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Author Topic: Roland VMix M-400 advice  (Read 2916 times)

AllenDeneau

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Roland VMix M-400 advice
« on: January 08, 2013, 03:31:45 am »

hey all, coming up this week I'll begin working with our Church tech team running sound and could use some input/advice.

I'm no stranger to sound or mixing but to the V-400 I'm a total stranger. Well, maybe not total stranger since I've been studying the manual and it's pc program to operate it from a laptop.

Overall it seems ok and it's what we have so it's what I have to use.

It's been installed for a while now so it's all patched in and driving the house sound as well as a few wedges and the roland personal mixers as well.

What I'm looking for is the quick down and dirty of what to look for and what not to look for...

Are the DCA and mute groups good?
Can you select more than one aux at a time?
Why would you active the fade on senders?
Outbound processing, what does it have and not have?
Best workflow setup?
Etc...

here's a specific question or two.

When you save a scene for a song etc..., and the next scene you want to go to brings cd audio back in, can the channel fader be set to slowly fade in or is it just best to save the scene with the fader all the way down and manually bring it up? If you do that, manually bring it up, and move scenes does it remember it's last position without save?

Can the speed of the fader recall be adjusted?

How easy is it to double patch an input? Since monitors are also run from FOH, can I take a channel in to 1 and also copy it to channel 2 or does it need an outboard splitter?

The manual says there are 12 GEQ's, how do you insert one in a channel? Can you also run the PEQ and GEQ on a channel?

When you make adjustments to each channel, such as compression, eq, etc... Does it automatically remember it for the channel or must it be manually saved? On the pc software it seems I can bounce around as much as I want and it will hold each channels adjustments, but if I'm changing scenes it must be saved, correct?

Are the scene changes transparent or do you notice them?

Those are some of the questions I had or wanted to confirm what I think I've learned about this console but any and all info you can share would be great.

Thanks
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Allen D.
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Chris Eddison

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Re: Roland VMix M-400 advice
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2013, 05:08:44 am »

I'm an M480 user rather than an M400, but the two consoles are pretty similar aside from a few extra functions.

Firstly, in its' field the M400/M480 are very good consoles. I've used Yamaha consoles before (IMHO the only real competitors out there) along with slightly more expensive boards like iLive and Digico SD9. The Roland consoles stack up very well indeed and i'm always surprised by how few people out there have discovered just how able they are.

Answers to a few of your queries;
The console reboots as it was last configured (unless you tell it to reboot in to a specific scene), so no need to save anything to make it "stick" - but it's always good practice.

If you've got something like a CD player then it's possible to make its' channels "recall safe" by selecting the "safe" box marked on the channel page. This might be sensible to do with your CD player channel so it's not recalled to a saved level.
Fade times are able to be set (on the 480 at least). It's in one of the menus on the scene page. So if you do want the cd audio to fade in the it's perfectly feasible. Also on the 480 it's possible to set the recall scope on a per-scene basis. So what you want is to include the cd player fade in on the scene you need it to fade in on, then remove it from the scope so it's no longer being affected by recall - that way any changes you make afterwards aren't undone when you recall the next scene.
I can't remember offhand if you can insert a graphic in to a channel. I'm pretty sure you can. You can certainly insert it across a bus.

Inputs are freely patchable to multiple destinations. They use a matrix style tick box array to assign inputs. Just bear in mind that preamp control is also available then to both channels.
The DCA's are nice. They're easiest assigned from the tick box style window I find. Mute groups are also nice though aren't easily reached unless you make use of the user defined keys. There's a DCA page which gives you access to all the DCA's, but it's easiest to use the DCA's on a user defined layer.

You can only work on one aux at once, though it's very easy to switch between. I prefer to use sends on faders on all digital consoles I come across now. Just remember to deselect it before you try doing anything else!

The PC software doesn't give you access to everything - user defined layers for instance. It's well worth getting your hands on the actual console nice and early.

I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy it. I love mine!
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AllenDeneau

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Re: Roland VMix M-400 advice
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2013, 02:20:43 pm »

Thanks Chris, I'm sure I'll find it to be pretty easy to use, hopefully.

Our worship service is a full band, choir, etc... I'm guessing nearly 24 inputs plus the standard cd, pc etc... Are there any features you wish yours had that I should look out for in a setting like this?

I'm curious to know more about why you use sends on fader? I've always preferred to have my aux sends, minus effects, all operating independantly from the channel fader, can you share more with me about why you like it that way?

here's the first reason I'm asking; my wife sings in the choir and she has mentioned a few times that at various times "someone" in stage will all the sudden be super loud in the monitor when prior to that there was basically nothing in the monitor. I've been told by the creative arts director that they don't have any real knowledgable people on the team ao I'm guessing they either fiddle with something OR they absolutely leave it alone. My guess is that they have sends on fader active and when they punch a persons vocal, when they're leading the song, then it also hits the monitor aux as well?

