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Understand House Sound System

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Kyle Condon, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Kyle Condon

    Kyle Condon Member

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    Hi all,
    I could really use some help on this. I don't know much about sound, but right now I'm the guy who is figuring out how to do sound at my high school. I'm trying to understand the whole system and there is a part that I don't get. So the HL and the HR speakers run into something called tie lines from AVP's. We also have a HC speaker but thats not patch in the patch bay at the moment b/c I don't understand the how the HL and HR speakers are patched. Those speakers work but I have no idea how its run into the sound board which is an LS9-32 or where it is run to. I also don't have any control over the speakers they just work. (What I mean is I can't change the control of the speakers to a different fader) Right now the speakers work when I turn up channels 31 and 32 which is the input channels from our Mac Pro. If anyone has any idea what I'm doing wrong or what I need to do that would be great. Also if someone could tell me what does tie lines from AVP's mean?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Tie lines are general-purpose signal paths to get around your venue. They're installed without any particular use in mind. Usually they get used for that last minute "I need a couple extra lines between X location and Y location". That could be for a couple extra microphone inputs, a couple extra returns from the console to the stage for driving some powered speakers, or any number of low-voltage signals.

    Photos would be very helpful in showing us what it is you're working with, of your main equipment rack (if you have one), patchbays, and of your speakers.

    If your speakers are active, it could be that console drops the left / right signals onto the tie lines, and that on the left side of the stage, the tie line is connected into the back of the speaker. Vise versa for the speakers on the right side of the stage out of the other tie line.

    It depends on your LS9 is set up, but if you lower the red Main fader, that should kill the audio to your main speakers.

    In a conventional system, I would expect the signal chain to be:
    Console Output ------> DSP (signal processor) -----> Power Amplifier ------> Passive speaker

    ...but there are million and half ways to set up a sound system, so that's not necessarily how yours is set up. If you can upload some photos I can help you out better.
     
  3. Kyle Condon

    Kyle Condon Member

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    I have upload picture of our entire sound system. Let me know if the pictures are good enough for you. The picture with the name 4099 has the speakers I'm talking about in. I also uploaded a picture of our arrays. Its the same deal with our permanent house speakers. I can turn them up and down but I don't know how they are running into the board and how to change control of them. Both the arrays and the house speakers when I move the fader for input 31 and 32 change the levels. Note those inputs are used for sound from our Mac Pro.
    Thanks again.
     

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  4. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Looks like all the photos uploaded at thumbail-size but from what I can tell, you have a DSP in your system. The signal path probably looks like this:

    Console Left/Right ----> Normalled Patchbay ----> DSP (the Soundweb) -----> Amplifiers ------> Speakers

    The outputs of your console probably wire into your patchbay as "Normalled", which means if nothing is plugged into that spigot, the console feeds through the patchbay into the DSP. If you plug something into the Main Left or Main Right spigot on the patchbay, it switches from those inputs feeding your DSP from your console to whichever device you've plugged in.

    It's also a possibility a digital transport is being used. Your console could be sending audio to the Soundweb via Cobranet or Ethersound or any number of digital protocols. If you look on the back of your console, your mains shoud be one of the OMNI OUTPUTS XLR's. If a few of those outputs are not what's feeding your Left/Center/Right, then you must have a digital transport expansion card in your console that transmits the audio to your DSP via a network cable.

    My preference for ringing out the console is to press "MONITOR" on your console a couple times until you get to the OSCILLATOR page. Select Pink Noise, then turn the LEVEL pretty far down, and wheel over to "OUTPUT" and hit Enter. Slowly turn the LEVEL up a little until you can hear sound come through your system at a noticeable level. Now you can one-by-one unplug your OMNI OUTPUTS or disconnect a Cobranet cable out of the back of your console and see what stops making noise. If you unplug a Cobranet cable and all of your audio stops for your mains, you know your main signals are routed to your Soundweb through Cobranet. If you unplug an OMNI output and find your left speaker stops working, you know that's your MAIN LEFT output and you should label that cable as such.

    In a system of that complexity, you might also be able to find a faceplate in one of the racks that indicates who installed the system. They may have some schematics on-file they can send you for how the system was set up.

