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Author Topic: Newbie with no mentor  (Read 1173 times)

Eve Regal

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Newbie with no mentor
« on: March 09, 2019, 11:39:08 am »

The guy who did our church sound left with no training of new personnel. I am trying to figure out things as best I can. I've figured out how to turn it on, how to control volume, and other basic things just to keep church service going.
What is the best way to learn quickly how to troubleshoot certain things (how to program mics, how to get rid of an ongoing static sound going on in the background, how to get rid of feedback (we have no monitor), etc.
I know I can Google videos and Google the manual. I would appreciate any links to certain youtube channels or lessons that have knowledgeable, great teachers that you keep returning to because of the quality of their instruction. I need to learn this as quickly as possible so I am grateful for any help you can offer. Thank you.
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Rob Spence

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Re: Newbie with no mentor
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2019, 12:18:17 pm »

Welcome to the forums.

A few more things may help us help you.

Where are you located? There may be a member nearby.

Can you describe the sound system as much as you can? Things like brand and model of mixer, speakers and amplifiers?

Also, describe the room a bit, size, ceiling height, location of speakers?

And finally, how the system is used in a service.



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Luke Geis

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Re: Newbie with no mentor
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2019, 01:46:49 pm »

My advice is to go onto youtube and look up as much as you can digest. If you get three different people that say the same basic thing, chances are good it is a good way to do that thing. Most of doing sound is truly just an understanding of signal flow. Where it starts and where it ends. Once you know how to get sound from the mic to the speakers the rest is a little bit of math, a little bit of skill and a whole lot about personality.

A monkey can walk up and mix and make it sound good, but a monkey can't take a PA that is in pieces and put it together and make the PA work the way it was. Sound is highly subjective, so what you like I may not and so on. So most of the art of doing sound is learning how to solve problems and produce a sound that the majority of listeners can be happy with. If you can make 7 out of 10 people in the room happy, you are a good sound engineer, the other three people can go suck an egg. Getting to that point is the hard part. This is where personality comes in. A sound engineer is basically an adult babysitter. You have to manage a group of people who don't necessarily align with your needs and get them to do what you need by making them believe it was they who came to that decision. A cat header so to speak. As long as you can get the talent to do what you need to get the best results, the rest is all on you.

Things like fixing feedback, how to use a compressor and how to best mix a band are all things that come with time and experience. Learning how to recognize the frequency spectrum is probably the most difficult task. As far as mixing goes, just try and make it sound like an album where you can hear everything clearly and every instrument has its space. This is where EQ comes in more. How to utilize corrective and musical EQ effectively and not overuse or overdo it. The little things that make a great sound engineer take years to perfect and even acquire. Starting with a good foundation is ideal. So find youtube video's that are about basic sound 101 or how to set mic gain, or how to put together a pa system. I have a good video to start you off with. It tells you what an XLR is, its connections and basically how it works. Have fun!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF-BvOljqaE 
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Newbie with no mentor
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2019, 12:22:20 am »

The book Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook is an excellent resource for learning the fundamentals of live audio production.

It's kind of an old book that predates most of the digital tech we have now, but the core principles remain the same.
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Dave Pluke

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Re: Newbie with no mentor
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2019, 10:43:58 am »

What is the best way to learn quickly how to troubleshoot certain things (how to program mics, how to get rid of an ongoing static sound going on in the background, how to get rid of feedback (we have no monitor), etc.

Hi Eve,

When you have the time, absolutely get solid on the basics.  At the moment, it seems as though triage is in order.

What is the make and model of your audio mixer?  That might help with getting some quick tips on controlling feedback, etc.

Dave
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Newbie with no mentor
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2019, 10:57:36 am »

Feedback is primarily an acoustic problem, not an electronic one. The best, easiest way to control feedback is with proper microphone selection, placement (relative to loudspeakers), and handling technique (close to mouth, don't point at speaker). Refelectivity (reverberance) and absorption of the room also plays a big part. Changing that can help reduce feedback.

Nonlinearities in frequency response of the electronics can affect feedback, but that's not something that is easy to overcome. The microphone will have a greater effect. Some feedback control can be done with equalization, but this is a last resort, because it can negatively affect sound quality.

Acoustic problems are best dealt with acoustically, not electronically. Electronics are a bandage, not a cure.

The next most important fundamental to learn is proper gain structure. This basically means boosting gain early in the process. Since each component adds noise, keeping the volume up keeps the sound above the noise. If your initial gain is low, later gain stages will boost system noise along with the sound.

Crackling generally indicates a weak or corroded connection. Sometimes it can indicate a damaged cable.

