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Adding *sparkle* to my mix


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Hi Guys,

 

need your advice - I think our mix hast just enough Hi-end however my bandmates think there should be some, especially on vocals

 

Our Mixer: Allen & Heath PA28

Channelstrip EQ:

Hi: Fixed @ 12000 hz, -15 db to + 15 db

Hi-Mid: Sweepable, 350 - 7000 hz -15 db to + 10 db

Lo-Mid: Fixed @ 250 hz, -15 db to +15 db

Low: Fixed @ 80 hz, -15 db to + 15 db

Low-cut filter @ 100 hz

 

Additional EQ on masters is Parametric

Hi: 1000-20000 hz, -10 db to +10 db

Hi-Mid: 500 - 10000 hz, -10 db to +10

Lo-Mid: 120-2000 hz, -10 db to + 10 db

Low: 20-200 hz, -10 db to +10 db

 

Present settings for me and our ladysinger:

Me Ladysinger

Hi + 6db +7 db

HiMid 3 khz, + 6db 2.5 khz, + 6db

LoMid + 2 db 0 db

Low + 9 db + 3db

L/c filter not eng not eng

 

Parametric eq settings:

Hi: 11 khz, + 9 db

HiMid: 5 khz, + 8 db

LoMid: 400 hz, + 3 db

Low: 65 hz, + 7 db

 

System (subs & Tops) X-Over set around 120 hz

Subs: 350 watts @ 4 Ohms, 38-300 hz

Tops: 300 watts @ 8 Ohms, 48-20000 hz, 2-way

 

Any ideas where I could improve clarity on the voices?? My guess is HiMids but I don't have the possibility to try it out this week and next saturday our big gig is due. I also would like to know whether you'd change channel EQ or master EQ (Or both) and at which freq. you would set them. Ofcourse we're going to to an extensive sound check next saturday but it sure would help if I at least would have some idea where to start.

 

Budget prevents buying newer/better enclosures/subs so I'l have to do with what I got therefor please don't advise me which other speakers might solve my problem.

 

Tks in advance for your advice

 

Greetz

Will

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Which thread is which?

 

My original post still stands for me - how have you identified your problem.

 

As for your EQ, yikes! Why are you adding so much? Usually flat is better and cut rather tahn boost is a good rule of thumb (but not always).

 

What kind of Mains and subs are you using? Something seems strange.

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Way too much eq being used, way too much boost everywhere. My guess is that there is some other problem. Is there a graphic eq on the system also?

 

I would go back to flat on all eq's and look for obvious faults and problems first. Maybe find a real sound guy to help.

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Way too much eq being used, way too much boost everywhere. My guess is that there is some other problem. Is there a graphic eq on the system also?


I would go back to flat on all eq's and look for obvious faults and problems first. Maybe find a real sound guy to help.

 

My guess is the rig is grossly undersized for the application... and the EQ settings are such to try and squeeze every possible SPL out and apply it where it's delivering the most bang for the buck. I believe the lack of headroom (or even mid-room) is forcing compromised quality for lack of quantity. I suspect the cheapest solution would be to reduce the work-load on the PA.

 

It looks like the low-cut filters are not engaged on the vocal strips... can't tell for sure.

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Well, to begin with, there's no fixed EQ settings in audio. No way no how...

 

Put everything back to flat and try again. If it sounds really bad you need some improvement. Since I can't recommend new speakers, I'll say get new mics and upgrade the drivers in your current speakers.

 

Paying a professional to walk you through some of this should be your best bet now...

