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Author Topic: Target FOH EQ/frequency response  (Read 17231 times)

Mark McFarlane

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Target FOH EQ/frequency response
« on: July 16, 2013, 01:48:36 pm »

Well, the monitor thread http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,144949.0.html has quieted down a bit, so:

When you're setting up your mains/subs processing in the shop, possibly using measurement, what is your target frequency response?

Flat? Slight roll-off of the high end?  Slight hump in the low end? Depends on the speakers?  Depends on the band? Tune by ear? re-tune by ear after flattening,...?

Why?

I'm intentionally ignoring crossover settings, I'm interested more in the speaker system response than component setup.  I'm also somewhat ignoring venue-specific idiosyncrasies in this discussion, but feel free to comment on common venue issues.
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John Penkala

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Re: Target FOH EQ/frequency response
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2013, 02:13:48 pm »

Well, the monitor thread http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,144949.0.html has quieted down a bit, so:

When you're setting up your mains/subs processing in the shop, possibly using measurement, what is your target frequency response?

Flat? Slight roll-off of the high end?  Slight hump in the low end? Depends on the speakers?  Depends on the band? Tune by ear? re-tune by ear after flattening,...?

Why?

I'm intentionally ignoring crossover settings, I'm interested more in the speaker system response than component setup.  I'm also somewhat ignoring venue-specific idiosyncrasies in this discussion, but feel free to comment on common venue issues.

Mark,
       There are many variables as you note. My approach for tuning is generally dictated by the application. For many of the talking head/corporate shows that I do, near flat isn't a bad place to be. For GB entertainment, I'll go flat to 2K and then approximately -3db/oct slope through. For rock and roll etc., I think Dave Rat's idea of a good FOH system response is very good. IIRC His basic idea was a slope starting signifcantly higher in the Sub/LF region and then reducing at a fixed db reduction per octave as one moves from lower to higher frequencies on the spectrum. Anyway, always let your ears be the final judge.

JP
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Doug Fowler

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Re: Target FOH EQ/frequency response
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2013, 02:44:57 pm »

Mark,
       There are many variables as you note. My approach for tuning is generally dictated by the application. For many of the talking head/corporate shows that I do, near flat isn't a bad place to be. For GB entertainment, I'll go flat to 2K and then approximately -3db/oct slope through. For rock and roll etc., I think Dave Rat's idea of a good FOH system response is very good. IIRC His basic idea was a slope starting signifcantly higher in the Sub/LF region and then reducing at a fixed db reduction per octave as one moves from lower to higher frequencies on the spectrum. Anyway, always let your ears be the final judge.

JP

All this, good stuff.

Start with the non-sub portion of the PA, and get a number of measurements which can be averaged. Working with a target curve (many well behaved systems will already exhibit this behavior BTW), observe the overall buildup in the LF and HF roll off.  You may already be close.

Using an averaged measurement, look for problem areas which require EQ.  Because you are using a AVERAGED measurement, you will be much less inclined to go after position-specific anomalies because they (for the most part) won't be there.   I would start with 1/6 octave averaging for a field measurement.  Get the bumps out, then listen from a variety of positions. Then, turn it up to operating level and listen some more.   What sounds dull at low level should come alive at higher levels. 

If it's a soft show, adapt.

Turn on the subs, align them and look at the crossover area. Turn the subs up until it sounds right per genre, and again examine the overlap area.  Experiment with the sub LPF (if possible) if you need to flatten to overlap area. 

And, don't fear sub EQ.  You may be surprised how much deeper your subs sound if you EQ out a bump or two.  It's common for subs to exhibit a bump in the 70ish Hz range. 
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EvanKirkendall

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Re: Target FOH EQ/frequency response
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2013, 03:33:57 pm »

Well, the monitor thread http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,144949.0.html has quieted down a bit, so:

When you're setting up your mains/subs processing in the shop, possibly using measurement, what is your target frequency response?

Flat? Slight roll-off of the high end?  Slight hump in the low end? Depends on the speakers?  Depends on the band? Tune by ear? re-tune by ear after flattening,...?

Why?

I'm intentionally ignoring crossover settings, I'm interested more in the speaker system response than component setup.  I'm also somewhat ignoring venue-specific idiosyncrasies in this discussion, but feel free to comment on common venue issues.

All of my systems leave the shop configured the same. They're all aligned properly, and tuned by ear/SMAART. I generally aim for a nice bump in the LF, a fairly flat low mid, dip in the mids for harshness control, and a bump up top for some sizzle. Engineers are locked out of crossovers, limiters, EQ, delay, but have access to levels, so they can adjust the sub/top ratio as needed.



Evan
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Merlijn van Veen

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Re: Target FOH EQ/frequency response
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2013, 05:49:41 pm »

I'd like to ask if we can have some sort of consensus on the term "flat"? IMHO "flat" implies a unweighted, no tilt, roll-off or skewed response in which all frequencies are equally loud. The term "equal amplitude" used by some in the industry, might be more appropriate?

Though not directly related to the OP's original question. I'd also like to point out the legitimate question below, coming from the aforementioned thread that lead to this one. My apologies in advance if this appears like an attempt to hijack this thread.

So it seems that most responses are going for "flat".

HOWEVER if you ask the same question about the MAINS-you will get very different answers.  Not me-but a lot of people will say that they prefer a sloping response towards the high end-A HF rolloff if you will.  How much and where is very much up for debate between them.

So maybe I am missing something-but why would we want the MUSICIANS to hear a flat response-but the audience to hear something that sound different than what the MUSICIANS intend?

Doug Fowler

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Re: Target FOH EQ/frequency response
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2013, 07:32:59 pm »

I'd like to ask if we can have some sort of consensus on the term "flat"? IMHO "flat" implies a unweighted, no tilt, roll-off or skewed response in which all frequencies are equally loud. The term "equal amplitude" used by some in the industry, might be more appropriate?

Though not directly related to the OP's original question. I'd also like to point out the legitimate question below, coming from the aforementioned thread that lead to this one. My apologies in advance if this appears like an attempt to hijack this thread.

Lets stir the pot even more:

Your analyzer's windowing scheme also greatly affects this, depending upon acoustic environment.

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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Target FOH EQ/frequency response
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2013, 07:46:46 pm »

Lets stir the pot even more:

Your analyzer's windowing scheme also greatly affects this, depending upon acoustic environment.
And exactly the reason an RTA is not the right tool-because of the lack of windowing.
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Doug Fowler

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Re: Target FOH EQ/frequency response
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2013, 08:00:20 pm »

And exactly the reason an RTA is not the right tool-because of the lack of windowing.

But what is the "correct" windowing scheme? 

:-)
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Jay Barracato

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Re: Target FOH EQ/frequency response
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2013, 08:39:13 pm »

But what is the "correct" windowing scheme? 

:-)

I prefer sheers and curtains to any type of blinds or shades.
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Marsellus Fariss

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Re: Target FOH EQ/frequency response
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2013, 08:47:47 pm »

I tend to work mainly in 1/6th to sort of "keep my eye on the prize" but have a look higher up to 1/12th and beyond for the extra info and trends. Am I doing it right?


I go for a "flat" response or linear transfer down to the sub area where I generally put in a decent bump from 60ish to 100ish. I find If I don't engy's tend to push the subs up to get that energy anyway so I build it in. I leave the rest as flat as I can however sometimes I think I need to adjust my philosophy when I see traveling BE's neglect to dip the upper mid areas that can be harsh at times when things get loud. Don't they hear that? How much do I want to dumb things down Is always an internal debate with me.
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