Wireless output levels

msawyer52

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Feb 22, 2007
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The HS I volunteer at use 14 Shure ULX wireless with both handheld and body pack transmitters. My question is, would you ever lower the output level from the wireless receivers to get a high gain setting on the mixing board. Many of the gain settings are at about the 9 - 10 o'clock position. I've been in a debate with a parent with "some" audio experience that keeps claiming I need to lower the outputs so my gains at unity fader level is roughly at the 12 o'clock position. I've never heard of this and haven't found anywhere in my research that this is an acceptable setup. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
 

DrewE

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Practically speaking, it doesn't make much if any difference whether you adjust the input level at the output of the wireless receiver or the gain control of the mixer. In theory, it is probably better to have the receiver output relatively hot (but not so much that its output amplifier distorts) and the gain on the mixer relatively low as that has a higher level signal on the interconnect between them and hence any noise picked up is relatively less. Usually that's not a noticeable problem anyhow, especially given the receiver and the mixer are often in fairly close proximity.

The idea that the input gain needs to be at a specific setting for any given sound source is absolutely bogus garbage; if that were the case, then why bother having the input gain control at all? Why not just fix it at 12 o'clock and replace the (comparatively expensive) potentiometer and knob with a fixed resistor that costs a couple cents? No, the whole purpose of the input gain control is to be able to accommodate sources with disparate sensitivities and output levels, making the internal signal levels between them more even for mixing. The correct setting for an input gain control is whatever is needed to accomplish this goal, emphatically not some specific value. (Typically, at least for a first pass, that's done by feeding a strong signal in and adjusting the gain control so that the meters, when soloing the channel pre-fader, show an appropriate level, often what's marked around 0 dB on the meters though there are variations in markings and setups between different mixers.)
 

themuzicman

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The HS I volunteer at use 14 Shure ULX wireless with both handheld and body pack transmitters. My question is, would you ever lower the output level from the wireless receivers to get a high gain setting on the mixing board.
Sure, if you're overloading the output side of the RF Receiver then turn them down. I tend to just keep the output of my RF cranked - at least for me it's a holdover from a decade of using Sennheiser EW3532's where your volume adjustment is a physical attenuator on the rear of the receivers. A decade of them being the de-facto in NYC so every A2 knows to just turn the attenuator full open when troubleshooting gain structure issues with their A1.

Many of the gain settings are at about the 9 - 10 o'clock position.
Funny enough, this came up in another thread this week - anyhow, relative positions of the potentiometers don't do us too much good because you need some other data to figure out what it actually means, either way its a moot point here, we don't care where your head amps are at. Are you distorting the input? No? Cool. Could you someday need more headroom? Do you think you have that headroom? Cool, you're all good.

The next step is to make sure your meters are in some sort of useful resolution so you can diagnose issues off of them (there are other reasons as well, I'm just boiling everything down to useful talking points). If your input signal is coming in nice and healthy but the meters aren't registering then you need to attenuate the output of the RF and gain up the input at the audio console - you have a net zero change in audio level from the output of the console but you're shifting gain from one place to another. Do a run-thru of the loudest number of the show, as long as you're seeing no red you're good! If you never get out of green then maybe consider figuring out where you're going to snag some gain from to get things in a better resolution.

I've sat at plenty of consoles when subbing in on shows where the faders hit the right marks but none of the meters were giving any sort of useful information and that really bugs me. I also really love to toggle peak hold on and off after numbers and without useful meter resolution I can't do this - before a huge all company dance number I'll engage peak hold, ride the number out, and after the number I'll give a once over to the peak holds, in tech this gives me some valuable information if I have someone sticking out like a sore thumb in a harmony and I haven't put faces to names quickly enough, and during show run it lets me analyze quickly which member of the chorus had a connector short or other microphone issue without me having to quickly PFL thru my cast at insane speed. The moment I started adding this move as a reflex during big musicals I was able to catch mic issues quicker than my A2's!

