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What Do You Want to Know About Live Sound But Are Too Afraid To Ask? Dynamic Microphones
Old 10th March 2014
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XENGS View Post
I'm not afraid to ask, but I didn't feel like opening a new thread just for a single question...
I'm 14, and I'm really interested in live sound engineering; I spend nearly all day searching about techniques, equipment, and so on, and so far I've learnt LOTS of stuff. Forums have pretty much given answers to most of my questions, except an unusual one...

My question is: Do all (rental) companies offer "Event Organizing" and complete Staging/Lighting/Audio solutions, or are there companies that do Audio only? I live in a small island in Greece, where all "rental" companies are studios with a set of low-end* Line Arrays, an averagely-sized stage, some trussing and par cans so I can't really get an answer...

I'm sort of trying to do my plans for my future. I'd like to move to the UK or some other similar country (With more sun :P), where there would possibly be more demand for an Audio-Only solutions (Dry-Hires, Hiring and mixing, as well as mixing-only) - If there is actually any demand at all.
Depending on the answers, I might have some follow-up questions as well...
Thanks!

low-end*: Low End compared to Vertec, vDosc, and stuff like that. One company that I'm aware of has a dB Technologies DVT4 set (I think 4+4 tops and 4 subs), another one has Martin Audio speakers, and a third one some DIY (Well they look like DIY) Cabs.
Yes, companies are out there that just do audio, but they are less common than full houses that handle everything, until you get up into the REALLY big leagues. It really depends on what the market is like in the region. In my neck of the woods it would be extremely hard for an audio-only company to stay afloat, as clients do not want to pay for three sets of employees at an event, etc. It is also "just easier" to hire one company to do it all. (One truck)

For what it's worth the DVA T4 boxes are phenomenal for the money in my opinion although 4 per side is not enough to act as a "line source". I would strongly advise against any business model that relies upon proprietary speakers as almost no established acts will accept them.
Old 10th March 2014
  #62
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Thanks for the answer!
As for the DVA T4's; They're not bad, but I'm against those small line array setups... They probably don't act as a line source, yes - They certainly would get better results from a pair of big Danley Synery horns...
But people here are not that talented or skillful (Generally, in all kinds of businesses. The ones who are usually leave abroad). That particular studio probably just wanted to have a "Line Array"... Usually for big concerts they just get everything from Germany!

Anyway. I have some more questions...
First of all, what are those audio-only companies supposed to provide? A FOH setup (Console, main speakers, subs, outfills, downfills, frontfills), a Monitor setup (Console, wedges, Sidefills, IEMs, a Drumfill setup), microphones... But are they expected to provide a generator to run it all for example? Guitar Amp stacks?
Is the crew that helps with loading/unloading and setting up of the speakers (and other equipment) provided by the audio company as well? The people who rig those hundreds of Line Array boxes...
And lastly, how big must those companies be in order to survive in the audio-only world? For example, would they be doing gigs with 20 Vertec 4889's or 200?
Oh, and... Would you find a Shure SM57 or 58 in the inventory of a big company like that?
Thanks!
Old 10th March 2014
  #63
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A soundco providing only sound needs to be flexible and offer a large selection of inventory to get someone to pick them over a full-production house. Realistically this means having large and medium format consoles in stock from just about every major manufacturer, representing an investment of millions of dollars in consoles alone, and also multiples. For example a pair of SC48's for FOH and MON on a single show. All the mains, fills, wedges, amps, cables, mics are the responsibility of the soundco as well. Some provide backline such as guitar amps but not all. Again, anything that increases your viability as a company is a good idea. In my experience generators are subcontracted or crossrented but I do know some guys who own their own gennies. Crew really depends on the gig. Sometimes you send out one or two guys and request local "cattle" hands. I personally do not like to work this way, as I want everyone on my crew to know what they're doing. Obviously this costs more to the consumer.
Yes, they would most likely have 57's and 58's as they are still among the most widely used mics in the world. (Fun note: aside from the pop filter they are completely identical. People will argue against this til they drop but shure themselves have stated that they're the same)
Old 10th March 2014
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XENGS View Post
Anyway. I have some more questions...
First of all, what are those audio-only companies supposed to provide? A FOH setup (Console, main speakers, subs, outfills, downfills, frontfills), a Monitor setup (Console, wedges, Sidefills, IEMs, a Drumfill setup), microphones... But are they expected to provide a generator to run it all for example? Guitar Amp stacks?
Is the crew that helps with loading/unloading and setting up of the speakers (and other equipment) provided by the audio company as well? The people who rig those hundreds of Line Array boxes...
And lastly, how big must those companies be in order to survive in the audio-only world? For example, would they be doing gigs with 20 Vertec 4889's or 200?
Oh, and... Would you find a Shure SM57 or 58 in the inventory of a big company like that?
Thanks!
The very big sound companies usually have a huge inventory of sound and (at least some) light equipment, and all the auxiliary equipment and crew that are needed to make those systems work. Including trussing, electrical cabling, generators and even stages. Most really big companies have enough inventory to allow them to take on several tours or festivals and other gigs all at once. Even medium sized, regional companies will have the capability to take on two or three smaller tours and festivals.

