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Old March 17th, 2012, 08:01 PM   #16
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

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Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
Not at all... Desperation Audio is absolutely what I mean, I don't want people to read this forum and think putting a mic in front of a speaker is even remotely an acceptable practice....I thought the role of a forum like this is to educate, inform, inspire and improve those interested in the subject.
+10 Absolutely. Putting a mic in front of the venue reinforcement system is only one step above the absolute minimum: just using the microphone on top of the camera. I got into video (from exclusively audio) primarily because of the pathetic state of audio for video. "Desperation audio" is a perfect description of the practice. NOT recommended unless you absolutely have no better option.
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Old March 18th, 2012, 05:14 AM   #17
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

Okay okay, so y'all are correct that micing a speaker is not broadcast quality, not hifi, probably not even musical.

But I still think for the original poster, who doesn't seem to know how FOH mixers work, micing the speakers would give a more consistently reliable and useful result than anything involving mixers. If you disagree, I'd like to hear how to get better audio without messing with a mixer (other than "hire someone who knows mixers"),
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Old March 18th, 2012, 10:18 AM   #18
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

The person running the mixer probably knows enough about it to at least give you a feed for a simple production (talking head, etc.) Of course, you must communicate and negotiate in advance (even if "advance" means 90 minutes early.)

And if you are shooting something more complex, then you (or somebody) must make the production trade-off decision how good does the audio need to be? If you are shooting B-roll for the 11pm news, then throwing a mic in front of the house speakers for a 15 second clip is probably acceptable.
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Old March 18th, 2012, 04:33 PM   #19
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

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Originally Posted by Tom Morrow View Post
Okay okay, so y'all are correct that micing a speaker is not broadcast quality, not hifi, probably not even musical.

But I still think for the original poster, who doesn't seem to know how FOH mixers work, micing the speakers would give a more consistently reliable and useful result than anything involving mixers. If you disagree, I'd like to hear how to get better audio without messing with a mixer (other than "hire someone who knows mixers"),
A better way to do a show might be take a feed from the FOH desk (knowing it is NOT a full mix) put 2 or 3 short S/G mics on desk stands on the front of stage, mix the FOH desk o/p and the front of stage mics with a mixer and send it to TK 1 of the camera.... take the Camera mic off the camera mic and put it on a stand slightly away from the camera to avoid the zoom / focus noise for audience reaction / applause this signal goes to TK 2.
Do the final mix of stage sound and audience in post production.
The mixer needed is only a simple mixer you don't need to go top shelf like a Sound Devices even a mixer like a Behringer
Behringer XENYX 1002B - Battery Operated 10 Channel 1002B B&H
would work a treat, the mixer could be set up on a chair at the base of the tripod and then fed into the camera.
For very little cost the sound of your project would be improved beyond your wildest dreams.... (I'm not saying its broadcast level but it would much better than a mic in front of a speaker)

If you were to do it this way make sure that you monitor the mix of the audio signals... I often use 2 sets of headphones in setups like this, one set on the mixer and the other set on the camera (to make sure its actually getting to the camera through out the shoot)
I have seen so many times people not even monitoring the mix..... would you use a camera without a view finder...NO, so why would anyone use an audio mixer without listening to whats being mixed?

Last edited by Brian P. Reynolds; March 18th, 2012 at 10:11 PM.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 09:14 AM   #20
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

There is absolutely no point in micing the PA speakers, except that someone who knows absolutely nothing about audio can do it. It will be the wrong mix at a poor quality level.

If you're willing to settle for the wrong mix (what a mistake!) then you'd be better to just get a split off the board feed to the power amps. That would avoid any distortion from the power amps and all the unavoidable distortions from the speakers.

But since the OP has originally said he's not satisfied with the board feed, he won't be satisfied with the board feed through speakers either... it will sound worse than that he's already tried. Micing the speakers is entirely illogical in regard to the OP's question. And is a bad idea in general.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 10:54 AM   #21
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

Thanks to all for the feedback. I've learned quite a bit from this . . . long way to go, though.

My clients are performers that rent the hall and pay the staff for the gig, so it's not like the engineers are doing me a favor, they are performing the job they are being paid to do, even though it's their second priority. If they require more pay for a longer soundcheck/setup, alright . . . me too!
Most of the time an elaborate and costly setup is not in the budget. Let alone a post mix from a multitrack recording - no way.

So this is my 'boil down' - increasing in cost and complexity. (for my needs)

1- basic: Room mic (on-camera or better positioning) +FOH mix
2- better: Room mic + Secondary mix determined at soundcheck -no engineer monitoring
3- a little mo' better: Room mic + second mixer monitored by me (i use a pair of Bose over-the-ear headphones that have pretty good isolation & the shows are usually not that loud)
4- best: Room mic + second mixer monitored by second engineer

So, next time, i'll tell the client/performer that we need to get with the SE to get a plan together on a separate mix. If we have to get a more accomplished engineer or a second engineer, that's the client's expenditure and decision.

I have a Mackie 14 channel mixer (1402-VLZ pro).
Would this be an option for use if the board doesn't have a second mix capability? It only has 6 XLR inputs. My clients frequently have Piano, Drums, Bass, 3 pc Brass, vocals.

