Just got the system with the bass module and went to work on it today. After reading some of the posts on this forum, it seems to me a good idea to just throw out my issues and get some help before I get all crossways and cranky.
First, it went better than I expected. Second, what was working was really working. Third the vocals were NOT a problem, just the opposite, I loved the way my voice sounded. Of course that is partly due to reading the posts of those who had trouble and trying to follow the advice. So since the advice was so good on one issue I will just lay the rest out.
I play in an acoustic duo format, mostly blues and blues related with a harmonica player/singer who is very well know among the harmonica/singer crowd nationally ( was invited to sit in a full set with Kim Wilson who is . . . well anyway the cat is a great player. Up to know we were using a McKenzie 8 channel amp/mizer and floor monitors, Bag End Mains.
I play a 92 Collings version of a D_28 with a K and K Trinity Western pickup. Its stereo out to a preamp that mixes signals from a small mic in the inturment and a Piezo under the bridge. Its tuned down to "D" but in standard tuning then capo'd up to E or whatever key I need, sometimes playing in D its a good harp key. I play fingerstyle blues, Piedmont stlye, Blind Blake etc and some standards like Key to the Highway etc. Everything on the Collings is fingerstyle.
My other insturment is a 74 Martin D 28 with a Rare Earth single coil and an L R Baggs para acousitc preamp mostly for tunes that have to drive pretty hard, strong bass, use a flatpick etc.
Final in a National Single Cone tuned to open D played through a Shure SM 86 which I also use to supplement the sound of the other two. It is used for Elmore James style rockers played in open D and played loud and hard.
I sing through an EV N/D 767a but I am not yet a very good singer: mostly Blind Blake tunes and some Muddy stuff.
OK that said, whew! Right now I run each through a PA Channel, so I use four in all. My questions are
What suggestions do you all have for me in terms of the set up I describe?
I these problems from my first day on the unit:
The main unit trim control has to be at 10 to get any hint of a red light and mostly not even then. The National mic'd through the Sure does get some red. It does not seem that it should be so hard to get a signal.
My volume is OK and I can get a good sound without feedback BUT not at anything near club volume. Granted, I may not need as much as I used to but still there has to be a lot more volume in this thing than I am getting.
Next is there any easy way or even a not so easy way to set up with the various insturments I am using when I only have what looks like two inputs that can be adjusted with presets. One has to go to the vocal mic.
Feedback: connected to the other issues, when I start to get the unit up in volume, I get some really nasty sounds with the acoustic Collings. I was sitting about 6 -7 feet away from the speakers. Suggestions for a remeedy please. I used the National and could get it pretty loud but not with good tone. A Strat plugged into a preset sounded very good, seriously good. I just can't use it in this venue.
My next post will be how to set up one for my partner but thats for another day.
Again I realize lots of info but if you don't know you can't help. You all seem very helpfull and I am looking forward to getting this thing running right so I can take it out to our Monday gig. Or Monday after next if need be.
Kingbee aka Patrick Nichols
PS should I cross post this to some of the other forums, ie Guitar and/or Vocal?
Lots of info to digest and I'll see if I can help but in the meantime...
No need to cross post, judging by the response level around here, most of the regulars at least glance at all the new posts. You'll probably catch the attention of those who can help with this one.
Hi Kingbee (or do you prefer Patrick?)
Can you say more about the PA Channel? What kind of PA or mixer is this?
I understand that with as many instruments as you've got, you want to go through some kind of mixer so you don't have to keep plugging/unplugging things, BUT
At least for testing, can you bypass the mixer or PA and let us know how it sounds for your instruments?
You mentioned 'club volume'. How big a club? (people or dimensions)This message has been edited. Last edited by: ST,
Lotsa stuff here.
Is the harmonica player also in your system?
With just your four inputs, pan vocal one way and guitars the other, utilize PS1 inputs one and two, from the L & R outs on your mixer. In the initial setup leave remote control EQ settings flat.
Set one preset to match your vocal mic, and as a starting point, set the other for the mic used for the national.
It is my opinion that when using a mixer, gain should be set per the mixer manufacturers directions, and the PS1 input gain set at or very near 0. In most cases this will give you the best signal to noise ratio, resulting in less hiss coming from the L1.
Utilize the mixer EQ section for each individual instrument as you did pre PAS. The vocal should not be a problem at all. Three different guitars through one preset might be less than desirable, but if you take the time to experiment I feel very confident one will work.
For the guitars start with mixer EQ flat and work with the preamp tone controls where available. Most troublesome acoustic guitar feedback comes from frequencies below 440hz, more specifically about 70hz to 300 hz. utilize notch filters on the preamps, phase switches, and B1 placement to control these problem areas. I am not sure if the propensity for low feedback will be greater because you are tuned down, or not, but that won't change the frequency range where the problems occur.
