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therocksinger

Fletcher-Munson or NOT for Front of House ?

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My First post here and I'm sure that similar questions have been asked regarding dialing in tone for "FOH vs FRFR Cab", and when to consider Fletcher-Munson as a factor. 

Number 1 sound concern for me is that the best possible tone is going to the FOH mixer/PA so that the sound guy needs to do minimal EQing but just volume leveling and my guitar sounds warm and crunchy. I am loving my Helix (8 months) but I want to take experimenting and guess work out of tweaking my tones for club gigs performances. I have been building patches and EQing through my Atomic CLR or my Sony headphones and realize that the stage situation/volume will deliver to my ears something different from what I had originally built,  perhaps the Fletcher-Munson phenomenon is at work here. (bass boomy or not, highs shrill or not, different rooms etc.) I can take into account this and adjust the EQ so my live stage sound is cool to my ears but it might be at the detriment of what i am sending to the FOH, (not really sure but maybe). I also want a god stage tone but am reluctant to put Fletcher-Munson 10-band EQ into each patch for fear what it will do to FOH signal, (or does FOH also need the Fletcher-Munson curve to guitar signals?).

 

I don't have a PA available to tweak on, no time to tweak at sound check but I want a way to build tones/EQ at home that will sound good through FOH, as I'm less concerned with the stage sound because I may be going in-ear monitor for up-coming shows.

 

 1) My 'Dream-world' Question, what headphones or EQ or monitor or 'tool' will represent live FOH sound delivery while I am making tones and rehearsing at home?

 

2) Question is for anyone who has live experience with Aomic CLR. I have been using the CLR wedge in "TILT" setting (not BL or FF). Which one of these settings (FF, TILT or BL) is closest to FRFR, or closest to how the FOH will deliver the guitar frequencies? 

 

Your comments and wisdom are appreciated, Cheers!

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Naturally PAs come in a variety of setups, but the only thing that accurately represents most modern PAs is going to be a powered FRFR speaker as that's the most typical type of speaker used in today's market.  I've never used an Atomic CLR, but I would assume it should be relatively close, but there are some differences in how DSP is used, compression drivers, and the general physics of a cabinet versus a long throw/wide spread PA speaker.  I'm not sure it would be worth buying a powered PA speaker just to check this sort of thing, but it might be worth borrowing one or even renting one just to check out the difference so you would know if you need to adapt anything at all.

 

In terms of your feed to the FOH I'd recommend using either a small mixing board or a DAW to normalize and level out the signal levels across your presets and snapshots using a signal meter (this is not the same as a sound meter).  That way you can use global settings to  set the XLR out to a Mic signal level and configure it to not use the Helix master volume.  With that configuration you're isolating your FOH feed from the master volume which can still be used for your CLR (on 1/4" out) and you're sending a full signal level to the board in a normal expected way that the sound man can gain stage appropriately at sound check and all your patches/snapshots will be the same level.

 

I'm assuming the "TILT" setting simply reduces the low end response characteristics of the CLR to account for bass coupling with the floor.  I have a similar setting on my DXR12 but it really doesn't make much difference in terms of representing FOH given that most FOH setups are using subs with a built-in crossover of usually 100 - 125 HZ which isolates the very low frequencies from the FOH main speakers anyway.

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I play through the same PA every week. It is a QSC based system with 8", 10" mains and a couple of subs. I started building presets at home using IEMs, and the tones translated fairly well to the PA system, just a little thin because I was taking too much bass out of it. I then got a couple of 10" JBL Eon 610s and built presets at fairly loud volumes at home. Now I really don't touch the presets at all on the main PA system on play on. 

 

I also use the technique of "normalizing my volumes with the mixer meters in my DAW to ensure all my presets are in the same volume ballpark so the sound guy doesn't have to jump around. I do a final tweak through each preset staging the gains by ear during rehearsals with the full band mix. 

