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#1 BucF16

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 01:32 AM

Recently went whole hog.  Craigslisted the old PA and spent the proceeds and quite a bit more on an M20D, 2xL3m, 2xL2t, and 2xL3s.

 

A lot of good and some issues I'm still struggling with.

 

First, the speakers are fabulous.  Gigged yesterday in a bar and tonight outside at a private event.  For the outside gig we pumped some Rush Moving Pictures through the speakers to check them out during sound check.  No where near maxed, loud as &^%$@# yet still clear and separate.  I love the way that record is produced and it retained all that magic space and texture. Almost a religious experience.  The people who say these speakers aren't loud enough...wtf?

 

I haven't tried a lot of the newer speakers, but compared to my old system with passive Peavey mains and Yamaha 18 subs, and a refrigerator full of rack gear....no comparison.  My old system could get loud but never did it sound just so clear and amazing.

 

We played outside tonight and it only took us an hour to find out that the party hadn't gotten a permit for their block party...because the cops were getting noise complaints several blocks away.  Slight volume adjustment and we made it another hour without getting arrested.  Volume is no problem, take my word for it.  We were no where near max.

 

We've had some problems with feedback that I've started to narrow down but would appreciate some help with.  Our lead singer uses a pretty hot condenser mic and he doesn't sing terribly loud.  He's a great singer, with a killer voice and range, he sounds loud and powerful, but the truth is he's actually singing pretty soft.  Consequently we've been fighting feedback and some ringing/howling from the PA that's just short of feedback but certainly not desirable.  At the same time I'm having trouble getting him loud enough in the mains

 

I know part of the problem is our stage volume is just too loud and tonight I made some progress by just lowering the monitors and really minimizing what I was sending to the monitor mixes (3 speakers and 1 in-ear mix).  There's only so much I can do as a sound man to control drum volume on stage though, and that seems to set the floor for everyone else (a common lament I'm sure).

 

I also found that that there's a ton of bass coming off the sides of the subs that, depending on sub placement, can really raise your stage volume levels.  Set up the subs much farther away from the band tonight and that seemed to make a difference.

 

My other mystery is recording.  I've been able to record to an SD card but in two gigs I haven't been able to get a whole song.  For some reason, I get the recording going and then it's just stopped for some reason.  I have a 64g SD card, properly formatted, and have been able to record a couple of minutes for sound check purposes but when it comes time to record the set, the thing just turns off when my head is turned and I don't catch it until much later.  Hoping there's a simple operator error that I haven't figured out yet.

 

Saved setups made night #2 WAY easier than the first night.  Hoping that trend continues as the rest of the band figures out how the system works.  I'm a musician, not a soundman, and I want to get back to solving more musical problems than technical ones.  On that subject, actually used the quick tweak option a couple of times tonight with some good effect.  More importantly it let me solve a problem and get back to playing without too much mental gymnastics.

 

So, 2 gigs down, a lot of lessons learned, but I'm pretty happy with our start.  Still getting my arms around the M20d, but the speakers have way over-delivered.

 

Long post...sorry.  Any comment appreciated.


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#2 joecozzi

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 08:27 AM

Here's a few things you can do to optimize the vocal:

 

Make sure you're using a vocal preset that has a hi-pass filter in it, compression and EQ. The built-in vocal presets on the M20D are optimized for great audio right out of the box.

 

Applying Auto Trim to Inputs:

In Setup Mode, tap the Auto Trim button in the Main Toolbar, then select the channels you’d
like to Auto Trim. Sing at performance level. Auto Trim will set optimal levels for those
channels. Tap the Confirm Changes button to save the new trim levels.

 

Trim Tracking:

When a channel’s input is too hot, enter Deep Tweak Mode, tap the Input tab, then engage Trim
Tracking to avoid distortion without changing the channel’s overall volume.

 

Applying Feedback Suppression To A Vocal Mic:

Select the vocal mic channel then enter Tweak Mode. Tap the Deep Tweak button then select
the Input tab. Tap the FBS Enable button and set the FBS Mode to Vocal. Have the singer sing
at performance level. FBS will automatically detect the troublesome frequency and filter out the
feedback. Repeat steps for other channels.

 

One thing every seasoned live sound guy does before every gig is what they all "ringing out the monitors," meaning that you force feedback to occur on purpose and then you use EQ to notch out the offending frequencies. Use the FBS feature to help tweak your system and use the EQ in your monitors to further make adjustments that make cause your PA to howl.

