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CGM777

Output levels changing? Trim tracking issue?

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So last night I brought my new Stagescape mixer to our 7 piece band practice to set up and tweak our sound and record a few songs.  We use a Bose L1 model II sound system as our PA, which has incredible sound and serves our small to medium size venues quite well (under 500 people).  We decided to insert the Stagescape into the chain and, send the Main mix outputs to the Bose, using it as our P.A., plus we had a few stage monitors, to which we sent a monitor mix out of the Monitor A output on the Stagescap.  Ok enough backstory...onto the issue.

 

The guys were all abuzz with the new toy.  I had done a pre-set up before practice to save time, placing each vocal mic and band member's instrument onto the stage and assigning an input on the unit.  At practice we plugged everyone in and started with a sound check.  There are 6 vocalists in the band so I utilized the auto-trim feature and hit "start analysis" for all 6 vocalists as they sang acapella harmonies into their respective Mics.  Levels were set and it all sounded beautiful!  Then I muted all the Mics and had the guys all play their instruments and I set all the instrument levels (guitars, bass, mandolin, keys and drums).  All sounded great!  Then we decided to play and record a song to the 32GB SD card.  That's were the issue came into play.

 

When we started to play, the vocal levels went way down and were almost unheard against the instruments in our PA.  We finished the song.  I stopped the recording and played it back through the Bose system and all the vocal levels against the instrument levels were fine!!  We tried it again, and over and over the same issue:  The vocals all dropped down under the instruments during our live playing and recording.  But on playback of the recording the levels were good!

 

I'm sure there is a reason behind this and so I wanted to put this out to all those with more experience that me on the Stagescape.  Is there something I don't know about the Trim tracking?  Could it be that the instrument outputs from all the amps on stage are bleeding into the microphones, creating hotter levels and thereby causing the Stagescape to use Trim Tracking to compensate by adjusting the MIC input levels down?  Why does this only happen on live playing and not on playback then?

 

Any solutions to how to overcome this?   Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

 

C-Dog, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

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So the vocal levels dropped when everybody is playing but the recordings are fine...

 

I don't think it is trim tracking, because that has zero impact on the level of a channel - what it does is detects that the input level is high and potentially going to distort so it drops the channel trim and simultaneously increases the channel level to maintain the same overall level.

 

Playback of the recording are fine, but Instruments and Vocal live and the Vocals disappear...

 

So when the Instruments are playing are you monitoring them through the PA and having them live in a rehearsal room?  Perhaps giving doubled up instruments and only single version of vocals.  In a rehearsal room I would expect only to have Vox through the main outs and monitors even though the instruments are being fed in for recording purposes.

 

It might be worth grouping all the instruments so that there is a single knob to turn down while you are playing together, and then bring it up again to listen to the recording - or use scenes.

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....

 

Could it be that the instrument outputs from all the amps on stage are bleeding into the microphones.....

Bleeding may be the cause but perhaps from the mics not the instruments. Is it possible that your mics are picking up their own sound through the speakers/monitors?

 

It may be the feedback suppression rather than trim tracking that's kicking in dynamically. Vocals tend to create feedback if the speakers are audible in the same room as the mics. The feedback suppression may be cutting the offending frequencies to the point that the vocals sound suppressed in the live mix. During playback (with mics muted) there is no feedback and hence no dynamic suppression. I admit this explanation seems a bit of a stretch because I expect you would have heard any feedback while you were auto-trimming the mics before levelling the instruments.

 

However, it might be interesting to see what happens if you turn off the FBS on the mics.

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Thanks for your quick responses guys.  I think Rewolf48 has a great point there:  Because the instruments and drums all have their own amplification in addition to the PA, there is a doubling effect, compared to the vocals which are solely amplified through the PA. 

 

Seems to make sense now: to run all the instruments into the mixer for recording purposes (set the line input levels), but pull the outputs way down or even completely off, so that the vocals are not drowned out by all the live instruments with their amps. 

 

The other thought would be to send only vocals to the monitors so that the vocalists can hear themselves singing amidst all the amplified instruments, while still allowing the audience to receive a well tweaked house mix through the PA.

 

Thoughts?

 

C-Dog

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...

 

Seems to make sense now: to run all the instruments into the mixer for recording purposes (set the line input levels), but pull the outputs way down or even completely off, so that the vocals are not drowned out by all the live instruments with their amps. 

 

...

That's what I do when recording, giving the instruments proper input trim but just enough output level to fill the room if the amps and drums don't do so already.

 

Also the idea of sending just vocals and acoustic instruments to the monitors is a good idea. The electric guitar amps and drums typically are enough in themselves for the stage. In fact it can save the performers' ears to turn down the stage amps so that they just have to fill the stage, not the room. The PA can level them to fill the room.

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Yep, when you have active back-line the monitors should only have stuff that cannot otherwise be heard.

 

I for example play Guitar through a monitor (directly) and everybody else on stage can hear enough from that so that they don't need any guitar in the monitors. I however often need some Vocals and Acoustic Guitar in the monitors because otherwise I can't hear them.

 

[probably says more about guitarists having themselves loud!]

