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Old June 4th, 2004, 07:00 PM   #1
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I got good sound from the sound system. . . why?

At the local Memorial day ceremony I provided the sound system (Mackie 406M powered mixer) as well as taped the event. I plugged my senn plug-on transmitter into the Mixer line out through a Shure attenuator set at - 20 dB. The sound came out great! The senn receiver was plugged into a DSR-300 about 50 feet away.

Why doesn't it almost never work that way with a DJ's rig? I don't think I did anything different from a DJ's setup or operation except I didn't try and fill the sails of the boats in the river with the air from the speakers.

The sound is crisp, clean, and basically flawless for both the spoken word and the music. I don't think I've gotten this good a sound with a wired connection.

Do you think this is a fluke or is the Mackie that much better or just plain dumb luck?
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Old June 7th, 2004, 11:23 AM   #2
 
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Mike
The DJ's rig might be set up for +4 audio only, might be that it's a noisy mixer, might be that atmospheric conditions were favorable, and it might be because the Lakers did well....
Seriously, the Mackie mixer is a great mixer, and might be that the mix engineer knew what he was doing and had trims, etc all set right. So, I'd not at all consider it dumb luck, but that you likely had a competent engineer behind the mixer, there are a few of those guys out there. And you had a good console.
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Old June 7th, 2004, 01:25 PM   #3
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Uh, the mix engineer on that one was me, Douglas. BG

What I think happened was that I adjusted microphone levels with the input level controls and used the volume control on the mixer to set initial sound levels during my sound checks. Then the power-side volume control was not adjusted again.

So then, whenever I adjusted the microphone level controls, I still couldn't exceed line-level signals and I kept the line-level outputs fairly even, regardless of the microphone or music source. Since I was feeding the transmitter via that direct output, I couldn't get into trouble.

I think.

Good thing because my wife was monitoring (protecting) the camera, not operating it. Which is a good thing because she would give me technical information such as, "The two bouncing bars never went up to the top so I figured it was OK."

Think I learned one more thing. One cannot adjust PA output by sitting behind the speakers at the control panel. You have to have another person or have a monitor pointing back at you to make it all work OK. Is that correct? Could that be why the DJ's so often blast the room?

Do you know of a good book on setting up and operating basic PA systems? I have the Mix book on sound reinforcement but it is a bit over-the-top for the use of the Mackie and a pair of 15" Yamaha's.
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Old June 14th, 2004, 02:05 PM   #4
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Hi Mike!

This is my first time posting, so I wanted to say thanks for all your past posts, which have often been totally helpful in pointing me the right direction. Thanks!

I came from sound before getting into video and on the sound reinforcement side of things, there's a few books that I've found helpful in the sound reinforcement realm, depending on your level of technical comfort.

For the basic "for dummies" level, you've got Paul White's short books. The one on sound reinforcement is "Basic Live Sound". Great for anyone who doesn't know anything about sound, but wants to dip his/her toes into the water. His books are a bit too basic for my taste, but at about $8 or so, you almost can't lose.

A good beginner reference that I have seen is the "Sound Reinforcement Handbook", by Gary Davis, et al. I have a feeling that it may be the one that'll help you best and it has enough practical reference info that you can keep it around. The last time I looked, you can actually flip through it on Amazon before you decide to buy.

A book that's really dense in information and theory, but is probably too theoretical to be immediately practical (at least for me), is "Sound Reinforcement Engineering", by Wolfgang Ahnert, et al.

I've read through sections of all of these books when I was looking for a live sound book and found them all worthwhile. Just to put things into context my audio experience has been focused on studio/location recording and acoustics/psychoacoustics (personal interest), so I'm definitely not an expert in PA setups. The skill translates, but application method changes.

Hope that helps some. Good luck!!
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Old June 14th, 2004, 06:51 PM   #5
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One more just popped into mind, since just I noticed you wanted something specific to setting up your Mackie with a couple of 15's. I stumbled on a soft-bound book dedicated to setting up Mackie mixers at Borders a few months back. Doin' a search on Amazon found "Mackie Compact Mixers - Edition 2.1". Maybe that $8, Paul White book will be just the ticket, since you're looking for something simpler.

-Harris
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Old June 16th, 2004, 04:59 PM   #6
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Thank you, when I get home, I'll get on to Amazon.
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