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Questions, Pitfalls, And Common Mistakes?

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  • Questions, Pitfalls, And Common Mistakes?

    Okay, you guys have been incredibly helpful in my buying all this gear I just picked up, and I basically have my first show with it tomorrow. So I would like to get some advice.

    I am using a Macki DL1608 mixer, a pair of PRX612m tops over the 618XLF subs, one EV ELX112p wedge, four IEM's, and two old JBL MR805 wedges for drummer and bass player, powered by a Crown Powerbase 2.

    Here is my problem:

    I have been a musician for decades, but I know NOTHING about compression, limiting, gating, or even effective use of the four band parametric EQ on the DL1608, though I love all the pretty colors! lol

    Okay, seriously, I could use some advice so I don't tank my first show with the new gear as I am really stressing this out. I had a friend over the phone who lives 300 miles away from me but owns the DL1608 give me some typical settings. Things like this:

    For the IEM's, four auxes for four IEM's, I am using Brickwall limiting with the compressor set to:

    Hard Knee, -3db threshold, ratio of infinity to 1, attack at 0.1, release at 250 ms, and 0 gain. He told me this is a basic brickwall limiter, which I wanted on all IEM's.

    I will keep ALL the 31 band graphic EQ's flat unless I need to ring out feedback. My band is not very loud, so hopefully this won't be a problem.

    I am using light compression on all the vocals: Basically for my mic around -10 threshold, 3:1 ratio, 0.1 attack, o hold time, and I am putting 10 db of "makeup gain" on all the vocal channels. For the female vocalist, I think I have to raise the threshold, because she sings softly? So I was told to bring the threshold to about -15 with the same on the other settings? I have a singer who sings sporadically and unpredictably loud and tends to clip channels, so I think I should maybe set his comp to about -20db and maybe 250 ms of a release time and a 4:1 ratio?

    Oh and all the non-IEM compression is set to soft knee.


    I could be WAY OFF on this, as I know nothing.

    In short, I am afraid of ruining the sound of my new gear by overdoing it and "mixing over my head" from stage while I play and sing.


    So this is my way of asking for ALL OF YOUR tips and suggestions, whether you agree or disagree with my settings posted above. Any pitfalls I need to be aware of? Is it super easy for a guy like me to simply and royally **************** my mix and make this good equipment sound like garbage?

    I am trying to keep all the parametric, channel EQ's as close to flat as possible. But compression is something I am completely lost on. I kind of sort of get it in theory, but have no idea even what to listen for with compression.

    I was also told to compress the kick as follows (approximately): -20 threshold, 2:1, 6ms attack and 60 ms release.

    For snare about -10 attack, 2:1, 200 ms attack, 400 ms release, and about 10 db make up gain.

    For the three toms I was told to engage the high pass for the two rack toms and not for the floor tom and instead of compression, to use gating as follows (on all 3) again approximate: -14 db threshold, range 30db, attack 0, hold 450 ms, release 250 ms.

    Quite frankly, I don't even really know what in the hell range means in a limiter, nor do I understand what all these little functions do when summed together. I am truly that clueless.

     

    Look, not to put too fine a point on it, am I going to SCREW THINGS UP royally with settings like I posted above?? I really am stressing this **************** badly. Almost wish I had the low pressure of my old, crappy gear with all the low expectations it came with.

     

     

     


  • #2

    Why not set everthing to 0 and off (compression and gating) then adjust to what's needed by ear? I know you are mixing on stage so it's hard to hear and did you consider video tape your show to give you an idea how it sounds out front? It's too bad you didn't have the time to set up and play a show with the new equip before hand? and besides I want video anyway!

    Good luck!

     

     

    Comment


    • ChiroVette
      ChiroVette commented
      Editing a comment

      nchangin wrote:

      Why not set everthing to 0 and off (compression and gating) then adjust to what's needed by ear? I know you are mixing on stage so it's hard to hear and did you consider video tape your show to give you an idea how it sounds out front? It's too bad you didn't have the time to set up and play a show with the new equip before hand? and besides I want video anyway!