 

You mentioned your lead singer is using a condenser vocal mic. I am assuming they are the person using the in-ear monitors. If not, find out what the polar response pattern of the mic they are using is because it may be playing a factor in the way you are positioning monitors on stage. For example, if it uses a cardioid pattern you'll want to place the monitor on the floor in front of them. But if it employs a super-cardiod pattern, it's best to position them on the floor off to the side a little bit. Side-fill style positioning of monitors, for example, may not be optimal because you'd be directing sound right at the mic.

 

Lastly, compression on the vocal always helps achieve a more balanced sound that cuts through the mix in a live scenario. I assume you play rock simply because you mentioned you played Rush through your system. Properly adjusting the compression of the vocal channel will ensure that even if he's singing softly, he may not need as much gain as when he's really pushing it, and while it will reduce your dynamic range, it will allow for more gain/volume.


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#3 joecozzi

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 08:46 AM

Another thing that occurred to me regarding your problem with bass -- have you tried the polarity switch on the back of the L3S's? It may alleviate the boominess you're experiencing. Depending on the venue, reversing the polarity may help open up the spectrum from on over accumulation of offending low frequencies, but it's something you'll have to experiment with. Ultimately, you want the sound directing out to the audience to be superior so while it may alleviate your on stage situation, it MIGHT cause a drop in bass for the audience. Try it, it may work to the advantage of both!

 

Also, I recommend insuring that the Stage source speakers you are using as monitors are in the "Floor Monitor" mode, which is optimized for projection and reduces low frequency boominess on stage from having the speaker lean on its side.


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#4 dboomer

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 09:06 AM

"I also found that that there's a ton of bass coming off the sides of the subs that, depending on sub placement, can really raise your stage volume levels. Set up the subs much farther away from the band tonight and that seemed to make a difference."

That would be normal for any regular sub cabinet. Subs essentially have no pattern control so as much sound comes off the sides as the back as the front. As you have found adding some distance can be your friend in this situation.

#5 joecozzi

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 09:32 AM

Regarding your recording issues...

 

Make sure you have the latest firmware 1.20!

 

Many people were reporting issues with recording to SD cards in this post and it all ended when the original user updated to v1.2.

http://line6.com/sup...update/?hl=card

 

Also, just make sure you are using a brand  new class10 SD card that is FAT32 formatted. Very old SD cards can loose performance after a few hundred writing cycles and counterfeit SD cards that say "class10" but are not are a risk.

 

Please let us know if that helps.


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#6 gordwait

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 09:35 AM

On the recording issue, pretty sure that the M20D manuals say only 32 gig or less, you might be having issues with that. 

I've recorded all 16 channels, a whole night of our band without it stopping on me. 

It's usually a pain to get the M20d to be happy with the sd card directory, but that gets sorted out by navigating back to the root of the filesystem on the sd card..

 

 

I too have issues with stage levels and feedback. I'm both the soundman and one of the lead vocalist/guitar players. 

 

Our band does classic rock and pop, and all five of us sing, so that's a lot of open mics on stage. 

 

One of the things I've worked on with the band is that they need to know they can't have a nice clean balanced "studio" mix on open monitors.

Although, I do my best, after all, if your own stage mix doesn't sound good, it's not a lot of fun playing. 

 

But, as a soundman, I only want to send the absolute minimum to each monitor to avoid feedback, and keep the stage level down. 

For example, each musician gets their vocal level set to something useful, so they can hear themselves sing above the background, with a reasonable amount of headroom. 

 

Then I add just barely enough to their mix of the other four vocalists so they can just hear them to harmonize against, usually 3 to 6 db less than their own vocal level.

This means if someone else is singing lead, they don't hear that lead vocal out on top like you would on a recording mixdown.

As well, when I sing, if someone elses vocal is at the same level as mine, it can make it hard for me to discern which one is mine during a harmony.

 

Then I add only a bit of the "missing" instruments to their mix. If they're beside the keyboard guy, they don't need keyboards in their own monitor. 

No bass guitar in monitors as a general rule although sometimes the drummer needs it due to the room. Usually our bass player is too loud on stage, so there's no problem for the drummer to hear it. 

 

At the other end, I'd want to send a full balanced mix to each musician, for musical enjoyment, but a full "studio" mix at each musician means there's way too much feedback. A compromise is always needed. 

