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Author Topic: "P popping" and alternate drive rack configuration  (Read 8780 times)

Shane O'Neal

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"P popping" and alternate drive rack configuration
« on: November 21, 2012, 11:54:19 am »

2 Part question:

I am a sound tech for a local Bluegrass Gospel group. We currently run a small Soundcraft mixer to a Driverack PA+ to a JBL PRX618S and two 12" EAWs for High/Mids. The Driverack is doing all of the crossover. We just recently added the JBL to replace a much smaller sub, and are now having a lot of problems with vocalist's "P's and T's" popping through the sub. Really all I want feeding the sub is the bass singer and the bass guitar, but with our current config, I don't see how to seperate them. We have no available aux. Is there something else I can try to reduce the popping? I would still have the problem with the bass vocals even if I was able to isolate his channel to the sub. Hopefully there is something I can try in the interim before our next upgrade...see below.

2nd Part!
Hopefully soon, we will be going with a digital mixer with more aux sends and built in compressor/gates etc. If I put the sub on an aux, can I still run it through the Driverack in order to set eq and ring out the system? Any advice on setting up the compressors on vocals etc.

Thank you,
Shane (a newbie!)
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gary makovsky

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Re: "P popping" and alternate drive rack configuration
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 12:19:32 pm »

2 Part question:


Is your high pass engaged for each vocalist. Depending on your board, some high pass are adjustable. I sometimes go up to 250 Hz depending on the singer and high pass slope.

No on the drive rack for aux fed subs unless you switch to all mono. left for subs and right for mid/highs.

I run a second driverack for aux subs only.

do a search for vocal compression, discussed extensively on here. there is a compression 101 guide, search on the web to get ya started.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: "P popping" and alternate drive rack configuration
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2012, 01:07:18 pm »

2 Part question:

I am a sound tech for a local Bluegrass Gospel group. We currently run a small Soundcraft mixer to a Driverack PA+ to a JBL PRX618S and two 12" EAWs for High/Mids. The Driverack is doing all of the crossover. We just recently added the JBL to replace a much smaller sub, and are now having a lot of problems with vocalist's "P's and T's" popping through the sub. Really all I want feeding the sub is the bass singer and the bass guitar, but with our current config, I don't see how to seperate them. We have no available aux. Is there something else I can try to reduce the popping? I would still have the problem with the bass vocals even if I was able to isolate his channel to the sub. Hopefully there is something I can try in the interim before our next upgrade...see below.

2nd Part!
Hopefully soon, we will be going with a digital mixer with more aux sends and built in compressor/gates etc. If I put the sub on an aux, can I still run it through the Driverack in order to set eq and ring out the system? Any advice on setting up the compressors on vocals etc.

Thank you,
Shane (a newbie!)

Foam windscreens for the microphones and judicious use of channel strip high pass filter, like Shane mentions. You can turn down the LF on the inputs for your S/A/T vocalists, too.  Their vocals don't go low enough to get into the subs... and in actuality your bass singer probably has only a few of his lowest notes that get into the sub woofer range.   It's also possible that you're driving the sub harder (or that it simply has more output) than what you had before.  Turn it down a little.

One of the singers I've had the pleasure of working with is Dan Britton, one of Guiness Book record holders for lowest pitch bass singers (he's traded that distinction with JD Souther a couple of times).  Dan's voice could make wedge monitors jump around on stage until the woofer died.  He's now singing with Pierce Arrow.
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Shane O'Neal

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Re: "P popping" and alternate drive rack configuration
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2012, 07:17:43 pm »

Is your high pass engaged for each vocalist. Depending on your board, some high pass are adjustable. I sometimes go up to 250 Hz depending on the singer and high pass slope.

No on the drive rack for aux fed subs unless you switch to all mono. left for subs and right for mid/highs.

I run a second driverack for aux subs only.

do a search for vocal compression, discussed extensively on here. there is a compression 101 guide, search on the web to get ya started.

Our current board does not have high pass filters but I keep the low frequencies on the channel eq very low on all vocalists except the bass singer.

we are running mono currently so your suggestion for running the driverack sounds like a possibility. during the setup phase on the driverack, it tries to balance left/right channels. would this setup affect this? I would expect it would "confuse" the driverack since it would hear much different frequencies from the sub than the mains. Is there possibly a setting on the driverack to get around this?

Also I forgot to mention that we are using a total of 10 large diaphram condensors for vocals and instruments. Bass guitar running direct. Bleed is a major issue and if not for IEM, feedback would be outragious. It still occurs occasionally when pushing the system hard.

Thanks for the suggestions. Tim and Gary!
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Re: "P popping" and alternate drive rack configuration
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2012, 07:23:40 pm »

Our current board does not have high pass filters but I keep the low frequencies on the channel eq very low on all vocalists except the bass singer.

we are running mono currently so your suggestion for running the driverack sounds like a possibility. during the setup phase on the driverack, it tries to balance left/right channels. would this setup affect this? I would expect it would "confuse" the driverack since it would hear much different frequencies from the sub than the mains. Is there possibly a setting on the driverack to get around this?