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I would not worry as much about EQ to front of house as I would consistent volume between presets.  As DunedinDragon mentioned. send a solid signal out front and get your monitor the way you like it.   Let us hope the FOH guy is doing more than adjusting levels.  EQ in front of house is his/her job, not yours, you don't have the tools.   FOH is eq'ing to the room, the material and the other instruments.  Long gone are the days of just moving sliders for levels...  with the power and clarity of today's systems, that's just a recipe for damaging people's ears as the speakers and systems can replicate frequencies that can do serious harm.    What's so nice about the Helix, you can ask the FOH what kind of mic's he usually uses.   If there are other amps on stage with e609's or SM57's, you can supply the same signal as if he had that mic on your cab...   except your "mic" won't have all the bleed-through or noise and it will be perfectly placed.  THAT is what makes a good signal to front of house... rather than pre-thinking the tone you think they need.    

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Get your tones to sound great, and then trust the sound guy. And yes, you will sound different at the gig. It's life. It' not FM, it's just different rooms sound different.

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I do the same thing pretty much.  My presets are tailored to our main sound guys FOH rig, and I know how the powered wedge I use translates to that, so I'm pretty spot on regarding any adjustments or new presets I make. 

 

My only issue with this approach is volume, I will usually get my rhythm presets leveled out well, however, the 'boost' I put into my presets going to a lead is designed for the signal vs. gain between my Helix and our soundguys board settings.  There are some places we play that have FOH provided and when we play there, if the gain on my guitar's in channel is set more/less than what my regular guy has, that has an effect on how prominent my leads are in relation to the rhythm.  its either squashing or expanding the 'boost' I already have programmed. 

 

 

What would be nice, is if there was a way to globally set a 'Lead Boost' and have that as a parameter on your Amp block or maybe a separate block for end of chain placement.  The block or switch could be assigned preset/snapshot/globally.  All of your presets would have Rhythm - off, Lead - on for this switch...and you could set a db boost for each patch.  It'd make it easier to adjust 30+presets (15 of which are leads) consistently.  Just adjust your global boost, when that setting is set to global. 

 

 

**sorry to hijack, not my intention. 

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I do the same thing pretty much.  My presets are tailored to our main sound guys FOH rig, and I know how the powered wedge I use translates to that, so I'm pretty spot on regarding any adjustments or new presets I make. 

 

My only issue with this approach is volume, I will usually get my rhythm presets leveled out well, however, the 'boost' I put into my presets going to a lead is designed for the signal vs. gain between my Helix and our soundguys board settings.  There are some places we play that have FOH provided and when we play there, if the gain on my guitar's in channel is set more/less than what my regular guy has, that has an effect on how prominent my leads are in relation to the rhythm.  its either squashing or expanding the 'boost' I already have programmed. 

 

 

What would be nice, is if there was a way to globally set a 'Lead Boost' and have that as a parameter on your Amp block or maybe a separate block for end of chain placement.  The block or switch could be assigned preset/snapshot/globally.  All of your presets would have Rhythm - off, Lead - on for this switch...and you could set a db boost for each patch.  It'd make it easier to adjust 30+presets (15 of which are leads) consistently.  Just adjust your global boost, when that setting is set to global. 

 

 

**sorry to hijack, not my intention. 

 

To continue your hijack, lead boosts shouldn't be a problem. I generally boost by about 3 dB and when we play live, I do soundcheck at my normal levels and just ask the sound engineer to leave me a little extra headroom. That way I can kick in the boost without distorting the preamps on the board and it still gets louder like it's supposed to. They don't need to touch the fader and they aren't freaking out because I'm clipping suddenly.

 

To the OP's point, I generally just play in headphones, but for practice we run through a QSC K10. Between practice and live shows, I can generally get a feel for when one particular setting is too loud or doesn't have enough mids or whatever and tweak from there.

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To continue your hijack, lead boosts shouldn't be a problem. I generally boost by about 3 dB and when we play live, I do soundcheck at my normal levels and just ask the sound engineer to leave me a little extra headroom. That way I can kick in the boost without distorting the preamps on the board and it still gets louder like it's supposed to. They don't need to touch the fader and they aren't freaking out because I'm clipping suddenly.

 

To the OP's point, I generally just play in headphones, but for practice we run through a QSC K10. Between practice and live shows, I can generally get a feel for when one particular setting is too loud or doesn't have enough mids or whatever and tweak from there.

