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Overkill?

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by TassieBogan, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. TassieBogan

    TassieBogan Member

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    Our college is doing a production of Les Miserables in mid march. Obviously for a show of this magnitude, there is no such thing as a small setup. Currently, we're going to be using 25 radio mics, at least 4 shotguns, and then we have to mic up the orchestra. For this I was planning on getting a Midas Verona 400, a 40 channel mixer with 8 aux busses, 8 matrixs, and 8 sub-mixes.
    But would the better option be to get a smaller Midas Venice 320 and sort of Daisy Chain it with our existing 24 Channel studiomaster which has shite sound quality and dodgy everything?

    The Verona is $1000 per week to hire, wheras the Venice is $720, from the Tasmanian sound and lighting company Production Works. http://www.productionworks.com.au/

    Opinions?
     
  2. SketchyCroftPpl

    SketchyCroftPpl Active Member

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    Well I guess one big question is how much do you have to spend and how much do you care about the sound quality? I mean if its fine to have stuff sound not so hot and everything and its not going to be much way more complicated to daisychain them then you might wanna save 300 bucks for something else, or see how much just a totally new soundboard would be to buy and see if you can get the TD to spring for it not just for this show but all the ones after. If you really want it to sound great though and everything then it might be worth it for you to spend the extra 300 and have the quality ... how many weeks would you have to be renting it for? Just one?
    ~Nick
     
  3. SketchyCroftPpl

    SketchyCroftPpl Active Member

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    Well I guess one big question is how much do you have to spend and how much do you care about the sound quality? I mean if its fine to have stuff sound not so hot and everything and its not going to be much way more complicated to daisychain them then you might wanna save 300 bucks for something else, or see how much just a totally new soundboard would be to buy and see if you can get the TD to spring for it not just for this show but all the ones after. If you really want it to sound great though and everything then it might be worth it for you to spend the extra 300 and have the quality ... how many weeks would you have to be renting it for? Just one?
    ~Nick
     
  4. SketchyCroftPpl

    SketchyCroftPpl Active Member

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    Sorry I don't know why it posted that twice, it hung for a moment but then went though fine. Sorry
    ~Nick
     
  5. blsmn

    blsmn Member

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    I guess the answer to the question would depend on just what exactly you mean by overkill. For what you are doing, 40 channels will definitely not be overkill - when you take a look at what you are trying to accomplish 40 channels may just barely be enough if not too few. As far as my personal preference I would prefer to have everything on one console rather than daisy chaining two together - especially given the stated condition of the studiomater you have. Now, is it worth renting a Verona if the rest of your sound system is not up to snuff? That is another variable - you did not mention what type of amps, processing, speakers, outboard gear you are using. If they are as suspect as the studiomaster they will definitely not compliment a higher end board like the Verona.

    Just a suggestion here though - if you are using that many radio mics, it will be well worth it for you to rent a console that has the capability of mute scenes. I know the Verona has mute groups but I'm not sure it has mute scenes. Mute scenes will allow you to concentrate on the actual sound of the show without having to worry about which mics need to be muted or unmuted for the upcoming scene change. Need to mute mics 1,2,3,7,9,11, and 15 and unmute mics 5,6,8,10, 20 and 21? Program that in as a mute scene and when the time comes push one button and it happens. It will make your life and experience much happier, and take away having to scramble to make sure everything happens in a professional manner with no accidental off-stage utterances.
     
  6. jedijeffp

    jedijeffp Member

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    My $0.02 US (and then some)

    Radio Microphones: I assume this means wireless lavalier style mics.
    You note you're using 25 of them. Les Miz has 9 primary characters:
    Jean Valjean
    Javert
    Fantine
    Marius
    Enjolras
    Eponine / Child Eponine
    Cosette / Child Cosette
    Madame Thénardier
    Gavroche
    I could see utilizing another 5 or 6 to be passed around among supporting
    cast, but 25 total seems like a lot. What other characters are getting
    wireless mics? Which scene has the most of those characters in it
    simultaneously? Or which 2 scenes if there is a fast scene change
    between them? Reducing this number will simplify frequency selection
    and reduce the number of input channels required.

    Mixer: Assuming you do need all 25 wireless mics, a 24 channel mixer isn't going to
    work. So you do need something in addition to the studiomaster. How long were you
    planning on renting for? I'm not familiar with the Midas brand of mixers, but
    a Mackie SR32*4 runs less than $2,000 US (the 8 bus 32*8 is about $4,000 US).
    This has a total of 28 mono inputs which is enough to handle your 25 wireless mics.
    If you can cut down to 24 wireless mics, you can run both the wireless and shotgun
    mics on this mixer. Whether you plug the output of this into a channel on the
    Studiomaster, or connect this to your mains and run the output of the studiomaster
    into one of the stereo channel strips on the Mackie is your choice
    based on ease of use and how the orchestra will be miced.