Also I forgot to mention that we are using a total of 10 large diaphram condensors for vocals and instruments. Bass guitar running direct. Bleed is a major issue and if not for IEM, feedback would be outragious. It still occurs occasionally when pushing the system hard.

Thanks for the suggestions. Tim and Gary!

There's just so much wrong here. 

First off, please tell me you're not really trying to use the "auto-EQ" feature of the DRack.  That'll screw things up royally.

Next, who told you to use 10 LDC'S?  Yes, an experienced sound person with good gear might put a few of those on stage, but in your situation they are  the WRONG THING.

Sorry for yelling.

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Shane O'Neal

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Re: "P popping" and alternate drive rack configuration
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2012, 08:29:28 pm »

There's just so much wrong here. 

First off, please tell me you're not really trying to use the "auto-EQ" feature of the DRack.  That'll screw things up royally.

Next, who told you to use 10 LDC'S?  Yes, an experienced sound person with good gear might put a few of those on stage, but in your situation they are  the WRONG THING.

Sorry for yelling.

Yes we are using the auto eq on the driverack...Suggestions?

I have the same concerns regarding the LDC's but that is what they had when I was asked to run their sound. They love the sound of the mics and do not want to change them, yes they are a challenge.

"It is what it is."  :(
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Re: "P popping" and alternate drive rack configuration
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2012, 08:56:28 pm »

Yes we are using the auto eq on the driverack...Suggestions?

Stop.  Stop now.  Do some research and learn how to optimize the system to the room by ear.  The "auto-EQ" feature is a ridiculous gimmick that causes more problems  than it solves.  One of the things it usually does is put a stiff LF boost on the graphic.  That would be part of the problem.

Quote
I have the same concerns regarding the LDC's but that is what they had when I was asked to run their sound. They love the sound of the mics and do not want to change them, yes they are a challenge.

"It is what it is."  :(

I can see using multiple LDC's if you have a lot of vocalists, proper positioning and the necessary gear and experience to run things. 

You'll need plenty of good EQ, preferably some decent parametric for each of the "good sounding" mics, and the ability to maximize the effectiveness of the system in each room/setup in which you find yourself.

Yes, LDC's can have a warmth that is attractive.  But doing sound is always finding a balance between whats' good and what works.  If it sounds good when you have one but allows you no workable headroom when you have 10 of them, then how good is that?  If it doesn't give you any acceptable level of sound, then it's not so good.  And if it feeds back and is unusable, then what's the difference between it and a bad sounding mic?

You'll all figure it out eventually, but it appears that you need more and better gear to process the 10 LDC's and the ability to "tune" the system in the first place.

The auto-EQ cannot tune the system for you no matter what the manual and the advertising would have you believe.

As to the issue of compression:

What do you want to compress and why?  Or are you considering it "because it's there"?  Signals should be processed only to address a specific need.  Otherwise, leave well enough alone.  I have never had to compress choir or chorus vocals.  In some few cases I've used a limiter or set up a compressor to perform the function of a limiter, but in your case I'd be very careful about adding anything like compression to an already ticklish gain structure.  Most likely it'll just increase the incidence of feedback.

This is getting to be a long post.  Anything further will require much more specific information from you, such as the number of vocalists, the instruments, expected sound levels and make and model of any equipment.  Until you can tell us everything about your setup the replies will tend to be general (not a bad thing) and we'll be guessing at what's happening, why it's happening and how to improve things.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2012, 09:13:58 pm by dick rees »
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Shane O'Neal

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Re: "P popping" and alternate drive rack configuration
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2012, 10:12:29 pm »

Stop.  Stop now.  Do some research and learn how to optimize the system to the room by ear.  The "auto-EQ" feature is a ridiculous gimmick that causes more problems  than it solves.  One of the things it usually does is put a stiff LF boost on the graphic.  That would be part of the problem.

I can see using multiple LDC's if you have a lot of vocalists, proper positioning and the necessary gear and experience to run things. 

You'll need plenty of good EQ, preferably some decent parametric for each of the "good sounding" mics, and the ability to maximize the effectiveness of the system in each room/setup in which you find yourself.

Yes, LDC's can have a warmth that is attractive.  But doing sound is always finding a balance between whats' good and what works.  If it sounds good when you have one but allows you no workable headroom when you have 10 of them, then how good is that?  If it doesn't give you any acceptable level of sound, then it's not so good.  And if it feeds back and is unusable, then what's the difference between it and a bad sounding mic?

You'll all figure it out eventually, but it appears that you need more and better gear to process the 10 LDC's and the ability to "tune" the system in the first place.

The auto-EQ cannot tune the system for you no matter what the manual and the advertising would have you believe.

As to the issue of compression:

What do you want to compress and why?  Or are you considering it "because it's there"?  Signals should be processed only to address a specific need.  Otherwise, leave well enough alone.  I have never had to compress choir or chorus vocals.  In some few cases I've used a limiter or set up a compressor to perform the function of a limiter, but in your case I'd be very careful about adding anything like compression to an already ticklish gain structure.  Most likely it'll just increase the incidence of feedback.