It is very difficult for sound companies (of any size) to be too specialized and survive in the market especially since many clients like to deal with one production house for their needs…they normally don't provide backline however as this is usually handled by very knowledgeable and specialist companies.
Old 10th March 2014
  #65
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XENGS, I can expand on that a bit:

I work full time for a production company. We are a full service company, we rent out not only lighting and audio equipment, but also backline (guitar amps/drums/DJ gear), staging (risers and decks), full mobile trailer stages (Stageline from 24x24' to 40x60'+) and more. Our sister company is a power/generator provider, with the same owner, so we typically use them for all our generator needs.

We find it a lot easier (and easier to maintain quality control) when we just handle the entire production ourselves. We put up the stage, provide the power, set up the production lighting/sound, and provide all the backline. There's no confusion as to who owns what pieces, and we never have to worry about some amateurs putting up unsafe rigging or staging, or power that's unsafe.

For our large shows, we typically come in with a crew of about 6-8. This includes myself as A1/FOH, a Monitor engineer, FOH tech, Monitor tech, an A2/audio asst/patch tech, a backline tech, crew chief, and maybe a few stage hands. The rest are hired locally.

For small shows, it's as few as 2 or 3. FOH, MON, and maybe an audio asst.
Old 10th March 2014
  #66
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Thanks everyone, that's all great help!
And hopefully my last question... How do those companies start up? Is it a rich guy who spends millions in equipment, or do they start up as a small full-production house and go on from there? What kind of investment would be required to start up a company that would eventually evolve into something like this?
Thanks again!
Old 10th March 2014
  #67
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The biggest production company in the world was started in a garage many years ago by two brothers...it was their hobby.
Old 10th March 2014
  #68
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Clair Bros?
Old 11th March 2014
  #69
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Yes...
Old 11th March 2014
  #70
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There is an old joke that if you want to make a million dollars, begin with two million dollars and start a sound company. :-)

Not an easy business to break into at the high end, and the low end is pretty vicious with bottom feeders thanks to so much cheap gear available. Many of the low end guys really are hobbyists, with a day job to support their hobby.

JR
Old 11th March 2014
  #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monocluster View Post
Yes, companies are out there that just do audio, but they are less common than full houses that handle everything, until you get up into the REALLY big leagues.
Or the very small leagues where it is common to have a person offering a sound system and maybe a few lights. But as JR noted, that is often a market where the party who gets the job is the one who is willing to lose the most or is willing to provide the minimum they can get away with.
Old 19th March 2014
  #72
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What do system techs do and how do they do it?
Old 20th March 2014
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrolytic View Post
What do system techs do and how do they do it?
Ah, an excellent question, not only because I am a system tech but also because I had no idea what a system tech was when I first got into the industry.
Basically a system tech is responsible for setting up and tuning the system, getting it ready for the mix engineer and making sure that "what goes in is what comes out."

Generally in larger settings (arenas) you start by booting up acoustic prediction software, either the manufacturer's own or one of the industry standards (EASE Focus). Inside a virtual model of the space, (s)he will use the software to figure out where the speaker hangs will be, and the software will give you the hang points for each array, the weights / rigging information, and the splay angle for each box in the array. The system tech will either supervise the hang or hand this information to the techs hanging the speakers.

Once everything is deployed, the system tech will use delays and EQ's to tune the system and make sure it all works together as one big sound system. This includes phase-aligning the subs with the mains, balancing infills and outfills, and tuning delays. A system processor is used to take the stereo feed from the mixing engineer's console (and perhaps an additional sub feed or front fill feed if the engineer prefers to mix them separately) and routes everything to the appropriate amps / speakers.

