Hi:

I've noticed several people talking about Headroom when discussing some aspects of the Bose. What exactly is the definition of Headroom?...in layman's terms if at all possible. I'm not a sound engineer, etc.

Thanks,

Stu
Original Post
Headroom

"Headroom, Max Headroom"


"Headroom is a term used in signal processing (audio, data, etc) to refer to the maximum allowable signal level before compression or distortion."
-- more at wikipedia

"The difference between nominal operating level and peak clipping in an audio system. For example, a mixer operating with a nominal line level of +4dBu and a maximum output level of +22dBu has 18dB of headroom. Plenty of room for surprise peaks."

Source: Mackie ProSound Mixing and Recording Glossary


Having said all that, our Bose Systems if set-up correctly, don't tend to distort as they get louder.

What does tend to happen is, beyond a certain point - they just don't get any louder. That point is well beyond what you would want to endure by the way.

BUT

There are signal peaks - a Drum hit for example that can and maybe should be a lot louder. If the System has lots of headroom, it will be able to accomodate that.

I really do picture our tall friend in the picture above, riding in a vehicle. If the vehicle goes over a quick rise in the road, our buddy may bump his head on the roof of the vehicle. If there is plenty of head room, he won't.

Strange little similes aside, if a system (any system) doesn't distort as it exceeds its capabilities, then it may be difficult to tell (especially with ear-fatigue), just how loud you are running, or that you are just too loud. Some people (not most) get to that point and start experiencing the sense that no matter what they do, the System doesn't get louder, or respond to transient peaks. That's being out of headroom.

Does that work for you Stu?
Hi ST:

Yes, I believe it does work for me. Thanks for the explanation.

Which leads me then to ask this: When someone states, for example, that there is not sufficient headroom, preventing the vocals from coming through, does that have to do with the part that, no matter how much louder you turn up the vocals (in the mix) they don't pop out the way they were expected to? And would the solution then be to lower the overall volume to bring out the vocals more, and just deal with less overall volume as a result, etc? Or are the vocals not coming through for some other reason (other than a volume thing) that could also be attributed to a lack of headroom...if that makes sense.

I'm not having headroom problems, by the way (that I'm aware of). My PAS is performing just fine for me. I'm just trying to learn some of this terminology.

Thanks,

Stu
Hi Stu,

quote:
Originally posted by StuartD:
Hi ST:

Yes, I believe it does work for me. Thanks for the explanation.

Which leads me then to ask this: When someone states, for example, that there is not sufficient headroom, preventing the vocals from coming through, does that have to do with the part that, no matter how much louder you turn up the vocals (in the mix) they don't pop out the way they were expected to?


Headroom can be expressed in fairly concrete terms or as in the case above, anecdotally.

Your statement fits. But there are other symptoms that could also be attributed to a lack of headroom. I think we would want more information before drawing a conclusion.

quote:

And would the solution then be to lower the overall volume to bring out the vocals more, and just deal with less overall volume as a result, etc?

Could be. Other solutions could be to reduce/eliminate certain kinds of effects if used, change mics, different mic technique. There are a lot of things that can contribute to a perception that the vocals are not sufficiently prominent in the mix.

quote:


Or are the vocals not coming through for some other reason (other than a volume thing) that could also be attributed to a lack of headroom...if that makes sense.


We could go on for a very long time exploring other factors that could contribute to the problem.

quote:


I'm not having headroom problems, by the way (that I'm aware of). My PAS is performing just fine for me. I'm just trying to learn some of this terminology.

Thanks,

Stu


Hey Stu, you're welcome.

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