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karmicfreak

My Year With The Dream Stage

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In the fall of 2013, my church purchased a setup including an MD20 mixer, 2xl2t, and 2xl2m speakers.  We use it monthly for a worship service that involves "The Band," a group that plays some original music I've written, as well as a variety of jazz, blues, gospel, music theater, and whatever else fits with the liturgy that week.  Because our sanctuary is a very traditional and simple one, the setup and teardown is only for the services when the band plays.  Just recently, I've trained others to use the system, and it's being used for the youth band and other events where multiple wireless mics are needed. 
 
Here's what I've learned: 
 
- I can do a physical setup, including the mixer, 2 mains, 2 monitors, 4 wireless vocal mics, 2 piano mics, overhead and bass drum mics, in 45 minutes or less. 
 
- Recalling the scene makes setup much faster, so that tweaks I've made in previous months remain. 
 
- Using the iPad app to mix a recorded performance between services (to sound better in the second service) is awesome.
 
- I still struggle with getting the perfect trim on my vocal mics, although that may be because of the particular mics I'm using, or because I don't always re-auto-trim them every time I use them, due to time before the 8:15 service.
 
- The vocal trim issues aren't a problem for live performance, but only when I bring recordings into my DAW, where the vocal signal is too hot and clips. 
 
- The recording to SD card is awesome.  
 
- I've created a workflow that makes taking the discrete channel audio output from the SD card, into my DAW, where I've set up presets for each instrument, and then mixing and mastering, and syncing the final audio with 2 video sources in Final Cut Pro X an easy process.  I can usually get a nice-sounding video out with a minimal amount of time and effort. 
 
- For my own use outside church, I am looking at alternatives to the MD20, such as the QSC offerings, but my biggest requirement is multichannel recording that gives me the power to mix after the performance.  When the time comes to purchase, the price will be a big factor.  If the MD20 continues to go down, I am likely to invest in one for myself. 
 
For reference, here is a playlist of videos I've made with the MD20 (sitting left of me) in church.  The first 6 songs are originals, all recorded with the MD20.  Many of the others are also from the board, but you can tell which ones are just recorded with my camera mic by their date and (lack of) sound quality. 
 
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlP8Beg-961DnyE5Sz-ocrM8egTskOMCO

 

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The recordings sound nice.  Can i ask how you mic'ed the piano and what you used?

 

Nick

 

A pair of Rode NT5"s, one in a circular sound hole, one in the center of the harp, pointing towards the hammers. 

 

Rode NT5 - Matched Pair

 

Dave

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I've got one year under my belt now too.

 

I do the big rock star setup with a couple different projects using keys, 2 gtrs, 3 vox, drums, sometimes even a violin.  L3 and L3s mains and L2 monitors.

 

There was a learning curve for the band but now we set up that whole thing in about 45 minutes.

 

I have the same weird issues with vox trim that everyone else reports.  Very sporadic.  I've found ways to minimize and work around but not fix (when I get time I'm going to try the ground thing, but right now we're gigging too much to go with out).  Also some sporadic weird issues with stereo paired inputs not matching up, and no way to individually trim paired stereo inputs.  This is my biggest and maybe only real complaints about the system.

 

The recording setup is awesome.  Works great almost every time.  Way more reliable than any other live recording method I've used before.  Here's a quick montage of a Kansas tribute project I'm working on at our first gig.  Totally live and then mixed down in Logic 

 

https://soundcloud.com/sad-depraved-but-social/kansaz-demo-edit2

 

iPad control is awesome.  I wish the range was better and more predictable.  With large numbers in the audience the coverage can get spotty!  Co channel interference I'm sure.  Either way, it beats setting up a snake by about 1000%.  I hope to never set up a snake again in my life.

 

The speaker system has been everything and more.  No one talks about the subs but I love'm.  I wish the L2's were a little warmer, they seem to be too strong in the 3-4k range to me.  Maybe optimized for vox and acoustic but a little harsh for electric tones.  Definitely usable for FRFR stuff but not my perfect speaker for that application.

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