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Author Topic: How do club systems dicipher my stereo music productions ?  (Read 1778 times)

Stuart Branson

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How do club systems dicipher my stereo music productions ?
« on: March 28, 2019, 04:52:51 am »

Hello
I have been looking around the internet for some information about how club sound systems put the music out to the speakers. I know about crossovers and how they split the signals into bandwidths for the various speakers but I have not found any information about how they sum a stereo signal into Mono or even if this is done by the crossovers, since most seem to have a L + R input
I am wondering because I am making my music very mono compatible but the music I hear on Radio these days - edm/house etc. - seems to be extremely stereo and some of them sound bad if I play them in mono in my studio, so I also wonder if how a Club System sums stereo to mono is different to how my studio does it ????
Any clues, help appreciated....
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Taylor Hall

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Re: How do club systems dicipher my stereo music productions ?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2019, 08:25:18 am »

The short answer, it depends on each club's FOH and stage input setup.

The long answer is that it can either be summed properly via their mixer, DI box, or other piece of gear designed for that purpose, or summed incorrectly and actually cancelling out some of the signal.

While it's not difficult to maintain a stereo mix from your decks to the speakers, it can be logistically challenging for whoever is running the board if the club only has a small format mixer with a handful of channels and several set changes through the night. If that's not the case, they could be downmixing at the board and simply outputting a mono signal from there. They could also make use of a DI box on stage that takes a stereo input and sums it before going to the mixer. It can also depend on what kind of outboard gear (crossovers, limiters, other DSP) is between the mixer and amps/speakers. Most crossovers are capable of running in either stereo or mono mode, but the tradeoff is that running them in the mono mode gives you more crossover points to better utilize a 3 or 4 way speaker system. Likewise, other outboard gear like limiters or EQs might only have a single channel of input, so summing prior to that is beneficial to cut costs on more expensive stereo gear, or buying multiples of single channel equipment.

So basically if the club has the budget and wherewithal to properly build a system they should be able to run stereo end to end. But again, this will vary from venue to venue so be prepared for either scenario.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: How do club systems dicipher my stereo music productions ?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2019, 10:51:28 am »

It's bad forum etiquette to post a redundant topic when the original is locked.

Just sayin'
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Stuart Branson

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Re: How do club systems dicipher my stereo music productions ?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2019, 11:01:22 am »

It's bad forum etiquette to post a redundant topic when the original is locked. Just sayin'
Not sure why you think my topic is redundant.
Do you know the answer already ? If so please share.
I did a re post because the previous one is locked which prevents people from answering - which kind of defeats the purpose of joining a forum and writing a question.
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Stuart Branson

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Re: How do club systems dicipher my stereo music productions ?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2019, 11:16:01 am »

The short answer, it depends on each club's FOH and stage input setup.
Thanks for your answers.
Interesting that each venue probably has their own unique setup.
What you said about sound cancellation is the main concern.
So as with most things music related, nothing is straight forward.
But do some venues really run Stereo around the place ?
I never thought that would be possible.
Every speaker stack would have to have L+R speakers right ? and there would be no apparent width, kind of pointless ?
Any club/festival sound engineers on here have any insight ?
Thanks
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Jeremy Young

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Re: How do club systems dicipher my stereo music productions ?
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2019, 11:47:45 am »

The other thread was locked because you didn't heed the instructions when signing up for this forum. That is, to use your real full name in your display name.  Once corrected it gets unlocked again (as it is now as I write this).  It's redundant because now there are two identical threads for the same topic, not because the question shouldn't be asked but because there are now two places for answers. 

You've said that summing recordings popular enough to be on radio to mono in your studio doesn't sound right, so the first question I have is, what is your process for summing?  If you're not doing it properly, it could be what is leading you down this inquiry rabbit hole in the first place.

As for your question about L&R at every stack... no.  The left signal would go to the left side of the stage (assuming a stage, from the perspective of the audience) and the right signal would go to the right side of the stage.  The stereo field is then much wider (the audience area in a perfect world).

There are several reasons not to run stereo when the scale of the show gets larger.  Take for example a large stadium where an audience member might be located off-center from teh stage, perhaps in the balcony.  If important musical content is panned hard to one side of the stadium they have a 50/50 chance that they're on the wrong side of the room to hear it at all.  In a small room where everyone will be able to hear both sides of the system, and the content has stereo content important to the artists goal, then stereo is the way to go.  Sometimes it's a combination of both (with fills etc being mono but stereo for the mains).


I'll leave it there for now, tell us more about your summing methods.
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Brown Bear Sound
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Stuart Branson

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Re: How do club systems dicipher my stereo music productions ?
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2019, 12:16:01 pm »

Thanks for the reply

My summing methods are:
When I am producing I use a plugin called BX solo and when I am listening to other peoples music I just hit the Mono button on my Total Mix which comes with my RME sound card or sometimes I hit the mono option in VLC player. They all seem to produce the same result

So the crux of my question is - is the way I am listening in mono an accurate representation of a club/concert signal ?
eg. If I have some hats panned full left and some shakers panned full right when I hit mono I will hear them both at about half the volume and of course it sounds incorrect. I was wondering if crossovers or whatever does summing in a club set up do this in the same way or in a different way so that you would hear both at a reasonable level, some special way of taking a mono signal from stereo tracks ?

I do feel like I have fallen down a rabbit hole for sure, especially when I realised that some radio stations I was listening to, add width to their signal making the tracks even less mono compatible.

Thanks

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Jeremy Young

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Re: How do club systems dicipher my stereo music productions ?
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2019, 01:34:49 pm »

Hi Stuart, admittedly I'm not familiar with those pieces of software, but I would tend to believe that they should be summing to mono "correctly". 

There are a variety of cables for this type of thing that are available to purchase but do it incorrectly.  I was "hoping" you were using something like that so that I had a fix, but no such "luck" this time.

I'm going to have to defer to others who may be more experienced in explaining the level variances when summing to mono.  If there is some kind of software in use to expand the stereo field, it may be introducing artifacts that cause cancellations when summed again to mono, but here's where I'll have to tap out.
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Brown Bear Sound
Victoria BC Canada

Stuart Branson

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Re: How do club systems dicipher my stereo music productions ?
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2019, 02:57:26 pm »

here's where I'll have to tap out.
NP. Thanks for your time  8)
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: How do club systems dicipher my stereo music productions ?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2019, 03:23:05 pm »

I don't think going mono should by nature reduce your volume.
Your software may be doing something, or you have a polarity or phase issue.
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Re: How do club systems dicipher my stereo music productions ?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2019, 03:23:05 pm »


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