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Note from the SM

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by DCATTechie, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. DCATTechie

    DCATTechie Active Member

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    I just got an e-mail from the SM of the show I'm doing recommending that I turn down the bass of all actor lavs in order to "cut the fuzz" that comes through when they yell (they yell a lot in this show.
    Actual Quote: "I want to hang out in blanket section during mic check and see whether we need to adjust the base level for the sound. If so, we should solve the other problem we're having -- mics going fuzzy when the actors raise their voices". In my opinion I think the cutting the base levels will not solve the problem, I consider it more of a gain issue. Am I correct or way off?
     
  2. kovacika

    kovacika Active Member

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    Correct, this would be an issue fixed at the gain pot. Turning down the gain will reduce the over all level though, so if you need that extra level you could through a compressor on each input, which would automatically reduce the gain when a certain peak was reached.
     
  3. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    I'm not a noise guy, but yeah, to me it sounds like gain. I seem to remember this happening during our production of The Crucible. We tried moving the mics around a little bit, too, which seemed to help.
     
  4. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    To me, and I see the others above, it could be a gain issue. It definitely sounds like your gain structure is wonky somewhere in the signal chain. Alternatively, it could be an issue with your speakers, but I find that unlikely.

    I have a problem with the wireless where I work were the receivers are constantly clipping because people don't know where a microphone is supposed to be on the actor's face. If it's too close to their mouth, it usually will be too hot a signal.

    If the input channel on the board is clipping, inserting a compressor will help, but be careful; compressors can cause feedback, especially if you're not used to mixing with them. The reason is the comp essentially lowers the volume, so to make up for it, the operator usually cranks up the volume, which equals feedback.

    My advice is to go through every component of your system, look at the meters on them, and see which one has the red lights blinking at you. Then report back here if it's an issue not easily solved by you.
     
  5. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I agree, it is definately a gain issue. Some times theatre shows are more dynamic that the mics like to be. A compressor is a good tool to start, as previously mentioned. You might also want to think of alternative mic placement, and different mics. Many manufactureres make the same mic in different models. I know Shure, Sennehiser, and DPA all have models that have a "regular" version, and a version that can handel higher SPL found in musical theatre. I realize this last one is an expensive fix, but it is good to keep in mind when buying new mics, or renting.

    ~Dave
     
  6. mbenonis

    mbenonis Wireless Guy Administrator

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    Perhaps I missed it, but I don't think anyone has said to check the gain at the mic transmitters. The way to check this is to bring each actor back to FOH (or use a remote computer view), and have them speak/sing at their loudest level. You should be just barely peaking on your RF receiver (audio level, not RF level).

    Then PFL the channel on your console, and adjust your gain pot so that their loudest yelling comes out to about +3...+6 or so. Make sure your masters and channel faders are at 0 (unity), all signal processing gear is at unity, and then adjust your amplifiers to output the desired "yelling level." This sound level should be just slightly uncomfortable to listen to, since you'll always be mixing slightly lower than this. Your gain structure is now set roughly correctly.
     
    howlingwolf487 likes this.
  7. howlingwolf487

    howlingwolf487 Active Member

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    I agree with Mike Benois on this one...check the transmitters first. Digital clipping and/or distortion doesn't sound very nice (sharp and sudden). Neither does analog, but it's much more acceptable to me and, in my opinion, can sound quite good if used to proper effect.

    If the signal sounds "fuzzy", it is most likely analog in nature UNLESS you are not getting good reception from the transmitters. That could be another problem. Have your noiseboys make sure the receivers are getting a healthy signal and that the antennas are in as much of a line-of-sight position as possible.

    If it is in the gain staging of your mixer/console, then the signal could be clipping at the preamplifier stage of the mixer, or also at any of the summing busses before the signal gets routed to an output (mains, subgroups, etc.). Don't drive the system too hard and make sure no clipping is occurring at any point in the system.
     
  8. mbenonis

    mbenonis Wireless Guy Administrator

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    I forgot to ask, what model wireless system are you using, and with what elements?
     
  9. hsaunier

    hsaunier Active Member

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    I agree with each post. lots of variables. If your wireless equipment is not of pro level, and it sounds as if your performers are all over the spectrum dynamicly, I would look very closely at mic placement. 1" farther away from the mouth can make a huge difference in quality. This would be true with head gear or a lapel mic. If they are using head gear, and if the actor has some very vigerous blocking the mic needs to be taped in place so that you don't end up with a change in mic placement mid show. Might even consider that for a lav as well.
     
  10. DCATTechie

    DCATTechie Active Member

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    Location:
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    The System:
    3x- Beyerdynamic Opus 800 Recievers
    11x- Beyerdynamic Opus 800 Transmitters
    11x- Countryman Lav Mics (not positive)
    1x- Behringer EURODESK SL3242FX-PRO
    2x- EV SxA series loudspeakers (cant remember model name, only series)

    Just to clarify, I was correct in saying that this could not be fixed by adjusting the bass and this it can be addressed in the GAIN pot?
     
  11. avare

    avare Active Member

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    Close. It can not be fixed by adjusting the bass. It is a gain structure problem.

    Andre
     
  12. mbenonis

    mbenonis Wireless Guy Administrator

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    Basically, but stage management doesn't need to know any of that. Just tell them the problem will be fixed by the next run. That's how it's done in the pro world.

    Re-read all of the comments above and let them sink in a bit. It may be a lot to take in, but you need to think about the system as a whole when you set your gains to ensure that all of them are set correctly at every point in the system.
     
  13. Dillon

    Dillon Active Member

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    +1 for checking the pack gain first off.
     
  14. rdagit

    rdagit Member

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    You know, My guess is your problem is a gain issue at the pack... You can turn that down a bit like suggested before... but I've also found that depending on mic placement, with some voices hats become a major problem. I've had a couple of people that with a hat on, their voice reflected off the brim in a weird way that it caused it to sound a little muffled like you are describing... Also, I've had actors who just sound like that when they sing loudly... and sometimes people don't realize this as they listen to far away and it only get's amplified with the microphone...
     
  15. cjthedj

    cjthedj Member

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    You were correct. Reducing the bass of the mic will make it sound thin, not solve the problem. You want the fullness of the low end. Are you using the SUBMIXES (groups) on the mixing console? Try routing all the mics into a group and Inserting a comp/limiter into the INSERT jack for the group. A comp/limiter will attempt to even out the dyamics so that it is a little more managable.

    Hope this helps.
     
  16. TimmyP1955

    TimmyP1955 Active Member

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    I've not worked with many wireless, but every one I've worked with had the transmitter gain set too high. I always ended up with them at minimum to keep things clean.

    Lavs are particularly easy to overload if they are used too close to the mouth, especially if they are not omnis (owing to the bass boost as the sound source gets close to the mic).
     
  17. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    It definitely seems to be gain at the pack or gain at the board that is the culprit. Experiment with both, see if you can clean it up.

    But the only thing that the SM needs to hear is "it will be fixed before the next rehearsal/performance".
     
  18. scubadiver305

    scubadiver305 Member

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    it does sound like a gain problem a good fix (if you have $150 around) would be the really nice compressor it seems cheap and like it wouldn't work as well as a more expensive model but it works very well and is rugged
     

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