Can one input be routed to 2 DCA’s?

mrb604

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Mar 29, 2013
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Central Coast, CA
I am trying to educate myself more on sound. Our school just recently purchased our first digital console. Looking to mix a musical , line by line, so learning how to use groups and DCA’s. My question is can a mic input be routed to 2 different DCA’s? If I do that, what happens when both DCA’s are brought up? Example, I have 3 female vocalists and I put them in a group and assign them to a DCA, but one of the 3 is a soloist on different songs, so I assign that particular mic to a second DCA for that scene. Can I still use the group DCA to adjust the backup singers? What will happen to the soloists level, if say their DCA is at unity and the group DCA is at -10?
 

Lextech

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Dec 2, 2013
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Virginia
Yes, you can route inputs to multiple DCAs but you may not want to. Normally DCA assignments change by scene so that only those people onstage are in. Each lead would have their own DCA, male or female chorus might have individual or share a DCA. The band, effects and playback might have a DCA each. In my workflow I will always have the lead singer(s) on their own DCA and they will always reside in the same DCA location. I will always have the backing singers divided by gender or range on two DCAs, I work in academic theater and usually don't have a lot of lower voices and like to be able to fill in the whole audio spectrum, they will always be in the same slot. Playback, FX(verb, delay) and band will have their own slots that don't change. Now who resides in the lead DCA will change for every scene. If Jane is the female lead she will be in DCA 1, Joe is the other half of the duet , DCA 2, John, Paul, George and Richard are in DCA 4 as male chorus members and DCA 3 is empty since I have no altos or sopranos onstage. Next scene will be completely different, since, for example Linda is one lead and Yoko is the other and there are 20 others chorus members between the next two DCAs.

Best advise is spend time with the console and see how it works and what gets recalled and what doesn't when you hit go. Some consoles have universal recall safe settings, some by channel and some really let you customize. Also you need to figure out your workflow, I typed mine above, it works for me. Have fun,
 

mrb604

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Mar 29, 2013
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Central Coast, CA
Philip, thanks, your info helped. Lextech, I appreciate the insight into your workflow.
Another question, is there any value to putting the chorus mics into a group before assigning the group to a DCA? What, if any, extra processing might someone do to a chorus group in a musical?
 

jkowtko

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Jan 9, 2007
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Redwood City, CA
Hi pass filter is the only thing I've done with choir mics ... but I generally use HPF on all my orchestra mics so I have it set up on the channel. My vote is to keep it as simple as possible, only add layers if you really need them.
 

themuzicman

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Apr 27, 2007
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On Tour
is there any value to putting the chorus mics into a group before assigning the group to a DCA? What, if any, extra processing might someone do to a chorus group in a musical?
What desk are you on?

I don't see any value in convoluting input channel workflow, I generally find keeping decent organization on channel layers in most digital desks to be sufficient. You especially don't need another fader with audio routed that you could mute or pull by accident. I would generally stick with routing input channels to a DCA and not assigning groups. If you have someone parked in a group but they are offstage in quick-change but you are just assigning groups to a fader, you'll quickly wish you hadn't done that.

That being said, that is one of the nice organizational features on the DiGiCo "T" Software -- in your Control Groups (their name for a DCA) selection page you can create quick-assign groups so you aren't just tapping a hundred faders across a hundred cues. This feature is literally only useful for writing your scenes and has no bearing on running of a show.

When I'm unlucky enough to be mixing a musical on a big Midas desk I sometimes find the POP Groups cool for quick organizational workflow -- having huge colorful tap buttons that let me tap info up really quickly has the potential to be useful, but probably not the flavor of group your console has.

Again, the two above examples are very desk specific and don't really fall into the realm of what you're doing, but show you that the idea you have is a good one -- but in the realm of organization but not audio.

However -- if you want to talk output flow in a console I find it's quite often good practice to set up output busses for Lead Vox and Ensemble Vox (and on bigger shows LeadM/LeadF + EnsM/EnsF) and send those to your PA via matrices. This is good practice for a number of reasons -
First, you'll generally want different reverbs on each, so you can shoot those output busses to their own FX channels.
Second, if I find I'm doing the same EQ tweaks to the same section of mics I'll pull it off the input channels and move the EQ to the group.
Third, Same as the 2nd but with Dynamics. I try to never use Compression on vocals in a musical (the mixer is the human compressor), but sometimes it doesn't hurt to throw some light bus compression on the ensemble.
Finally - I'll often image the Lead and Ensemble so they sit differently in the PA. I want my Lead bus to have a little more presence and will output them differently.
 

mrb604

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Mar 29, 2013
Location
Central Coast, CA
What desk are you on?