      Good luck!

       

       


      LMAO!!!


      You don't want this vid, dude. I am so going to tank this first show! Hahaha


    • dbMontana
      dbMontana commented
      Editing a comment

      CV, You may have noticed that I only chime in when I think a true noob's perspective might have some value -- and this "may" be one of those instances.


      nchangin wrote:

      Why not set everything to 0 and off (compression and gating) then adjust to what's needed by ear? I know you are mixing on stage so it's hard to hear and did you consider video tape your show to give you an idea how it sounds out front?


      I'd have to agree.  You've got some great new equipment.  I'd start out by trusting it to do what it does well and then only address "issues" that come up.  To channel aged here, you're probably more likely to get yourself in trouble by trying to do too much rather than too little.  Your suggested settings listed above are probably reasonable -- good to keep in mind -- "if needed".  Are you going to record the show?  Reprocessing it later can be very very instructive and provide at least a starting point for the next show.  Just my 0.02
        ...dave


  • #3

    I can't count the gigs I've done without a compressor. Leave it alone for your first gig. Also, while at home, familiarize yourself with the channel strip EQ. Then if on the gig you hear something wonky, like too much low mid, you'll know where and how much to cut.

    I have found that barring the eccentricities of what speakers I'm using (either Yorkville U15's or Yorkville E210's) I can keep the graph pretty flat. IIRC there are two cuts for the U15's and three (maybe four) for the E210's (they have some slight issues)  I would say you could run pretty flat GEQ's (as planned) and adjust the strips if and when neccessary.

    Can you hire a tech to help out for the first set (or night).?

    IMHO doing sound is an art form, just as being a musician is.  Doing sound and playing at the same time, is another art form entirely.  I've done it for many years, and I'm still learning.  You have to know when to let things go, how to nip problems before they occur, and maybe most importantly how to maintain realistic expectations.

    So given whatever level I'm at, I could never run sound from the stage while playing, as well as I could run sound from out front as a dedicated tech. That doesn't mean that I can't run sound from the stage as well as a tech that CAN'T run sound. But I trust you see what I'm getting at. Know your limits and accept them - expecially for the first few gigs with your new gear.

    Comment


    • Rob_H
      Rob_H commented
      Editing a comment

      100% agree on less is more...for the first outing with new gear all I suggest is to ring out the room at a louder volume than you intend to play, minimal or no compression, minimal effects and also to play at a lower volume than you normally would to even further avoid feedback. If at all possible record the gig; I don't know the 1608 but have found on the PS I learn a lot reviewing and remixing the gig after it is over.

       

      The other suggestion is if you know the bar owner, see if he will let you guys stay after closing so you can tweak a bit based on how you felt the first night went.

       

      Keep in mind in most bars only musicians or techs are usually the only ones who even notice the quality of the sound, don't be so hard on yourself and enjoy the night.


  • #4

    ChiroVette wrote:

     

    Here is my problem:

    I have been a musician for decades, but I know NOTHING about compression, limiting, gating, or even effective use of the four band parametric EQ ..


    I could be WAY OFF on this, as I know nothing.

    In short, I am afraid of ruining the sound of my new gear by overdoing it and "mixing over my head" from stage while I play and sing.


    Look, not to put too fine a point on it, am I going to SCREW THINGS UP royally with settings like I posted above?? I really am stressing this **************** badly. Almost wish I had the low pressure of my old, crappy gear with all the low expectations it came with.


    You are exactly who we built this mixer for.    The mixer will move all the parameters for you.  You don't have to know the numbers.  All you need to do is know what you want the sound to be and use your ears.

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Hk1HHHh6ZNI

    Don Boomer

    Comment


    • #5
      The DL1608 has lots of presets for vocals and different instruments. Most already contain EQ, comp and gate settings. You could try those out, and see if you like them. You can see the way the presets have the comps and gates set, and maybe pick up some ideas. You can also load the presets, and then turn off the gates and comps. Most of the presets are decent, and are good starting points to work from. Might be worth a try.

