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Author Topic: Couldn't Stop Mic Peaking  (Read 6380 times)

Isaac South

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Couldn't Stop Mic Peaking
« on: December 12, 2017, 09:04:36 am »

Thanks for your time.  I can't figure something out.  Our preacher's mic kept peaking last night and I couldn't stop it.

Let me preface this by telling you I go to a very lively church.  The preacher is not always calm.  He preaches with intensity.  The audience is also active.  Hand claps, saying "amen", etc etc.

Also, we just got a new sound system at our church.  QU-32 mixer, with Martin Audio speakers (CDD112's) and subs (CSX212).  We are still learning the mixer, and trying to get everything adjusted.

Ok, here is the issue:  We had a visiting preacher last night, who is even more lively than our pastor.  And he has a very strong voice.  When he would really dig into his sermon, his mic would peak.  Over and over and over.  I've got a HPF, so that's helping with the percussiveness of his voice.  Eliminating most of the P's and T's in his voice.  It's working quite well.  But the peaking, I cannot figure out.  I've got some low, and mids pulled out of the eq. 

I turned the gain down to (-5).  Yes, negative 5.  And had to push the fader up a little to maintain his volume.  But it did not eliminate the peaking.  I was trying to watch the RTA and I saw that the 2k range was where he was peaking.  But it was just my best guess. I wasn't positive.  (I'm not an expert).  So I rolled some of those frequencies off.  Didn't really help, because I lost some of his volume when I rolled those off and then I had to push the fader up a little bit more.  I've got some compression on.  But I can't really put too much on it, because when the crowd gets loud, I need his voice to be dynamic and carry over the crowd.

I was really at a loss by that point.  I have no idea what else to do.  Can anyone give me some insight as to what mistakes I was making, and how I can go about fixing this issue?  To me, when I turned the gain all the way down, it should have killed the mic completely.  Right??

Thank you.
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Joe Pieternella

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Re: Couldn't Stop Mic Peaking
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2017, 09:38:48 am »

Let's assume we're talking about clipping here. Any real world Channel will have volume alternations.

If we are I would suggest that you start by checking your compressor settings. Improper settings can really mess up your sound.

I suspect a high ratio is giving you too much compression reducing all your sound output. Which in turn is getting "solved" with more gain at the head amps.

Now this kinda works but only during the time the compressor is actually working. If the attack time(the time it takes before the compressor starts compressing) is too long those peaks will be able to get through and out to the PA.

Another thing to consider is that wireless mic receivers can have a line and a mic-level output. depending on how much attenuation is available on the Qu you might not be able to make the output of the mic go away of you are pushing line level into the board.

And the fact that his voice is all over the place is actually a good reason to compress his signal. But this is something that takes practice to do well. And you will have to ride his fader during the service to keep him at a good level.

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« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 10:08:13 am by Joe Pieternella »
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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: Couldn't Stop Mic Peaking
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2017, 09:49:31 am »

Thanks for your time.  I can't figure something out.  Our preacher's mic kept peaking last night and I couldn't stop it.

Let me preface this by telling you I go to a very lively church.  The preacher is not always calm.  He preaches with intensity.  The audience is also active.  Hand claps, saying "amen", etc etc.

Also, we just got a new sound system at our church.  QU-32 mixer, with Martin Audio speakers (CDD112's) and subs (CSX212).  We are still learning the mixer, and trying to get everything adjusted.

Ok, here is the issue:  We had a visiting preacher last night, who is even more lively than our pastor.  And he has a very strong voice.  When he would really dig into his sermon, his mic would peak.  Over and over and over.  I've got a HPF, so that's helping with the percussiveness of his voice.  Eliminating most of the P's and T's in his voice.  It's working quite well.  But the peaking, I cannot figure out.  I've got some low, and mids pulled out of the eq. 

