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Live Sound » Spectrum Analyzer2 » Go to message
Peary Forrest wrote:I'm going to download the signal scope and start trying to figure it out.

Here's another question for you guys. How many bands of parametric do you normally need to tune/level the FOH mains?



Peary -- that is a hard question to answer but in a nutshell -- however many it takes to level it off. What you are dealing with is AMPLITUDE & FREQUENCY. Not ALL of the frequencies are going to be level with each other straight out of the box. Some companies have tried very very hard to design a box that requires zero to no EQing BUT nobody has been able to do that yet.

That is where the parametric comes into play because with a parametric EQ, YOU get to decide where to place it rather than having a fixed Graphic center frequency AND bandwidth decide.

There are several things you can do to make the best of all of this. You can use your poweramp sensitivity knobs on the front of the amp to help you get the desired level before Eqing. That will get you closer but you just have to make sure that your amp levels are consistent with your gain structure. What I have noticed is that once the gain structure is set correctly (On my system only) that I really don't have to adjust the amp any further to get the desired amplitude level I need. This is probably due to the fact that for the most part -- I have the correct amount of power on my system. That will make it easier for you.

You also have your crossover output gains. That does basically the same thing as the knobs do on the front. You will have to decide what way you want to use them. You can do it either way (Knobs all the way up BUT XO gain cut a few dB or whatever.)

The idea is to use this method to get you closer before engaging EQ's. After you have done everything else and it looks like your response is in the ball park -- go for an EQ and go after the biggest offender first. I try to get the biggest change I can using one filter at a time and then adding another as needed. I use low shelf EQ's, High shelf Eq's because they help a whole range by using one filter. Work thru targeting the biggest offenders first until you either have your system flattened out OR you run out of filters.

Before I had my DR260, my DRPA had only 7 Parametrics to work with. When you only have that many you have to decide what is most important. Honestly, the vocals are going to be the most important so I had to focus everything on that range FIRST. After I did the best I could there -- I went to the house graphic and used GENTLE EQing to level the rest off & the end result was a fantastic sounding system.

Got to use an FFT program to show you where to place the filters. It makes life real easy. You can't do this kind of stuff with just the ear only.

If you decide to go further with this let me know. Where you place your measurement mic is crucial & you can't just throw it up there anywhere otherwise you will get a very strange sounding system. There are more accurate measuring positions that will get you a great sounding system.

In conclusion, I did an outdoor gig over the weekend & I was blown away by the quality of sound that my system produces. It is flat out a MICRO concert system for sure. The only thing I was wishing for at that point was a couple of LABSUBS and maybe another set of my tops (D.A.S. Audio Rf series). BUT honestly -- do the equipment upgrades ever end? We will always want more!
Live Sound » Drummer calls it quits! » Go to message
Awesome! Yeah you need to pay yourself for your fair share of work. If your band falls apart -- don't worry & book yourself some sound gigs. Charge whatever everybody else charges for a show that way you are paying for your investment. A lot of musicians just don't get it -- do they?

We had this one drummer that wanted a EVEN cut off of everything & I had to sit him down and show him what it cost to make it happen & he didn't get it so I told him that he had to do this if he wanted an even cut:

So you want the same amount of cash for less work? Ok -- go with me to out practice studio (which I paid for) and help me load the trailer. Next, let's go to the gig and set everything up and get everything roughed in. Next, do the gig & finally help with the tear down (His drums always seemed to take longer than the PA for some reason). Get the trailer loaded back up and NOW follow me back to the practice studio and set up for our next practice or at least show up to the next practice early enough to do that.

It never happened. He never even learned all the songs we played (Big no no) He took the route I thought he would and bailed. As a musician myself (guitar player for the last 23 years) and a sound guy (My passion) I have seen just about everything when it comes to musicians. All of their last second meetings at work, flat tires, headaches, birthday parties.....etc.

So in the end -- I guess I am an asshole! I accept it because it comes with the territory.

StudioLive General Discussion » Meter Levels - Digital and Analog » Go to message
There are many opinions on Gain Structure. Do a proper gain structure on your system and make sure you don't set your individual channels too hot. I would go with -10 (according main meter not channel) to start with maybe a touch more but be careful.

