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LF haystack

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Tim McCulloch:
I like a system that is linear - what comes out of the loudspeaker system accurately reflects the signal from the console.  Other than as a special effect, I'd prefer to shape the LF of my mix *in my mix* because that's the way the artist will listen to the 2 track in the back lounge of the bus.

But there are at least 2 types of FOH mixerpersons - those that put on a track, twist some knobs and then say "I can (or can't) work with this" and those who want to hit "play" and have the rig make them smile, and if it doesn't it may be a long day.

That said, the perception of LF and it's spectral place in a mix has changed a lot over the last 30 years.  In general I think many consumers believe that LF sounds like "car stereo rap tunes" and anything less is not right.  Much of the public expects a good deal more LF/ELF than was customary in most live venues 20 years ago.

The difference between a live band being mixed and DJ performances - the DJ may or may not have the capability to do 'system processing' in the mixer (and I'd really not want that) so if proper performance of the system in the venue requires that DJ shows sound 'right', right out of the box, build in the haystack.  As a live band mixer I can shelve/HPF a post-record L/R feed to send to the system if I don't like it.  I'd rather not, but I think (hope) the BE can deal with that better than a DJ can deal with its absence.

Art Welter:

--- Quote from: Kent Clasen on April 16, 2021, 04:26:34 PM ---I agree with playback and LF haystack sounds better. I do more system setup/design/tuning than mixing. So I tend to give the mixer person what they want/like.

So a few thoughts/questions:

1)-Most BEs seems to come into a new room and play a track. Do they complain if the system is “flat’?
2)- What about a venue like the one I am currently working on tuning that 50% of their shows are hip hop or DJs vs live bands? Flat or haystack?
3)I am a little surprised by the “flat” responses. I assumed it would be more of a mix or lean towards haystack.

--- End quote ---

The "flat vs haystack" or loudness contour discussion has been around since aux fed subs were popularized around 1978, and dual purpose live/DJ systems had to "live together".
1) For the most part, I've encountered no complaints if the system set for flat amplitude response has the LF extension and headroom they desired.
2) Pre-sets for both.
Optimum speaker configurations for DJ/dance use may also be quite different than for live band use.
Some portions of the systems may overlap, while others would be best used independently.
3) Perhaps the "haystack" engineers got jobs on farms during the Covid19 fallout, and not have returned to audio yet ;^).
This is the "Audio Measurement and Testing" section, response from the Lounge, Church Sound, DJ and other forums would have more that want an arbitrarily boosted cartoon version of their mix, and less who desire an accurate representation of the output of their console's main output.

Jim McKeveny:

--- Quote from: Art Welter on May 26, 2021, 04:25:55 PM --- flat amplitude response and has the LF extension and headroom they desired.

--- End quote ---
Thanks again Art. As we know, mixer "fiddling" with VLF on aux causes unwanted accuracy & perception issues up-spectrum in critical  LF response. If +30db between 25hz to 40-50(?)hz is desired it should be engineered in/produced at the source not poorly coerced into overall system performance.

Guillermo Sanchez:
I'm going to go against the popular opinion here. There is a lot of evidence that what constitute good sound for a statistically majority (>90% of the people) include at least a bit of low frequency boost and high frequency rolloff (see Floyd E Toole lifelong work). The same work point out that for most people, about 50% of perceived sound quality comes from bass quality/extension/punch, so most people perceive more bass as "better sound" (within limits of course)

I'm an independent system designer/tuner, which 90% of the time don't mix in the systems I tune. All systems I tune need to be approved by someone before I leave the premises, and in every case I need to leave it with a 6 to 18dB "stack" in order to comply with what the customer wants. It depends on the situation: for example in a theater or lounge they might be happy with +6dB, in an entertainment system with around +12dB, and in Latin music/Urban music/Reggaeton or similar they might want in excess of +18dB. By the way, had any of you ever installed or tuned a system in Jamaica? The norm there is 2 dual 18" subs per top box, and boy, they use it to the extreme! The numbers I'm talking about fall short of Jamaican expectations. In my tunings, I rarely leave the subs on an aux (unless requested) because sometimes I don't know who's going to mix on the system, and most people inexperienced with the technique will go for the channel eq instead the aux send and force your full range while under utilizing the subs.

I understand this is not ideal, but I might leave a system that will be in charge of people far from experts, to be kind. Others are just accustomed to a super huge bass bump and if they don't hear it, they will immediately dismiss the system or my work. The best compromise I had is to to send the subs over a matrix fed from L&R plus an aux. Then I tune the system to have a 6dB bump directly from the master, but you can add more energy to subs by pushing on the aux. Is the best of both worlds as if someone decides to push the eq on a channel that energy will find its way to the sub, but an expert will push it though the aux and still is going to go to the subs.

The only caveat is that nowadays that all consoles are digital, you have to deal with the extra latency caused by going through the aux. Last time I checked a CL5 (for example) added 0.04ms in that case, but since we are working with low frequencies, with their long wavelengths, the phase difference was negligible in the intended range.

Sorry for the long post.   

Caleb Dueck:

--- Quote from: Guillermo Sanchez on April 25, 2022, 03:21:26 PM ---The best compromise I had is to to send the subs over a matrix fed from L&R plus an aux. Then I tune the system to have a 6dB bump directly from the master, but you can add more energy to subs by pushing on the aux.

--- End quote ---

I've run into systems like this, and have to say I really disliked them.  For me, aux fed subs are a way to 'hard cut' input channels like vocals from getting to the subwoofers, and this method kills that (primary IMHO) capability.  If the mixer persons are very inexperienced - I'd rather just L&R, no aux.  Just my personal preference.


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