 

Agreed...this is all about headroom and technique.  I somewhat go about it in the opposite way in that I have the sound guy set my signal level to "lead level" so it matches up but sits just below the vocal levels.  Then I control my normal playing levels more by touch and right hand technique.  That way I know when I hit leads or fills they will sit nicely above the general mix of the band, but slightly below where the vocals have been sitting.  Gives it a very "studio" quality blend onstage.

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Naturally PAs come in a variety of setups, but the only thing that accurately represents most modern PAs is going to be a powered FRFR speaker as that's the most typical type of speaker used in today's market.  I've never used an Atomic CLR, but I would assume it should be relatively close, but there are some differences in how DSP is used, compression drivers, and the general physics of a cabinet versus a long throw/wide spread PA speaker.  I'm not sure it would be worth buying a powered PA speaker just to check this sort of thing, but it might be worth borrowing one or even renting one just to check out the difference so you would know if you need to adapt anything at all.

 

In terms of your feed to the FOH I'd recommend using either a small mixing board or a DAW to normalize and level out the signal levels across your presets and snapshots using a signal meter (this is not the same as a sound meter).  That way you can use global settings to  set the XLR out to a Mic signal level and configure it to not use the Helix master volume.  With that configuration you're isolating your FOH feed from the master volume which can still be used for your CLR (on 1/4" out) and you're sending a full signal level to the board in a normal expected way that the sound man can gain stage appropriately at sound check and all your patches/snapshots will be the same level.

 

I'm assuming the "TILT" setting simply reduces the low end response characteristics of the CLR to account for bass coupling with the floor.  I have a similar setting on my DXR12 but it really doesn't make much difference in terms of representing FOH given that most FOH setups are using subs with a built-in crossover of usually 100 - 125 HZ which isolates the very low frequencies from the FOH main speakers anyway.

Hey I may try your suggestion (set the XLR out to a Mic signal level and configure it to not use the Helix master volume.) which gives me the stage adjustment volume knob without affecting FOH volume, however I believe that this sends a signal as if the volume knob is turned all the way up, .. hopefully my output does not have any clipping issues. Again to clarify, I change the XLR to a MIC output in global settings?  

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I play through the same PA every week. It is a QSC based system with 8", 10" mains and a couple of subs. I started building presets at home using IEMs, and the tones translated fairly well to the PA system, just a little thin because I was taking too much bass out of it. I then got a couple of 10" JBL Eon 610s and built presets at fairly loud volumes at home. Now I really don't touch the presets at all on the main PA system on play on. 

 

I also use the technique of "normalizing my volumes with the mixer meters in my DAW to ensure all my presets are in the same volume ballpark so the sound guy doesn't have to jump around. I do a final tweak through each preset staging the gains by ear during rehearsals with the full band mix. 

I've been using Audacity to check levels, I'm not sure of any other free DAW programs. Thanks!

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I would not worry as much about EQ to front of house as I would consistent volume between presets.  As DunedinDragon mentioned. send a solid signal out front and get your monitor the way you like it.   Let us hope the FOH guy is doing more than adjusting levels.  EQ in front of house is his/her job, not yours, you don't have the tools.   FOH is eq'ing to the room, the material and the other instruments.  Long gone are the days of just moving sliders for levels...  with the power and clarity of today's systems, that's just a recipe for damaging people's ears as the speakers and systems can replicate frequencies that can do serious harm.    What's so nice about the Helix, you can ask the FOH what kind of mic's he usually uses.   If there are other amps on stage with e609's or SM57's, you can supply the same signal as if he had that mic on your cab...   except your "mic" won't have all the bleed-through or noise and it will be perfectly placed.  THAT is what makes a good signal to front of house... rather than pre-thinking the tone you think they need.    

Great point on thoughts to change my paradigm, as to not worry so much about FOH, Helix should translate good if my stage sound is good. Thanks

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Get your tones to sound great, and then trust the sound guy. And yes, you will sound different at the gig. It's life. It' not FM, it's just different rooms sound different.

