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Author Topic: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up  (Read 799 times)

Stephen Swaffer

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"Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« on: May 15, 2018, 10:50:19 pm »

Asking this mostly out of curiosity and a desire to learn and understand what is happening.  I have my theories-but curious what others think.

A few weeks ago we had a special conference-special speakers, lot's of visiting churches, all round pressure to be at the top of our "game".  First speaker wants to use the lavalier-it is set and works great on our pastor, but be projects well and generally has good technique and a clear, easy to mic voice-the opposite of this speaker.  On top of that, Pastor is on the platform-wanting to hear the message clearly in the monitors.  A bad scenario to deal with.

I am not mixing, but I take over and back the monitors off some-but it is the mains that are ringing.  I cut a little 250-300 where it is ringing and boost a little in the 1500-2000 and now I have a clear, easy to listen to sound-but pastor wants the monitors up.  I am able bring them up until he is fine with them without creating any issues-then I bring the mains up a little more and feel I have a really good sound-but pastor tells me we lost the monitors.  I haven't backed the monitors off-and I never "fixed" them later-I know they were working and just as loud as when he said "good enough"-but apparently raising the mains made them "go away" where he sat.  What gives?

Mains are QSC K12's, monitors are QSC K10's mixer is a QU-32-not that it should matter much.  Room is very reverberant-designed and built before PA's were a thing.
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Steve Swaffer

Caleb Dueck

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 11:27:54 pm »

Too bad you couldn't have stood on stage to listen.  Some musicians and I assume pastors freak when they hear the house system on stage. 

Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk

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Luke Geis

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2018, 11:32:19 pm »

Well the mains and monitors are out of phase with each other. I wouldn't weed out the possibility that the added mains SPL was just enough to take precedence over the monitors and in such a way that some or a bit of cancellation was taking place.
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Johannes Halvorsen

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2018, 08:38:15 am »

I bet this has more to do with psychology than physics...
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Jerome Malsack

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2018, 09:25:46 am »

Both  psychology and physics.   If the monitors are within 5 feet of the mains like on a small bar band stage.  The vocals are 200 to 500 hz pimary.  and the two speakers are facing opposite directions.  Changing the polarity on the monitors and adding a small delay of 2 or 4 ms on the FOH can help some of this problem.  The 2 to 4 ms is what is used to line up the sound wave from the backline and drums with the vocals on the front of the stage. 
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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2018, 09:54:56 am »

As the others are alluding to it isnít that the monitors are missing itís that they arenít as predominant any more. Did he hear a difference if you muted the monitor send? To me this is the most likely explanation, unless you have something really weird happening in the digital mixer.
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Jean-Pierre Coetzee

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2018, 02:20:26 pm »

My money is on either interaction between the mains and monitors as others have already stated or purely psychological.

I have a few times had an issue where some vocalists have complained about their monitors disappearing when the mains were brought down a bit. We run separate monitors and FOH with an analogue split so there is no way it was a post-fade issue in my case, this is psychological.
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2018, 04:21:27 pm »

unless you have something really weird happening in the digital mixer.

That was my thoughts, like compression or an auto-feedback suppressor. The OP did mention feedback was an issue.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2018, 07:51:44 pm »

Lapel mics in monitors is never a good combination actually lapel mics used in big reverberant room is a challenge and it sounds like the person speaking technique was not helping at all.

The mains combined with the room were just louder to his ears than the monitor level and your never going to get a lapel mic in a stage monitor to peel your face off regardless how many knobs are turned.

Stephen Swaffer

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2018, 11:03:15 pm »

I agree, Mike.  I've worked with lapels in this room for a long time-I much prefer a speaker to use a handheld-or we have a dPA, but we try to accomodate.  That is why I prioritized and got the room acceptable then monitors are what they are. 

There was no feedback suppression and just a little compression in the mix.

I have wondered if monitors were just covered by the room before-but this was the first time I had real time information "feedback" from the platform telling me they were good, then went away-knowing nothing had changed.

I've wondered about the psycoacoustic aspect-since our brain expects to hear one source-do we just ignore the "extra" sounds and unconsciously focus-much like we can listen to a single person in an otherwise noisy room?
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2018, 09:36:39 am »

I agree, Mike.  I've worked with lapels in this room for a long time-I much prefer a speaker to use a handheld-or we have a dPA, but we try to accomodate.  That is why I prioritized and got the room acceptable then monitors are what they are. 

There was no feedback suppression and just a little compression in the mix.

I have wondered if monitors were just covered by the room before-but this was the first time I had real time information "feedback" from the platform telling me they were good, then went away-knowing nothing had changed.

I've wondered about the psycoacoustic aspect-since our brain expects to hear one source-do we just ignore the "extra" sounds and unconsciously focus-much like we can listen to a single person in an otherwise noisy room?
The pastor of the church we attended previously liked a lot of monitor wedge.  Every week was a dance between house and monitor levels - as the house rises, the proportion of 'far field' sound increases - the midrange off the mains that hits the stage, the wall bounce, etc. 

If you've already crossed the point of diminishing returns of system and channel EQ, the most practical solution is to help the pastor see the tradeoffs and suggest that he trust you to make him sound good even if he sounds a little funny to himself, and/or switch from a lav to an earset mic.  More radical solutions would be in-ears for the pastor, moving the pulpit position upstage away from the house speakers, etc.

