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Author Topic: Small out door gig questions -delaying the mains..  (Read 746 times)

Wayne Smith2

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Small out door gig questions -delaying the mains..
« on: May 24, 2019, 12:22:01 am »

I'm participating in a weekly small 'in the park gig coming up. We provide our own sound, in this case amplified acoustic instruments and vocals. We'll be covering few hundred people mostly on the lawn or seated to the side.
I visited last night's gig to get a taste of it from the audience side of things and perhaps ways I might improve on our gig.
The main thing I’d like to address is the sound stage image from the mains and the sources from the stage seeming like two disjointed things –rather than the one blending and reinforcing the blend from the stage.
I thought about our running stereo and using some panning, but frankly I have doubts about the approach. Whether by level differences or precedence effect, most of our audiences don’t even ‘hear the other speaker’ correct?

They say ‘sleep on it and see it refreshed :>)  This morning it occurred to me to revisit the precedence effect. The QU16 has delay options on its buses.
Where the goal is to reinforce and enhance a unified interesting ‘stereo sound stage image, would not letting the stage amps be first arrival do just that?

The trouble is I’m hardly ever out there’ to work things like this out. So here I am come to the source again.

I’ll add I also have us place our amps as far back as practical. Been doing this for quite a while now. Rather than ‘up near us at the mic, having them at some distance a bit more realistic view or their tone and balance.

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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Small out door gig questions -delaying the mains..
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2019, 12:32:25 am »

I like to delay any miced amps and the drums.
My SC performer has delay available on every input, so it's easy.
1.1ms per foot, from the sound source (amp, snare, etc) to the line of the mains; 10ft =11ms.
The allows the direct sound from the back line to approximately coincide with the miced signal coming through the PA.
Any vocals don't have enough direct energy to cause problems, so I don't delay them.
I find even on a small stage that the improvement in clarity is readily apparent.
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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: Small out door gig questions -delaying the mains..
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2019, 12:38:07 am »

I usually delay the mains to match where the drums are on stage for rock and pop. When doing a Big Band event or orchestra with delayed mains I have played with turning the delay on and off in a rehearsal and to me it really makes the sound more cohesive, I like to say it makes them sound more natural not like they are coming out of speakers. I also use it for almost everything that I do.
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: Small out door gig questions -delaying the mains..
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2019, 08:51:13 am »

I'll add that this doesn't have to be an exact science to make a big difference. If you just visually estimate how far your backline is to the mains and delay the mains accordingly, it 'll be close enough.

 I can still remember a hotel ballroom gig where I stupidly forget to delay the mains, then eventually realized it when mixing the 1st set on a tablet in the back of the room and things just didn't sound tight.  I quickly added the delay in the middle of a song and POOF!   Instant cohesion.

First time I ever got to A/B it live and it was quite eye opening how much of an impact it made.
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Frank Koenig

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Re: Small out door gig questions -delaying the mains..
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2019, 10:18:42 am »

1.1ms per foot, from the sound source (amp, snare, etc) to the line of the mains; 10ft =11ms.

Perhaps this goes without saying but, while setting delay with a tape measure (or your shoe) is fine, we should take into account the inherent delay of the system. A digital mixer and a bunch of DSP (especially if non-causal FIR filters are involved) can add up to several ms. --Frank
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Small out door gig questions -delaying the mains..
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2019, 10:24:55 am »

And this acoustic time alignment is valid for a very small part of the audience area.  Once you're a few feet closer to a stack, or closer to the stage apron, the alignment is now wrong.  Is it worse?  Depends on where you're at, it might still be a little better, might not be.