I know there are a number of other issues that can be adding to this situation such as poor gain structure, lack of real sound check, untrained mixers and not excluding a signal issue. But from what my wife has described it's more than likely someone making an adjustment to that channel in some fashion..

That's great you can include, exclude or adjust the cd fader movement from scenes. The way I hear many of the channels being activated, very abrubtly, seems to me they either just throw the fader into the mix or they have learned to use scene recall and when they recall a scene it's a snap rather than fade. So I can cure that as well?

OK so double patching, I have a couple more ?'s. For example, say I want to put 2 choir mics, that are on inputs 9 & 10 on stage, on channel 9 in the mixer. I can just go into the patchbay page and check the boxes of inputs 9 & 10 on board channel 9? No splitter hardware or cables needed? In reality it's be better to have them assigned to a DCA group but this is just an example.

Speaking of DCA groups: Say you have the choir mics on DCA 1, Drums on DCA 2 etc... How do you swap the Matrix faders for the DCA faders?

Say for example we have 24 total inputs using channels 1-24. Then we have 8 aux monitor sends, 8 DCA groups and 4 mute groups and 4 matrix. Can the Aux/Matrix layer be configured so that when I flip to that layer aux 1-8 is channels 1-8, DCA groups 1-8 is channels 9-16, mute groups 1-4 is channels 17-20 and the 4 matrix outs are channels 21-24? I can't see a way to do that with the software but the manual seems to suggest it's possible withing the user settings?

I set up a sample DCA group of channels 1-8 on DCA group 1 but other than on the DCA group popup page I can't seem to get a fader to control the DCA group. Software limitation?

I'm sure as this thread progresses I'll have more qustions but I appreciate your info so far...

I do agree to get time on it and can't wait to do so but as I mentioned earlier there's nobody on the team currently with much mixing knowledge, as described by the dept leader, and probably not much knowledge on the the mixer as well so I'm just trying to get some of the more advanced questions asnwered before hand so I can be a quick study.

We've got a great church and I'm really looking forward to getting on the team and helping to advance the quality of production.

Anything more you can share would be great.

PS. Do you use the pc software in conjunction with the console? I'm seeing it be a handy tool for controlling efects, DCA groups etc... with less layer flipping on the desk.??
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Allen D.
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gordonmcgregor

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Re: Roland VMix M-400 advice
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2013, 06:22:53 pm »

Thanks Chris, I'm sure I'll find it to be pretty easy to use, hopefully.

Our worship service is a full band, choir, etc... I'm guessing nearly 24 inputs plus the standard cd, pc etc... Are there any features you wish yours had that I should look out for in a setting like this?

I'm curious to know more about why you use sends on fader? I've always preferred to have my aux sends, minus effects, all operating independantly from the channel fader, can you share more with me about why you like it that way?

on the M400/480 it is much quicker to select an aux  on sends on fader, adjust what you need to the flip back to FOH mix

here's the first reason I'm asking; my wife sings in the choir and she has mentioned a few times that at various times "someone" in stage will all the sudden be super loud in the monitor when prior to that there was basically nothing in the monitor. I've been told by the creative arts director that they don't have any real knowledgable people on the team ao I'm guessing they either fiddle with something OR they absolutely leave it alone. My guess is that they have sends on fader active and when they punch a persons vocal, when they're leading the song, then it also hits the monitor aux as well?

Could be the aux in question is set post fader some thing that is easy to do wrong on the console



That's great you can include, exclude or adjust the cd fader movement from scenes. The way I hear many of the channels being activated, very abrubtly, seems to me they either just throw the fader into the mix or they have learned to use scene recall and when they recall a scene it's a snap rather than fade. So I can cure that as well?

I don't think you can do scene crossfades on the M400 so removing the CD from the scene recall is probably the best answer.

OK so double patching, I have a couple more ?'s. For example, say I want to put 2 choir mics, that are on inputs 9 & 10 on stage, on channel 9 in the mixer. I can just go into the patchbay page and check the boxes of inputs 9 & 10 on board channel 9? No splitter hardware or cables needed? In reality it's be better to have them assigned to a DCA group but this is just an example.
I'm afraid you've got that wrong way round, example FADERS 9 and 10 can both take input 9 ie you can't assign 2 preamps to one fader but you can assingn one preamp to 2 faders

Speaking of DCA groups: Say you have the choir mics on DCA 1, Drums on DCA 2 etc... How do you swap the Matrix faders for the DCA faders?