 

Some of the guys are still doubtful, they don't understand that 5 vocal mics on 5 monitors all at full level is say 25 times worse than one vocal mic on one monitor,

not just 5 times worse than one. Now, yes, I made that factor up, not sure what the real multiplier would be, but I know it's worse than 5x. 

 

The other thing I've learned over the years is that musicians need to avoid having a great big huge sound on stage, with lots of every frequency band. 

The 6 string guitars should not be fighting over the bass frequencies with the bass player. It's fun as a guitar player to have that big "stadium filling" crunch that shakes the room, but just like in recording, they're hogging too much of the soundstage, leading to clutter and excessive levels..

 

Mixing is a challenge, but it is a fun one if you can stay one step ahead of the problems!


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#7 SiWatts69

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 11:36 AM

What is your lead vocalists mic?

 

We played a multi band fdo the other night where the soundman wanted our girl vocalist to use a C1000 of all things! She sounded great through it, BUT as it was a mic she needed to "stand off" from, she was out of her comfort zone... Changing mics on a gig night isn't such a good idea though! and how many of us have access to arsenal of mics to try to find the right one for a given performer. She, like your singer, has a great voice but sings relatively quiet. We originally tried an AKG C5 for her but feedback was an issue so dropped back to a D5. The D5 still has the mid range of the C5 but without the very high end you get with a C5 and feedback issues were dramatically reduced... to the point that every now and then we get a tiny whistle for a second until the M20d notches it out. She sounds great through it.

 

As others have alluded to though, the best way to get rid of feedback is to reduce the overall stage volume, such that you don't need to run your monitors so loud.

 

We're still experimenting but learn something new every time we head out.


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#8 BucF16

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 01:15 PM

Wow, some amazing responses on a Sunday morning no less.  Thanks guys! I will try to respond in order and as succinctly as possible.

 

@JoeCozzi: Autotrim, trim tracking and FBS all applied IAW (In accordance with) the manual.  Then tried to manually tweak the trim to try to get more and partially because I maybe didn't trust some of the new voodoo.  No improvement so I went back to the automatic modes.

 

Ringing out the monitors is not something that I'm used to doing, or have a good procedure for, but it sounds like it could really pay off.  If I can get a lead singer to show up early enough (insert std band joke here)...

 

Not sure the exact model of mic he's using, so obviously don't know the pattern.  Been running into this question a lot recently as I've been getting more into recording so it's something I need to get smarter on.

 

Compression mentioned a couple of times.  I'll bring more of that into my crosscheck

 

@JoeCozzi and dBoomer: I don't think I ever got this much off my previous subs.  I'll try the polarity.  Probably had too much of the subs the first night so it might be as simple as turning them down!  (when you have the power, you want to use the power!)

 

@JoeCozzi: The SD card is a brand new purchase from Best Buy, formatted FAT32, Class 10 and has worked for shorter recordings of maybe half a song during soundcheck.  1.2 firmware right out of the box.  I'll test it out a little more at home and see if I can get it to record more.

 

@gordwait:  Sound similar to my band (I'm currently in a couple).  Three vocalist.  One "problem" is we've had crummy monitors in the past and now that we have good monitors everyone wants more.  Similar to what you've described, I think we need to lower some of the monitor expectations unless we're playing bigger stages.  I've taken note of some of your db rules of thumb and try those out.  I went back through the manual and didn't see a 32g restriction on SD cards.  Am I missing that?

 

Grateful for the input.  Thanks guys.


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#9 dboomer

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 01:39 PM

Compression, while it may make your mix sound better it will lower your maximum "Gain Before Feedback " by an equal number of dB as the amount of compression you apply.  so this may or may not be a compromise you can take

 

If you never got as much bass level on the stage before you simply didn't have as much low frequency output as you do now.  Flipping polarity will either cut your bass, boost your bass or make almost zero difference.  But if it does cut your bass level it will only be cutting your acoustic level and your amps will still be working as hard as they were before.  So in this respect its kinda like dragging an anchor behind your car to slow down when you could just let off the gas a bit.  You can just turn down you levels.  What you cannot really do is get the same level in front of your speaker and less on the side (or rear) of your sub without taking some very expensive measures.  If you would like to know what this is google "cardioid subs".