Align to your hearts content.  You might want to make the "sweet spot" where the organizers or whomever must be impressed to write a bigger cheque next year set their stuff.
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Wayne Smith2

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Re: Small out door gig questions -delaying the mains..
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2019, 04:37:05 pm »

Thanks for all the great replies. Good to see things confirmed.
Re 'alignment it not being possible but for -or to' specific spots in the audience is understandable.
But as my goal isn't accurate 'alignment but rather to have the stage lead the mains for as much of the audience as possible.. then I would presume to delay as much as reasonable towards covering more of the various source vs listener positions?
For example if the goal was best alignment say center audience, it would be one figure. But for the stage' to lead and for more listeners width wise, I would need to increase the delay time. Let's say for example distances for listener 'left to inst stage right.
Does that make sense?
My understanding is the transition out of the precedence effect range and into the sound of it being 'two events' would give about an additional 20-30 MS to play with.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 04:40:36 pm by Wayne Smith2 »
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brian maddox

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Re: Small out door gig questions -delaying the mains..
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2019, 07:45:52 pm »

Thanks for all the great replies. Good to see things confirmed.
Re 'alignment it not being possible but for -or to' specific spots in the audience is understandable.
But as my goal isn't accurate 'alignment but rather to have the stage lead the mains for as much of the audience as possible.. then I would presume to delay as much as reasonable towards covering more of the various source vs listener positions?
For example if the goal was best alignment say center audience, it would be one figure. But for the stage' to lead and for more listeners width wise, I would need to increase the delay time. Let's say for example distances for listener 'left to inst stage right.
Does that make sense?
My understanding is the transition out of the precedence effect range and into the sound of it being 'two events' would give about an additional 20-30 MS to play with.

Your general thinking is correct.  i use this principle to bring the attention away from delay speakers and more toward the stage all the time, keeping in mind that you're only improving things for some of the audience.  Obviously if someone is sitting 5 feet from the speaker, they're gonna hear the sound coming from that speaker no matter what you do.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Small out door gig questions -delaying the mains..
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2019, 08:02:53 pm »

Thanks for all the great replies. Good to see things confirmed.
Re 'alignment it not being possible but for -or to' specific spots in the audience is understandable.
But as my goal isn't accurate 'alignment but rather to have the stage lead the mains for as much of the audience as possible.. then I would presume to delay as much as reasonable towards covering more of the various source vs listener positions?
For example if the goal was best alignment say center audience, it would be one figure. But for the stage' to lead and for more listeners width wise, I would need to increase the delay time. Let's say for example distances for listener 'left to inst stage right.
Does that make sense?
My understanding is the transition out of the precedence effect range and into the sound of it being 'two events' would give about an additional 20-30 MS to play with.

Set it up and experiment.  Put a couple wedges about where the drum kit goes, play some music at the level you think the band is at, and the bring up the PA and delay it.  Walk the area.  For a more revealing experience use pink noise...

If your band's downstage (monitor line) is only a few feet upstage of the PA, you'll probably not need 30 ms.  Experiment.

Haas was telling us how much louder a later-arriving source needed to be in order to be perceived as the same SPL as a sooner-arriving source.  Not talking about the inverse square law kind of distances, either, but a few inches to a few feet are easily demonstrated.  Use a pair of computer speakers, mono pink noise signal, equal level to each, and each speaker the same distance from you.  Find the "center" with your ears - it will be a pretty small window - and then push one speaker further away from you.  The side closest to you will sound louder.  The SPL didn't change and you can't push the other speaker 6dB away from you.  The only thing that changed was the arrival time.  Increase the signal to side further from you - how much does it take to make L/R appear to have the same level?  This is what Hass was talking about.

Your general thinking is correct.  i use this principle to bring the attention away from delay speakers and more toward the stage all the time, keeping in mind that you're only improving things for some of the audience.  Obviously if someone is sitting 5 feet from the speaker, they're gonna hear the sound coming from that speaker no matter what you do.

For front fills?  Yeah, I'll try to delay for an approximate distance from the presenter's mouth to whoever can reliably hear him/her/them and that's probably the best one can do in advance of having talent/cattle on stage.

For other delay stuff - balcony/under-balc, lawn, etc I have never needed to add additional delay to focus attention to the stage.  Maybe I'll give it a try.
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Re: Small out door gig questions -delaying the mains..
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2019, 08:02:53 pm »


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