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Old June 11th, 2013, 02:14 PM   #1
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Follow-up/results to live PA question

I posted a few months ago questions regarding live PA problems I was having. I think I have finalized a setup that works nicely in a very challenging room and scenario. I'm doing PA and recording people in a room that is on a busy 4-way stop intersection with constant traffic. The room itself is very prone to muddy resonance and a feedback nightmare. The solution was a combination of things that all added up to fairly decent audio in a place that was once horrible. Here is what I tried, with help from members of this forum, in order from what helped the most:

Headset mics - the Countryman headsets helped the most as I expected due to the mic getting optimal placement but they still didn't do the entire job. The people speaking are accepting of the headsets because they understand how much they help. They are small and only the foam windscreen is visible from more than 20 feet away.

EQ - an equalizer was already in place and tuning it properly helped significantly but the nasty feedback could still creep up depending on where the speaker would stand. Different places in the room resonate different frequencies.

Compression - I did not expect that a compressor would have such a dramatic effect on feedback and the overall good feel to the sound but it really is significant. Now, the peaks in the signal don't spawn the feedback so much and the voices don't sound so boomy. For this environment, a smooth even tone to the voice is important.

Feedback controller - the Sabine controller helps with that last bit of feedback problem that still leaks through at times. It is essentially an active EQ and helps fill in the gaps (or rather, add gaps) that the regular EQ misses in the dynamic environment. The worst that ever happens now is that a feedback starts to happen fairly quietly then it gets squelched by the controller.

I give thanks to all those who helped. The members of this forum are solid professionals and having help in this difficult situation really sped up the process and made a miracle happen. People can now hear comfortably and there is even a bit of headroom in the system. I actually got the suggestion to turn it down a bit. Before, turning up the vocals to a level above the noise would cause instant feedback.

Mahalo!
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 11th, 2013, 02:37 PM   #2
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Re: Follow-up/results to live PA question

And thank you VERY MUCH for coming back with such a detailed report. That kind of information is very helpful to everyone.
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Old June 11th, 2013, 03:18 PM   #3
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Re: Follow-up/results to live PA question

I figure information deserves some information in return. Asking questions and getting answers is great, but sometimes just reading various posts about what works helps prepare me with knowledge that heads off problems before they happen.

I should add what did not help very much: cardioid lav mics helped reduce feedback but every time the speaker would turn their head the sound would cut out. One speaker even publicly commented on the effect (in a nice and lighthearted way) to my chagrin.
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Old June 11th, 2013, 08:50 PM   #4
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Re: Follow-up/results to live PA question

Marcus,

I add my thanks to you, for sharing your final solution.

As is often the case, there is no single magic solution to turn a nightmare into a miracle. But, as you found, many approaches each made a small improvement, with the net result of creating a happy ending.

Congratulations for having the tenacity to stick with it and try different things until you were finally satisfied. And thanks again for your final report about the improvements.
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Old June 12th, 2013, 12:07 AM   #5
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Re: Follow-up/results to live PA question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
I should add what did not help very much: cardioid lav mics helped reduce feedback but every time the speaker would turn their head the sound would cut out.
Marcus, first off THANK YOU for coming back and reporting. Secondly, the "turning head" syndrome is well known amongst us all - oh yes indeedie . . . I had a gentleman who would insist on giving dramatic emphasis to what he was saying by turning his head towards who he was referring to, and spoke off-mic and away from the mic that was front and centre. As another person, on the other side of the gathering, caught his eye, and for emphasis, he spun his head towards them. I lost the audio. What I had was this phasing of audio as his spoken voice resembled the phasing of light form a lighthouse spinning, or the impression of a Formula 1 car flashing past! I wont forget the expression on my second cameraman's face. However, I had a more than decent alternative/backup that I was able to float into the edit.

Marcus, again, thanks for the report.

Grazie
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