I turned the gain down to (-5).  Yes, negative 5.  And had to push the fader up a little to maintain his volume.  But it did not eliminate the peaking.  I was trying to watch the RTA and I saw that the 2k range was where he was peaking.  But it was just my best guess. I wasn't positive.  (I'm not an expert).  So I rolled some of those frequencies off.  Didn't really help, because I lost some of his volume when I rolled those off and then I had to push the fader up a little bit more.  I've got some compression on.  But I can't really put too much on it, because when the crowd gets loud, I need his voice to be dynamic and carry over the crowd.

I was really at a loss by that point.  I have no idea what else to do.  Can anyone give me some insight as to what mistakes I was making, and how I can go about fixing this issue?  To me, when I turned the gain all the way down, it should have killed the mic completely.  Right??

Thank you.

What kind of mic are you using. And if it is wireless what is that? Are you seeing the peaking on the mixer or are you just hearing it? If wireless where is the receiver and can you see if it is peaking there?
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Isaac South

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Re: Couldn't Stop Mic Peaking
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2017, 10:15:47 am »

What kind of mic are you using. And if it is wireless what is that? Are you seeing the peaking on the mixer or are you just hearing it? If wireless where is the receiver and can you see if it is peaking there?

We are using QLX D24 SM58's.  I saw the board peaking (it says peak on the board, not clip as the other guy mentioned).  Both on the channel and also when I PFL'd it.  But I also heard it distorting in the mains, at times. 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 10:33:25 am by Isaac South »
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Couldn't Stop Mic Peaking
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2017, 11:20:59 am »

It's about correct gain staging.
You have three options as I see it.

Turn down the head amp some more.
You need to adjust to the signal, not the number.

Reduce the gain on the (wireless) mic.
Again, the number is irrelevant, only the level matters.

Both.

After you get the level right, you can consider compression.

If you're seeing red anywhere, you're pretty much going to clip and distort.
 
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Couldn't Stop Mic Peaking
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2017, 11:42:00 am »

If we are I would suggest that you start by checking your compressor settings. Improper settings can really mess up your sound.

I suspect a high ratio is giving you too much compression reducing all your sound output. Which in turn is getting "solved" with more gain at the head amps.

I would say it's the opposite.  If the signal is peaking, a more aggressive compressor will help increase the overall average level, but even out the peaks.
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Rob Spence

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Re: Couldn't Stop Mic Peaking
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2017, 11:56:26 am »

I would say it's the opposite.  If the signal is peaking, a more aggressive compressor will help increase the overall average level, but even out the peaks.

Unless the overload is occurring before the compressor.


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Joe Pieternella

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Re: Couldn't Stop Mic Peaking
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2017, 12:24:12 pm »

I would say it's the opposite.  If the signal is peaking, a more aggressive compressor will help increase the overall average level, but even out the peaks.
I agree, but this only works if you are using make up gain. Otherwise you'll only lose more level.
Compensating for this at the wrong side of the compressor will make things worse.

Excellent advice has been given to the OP.
Lose the compression first
Lower preamp gain until peaking/clipping stops.
This will remove the mixer distortion and is part 1.
Part 2 is a little harder
Teach proper mic technique.
Ride the pastors fader like a maniac during the service.
Learn compression.
This will fix your dynamic range issues
The last one is the hard bit. There are a lot of controls and they all heavily impact your results. Read about what they do and steer clear of templates. I suggest you afterwards spend some time just speaking in to a mic and adjusting the settings and see what everything does. You'll also get to test and confirm my next warning.

Be careful with compression on live microphones because you will get feedback!
This is very important especially if your room is really as live as you say.


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« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 12:31:49 pm by Joe Pieternella »
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Couldn't Stop Mic Peaking
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2017, 12:53:48 pm »

I forgot to add that adjusting the EQ is not going to help your level issues.
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Isaac South

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Re: Couldn't Stop Mic Peaking
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2017, 01:13:06 pm »

Thanks everyone for your input.  I might add:  I did try taking the compression off. But it only made it worse.  His levels were more dynamic and he would peak more often. 

Joe - to your point about gain.  I had the gain all the way off.  Actually, -5.  With no gain, shouldn't his level have completely been off?  What am I not understanding.  For example, on an analog mixer, if you turn the gain knob all the way off, there is nothing coming through the speakers for that channel.  Right?
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