Guitar mics are more difficult, hopefully your National is pretty loud. For greater freedom on stage, I would try to mute the guitar(National) mic any time I was using a guitar with a pickup.
Regardless of what you have done in the past, try to get the volume up before making tone adjustments, then make small boost or cut adjustments as needed to satisfy taste or eliminate problems. Utilize the mixer for the more specific instrument and vocal EQ, and utilize the remote if a more general overall EQ is needed for the individual PS1 channels.
This may be more basic info than you hoped for, but there are so many variables in style and performance volume levels that it is hard to be more specific at this time.
Try to answer the questions above, and provide anymore information you think might be pertinent and we'll talk more later.
With a little time you will find you are hearing your guitars better, and it will change the way you play, and the way you listen to what you play, so be patient and enjoy your new adventure.
Remember these are not hard, fast rules that must be adheared to, but general suggestions for directions to go in.
Trying to judge PAS volume for a venue is tricky. If you're used to LOUD sound pressure in your stage pocket, the PAS probably isn't gonna replicate that. PAS dispersion is so much different you gotta learn that what may seem "mild" in your pocket is actually about right for the job at hand.
IMO - For some venues, it may not ever get loud enough because that's not the type of system it's designed to be.
If you push things too hot with the Collings, you're just gonna need to notch the flying Freqs out and/or stuff a donut in the soundhole, etc. There's simply too much resonance going on at the levels you're trying to achieve. Surgical notch filtering and acoustic deadening is about the only way to crank the volume way up with a sensitive guitar.
Continuin sorry dang "enter" key. ..
SO anyway if it works he will get one and with only two channels in use should be just fine, dont you think?
Club size is hard to state but we are dealing with bars, one about 30x100 the other maybe 50x70 with lots of crowd noise.
Oldghm thanks for some clear and usefull suggestions. This is mostly what I try to do but what I got from you is to get a mixer in the system ( our old one was on the PA not stand alone ) and try that once I get the guitar to work or to notch filter feedback. Am I hearing you right? I will do that today and work over the weekend.
Finally on the Collings we were able to make the volume level we needed through a old school PA system so we really are not all THAT loud.
Thanks guys for your suggestions. I will report back after further experiments and of course welcome suggestions from everyone else.
You'll be in for a challenge just mic'ing an acoustic instrument and trying to get to club levels. I've messed around with it at home, and had a rough time. You might consider investigating the DTAR Mama Bear or Fishman Aura, which are more or less "acoustic modelers". Fishman has a downloadable image for a Sheerhorn Dobro, and will probably soon have a National model. The DTAR I believe already has a National model in it (single-cone and tri-cone, I think) If you'd be willing to put a biscuit bridge pick-up in the guitar, you might be surprised at the results through one of these preamps. You could still augment with an external mic, but you wouldn't have to depend entirely on it.
You also might consider the bluegrass set-up mentioned in another thread, where the band played into two mic's, and the PAS's were set up slightly ahead of the players. The at-Bose-guys did this in their live performance room with what they considered spectacular results. I've played standing next to and even slightly behind my PAS with great results, particularly as the volume goes up. You can hear pretty darn well behind one of these things, especially in a duo setup.
I spent 15 years using pickup-internal mic combos of every type in my acoustic instruments (including the K&K, which is quite natural sounding), but now I just run through the Aura or Mama Bear with a piezo signal, and get excellent, consistent sound.
No dude, I'm not attacking your LOUDNESS but just pointing out that the PAS is LOUD in a much different way than spherical cabinets. Anybody who's managed much electric guitar feedback/squealing with a PAS will probably understand what I mean. The acoustic energy is dispersed so differently that decades of old rules will never apply.
You'll get it happening with a little time/work.
I didn't realize you didn't have a suitable mixer on hand.
Your setup will work directly into the PAS,
Vocal mic into channel one...
National mic into channel two...
Collings into channel three...
Martin into channel four...
The Collings and the Martin will depend solely on the preamps for EQ, I know the LR Baggs para DI will do the job, not sure about the other one.
Use the appropriate preset for your EV N/D767, #10 I believe in V.2
And try 41 or 42 for the national mic. This will likely be the most trouble to get right. there are some vocal mic presets that could work, try the "high gain" presets 03 and 04.
I don't recall a lot of talk here about micing resonator guitars, so experimenting is in order. It could work out better than some of us expect because you are not dealing with the resonance problems in the same way as a typical wood guitar.
It probably will take a fair amount of tinkering to get everything set so that all gain, EQ, matches the feel you expect from your instruments and matches up to the Master level on the remote.
I would try to get my vocal right first, then work each individual instrument into the mix at the predetermined Master level.
