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Outside Audio Mixing

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by lieperjp, May 7, 2008.

  1. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Location:
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    Our school is having an end-of-year picnic, which is outdoors. We are having live music, which usually means garage bands. Usually each band is 1-2 electric guitars, 1 bass, and a set, but this can vary as our opener is a wannabe punk rock band and mixed in we have a ska band, an acoustical guitar duet, and several run-of-the mill bands who just like to play, well, loud. I've never done mixing outside before and I will be one of two board ops. The other board op has mixed outside before, but only once. And he's not that experienced to begin with. (Yes, Derek, I [BOLD] DID [/BOLD] just start a sentence with a conjunction.) So, I was wondering if you have any tips you'd like to share? I believe we'll be using direct boxes for the guitars which for the most part will NOT be amped on stage, wired mics (with very colorful wind muffs!) for the acoustical guitar and anything else. Vocals we'll use new wireless Sure mics (also with the colorful wind muffs) to save time and energy messing with cords. It's in a semi-wooded area, bands on a stage. Stage monitors and two or four speakers (oh, what to call them. Not really house speakers. Hmm.)
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Like I'd even notice.:)

    From a lighting guy who knows enough to be dangerous when mixing audio...

    High humidity can play tricks on you, especially with reverb/delay settings.
    You've already addressed the mic wind-noise issue; much more important if you're mic-ing a symphony.
    The wind can actually seem to blow all your high frequencies away.
    The subs have nothing but the ground to which to couple, so try to bring twice as many.
    The people in the back will always want the PA turned up, and the people in the front will usually want it turned down. Tell them to switch!
    Wear a hat and sunscreen, and insist on a pop-up type canopy over FOH, preferably the scrim-type.
    Don't forget the cooler and ice.
    Don't try to play Vinyl LPs in Las Vegas in July!


    On the plus side:
    You don't need to worry about what the room is doing to you, but be mindful of concrete/block/brick walls or other reflective surfaces nearby.
     
  3. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    To expand on what Derek offered. I worked a battle of the bands outdoors a week or two ago (two I think).

    Bring more PA than you think you'll need; SOS [definition: Speaker On Stick (tripod stand); or Sound on a Stick] with a sub or two may be fine to cover the same amount of people indoors, but not outside.
    I center coupled 4 18" subs in front of the stage to get enough low end.
    Get the tops above the audience (which goes without saying really).
    With wind noise, I think I carefully notched out 200 Hz on the mic's to get rid of wind. I had a LS9 though at FOH, so it made my life easier.
    Bring an efx unit. You won't have reverb from the room to open up the drum kit.
    Definitely an EZ-Up of some type, sunglasses, and sunscreen (this coming from someone with Irish heritage).
    Make the wedges LOUD!!! You can always turn down when asked, but ring them out to be "Jesus Tap Dancing Christ tear-your-head-off loud". We had an emo/screamo band where we were tickling the clip lights on a PLX 3102(?)
    Drink water. No idea what the temperature is like for you where you are, but stay hydrated (this coming from someone who backpacks the Grand Canyon).
    Again with wind, it will blow your sound around, but there's not much you can do about that.
    With humidity and getting the tops above people's heads, aim them down slightly so they cut through the humidity layer above the sweaty dancing audience.
    Have fun, I enjoy mixing outdoors anyway.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2008
  4. Raktor

    Raktor Active Member

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    Hmm. I'd advise against this. The guitarists should have their amp miced instead, as this will sound -completely- different. A lot of the characteristics of the guitar/amp can only be heard through the amp, and most guitarists will complain if they are just DIed.
     
  5. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to keep posting, I'm really bored today. Raktor, it would depend on what DI we're talking about. If they're using the Line 6 POD or I believe the Vox ToneLab does it too, I could see not needing amps at all. But if we're talking about a JDI on stage for them to plug into, then bite the bullet and mic the cab. Nevertheless, if they bring amps, mic them. I guarantee that the talent will want their "sound" no matter how crappy it is.

    If I can find a mic stand, I'll post a pic of how I mic cabs.

    And a sidebar, I have written down from my show that wind for the show was between 100- 200 cycles. Sadly, I didn't write down where my EQ's were set.

    P.S. Thanks Derek for the edit, I sometimes forget some don't know all the terms. No offense anyone.
     
  6. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Subs... Would definitely use them if I had them.

    EQ... Again, would definitely use one if I had one. Working to correct this ASAP. Oh, if only we had money left in our budget...

    Efx unit... Again, would use if I had one. One of our boards has one "built in," but it's a Behringer, so I don't want to use it. I also seriously doubt it's quality.

    ... LOUD! Will do gladly if I can!

    And of course I'll have fun. Who doesn't have fun doing tech work? Ok, at the time, with all the work, maybe it won't seem fun...