Here is a basic understanding on Gain Structure from DBX. This is found at the back of any Driverack Manual:

One thing that is critical to system setup is maximizing gain structure. Gain structure refers to aligning the gain of each device so that they all clip at the same point, and the noise floor of the entire system is at its absolute minimum. Quite often PA systems are setup with the amplifier input controls turned all the way up in the incorrect assumption that this is the only way to get the maximum output level. Amplifiers are fixed gain devices, turning down the amplifier input attenuators does not change the potential output of the amplifier; it only requires more input voltage to get full output power. Many amplifiers will clip with an input level greater than
+6 dBu when the input attenuators are turned all the way up. Most mixing consoles can deliver over plus 18 dBu of output level before clipping. This means that with your amps tuned all the way up you are sacrificing 12 dB of headroom, resulting in poorer noise performance and the potential of system clipping. By adjusting the amplifier controls properly, you can maximize your system performance.

A way to set up your amplifiers for maximum gain structure is to use the clip indicators of the console and amplifiers themselves. Disconnect the output of the amplifier from the speakers. Run a continuous signal (pink noise or sine waves – many test CDs are available that have these types of signals) through your console. Turn up the output of the console until it begins clipping.
If there is no clip indicator on the console then use the output meters; most reputable console manufacturers use red LEDs at the top of the meters to show the onset of clipping. Once the console is clipping, back the output gain down slightly until the clip indicator turns off. Run this signal through the DriveRack 260 and into the amplifiers with the crossovers and output gain section in the DriveRack 260 set for your particular speakers. Make sure that the output limiters are turned off. Run this signal into the amplifiers and turn up the input attenuators until the amplifier clip indicator begins to turn on. Turn the attenuators down slightly, so the clip indicator no longer is on. You have just maximized the gain through your system. This amplifier setting should give you maximum gain without clipping, another way of say this is that when the output of your console is clipping you will also be at the clip point of your amplifiers.
Once you have found the clip point of your amplifiers, you can mark this position and turn the amplifiers back up to the point where they are clipping. You can now use the output limiters in the DriveRack 260 to protect the amplifier from clipping no matter what you do at the console.

With the amplifiers clipping, now go to the Limiter page of the DriveRack 260 and turn the limiter for each output band on. Make sure that the threshold is all the way up to +20dB. Now slowly reduce the threshold until the clip indicator of the amplifier turns off. You have
successfully set the output limiter up and the amplifier will not be able to go into clipping no matter what the input is. You should now proceed to the next output band and go through the same process. If you are using a sine wave to create clipping in your amplifier you should make sure that the sine wave is within the frequency range of the output band that your are working with. Once all the limiters are set up you can now turn the amplifiers back down to the gain maximized position. The Wizard will automatically set your limiters based on your choice of amplifier. Because of component variances within the amplifier circuitry, you may need to adjust the limiter settings by a few dB after running the Wizard to ensure that they are set correctly. Once all the limiters are set up and the gain is maximized, reduce the output of your console and reconnect your speakers. Now for the fun part, sit back and send your favorite music through the system. If your system is not loud enough, you may want to consider an amplifier or amplifiers with greater output power. Most loudspeaker manufacturers recommend an amplifier that can provide 1.5 to 2 times the rated RMS power of the speaker. If
this setting is too loud when your speakers are reconnected you can turn down the amplifier input attenuators even more.
StudioLive General Discussion » Meter Levels - Digital and Analog » Go to message
Hey Don -- I believe the reason is due to "Summing". Let's say you have a drummer that has 4,5,6 piece kit going on and you have it routed to a subgroup. Those are going to SUM together. If you set your gain or trim knob around -10 for each piece then it won't look so bad on the meters in the subgroup.

Just some FYI -- I have ran the entire board in the RED before including the main out -- No distortion whatsoever! I am not saying to do it BUT only saying that you have some room for occassional clipping. I know ....... it doesn't seem calibrated right does it? For the most part -- it is.

Now if my Driveracks clip -- it IS clipping. Sounds horrible. Do a proper gain structure and everything will be good to go.