    Orchestra microphones: This depends on the size of the orchestra, and the size of
    the orchestra pit area. For a very small pit orchestra, 1 mic per instrument may be
    appropriate to deliver a bigger sound. For more instruments divide them into logical
    sections and mic the sections as a group. Then provide "solo" mics for instrumentalists
    who have solos. Depending on available mics and channels you can use 1 "solo" mic per
    instrumental section miced, or 1 solo mic per geographic section of the orchestra pit
    with sound techs available in the pit to help with cues and mic positioning.


    That's a lot said to really mean this. Drive the requirements from the inputs to the outputs. Work with the director to determine how many wireless mics are needed, and how many are a nice to have. Attend the rehearsal when the actors do their blocking. This will give you an idea on how to use area mics when characters will be grouped in one area. Talk to the music director to find out how large of a pit orchestra is being used, and how many soloists there will be. Use this information to pull together your total inputs and subgroups. Leave a stereo channel available to play a CD for background music while people are taking their seats and during intermission. Based on these inputs and subgroups you'll be able to determine the mixer configuration needed for this performance. Price out both cost of rental and cost of purchase. Document it all. If you have it all planned out on paper it will be easier to justify cost as well as to quantify what will be lost if something is changed.

    Good Luck,
    Jeff

    P.S. I'm not a Mackie salesperson. Mackie is a board brand I am familiar with and was comfortable with as an example in this situation. Any good quality board can be substituted in the above.
     
  7. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Three words: Live Is Dangerious. In theater apps I always try to stay away from daisy chaining consoles, esepecially if I'm running lavs on both consoles. In a band situation its a little easier to figure out balanced levels. But it's nice to have a familar gain structure on one console. I had the decesion to either expand a 24ch mackie w/a side car this summer, but I decided not to because it was theater. It's way too formal and consistent demanding environment to risk. If you say this show is going to be big, get the Verona. And the larger faders will come in handy dealing with those 25 lavs and the pit. Sounds like you'll have a lot of open mics, that extra $300 will buy you a stress free mixing environment. If you can afford the Midas, get it, premium preamp, the EQ is just fantastc. It's so surgical, yet musical at same time. It cuts through anything. There is a reason why the Midas costs more, they're amazing consoles. Forgot the mackie, you'll make your life so much easier with the Midas.
     
  8. scarlco

    scarlco Member

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    We use two Yamaha PM3500's - one is the main board, with all our RF's and sound effects. The other is setup as a sidecar, and holds the orchestra and house music / God mic's / prerecorded anouncements. We patch the sidecar via it's VCA outs to the VCA in's on the main board, which has proven to be pretty stable. I wouldn't want to have actor mics on both boards, though. Could get confusing. But the orchestra doesn't really change throughout the show. Basically, the levels on the sidecar are pretty much static, and the work is done on the main board,
     
  9. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

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    Consider the Les Miz has 2 CADAC consoles totalling 65 inputs or so, a Yamaha O3D for FX returns and a small CADAC unit for SIM, Stage Manager and other miscelaneous inputs.
    As previously mentioned, daisy chaining is not a good idea. Besides the danger of connections, etc, when you get into different brands and qualities you may get impedances issues, leading to noise. MIDAS is really awesome, I'd use the Verona, I'm really pleased with that console. I'm using a Venice in like 8 hours. Nice board, but if you look at it, its more aimed for the small club setup. It takes a bit of fidging to use it in a musical situation, especially the Aux section.
    You could always just rent an XL4 :D
     
  10. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

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  11. SketchyCroftPpl

    SketchyCroftPpl Active Member

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    Complicated ....
    So do you think you know which one your going to use?
    ~Nick
     
  12. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    We did Les Misrables with 15 mics last year,it can be done with actors sharing mics(if supervised)
     
  13. SketchyCroftPpl

    SketchyCroftPpl Active Member

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    HA HA yes make sure to remember the "if Supervised part"
    ~Nick
     
  14. Andy_Leviss

    Andy_Leviss Active Member Premium Member

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    If it were a decent console, submixing (the technical term for what you describe as "daisy-chaining") can work well, and is a lot more common than you'd think. A number of shows, including Broadway shows/tours, will have a submixer (often referred to as a sidecar) for some/all of the orchestra inputs, which mixes down to, say, a stereo pair to send to the primary console, which then adds that in to the effects, vocal mics, and other inputs you may have.

    Yes, it does require more care, since there's that many more points of failure, but it's not at all uncommon or unreasonable.

    That said, if the console you'd be using as one of the two sounds that bad, you're probably better off just going for the larger console, if you've got the budget for it. If not, I think others may be on the right track in suggesting that you may want to try to trim that money from somewhere else, such as number of mics, rather than paying the price with a bad sounding console.