In short, the system tech sets up the system so the engineer can mix the same way each night and have it sound consistent, addressing each venue's acoustic challenges. Also to make coverage within the venue consistent, so hopefully everyone hears what the engineer is hearing regardless of where they are sitting.

If you want to know more, just ask.
Old 20th March 2014
  #74
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In addition to the above the system tech is also responsible for the maintenance of the system on the road. Loudspeakers with damaged components etc are his responsibility...it's his job to keep the system running.
Old 20th March 2014
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrolytic View Post
What do system techs do and how do they do it?
It depends. Tour system techs, rental/production system techs, house system techs, install system techs, etc. all deal with live sound systems but may all have different roles. And some may have roles that vary greatly, for example what a rental/production tech does out in the field may be quite different than what they do back in the shop.
Old 22nd March 2014
  #76
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I have another question, I just got the EV Live X series speakers, the manual says "use 35 hz low pass filter (from mixer or processor) " and everywhere else says "recommended high pass freq. 45 hz"

Is it possible the manual has a typo? Why would I use a low pass filter on my amp (which only has high or low, not both) with speaker tops?

-edit

Also, Would it hurt my speakers to run them in "stereo bypass" and utilize all of the frequencies if I am not using them with a sub? Or for dual 15" woofers is it better to high pass out to them, even without a sub?

Thanks a ton!

P.S. Here is the manual (it's like a mb) if you feel like seeing it

http://www.electrovoice.com/downloadfile.php?i=969002
Old 22nd March 2014
  #77
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Setting the high pass filter is always a compromise anyway. If you set it higher you will have more protection. If you have the option to try it both ways see if you can tell a difference. Depending on the material you intend to send through the speakers it may not make any difference. If it doesn't or the difference doesn't bother you then take the higher one.

What options do you have for selecting the frequency of the HP filter? Which model speaker do you have because the frequency is different for each of the models. Generally I like to use the -3dB point as the corner frequency and then a 3rd or 4th order filter.
Old 22nd March 2014
  #78
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It has a range of something like 50 hz - 3 khz, same as the crossover and LP
Old 22nd March 2014
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maelstrom99 View Post
It has a range of something like 50 hz - 3 khz, same as the crossover and LP
Is 50Hz the -3dB or -10dB point? Like I said above matching the filter corner frequency to the -3point of the box is generally the best choice.

I don't understand what you mean by "same as the crossover and LP"??
Old 23rd March 2014
  #80
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It sounds like a typo. You want to high pass your tops, not lowpass them.
Sending frequencies to a speaker that cannot create them is, at best, inefficient (much power will be wasted "trying") and at worse, damaging to the drivers.
Old 23rd March 2014
  #81
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I have a question about my guitar rig. Recently added my own mic preamp to the rack and use two SM57s on two speakers for stereo dry, which then gets routed through rack effects. At home I send this to an audio interface and record it as wet/dry.

Is there any way this can be used live? There are four balanced TRS outs, two wet and two dry. My rack can also sum this down to two TRS, but then the sound guy is not able to control the effects levels independently.

How would you prefer it? It should be a simple set and forget because I have them mixed as part of presets, but I never know if they hear something I don't, whether they care enough, room enough for the 2-3 extra lines, etc.

The last thing I want is to go back to running effects between the preamp and poweramp. I'm not happy with the tone at all, since the preamp signal is tinny and the amplifier loses all of it's analog mojo.
Old 23rd March 2014
  #82
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Unless you're on a major touring level I doubt 4 channels for one guitar is a realistic spec in most situations. I would go to mono dry, mono effected, or stereo effected if absolutely critical, then engage the FX when needed. The FOH won't have to worry about it that way.
Old 23rd March 2014
  #83
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As A sound engineer from a soundco I don't usually have the time to care about the guitar players' FX. When you've got a permanent engineer travelling with your band he knows the songs and he'll be able to make good use of such a thing, although 4 channels for 1 player is quite a lot on a 16ch or 24ch desk. The drummer needs a lot, but 4ch for 1 guitar player is a bit overkill. Furthermore, stereo doesn't work as well in live sound as it does on your headphones. People on the left side won't hear the right PA and vice versa which makes stereo pretty OK at front of house but not in pretty much any other position in the venue. Stereo live sound is doable in 1000+ people venues with PA's that have fills for the front rows, but I usually mix mono when I mix live, and anything stereo is just a little bit stereo, I never really go hard left&right (except with the muzak, as nobody seems to care as long as I'm not playing my favorite metal record).