I've been in a debate with a parent with "some" audio experience that keeps claiming I need to lower the outputs so my gains at unity fader level is roughly at the 12 o'clock position. I've never heard of this and haven't found anywhere in my research that this is an acceptable setup. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Without starting yet another discussion on what unity actually means, when I am mixing anything live I want all of my actual fader positions to sit at 0 on the fader and I adjust preamp gain around fader position. Look at the fader, you'll see it's logarithmic. A centimeter of movement at the center of the fader makes a tinier change in audio level than a centimeter of movement at the bottom of the fader, and you need all the room on the top of the fader to go louder. When you're mixing a musical you're often not looking at your hands, you're reading a script, you're twiddling with EQ, you're putting out fires on radio, the last thing you want to be doing is looking at your hands. You use this reference to form a "touch memory" of where things are and what they are doing, and if you start off from a bad base then you're creating more work for yourself.
 

mbenonis

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No, I would not do that. Generally--if the receiver offers line level output, use that. It is likely that a receiver with a MIC/LINE switch is just attenuating the signal to mic level only for your preamp to amplify it (and add noise!). Of course, if it has only one output level, then that is the level you get.
 
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msawyer52

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Sure, if you're overloading the output side of the RF Receiver then turn them down. I tend to just keep the output of my RF cranked - at least for me it's a holdover from a decade of using Sennheiser EW3532's where your volume adjustment is a physical attenuator on the rear of the receivers. A decade of them being the de-facto in NYC so every A2 knows to just turn the attenuator full open when troubleshooting gain structure issues with their A1.



Funny enough, this came up in another thread this week - anyhow, relative positions of the potentiometers don't do us too much good because you need some other data to figure out what it actually means, either way its a moot point here, we don't care where your head amps are at. Are you distorting the input? No? Cool. Could you someday need more headroom? Do you think you have that headroom? Cool, you're all good.

The next step is to make sure your meters are in some sort of useful resolution so you can diagnose issues off of them (there are other reasons as well, I'm just boiling everything down to useful talking points). If your input signal is coming in nice and healthy but the meters aren't registering then you need to attenuate the output of the RF and gain up the input at the audio console - you have a net zero change in audio level from the output of the console but you're shifting gain from one place to another. Do a run-thru of the loudest number of the show, as long as you're seeing no red you're good! If you never get out of green then maybe consider figuring out where you're going to snag some gain from to get things in a better resolution.

I've sat at plenty of consoles when subbing in on shows where the faders hit the right marks but none of the meters were giving any sort of useful information and that really bugs me. I also really love to toggle peak hold on and off after numbers and without useful meter resolution I can't do this - before a huge all company dance number I'll engage peak hold, ride the number out, and after the number I'll give a once over to the peak holds, in tech this gives me some valuable information if I have someone sticking out like a sore thumb in a harmony and I haven't put faces to names quickly enough, and during show run it lets me analyze quickly which member of the chorus had a connector short or other microphone issue without me having to quickly PFL thru my cast at insane speed. The moment I started adding this move as a reflex during big musicals I was able to catch mic issues quicker than my A2's!



Without starting yet another discussion on what unity actually means, when I am mixing anything live I want all of my actual fader positions to sit at 0 on the fader and I adjust preamp gain around fader position. Look at the fader, you'll see it's logarithmic. A centimeter of movement at the center of the fader makes a tinier change in audio level than a centimeter of movement at the bottom of the fader, and you need all the room on the top of the fader to go louder. When you're mixing a musical you're often not looking at your hands, you're reading a script, you're twiddling with EQ, you're putting out fires on radio, the last thing you want to be doing is looking at your hands. You use this reference to form a "touch memory" of where things are and what they are doing, and if you start off from a bad base then you're creating more work for yourself.
You bring up some good points for me to look at. We are defiantly not overdriving the system from the receivers. But, we do get poor information from the meters that has always been a problem. If it doesn't matter were we get the gain from and I can drive the meters with better information by using the board gain instead of the receiver gain, I might look at that. I just expected to provide as much headroom as possible to give enough for the board to handle the rest. Always thought of the meter were strictly what was final output from the channel but you saying that it may be more of a function of how much gain I'm supplying from the board. I also like to see faders at 0 and adjust gain accordingly. Something to work on this week.
 