    ---
    The role of the DSP is to translate your mix into all of the different outputs of your system. Let's say you drive your system with Left/Center/Right (shown below on the left side as a screenshot from a DSP file I happened to have open). The Matrix Mixer takes those three inputs and routes them to the speakers appropriately. In most cases, that's much more complicated than just sending the Left signal to the Left speaker. In this case, the left speaker has multiple elements -- a horn for the higher frequencies and woofers for the lower frequencies. The mixer also distributes the signal out to backstage areas, the assistive listening system, and the subwoofers, and the Delay Left, Delay Center, and Delay Right speakers at the back of the auditorium. This particular Matrix Mixer has multiple presets that allow the system to be driven by the console using Left / Center / Right outputs, but it can also be switched over to Left / Right mode, which combines left & right to create the Center mix that gets sent out to the center main speaker and the center delay speaker.

    This is all to say that you may have a system configured that gives you the ability to send a unique mix to the Center speaker, but you may also have a system where the Center mix is a combination of the Left and Right mixes, and you have no additional control of what gets sent to those speakers.

    upload_2016-2-2_14-0-53.png

    --
    The Effects Speaker patchbay is a common theater rig. You have an amplifier reserved for use with effects speakers. Let's say you have an 8-channel amplifier in there. You could send 8 of the OMNI outputs from your LS9 into that amplifier for effects. Those will get amplified and end up on your Effects Speaker Patch Panel, which then has connectors on it that correspond to jacks scattered all over your theater. If you find you have EFX #14 on a catwalk and wanted to route an effect to that jack, you would send a mix from your LS9 to that amplifier, then patch that amplifier channel with an NL4 cable to your EFX #14 connector. Then you'd hang your effects speaker where you want it and plug your speaker into the jack for EFX #14 (or whatever it's called in your particular theater).

    --
    I'm sure this doesn't address all of your questions, but hopefully this gets you going in the right direction for figuring out how your system is driven.
     
  5. Kyle Condon

    Kyle Condon Member

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    I figured out where the House main speakers where coming into the board from. Thanks however they aren't using the way I got the effect speakers on the board to work. Right now I'm using 4 effect speakers on stage and I've gotten them to work. The house main speakers are coming in from eff/15 and eff/16, but when I go about trying to control them the way I control the 4 effect speakers is doesn't work. Thoughts?
    Thanks,
    Kyle Condon
     
  6. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    You should have control of your mains on the Master layer using the fader for 32 (Mono) and your main stereo fader.

    Barring that, they may be on a matrix buss elsewhere on the Master layer, but that means someone took some artistic liberties in how they set that console up.

    I guess I'm a bit fuzzy on what you mean by they don't work like you set the effects speakers up like. What are you trying to do and what specifically isn't working the way you intend and how is it working instead?
     
  7. rwhealey

    rwhealey Active Member

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    There appears to be a panel on the amp rack listing the designer and the installing contractor... the text is too small to read, but I assume that's what we are looking at in Picture 3. You will have to pay for it, which is always tough in these situations, but either the designer or contractor should be able to provide training. Training was likely required when the system was installed (looks to be 8-10 years ago), so you could also look for someone who was around then and see if they have any more insight.
     
  8. Kyle Condon

    Kyle Condon Member

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    Thank you. Correct me if I'm wrong but I want to control them like I do with the effect speaker. Like I can choose what I want them to output. Like vocals and drums. Am I thinking along the right lines? Or does the main just output everything? Also I want to have the array/house speakers on a fader and be able to control each like I can with the effect speakers. Right now they are both on the channel 32(mono).
     
  9. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    In the Setup > Preferences menu, there's an option to link the Stereo and Mono fader together. Then when you're using the console you can use the red Stereo fader as your master, even if your system isn't operating in stereo mode.

    You can assign channels to your Mono output per channel. With a channel selected, there should be a MONO option on your LCD screen next to the Pan indicator. If you wheel over to that and enable that (it should turn yellow if it's enabled), then that channel will be assigned to the Mono output. If you click it again and it turns blue, then that channel will not output to the MONO output.
     

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