Say for example we have 24 total inputs using channels 1-24. Then we have 8 aux monitor sends, 8 DCA groups and 4 mute groups and 4 matrix. Can the Aux/Matrix layer be configured so that when I flip to that layer aux 1-8 is channels 1-8, DCA groups 1-8 is channels 9-16, mute groups 1-4 is channels 17-20 and the 4 matrix outs are channels 21-24? I can't see a way to do that with the software but the manual seems to suggest it's possible withing the user settings?

This is where the PC software stops,1st name everything Auxes, Channels DCAs etc on the PC then when you're at the console go to the user prefs and set up a user layer, usually what I do is have say kik and snare channels followed by the drum VCA, then rhythm section VCA then maybe lead or other Solo instrument channel, then keys then perhaps choir sections on 2 or3 VCAs then solo vocal channels, pastors mic and effects. The help guide on the desk will lead you in the right direction for this, though it takes some time to set it up, so don't be doing this 5 min before the service


PS. Do you use the pc software in conjunction with the console? I'm seeing it be a handy tool for controlling efects, DCA groups etc... with less layer flipping on the desk.??

I use it for scene recalling mainly as it lets you see what scene is where also it is useful for naming channels etc.
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AllenDeneau

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Re: Roland VMix M-400 advice
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2013, 02:09:12 am »

Thanks Gordon, that was helpful info.

You are correct I was completely backwards on my patching question. I had 2 trains of thought going on at the same time and I can barely handle 1 on most days, LOL!

Ok so sends on fader. I understand what it does etc... but I'm missing something.
So are you mirroring the monitor mixes whith your FOH mix? If so then I absolutely get why you use it.

I don't want my monitors to change as I'm dynamically mixing FOH. Sometimes I want a bit of something pushed or pulled back in the house but not in the monitor, so for me sends on fader would work against me.

Again remember I am only playing with the pc software right now but, when I activate the sends on fader button and bump a channel fader, while having the aux send pop up window open, I see it also bumps the send for the aux that's selected... Again, that now changes my monitor mix. I can't seem to find a way, on the software, to deselect an aux button, can you have NONE of the aux's selected on the board?

Can you go into further detail as to why you use the sends on fader to adjust your FOH mix as well as any of the aux's at the same time? Other than for the effects sends, I don't see that as being desirable but then again most of my years have been on analog consoles so that wasn't an option...

Back to the magically appearing monitor input. I asked my wife tonight if it's present, althought lower volume, before it bangs it's way in and she assured me it's usually instant and wicked loud, not sure if it's one particular input or if it varies. This past weekend she said it was our worship director that came through with a vengeance. I aksed her; if before it happens, is he singing and she said yes, so it's unlikely it's just a gain setting UNLESS someone tought these guys to mix with the headamp or attenuator..

My guess is as you suggested, it's a post fader send or send on fader activated, which are really the same thing, and they either recall a scene and the fader flies into it's place or they aren't good at subtly mixing something into the main mix. I can tell you from the audience, on way more than one occasion, I have heard HUGE fader adjustments in the most random of places... Not sure what's happening, guess I'll find out soon.

Ok next question. We also have a number of the M48 personal monitoring stations in service. I know it can be controlled from the M 400 but I'm gonna bet it's not. Anyway, I know they are fed via the REAC B output of the board BUT, do channel strip changes hit them also? For instance, if I make an eq change or compression etc... do those changes and effects also make it to the M48's?

We have a number of guitars on stage and sometimes they are playing the same parts so as you can imagine it's just a bigger wall of the same sound. If I carve out each input for their own space in the mix with eq, gating, compression or effects, with they notice that in their in-ears? I don't want them to freak if I roll off some low end to fit them in the mix and then their in-ears are not what they want to sound like....

I've been reading the manual very closely but I haven't made it thru it all yet so I'm sure I just haven't gotten there as of asking this question..

What types of outbound processing is there on the mains L/R? Is there a built in crossover? I believe I've seen there is the ability to insert eq, effects and comps/limiters but what about the crossover duty?