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Speakers:

Tops: LEM H300 - 300w cont/600w Peak @ 8 ohms,1x15"&1x1", 60x40 disp, internal xover @ 3 khz 12/18 dB/Oct, Max SPL 123 dB

Subs: Lem H350 - 350w cont/700w peak @ 4 ohms, 1x 15", max SPL 122 dB

 

Amps:

Tops: QSC GX5

Subs: Carvin DCM2000

XOver: DBX 2/3 way set around 120 Hz

 

Mics:

Me: Sennheiser E945

Ladysinger: Sennheise E865 (condensor)

These are quite a step-up compared to what we used when this band was started (me: Shure 565SD, ladysinger Shure SM58)

 

I know it isn't a top PA and not comparable with more expensive JBL/Crown or JBL/LabGruppen set. I would have liked to go Peavey when I bought my tops but at that time no PV sets available (I still have my 30year old BW115 Continentals but they're only rated @ 150 watts peak max - still in OK condition - they're used as monitors at the moment). Bought my Tops first and compared them to other, similar priced gear and they were imho best bang for the buck at that time (I was and still am on a budget and own 75% of the PA). Tops are about 3.5 years old, half a year later we bought the subs. So far PA is used for small bar gigs/weddings only, used the PA last year in the same venue (can hold 250 peeps max) and never ever needed to go full tilt with the system (we aren't a loud band anyway). Everything is miked/connected to the mixer even the El.drum kit (which first is amped on stage and then connected via line-out) guitaramps also are miked, only my keyboards go direct. Our plan never was to shake the rafters, we just needed a small, full sounding PA with enough bottom and so far it has worked. Just need to clear up vocals a little bit now so I'm guessing HiMids would do the trick. I know it's difficult to give advice when you haven't heard it but if you could try I'd really appreciate it - just so I have an idea where to start looking for the clarity.

 

Will do extensive soundcheck anyway, will start with channel eq's flat and work my way up from there.

 

Youngest bandmember is 46 (except our ladysinger, who's 26) oldest bandmember is 63 - we're all old-time weekend warriors just having fun. Each of us has been gigging more then 25 years (except our ladysinger ocfourse). Coming saturday we will get some help from a more experienced soundguy but he'll only be there about 21:00 hours and I would like to have set everything and done soundchecks way before that (we're the 2nd (but main) band, guest band will start @ 20:30 - we're due at 21:30) and I'm going to do sound for band no 1.

 

Anyway, tks for your thoughts so far, any advice still welcome

 

Greetz

Will

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Dukey,

 

I was shocked to see how much boost you're currently applying to all your EQ bands. Go back to "flat" everywhere for now, and use your EQ solely to eliminate small problems, such as too much sibilance, etc. Get it sounding "clean" first, the THEN you can add a little here and there (if need be).

 

Also, on all channels that don't require low-frequency content, use your HPF's if you have them. Those HPF will roll-off anything under 100Hz. That should clean up your mix substantially, by keeping out stage-rumble and noise, and competing low frequency content.(mud)

 

Good luck.

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Bring out the sparkle by getting rid of some of the mud. You shouldn't be boosting low end. It'd also help if you listed the type of speakers you're using, because some really cheap boxes won't even sparkle if you throw glitter on them. EDIT: I see you listed the speakers... from the specs, and judging that I can't find any info on them on the net... I'm guessing it'll be really tricky to get these boxes to shine. Oh well, let's try anyways.

 

Try these EQ settings for the vocals:

 

hi: +3 dB

mid-hi: -3dB @ 1.2k

mid-low: -6dB @ 200Hz

low: -6dB

lo-cut ENGAGED

 

As for your mains EQ... you really shouldn't be using EQ on your mains but whatever. Set your EQ flat and play a CD that you know the sound of very well. Copy the EQ settings I listed for vocals onto the mains EQ. Don't change where the frequencies are centered because IME those are the especially troublesome frequencies... just make some MINOR adjustments until the CD sounds clean and clear. Keep in mind that you're not trying to make the CD sound "better", you're trying to make it sound like it's supposed to.

 

REMEMBER: It's always better to cut frequencies and not boost them. If you're boosting all across the frequency range then you might as well just bring up the fader, eh?

