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Running Helix "direct" - NO CABINET - My experience (and yours?)

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I play hard rock/metal in drop C# tuning, half step down. 


I'll sit in my studio for hours seeking the perfect tone through my 8" Yamaha HS8 + Sub setup...

And CONSTANTLY wonder how it's going to translate to local gigs that have 15" monitors, with or without a competent sound guy. 


Yeah, it sounds good to me dead center - how about stage left? stage right? 

I know the Fletcher-Munson effect, and I try to be a good boy and roll off my 4k to not PIERCE my listeners ears like every other band does... but still I wonder how they're hearing it. 


The question is: In general, how does an 8" setup + subwoofer translate to a club setting? Or... lollipop the 8" setup. How does one GENERALLY EQ their lollipop so that it feels balanced when playing through 15" speakers direct. Is it as easy as "drop the sub-100hz frequencies and let your bass player fill the gap"? 


Any thoughts? 

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No simple quick fix unfortunately!

Rolling off 100hz and say 4K (and maybe as low as 3K) is a start - but you just got to play it at volume - I'm constantly tweaking sounds created in the studio to sound good live - you will also need to adjust mids.

Even delay etc sounds a bit different.  So prep in the studio gets you somewhere to where you want to be, but there's no substitute for live level so far!

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My advice would be to try pretty much everything so you'll have a bit of time at your next gigs soundcheck, allowing you to listen to the PA from the front (hence from the audience spot). In case you don't run wireless, you could slap in a looper block (ideally at the beginning of the signal chain) and record some riff.

Now, I would assume that you won't manage to check this with all patches, so my next tip would be to have your global EQ ready. Decide whether you need it on all outs or just on the outs going to FOH. Set up hi/lo cuts as needed there. Additionally, you might want to check a pretty broad midband boost, as essentially this is resulting in a similar thing. Combining both isn't bad, either, sometimes it's all about removing excessive low end (low cut), shrill highs (high cut) and probably adding a bit of things to cut through better (midband boost).

When back home, you might want to try adjusting individual patches according to your global EQ. But you may as well not do that, because, well, there's the overall EQ, so why not having patches that work both live and at home...

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The only way I know of predicting how something will sound live is to use live speakers.  Studio speakers are good for what they do which is to represent a non-colored sound within a limiteds listening space or room.  And that's only if you've positioned yourself and your speakers optimally per the speaker manufacturers directions because they often exploit reflections off of walls.  The sound radius of the speaker has a typical sound cone radius that's evenly distributed vertically and horizontally in a forward direction.


Live speakers are designed for a very different purpose which is a non colored representation in a large space or outdoors so they're designed for accuracy across a wide horizontal radius and a limited vertical radius in order to more efficiently preserve sound energy for longer forward projection and absolutely no sonic leakage outside of their radius.  Because of this design they can sound harsh up close (that's why they don't typically place them right in front of people), but resolve pretty rapidly to their normal sound which will be consistent horizontally.


For this reason I dial in and test all my patches through a Yamaha DXR12 positioned about chest height, and listen to the results from maybe 6 or 8 feet away at different positions off axis from the speaker.  This has given me a very predictable and consistent sound with what I dial in at home across a wide range of FOH system such as QSC K12.2s,  QSC KLA12 line arrays, and even more exotic super high end line arrays in concert settings that are only sold through professional distributors.

What you won't be able to predict is how it will sound in context with YOUR band and can only really be adjusted at rehearsal or sound check.  But if your band has been together for any length of time you get used to where you normally want to sit in that mix and can predict it pretty well.


As far as adjustments as the mixing board, there's really nothing to be done there other than gain stage the signal and them mix it (volume level) appropriately with the vocals and other instruments.  If there are any room acoustic conditions that require adjustment determined by an RTA process that's not done on channel by channel basis, that's done across all channels as the room acoustics affect all channels equally.  My channel as well as bass, keyboards, and rhythm guitar are pretty much flat.  Most specific EQ work tends to be done on acoustic drums and vocals.

Here's my setup for dialing in my presets:


frankenstein sound lab (small).jpg

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