With multiple versions of Smaart now available – v8, Di and SPL – you may be wondering which version is right for you.
Smaart v8 is the fully featured, multi-channel version of Smaart, capable of performing unlimited, multi-channel Spectrum and Transfer Function measurements. It also includes a full Impulse Response mode, capable of performing high resolutions IR measurements to determine a full suite of acoustic performance criterion. V8 also contains robust SPL monitoring capabilities with advanced SPL metrics and the ability to monitor and log an unlimited number of inputs.
Smaart Di v2 is the limited-feature, dual-channel version of Smaart. It offers the same Spectrum and Transfer Function measurement capabilities as Smaart v8, but can only support a single input device and 2-inputs at a time. It does not offer any of the Impulse Response mode acoustic measurement capabilities nor does it have the advanced SPL monitoring and logging functions of Smaart v8.
Smaart SPL is a stand-alone SPL monitoring program encompassing all of the advanced SPL monitoring features found in Smaart v8, in a streamlined purpose-built package. Smaart SPL does not perform Spectrum, Transfer Function or Impulse Response measurements.
Here is a comparison chart of some of the key feature differences between the 3 versions of Smaart:
While your selection between the different versions of Smaart mainly rests on your intended measurement application, there are circumstances which would dictate the use of one version over the another:
1) If you need to make multiple simultaneous Transfer Function measurements or if you need to be able to view two live transfer functions at the same time, or live averages of those transfer functions then you must use Smaart v.8. Smaart Di only has the ability to measure one Transfer Function at a time.
2) If need to make acoustic measurements, examine reverb times and structure, need to calculate specific intelligibility criterion (like STI, Clarity, T60, etc), then you need Smaart v.8. Those capabilities reside in Smaart v.8’s Impulse Response mode, and are not included in Di.
3) If you need to perform Spectrum or Transfer Function measurements, you must use either Smaart v8 or Smaart Di. Smaart SPL does not include any Spectrum, Transfer Function or Impulse Response measurement capability.
4) If you need significant SPL/Leq monitoring and logging of more than 2 inputs at a time then you must use either Smaart v8 or Smaart SPL. Smaart Di only supports basic SPL/Leq monitoring and logging of 2 inputs at a time.
Smaart SPL is only for people who need SPL measurement and do not require frequency or time domain analysis. Also, the SPL functionality in Smaart v8 and Smaart SPL is the same, whereas, Smaart Di only offers limited and extremely basic (when compared to v8 or Smaart SPL) SPL monitoring and logging capability. While all three applications allow for SPL calibration for viewing and monitoring SPL, Smaart v8 and SPL take the SPL functionality much further.
For a large percentage of Smaart users, the capabilities and feature set of Smaart Di encompass virtually everything needed from Smaart as a tool. The RTA, Spectrograph, Transfer Function (Magnitude, Phase and Coherence) in Di provide all the measurement capabilities and power needed on a day-to-day basis. In many circumstances, a measurement setup need only be a straightforward, simple, two-channel configuration using only one microphone and making only one Transfer Function measurement at a time. Because Di can be quickly configured and everything can be controlled and monitored from the top level of the GUI, it is a quick & easy go-to tool for both experienced Smaart users as well as beginners.
If you are a beginner with Smaart and dual-channel FFT-based measurements in general, then it may be beneficial to begin your foray into the world of Smaart with Di. Without a doubt, Di is the less complex beast of the two versions to configure and operate. With only one measurement mode, only one two-channel engine, and all major Spectrum and Transfer Function controls on the top level of the GUI at all times, there is a lot less to configure and manage, and a lot less information and data to keep track of. If you are a beginner to Smaart, this can have very tangible benefits for getting up and running, and staying out of the weeds. (It is important to note however, the complexity of the standard version is by no means an insurmountable obstacle for a beginner. If you are using v.8 with a simple measurement configuration, getting up and running on v8 is still relatively easy to master.)
At the end of the day, the biggest point to consider here is you… the person using Smaart. Remember, you are the analyzer. This is a critical issue. Even if your computer and rig can handle the demands of a complex, multi-measurement configuration, your ability to get things done, read your data and make meaningful decisions based on that information all relies on your level of comfort and facility with that complexity. A huge amount of measurement data coming at you all at once may not be the right paradigm for some engineers. A simpler, more methodical, serial approach may work best for your system engineering process.
By design, the data structure and much of the command and control paradigms are the same between Smaart v8 and Di, meaning users can very easily move back and forth between versions without having to learn an entire new program. New users may want to start with Smaart Di and then move to Smaart v8 as the need to increase rig complexity arises. Experienced users may want to get a license of Smaart Di in addition to their v8 for use in jobs where the demands of v8’s multi-measurement, multi-mode complexity are not needed (or desired).