Thanks all, I really do appreciate your insight. If anyone near Nashville is using one of these boards and doesn't mind, I'd love to come get a tutorial from experienced and knowledgeable board ops.
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Chris Eddison

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Re: Roland VMix M-400 advice
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013, 04:15:40 am »

Let me give a brief description of what sends on faders actually does;

On a digital console you don't have the usual aux knobs to set you aux send level per channel. Without sends on faders the only way to mix your aux is to pull up a channel one by one, select the aux you want to adjust, and then tweak its' level using the aux level pot. Not very quick.
All sends on faders does is put the aux sends levels for the specified aux, onto the faders. The faders in effect become the channel aux send knobs, but are much easier to adjust and you can see 24 channels worth of that aux mix. I find it much more useful for instantly getting an idea of levels in an individual mix. Importantly though, as soon as you flip to sends on faders, the channel faders are no longer affecting the main mix, they are purely mixing the assigned aux. Then you hit the sends on faders button and they go back to being channel faders.

There's always an aux selected, but unless sends on faders is pushed, the selected aux is only the send of the selected channel, and is only mapped to the rotary knob in the aux section - no faders involved until you hit sends on faders.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Roland VMix M-400 advice
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2013, 06:17:32 am »

The manual says there are 12 GEQ's, how do you insert one in a channel? Can you also run the PEQ and GEQ on a channel?
I don't think this was answered.  I believe there are 12 graphic equalizers that can be inserted on channels and/or outputs, but only 4 of those are dedicated GEQs, the other 8 are treated as effects where you have 4 two channel processors that can be used as either a stereo effects device or as a two channel GEQ.  So you have available either 12 channels of GEQ but no effects, 10 channels of GEQ and 1 stereo effects device, 8 channels or GEQ and 2 stereo effects, 6 channels of GEQ and 3 stereo effects devices or 4 GEQs and 4 stereo effects.  I don't know offhand if any of the firmware updates may have changed those numbers.

When you make adjustments to each channel, such as compression, eq, etc... Does it automatically remember it for the channel or must it be manually saved? On the pc software it seems I can bounce around as much as I want and it will hold each channels adjustments, but if I'm changing scenes it must be saved, correct?
Settings should not change unless you or a preset recall change them.  This is where it is good to learn about recall safe as while I believe everything is saved as part of a scene, you can choose which parameters and/or channels you wish to be included or not included/'safed' when you recall a scene.[/quote]
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 06:13:03 pm by Brad Weber »
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AllenDeneau

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Re: Roland VMix M-400 advice
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2013, 02:21:15 pm »

Let me give a brief description of what sends on faders actually does;

Importantly though, as soon as you flip to sends on faders, the channel faders are no longer affecting the main mix, they are purely mixing the assigned aux. Then you hit the sends on faders button and they go back to being channel faders.

There's always an aux selected, but unless sends on faders is pushed, the selected aux is only the send of the selected channel, and is only mapped to the rotary knob in the aux section - no faders involved until you hit sends on faders.

Thanks Chris, that's the clarification I needed. It's like the flip button on a Yamaha. Flip it and the faders are aux send faders, flip it back and it's main mix. That makes perfect sense now. All I had gleaned from the manual is that it simultaneously adjusted both the aux AND main mix. I appreciate the detailed response, thanks.

I don't think this was answered.  I believe there are 12 graphic equalizers that can be inserted on channels and/or outputs, but only 4 of those are dedicated GEQs, the other 8 are treated as effects where you have 4 two channel processors that can be used as either a stereo effects device or as a two channel GEQ.  So you have available either 12 channels of GEQ but no effects, 10 channels of GEQ and 1 stereo effects device, 8 channels or GEQ and 2 stereo effects, 6 channels of GEQ and 3 stereo effects devices or 4 GEQs and 4 stereo effects.  I don't know offhand if any of the firmware updates may have changed those numbers.

Thanks Brad. I do remember reading that there are "limited" numbers of eq's or effects, I just hadn't come across the numbers yet. From what you're saying those numbers are finite, total for ins/outs? Each channel will always have the PEQ, comp and limiter and in addition to them you can choose your assortment of geq, effect, etc... up to 12 on in/outs but still have the PEQ, comp and limiters correct?

For anybody, it's an all play lol.

Do the channel adjustments also hit the M48's? If I make a drastic cut to an input to get it mixed in, will anyone with that channel in their mix hear that cut as well?

Anyone have any info on outbound processing? Built in x-over etc...?

Thanks all.
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gordonmcgregor

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Re: Roland VMix M-400 advice
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2013, 04:39:27 pm »



Do the channel adjustments also hit the M48's? If I make a drastic cut to an input to get it mixed in, will anyone with that channel in their mix hear that cut as well?

Anyone have any info on outbound processing? Built in x-over etc...?

Thanks all.
Allan on each channel display there is a box named direct out if this is set to "pre eq" then any adjustments except the gain and mute will not affect the send to the M48 for that channel, sometimes it is wise to set this to "pre fader" so that you can use the more comprehensive eq on the console to fix a particularly bad sounding input but most of the time the eq on the M48 pod is adequate so the pre eq setting is what I use as the default.