This is getting to be a long post.  Anything further will require much more specific information from you, such as the number of vocalists, the instruments, expected sound levels and make and model of any equipment.  Until you can tell us everything about your setup the replies will tend to be general (not a bad thing) and we'll be guessing at what's happening, why it's happening and how to improve things.

Thanks Dick,

Here are some specifics:

Mains are EAW FR129z
Vocal mics: Shure KSM27  &  AKG C3000b
Inst. mics:  Audio Technica AE3000

(Mic layout/stage plot from stage left to right)
Fiddle/Vocal - AKG (sings into same mic he plays into)
Lead guitar/vocal - KSM and AT
Mandolin/Bass Vocal - AKG and AT
Bass Guitar/Vocal - Vocal is KSM - electric bass is direct
Rhythm Guitar/Vocal - KSM and AT
Banjo/Dobro/Vocal - KSM and AT
Each mic stand has 2 mics - one for instrument and one for vocal

I was hoping that the compressor/limiter would attenuate the "pops" and gating the mics would help with bleed. I will do some research on system tuning as well.

Thanks again,
Shane
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Re: "P popping" and alternate drive rack configuration
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2012, 11:32:29 pm »

Thanks Dick,

Here are some specifics:

Mains are EAW FR129z
Vocal mics: Shure KSM27  &  AKG C3000b
Inst. mics:  Audio Technica AE3000

(Mic layout/stage plot from stage left to right)
Fiddle/Vocal - AKG (sings into same mic he plays into)
Lead guitar/vocal - KSM and AT
Mandolin/Bass Vocal - AKG and AT
Bass Guitar/Vocal - Vocal is KSM - electric bass is direct
Rhythm Guitar/Vocal - KSM and AT
Banjo/Dobro/Vocal - KSM and AT
Each mic stand has 2 mics - one for instrument and one for vocal

I was hoping that the compressor/limiter would attenuate the "pops" and gating the mics would help with bleed. I will do some research on system tuning as well.

Thanks again,
Shane


I'm not going to say that these are the wrong mics, just that they're not really very practical for what they're trying to do. 

A comp/limiter will do nothing to cure the "pops".  Pop filters and high-pass filters are what you should be looking for.  Gating is also counter-indicated for a variety of reasons, the main one being that when the gate opens up, there you are.  Problems.  Gate closes, problems and sound go away.  Gating in this situation will be extremely audible and not a pretty thing.

Here's a list:

1.  Learn to identify and even out the "hot" frequencies in your setup by proper speaker/mic placement and judicious use of GEQ/PEQ.

2.  Get a decent console.

3.  Work with the group to settle on more practical microphones. 

I'll just say that I own many LDC's and have often used the AE3000's, but I wouldn't throw them all up for an acoustic group like this.  If you solo these mics, you'll be able to hear pretty much everything that's going on on stage in each of them.  Turn one up, you turn up more than just the individual voice or instrument, UNLESS the players are strong, highly skilled and work the mics very, very close, keeping the ratio of desired sound to stage bleed as high as possible.

If the various mics are contributing too much to the mix, it's time to get something with a tighter pattern.  Contrary to what the band is thinking, there are great sounding mics which aren't WFO as far as pattern goes.

It could be worse, though.  They could be using the "single mic" technique and wanting loud, loud monitors..........
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Shane O'Neal

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Re: "P popping" and alternate drive rack configuration
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2012, 12:05:31 am »


I'm not going to say that these are the wrong mics, just that they're not really very practical for what they're trying to do. 

A comp/limiter will do nothing to cure the "pops".  Pop filters and high-pass filters are what you should be looking for.  Gating is also counter-indicated for a variety of reasons, the main one being that when the gate opens up, there you are.  Problems.  Gate closes, problems and sound go away.  Gating in this situation will be extremely audible and not a pretty thing.

Here's a list:

1.  Learn to identify and even out the "hot" frequencies in your setup by proper speaker/mic placement and judicious use of GEQ/PEQ.

2.  Get a decent console.

3.  Work with the group to settle on more practical microphones. 

I'll just say that I own many LDC's and have often used the AE3000's, but I wouldn't throw them all up for an acoustic group like this.  If you solo these mics, you'll be able to hear pretty much everything that's going on on stage in each of them.  Turn one up, you turn up more than just the individual voice or instrument, UNLESS the players are strong, highly skilled and work the mics very, very close, keeping the ratio of desired sound to stage bleed as high as possible.

If the various mics are contributing too much to the mix, it's time to get something with a tighter pattern.  Contrary to what the band is thinking, there are great sounding mics which aren't WFO as far as pattern goes.

It could be worse, though.  They could be using the "single mic" technique and wanting loud, loud monitors..........

thanks for your input!
we will work on the suggestions listed and update the thread on changes and improvements.

Thanks again,
Shane
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