StudioLive General Discussion » High Pass Filter » Go to message
Monolithent wrote:Thanks for the advice Doc,

That's pretty close to how I do most things except for compression. I run a little differently. I find now that things are nice out of the front I will play with compression more than I ever did before. Nothing too radical but I like to make sure I have everything sitting nicely in the mix. Not too much compression and certainly not on everything but just enough.

I will be upgrading the system soon but It will be a sort of one at a time kind of operation.

Any luck with your lappy?


No Luck at all! I do appreciate your help. There is obviously a major conflict with my PC and the UC or Capture. There really is only a few select PC's or Mac's that will get the job done correctly for Capture. All others are up in the air. My little MacG4 does the best so far and if I keep the track load down -- will do just fine. If I engage all tracks -- there are going to be sync issues. I will have to wait until I can save up for a sturdy Mac.

What are you thinking of upgrading next on your system?
StudioLive General Discussion » High Pass Filter » Go to message
Mono -- you having the DR on the FOH would be more correct right now than on your monitors. When you get the cash to put one on your monitors you will notice the vast improvement you did on the FOH.

I used to to use the AFS wizard on the system -- running it for FOH and monitors before every show. I quickly learned that it may not be the best way. I would get this "Alienish" sound most likely because I used 6 fixed frequencies and 6 Live frequencies. The NOTCHING it did was too extreme.

What I have found to be a better solution is this: I run ALL the filters LIVE and they are set to grab & hold for 5 seconds. IF I get feedback -- it is usually because the singer let his mic drop down pointing it right at the monitors or because they ran out in front of the FOH. I have been trying to do LESS with everything and I think it sounds more natural. What I mean by LESS is using less compression & only compressing things that flucutate too much. ie. Bass players who are slap happy & drummers that don't have the dynamic maturity that seasoned drummers have & on & on.... Along with less compression I use NO AFS wizard other than the live filter search for unexpected things. I also use the exact same microphones for the front row onstage. When you have different makes and models they have radically different characteristics and it makes it hard to pinpoint.

Where I started with this mixing and sound system thing has evolved for me for sure & as time goes by i think we are all going to make changes. I can't even remember the last nightmare show we had. It has been a long time but then again we run for some pretty seasoned musicians too.
StudioLive General Discussion » High Pass Filter » Go to message
I think I read on the new SL24 that they have revamped the "Q" options for more flexibility. When I first got my SL16 I thought I was going to learn everything I could about mixing but I found myself dedicating most of my time to learning system optimization. It wasn't until those earlier posts that I started learning how to mix. I knew my system was at a good starting position BEFORE the SL was connected into the chain. I was learning everything I could at where I should High Pass something and what to boost or cut that over time I learned that it was the EAR that told me where things should be.

If you were to look at my EQ settings on my board -- some of you would say WOW you really High Passed the vocals didn't you? I would say: "yeah it looks extreme but it is what it took to get the vocals out of the subs". BUT, if you saw the frequency response of my system graphed out on a screen -- you could clearly see why that is. It is because the low end is strong so it takes radical cutting to get vocals out of the subs.

IF you don't have aux fed subs (totally different ball game) then I start with the HPF OFF. I engage the LOW EQ plus the SHELF buttons and do a full cut at 100Hz. I then sweep up little by little while the singer is in the mic until I find the point where it shifts from being too much in the subs to the vocals starting to sound thin in the mids. At that point I back it down an L.E.D or two. From there I go to the HPF knob and start raising it upwards while listening carefully and at some point the vocals will CLEAR up. When the TUB or MUD is gone I move onto the Low Mid EQ. I then usually have to apply a very slight cut or slight boost around the 300Hz range depending on the singer. From there -- add a little 2.9-3.5K for clarity maybe a little more around 5K. That would be for my system.

We could talk EQ all day but it is really system dependent. If everyone's system had the exact same response -- the our conclusions would probably be similar.

The point of all this rambling is that since Mike & I posted the plots on the old forum -- it is interesting to see or visualize what is happening BUT don't get hung up on not venturing off what other people say. Some say don't HP over 125Hz. Well -- that depends on how the system is set up (frequency response). So ignore the knobs and take risks and let your ear be the final judge.