Troubleshooting is a process of isolation and elimination. Where in the chain does the problem appear? If you have a buzz in the mains, do you hear it in the headphones of the mixer? If so, it's ahead of the headphone source. If not, it's beyond the headphone source.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 11:01:40 am by Jonathan Johnson »
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lindsay Dean

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Re: Newbie with no mentor
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2019, 11:03:04 am »


"A monkey can walk up and mix and make it sound good ?"
That is the most untrue statement I've heard in a long time.
 Anyway, like everyone else advised, the Yamaha book is good.
     Also find a manual for your console that would be good.
 You really do need a mentor hopefully someone is close by.
Just the act of asking for help is a huge step in your progress as the church sound engineer👍
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Luke Geis

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Re: Newbie with no mentor
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2019, 03:18:56 pm »

Lindsay,

    How many people have said to you that they are very particular about sound and am really good at mixing? Then when you ask them about setting up a crossover they look at you with a blank stare. This is a monkey. Studio guys that are worth half their salt can walk up and make a good mix, but they can't usually take a million dollar PA system and put it together and make it work. That is a monkey. The band guy that is the bee's knee's ( in his mind ) about good sound can walk up and turn some dials and make it sound his way, but couldn't begin to fathom the idea of what a 500hz frequency sounds like, is a monkey.

That is what is meant by a monkey. A 200lb gorilla that knows just enough to twist the knobs, but without the slightest idea as to how or why it worked as they wanted it to. I was a monkey once, just as you and everyone else here. We all start at the bottom. The one thing I can say is that I never went to someone else and asked if I could run things because I have a golden ear and am gods gift to sound!!!! Yes, that has happened to me........ more than a couple times. The basic point of that whole paragraph minus the rhetoric was that personality and knowledge are what separates the monkeys from the sound engineers.

I do agree that a book or several is worth the investment, and the Yamaha book is a very good start. There are now dozens of books about the subject and the " handbook for sound engineers " series is another good option. I have read probably a dozen different ones. I recently picked up " The Art of Mixing " by David Gibson and it is a good all-around book while not being as in-depth as some of the others. It is more designed for recording and it focuses ( as the title suggests ) on mixing concepts and how to envision and execute that vision. Another resource for audio related stuff are whitepapers released by many of the top vendors. EAW, Rane, Crown, Shure, EV, JBL and many others have such content on their websites and they typically delve into the more scientific side of audio. Electro-Voice has an Audio 101 on their site right now. Shure has had introduction and basics for as long as I can remember here: http://www.shure.com/americas/support/downloads/publications

I spent probably 200+ hours going through the internet looking for such information long before I even owned a mixer and started mixing bands. I was interested in knowing what to do for my own band. I didn't realize it at the time, but that is probably what propelled me into the career? When I started doing sound I knew how to mic a guitar and a drum set, set the gains and create a decent mix mostly because I was in a band and I was the one who tended to do that. When my band broke up, I had a bunch of equipment and nothing to do with it. I started doing sound for other bands for essentially beer money and within a year I was making more money on the weekends than I was at my day job! I then quit my day job and pursued a career in sound; that was 17 years ago!!!! The whole thing started with learning and is still about that today. The hardest parts as a beginner is knowing the right questions and what to ask for information about. Just read as much as you can on this site, get a couple of books and spend lots of time on youtube and the internet looking around. The easiest way to find a whitepaper is to type in the company name you're interested in and then whitepapers. It will generally lead you to a downloads page that is more directed about information as oppsed to manuels and specs.
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Chris Grimshaw

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Re: Newbie with no mentor
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2019, 06:00:40 am »

Eve, if you're still reading, the best bet is to take photos of every bit of equipment you have, and post them here. That way, we'll have some ideas on how to guide you.

Once you've done that, the next best thing to do is to use the equipment. When I first got started in this industry, I'm certain that I had some pretty terrible sounds happening. The way I improved was to practice during down-time. Find out what each knob does. Both from a technical perspective (ie, +6dB is double the voltage, is 4x the power from the amplifiers and into the speakers) and a sound perspective - boosting 80Hz by 6dB makes it sound like this...

Even just plugging in an MP3 player into one of the desk channels and finding out how the routing works can be really educational. Once you've done that a few times, you'll be much faster when it comes to the gig and guitar #2 asks for more lead vocal in their monitor.

Chris
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Newbie with no mentor
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2019, 08:35:17 am »



A monkey can walk up and mix and make it sound good



I might as well give up right now if that really is the case.
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Chris Grimshaw

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Re: Newbie with no mentor
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2019, 03:45:26 pm »

I might as well give up right now if that really is the case.

An infinite number of monkeys each with a mixing desk, perhaps...

Chris
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Bruce Burke

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Re: Newbie with no mentor
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2019, 08:41:14 am »

The guy who did our church sound left with no training of new personnel. I am trying to figure out things as best I can. I've figured out how to turn it on, how to control volume, and other basic things just to keep church service going.
What is the best way to learn quickly how to troubleshoot certain things (how to program mics, how to get rid of an ongoing static sound going on in the background, how to get rid of feedback (we have no monitor), etc.
I know I can Google videos and Google the manual. I would appreciate any links to certain youtube channels or lessons that have knowledgeable, great teachers that you keep returning to because of the quality of their instruction. I need to learn this as quickly as possible so I am grateful for any help you can offer. Thank you.

Use your pastor's connections to see if there is another church who can send someone to help you.
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Re: Newbie with no mentor
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2019, 08:41:14 am »


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