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Author Topic: Gain Problems  (Read 502 times)

Jack Hyatt

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Gain Problems
« on: November 04, 2017, 05:20:12 pm »

Hey guys, I run sound at a decent sized church and over the course of 8 years I have been able to get less and less gain out of most every one of my channels of my system. I have basics in most of the hardware except for the Compressor/Gate. Leading me to the conclusion that maybe over time the gate should have been adjusted and just wasn't by operator error. It's a DBX 266 Compressor/Gate. I was wondering if there was a way to get the gain that has disappeared back by adjusting something on that Gate, or a way to combat feedback a different way. Any suggestions would help. Thanks!
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scottstephens

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Re: Gain Problems
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 06:39:08 pm »

Jack,

I'm sure you know that the 266 is low end on the DBX scale; take it out of line and see what happens. Also, most comp/limiters have an "output" make up gain/volume knob and an "input" reduction knob, have you looked at those? Have they been moved?

Scott
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Luke Geis

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Re: Gain Problems
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2017, 11:28:14 pm »

I own a 266xl and can say that as far as gate / comps go, it is not my first choice. I wouldn't be quick to blame it though. You have to see what it is doing. If you are compressing 12db or so and there is no make up gain, then you will certainly notice gain reduction. Compressing a main mix isn't really doing any good for you anyway. It would be best applied to a mix group if its intention is to keep certain things under wraps. A compressor is not fast enough nor aggressive enough in normal use conditions to save speaker elements. At least for the sake of protection alone. This is why you hear about zero attack limiters and rms limiting more often for speaker protection. The compressor is actually an RMS increasing unit. In its basic form and use it will increase the rms power that is exhibited to the speakers.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Gain Problems
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2017, 06:21:02 am »

Hey guys, I run sound at a decent sized church and over the course of 8 years I have been able to get less and less gain out of most every one of my channels of my system. I have basics in most of the hardware except for the Compressor/Gate. Leading me to the conclusion that maybe over time the gate should have been adjusted and just wasn't by operator error. It's a DBX 266 Compressor/Gate. I was wondering if there was a way to get the gain that has disappeared back by adjusting something on that Gate, or a way to combat feedback a different way. Any suggestions would help. Thanks!
Jack, welcome to the forum.  I’m confused by your last thought - fighting feedback with a compressor?  At best a compressor doesn’t fix feedback, and at worst it makes feedback more likely.

What are you actually trying to do here?
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Luke Geis

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Re: Gain Problems
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2017, 03:06:50 pm »

Gates are also not a good tool for riding feedback. What it may actually allow is for the potential to turn up the mic up loud enough that it will readily feedback anyway, but the gates threshold keeps the channel clamped down. As soon as the threshold is met the full gain potential of the mic through the PA is allowed to go unhindered and feedback you WILL GET.....

Gates are only good for reducing and or eliminating soft background noise between passages and sentences. It can also be used to help get some of the room sound out of the mic when a presenter is speaking. The hard part is making it sound natural and not having it cut off the beginnings, ends and vowels of sentences. For the most part gates are not really a great tool for speech, because of the unnatural nature of it. Even when well set, it will not reduce any feedback potential.

Feedback is a curable disease. It can be calculated and in good hands a system can be made to nearly double its perceived level while maintaining stability. Feedback suppressors are not the quick and easy answer either. It simply takes a good user to acquire the best gain structure and techniques to beat the odds.

For those who are not as savvy or don't have lots of money to throw at the wall, I suggest either getting rid of lapel mics and substituting them for over the ear Countryman E6 style mics ( there are more affordable versions out there ), or going to a more classic podium mic setup. If you can't get the gain you need with a more conventional podium mic setup, then you need to lean on the presenter to help better your odds. They will need to simply eat the mic a little more. If that doesn't help then it is more than evident that it is operator error.

Take some time and work out your NAG and PAG calculations. If your PAG is greater than your NAG then you should have no problems. Her eis one from Shure: http://www.shure.com/americas/pagnag

Report back after you know what that compressor is doing in the system and what your typical setup entails such as mics and speaker position in relation to the mic / presenter. Also do you have ANY kind of EQ for the main PA? We need info.
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Gain Problems
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2017, 03:24:02 pm »

I am confused.
The OP claims less output on almost all the CHANNELS of his system which implies the console but then wants to adjust the SYSTEM compressor.
Take out the 266 and remove all processing on the console channels and see what happens.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Gain Problems
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2017, 09:25:52 pm »

My first question is what has changed (been changed?) to cause the reduction in gain?

The OP seems to indicate a gradual reduction over time.  If someone is tweaking EQ's constantly trying to reduce feedback, eventually it's going to be detrimental.

Whatever has changed is causing the problem.  The root cause could be whatever caused those changes to be made-probably room acoustics, , mic/speaker placement, etc.  Typical issues with a lot of churches.  Simply adding/tweaking more processing without understanding why the gain has been reduced is just going to complicate the issue.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 11:07:15 pm by Stephen Swaffer »
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Steve Swaffer

Ivan Beaver

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Re: Gain Problems
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2017, 07:43:37 am »

My first question is what has changed (been changed?) to cause the reduction in gain?

The OP seems to indicate a gradual reduction over time.  If someone is tweaking EQ's constantly trying to reduce feedback, eventually it's goong to be detrimental.


Agreed.  You can't keep digging a hole and expect it to stay the same.

In many cases, people simply "over eq" to the point that all they have done is reduce the gain-and screw up the sound quality.
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Ivan Beaver
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Gain Problems
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2017, 07:47:49 am »


Take out the 266 and remove all processing on the console channels and see what happens.
I can't tell you how many times I have "magically fixed" the sound system simply by bypassing all the crap people have installed/adjusted.

Today, it seems to be all the rage for "toys" hoping they will fix things that the operator has no idea what the actual cause is.

The KEY is understanding what you are doing, what you want and the tools available.

THEN you have a chance of actually fixing it  But simply "adjusting knobs and pushing buttons" IS NOT the way to operate a sound system.

Every action needs to be deliberate and with purpose, and knowing what is expected from that action.  If not, it is simply guesswork.

Yes most systems are simply adjusted based on guesswork-truly sad :'( :'( :'(
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A complex question is easily answered by a simple-easy to understand WRONG answer!

Ivan Beaver
Danley Sound Labs

PHYSICS- NOT FADS!

Tim Barber

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Re: Gain Problems
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2017, 12:48:03 pm »

What Ivan said. When I took over my current church's sound system, I found a Sabine feedback suppressor, that nobody understood and had literally not been touched for years, patched across LR. It had so many notch filters set that not only did everything sound like crap, there was noticeable overall gain reduction. The single biggest "upgrade" I did to that system was bypassing the Sabine.
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