Another thing some of you may have noticed is that you can dial drums in all by themselves and they sound killer UNTIL the full band kicks in. What just happened? Everything just got squashed & summed together. Don't worry -- get back to work and use your ear to get rid of all tub & mud from Vocals and Guitars. Work thru it & you will be fine.
Live Sound » Which would you choose? » Go to message
mad_maestro wrote:Hi guys.

I'm new to this forum. I'm starting a small sound company and had a quick question. If you had the opportunity to purchase 2 JBL SRX718 (single 18", 1600 watts program) or purchase 2 Yamaha SW218 (dual 18", 1200 watts program), which would you choose and why?


Hey Maestro -- I don't have time right now to look these up but can you find out what the size of the voice coil is on those subs? DO NOT GO WITH 3" Voice coils. They won't give you any serious thump. I am sure the JBL's are fine. IF both boxes have 4" voice coil drivers then you have to decide by listening to them both.

The other thing you have to decide is how much power you are going to need to make these things get up and go. For the JBL's -- you will need at least a 2400 in bridge mode (subs mono at 4ohm). You probably should have at least a 4000 watt amp on those to keep them from being underpowered.

The Yamaha's -- probably at least a 2400 on each dual (amp in bridge mode)

Not 100% sure without diving into it all. Really get all the info you need and prices before you decide.

What you save in going with the Yamaha's you may have to spend in power amps.
Live Sound » Drummer calls it quits! » Go to message
Big Joe -- There isn't any reason you can't use what you have and get great results. I have been thinking about your situation and you can do it either way. Since you have already gone through the process of setting up the band with in-ears -- just keep it that way. When your new drummer shows up and see what you have done -- just ask him what he thinks. You never know -- some drummers prefer the in-ear. Honestly -- a good in-ear set up will sound just as full as a live rig if you apply EQ right. Well, you need good in ears for sure. I don't know what brand or model to tell you to get. I know there are others on here that use them quite often so they can probably tell you what a really nice set will do for you. If the drummer isn't sure -- throw a wedge back there and see if it makes him feel better.

Add one wedge at at time starting with the drummer first. You have done a very nice job! It is easy to get fired up about this stuff isn't it? The set up you have will sound better in most cases. The appearance of electronic drums always throws people off (Musicians) but you have TOTAL control and can actually make them sound very nice. You can't turn down a snare on an acoustic kit & you will also be lucky to find a drummer who will be willing to let up on it.

Just the other night I had a drummer from a band I have never ran for say, "My snare doesn't have a volume control on it so deal with it." I was kinda taken back by his approach so I said, "No problem, I won't need to put a mic on it then." He said "What?" I explained to him that he wasn't playing in a civic center so his CONCERT snare needs to become a little bar snare for the night. The worst thing you want to do is force people to leave the venue because of uncontrollable (more like unwilling) snare volume. I have had people ask me with disgust on their face, "Isn't the snare a little loud?" I would say, "Yes it is & it is also completely shut off. Would you mind telling them drummer to quit hitting his snare so hard?" Then it dawns on them that it really isn't my fault.

The only other thing I can tell you that would take your system to the next level is by placing a system controller over the FOH. This would be in the form of a Driverack or other similar device. It will allow you to join your subs together with your tops in a very nice phased aligned crossover. It is all about the buildup over the crossover. When the alignment is off -- it can actually destroy or make the response DIP severely (at the XO) & no amount of EQ will level that back off. This may be hard for you to visualize while reading this. After the system is aligned -- you can then further SMOOTH out the response across the spectrum and make it seemless where you everything is in balance (low, mids, highs).

When you have your system in balance -- your eyes won't be drawn to the speakers BUT will be drawn to the artists. I saw a KISS tribute band last weekend and the system was so out of balance that it FORCED you to STARE at the speakers for some reason. If you find yourself staring at the speakers -- then that is a clue that something isn't quite right. A nice balanced system won't even draw your eye to the speakers because it is seemless.