However -- if you want to talk output flow in a console I find it's quite often good practice to set up output busses for Lead Vox and Ensemble Vox (and on bigger shows LeadM/LeadF + EnsM/EnsF) and send those to your PA via matrices. This is good practice for a number of reasons -
First, you'll generally want different reverbs on each, so you can shoot those output busses to their own FX channels.
Second, if I find I'm doing the same EQ tweaks to the same section of mics I'll pull it off the input channels and move the EQ to the group.
Third, Same as the 2nd but with Dynamics. I try to never use Compression on vocals in a musical (the mixer is the human compressor), but sometimes it doesn't hurt to throw some light bus compression on the ensemble.
Finally - I'll often image the Lead and Ensemble so they sit differently in the PA. I want my Lead bus to have a little more presence and will output them differently.
This (above quote) is exactly what I am trying to do. I’m working on an Allen & Heath SQ console, the problem is the musical I am preparing for is an ensemble type piece with 9 characters that take turns singing lead and singing ensemble, so there are nine different ensemble combinations, trying to decide if it worth using 9 busses or just use the DCA’s and give up having separate group reverb and EQ for the sake of simplicity. Am I making this show more complex than it needs to be?
 

ACTSTech

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Nov 13, 2019
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Philip, thanks, your info helped. Lextech, I appreciate the insight into your workflow.
Another question, is there any value to putting the chorus mics into a group before assigning the group to a DCA? What, if any, extra processing might someone do to a chorus group in a musical?
Individually you might comp/gate them depending on the vocalist and how they balance, but as a DCA keep it simple.

We had a girl who had a nasty habit of saying other people’s lines under her breath, which was why I needed the gate. She also likes to really belt some songs, and I mean belt, which was why I needed some comp. But to add effects or anything else to a group, probably not ideal. Just my two cents.
 

themuzicman

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Apr 27, 2007
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On Tour
This (above quote) is exactly what I am trying to do. I’m working on an Allen & Heath SQ console, the problem is the musical I am preparing for is an ensemble type piece with 9 characters that take turns singing lead and singing ensemble, so there are nine different ensemble combinations, trying to decide if it worth using 9 busses or just use the DCA’s and give up having separate group reverb and EQ for the sake of simplicity. Am I making this show more complex than it needs to be?
Uhhh...what? There's not a whole lot in your post that's making sense to me...You can use busses and DCA's. DCA's are not audio routing paths, just a method of control. They control audio, they don't pass audio. Why would using DCA's force you to give up group verb and EQ?

Why would you need to burn 9 busses? Why would you not just have a Lead Bus and an Ensemble Bus and assign your actors to them per scene? Busses don't have to be fixed assignments, you can change them per-scene. When you start flipping people in and out of busses some forms of group EQ become a little less effective, but not all shows need that.

As for Reverb, You can take those busses and use them as the source for your FX channel, return to an input fader and assign that to a DCA for control of verb level. I generally would rather have Lead Verb + Ens Verb busses that source to my FX units and return to an input channel. This way I can choose how precise I can control my verb -- if I assign the SEND to a DCA then you can let it tail out but catch subsequent vocals clean while it's tailing, if you assign the RETURN to a channel then you can hard-cut the signal and kill the tail. Just depends on what the scene calls for.
 

mrb604

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Mar 29, 2013
Location
Central Coast, CA
Muzicman, thanks for the clarity. As you can tell I am new at this and especially new at using a digital board. For some reason I was thinking bus assignments would be fixed, but as you pointed out, I can reassign which channels are sent to an ensemble bus on a scene per scene basis. That simplifies things considerably. Not sure why that didn’t occur to me, so thank you.
 

TimMc

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Feb 15, 2017
Muzicman, thanks for the clarity. As you can tell I am new at this and especially new at using a digital board. For some reason I was thinking bus assignments would be fixed, but as you pointed out, I can reassign which channels are sent to an ensemble bus on a scene per scene basis. That simplifies things considerably. Not sure why that didn’t occur to me, so thank you.
You can do lots of things with scene recall, for example a "scene" could change reverb parameters only with nothing else altered.

Most consoles record *all* parameters as part of the data captured for each scene, snapshot, cue, (or whatever nomenclature is used) but uses "filtered recall" to apply any filterss recorded as part of the scene, snapshot, cue, etc. like in the reverb example above. Exactly how scene memory works varies between manufacturers and if you do work with serious recall needs, the details become Really Important.