You are sure to learn a lot in the next few days, keep us posted on your progress, and feel free to ask more questions.
Thanks for the help. I see now about doing all four since I do have preamps.
I am not defensive about volume, I am just trying to get the most headroom out of the system and try it at different levels of volume.
All in all its working pretty well for just having it for a week. Did not get to take it out today, the club had double booked the evening so next Monday is the day.
Thanks for all the help.
But here is a question: how does the volume/gain ration or control work in theory. My K ank K had internal gain control as does the L R Baggs. I know it increases the signal strength before the volume control, right? What else does it do? How can I use it to tailor my sound?
Also is is normal for the master volume on the Base of the unit to be set at our about 9-10? Its that way on both vocal mics and instrument mics. If so why? Sorry for all the Qs but I really want to know.
It is unusual for you to have the gain set so high on the Powerstand all the way around. You should check the gain on the PS1 for each instrument/channel using the method described in the following link.
Follow the instructions to the letter; use the remote to drive the sound up to playing levels.
You may need to use "phantom power" for some microphones.
Hope this helps
http://www.theunmentionables.comThis message has been edited. Last edited by: holliwil,
The Gain on the LR Baggs serves the same purpose as the trim or gain control on the PS1, it is the initial stage of signal amplification, and if set correctly will keep noise to a minimum throughout the signal chain, from guitar to Baggs to PS1 to speaker.
Personally, and this is opinion, I utilize gain to try to get my signal/volume to "feel" the same through the system as it does without the system. I think of the gain as a sensitivity setting, and my goal is Baby Bear's soup. If the guitar signal is real hot, you must play softly and you still hear every touch of string against fret, pick against string, etc. If the guitar signal is not hot enough I find myself playing too hard, gripping the neck with white knuckles, in a sense over playing. Each guitar / pickup / preamp combination results in a slightly different setting for me. I spent several weeks when I first recieved my PAS trying different things, I am at a point now where my two favorite guitars are quick to set up even though I use different settings. One I can be very happy with or without the LR Baggs DI, the other I always use the DI.
Guitar tone is so subjective that anything goes as long as you are happy. I am always looking for natural acoustic tone "as I hear it" and there is never an EQ control left flat when I get what I want.
When using a mixer or preamp in front of the PS1 inputs, generally speaking the PS1 gain will be set considerably lower because you will already have boosted the signal to a point where the PS1 doesn't need to do much.
Inputs 1 and 2 are different than 3 and 4.
1 and 2 are designed for mics, they will work with many line level outs from other equipment but you must be careful not to overdrive them. If you are using a mixer they will be at or very near 0.
3 and 4 are designed for line level and should work fine with your guitar Pre's, cd player, etc.
The only real weakness of inputs 3 and 4 is the absence of presets. Since I only use 1 mic and 1 guitar I go direct, if I were going to use two or three guitars I probably would bring along my Alesis mixer so I could get everything into 1 and 2. Again that is a personal opinion, you will have to tinker and figure out what works for you.
It is important to remember that we all sing a little different, so what works for one may or may not work for another. I look for the same thing with my vocal as I do with my guitar, I want the system to respond to the way I feel, in a natural way, sooo... there is a balancing act between singing style, mic used, trim setting, volume, and the space you are in.
When you speak of "master volume on base of unit", I am guessing you are speaking about the Trim or channel Gain control on the PS1. Are you talking about 9 or 10 as printed on the PS1 or talking in terms of a clock face??
As a clock face that probably is not high enough, if you are relating to the printed #'s and marks, 10 probably is near the upper limit for most mics.
What seems to work for me with the N/D 767 is somewhere around the 2:00 position, that allows me to get the CHANNEL volume AND the MASTER volume ON THE REMOTE a little past the 12:00 position most any place I play without any feedback problems. In the places that I have enjoyed playing the most I was able to have vocal trim, channel volume and master volume all at about 2:00 with EQ near flat.
It took awhile for me to get to where I'm at but I use very little EQ on my vocal, when trim / channel volume/ master volume are all set right the preset is all I need to get started. Each venue is a little bit different but rarely do I end up with more than 2 or 3 db cut or boost on any of the vocal EQ controls.
I hope I have not rambled too much, and you find something here that helps in your search for your PAS sound.
Stay in touch,
I appreciate all the help. Yes I am referring to the master control on Ch 1 and 2. In order to get the hind of red I need to be up to 8-9 of the possible 10. The Mics are that way even with the phantom power on.
Gain, it sounds like has to be adjusted to a personal level, what sounds good. I appreciate the discussion and ideas.
I followed the link on setting the trim and that is how I have done it since I first got the system. With the K and K, if I turn up the preamp I get feed back but I will try it again and different variations to get the master trim to set at about 2:00 position. Fiddle with it, I will.