    Thanks for the tips. I will use as many as I can!!!
     
  7. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Pictures would be great!!!
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    What, this
    [​IMG]
    isn't good enough for you? Maybe it isn't, as it took me a long time to find any on the 'net. They call it a Z-Bar, but I've always called it a Z-Bracket. Can't remember who makes them.
     
  9. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    To me, that picture looks like the '57 is pointed at the dust cap, though it really isn't since it's a Vibroverb. I've never used a Z-Bar, I've always done the shorty boom stand. THough I have draped my e609 over the front grill. I wanted to make a point about not going straight-on into the dust cap.

    Besides, it's fun getting stuff set up for photos.

    And I think Right Stuff makes the Z-bar. I also thought Shure used to sell them.

    Dust Cap: The dome in the center of the loudspeaker
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2008
  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Define "dust cap" please.
     
  11. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Small dome in center of speaker.
     
    derekleffew likes this.
  12. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Occupation:
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    So people can provide the most helpful and relevant input, it appears that it might be beneficial if you could identify what you do have available for the system.

    The wireless mics may reduce the cabling hassles, but with an all day event and multiple bands it also introduces potential problems with batteries, damage, transmitters inadvertently walking off and so on. If nothing else, have some wired mics and cables readily available as backups.
     
  13. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Suggestions for wireless use:

    Singers who wander the stage (had one trip over his mic cable on me)
    Emcee
    Rappers

    I'd keep them off when not being used. And yes, a list might be beneficial. We could give more/better pointers to help you make the most of what you have.
     
  14. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Ok, so I did some inventory and here's what I found:

    Our mixer will probably be a Mackie Sr32-4 VLC Pro, but it might be a Yamaha EMX 3500 PM (12 Chan Powered Mixer)

    For Wireless:

    2 Audio Technica ATW T220
    1 Sure SM58 Wireless
    1 Audio Technica ATW 736HE

    For Wired Mics:
    6 Sure SM58
    5 Sure SM57
    7 EV ND267

    Speakers:
    2 EV S152 (200 Watt, 8 Ohm)
    2 EV Sx300 (300 Watt, 8 Ohm)

    Monitors:
    2 Yamaha SV12M 200 Watt Program 400 Watt Max 8 Ohm
    2 Yamaha S12me 250 Watt Program 500 Watt Max 8 Ohm

    As for amps, I'm not sure what we have as they're in the shop getting fixed.

    BUT I did find this stuff in a deep, dark corner - let me know if any of it is useful!

    Symetrix 421AGC Leveler
    Klark Teknic DN320 Dual Preset Equaliser (with a cover screwed over the front which I wasn't able to open - may be sliders, but not sure.)
    RANE AC22 Active Crossover
    Sabine FBX901 Feedback Exterminator

    I am primarily a light guy who can mix sound, but I don't know that much about the equipment and setup because all the systems I've used before have been set up and rack mounted (usually just Mixer, EQ and Amp.) Also, the EQs have been set already, so I've never EQ'd anything, either.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2008
  15. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Darn, it won't be outside because of rain... Oh well. Now we get to have it in a gym!!!
     
  16. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    All of these are discontinued but good quality devices. The Symetrix 421AGC is a very nice mono automatic leveler (a variable compressor/expander), you set a target output level and it tries to maintain that level, essentially riding the fader for you. Could be handy for 'hands off' type applications, for example I used a number of these in paging and announcement type applications where there would be different people making announcements and we wanted to maintain a consistent level.

    The Klark-Teknik DB320 is a high quality, stereo (that's the "dual" part) 2/3 octave equalizer. The "preset" reference is that it is intended to be used in cases where it is typically set once and then you want to avoid changes. Because of this, instead of faders it uses screwdriver operated turn pots.

    The Rane AC22 is a stereo, two-way crossover. A pretty basic, but good quality, crossover if you ever want to add subs to your system.

    The Sabine FBX901 is a single channel automatic feedback eliminator. Not something I would normally use in live situations but not bad to have for inexperienced operators or more automated operation.
     
  17. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    sorry that it is not outside

    i had a blast mixing our Spring Fling

    I am like the only person at my school that can tell you how to run a sound system

    The others are wannabe techies that i use to coil cables, clean tech booth, run spot, etc.

    it is a challenge to get the levels you need in a parking lot but it worked
     
  18. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Parking lot gigs are always fun. I was on one Friday at Wabash and Balbo in Chicago. Then again, we had no trouble getting enough volume. Of course, we had two Martin W8 over two Martin WSX with power to spare (QSC Powerlight 6.0, 1.4, 3.4 IIRC). Yes, we had noise complaints. Though I was at monitor beach most of the day.
     

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