Now if you want to go further with all of that -- let me know. I won't leave you hanging there for you to figure it out on your own. Like Mike Rivers said in another post: You can really mess things up by using programs like Smaart, spectrafoo....etc if you don't know what you are doing. Mainly because you have to know what you are trying to achiever first. I off course, would be happy to walk you thru it step by step. I am certain Monolithent would be happy to help as well. I helped him get his system up a running utilizing Smaart & he couldn't be happier right now. After he gets that part down -- I will show him how you do averages with multiple mic positions to achieve the best possible sound out of your system.
StudioLive General Discussion » New SL Rig Recommendations Please » Go to message
MikeRivers wrote:
Big Joe Daddy wrote:I'm not familiar with audio spectrum analyzers or any of the SMAART software that I've read about. I want to be able to maximize the potential of my setup and I've heard a lot of talk on the forum about the DBX DriveRack PA and the 260 model. If you could pick an essential piece of gear to compliment my existing system, what would it be and why?
The DriveRack is a fancy crossover network. The crossover in your Mackie subwoofers should do just fine and won't confuse you. A spectrum analyzer might be a helpful tool, but it's something that you should grow into after you get a little experience. It's too easy to screw up an installation by blindly following a tool like that. Are you using any speaker monitors, or are they all in-ear? If you have monitor speakers, you might want to look into a parametric equalizer to help notch out feedback (it's a better tool than a graphic EQ) but other than that, save your money for now or put it into better microphones.


Mike -- The Driverack is NOT a fancy crossover. Let me tell you what the Driverack 260 has:

1. A Crossover

2. Graphic and Parametric Eq. Actually there is 4 bands of parametric PER output PLUS 9 bands available on the input side (pre XO) So if you had a tri-amped system -- you can use 4 bands times three outputs (Low, Mid, Highs) that gives us 12 so far (post XO) plus 9 on the front end for a total of 21 Parametric filters! Goodness -- that is astounding!

3. A TRUE brick wall limiter.

4. Compressors if you use them here. I don't.

5. 2.7 SECONDS of alignment delay

6. Feedback Eliminator

7. Library of speaker tunings. Parametric settings (Hint Hint), alignment settings & output gains

8. Security lockout! Good luck trying to botch my settings.

9. GUI interface -- WiFi capabilities

10. Auto RTA -- Now this isn't what I would recommend.

11. Tons of routing configuration.

Well there is more but this is far from a fancy XO. I don't know how much all of this would cost if you bought it separately but it wouldn't be less than a single space rack unit.

Dr. J
Live Sound » Drummer calls it quits! » Go to message
Big Joe -- Just got a glimpse of your system. It SHOULD sound good right out of the shoot. Well -- is there anyway you can just give the drummer a wedge? That is what he wants. Honestly, I don't use in-ears myself. I was a fill in for a band a while back and everything was sequenced and on a click track. I HAD to wear them (if I didn't want to screw up) and I actually liked them. Yeah it removed me from the LIVE feel of it but I knew the show was right on track and the tempo was dead on.

As a sound guy -- we like the stage volume to be at a minimum. So IN -Ears are awesome for that. It makes the PA sound so much cleaner because it isn't being contaminated by a "BEAMY" stack of amps. You can't EQ the beam of an amp from the FOH. So as a musician -- I like everything on stage to be truly live BUT as a sound guy -- I like bands that use in ears. I also prefer Beta 58's for FOH vocals BUT then prefer 58's for monitors. I guess you can't have it all.

Is everybody else happy with all the hard work you are doing or do they feel the same way the drummer does? Find that out so you know what way to take this. If you go with wedges to get back into a more live feel then we can talk more about tuning up your system.
Live Sound » Drummer calls it quits! » Go to message
Ok -- I went and changed the color to Orange. It looks better.
Live Sound » Drummer calls it quits! » Go to message
jims wrote:Hey JerryD

That BLUE font is almost IMPOSSIBLE to read.. Blue and Black just dont mix.

And go over to the StudioLive thread .. He has spelled out his system.. Has drawings and everything.. I think I know more about his system than my own.. But he does change it almost everyday.


Sorry Jim. Doesn't look to bad on my monitor. The only other color that would work may be RED but it may be difficult to read as well. If I get time today -- I will go back and change the color. Presonus didn't leave us with too many good options here with the Black background.
Live Sound » Drummer calls it quits! » Go to message
Big Joe -- what kind of a system do you have?
Live Sound » Drummer calls it quits! » Go to message
Big Joe Daddy wrote:In spite of all the progress we've made in recent months especially with the addition of the new StudioLive, our drummer has decided to call it quits. Here's what he had to say in his resignation email:

I am simply not enjoying the "recording studio" atmosphere. If you guys ever want to plug into amplifiers and just let 'er rip, give me a call.......


