Sliders?

TechDirector

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Feb 20, 2003
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On my sound board, we have the gain knob, and we have the sliders on the bottom. What is the point of the sliders if the gain determines how loud it's going to be? And when I hear that it's supposed to fine tune how loud it is, I can't even hear a difference! So why would sound board companies waste their money on sliders that you can't even hear a difference when they are up or down?
 

dvsDave

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Gain is for the sensitivity....

The gain nob isn't for the signal strength.. It's to adjust how much the mike picks up.... how close the singer has to be to the mike. The sliders are to adjust the amount of signal from that channel is fed into the main output.

So, basically...

1) You adjust the gain so that it picks up the singer and nothing else around him/her(or as little as possible)

2) then adjust the sliders to increase or decrease teh volume of the singer.
 

tm1000

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When fading out music it's very nice to have the sliders, I'd rather be 'fading' than 'turning'
 

delnor

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If you are getting feedback that doesn’t have anything to do directly with your gain or volume. Feedback can be directly eliminated with an eq if u eq your system properly you can point a mic strait into a speaker and not have a single bit of feedback. As said above gain controllers help you adjust how much input your mic has in your system. If you turn it all the way up it will pic up the maximum amount of sound, or all the way down would be the opposite. The advantage of both a slider and a gain knob is that you can adjust the gain before a show so that is almost to its peak and then be able to control the VOLUME of the mic during the show with ease (without having to worry about your mic peaking out the system)
 

dvsDave

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Nice eq

Unfortunately... it is a near-art to correctly EQ your system... if anybody would like to post a nice explanation as how to do so... that would ROCK!!
 

TechDirector

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Well I'm in a family string band so I have set up the sound for my family and I many times so I've practically grown up with it. Im sure I can understand it. We do have a feedback reducer but I dont' know how to use it!!! All the instructions are in Japenese and there are 2 lights blinking but any button I press does nothing.
 

dvsDave

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Brand and model?

well, what is the brand and model of the feedback reducer... and a feedback reducer is meant to work as a "last-resort" and is no excuse to not have your gain and volume set correctly. But I'm sure if you ask politely and provide a complete description of the feedback reducer, maybe someone knows of where you can find one.
 

tm1000

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TechDirector said:
Well after reading the instruction manuel for EQing the sound board, (over 100 pages and I still had to re-read some sections lol.) I figured it all out. I don't really need that feedback reducer anymore. (go me!!!) lol. :D
Aren't Manuals fun? (Actually, has anyone here read a Mackie manual? They are funny as heck)
 

MagliteL13

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once you read one mackie manual it makes the rest seem so boring. whatever tho. mackie makes sound possible for many schools so props to them and their boards
Exactly. I'll be the first to say that their boards aren't the very low end of the spectrum (no pun intended). In fact, they're pretty decent. Wouldn't use em in a touring situation but for live theatre in a high school or college they're not that bad.

Jeremy Lyon
Technician at The McAnich Arts Center
 

DMXtools

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The first time a band has to sound-check with me, they think I'm out of my mind. I don't wait for feedback to happen and try to fix it. Instead, I intentionally cause feedback... during the sound check. After the show, they usually thank me - they could actually hear what they wanted from the monitors.

What I'm doing is finding the frequencies that the room itself reinforces, then notching those frequencies out with the graphic EQ.

I start with the EQ set flat, both for mains and for monitors, and set a good but fairly quiet main mix... channel faders set to 0dB, submasters set to 0dB, main faders set to about -15 dB, monitor master knobs (my board has uncalibrated rotary knobs for monitors) just above 50%. I use the input gain knobs to set an initial level for each channel (faders are for tweaking relative levels to sweeten the basic mix as necessary), then use the channel-strip monitor sends (and requests from the musicians), to build good, but somewhat quiet, monitor mixes.

Then I'll start increasing the overall level on one of the monitor master knobs until it just barely starts to feed back. I'll make a best guess as to the frequency of the feedback and pull down the fader for that frequency on the graphic for that monitor mix. If that kills the feedback, I guessed right. If not, I put the fader back up and try the ones on each side of it, one at a time. If necessary, I keep spreading out from my original guess until I hit the one that stops the feedback.

Then I go back to the gain and push it up a little farther, until it starts feeding back at another frequency. Again I'll make a best guess, with the advantage that I know whether it's higher or lower than the one I just got done with. I repeat the procedure until I've got four or five frequencies notched out.

Then I go back to the first frequency and push it up, slowly, until it just barely starts to feed back, then pull it back down the tiniest fraction, until the feedback stops. Repeat for each frequency I notched out originally, then back the monitor master down by about 10%.