It was obtained in a package deal years ago and largely sits idle and dusty. I've never been able to get clean audio out of it using 1/4" patch cords from Roland V-drums and other sources(background hum), but i'm not a sound guy and i've never taken the time to learn how to use it properly.

What do you think about taking just the vocal feed out of the board? The clients are vocalists and that's what i'm usually trying to 'clarify'. The band usually sounds okay on the room mic but the vocals lack that sharpness. Maybe this would be a safer way to go. Or at least feed it to the second camera as an option.

I know the Rode NTG-2 shotgun mic is not the ideal mic for this application, can you suggest an economical mic that would do a better job?
Any suggestions on books or educational sources to get me more up to speed on the basics of soundboards?

Thanks again, Soundies!
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Old March 19th, 2012, 11:08 AM   #22
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

Ok. So, i was just thinking. I manage multiple cameras, sometimes locking off one angle to run to another position to adjust the second or third for a given variable. Obviously not the ideal, but necessary given a production's limited budget. Timed properly, it's a reasonable tradeoff.

So, why exactly can't a Sound Engineer check in on a separate mix once the house mix is stable?
Are they actively moving faders throughout every song in the setlist?
I'm not looking for perfection, but if this was performed even 2 or 3 times during a show it could have helped avoid glaring problems in my mix (ie. individual instruments way out front or not audible at all).

Would a secondary mix (is this the right term?) on one soundboard affect the FOH mix, when adjusted during the show? No, right? That's why it's a separate mix. I just want to get this straight.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 11:19 AM   #23
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

5- Even better: Room mics + second mixer and mixed by second engineer in a isolated 'control room'

I don't think the band (or vocalists) would be happy with a vocals only mix. ( though it could be blended with the room mics in post)

The house mixer 'may' be able to send sub-mixes (stems) to your 1402.. they would likely be line-level, so you would probably need a 1/4" TRS <to> 1/4" TRS snake. That could give you 10 mono input channels on the 1402. Twelve if you also used the Aux. returns.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 11:42 AM   #24
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

"( though it could be blended with the room mics in post)" - Yes, absolutely, that's what i meant.

"The house mixer 'may' be able to send sub-mixes" - so, if there's 5 mics on the drumset, this sub could aggregate the drum kit to one feed to the 1402, right?

Any other things to look out for? . . . .stupid question, of course there are!
What's the protocol on hand mic + lav mic . . . would they necessitate an individual feed? Or could that be setup in a sub mix -preshow. ie. set levels for each on the main board, then sent out to one line to 1402?

I guess this is where an engineer has to know the setlist and jump on muting that line after the song and switch to the other, huh?
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Old March 19th, 2012, 01:07 PM   #25
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

"The house mixer 'may' be able to send sub-mixes" - so, if there's 5 mics on the drum set, this sub could aggregate the drum kit to one feed to the 1402, right?"
-- Right, IF.. the 'house' console has enough aux. sends, matrix or other assignable outputs.. and the engineer has the knowledge to set it up properly.

-- Lav mics are 'generally' not used in club/concert type music venues... there's no law against trying it, though a usual dialog-sensitivity lav may not be able to handle the high SPLs.

I guess this is where an engineer has to know the set list and jump on muting that line after the song and switch to the other, huh?
-- Not exactly sure what you mean, but in a band scenario, most inputs are usually not muted unless there's noise issue. (ground hums or EMI and such) BTW, I used to be (way-back when) a house engineer/mixer in a nightclub and dealt with unfamiliar bands almost every night w/o knowing their original songs.. OR even having a set-list from most cover bands for that matter.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 01:14 PM   #26
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

Sorry, i didn't mean lav mic - they use a combination of handmics, mic's on boom (piano), and those mics on a wire that are fixed to their faces, headset? What do you call those?

That's what i mean . . . they walk off stage with a headset and come out with a handset, does the performer mute it on the transmitter or does the engineer kill it?
If the performer does it, then i wouldn't have to be fumbling in the dark looking for the mute button on my board while managing the camera. In any case, I guess a gooseneck led is mandatory for a second board under my tripod if i go that route.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 03:04 PM   #27
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

yeah, "Headset mic".
"does the performer mute it on the transmitter or does the engineer kill it?"
Either or, whoever can be more relied upon.

"If the performer does it, then i wouldn't have to be fumbling in the dark looking for the mute button on my board while managing the camera. In any case, I guess a gooseneck led is mandatory for a second board under my tripod if i go that route."
-- Oh yeah, always have some kind of a mounted light. But I would suspect you wouldn't want to worry about muting and un-muting inputs when you have a camera to operate. Depending on your sub-mix feeds, it may not be possible anyway. The talent or the house-engineer should do it since if would also affect the house mix. Any semi-skilled FOH mixer should be able to handle it, tell him/her to "mute the headsets when they're off-stage" (or have H/Hs)
I assume your dealing with some kind of 'musical' and not a 4 or 5 piece garden variety rock band.
Good luck.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 06:38 PM   #28
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

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Originally Posted by Mark Ahrens View Post
So, why exactly can't a Sound Engineer check in on a separate mix once the house mix is stable?
Because often there is no such thing as "stable."