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msawyer52

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No, I would not do that. Generally--if the receiver offers line level output, use that. It is likely that a receiver with a MIC/LINE switch is just attenuating the signal to mic level only for your preamp to amplify it (and add noise!). Of course, if it has only one output level, then that is the level you get.
There are mic/line switches on the receivers and they're set for mic. I always expect to send as much signal down the line without overdriving the system because of what you said about adding noise by having to amplify the signal if its too low. Thought that was the correct way to do it. If I used line level output I would have to change to line level inputs to the board, it would just overdrive the mic inputs.
 
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TimMc

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Robert Scovil has a freshly baked Lab session on this very topic:

 
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BCAP

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The HS I volunteer at use 14 Shure ULX wireless with both handheld and body pack transmitters. My question is, would you ever lower the output level from the wireless receivers to get a high gain setting on the mixing board. Many of the gain settings are at about the 9 - 10 o'clock position. I've been in a debate with a parent with "some" audio experience that keeps claiming I need to lower the outputs so my gains at unity fader level is roughly at the 12 o'clock position. I've never heard of this and haven't found anywhere in my research that this is an acceptable setup. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Just my opinion here - please feel free to disagree.

Console channel trim/gain knob settings should be done by a process with the most important determining factors being proper gain staging and best sound quality. The statement about a 'golden position' of the gain/trim knob at 9:00 to 12:00 is suspicious. Did the parent say why?

I like the video TimMc posted.

Paraphrasing from the video, the microphone preamp for a wireless mic is inside the transmitter. Improper settings here can do damage to your signal to noise, your transmission range and your sound quality. Adjust the preamp in the wireless transmitter optimally first.

Let's say if you had 4 actors on wireless belt packs with headset mics. If your microphone preamp gain in the transmitter pack is optimized and individually set for each actor, and if your output gain settings in the wireless receiver are all set identically (let's say to mic level output and zero gain added by the receiver), you might see more or less similar RMS signal level arriving at each of the mixing console inputs, assuming the actors are delivering nominal level dialogue.

In a theatre environment and in practice, I think this outcome might be a little more challenging to achieve. Perhaps one actor has some very loud lines in one scene and their transmitter preamp gain has to be dialed down more than the others. Maybe there are a lot of tight transmitter swaps. And on a community theatre production there might not be enough time or a qualified A2 to make or revise these transmitter gain settings properly. There are other variables - maybe on a production, all the transmitter packs and receivers are the same but there is more than one make/model/type of microphone being used.

Once that optimal transmitter pack gain is set, then the question becomes what should the receiver output level setting be.

In an ideal situation, perhaps identical default receiver output level settings would be a good place to start - mic level type output not line, 0 dB gain added. Some may say the receiver output should be set to a higher level, so the console preamp wouldn't have to work as hard. Maybe it's set to line level so the console preamp doesn't have to work at all. Other considerations might apply - how far physically the receivers are from the mixing board - if it's hundreds of feet and an analog connection maybe you want the receiver output to be a little higher. I'm not so sure I feel strongly that those claims would be justified. Personally, if it were me running the board I don't think I'd care about the receiver output level as long as these signals were arriving at the console at a level that is not ridiculously far out of line from other signals and within all of the wireless outputs, as consistent as possible with each other, and that the console preamp is able to handle them (in other words I don't have to pad them). I would probably question a situation where I have to set the gain/trim knobs for the wireless all set to 100% maximum, as sometimes preamps can have nonlinearities and distortion at extremes. That said - mixers are designed to handle a variety of different signal levels, that is why the gain/trim knob exists!
 
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msawyer52

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Thanks for all the responses. I'm not concerned about the parent response but I've moved away from the venue and don't have as much time to help. This parent is giving input to the administration that I don't think is helpful or wanted, doing a lot of meddling. The sound system works well although the mic inputs have always been a little "hot". The information provided does make me wonder if the use of line level output would be a viable alternative. Line level actually giving me the most output and less amplification at the mixer, just need to switch over and connect to the board at line level. Also, I might get a better meter response, at least something better than I get now. Thank everyone.
 

