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Where are you putting your splitters?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
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daniel@mineral's Avatar
 

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Where are you putting your splitters?

For the past year I've been doing live recordings with a 16-channel passive splitter (Radial OX8's), and it's been working out well for small venues. I've attached a picture of how I'm using it in that context; the rack sits next to the stage box & patches in, and the sound techs just plug into my box.

Now that I'm moving into larger venues, I'm thinking of investing in another rack and expanding my track count to 32. However, I won't always be able to place my splitters on stage, as there may be anywhere from 4 to 8 stage boxes spread out across the length of the stage. In other words, I don't want to ask the sound techs to plug into my box 20 feet away when there's a much more convenient patch point nearby. However, I could also see the sound crew being hesitant to let me re-patch their cables at the mixer, or at a split/junction of their own.

For those of you using splitters to record shows, particularly those with high channel counts, where are you placing your splitters? Is it normal/acceptable to place them on stage as I'm doing, is it more SOP to patch in by the mixer, or do you find it depends completely on the venue & situation?

I've had to figure out most of my setup/workflow on my own so far, but as I move towards my goals of recording larger shows I want to make sure I'm not going about all this in some unorthodox/impractical way. If any of you would like to share any experiences you've had with patching in splitters, pitfalls you've run into, etc., I'd love to hear them!

(And yes, I realize this is an expensive way to go about splitting. For above 32 channels I'm just going to patch into the mixer's analog/digital outs).
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Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
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tourtelot's Avatar
FWIW, my splits always go next to the PA stage box (or there-abouts). The PA guys plug into the split box as they would their own stage box and my split, one of them, goes to their stage box one for one. Easy.

Here's a question. How often does everyone in this situation talk the PA into taking the xfrmer iso split?

D.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
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daniel@mineral's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
FWIW, my splits always go next to the PA stage box (or there-abouts). The PA guys plug into the split box as they would their own stage box and my split, one of them, goes to their stage box one for one. Easy.

Here's a question. How often does everyone in this situation talk the PA into taking the xfrmer iso split?

D.
So it looks like you're doing the same thing I am; placing the splitter right on stage (so more stage boxes would just call for more splitters). Even though I'd be tying all my racks together with a single MADI cable, this still seems like kind of a dispersed/complicated solution for high channel counts, doesn't it?

I've never tried to talk anyone into taking the iso split, as my transformers are very clean and I don't want the possibility of phantom cutting out on my account.

Last edited by daniel@mineral; 3 weeks ago at 01:45 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
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tourtelot's Avatar
I think that P48 is the least of my worries and I don't think any transformers (I have Jensens) sound better than no transformers. I'd rather have the direct feed always but sometimes run into resistance from the mixer. Just wondering about
people's methods of negotiation.

D.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
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Remoteness's Avatar
We also place our splitter next to the PA stage box within 15 to 25 feet depending on who's primary audio.

Sometimes we would get a split from them and patch into our splitter and either take our direct or isolated output depending on whether or not their splitter is transformer isolated or not.

If we are primary audio, we are also taking the direct out and providing phantom power to all mics.

If the show is about the recording capture we would usually take the direct feed. If we are the guest, we would have a discussion about it and plan accordingly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel@mineral View Post
For the past year I've
been doing live recordings with a 16-channel passive splitter (Radial OX8's), and it's been working out well for small venues. I've attached a picture of how I'm using it in that context; the rack sits next to the stage box & patches in, and the sound techs just plug into my box.

Now that I'm moving into larger venues, I'm thinking of investing in another rack and expanding my track count to 32. However, I won't always be able to place my splitters on stage, as there may be anywhere from 4 to 8 stage boxes spread out across the length of the stage. In other words, I don't want to ask the sound techs to plug into my box 20 feet away when there's a much more convenient patch point nearby. However, I could also see the sound crew being hesitant to let me re-patch their cables at the mixer, or at a split/junction of their own.

For those of you using splitters to record shows, particularly those with high channel counts, where are you placing your splitters? Is it normal/acceptable to place them on stage as I'm doing, is it more SOP to patch in by the mixer, or do you find it depends completely on the venue & situation?

I've had to figure out most of my setup/workflow on my own so far, but as I move towards my goals of recording larger shows I want to make sure I'm not going about all this in some unorthodox/impractical way. If any of you would like to share any experiences you've had with patching in splitters, pitfalls you've run into, etc., I'd love to hear them!