      Comment


      • ChiroVette
        ChiroVette commented
        Editing a comment

        minn12 wrote:
        The DL1608 has lots of presets for vocals and different instruments. Most already contain EQ, comp and gate settings. You could try those out, and see if you like them. You can see the way the presets have the comps and gates set, and maybe pick up some ideas. You can also load the presets, and then turn off the gates and comps. Most of the presets are decent, and are good starting points to work from. Might be worth a try.

        What I did last night was called Mackie tech support right before they closed and I ran a load of my settings for various instruments and vocals by him. I basically researched the topic a lot and came up with moderate to light, non-invasive parametric EQ, compression, and one or two gating settings that were "typical" for various uses. I wanted to make sure that if I used these sort of home made presets (not Mackie's, but mine) even without having tried them, that I wouldn't screw anything up.

        The tech support guy told me that he settings I used were pretty conservative and light and while they would have to be adjusted, tweaked, and changed based on the venue, player, singer, etc., that they would make good starting points that wouldn't dfestroy anything.

        To be honest, I looked at Mackie's presets, and you know what? They seemed very extreme to me. There was a lot of liberal use of the four parametric EQ bands that I felt were too far from flat to make good starting points. The "typical" EQ ideas I came up with are like VERY LIGHT and all my channels are a lot closer to flat EQ than the Mackie presets.

        Also, the Mackie compression settings and gating settings were (to my eyes at least) very intrusive and too much for me to consider using as starting points. I honestly wanted to keep all compression and effects and channel EQ's very light as possible and if I need "more" I can always add it when I am more knowledgeable.


    • #6
      Good rule of thumb:

      Just because there a compressor on every channel doesn't mean you need to use a compressor on every channel.

      Good luck!!





      We run sound from the stage. We set our lead volumes, then back it off with a volume pedal for playing rhythm. Vocals, we set lead volumes as well. Then we back off when singing backups, and get right up on it when singing lead.
      NO SIGNATURE FOR YOU!!

      Comment


      • #7
        Ime, less is more. Presets are also ime useless for most applications but look good in marketing drivel.

        Comment


        • ChiroVette
          ChiroVette commented
          Editing a comment

          agedhorse wrote:
          Ime, less is more. Presets are also ime useless for most applications but look good in marketing drivel.

          I agree. I noticed right off the bat, when checking out the presets for the DL1608 that, in my honest opinion, they were way too heavy-handed and aggressive. The parametric EQ patterns, for example, were all over the place and while making for very pretty graphical pictures, were nowhere near flat. My feeling about parametric EQ's (and I may be wrong) is that with a good mixer, good speakers, good mics, and decent singers and instrument outputs that you should be very close to flat and only boost and cut gently because the equipment is good enough not to need to have the interference of aggressive EQing to "compensate" for problems. Same for the GEQs as well as for compression, limiting, effects, and gating. I thought Makie's presets were very very heavy with gain reduction and soaking wet effects as well.


        • dboomer
          dboomer commented
          Editing a comment

          Then you should look up the definition 

           

          Definition of LESS
          comparative of 1little
          1
          : constituting a more limited number or amount <less than three> <less than half done>
          2
          : of lower rank, degree, or importance <no less a person than the president himself>
          ...
           
          I think your opinion is mis-stated.  I believe what you really mean is left over from the old days when managing very small increments of improvement was so time and labor consuming that the return on the investment of that time was a poor bargin or actually led to lower performance.
           
           I also doubt that it corresponds to the way you design circuitry  ... as in less regulation, less thermal stability, less quality, etc.
           
          Its a new world and computers can very quickly compute and manage the very small details that were difficult to do in the past.  Is there anyone out there that would not like to improvement their performance by even 1% or 2% if were essentially free?
           
          I'm much happier in the world of GPS rather than Thomas Guides  
           
           

        • minn12
          minn12 commented
          Editing a comment

          agedhorse wrote:
          Ime, less is more. Presets are also ime useless for most applications but look good in marketing drivel.