 

 

In your case with the Bose L2 system you are probably positioning that behind you (if I remember the Bose suggestions for how it is used), in which case the feed to the Bose also needs a lot less of the amplified instruments and drums while you are playing, but the levels need to be raised up in order to play back any recordings

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many thanks to all for excellent feedback!  And thus ReoWolf's suggestion of saving scenes would also make sense:

 

Scene 1:  When playing live and recording, set the Stagescape Perform levels of all the amplified instruments lower.

 

Scene 2:  When playing back the recording through the Stagescape, raise the Perform levels of the amplified instruments.

 

I think that makes sense too - yah?

 

C-Dog

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Yes. I currently use different Setups to do that. Scenes would be simpler. We can only hope.

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Well I am back.  Took all the tips and tactics and implemented them and we still experience something strange.  I would like to know exactly what trim tracking does to the sound?  I know the advanced manual says it doesn't alter the output levels, but something does.

 

We 've turned down all the output levels of the amplified instruments that have their own amps.  So the only instruments with any sound going out of the Stagescape into the PA are keyboards, electronic drum acoustic guitars (direct input to mixer) and vocals.  The amped instruments fill the room on their own.  The only reason they go through the Stagescape at all is to record them.

 

Here's my process:

1. When running level check each vocalist speaks into the mic and I adjust the levels in SETUP mode.  I use the auto trim to get good S/n ratio.  Do same for acoustic guitars.

2. I go to monitor and send vocals and acoustic guitar outputs only to a stage monitor via monitor output A

3. I go to perform mode and adjust levels of each performer individually and get good levels through the PA.

4. I do the same with the guitars and keyboards

5. Individually everything sounds good.

6. When the who group starts to play, the vocals disappear in the mix.  The singers can't hear themselves in the PA.

 

My choices are to raise the level of the vocals...problem is the vocals are already maxed.  When I raise the levels we get feedback.

 

Or my choice is to lower the levels of everything else in the mix.  Problem is everything else is already minimal in the mix. 

I have never had this problem with my Mackie analog mixers, so I am frankly puzzled by this.

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In step 1 where you use auto-trim, are the vocalists singing together at their loudest? If you set the trim for their speaking levels or low volume parts then your trim setting will be too high. This could result in the symptoms you describe as soon as the band starts and everyone is singing louder. The feedback suppression could be kicking in on the mics, reducing the vocal levels in the mix to eliminate feedback, and then of course when you attempt to raise the levels manually feedback occurs.

 

Maybe try lowering your vocal trim levels and don't use auto-trim. During the first song adjust the vocal trim levels and channel output levels. See if that works better.

 

If you're still having issues I would open a support ticket. Perhaps Line 6 can help with some diagnostics to see if there is a hardware problem.

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I thought FBS worked by identifying the offending frequency and then notching it out.  I didn't think it did anything to the levels.  Anytime I've wanted to use the FBS to be successful I've had to kind of ring out the room.  That is to crank the main outs to cause the feedback intentionally and then listen for a few frequencies to start to feed back then get identified and eliminated. Then you can just lower the main out to the desired output level and play feedback free the rest of the night.  Ultimately it's supposed to work differently than that, in that it just does it by itself as you're playing but it never seems to work quite as effortlessly as that. There always seems to be those frequencies that just kind of sneak in as a slight ring without hanging around long enough for the FBS to identify them. 

 

I'd have to really give this some thought, I've never had any issue getting the vocals to pop out on top of the mix.  There must be some setting turned on somewhere that is causing this.

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I thought FBS worked by identifying the offending frequency and then notching it out.  I didn't think it did anything to the levels.  ....

That's my understanding too but if the offending frequencies are the dominant frequencies in the vocals then I can imagine that cutting those frequencies might sound like the level is being cut. I'm not at all sure about this but just trying to understand and interpret what might be happening.

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I see.  I understand your theory but my experience is that the notches are so sliver thin and precise that I've never noticed them have any effect on the sound at all, EQ or level.  That said, I think if you just cranked the PA and let the FBS continue to identify and notch out frequencies until it reached it's capacity it might be enough to start affecting the sound.  That's why I just do the first 3 or 4 frequencies that pop up.  If you ring out the first 3 or 4 it's seldom that you would have any other frequencies cause problems at normal levels. 

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......  I understand your theory but my experience is that the notches are so sliver thin and precise that I've never noticed them have any effect on the sound at all, EQ or level.  ..... 

 

You may well be right. Could be something else entirely.

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Just a thought, but if there is compression on the vocal channel, and it is trimmed for solo voice at lower than performance volume, then the compressor will react to the higher volumes when the backline is playing by reducing the final volume and thus reducing the vocals in the mix.

 

Or it might be as simple as too much backline getting into the vocal mics - especially if the Bose L1 is behind the singers; rearranging the stage so that nothing except the singers is pointing into the mics could help as might tightening up on the eq.

 

Listen to the vocal channel in isolation to see what is getting in, or look at the frequency analyser displays?

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I also have problem loosing vocals while playing keep bringing it up to the point of feedback, not sure if I should have volume higher on mains and lower setting on vocals , I have tried everyone playing and do the auto trim , and try the setting sometimes it is worse with all the squealing . And then sometimes it says caution lower volume before accepting settings, should I nay use this with vocals?? And one last this. Is stagescape dead now are they going to have updates, new stagescape, ????

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