DrewE

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The information provided does make me wonder if the use of line level output would be a viable alternative. Line level actually giving me the most output and less amplification at the mixer, just need to switch over and connect to the board at line level. Also, I might get a better meter response, at least something better than I get now. Thank everyone.
Meter response, assuming you're talking about meters in the mixer, ought to be identical if the levels (after the gain control) in the mixer are unchanged. The only way switching from the mic to the line input would alter that is if you simultaneously alter the nominal post-input-stage signal levels, which of course you can also do by adjusting the input gain control.

In terms of the line level vs. mic level, it's worth noting that in many mixers--though not in all--the line level input for a channel is merely padded internally and then sent through the microphone preamplifier, so you don't really have less amplification at the mixer. You're likely just padding the signal in the mixer rather than in the receiver. If going to a line level connection would require buying new cables or adding adapters to the cables, in my opinion it's not worth doing so if you're not experiencing any difficulty with the connection currently (i.e. it's not picking up excess noise/hum, that sort of thing). Regardless, it's perfectly reasonable and appropriate to use a line-level connection.
 

TimMc

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Thanks for all the responses. I'm not concerned about the parent response but I've moved away from the venue and don't have as much time to help. This parent is giving input to the administration that I don't think is helpful or wanted, doing a lot of meddling. The sound system works well although the mic inputs have always been a little "hot". The information provided does make me wonder if the use of line level output would be a viable alternative. Line level actually giving me the most output and less amplification at the mixer, just need to switch over and connect to the board at line level. Also, I might get a better meter response, at least something better than I get now. Thank everyone.
The advantage to use of line level output on the RF receiver is not "recreating the wheel" of signal level. The mic level output on the receiver is usually just a resistive pad (-30, -40dB) inserted in the line level output... and that results in a signal level that will require *amplification*. Why knock it down just to bring it back up, again, expecially when you turn the console gain knob to the right, you're amplifying any noise that came along for the ride... by 30dB or whatever it needs. One time to use mic level is if the performer has a hard-wired spare mic - it makes sense to match levels in case you have to physically patch the input.

In Scovill's demonstration he brings the wireless receivers into the console via the channel insert return. We get an "honest" meter reading and the console's mic preamp is completely out of the circuit.

Now that you know how hot (or not) the signal is, you can set the mic gain on the transmitters to a fairly nominal starting point and make adjustments (as may be available on the transmitter) for differences in performers maximum vocal output. If you clip the transmitter mic input, you're stuck with that result. Particularly in youth or community theater where the same TX may be on 2 or 3 actors, I want the TX input gain set for the loudest singer and will automate console input gain changes if needed to help the quieter singers using that pack.

So now we've got a fairly hot signal leaving the channel strip and on its merry way to being routed via buses, sent to L/R, sliced, diced and matrixed. For some of the downstream devices the level will be too hot and for some it will be just right. Only if you're sending to broadcast might it be too little. So where to turn it down? I use matrices to drive the PA , lobby/dressing room/assisted listening feeds, etc. If the venue or system lacks granular control over PA zones, I may drive some of those elements directly from matrix outputs. The advantage to using the matrix? Each output has dedictated output level control, EQ, and compressor; it also has an insert point. I use buses to make mix-minus feeds for talent, and use other buses to make audio groups (in the analogue days we called 'em submasters) for both processing (via insert) and level control within the mix. Audio groups feed L/R, which feeds the PA matrices. Some inputs do not get routed to audio groups and get sent directly to L/R, things like the curtain speech mics, VOG/announcement playback, etc.

But this way I've got a huge amount of control over what I can do with the input signals and can do so in a way that minimizes the increase in noise and keeps the most-used controls in physical positions that offer the most control resolution for amount of travel. Only at the very end do we turn down things that are over driving the input of the next device... and we may not be over driving that next input circuit, but doing so may make things too loud or cause feedback. Rather than grabbing the input gain controls or the faders, we check that the next device isn't set to mic level or have a bunch of gain already added (like a compressor with make up gain dialed in) and if those are right, we turn down the matrix output(s) causing the problem. At my local PAC, one theater's sound system was optimized for an input level that's well over mic level but at least 12dB lower than line level... and operators that are expecting typical levels (like in the other theater in the bldg) are in for a rude and loud awakening...