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AgedHorse: sorry , no graphic EQ on the mains, only on the monitors

 

Shaster: problem was identified by our ladysinger who was told that audience would like to hear a little bit more highs, during CD playback also the bandmates told me that they found the system lacking highs (CD playback on stereo channel hi/low eq only). Unfortunately we don't have a large area where we would be able to point the speakers at us and define the problem during rehearsal. We're using Tops only for band rehearsal and to avoid feedback I always lower the settings for Hi & HiMid and yes I know that normally you're a lott less loud during rehearsal then on-stage.

 

mr. Hellinger: System total is 1.3 kW and I know better then to try and drive it to it's max - any venue larger then 250 peeps and I will rent a PA. Low-cut filters will be engaged when subs are needed (Last saturday we didn't need the subs). So far system Never ever had to be run at full tilt - max ever neccessary was 75% and that was rather loud for the venue we played.

 

All gain structure has been set to 0dB (channelwise), PA main out to XOver also set @ 0dB, issue isn't our mix - that's OK - just need more clarity in the voices

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Well, never heard of those speakers, but will try some hints:

 

- Put and add in your local Classifieds trading 15" tops for 12" or 10" tops.

- Get a cheap dual 15 band EQ and insert it on the vocal channels. DOD or DBX should do it.

- Engage the low cut filter on vocals.

 

Your mics, amps and x-over are fine...

 

Or you can just get a Sonic Maximizer and solve all your problems at once... ;) Just kidding, just kidding...

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IMO, 0dB on the masters is full tilt, anything more is headroom, 0dB is the nominal level other equipment expects to see.

 

As others have said, you really need more PA and a real sound engineer to walk you through a gig. What you hear on stage is totally different to out front

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This may be a silly question and please ignore me if it is but....


Are the hi-frequency drivers even working?

 

 

That's exactly what I'm starting to think too. Even the CD's lack "sparkle",,, hmmm. Tops' internal x-over is 3KHz, so his CD's would still work to a certain degree.

 

That 3k internal crossover itself, is probably one big reason why the highs don't "sparkle".

 

Music frequency chart/graph;

 

http://www.har-bal.com/index.php?/frequency-chart.php

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If your just trying to get some "sparkle" on the vocals, why not have the singer buy a vocal processor?

 

 

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

 

A system that is inadequate will not be served by adding more crap to the signal path. Sounds to me like they simply are trying top do too much with what they have. Sonic Flatulizers will only make things worse.

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This may be a silly question and please ignore me if it is but....


Are the hi-frequency drivers even working? Do those boxes have an L-pad on the back to attenuate the highs?

 

 

Me too. If you can't get sparkle out of a female using a condenser mic, I'm wondering if the horns (or one anyway) are fried.

 

As I and others have said, way too much added EQ. By adding that much accross the spectrum you've essentially defeated your additions and just added noise and more sonic issues. It's kind of like if the bass guitar is too quiet, so you turn the bass guitar up, then turn the lead guita up, then the drums, then the vocals then.... oh no! the bass guitar is too quiet again:)

 

Check your cabinets, and try to get your system sounding right with a CD, then with your channel strips flat and your main/para EQ basically flat (I'm assuming you know your boxes best), see what your mics sound like. Personally I think you should have stuck with the SM58, less complicated for your purposes (unless it was a counterfeit).

 

As others have stated, I suspect something is wrong; blown horns, incorrect EQ, crossover problems, incorrect wiring. Take advantage of the tech you know. Maybe get him to a rehearsal BEFORE your next gig.

 

Good luck!

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You'll get more mileage out of EQs using cut not boost.

 

 

Bull{censored}. Sure, it's true some of the time, and boosting all bands is wrong, but to make it "cutting is better than boosting" a "rule" is silly as the proper eq change is solely dependent on the context.

 

I couldn't find must of anything on these speakers, either, except that they seem to be some Chinese-made brand that's available in Europe w/ a logo that's a clear knockoff of JBL's.

 

Given that the OP couldn't afford Peaveys, I'd guess that the speakers are just cheap crap.

 

-Dan.

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