It sounds like you are concerned that you have to turn up the gains 'too much' in order to get a signal into the system. Nothing to worry about here.
So many controls have a centre detent (a notch at the halfway point) that suggests that this is the recommended spot and for some controls that makes a lot of sense (things that control bass, mid range, high frequencies) because at that magical middle, they are transparent.
Your trim controls are not like this. You set them where they need to be. You're ok unless
- shut all the way down you are clipping, or
- opened up completely you are not getting enough signal.
This will vary on the input and with microphones, even the singer and instruments, the player.
I typically have my input trims set higher than the guy who stands beside me. Why? He sings louder and plays his instrument harder. So his settings are usually closer to "half-way" and a bit and I'm usually closer to "three-quarters" or more. (I usually use the clock face analogy but this is more about feel than precision).
By the way, the phantom power doesn't add anything to the signal (it's not stronger). It's just that some microphones required this power to work at all.
Since you've got the trims set as per the instructions (strong, steady in the green, only rare flickers in the red). You're finished with the trims.
The settings on the Remote may not be as critical as you'd think. Sure, I like it when the volumes (individual and master) are at 12:00 because I have this nice feeling that there's plenty of wriggle room, and that's really the point. Depending on the song and what's happening, I adjust those while performing just like I do the controls on my instrument. I actually think of the Remote like a part of the instrument. I don't tend to adjust it as much the volume control on the Guitar but I don't feel compelled to set it and live with it either. I have a mental picture of how loud the system is in absolute terms and my ideal starting point. But that is no more correct than any other where things wind up at the end of a super quiet song or the finale of a rockin' set.
So, it's right if it sounds right and you've got the dynamic range to be do what you want.
Okay - enough of that!
When you said that you had feedback with the K and K, could you describe it? Low end howl, high end squeal?
Try the B1 at different angles.
Do you have a notch filter in your signal chain somewhere? Try it.
Try different presets (version 2.0 try all the 40 somethings)
Change the position of the input or change the angle of the System slightly.
Turn down the highs on the Remote (a little goes a long way here).
Looking forward to hearing that you've found "it" soon.
Hi Patrick - Dialing in your sound IS a personal preference, but proper gain staging does have some technical right and wrongs.
The accepted rule is to set your gain as HIGH as possible, as EARLY in the signal chain as possible - and adjust each consecutive gain stage until you reach the last component. This will give you maximum headroom and the best signal-to-noise ratio. Every signal carries some noise with it, and if you set your gains too low at the front (preamp/mixer/processor), and then try to compensate for it at the end (PAS), you will be magnifying the "noise" as well as the signal. The "cheaper" the equipment is that you're using in front, the more obvious this will be.
The easiest way to do this is to just VISUALIZE how your signal runs. Whatever your signal from the guitar or mic hits first - be it internal or external preamp, processor, mixer, whatever - maximize THAT trim control first. Having LED's to visually see the clipping makes this job much easier - just sing or play as loud as you plan to (turn the master down - you don't need to actually make noise to set your trims if you have LED's) and crank the trim/gain until it flashes red into clipping - then back it off a bit to give yourself some room. Then continue down the path of the signal chain - this includes any "inserts" into the chain - adjusting each component until you finally hit the PAS, which is the end of your chain.
Every piece of equipment that I've used in my PAS has benefited from this rule. I've had some pieces that had intolerable amounts of noise (the Digitech Vocal 300 comes to mind) when the gain at the Digitech was set low, and the PAS set high. When I reversed them back to the "rule" - set the Digitech gain as high as possible, and just adjust the trim at the PAS only as needed, it became a usable piece of equipment.
Great explanation. I'm going to add a link to this in the Lessons Learned / Unofficial Guide section unless you can suggest a better reference.
What do you think?
Sure ST. I know I've posted this "rule" in detail several times on this forum, but some of the other posts are probably more long winded and not as easy to read.
To All watching this thread,
I'm going to get into something that may be a slippery slope so bear with me.
I try not to think about it too much because there is so much on the technical side of gain staging that I don't understand myself, certainly not well enough to explain, but......
If ST and I are standing side by side, performing on separate Personalized systems, each using the same model mic, standing the same distance from the L1. The EQ is flat and volume controls on the remote are adjusted to produce equal average performance levels, let's say about 90db.
Because our singing styles and strengths are different ST's PS1 TRIM stage is set at 3:30 and mine is set at 2:00. Which of us is more likely to have a feedback issue???
Now *there* is the Oldghm I remember from last year.
The answer: All things being equal (but they never are)...
I will probably have a greater tendency for feedback issues because my input sensitivity is higher.
This will depend on our respective mic techniques, and quite probably the respective size and shape of our heads.
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