          Just curious if you have ever mixed on a DL1608 and tried out the presets in a live setting? 


      • #8

        some common mistakes

        - don't send cases rolling; they can hit people and they hurt!
        - don't stand under a lift while someone is rigging above; shackles can, do, and will fall on you.
        - make sure you tighten the bolts that attach the trusses; they'll snap if you don't.
        - when outdoors, don't stand next to the stage scrim on a windy day; it'll throw you off your feet.
        - ratchet straps can have a lot of tension on them; watch where you put your hands and don't let them bite you!
        - if you're a spot op, especially if you're on a truss, make damn sure you take a pre-game dump
        - try not to piss off any of the crew. especially not the bus driver.
        - make sure you carry aspirin, pepto bismol and immodium. always.
        - enjoy yourself but don't drink too much, touring with a hangover is the worst.

        Comment


        • #9
          When I design anything, I use exactly the tools necessary, as much stability as necessary, as much technology as necessary. I don't automatically grab at a template solution because I know a lot more about what is needed than somebody else.

          Comment


          • nchangin
            nchangin commented
            Editing a comment

            Update from the weekend?


        • #10
          Seen if happen too many times. Good lesson to learn actually, will help future decisions.
          This is why I tend to recommend the simplest solution possible that gets the desired results, and everything goes in its place wrapped up carefully so that next time isn't worse.

          Comment


          • #11
            Are you the band leader or the band bitch?

            Comment


            • ChiroVette
              ChiroVette commented
              Editing a comment

              agedhorse wrote:
              Are you the band leader of the band bitch?

              Yeah, I am.

              Folks thanks for all the detailed answers and more importantly for being supportive! lol I really expected to come on here to a ****************storm of ridicule. I intend to respond to everyone here who posted, but I am still a little pissed off at this situation, which is why I have also avoided the forum the last few days to avoid basically publicly trashing people who I still consider to be friends but are, for whatever reason, just being (as Andy puts it) a bitch band.

              Who knows, maybe I will even post a video or two as nchangin asked me to, as long as its understood that these alleged videos are for ENTERTAINMENT and humor purposes only.

               


          • #12
            Thomas Edson once said he didn't fail 10,000 times when trying to invent the lightbulb. He simply discovered 10,000 ways to not make a lightbulb.

            Gig #1 out of the way. A perfect storm on many fronts. Hopefully the band lineup will be back to what you are used to, then that's one set of problems out of the way.

            Is there any way to use wedges next time? I think bands find switching to IEM's hard enough on their own, without also adding new FOH speakers and a new mixer as well. If you can stick with wedges it might simplify things a bit as well.

            Next as others have said, maybe back off on the compressors, or not use them at all. Keep the signal chain basic, think about how you did things before, or did you always hire out sound?

            Baby steps. Like others have said, in a year you'll look back and see how far you've come.

            NO SIGNATURE FOR YOU!!

            Comment


            • monthlymixcd
              monthlymixcd commented
              Editing a comment

              Don't give up... and don't ditch all the delicious gear because of one bad gig.

              I agree with most here that the rig isn't want tanked the show... and a lot of it sounds like it was beyond your control. Ever been in a 12-step program? No?!?... well, learn the serenity prayer anyway; "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." I'm not a religious person, but it's good advice regardless...

              I run sound for a 12-piece band with horn section that has about 7 dependable regulars... and the other 5 slots on any given night are usually subs. Name of band... "Identity Crisis"... no joke. But the regulars and the subs are pros (or at least really good students) and hickups are infrequent and usually minor.

              Here are the three most important rules that the band members live by; 

              1. Be on time for the gig (the regulars usually show up early to help set up which is nice)
              2. Nobody gets paid until the truck is loaded. Nobody. (everyone helps with loadout and most know where everything goes and how to wrap cables... which is also nice)
              3. The sound guy is a member of the band and we need him because we are an unruly mob of musicians and would sound like crap if we didn't have him.

              Beyond that... everyone just follows the golden rule and does their level best to communicate.

              Hang in there...



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