#10 BucF16

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 02:53 PM

One of my favorite quotes is, "it's only power if you can abuse it."

 

The biggest dilemma with this system is I have so many more options and so much power that it's pretty easy to, especially as a newbie, lose control.

 

For example, I'm feeling pretty certain we're just not used to subs that work this good and probably had them up too high the first couple of times I used them.  We're just not used to having more flexibility with our monitor mixes and need to figure out what we really want in the monitors.  I've never had compression on individual channels before.  Used it in my guitar patches and in the studio but never live.

 

With my old PA you needed a dedicated sound guy to get results that weren't as good as what I'm already getting without a sound guy.  However, that doesn't mean that I haven't picked up a pretty good additional workload.  I'm pretty sure it will get easier as I get more familiar with the system and get the presets wired in.

 

I'm a keyboardist and guitarist and I do vocals, so my schlep and setup was already pretty big.  Now, picking up head sound engineer duties makes for long and busy gig days


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#11 BucF16

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 02:58 PM

On another subject, the M20d seems to be recording fine in tests at home.  It has currently recorded about 26 continuous minutes of 16 inputs and is displaying 6:45 of Rec Time Remaining.

 

I must have been fat-fingering something.  I have noticed that the iPad app is a little touchy about recognizing a double tap vs a single tap or drag and sometimes you end up on pages you had no intention of being on.  Maybe it was something along those lines.

 

Clearly it will record on a 64g card though.


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#12 SiWatts69

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 04:25 PM

I tried a 64Gb card with no success. Switched down to 32GB cards (I have two) and since then have had zero problems.

 

If it's not a stooped question, what level do you have the gain controls on the speakers set to? I've been in shops where sales guys recommend whacking them up full and leaving them there, whereas it is best practise to set them to the notch of 12 o'clock and leave them there unless absolutely necessary. It all aids in correct "gain structure" as is the term my compatriots here use :-)


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#13 BucF16

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 06:20 PM

No stooped questions.

 

Had the speakers at approx 75%.  With my previous PA I was taught rightly or not to keep the amps pretty high but not maxed out and I was going on that habit pattern.

 

No one commented on the FBS on the speakers but I assumed that having two different FBS working at the same time was counter-productive so I turned it off in the speakers and enabled it in the inputs.

 

It appears that's the best way to run it in this configuration of M20d and Stagesource Speakers.


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#14 dboomer

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 07:27 PM

Most users turn the sensitivity on their amps up too much. That's why we put the click stop on them in the StageSource speakers. Set them there and then make any adjustments you want on the mixer.

As far as FBS, yes it it better to use it in the mixer than one the speakers if you have the choice.

Take a look at this thread
http://line6.com/sup...the-stagescape/

#15 Digital-sound

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 07:58 PM

I did the same as you BucF16! Sold my yorkville gear (which was very good gear, but old and heavy) and I bought similar to you. 2 of each. I have not regretted it for a second. I love the system.

The very first night we used it, I selected preset vocals with reverb. When we started playing (we don t do much of a sound check. Just line levels, and then dial in around where we think we should be. And that has only gotten easier with the M20d) we had a lot or feedback. The very first time was without the stage source speakers, but it don't use the FBS on them anyway. It turned out to be the fx. I didn't think they were that heavy, and we are not a loud band, and the venue was not "sound unfriendly". Lots of wood and carpet. But as soon as fx were off, the feedback was gone. So we have dialled that in and it is all good now.
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#16 jaminjimlp

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 07:37 PM

I use a 64 gig class 10 sd card and my problem turned out to be me putting it in to a comp and erasing some of the folders and the only way I could get it back working would be to reformat, then someone here said they found if they used the m20d to erase the files or folders it was fine since then I have had no problems i recorded an 18 channel 3 hour show of my buddy's band and didn't even hiccup.


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May you be blessed and our Lord Jesus keep you!!!


#17 ColonelForbin

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 01:03 PM

I recorded an 18 channel 3 hour show of my buddy's band and didn't even hiccup.

 

That is so freaking awesome, I am so psyched to do exactly that with mine! Once I learn how to use it..


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"Searching for a distant star, Heading off to Iscandar

Leaving all we love behind, Who knows what dangers we'll find?"


#18 Digital-sound

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 05:49 PM

That is so freaking awesome, I am so psyched to do exactly that with mine! Once I learn how to use it..


Not to mention, it is as easy as it is awesome!
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