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Originally Posted by Mark Ahrens View Post
Are they actively moving faders throughout every song in the setlist?
In many cases, yes they are. It depends on the instrumentation, individual performers, type of music, venue, etc.

Let's just consider one imaginary scenario. Let's say the trumpet player starts getting too loud, or too close to his mic. The FOH engineer will pull down the fader for that mic until the mix sounds right to him. It's a very dynamic process.

OK, now what about your recording pre-mix? Pulling down the fader for the PA does not help your pre-mix; the trumpet is still too loud. The engineer just pulled down the fader and adjusted "by ear," but how many dB was that? He didn't take the time to look at the scale on the fader before and after he made the adjustment. So... how much should he turn down the rotary pot that's controlling the recording mix? How many dB? We don't know.

Should he put on his earphones and listen to your pre-mix while adjusting that rotary pot for the trumpet? Uh, the clarinet's just starting a solo, he needs to re-adjust the faders for the PA mix again. No time to piddle around with earphones and a pre-mix. He doesn't want to get reamed later because he screwed up the PA mix. You (with the recording mix) are just SOL.

Why don't the musicians put a comic book on their music stand and read that while they're playing the gig? Because playing is very intense business and it requires 100% of their attention and skill to do the best job they can. That's the difference between an artist and some schmo driving a garbage truck. The same thing applies to the FOH engineer. Doing his job is a very intense business and it requires 100% of his attention and skill. He's an artist, too. (It's the same reason you don't want your surgeon talking on his cellphone while he's chopping out your spleen. It's the same reason you shouldn't text and drive at the same time. You concentrate on the one job that you're supposed to do, period.)

Yes, there may be some instances, at some times, with some bands, with some types of shows, when the FOH engineer has more flexibility than in the above example. But there's no guarantee if or when this magical moment will occur. The engineer needs to keep his eyes on the band, his fingers on the faders, and his ears open at all times. Anything less than that is asking for increased mistakes with the FOH mix. Believe me, I've gotten distracted and I've made those mistakes and it is very ugly!

Last edited by Greg Miller; March 19th, 2012 at 11:21 PM.
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Old March 20th, 2012, 12:30 PM   #29
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

There is some great info on this thread and some really questionable info as well...

A couple points. Micing a pa speaker, while usually not a good idea, has one situation where it will be fine- when you are dealing with talking heads only. This could be a wedding where you have just a couple people talking and no other music or live performers. It could be lectures, graduations or other similar situations. When a band is involved, as others have said, this is useless for good sound.

Taking feeds from a FOH console is a "do at your own risk" kind of proposition. If you are taking the mix out, don't expect good sound. As others have said, the FOH engineer's job is to provide good sound for the hall. Period. Notice that good sound for the vidiot that showed up 10 minutes before showtime expecting a feed isn't on that list of priorities. With few exceptions, taking direct outs of the channels of the consoles will also be a post fader proposition. When the mixer moves a fader, changes EQ, inserts a comp or anything, you get that on your mix whether you want it or not. Remember, they are mixing for the house- not for you so don't expect great sound there. It will likely be better than the mix out, but you cannot count on it. The exceptions I mentioned? A couple analog consoles have mods that can give pre-fade outputs (a lot of Midas consoles come to mind). A couple others (like soundcraft large consoles) will give you the ability to turn aux 1 into a prefade out with level control. A cool feature, but your FOH mixer needs time to set it up.

Ironically, the larger the venue, the more likely your FOH feed will be good quality. The more space to fill, the less effect the stage volume has on the sound in the house. Therefore, the PA mix has more to it. In a small club, you may find that the drums or a guitars are way low in the mix because of the stage volume providing the sound. In a big venue, it all goes out there over the PA so you end up with a better product.

The most reliable way to get good sound for a band is a "real" record rig. Split all mics, bring preamps and/or a console and make a recording. Means you need other people working with you and a lot more prep time, but if the audio matters at all to you, this is what you have to do.

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Old March 20th, 2012, 01:23 PM   #30
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Re: Soundboard Pre Mix

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Originally Posted by Benjamin Maas
the larger the venue, the more likely your FOH feed will be good quality. The more space to fill, the less effect the stage volume has on the sound in the house. Therefore, the PA mix has more to it.
That's a good point and I tend to agree with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Maas
Micing a pa speaker, while usually not a good idea, has one situation where it will be fine- when you are dealing with talking heads only. This could be a wedding where you have just a couple people talking...
Well, in this case the mix will probably be fine. But the audio quality will still be marginal, IMHO. You will get a recording of a PA system, and not a realistic close-miced recording of the persons speaking. The PA speakers will have some characteristic sound to them, they might have EQ added that is not the best, there may be some distortion from the amplifiers. (And there is bound to be some amount of added room noise, crowd noise, and reverberation.)

In this scenario, I think you would be better off to get a split of the PA mix coming out of the board, before it goes to the EQ, power amps, and speakers. It will be exactly the same mix that you hear from the speakers, but much cleaner and more realistic than you'd get with a mic pointed at the speaker stacks.
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