    Hope this helps,
    Andy
     
  15. SuperCow

    SuperCow Active Member

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    That is a huge console!
     
  16. scarlco

    scarlco Member

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    Huge? Our Yamaha PM3500's are both 52 channels... and we're constantly trying to find empty channels. Of course, we do have 36 RF's (40 alltogether, but 4 are out for service) and a full orchestral section.

    I remember this one time, our LD came up to me while I was mixing during rehersals and told me how much he would dread running sound here. It gets a bit complex....
     
  17. TassieBogan

    TassieBogan Member

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    OK, maybe I should have been a little more specific: we have REnkus heins speakers with 2 15" mids horns and dual 18" subbies, two T221M EVI foldbacks, (I was also going to fly two sx300's from the gantrys to add some extra fill)

    Our amps are old, but fairly noiseless and they do the job. There is also a dodgy old crossover, but we should be able to get a Klark Teknic digital 5-way.

    EQ wise we've got a 31 band stereo ultragraph pro and a digital Ultracurve pro with built in automatic feedback destroyer for FOH. We'll also hire a Klark Teknic DN360.

    At the moment i'm leaning toward the Verona, simply because of it's ease of use, the massive improvement in sound quality and incredible versatility.

    Thanks for all the feedback! 8O
     
  18. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    While it is fairly common to daisy chain. In the professional environment, it's more common to have a matrix mixer in which muiltiple consoles are connected to. If you have a varible set of speakers including effect speakers, monitors, and a sophisiticated main system, it makes it impossible for the slave consoles to take advantage of those. That's why it's more common to see a master matrix mixer to share the outputs. These are often used at large festivals where the main PA is shared and multiple bands each have their own engineer and equipment. The most common one I see people use these days is the XL88...

    http://www.midasconsoles.com/xl88.htm
     
  19. Andy_Leviss

    Andy_Leviss Active Member Premium Member

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    There's no such thing as a 5-way crossover. 5-band parametric EQ, perhaps? Completely different beasts.

    Crossovers come in either 2-way or 3-way flavors (low/high or low/mid/high).

    --A
     
  20. Andy_Leviss

    Andy_Leviss Active Member Premium Member

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    Jeff,
    Yes and no. It's impossible for a submixer (let's use the correct terms here) to distinctly address a specific input to a specific output on the main console, beyond possible l/r panning, but that stereo or mono submix it produces can be routed just as any other normal input would be. If you need further routing, of course, putting those inputs into a matrix would be the way to go.

    In theatrical usage, however, it is the rare exception to need that sort of routing on the instruments that would be in a band submix. Not to say it doesn't happen, but it's rare.

    Not to mention that the XL88 is only an 8x8 matrix, which doesn't give you much room for significantly more routing than feeding into a primary console does, if it's a console appropriate for this sort of use. Even some of the lower cost Allen and Heath consoles have comparable matrices built right in, which feeding bus outputs from the main console into an outboard matrix to mix with the submixer outputs gives you no significant advantage over, unless you're already out of inputs on the main console (although then you have to factor the costs of renting the matrix with the costs of a larger console, etc., so the whole thing is a balancing act).

    Also, with the flexible routing options available in the consoles typically used on major Broadway shows (be they custom-configured Cadac analog consoles or the new but more and more common digital consoles like the Yamaha PM1D and DiGiCo D5), the need for an outboard matrix is often entirely negated. Then again, on consoles of those scale, submixers are often unnecessary, although you very, very frequently see multiple Cadacs on a show.

    Also, many consoles have functions built in for linking multiples together so that each console can access all the buses of the primary console. I know that the 02R can do this, I seem to recall some of analog Yamahas doing this, and I even think some Allen and Heaths can do this, on the low end of the scale.

    Matrixes are commonly used, of course, from the XL88 mentioned to Richmond Sound's AudioBox to Cadac's new digital matrix, for all sorts of complex routing, but even then it's more often than not only going to get a stereo (at most) feed of the orchestra mix.

    You have to remember that theatre can be an even more complex beast than concerts; while both may have main stacks, center clusters, delays, and front or downfills, on a concert generally all the sound goes through all the speakers.

    In theatre, however, things get much more broken down, with orchestra often in the main stacks or main and center only, vocals only in the center and front fills, and varying mixes of both in the delays depending on the venue, all in an attempt to balance out the pit and the onstage vocals and to keep the vocals imaging to the stage.

    Getting back to the specific situation at hand, however, which is not a large scale musical or tour, if he hadn't specifically mentioned that the house console sounded awful, I'd be hard pressed not to recommend submixing the orchestra on one and feeding it into a channel of the main console.

    --Andy
     

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