(And yes, I realize this is an expensive way to go about splitting. For above 32 channels I'm just going to patch into the mixer's analog/digital outs).
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
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daniel@mineral's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post
We also place our splitter next to the PA stage box within 15 to 25 feet depending on who's primary audio.

Sometimes we would get a split from them and patch into our splitter and either take our direct or isolated output depending on whether or not their splitter is transformer isolated or not.

If we are primary audio, we are also taking the direct out and providing phantom power to all mics.

If the show is about the recording capture we would usually take the direct feed. If we are the guest, we would have a discussion about it and plan accordingly.
Awesome. I'm glad to hear that multiple people here are putting their splitters on stage. Part of me was worried that I might have made things impractical in the name of audio quality, so it's reassuring to know that industry professionals are using the same methods (albeit on a larger scale). It seems like my problem could be solved by adding another rack or two to match the stage boxes at bigger venues.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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Remoteness's Avatar
As long as I've been doing this, we usually place the splitter on stage. That said, there have been times when it made more sense to place the splitter at FOH and split the signals from there. I like recording at FOH, especially when we're time-aligning our (recording rig) monitor speakers to match the sound at FOH.



Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel@mineral View Post
Awesome. I'm glad to hear that multiple people here are putting their splitters on stage. Part of me was worried that I might have made things impractical in the name of audio quality, so it's reassuring to know that industry professionals are using the same methods (albeit on a larger scale). It seems like my problem could be solved by adding another rack or two to match the stage boxes at bigger venues.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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jwh1192's Avatar
i agree with steve and others ... splitter onstage - usually next to monitor mix ... make your footprint small by going higher with your racks, always thinking about not being seen onstage, and agreed we are usually the Guests not the Primary ...

as a Technical Producer for multi-camera, mutli-track audio , i am very aware of what happens on stage and what happens in the production office before and after the visiting Remote Crew comes and goes .. and that Remote Crew is usually My Crew .. i am the best of the worst .. very nice to work with but i am a Virgo, so nothing should be out of place .. and i know because i have been the Recordist, the director, the stagehand, etc .. good to know everyone job and where and what they should and should not be doing !! .. for my job at least ..
walk a day in their shoes !! and try not to scuff them up to much !!

i always try and think about what it would be like if I was the Production and the remote came into my world for a short time ..


make it as easy as possible for the Act .. without them we would not be there capturing the show .. right !!! we would be in some Pub drinking beer and trying to make time with the nearest Lolita !!

happy to share any experiences i have had over the last 25 years .. mostly good but some bad !! and we always learn from the bad !!

hey Steve, hope you are well ...

cheers john
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 

I think at least part of the OP's question is about getting the venue's mics into your split when the stage is set up with multiple mic boxes, perhaps built in to the stage floor along the lip and upstage, permanently wired to the house system. Yes--it has been an issue when I have a single splitter rack, since basically you have to ask them to run mic cables all the way across the stage to the split and the BACK from the split to their built-in panels. Which is NOT going to happen. My splitter rack is in fact 6 separateable splitters in the same rack case, so in this situation I've had to park one or two near each built-in panel, use jumpers to get into their panel from the split, then run subsnakes or homeruns across the stage in some inconspicuous place to get to the stagebox of my snake. It's a pain in the ass, and both time consuming and confusing. If the venue stays analog all the way to the FOH board then that place is a better location for the splitter, thus. But if they are going digital right at the stage then it may be that an analog split isn't going to work. Since even big digital FOH consoles are kind of limited re: analog outputs, doing a track-per-input MADI (etc) recording output starts to look like a better idea....

Last edited by philper; 2 weeks ago at 04:55 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
If the venue stays analog all the way to the FOH board then that place is a better location for the splitter, thus. But if they are going digital right at the stage then it may be that an analog split isn't going to work.
Good point and I guess what this all means is that there is NO one right answer. Like so many things in our business.

Thanks for the reminder that a closed mind is a recipe for failure.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
I suspect that we'll see this evolve fairly rapidly in the next few years, and there will be a much higher incidence of multiple diverse digital stageboxes in the live environment. Looking ahead I suspect you'll want to get your split at a central point - either the monitor or foh spot, OR if they're using an IP network, get the signal that way. Folks who are doing big shows should probably be thinking about sourcing (buy or rent) equipment to join in on the audio network. I predict days ahead where the only analog audio is highly distributed all over the place, and there's not gonna be any central spot where you can get a decent analog split.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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tourtelot's Avatar
And won't it be a treat to plug my Cat6 wire into a box on the wall and have clean (no ground loops, etc) access to every audio device in the house.