When your band hired a bunch of gear and me from a soundco I wouldn't want to deal with any more than 2 mono signals from a guitar player, and a good mix between wet and dry FX is something the guitarist should have fixed long before the gig. If I use 2 mono channels for a single guitarist they are usually two different amps or a mic and a DI.
In this case a mic on the cab and a DI for the dry signal from the guitar pre-amp would be a good option. Using your own mic pre and mic for the mic isn't a good idea, just let the sound guy put up the soundco's/his own mic, and he'll be using the console's mic pre anyway as he'll want to have control over the gain knob during the show (if your distorted channel turns out to be way louder than your dry channel). A line signal from you allows the soundguy to keep the desks mic pre from clipping, but if the mic pre in your racks starts clipping during the show there's nothing the soundguy can do without having to leave his job, which is making sure you and your band sound as good as he can possibly make you.


Dutchy
Old 23rd March 2014
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James O'Donnell View Post
I have a question about my guitar rig. Recently added my own mic preamp to the rack and use two SM57s on two speakers for stereo dry, which then gets routed through rack effects. At home I send this to an audio interface and record it as wet/dry.

Is there any way this can be used live? There are four balanced TRS outs, two wet and two dry. My rack can also sum this down to two TRS, but then the sound guy is not able to control the effects levels independently.

How would you prefer it? It should be a simple set and forget because I have them mixed as part of presets, but I never know if they hear something I don't, whether they care enough, room enough for the 2-3 extra lines, etc.

The last thing I want is to go back to running effects between the preamp and poweramp. I'm not happy with the tone at all, since the preamp signal is tinny and the amplifier loses all of it's analog mojo.
is the cab being ran in stereo? are both drivers playing the same source? is it necessary to run two mics?
a stereo effect such as reverb creates a stereo field from a mono source, like a person a mono source, talking in a hall - this is how it is used on mono signals sent to an fx aux during mixing.

For Live sound I would use a single mic with a 'Y' split so FOH can take the same dry feed however pre pre-amp, this offers the option a potential failure free signal. It shows you've thought about it and will make the engineer instantly happy with your setup. Then now you have their confidence you know what your doing, Offer the tasty FX feed. Offer stereo but be fully aware that some venues the channel count will have a physical limitation on the desk or a stage box with dead lines on. When playing with other bands they too will have requirements that will eat up channels think keys, drum vox, samples etc. so When faced with a comprised situation be able to sum both of your stereo FX feeds into a combined mono signal using a mini mixer or box designed to do the job.

a two feed capability, will give you maximum compatibility
Old 26th March 2014
  #85
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What is the most effective way to solo each frequency band in a system to check for polarity coherence, eq, etc? Let's say we have a 3 way system with the subs on a crossover point not fed by an aux send. Do I go to the crossover and attenuate the bands I'm not listening to?
Old 26th March 2014
  #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LipGeration View Post
What is the most effective way to solo each frequency band in a system to check for polarity coherence, eq, etc? Let's say we have a 3 way system with the subs on a crossover point not fed by an aux send. Do I go to the crossover and attenuate the bands I'm not listening to?
You could just mute the band(s) you don't want to hear at the crossover...
Old 26th March 2014
  #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
You could just mute the band(s) you don't want to hear at the crossover...
Or simply turn off the related amplifiers (or turn off the related speakers if using powered speakers).
Old 26th March 2014
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by museAV View Post
Or simply turn off the related amplifiers
Is it really easier to go (behind or under the stage) turn off a bunch of amplifiers than to just mute the band(s) he doesn't want to hear on the system's crossover...especially if the crossover is in the drive-rack at FOH where you can hear the result of your action without moving?

Quote:
(or turn off the related speakers if using powered speakers).
The OP asked about the different frequency bands not the individual loudspeakers.
Old 27th March 2014
  #89
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Do you really need to isolate bands to check for polarity, coherence and EQ? Why not just use SMAART or equal?
Old 27th March 2014
  #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Is it really easier to go (behind or under the stage) turn off a bunch of amplifiers than to just mute the band(s) he doesn't want to hear on the system's crossover...especially if the crossover is in the drive-rack at FOH where you can hear the result of your action without moving?
I wasn't disagreeing with your suggestion, just offering another option. It's not unusual for the amps and crossover(s) to be located together or for the crossover to be part of DSP in the amplifier. And some amps you may be able to be powered off or muted remotely. There may even be some cases where the crossover is part of the amplifier(s) and enabled by a hardware switch or a plug-in module. It's always good to have options.
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