That's part of my method and I'm sticking to it!

edit ps: finding my posting mistakes could be a new career...
 
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themuzicman

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If it doesn't matter were we get the gain from and I can drive the meters with better information by using the board gain instead of the receiver gain, I might look at that. I just expected to provide as much headroom as possible to give enough for the board to handle the rest. Always thought of the meter were strictly what was final output from the channel but you saying that it may be more of a function of how much gain I'm supplying from the board. I also like to see faders at 0 and adjust gain accordingly. Something to work on this week.
I don't fully understand any of what you're trying to say, but I'll try to respond. So when I'm setting preamp gain or adjusting trims I'm keeping input faders at 0, but also keeping the DCA at -10 if I'm doing a show where I'm mixing on DCAs (so, every musical). I do this because I know nominal talking dialogue I can consistently, always, without a doubt hit -10dB on the fader without my eyes looking at my hands. Some mixers reach for -5dB nominal, I find those shows very hard to sub on. If you're throwing DCAs into the mix I'd find the consistently good throw and gain around it.

As for meters, Input meters and output meters. You pay good money for all the meters, get your monies worth from all of them.


Just my opinion here - please feel free to disagree.

Console channel trim/gain knob settings should be done by a process with the most important determining factors being proper gain staging and best sound quality. The statement about a 'golden position' of the gain/trim knob at 9:00 to 12:00 is suspicious. Did the parent say why?

I like the video TimMc posted.

Paraphrasing from the video, the microphone preamp for a wireless mic is inside the transmitter. Improper settings here can do damage to your signal to noise, your transmission range and your sound quality. Adjust the preamp in the wireless transmitter optimally first.
I'll check the video out in the AM, I agree there is no golden gain knob position other than "Maybe I'll need more up" or "Maybe I'll need more down". I'd also be wary of grouping gain/trim into the same bundle in order not to confuse new folks - they are most certainly different knobs and confusing the two is the best way to get your monitor mixer shouting at you real real quick (or even worse, the talent whose ears you just messed with!).

As for where to adjust gain first, I'll always argue that you need to look at the system holistically and there is a right answer for every moment. We're also going to assume the output side of the system is dialed in perfectly here. I'm going to start a system with transmitters at whatever their nominal setting is, and I usually get someone well before cast is around to read a book and move from talking to shouting at a healthy actor-y level. I'll then gain down the pack until the point where the shouting moments aren't peaking out the pack or the receiver because no one likes that crunch. Then I go to the console and throw the RF into the PA, throwing my input fader at 0, assigning the channel to a DCA, throwing that to -10dB and the gaining up by ear to a nice average dialogue level on the mic. If the meters aren't giving me good information then I go back to the receiver and gain down the output so I can drive the preamp in the console a little hotter.

If the show is less dynamic than whatever the ballpark estimate was in quiet time, I'll go back and gain up the pack whatever is needed, but in my experience usually there is some leading person who can belt louder than whoever I had screaming and I'm doing a gain change down to adjust for unexpected clipping.


In a theatre environment and in practice, I think this outcome might be a little more challenging to achieve. Perhaps one actor has some very loud lines in one scene and their transmitter preamp gain has to be dialed down more than the others. Maybe there are a lot of tight transmitter swaps. And on a community theatre production there might not be enough time or a qualified A2 to make or revise these transmitter gain settings properly. There are other variables - maybe on a production, all the transmitter packs and receivers are the same but there is more than one make/model/type of microphone being used.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to the large-scale musical shows I've worked on - A. the designers who gain every pack per actor. This requires the A2's to carry a gain cheat-sheet in their pocket the entire show for when they throw a spare transmitter on folks because it's all about keeping the A1's throws consistent on the mix. Some A2's keep all spares the same and then run back to the receivers and just use the trim in the receiver to gain up/down, but if you're throwing that pack on your leading lady and they are about to go into their big scene they may get a little crunchy. The other school of thought is B. The designers who want gain changes on the transmitter done similarly throughout the entire cast. If your leading lady peaks her pack and you knock it back -3dB at the transmitter, everyone gets their pack knocked back because it is all about the spares. When I design I tend to go with B, keep it simple.

