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Author Topic: thoughts on sub-group usage  (Read 1598 times)

DTownSMR

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thoughts on sub-group usage
« on: November 02, 2005, 09:20:51 am »

We're running a Mackie 32x4 console. Since we're running in mono, various channels were hard panned to the left or right and assigned to certain sub-groups to enable us to have 3 or 4 separate sub-groups giving us more control (mic'd singers, band, overhead choir mics, and sometimes wireless mic's)

We had a pro outfit come in and do a system "tune-up" and said that we shouldn't hard pan the channels to increase our sub-mix ability and reduced our sub mixes to just two. It's not that big of a deal, but I'm just wondering if there's some technical reason no to hard pan channels and use the 1/2 & 3/4 sub-groups individually as opposed to stereo pairs?

Thanks in advance.
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in His service,
Scott

Steve Olsen

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Re: thoughts on sub-group usage
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2005, 10:13:36 am »

Hi Scott,

Without knowing the rest of your equipment, it's setup, and info about your environment, it's hard to give any specific advice. So take all this "advice" lightly.

Sub-groups can be a very handy tool. One thing I've done on mono systems is group similar mic's to a common EQ insert. For instance, group all wired vocal mics to a group (assuming the mic's are the same or close in tone). This allows you to easily cut those low-mid tones that seem to kill intelligibility and control those sibilants. It also gives you a single fader to help blend a vocal group to the rest of the mix. The same as you would do with a drum mix.

I use groups for drums, vocals, wireless mic's, anything that would have a common mix/control. Do what works for your situation. Don't forget to discuss it with the rest of your team before changing any wiring or rerouting. Surprises can be nasty things during a presentation.

Good luck,
Steve
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DTownSMR

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Re: thoughts on sub-group usage
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2005, 10:33:58 am »

thanks for the reply Steve.

This guy, who obviously knew what he was doing, was saying it was more for technical reasons inside the board and I'm just trying to understand that. He couldn't or wouldn't elaborate enough to make sense. Like it was the electronics of the channels and/or sub-groups and how they interact were the reason to switch it to center pan channels and paired sub-groups.

It wasn't that he disagreed with what was sub-grouped, just that they needed to be worked as pairs. I see nothing in the Mackie manual that even infers this, let alone states it as a requirement. It just doesn't make much sense to me since we're not running stereo and have no need to try and maintain a stereo image. I'm wondering if there's a technical reason he couldn't make clear to me.

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Scott

Steve Olsen

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Re: thoughts on sub-group usage
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2005, 10:54:41 am »

Scott,

I can't imagine any reason NOT to assign a channel to a group and have that group assigned to a mono channel. As you say, it's not like you are assigning a pan to the stereo image. I find it hard to believe that it would do any "damage" to the equipment or that there is a physical reason not to.

I think I'd agree with you on this one. Is it possible for you to talk with the tech that made the recommendation? Maybe he has some specific information. It's also possible he's mistaken. I try to limit my mistakes to two per year (but who's counting?).

Good luck,
Steve
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Al Limberg

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Re: thoughts on sub-group usage
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2005, 11:09:17 am »

It sounds like perhaps your 'tech guru' was more familiar with the original Mackie 1604 and ASSumed that the 32-4 worked the same way.  There are a number of consoles out there that set up there subs as dedicated left/right pairs with no pan pots so tht subs one and three feed only the left and two and four only the right masters. The original 1604 used the typical combo of push switches and a pan pot on the individual channel to select the routing of the channel to a sub, but then each submaster had two push switches labelled left and right to assign the sub to the stereo masters.  Interestingly enough, if you pushed the 1-2 switch and panned hard left on the channel, you had of course assigned the channel to submaster 1.  But if you now pushed in the 'right' switch on the sub, no signal from the channel assigned to sub 1 appeared at stereo master!  It worked as if the pan pot took precedence over the assign switches somehow.

Anyway, just a thought.  He may have thought the 32-4 worked that way too.  I also have run in to Spirit and others set up with the 'stereo' subs.  Even the original old Tapco Catalina was that way but they modified it fairly early on in its existence to add pan pots to the subs.

HTH,
Al
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Ron Riedel

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Re: thoughts on sub-group usage
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2005, 11:22:22 am »

There's absolutely no reason not to pan the channels hard left/right the way you've been doing. That's the way I run our Mackie 32-4, and it works just fine, and gives me the 4 independent sub-groups I need. As long as you don't need a stereo image for anything, it's a perfectly proper way to run the board.

If your consultant thinks that it is bad for the board to do that, he's simply wrong, and doesn't understand the internal electronics as well as he implies. The reason he couldn't give you a good explanation that makes sense is because there is no such explanation.

There are a lot of competent sound techs who understand how to get good results from the equipment, but aren't real EE's that understand how stuff works inside. That's probably the case here.

Ron Riedel
(A "real" Agilent Technologies EE circuit designer Razz
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Mark Smith

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Re: thoughts on sub-group usage
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2005, 11:59:34 am »

I agree with Al...

The only other thing I could imagine is that the guy was worried about gain structure (if you have one channel that is panned to group 1 only and one that you want to go to groups 1 and 2 and/or 4, wouldn't the relative gain on the second channel have to be greater than the relative gain on the first because of the pot?)  Since it is a mono system and you probably don't want anything in two sub groups, I don't think this matters, but I'm trying to imagine why he would have a problem with this...  This wouldn't hurt the console.  You would just need to be aware of this when adding a channel to a second group (panning to the middle of the sweep).  OK guys.. did I say this right? Smile
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Carey Davies

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Re: thoughts on sub-group usage
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2005, 12:03:14 pm »

DTownSMR wrote on Wed, 02 November 2005 14:20

We had a pro outfit come in and do a system "tune-up" and said that we shouldn't hard pan the channels to increase our sub-mix ability and reduced our sub mixes to just two. It's not that big of a deal, but I'm just wondering if there's some technical reason no to hard pan channels and use the 1/2 & 3/4 sub-groups individually as opposed to stereo pairs?


No reason at all...
Regards,
Carey (console designer)
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JimCreegan

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Re: thoughts on sub-group usage
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2005, 02:36:33 am »

Believe this one, He definitely knows.

JimC
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Re: thoughts on sub-group usage
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2005, 02:36:33 am »


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