With the advent of the SL we introduced in-ear buds and separate monitor mixes for each musician, which is what prompted the drummer's comment about 'recording studio atmosphere'.

We're a 5-piece classic rock arrangement with drums, keys, two guitars, and bass. Anyway, it's been a tough adjustment for all of us to move to the in-ears system. Basically it was force feeding on my behalf since I eventually sprung for the purchase of everybody's ear buds. I'm looking for advice from those that have been down this path before. Here are a few questions:

Big Joe Daddy -- Everyone wants to be a rock star until they find out that they may have to work harder than a basic bar band. My take is that you want to be MORE than an average bar band. Going with IEM and utilizing the recording capabilites are awesome tools BUT it tends to make SOME musicians feel like they are being watched. What they don't understand is that there is ALOT to learn from this. There is also alot to learn by video taping yourself as well. You find by watching and listening alot of things you wish you would have done or haven't done BUT it is just to make you better. He (the drummer) apparently doesn't want to improve or at least learn from the situation and he probably will never be in a great quality band again. Just "Turn it Up, drink beer and fake it thru...etc. I know what you are going thru because I have lost band members that way too. Some people hate change. I am certain you will find another guy to fill the spot soon. Just let your drummer know that all of the recording is so you can learn and get a good quality demo out there so you can get more gigs.

1. Are you running wedges in addition to the in-ears? If so, how are they configured?

I do run both. The main singer gets two wedges just for him or herself & the rest of the band gets a couple of wedges with whatever they want in it. The drummer can have EITHER an in-ear setup OR a drum monitor. Everybody is happy either way. The in-ear tends to remove the musician away from the LIVE feel of it all. I understand that but TEMPO is key and that is what drummers must do. The monitors are configured.......well let me say it this way: After the Aux the cable runs to DRIVERACKS and then to poweramps and then onto the speakers. The Driverack is the critical link because I use it to control the response of the speakers. It really helps to have ALL monitors be exactly the same because once they are tuned -- the settings transfer to all of them. So they are configured thru the driverack. Musician's in this area LOVE my monitors (Yamaha's) not because they are Yamaha's but because they are tuned to the hilt & you can get them very clean and clear and loud. The singers usually tell me to turn them down because they just aren't used to that. It helps them to save their voice too. In-ears help that way as well.




2. Are you using any techniques that allow the musician to control his own monitor mix?

I used to because I wanted to try to help them have the flexibility BUT all they will do is constantly fool with it. Next thing you know -- everything will have to be reconfigured. If a guitar player decides in the middle of a song that he wants to reach down and crank his amp -- everything in the monitors that has guitar in it will go UP. Then the bass player doesn't know what REALLY happened so he turns up. Next, the drummer doesn't want so much bass and guitar in his ear and the whole thing is kind of circular. If it isn't discovered right off the bat -- the whole thing can go down hill fast.
Unless you have a monitor guy back there -- I would run it from the aux so you are only changing one thing at a time. This will help you avoid making a circular decision that never gets resolved until you ask, "How did everything get so Jacked!" Really it is the sound man's job to fix that stuff for you. There are plus's to having your own control so you just have to find what works best for you.


3. What other tips do you have for both live and rehearsal setups when it comes to monitoring?

The single BEST thing you can do for your monitors is EITHER buy very expensive one's (EAW micro's) or buy a Driverack and get them tuned so you won't have to deal with so much feedback on a speaker box that isn't tuned out of the shoot.

4. Are you doing anything different for the drummer?

NOPE. He gets what everyone else gets except he can have a sub back there with him to help out with the kick fullness. OR like I said earlier -- he can use in-ears. Well, I hope that helps BUT if I were you I would learn what you need to do to get the system optimized. There is NOTHING like it and all this time sitting around listening to feedback frequencies and guessing what they are or using feedback destroyers and gobs of graphic EQ's will only make matters worse. Learn to achieve a smooth frequency response and I AM TELLING YOU -- you will be on the creative side of the mixer and not the DIAGNOSTIC side of the mixer.
Dr. J

BJD
 
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