Then repeat the whole procedure for the next monitor mix (I can run up to four, but usually only do two... and that's often better than most of the bands I work with get from anybody else).

Finally I do the same with the main mix. By causing feedback during the sound check, I've found the frequencies where feedback is likely to occur and cut them down in the mix, both for the mains and the monitors. The result is that I can push the system, especially the monitors, a lot harder without causing feedback during the show. It works well enough I've actually had the occasional musician ask me to turn the monitors down - something you almost never hear a musician say.

While it may be time consuming at first, with practice you get to the point where your first guess at the feedback frequency is usually right and it goes pretty quickly. And not only is it louder, it sounds better, because you've compensated for the room accoustics.

John
 

digitaltec

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DMX Tools, thats a good technique to use but dont get to used to it. You will quickly learn what a room and speakers can handle. You just got to watch and make sure you are still getting a good sound. Volume is not as important as sound quality. I would rather have my speakers at 5,000 watts and sounding good then 10,000. But's it's good to first check to see what your range will be for that perticular event. But I would test all that out before the bands step on stage for a sound check. It's take some time to get used to all of this. Once you got it down you will be mixing like a pro. :D Keep up the good work.
 

DMXtools

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Actually, Chris, that was the simplified version for newbies. It varies with the venue - places I've worked before, I start with the settings I used last time - quite often a band's first song is their sound check (show starts at 7, I've been there since 4:30, owner finally shows up to let me load in at 6) - I've gotten pretty good at mixing "on the fly." And I usually do some of the EQing of the main mix, where possible, before the band gets there. But for the monitors, mixed from the FOH console, I need the musicians to tell me what they want in the mix, and how it sounds to them. Drum mics pick up completely different frequencies when they're on the drums because of the resonance of the drum, and a body in front of a vocal mic changes the feedback that mic is going to get from the wedges, especially as he moves his guitar around.

Of course good is more important than loud, but for rock "good AND loud" is the ideal.

And by the way... I've been doing sound since 1966. I think I've got it down pretty well.

John
 

MagliteL13

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Sep 3, 2003
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Naperville, IL
Here at the College of DuPage, we run a pretty complex--but easy--system. When mixing monitors (whether from the monitor console or from FOH) volume is always the number 1 concern. For monitors, the strip EQ (slang for the board EQ) is pretty much untouched unless a mic has really bad ringing/feedback. We have a monitor eq rack filled with 8 graphic eqs that we use on the wedges--that's what get's messed with a lot. One of the most important things I was taught for monitors was that it doesn't have to sound perfect--the performers are the ones hearing it, not the ones paying the money.

For FOH, quality over quantity. You can always just make it sound loud too by boosting certain frequencies. For instance, I've noticed in our space that if you boost 6K or 8K a few db on the graphic, it adds a nice punch to the vocals.

The mics I always have problems with are lead vocal mics. One of my most recent monitor mixes was for the Legends of Rock and Roll: Buddy, Roy, and Elvis tour. I kept having problems with the mic feeding back through the lead's wedge. By the end of sound check, my graphic looked completely random--following no pattern I could notice. The mic itself and normal singing wasn't the problem--just when we put hands around the mic that ringing started to occur. If you've ever seen Elvis perform on video, you know that the mic is cupped in his hands--engineer hell.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, unless you're going for the perfect sound where no variables change and the performer is always 3.475 inches (arbitrary number) from the mic, be libral with how you eq it. If it doesn't sound right, change it. If, by changing it, you start to ring find a happy medium. Unless you have some sort of software analyzing program and a good test mic, be libral. Maybe I'm just ranting. Yup, that's it.

Jeremy Lyon
Sound Engineer at The McAnich Arts Center
 

DMXtools

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One of the most important things I was taught for monitors was that it doesn't have to sound perfect--the performers are the ones hearing it, not the ones paying the money.
A monitor mix is generally not perfect, because what the musicians want is generally not perfect... as in not as well balanced as the FOH mix. But it should be what THEY want, not what you think they should have. A good monitor mix is essential to a good FOH mix, in that it gives the performers what they need to perform to their best. If they sound like s**t because they can't hear what they're doing, then the best FOH mix in the world is just going to be loud s**t.

John
 

MagliteL13

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I agree completly! ---and I'm gonna steal the "If they sound like s**t because they can't hear what they're doing, then the best FOH mix in the world is just going to be loud s**t." for my quotes page. It's so true.

Jeremy Lyon
Technican at The McAnich Arts Center