So true, Thanks

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To continue your hijack, lead boosts shouldn't be a problem. I generally boost by about 3 dB and when we play live, I do soundcheck at my normal levels and just ask the sound engineer to leave me a little extra headroom. That way I can kick in the boost without distorting the preamps on the board and it still gets louder like it's supposed to. They don't need to touch the fader and they aren't freaking out because I'm clipping suddenly.

 

To the OP's point, I generally just play in headphones, but for practice we run through a QSC K10. Between practice and live shows, I can generally get a feel for when one particular setting is too loud or doesn't have enough mids or whatever and tweak from there.

I'll have to have that chat with the sound guy (if I try the XLR mic level thing with volume knob just for 1/4" outs), and hopefully my output does not have any clipping issues.  Thanks!

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To continue your hijack, lead boosts shouldn't be a problem. I generally boost by about 3 dB and when we play live, I do soundcheck at my normal levels and just ask the sound engineer to leave me a little extra headroom. That way I can kick in the boost without distorting the preamps on the board and it still gets louder like it's supposed to. They don't need to touch the fader and they aren't freaking out because I'm clipping suddenly.

 

While I see you've worked this out with your sound guy...  a great way to lollipop off a sound guy and have him bury you in the mix (at least until he calms down) is to have a lead boost.   A better use of your time would be a setlist with notes.    A proper lead boost (not the only way of course) is you punch up the upper mids and NOT TOUCH the fader. Again, things have changed over the years due to the quality of gear we have to work with.  Imagine what happens when you get a sound guy that knows your tune...  knows when the lead kicks in and punches the upper mids a bit just as you kick the boost (the one he doesn't know about ) in...    Or worse..  he knows about it, which is generally the case the first time you use it..  and ends up what I do most of the time which is keep my hand on the fader to pull the boost out enough and make the eq change at the same time so it sounds smooth.  It's a little awkward cause if the guitarist also changed his tone with the lead boost I kinda have to hear it to know where he goes in the mix exactly... although I'll get it close right off... it's just extra work for no reason.  

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Great comments, Thanks!    But back to the other technical question:

 

Fletcher-Munson or NOT for Front of House ?

Realizing that every room needs a different FOH EQ, (200 to 500 seat club settings) and one is using in-ear monitors, should your guitar EQ be set to compensate for the 'Fletcher-Munson' effect for delivery through FOH?

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Great comments, Thanks!    But back to the other technical question:

 

Fletcher-Munson or NOT for Front of House ?

Realizing that every room needs a different FOH EQ, (200 to 500 seat club settings) and one is using in-ear monitors, should your guitar EQ be set to compensate for the 'Fletcher-Munson' effect for delivery through FOH?

 

You're going to have a difficult time anticipating the characteristics of the room and how the PA is tuned to address the Fletcher-Munson phenomenon. For example, two venues at which I play just about every week have FOH line arrays that are RTA-tuned to venues running program mix levels around 92 dB with peaks up to 96 dB. In the case of those venues, the Fletcher-Munson phenomenon has already been addressed. If I've done what someone has already suggested (i.e., "dial in a good sound in a flat response monitor context"), there's nothing I need to do further -- it's going to sound right (for both of those venues, our FOH folks rarely apply any channel EQ on the L/R signals I'm sending them directly from the Helix).

 

Even when playing at other venues through other FOH systems, there's no way I can anticipate in advance either the sonic characteristics of those spaces and/or the FOH levels at which those systems will be operated (furthermore, I have no way of knowing "in advance" the extent to which those systems have been 'tuned' to the room). Again, if I know I have a "decent sound" dialed in a flat-response context, I can at least tell the FOH engineer to start with my channel EQ set flat and go from there.

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You really just have to build your patches so they sound good an a reasonably "flat" system, and trust the FOH person. You can't be out front to listen in the heat of the gig, so what else could you do?

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...Realizing that every room needs a different FOH EQ, (200 to 500 seat club settings) and one is using in-ear monitors, should your guitar EQ be set to compensate for the 'Fletcher-Munson' effect for delivery through FOH?

 

 

Never. No. If you have a sound guy, let him do his job. If you don't, make your sound great in the house for the people who came to hear your music. If it's not as great in your IEMs, who cares...