In an ideal situation, perhaps identical default receiver output level settings would be a good place to start - mic level type output not line, 0 dB gain added. Some may say the receiver output should be set to a higher level, so the console preamp wouldn't have to work as hard. Maybe it's set to line level so the console preamp doesn't have to work at all. Other considerations might apply - how far physically the receivers are from the mixing board - if it's hundreds of feet and an analog connection maybe you want the receiver output to be a little higher. I'm not so sure I feel strongly that those claims would be justified. Personally, if it were me running the board I don't think I'd care about the receiver output level as long as these signals were arriving at the console at a level that is not ridiculously far out of line from other signals and within all of the wireless outputs, as consistent as possible with each other, and that the console preamp is able to handle them (in other words I don't have to pad them). I would probably question a situation where I have to set the gain/trim knobs for the wireless all set to 100% maximum, as sometimes preamps can have nonlinearities and distortion at extremes. That said - mixers are designed to handle a variety of different signal levels, that is why the gain/trim knob exists!
I tend to run my units at Mic level, wide open with no trim until I need trim. As with transmitters in my world, receivers all get trimmed uniformly so the gain can be made back up at the console appropriately. Keeping it simple, keeping it swap-proof. Now that I've moved to all Dante systems for the most part, it's all line level and I'm using console trim to knock whatever I need back. I have exactly zero hardened rules other than, "does it sound good" and "is the console giving me the data I need?". A good sound designer can get a gig to 95% wonderful sound with a base set of tools and a lot of knowledge. The last 5% are diminishing returns in what you get, but it both costs a heck of a lot of money and requires a team entirely committed to the tiniest of details. When I'm on a "proper" show there's definitely a method, but I make my usual rules for touring gigs/corporate gigs/gigs where you need to mitigate all risk of failures and keep it simple and still sounding pretty great.

Also it takes like 250+ meters of XLR to get a -3dB drop in a balanced mic-level signal. If anyone is complaining about gaining up on a long run it better be the most insane run!
 
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Jay Ashworth

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All the way through your audio chain, get your gain as early as possible without clipping. The goal is increased signal to noise ratio, more than anything else. Running line-level from the receivers to the board helps there too, if you have the luxury, though if your signals are balanced, you shouldn't have a helluva lot of noise on there anyway.

Once you get to the channel fader, as we've discussed in another thread this week, 0/Unity is a good *target* for which you can adjust earlier settings to maintain (largely the HA Gain/Trim control on the channel), but you shouldn't necessarily feel married to it either.
 
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macsound

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I think my simple explanation comes from years of working in community theatre and corporate events. Everything needs to match otherwise you or your help will get in a bind and be completely confused by a decision you made long ago that you forgot was for a good reason.

I'm not the loudest person in the world, but I can yell if necessary.

I set the transmitter gain so with the lav or handheld right up against my mouth, I can't make it clip. Yes I want as much gain as possible, but I can "get rid" of noise at the console, I can't "get rid" of clipping.

Sennheiser packs im usually around -30, Shure -12.
 

FMEng

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The cool thing about Shure QLXD and ULXD is that the transmitters can't be clipped with any rational sound level. If the transmitter level gets near clipping, it automatically lowers the preamp gain, then tells the receiver to compensate by an identical amount, so that there is no change in receiver output. I was skeptical, but after going from whisper to shout, it works flawlessly. The receiver output can clip, but all you have to do is adjust it from the front panel.
 

macsound

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The cool thing about Shure QLXD and ULXD is that the transmitters can't be clipped with any rational sound level. If the transmitter level gets near clipping, it automatically lowers the preamp gain, then tells the receiver to compensate by an identical amount, so that there is no change in receiver output. I was skeptical, but after going from whisper to shout, it works flawlessly. The receiver output can clip, but all you have to do is adjust it from the front panel.
I guess thats cool but kind of like variable cruise control that you didn't enable.
How long before the gain goes back to where it was before? Like at the end of the day will that pack register a different level than it started or does it reset?
 

