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DCA's or Subgroups?

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  • DCA's or Subgroups?

    Since I have never had either, I am learning how to use them now.

    In specific, I am thinking about the difference in processing from the two approaches.  With DCA's, there is no way to apply processing to the group.  Is this a big deal?  Do any of you do this?

    I know that I have heard about some soundmen adding compression on the entire drum group for instance.  Does this make the mix noticeably better, or is it just something else that can go wrong with your mix and make things sound like crap?

    With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

  • #2
    I subgroup the drum set, vocals, a horn section, big vocals, etc, depending on the band. I also comp individual drum channels then the group too. But, you can get yourself into trouble if you are not keen on setting and watching all those comps. It's typical for me to use 8 -10 comp channels. If done conservatively and reasonably it can really glue a mix together. Depends how big the gig is too. If you are only supplying half or less of the added level over the stage volume, I would say not to mess with it. At the most you are doing sort of parallel comp'ing at that point.

    Last night,s show I had kick, toms comped, then subbed to a pair of subgroups which were comped at 1.8:1 barely hitting the lights. Wednesday's show I put the 3 big Vocs on a subgroup and comped . That way I could ride all 3 mics to avoid the stage wash off the **** aluminum box trailer stage. Even if its not comped, sub grouping things can help you mix.

    I think with these kinds of approaches there are way more things that can go wrong than right! It can be a lot to manage. You really have to know how to use your outboard stuff.

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    • agedhorse
      agedhorse commented
      Editing a comment

      Different tools for different tasks.

      Define the task first, then choose the appropriate tool.


  • #3

    OneEng wrote:

    Since I have never had either, I am learning how to use them now.

    In specific, I am thinking about the difference in processing from the two approaches.  With DCA's, there is no way to apply processing to the group.  Is this a big deal?  Do any of you do this?

    The only time I apply processing to a group is if I don't have enough processing to do the channels individually. Even then, I typically prefer to go without. Maybe if I had a huge stage and a huge system, where things were a little more controllable and a littl more high-budget, I'd utilize more group processing.

     

    I know that I have heard about some soundmen adding compression on the entire drum group for instance.  Does this make the mix noticeably better, or is it just something else that can go wrong with your mix and make things sound like crap?


    This is going to make zero difference on a small stage.

     

    -Dan.

    formerly known as IsildursBane

    Comment


    • Tomm Williams
      Tomm Williams commented
      Editing a comment

      I think first you need to ask yourself, why/when are you comping anything? I have 8 channels of comps available but rarely use more than one or two. (runaway vocals/bass/maybe a tom) And at that, it's done as an insert. I wouldn't comp the whole mix unless there was a compelling reason to do so. So far, I haven't found one. 


  • #4

    I use DCA's but I don't usually apply effects to groups. My compression and EQ is on a per-channel basis.

    Compression on a vocal group can help smooth out background vocals for warmer harmonies, but make sure to keep the lead vocal out of that group.

    Sometimes when I'm mixing dance bands that have a driving kick drum, I'll group the kick with the bass and keys/synth so that they duck and "pump" with the beat. This takes a lot of attention, though, because you have to keep adjusting the release time as the tempo changes.

    Other than that, though, I never use bus compression.

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