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Anyone using compression/limiting on SL master out?
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Peary Forrest
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Joined: 28/07/2010 20:29:36
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Just wondering if any of you pros are using compression and/or limiting on your SL main fat channel outputs live. Is so what are you doing and how are you setting it up?
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PhilG
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nope I compress individual channels. some have heaps of compression ( toms kick and di bass ) and other have fairly light compression ( vocals, overheads ) the only thing I dont compress are the 57's on the guitar cab.

Do you have a need to compress the main mix ?

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talmen
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I think many try to avoid limiting on the main as it introduces a little additional delay (IIRC) than can be problematic live. Don't think there is a similar issue with the compression, though.
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Peary Forrest
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I hadn't considered delay issues with limiting... My reason for asking is because I mix my band from the stage most all the time so I'm wondering if some compression on the main outs might help me with that job. We all have good stage volume and turn up for solos and back down aftwards. We blend well together and keep a pretty good mix out front. I just think that some well set compression could balance the mix a little more and help out keeping ballads with lots of up and down dynamics sounding fuller/fatter. Any thoughts in this area?

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 25/09/2010 13:30:45

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talmen
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The biggest problem with compression live (on vocals or main mix) is that feedback susceptibility can increase greatly if you're not careful. Otherwise experiment and see what you like. If your group listens and balances well, they will deal with dynamics better than any compressor, and I always think of compressors as more of a studio tool to deal with shaping dynamics to be more listenable in the recorded realm (where too much dynamic range can sometimes be a problem).
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Jerryd
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Peary -- I don't think it is a good idea on the mains. A lot can go wrong with this method.

Do as Talmen said and keep it on the individual channels.

I have tried to use compression on the FOH before but it doesn't take much before you hear the life being squeezed out of the system. Compression changes how you hear it and it would need to be re-eq'd as well. This would be too much a task for someone who runs the board from the stage.

You are better off placing compression on things that have potential to fluctuate a lot like bass players who get slap happy, drummers who get excited when their favorite part is coming up and all of the sudden start bashing the thing...... and on vocals.... you get the idea.

I know what you need -- you need to mix your own band out front. Do you have any buddies that can play for you with your band so you can get the board out front and spend sometime with everything? Maybe at band practice or something? That is the only way you will know what sounds best to you.

I do an acoustic project once a week and when I started doing it -- I decided that I would run the board from the stage but I had my father in law come out and do the first mix. I copied over to another preset on the SL and called it "Acoustic Project", had my father in law mix the entire show & he was busy for a while. It was a totally different dynamic than other shows & I am glad he did it for me because now -- it really sounds nice. I have to manage very little from the stage now.
Peary Forrest
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Jerryd wrote:
I know what you need -- you need to mix your own band out front. Do you have any buddies that can play for you with your band so you can get the board out front and spend sometime with everything? Maybe at band practice or something? That is the only way you will know what sounds best to you.

I do an acoustic project once a week and when I started doing it -- I decided that I would run the board from the stage but I had my father in law come out and do the first mix. I copied over to another preset on the SL and called it "Acoustic Project", had my father in law mix the entire show & he was busy for a while. It was a totally different dynamic than other shows & I am glad he did it for me because now -- it really sounds nice. I have to manage very little from the stage now.


Thanks Jerry, that's a good idea. I've been thinking about taking a weekend this fall and having a outdoors jam with a couple of bands out at my place (deep in the forest, nearest neighbor 1 mile away) . I figured I could experiment with the other bands before my band and get some help from a good sound guy with another band while we're playing. Also know a top concert live sound guy who just moved back to Jackson after losing alot of his equipment in the Nashville spring flooding. If I get a gig that pays good I may have him come and mix and save a preset. He's used the studiolives and has done some installations with them, so if I can pay him I'd have a Great opportunity with him. I want to get a driverack and egt the FFT working before that tho...
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Peary Forrest
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talmen wrote:The biggest problem with compression live (on vocals or main mix) is that feedback susceptibility can increase greatly if you're not careful. Otherwise experiment and see what you like. If your group listens and balances well, they will deal with dynamics better than any compressor, and I always think of compressors as more of a studio tool to deal with shaping dynamics to be more listenable in the recorded realm (where too much dynamic range can sometimes be a problem).


Thanks Talmen, I hear you about compression in the recording environment. I think the only time i miss it now is when we do some dynamic ballads like "Landslide" Fleetwood Mac with piano, acoustic, bass, and drums. I think it could warm and fill things a bit more but I wouldn't want to do it if it caused feedback issues. Like you and Jerry said, it's prolly better with individual channels and maybeadding the gate in to help quell feedback potential...
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funkafize
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Use a capture recording and the channel firewire returns on the desk to do a soundcheck. Only problem is because your channels are playing back tracks instead of being open mics, you wont find the feedback limits associated with compression and make up gain.
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Live Sound Audio
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I use compression with a slow attack and quick release at about a 4/1 and try to keep it about 3 to 4 db gain reduction. It helps to keep things in check when it's loud.
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rickhebert
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This is an interesting thread.

I'm in the identcal situation Peary, a performer who must mix the sound and do it all from stage. Hats off to ya brother it's no simple task.

I was just about to post asking peoples opinions/philosophies on this very subject, using dynamics/FX on mains or on individual channels.

One of my biggest concerns was one of latency.
I am not a pro engineer at all, basically an apprentice, and was thinking of taking this approach;

I was thinking each input channel may have some sort of dynamics processing, and then several of those channels might also have an FX, like reverb and/or delay and use no processing or FX on the mains or the auxes.
I would also want to have the processed signal routed to the Auxes monitoring so the performer can hear whats going out FOH (more or less)

Is this a reasonable approach?
Should I be concerned about latency in that kind of scenario?

Thanks
Peary Forrest
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rickhebert wrote:

I was thinking each input channel may have some sort of dynamics processing, and then several of those channels might also have an FX, like reverb and/or delay and use no processing or FX on the mains or the auxes.
I would also want to have the processed signal routed to the Auxes monitoring so the performer can hear whats going out FOH (more or less)

Is this a reasonable approach?
Should I be concerned about latency in that kind of scenario?

Thanks


Hi Rick, Just got around to reading your post. I haven't had any issues with latency but I'm not a "pro live sound engineer" either. I know a couple of these guys have mentioned some potential issues with Latency but I haven't experienced anything that gave me a problem so far...You can read a post I just placed on the SL forum where I did some experimenting this weekend using compression and gates on individual channels and effects and I used Fat channel EQ on monitor sends. I wouldn't hestitate to use something on a sub and I'll probably looking at doing something with efects on a sub if possible. If you are using VSTs from your DAW which I plan to do, you will have to put you latency settings low. I also have to get a UPS before doing this for a paycheck...
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The SL boards latency is of no consequence for internal dynamics...
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rockstardave
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i certainly dont want to accidentally clip my amps and risk my speakers, so i use hard compression (with a high threshold) and a limiter.

comp kicks in around -10db and has 4:1 ratio with a near-immediate attack. this keeps loud transients (kick drum / snare drum) in check, but allows the majority of sound to pass through unaffected.

but do i use makeup gain? HELL NO! it's a double-check sort of thing. i try to get a really nice gain structure but the comp/limiter on main outs is a safety.

i dont know why more people dont do it like that.. ???
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You can pay lotsa $ for the processing included in just the main outs of the SL.... It's a great deal. Yes - speaker protection. We sometimes use the limiter for smaller systems we have to push and just bring it up to clipping then just below with the limiter. Keep the master fader set and you're safe.
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