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Hd500 Volume Levels Into Pa: Best Practices?

hd500 volume amps settings best practice

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#1 sbeattie7

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 05:37 AM

For those of you using the HD500(X) directly into a PA, I am just curious what kind of volume settings you are using. 

 

Here is what I have been doing.  Just looking to see what the "best practice" would be for this and see if I am on the right track:

 

I am using the Left(mono) 1/4" output into a direct box and then to the mixer.  The direct box is set to "Instrument", which seems to be a louder signal than "Line".  I turn up the Master Volume dial all the way on the HD500X unit.  The volume level on my amps is typically set to around 60, give or take depending on the amount of drive being used and which amp it is. While creating patches, I make a practice of switching between a bunch of them to ensure that my volume levels are fairly consistent.  I am also setting the L and R mixer settings to "Center" for all patches, which definitely increases the volume level compared to the default where they are panned fully left and right, respectively.  I am not concerned about stereo since we are not running a stereo mixer anyway.  One thing to note is that when I am creating the patches, I am using my speakers at home (headphone output) and have the Master Volume at about 1/3 since maxing it out would blow out the speakers and be way too loud for comfort.

 

Basically, I am trying to pump a decent signal level to the mixer, have consistent volume levels between patches and not produce any clipping.  So far, my method seems to work.  I have tested things out over the PA and actually stood out in the seating area of the room (using a long enough cord) to listen to what it sounds like.  I have not noticed any clipping problems over the PA. 

 

Let me know your thoughts on this and what methods you are using.  Thanks. 


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#2 still_fiddlin

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 05:49 AM

The Line/Instrument setting on the DI is what many other DIs have as a PAD (e.g., -20dB).  If the PA is able to accept a balanced line input, then the switch setting is fine.  You'd notice obvious clipping if your output was overdriving the PA inputs.

 

Keeping the patch levels consistent will make the sound guys happy, and keep them from moving your gain/fader settings around wildly.  I don't pay a lot of attention to the actual setting, but try to use my ears.  I've found that's one of the harder things to do with headphone monitoring, and have gone back and recorded the signal from the DI through an interface to confirm.  Maybe it's just taking off the headphones and listening to a recording (with different phones or monitors), but I find it helps set levels and EQ.

 

I don't change the volume levels between home and church, though.  Of course, if the master is all you change, and it sounds Ok at the gig, that's the only thing that matters in the end!


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#3 sbeattie7

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 06:04 AM

 

I don't change the volume levels between home and church, though.  Of course, if the master is all you change, and it sounds Ok at the gig, that's the only thing that matters in the end!

 

Just curious, what level do you keep the Master Volume dial at then?  Seems like you would need to keep it fairly low to keep it reasonable in the headphones.  If you keep the dial at that same level at the church, isn't it kind of a weak signal to the mixer there?  Do they have to crank up the gain pot on the mixer then?  With my settings as I described, the gain on the mixer is probably at about 50%, although I haven't checked it myself in a while, so I am not completely sure.


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#4 still_fiddlin

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 06:29 AM

Master on my HD400 is a physical pot, set about 12:00. That works fine with my higher impedance phones. No idea what number that might equate to on the 500s. The board settings seem to handle the level (line through the DI). No idea what it is though.
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#5 pfsmith0

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:27 AM

Why are you using a DI box and not the XLR output?


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#6 sbeattie7

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:42 AM

Well, I didn't want to use two inputs to the mixer and according to Line 6 the XLR outputs do not sum to mono. I don't want to worry about whether or not I am missing the Right side of the signal if I'm only plugged into the Left XLR output. I suppose I could pan both sides of the mixer to the Left and try that out too.
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#7 still_fiddlin

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 05:02 PM

Maybe you're using this setup because I suggested it somewhere else, and, please, feel free to try something else.  BUT, if it sounds good, and you can set patches at home that work live, then I wouldn't spend too much time contemplating this aspect of your setup.

 

Instead, I'd spend my time getting some recordings of the mix, either direct from the board or just live, and make sure the patches you have do sound the way you want, fit well in the band mix, etc.  If the recordings tell you that you're not getting the sound from the POD to the PA the way you think it should be, then it might be time to revisit that bit of linkage, but otherwise, it's probably not the best investment of time.  Just my $.02.

 

If you are using the headphone out to drive speakers, it's going into a much lower impedance load than it's designed for.  That is why it sounds loud.  It's also hard on that little headphone amp!


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#8 ssgroup

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 10:31 PM

Well the problem is your stereo is too loud...use it to attenuate your volume, not the master on your HD. It needs to be maxed.

 

Same applies to a mixer, send all your HD signal to the board, then the sound guy can pull it back with the input gain.

 

That said, I go XLR to the DAW. Some say they can hear a diff between 1/4 and XLR, some can't but I know that the physics are such that if you are carrying a ground with the signal the signal isn't the best, so use your XLR and for that matter, using them both. Why not go stereo, why not take adantage of the better signal and some stereo imaging? You paid for it, you got it, use it.


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#9 sbeattie7

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 04:10 AM

I can certainly try turning down the stereo and see if I can max out the Master Volume that way.  That could be a better way to determine if the patches I'm creating sound good or not. 

 

When connecting to the mixer, I do set the Master Volume pot to maximum and let the sound guys adjust the input gain.

 

When I first got the HD500X, I did try just using the Left XLR output and it sounded fine.  The 1/4" output into the DI seemed a bit louder though, but that could just be a function of the different interface and the DI itself.  I may try using both XLR outputs, although I won't really get stereo anyway since we don't run a stereo setup.  We use Mackie DL1608 mixers (which use iPads for the mixer interface).  The latest software update for the Master Fader iPad app is going to be able to combine inputs into one slider, which would be good if I end up using both XLR outputs into two inputs on the mixer. 

 

At any rate, the 1/4" out to DI is working pretty well for me at this point, although it does make more sense to just eliminate the DI, even if just for simplicity's sake. 


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