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You really just have to build your patches so they sound good an a reasonably "flat" system, and trust the FOH person. You can't be out front to listen in the heat of the gig, so what else could you do?

 

 

You're going to have a difficult time anticipating the characteristics of the room and how the PA is tuned to address the Fletcher-Munson phenomenon. For example, two venues at which I play just about every week have FOH line arrays that are RTA-tuned to venues running program mix levels around 92 dB with peaks up to 96 dB. In the case of those venues, the Fletcher-Munson phenomenon has already been addressed. If I've done what someone has already suggested (i.e., "dial in a good sound in a flat response monitor context"), there's nothing I need to do further -- it's going to sound right (for both of those venues, our FOH folks rarely apply any channel EQ on the L/R signals I'm sending them directly from the Helix).

 

Even when playing at other venues through other FOH systems, there's no way I can anticipate in advance either the sonic characteristics of those spaces and/or the FOH levels at which those systems will be operated (furthermore, I have no way of knowing "in advance" the extent to which those systems have been 'tuned' to the room). Again, if I know I have a "decent sound" dialed in a flat-response context, I can at least tell the FOH engineer to start with my channel EQ set flat and go from there.

Understood. Great perspective. Thanks!

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While I see you've worked this out with your sound guy...  a great way to lollipop off a sound guy and have him bury you in the mix (at least until he calms down) is to have a lead boost.   A better use of your time would be a setlist with notes.    A proper lead boost (not the only way of course) is you punch up the upper mids and NOT TOUCH the fader. Again, things have changed over the years due to the quality of gear we have to work with.  Imagine what happens when you get a sound guy that knows your tune...  knows when the lead kicks in and punches the upper mids a bit just as you kick the boost (the one he doesn't know about ) in...    Or worse..  he knows about it, which is generally the case the first time you use it..  and ends up what I do most of the time which is keep my hand on the fader to pull the boost out enough and make the eq change at the same time so it sounds smooth.  It's a little awkward cause if the guitarist also changed his tone with the lead boost I kinda have to hear it to know where he goes in the mix exactly... although I'll get it close right off... it's just extra work for no reason.  

 

I don't think any sound guy I have worked with has put that much effort into mixing us. I just let them know that I use a lead boost from time to time and to just leave me a little extra headroom so they know it is an intentional volume boost. It's not that uncommon - some tube amps (like the Roadster and other Dual Recs) have the feature, too. The exact method I use varies depending on the song, but I usually just do a 3 dB boost. Sometimes I kick in an OD pedal instead (which usually adds mids AND volume). The point, really, is just to make sure it's heard. Do that bit of mixing on my own.

 

In regards to the mic level thing, there are two things you want to do. The first is to set your output level on the XLR outputs to mic level instead of line level. This way you don't risk overloading the board. The second is to change your settings so that the volume control does NOT control the XLR output level. I usually set mine to control digital only, which essentially means it does nothing. That way, I always output a consistent mic-level signal to the board. Alternatively, if you run your 1/4" outputs to an FRFR for monitoring, set the volume control to only control the 1/4" output level. Then you control your monitor volume with the knob but don't touch the main mix.

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Never. No. If you have a sound guy, let him do his job. If you don't, make your sound great in the house for the people who came to hear your music. If it's not as great in your IEMs, who cares...

True. Thanks!

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Hey I may try your suggestion (set the XLR out to a Mic signal level and configure it to not use the Helix master volume.) which gives me the stage adjustment volume knob without affecting FOH volume, however I believe that this sends a signal as if the volume knob is turned all the way up, .. hopefully my output does not have any clipping issues. Again to clarify, I change the XLR to a MIC output in global settings?  

You'll actually be changing from Line level to MIC level which is considerably lower in signal strength.  Unless you're really cranking the volume levels inside your patch (including levels on the output block) it's highly unlikely you'll clip anything as long as your sound man knows how to gain stage your channel.  This is one of the reasons I keep a small mixer with a signal level readout at home so when I'm dialing in my patches I know I have plenty of headroom. Of course it also helps to in normalizing the volume between my patches.

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