Ben Stiegler

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Just my opinion here - please feel free to disagree.

Console channel trim/gain knob settings should be done by a process with the most important determining factors being proper gain staging and best sound quality. The statement about a 'golden position' of the gain/trim knob at 9:00 to 12:00 is suspicious. Did the parent say why?

I like the video TimMc posted.

Paraphrasing from the video, the microphone preamp for a wireless mic is inside the transmitter. Improper settings here can do damage to your signal to noise, your transmission range and your sound quality. Adjust the preamp in the wireless transmitter optimally first.

Let's say if you had 4 actors on wireless belt packs with headset mics. If your microphone preamp gain in the transmitter pack is optimized and individually set for each actor, and if your output gain settings in the wireless receiver are all set identically (let's say to mic level output and zero gain added by the receiver), you might see more or less similar RMS signal level arriving at each of the mixing console inputs, assuming the actors are delivering nominal level dialogue.

In a theatre environment and in practice, I think this outcome might be a little more challenging to achieve. Perhaps one actor has some very loud lines in one scene and their transmitter preamp gain has to be dialed down more than the others. Maybe there are a lot of tight transmitter swaps. And on a community theatre production there might not be enough time or a qualified A2 to make or revise these transmitter gain settings properly. There are other variables - maybe on a production, all the transmitter packs and receivers are the same but there is more than one make/model/type of microphone being used.

Once that optimal transmitter pack gain is set, then the question becomes what should the receiver output level setting be.

In an ideal situation, perhaps identical default receiver output level settings would be a good place to start - mic level type output not line, 0 dB gain added. Some may say the receiver output should be set to a higher level, so the console preamp wouldn't have to work as hard. Maybe it's set to line level so the console preamp doesn't have to work at all. Other considerations might apply - how far physically the receivers are from the mixing board - if it's hundreds of feet and an analog connection maybe you want the receiver output to be a little higher. I'm not so sure I feel strongly that those claims would be justified. Personally, if it were me running the board I don't think I'd care about the receiver output level as long as these signals were arriving at the console at a level that is not ridiculously far out of line from other signals and within all of the wireless outputs, as consistent as possible with each other, and that the console preamp is able to handle them (in other words I don't have to pad them). I would probably question a situation where I have to set the gain/trim knobs for the wireless all set to 100% maximum, as sometimes preamps can have nonlinearities and distortion at extremes. That said - mixers are designed to handle a variety of different signal levels, that is why the gain/trim knob exists!
yikes - I never have considered having an A2 change xmtr gain ... hard enough to get them to change batteries or transplant the transmitters to new actors. But with the right person and checklists, it could definitely be a help.
 

macsound

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yikes - I never have considered having an A2 change xmtr gain ... hard enough to get them to change batteries or transplant the transmitters to new actors. But with the right person and checklists, it could definitely be a help.
Totally. Being the A2 backstage is about dealing with costumes and emotions and hoping and praying that the actor will let you disrobe them 8 seconds before they walk onstage.
 

FMEng

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I guess thats cool but kind of like variable cruise control that you didn't enable.
How long before the gain goes back to where it was before? Like at the end of the day will that pack register a different level than it started or does it reset?
It has absolutely no negative effect, so who cares. There's no level change, no glitch, no nothing, except no clipping. It's as close to using a wired mic as I've ever experienced in a wireless system. One thing is the transmitter's preamp isn't as quiet as a good console, but it's a tiny difference. Battery frugal preamps have to make compromises.
 
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TimMc

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Totally. Being the A2 backstage is about dealing with costumes and emotions and hoping and praying that the actor will let you disrobe them 8 seconds before they walk onstage.

Before? You're lucky.
 
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