This being said, there will need to be a different kind of trust fostered between artist's technicians, house technicians and "outside" technicians like us location recordists. What new sorts of trouble can be caused by this new open format.

"Could I please have your Dante password? I promise I won't cause any problems."

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
And won't it be a treat to plug my Cat6 wire into a box on the wall and have clean (no ground loops, etc) access to every audio device in the house.

This being said, there will need to be a different kind of trust fostered between artist's technicians, house technicians and "outside" technicians like us location recordists. What new sorts of trouble can be caused by this new open format.

"Could I please have your Dante password? I promise I won't cause any problems."

D.
Yeah. I anticipate more:
Me - you're on Dante?
Facility - Yes
Me - OK can I plug in?
Facility - Sure, here's your port. Here's a patch sheet, let us know how you want your receivers subscribed.

I really DON'T expect to ever use Dante controller on somebody else's network unless there's a high level of trust established.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
For any performance in a space bigger than a small club or a church gig, I would never give the PA the transformer-isolated split. If your rig crashes or you lose power, the concert will crash too. You will have the the artist/venue/promoter's lawyers' suing you. No extra bit of audio quality is worth that risk.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
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jwh1192's Avatar
i am working a show next weekend that is simply a MADI connection .. but as mentioned .. do not be surprised if you run into a Closed Digital System that will not allow a 3rd split .. and the band does not want you to place your splitters before them .. so a lose lose ..

and i second what Tim says about taking away the Direct from the Band .. myself, i have never seen the band give up the direct, unless a small gig, nit there really are No Gigs worth taking the chance .. and i would not take it as Tim mentions if you go down the whole sha-bang goes down .. and i have seen recording trucks lose genny power .. not a pretty party ..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Back when I was doing primaryly live, our splits ALWAYS sat on stage. To take into account stage boxes we just carried multi-core looms to feed out from the splits back into the stage boxes.

Carrying these looms meant that there was never an argument about where or how signals were routed.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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daniel@mineral's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
I think at least part of the OP's question is about getting the venue's mics into your split when the stage is set up with multiple mic boxes, perhaps built in to the stage floor along the lip and upstage, permanently wired to the house system. Yes--it has been an issue when I have a single splitter rack, since basically you have to ask them to run mic cables all the way across the stage to the split and the BACK from the split to their built-in panels. Which is NOT going to happen. My splitter rack is in fact 6 separateable splitters in the same rack case, so in this situation I've had to park one or two near each built-in panel, use jumpers to get into their panel from the split, then run subsnakes or homeruns across the stage in some inconspicuous place to get to the stagebox of my snake. It's a pain in the ass, and both time consuming and confusing. If the venue stays analog all the way to the FOH board then that place is a better location for the splitter, thus. But if they are going digital right at the stage then it may be that an analog split isn't going to work. Since even big digital FOH consoles are kind of limited re: analog outputs, doing a track-per-input MADI (etc) recording output starts to look like a better idea....
Right, this was exactly what I was worried about. Luckily my setup uses preamps & ADs in the same rack, so with 2 racks I'd only be running a single MADI cable between the boxes to link them.

Several venues I record at use AVID boards with no direct out; the first time I encountered one of those I was handed a Firewire cable and told I'd get 32 channels from the board. The channels I got had no correlation to the channel list, and after an entire sound check spent soloing tracks to figure out what was what, the FOH guy accidentally recalled the board and reset all the sends. Needless to say, now I capture everything the expensive way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
I suspect that we'll see this evolve fairly rapidly in the next few years, and there will be a much higher incidence of multiple diverse digital stageboxes in the live environment. Looking ahead I suspect you'll want to get your split at a central point - either the monitor or foh spot, OR if they're using an IP network, get the signal that way. Folks who are doing big shows should probably be thinking about sourcing (buy or rent) equipment to join in on the audio network. I predict days ahead where the only analog audio is highly distributed all over the place, and there's not gonna be any central spot where you can get a decent analog split.
While I see all the practical advantages of a digital setup, I'd still want to use my own preamps for audio quality, and the fact I'm not subject to the sound tech's gain staging. (That's not a dig on live sound crews; just by the nature of the job, they tend to be less exact with their preamp gain than a recordist.)
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