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Gain Structure In Digital Plugin Presets/Expansions
Old 31st August 2011
  #1
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Gain Structure In Digital

Ok... more on gain structure. Just got back off tour and yet more people are insisting on keeping all faders at unity and mixing with the gain pots.

Now on a analogue desk that also has to deal with monitors, turning up the gain will increase the signal sent to the monitors. So obvioulsy that shouldn't be done.

Is this the same with a digital desk? If i mix with the gain which all the in-house FOH were insisting will it increase the monitor send?

I'd like a definitive answer because i like to mix with the faders and when im talking to FOH veterans i'd like to know what im talking about.

Much Appreciated

JN
Old 1st September 2011
  #2
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The answer is: it depends. On lower priced products (-2k?) it will most likely be the same as the analog console.

As you spend more money, many digital consoles are full audio routers, which means you can route a source to many destinations. You see all the in's and out's in a list, thus you could route an input to one of your channels on your console for processing and mixing, and also route it straight to an output (to the FOH console), effectively "bypassing" your console.

However, even at the high end, this likely won't work for mic preamps--only line and AES. Generally the gain stage is at the mic pre box, thus the audio coming off it is always post the gain stage.

This is why mic pres have split outs for this application.

I agree with unity faders for setting levels but not for real-time mixing, that just seems ridiculous.
Old 1st September 2011
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jungle_nun View Post
Now on a analogue desk that also has to deal with monitors, turning up the gain will increase the signal sent to the monitors. So obvioulsy that shouldn't be done.
You should reexamine your conclusion. While I stop short of saying I mix with gain pots, I do constantly adjust them. I do this because I want the monitor signal to increase when it increases in FOH.

The most simple example is 3 vocal channels with one monitor mix. Faders to unity (or a lesser amount in a busy mix), monitor sends to unity, and use the preamps to balance the three vocals. If I did it any other way then the balance in the monitors wouldn't be the same as the balance that I hear.

I have about a dozen exceptions to this method (a really quiet singer could provoke feedback if I pushed up the gain, so instead I'll push up the fader if I'm nearing feedback in the monitor).

And of course if there are separate FOH and monitor engineers and desks then mixing with gain knobs is irrelevant.
Old 3rd September 2011
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M4-10 View Post
You should reexamine your conclusion. While I stop short of saying I mix with gain pots, I do constantly adjust them. I do this because I want the monitor signal to increase when it increases in FOH.

The most simple example is 3 vocal channels with one monitor mix. Faders to unity (or a lesser amount in a busy mix), monitor sends to unity, and use the preamps to balance the three vocals. If I did it any other way then the balance in the monitors wouldn't be the same as the balance that I hear. .
Interesting post. In my (low end) of the live world I see 'live ending up largely a game of damage control and 'pleased to hear at least when the basics are done right!
If I were to try to scale successful monitoring tasks, level 1) each hears themselves well, 2) hearing a decent reinforcement of key other elements one would like.
But in the multiple monitor mix scenario it seems these two tasks where 'a bit more me is the typical mix is about as far as you get. While perhaps being a practical reality it's at odds with the notion of 'give us a true representation of our blend so the musicians can do the blending.
The only time I get to see that it seems is in 'DoItYourself mode!
So, kudos to you sir.

To expand, how about 'Balanced ('true'ish) on the gains/aux send blend, then FOH faders do 'corrections?
Old 3rd September 2011
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by M4-10 View Post
The most simple example is 3 vocal channels with one monitor mix. Faders to unity (or a lesser amount in a busy mix), monitor sends to unity, and use the preamps to balance the three vocals. If I did it any other way then the balance in the monitors wouldn't be the same as the balance that I hear.
Odd. Most everyone I've ever done monitors for wants to hear mostly "me" plus a little of selected others. They certainly do not want me changing their monitor mix during the show (much less during a song) without them telling me to do so. (What I do in the house is, mostly, up to me.)
Old 3rd September 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildplum View Post
Odd. Most everyone I've ever done monitors for wants to hear mostly "me" plus a little of selected others. They certainly do not want me changing their monitor mix during the show (much less during a song) without them telling me to do so. (What I do in the house is, mostly, up to me.)
I'm talking about one monitor mix, often with acts that have alternating performers on lead vocals. A balanced monitor mix is a pretty good place to start. By riding the gain I'm keeping the vocals balanced in FOH and monitors. Some performers are very talented at riding their own level and don't require much attention once levels are set. Some great (and less great) performers don't have this skill.

With multiple monitor mixes I have the same methods, except a person's personal mix will have other vocals down -6 dB or so.

Naturally I am responsive to performer requests once the basic levels are set.

No one has ever complained when I have turned them up when they are too quiet in a passage or turned them down when their changing dynamics have unbalanced the mix.
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