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David Pedd

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2018, 09:52:47 am »

I bet this has more to do with psychology than physics...

No doubt there's truth in that.

Can you imagine that Billy Sunday preached to thousands with no PA?  Just a "sounding board" behind him to help "amplify" his voice?

Electronics has made pastors/preachers into wimps who no longer know how to project their voice and rely on electronics.

Just this past Sunday, our SS teacher got up to start his class.  He has a mouse voice and started with "Can you hear me?"  Of course, even in this small room those in the back had a hard time.  I spoke up from the sound booth and told him "Speak LOUDER".  He did and all was fine.

<soap box:  OFF>
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Keith Broughton

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2018, 09:53:54 am »

Just for my understanding, why does the pastor need to hear himself in a monitor in the first place?
Seems to me many corporate presenters can get their message across just fine without monitors.
I just completed a church install and the pastor wanted monitors. That's what he got but I just don't get it ::)

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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2018, 10:09:22 am »

I can understand wanting a little bit of oneself in the monitors. It depends on the house sound system. I got up to test a mic on a stand for a gig that was just people speaking and was surprised how muddy it sounded on stage without anything up in the monitors in this auditorium. But it is a losing battle putting much in the monitors with a Lav. When doing corporate work I really liked when we had a good line array in the room because it was dead on stage I didnít hear the back of the array giving me mud on the stage. As long as it is in a room where the array is hung in such a way as to not be bouncing back from a rear wall.   
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: &quot;Disappearing&quot; monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2018, 12:39:56 pm »

No doubt there's truth in that.

Can you imagine that Billy Sunday preached to thousands with no PA?  Just a "sounding board" behind him to help "amplify" his voice?

Electronics has made pastors/preachers into wimps who no longer know how to project their voice and rely on electronics.

Just this past Sunday, our SS teacher got up to start his class.  He has a mouse voice and started with "Can you hear me?"  Of course, even in this small room those in the back had a hard time.  I spoke up from the sound booth and told him "Speak LOUDER".  He did and all was fine.

<soap box:  OFF>

In fairness, Billy Sunday was not competing with air handlers and HID lighting-and was speaking in rooms designed for no amplification to people who were used to listening and paying attention much better than people today.

The pastors I have worked with here project well and that is not the issue.  It is usually visiting speakers-one other aspect I fought later in the same conference was a speaker on a handheld mic, again the pastor sitting on the platform wanted it at a level he felt comfortable with-but everytime we pushed the level up, the visiting speaker backed out of the mic a little more-obviously a losing battle until everyone is on the same page.  But that also points to Keith's question-it is really just a matter of personal preference.  I've seen more people back off due to loud monitors-in fact I've had some cases whee I could not get enough mains until I backed the monitors off to get the speaker to speak up.

I do wonder if wanting to mask back wall reflections is part of the desire in our room.  The back "wall" is really hardwood roll up doors (circa 1910's I think)- I have had singers comment that they found themselves singing with their echo off of the doors.  I find a delayed reproduction of what I am saying very disconcerting (for instance talking on a digital radio with another receiver in hearing distance.) I can see how that would get distracting and tiring during a sermon.  Eliminating the doors is not an option-we use them too often.

Quite frankly, part of the reason for my post was that if I can have a conversation and explain what is happening that will do more to solve the issue than a ton of electronics.
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Steve Swaffer

David Pedd

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2018, 01:51:36 pm »

Just for my understanding, why does the pastor need to hear himself in a monitor in the first place?
Seems to me many corporate presenters can get their message across just fine without monitors.
I just completed a church install and the pastor wanted monitors. That's what he got but I just don't get it ::)

Once they do hear themselves it does help them.  I've never needed them myself but our current pastor likes to hear himself.

Same reason (I think) that radio announcers wear headphones.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2018, 02:14:28 pm »

Personally I still don't get why some people insist on using a lapel mic and then complain about sound levels, monitors, ect. unless by chance your in a perfect acoustical space and how many of those do we really work in. You don't need to spend $600 on a a headset either, many of the $100 give or take choices work really well and there are a few crazy cheap models that actually work well.

TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: &quot;Disappearing&quot; monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2018, 02:29:56 pm »

I do wonder if wanting to mask back wall reflections is part of the desire in our room.  The back "wall" is really hardwood roll up doors (circa 1910's I think)- I have had singers comment that they found themselves singing with their echo off of the doors.  I find a delayed reproduction of what I am saying very disconcerting (for instance talking on a digital radio with another receiver in hearing distance.) I can see how that would get distracting and tiring during a sermon.  Eliminating the doors is not an option-we use them too often.
That's certainly something that would be helpful for talent comfort and overall intelligibility in your room.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: "Disappearing" monitor when mains are brought up
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2018, 02:34:41 pm »

Just for my understanding, why does the pastor need to hear himself in a monitor in the first place?
Seems to me many corporate presenters can get their message across just fine without monitors.
I just completed a church install and the pastor wanted monitors. That's what he got but I just don't get it ::)
"Need" is probably a loaded word.  "Rely on" and "are comforted by" are probably more accurate.  Reducing the desire for monitors comes down to practicing that element of speaking skill; something probably not adequately covered in most seminaries.

I do the vast majority of my work in the church-related world.  I was on an event recently that was a political gathering, and I noted that unlike some experiences in the church world, the folks that spoke did not have any problems making themselves heard, and were very good at yanking the lectern mic wherever they wanted it.  :)
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