay to project an iPad/iPhone/iPod to the big screen. Here’s the link. It requires the use of a wi-fi network. I carry my own Wireless Access Point (WAP) for this purpose. So, now the first thing I do when I work or present in a space is to find an outlet and plug in my WAP. This gives my other widgets the ability to talk to each other.

TangoTM is an iOS app that allows one iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) to control another one. I have an iPod Touch that I use as a program source, fully loaded with my test stimulus and music library. With Tango, I can wander the room and remotely control the iPod Touch. So, when I am up in the balcony and want to switch tracks, I just do it from my iPhone. I created an “Audio Test” playlist with my most commonly used tracks (see photo below), but Tango allows me to browse to any track on the iPod Touch.

For years, I have used a custom WAV file to make room recordings of log-sweeps to be later processed into impulse responses. The file includes a speech segment, some silence, the log-sweep and a short music track to buy me time to get to the next test position. Using Tango, I no longer need this file. Once I setup my recorder, I can simply select the track I need using the iPhone. This allows me to spend extra time at a particular test position if I hear something I want to investigate, and I no longer have to scurry to the next test position before the track repeats.

The iPod Touch is playing the tracks, and the iPhone is serving as a remote control, audio meter, camera or cell phone.

If you have two iOS devices and a WAP, Tango will set you free. It’s $4.99 in the Apple App Store.   pb

Photo 1: The iPhone (left) is remote-controlling the iPod (right)

Photo 1: The iPhone (left) is remote-controlling the iPod (right)