Scene changes on this desk have to be watched as everything can be recalled, the one which is probably screwing up the levels is the gain is being recalled to a previous setting and hasn't been reset to suit whatever is actually on the input this time. Careful use of the filter for what gets recalled in a scene chnage is probably your best answer here, personally the only time I use scene changes is when I've got say a guest slot during a service using the same mics etc as the main group and I've soundchecked everything that day, or if it's a multi band gig and I've sound checked the headliner earlier then ran a few bands without soundchecks then recall a muted scene for the headliner.
If your church has a few different worship groups then set up projects for each group and save the individual M48 memories onto a stick then  reload these and use the DCAs, and mute groups to select channels on and off as reqd get the channels set for that day and run with it from there, they should be near enough but part time groups are rarely consistent enough to completely rely on previous settings. G
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AllenDeneau

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Re: Roland VMix M-400 advice
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2013, 03:36:08 pm »

thanks Gordon, so essentially the cat5 jack feeding the M48's is the direct out on each channel?

I stopped in to check out the system yesterday during rehearsal and to be honest I'm a bit nervous that I can be of any help as the configuration of the entire system is not typical, IMO and I'm not sure I grasp it..

The M 400 feeds a driverack 4800 however, they send the main mix to an input then return it back to the board then out to the main mix again, if I understood them correctly. Then the pastors mic/pulpit is directly fed to another 4800 input, not sure where it's returned to if not the speakers..

I talked briefly with one of the guys who's been tasked with figuring out the system and fixing some of the issues, he admitedly doesn't know much about this stuff, and he wasn't sure how everything was routed either.

It seems they are using the inputs for the 4800 to feed separate mixes and then the outputs to different zones. Again, if I understood him correctly, it's done for the right reasons just seemingly not the right method. They want control of each zone, main sanctuary, video feed, foyer etc... but what perplexed me was being told it was setup this way so the sound guy doesn't have to stop, flip layers and adjust, then get back to the mixing job. Seemed a bit cumbersome but maybe not.

My thought, especially since it's limited knowledge volunteers, that the simplest configuration is the best... It appeared that the board is set up for aux fed subs already so, in my mind, I think it'd best best configuration to take the main feed into the 4800 inputs 1 & 2 and subs in 3, then use the 8 outputs to configure the zones with NO return back to the board, correct? Out 1 = main left, out 2 = main right, out 3 = subs, out 4 = foyer with the necessary settings for each zone and system. Then send the video control booth an aux feed from main mix for audio monitor and a separate aux feed of main program for capture computer...

I've never returned my dsp signal back to my board then back out, is there a good reason to do such a thing?

Another instance that made me wonder why was the feed to the video production room. Not sure what exactly feeds it's mix BUT they did tell me that the production room audio monitor has a HUGE time delay, which I've noticed by watching the sermon on the screen, it's almost always late to change.

The mix is sent from the board, I think to the 4800 then to the video computer then out to the audio monitor in the room, again if I recall correctly. I'd guess the delay isn't too bad until it's going thru the projection computer and then to their audio monitor, not sure though.

The other real issue I had experienced in the year we've been attending is the speaker deployment isn't right. I've attached a pic. It's not to scale or even 100% accurate but you et the idea. Our sanctuary is over 2x wider than it is deep with the distance from the stage front to the sound booth, at the very back wall, is at most, 65'. If you look at the pic I drew you'll see 2 rows of mains flown to cover HOWEVER, you can tell they're not delayed and when I'm sitting in between a pair or 3, triangle area, I can hear all 3 making a very muddy sound as to be expected. The subs are under the stage at about 1/3 in from the sides.

I'm certainly not an integrator but I don't think the depth of our sanctuary needs a second row of speakers and actually it's hurting the sound. In the sound booth it's nice and crisp as there's ONE speaker ointing right at it but if you move up 25', normally where I sit, it's a mess of 3 speakers hitting my ears at very different times.

I'd think we'd be better served to have a cluster of 3 in the center of the stage with the center inverted for first half and the 2 upright for the back half with a speaker or 2 on each side of the stage covering the outside seats. I've never measures it but I'd estimate the distance from the corner of the stage to it's respectful corner is just a hair over 100'. Maybe have 2 on each L & R stage front with one inverted for front seats and the other aimed for the rear of the sides. Then we could also utilize a small bit of panning to get a little separation in the mix. Right now I believe it's 100% mono mix.

Again, just my opinion... What do you all think about this layout with the rough info I've given?
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Allen D.
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