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Outboard pres & comps with FOH console
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Outboard pres & comps with FOH console

I have some nice(r) outboard pres and compressors that I may want to use with a venue's FOH console. This console has TRS single-jack inserts, no patchbay, and TRS line-ins that pad but don't bypass the preamp. It looks like my choices are:

1. Make split insert cables and only use my compressors;
2. Use XLR > TRS cables and use my pres and compressors into the line-ins;
3. Same as 2., but make cables and go into the insert returns.

Which would you do?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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What is the venue console, and what kind of music are we talking about?

If it's quiet intimate jazz, I could see the benefit of better mic Pres if you can figure out how to wire them in. Otherwise, I'd say that the subtleties of the mic pre character will be lost on the system.

But more info needed.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
What is the venue console, and what kind of music are we talking about?
It's a Soundcraft Series Two. The music ranges from solo singer/songwriter to loud(ish) rock. Nobody's ever had a beef with the preamp quality in the room; I'm mainly interested in having more channels of compression, but my outboard compressors live in a 500 rack with my pres. So the pres are along for the ride regardless of whether or not I use them.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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If it were me, I'd probably just put the compression in via the insert jacks and ignore the outboard preamps. I'm not suggesting that's the only reasonable thing to do or even necessarily the best for your situation; it's just what I would probably do.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
It's a Soundcraft Series Two. The music ranges from solo singer/songwriter to loud(ish) rock. Nobody's ever had a beef with the preamp quality in the room; I'm mainly interested in having more channels of compression, but my outboard compressors live in a 500 rack with my pres. So the pres are along for the ride regardless of whether or not I use them.
Brent - thanks. for clarifying. Since the mixer inserts are unbalanced, I'd go with #1 and just use your compressors in the 500 rack.

For the gearaholics, what's loaded in the 500 rack? Also what venue? I'm in the South Bay, so may want to stop by and hear...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
TRS line-ins that pad but don't bypass the preamp
Adding a pad unlikely to be an improvement.

If you use your pre’s just plug them into the preamp.

Or plug them into the insert returns, if the returns are pre processing. That’d be the shortest path.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I have some nice(r) outboard pres and compressors that I may want to use with a venue's FOH console. This console has TRS single-jack inserts, no patchbay, and TRS line-ins that pad but don't bypass the preamp. It looks like my choices are:

1. Make split insert cables and only use my compressors;
2. Use XLR > TRS cables and use my pres and compressors into the line-ins;
3. Same as 2., but make cables and go into the insert returns.

Which would you do?
I would go with option #2 , don’t know how many gigs you’re doing but I personally hate reconfiguring my rack(s) for every gig when I’m on tour. After the first gig or two I need to be on autopilot and not be reinventing the wheel all the time. It’s a question of efficiency and this reduces the risk of having new problems ever so often.

Apart from the sound, the purpose of bringing gear is to increase your efficiency and to avoid the unknown. If you bring gear and have to reconfigure you defeat the purpose of carrying the gear in my opinion, so I’d rather leave the rack at home and find a solution that works all the time...but that’s me.

I used to do the every scenario thing too...a different set of cables etc for every possible setup/scenario, until I switched to using channel strips or nothing only...they go in front of the console or they don’t go at all. But then again “sounds good” is not the only reason I bring gear, knowing that it works and being familiar with its operation increases efficiency.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Been down these roads and I totally agree with Sam: Prioritize any way you choose between the three primary symbiotic factors. 1)sonic quality, 2)dependability, 3)efficiency: ignoring the importance of any of these three constitutes miss-placed priorities.
Hugh
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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I would go mic into pres - pres into line ins - inserts send and return to comps.

At line level even though the inputs are going into the pre circuitry it will be plenty clean and devoid of the board preamp "flavor".

That's if it is going to hang out and you aren't bringing this in and out on a regular basis. If it is a constant wire/rewire scenario I would rack up the pres and comps, go pre into comp into line in and make it easy on myself. But at that point I would likely leave the pres at home and just use the board pres and patch the comps into send/return.

My two cents.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bstapper View Post
I would go mic into pres - pres into line ins...

At line level even though the inputs are going into the pre circuitry it will be plenty clean and devoid of the board preamp "flavor".
He already noted that they are not real line inputs.

They are just pads in front of the preamps.

By definition you can't go into the 'pre circuitry' and also avoid the pre...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brew View Post
He already noted that they are not real line inputs.

They are just pads in front of the preamps.

By definition you can't go into the 'pre circuitry' and also avoid the pre...
I didn't say you could avoid the pre, I said you could avoid the influence of the pre on the signal (for the most part). Because the lower the level of input the lower the influence of the pre on the signal. So by maintaining proper gain structure he would have the least amount of the board pre "flavor" on the input signal. That is exactly the reason I put the word flavor in quotations.

Feeding a line level input into the board's preamps will have minimal impact on the signal - which was my point (that you apparently missed).
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
For the gearaholics, what's loaded in the 500 rack? Also what venue? I'm in the South Bay, so may want to stop by and hear...
FWIW, I've decided not to do it. But the lunchbox normally has 2 API 512c's and 2 dbx 560a's in it.

The gig in question will be at Kulak's Woodshed on the 21st with these folks:

www.blacktarroses.com

The venue has two channels of okay compression. I did a little something with the band's two frontpeople a few nights ago, and their singing was so dynamic that I figured that if the whole band sang like that I'd be in trouble. Turns out, though, that it's mainly just those two. So never mind.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
FWIW, I've decided not to do it. But the lunchbox normally has 2 API 512c's and 2 dbx 560a's in it.

The gig in question will be at Kulak's Woodshed on the 21st with these folks:

www.blacktarroses.com

The venue has two channels of okay compression. I did a little something with the band's two frontpeople a few nights ago, and their singing was so dynamic that I figured that if the whole band sang like that I'd be in trouble. Turns out, though, that it's mainly just those two. So never mind.
Nice looking place - more intimate than Baked Potato. I'd love to make it, but have to be up early to drive a lift gate truck for my daughter's marching band (now I'm the roadie...)

On the compression - I'd suggest multing the vocal channels and compress the FOH versions and leave the uncompressed ones for their monitors. nothing worse live than not being able to hear dynamics, and from looking at the Black Tar Roses setup, guessing they'd want to hear themselves well.

Of course this assumes on the board that the compression hits before the aux sends; if not, then shouldn't be an issue.

have fun!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
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i often carry two (or more) channel strips so if there's an analog snake and i'm the only one to use it, i patch straight into the channel strips' mic pres. if not, i'll insert them (by-passing the pres, using line i/o's).
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
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Reasonably modern consoles like the Series Two have good fidelity. The reason outboard preamps offer benefits is typically because they offer pleasant harmonic coloration, which will certainly survive passing through the console pads/preamps. Or you could make a cable which delivers an unbalanced signal from the preamp to the insert return (presumably the ring of the TRS plug).

I'd use a subgroup for the compressor, send from that and return on a separate channel. That way:
- you can put multiple channels through
- the compression is after the initial channel's EQ
- effects can be sent either pre-comp on the original channel or post-comp on the return channel (valid arguments either way)

Lots more circuitry involved that way, but like I said, all reasonably high fidelity.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AC2SPL View Post
... Or you could make a cable which delivers an unbalanced signal from the preamp to the insert return (presumably the ring of the TRS plug).
Yeah, that was option 3 in my first post. But that would involve me making up a dedicated set of cables that would only be usable in this situation, since the lunchbox is XLR-only and the Soundcraft is tip-return. So I'm going with option 4, which is "screw it."
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