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Author Topic: LR, LCR or other ?  (Read 10703 times)

Ira White

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Re: LR, LCR or other ?
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2006, 12:32:15 am »

Ivan,

True, but that is a management problem, not a system problem. Rather than short change the church on valuable elements, there should be proper training and oversight. That is scriptural. I point this out in my training so messing with pans has been rare for my analog installs, and a lot of my recent installs are digital so it automatically sets the system when they recall their scene.

Give them the best you can for the budget, set it up right, keep it user-friendly, let them know their responsibilities, and trust that God and a dedicated authority (along with your support) will keep it all under control.  
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Ira White
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andrew gissing

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Re: LR, LCR or other ?
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2006, 01:52:22 am »

By all means train the customer - but 5 years later when the guys you've trained have all moved on...

This is not just a sound problem; it's evident in every organisation for every role.

So the training is only really as good as it's longevity. Things like manuals, operating guides, training sessions all help but it still comes down to the people on the day having the knowledge.


Andrew
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Ira White

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Re: LR, LCR or other ?
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2006, 03:11:25 am »

Yeah, I could be dead in 5 years! Very Happy  But I believe digital will be the greatest aid in minimizing that problem. My churches love the consistency and, whether it's the novice engineer or a dayschool teacher who knows absolutely nothing about sound equipment, pushing that little button marked "Service" or "Dayschool" is the greatest thing since wireless mics.  
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Ira White
Sanctuary Sound, Inc.

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Brad Weber

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Re: LR, LCR or other ?
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2006, 09:59:13 am »

I've run into this problem with many systems, being called back years later and literally threatened because of "system problems" that turn out to be the result of all the people initially involved being gone and new people getting involved who unintentionally really mess up the system.

Digital devices can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to addressing this.  The ability to have presets and recall can be very useful but the complexity of the consoles and ability to inadvertently make a change and affect multiple presets or functions is also there.  An untrained or inexperienced user can be having problems, make a bunch of ill advised changes trying to address the problems and then in their panic overwrite those changes to one or more presets and not know how to undo what they've done, thus making those problems part of every subsequent service or event.

This was a common problem with early digital delays and equalizers.  These had only one level of security and people would manage to get into them thinking they would fix some problem, make some changes that often just exacerbated the problems and then not know how to get the original settings back or undo what they did.  So from then on the system included these undesired changes and they did not know how to fix it, obviously making it a problem with the system design or installation.  I see this same type of thing becoming a potential problem with digital consoles.

When looking at consoles keep in mind things like multiple levels of security and what can be saved, accessed or locked out.  You may want some users to access only the presets and others to be able to access presets, aux sends and faders but for neither to have access to board mapping, house output EQ, delays or the ability to overwrite the presets.  This necessitates certain function being able to be saved as part of a preset and then selected to be accessible or locked out based on varying security levels, it also defines at least three levels of security.  Does the console allow for this level of control?  When people review or discuss digital consoles they seem to rarely address the security functionality, but verify that the settings that can be saved and the security possible in the console fit your needs.

Where possible keep several copies of the board programming in several places, inevitably the copy left with the system will disappear.

Have someone create a document that describes how the system works and how the console is configured.  I'm talking beyond the product manuals to a document written just for that system so that someone 5 or 10 years down the line, or simply when the original people are unavailable, can know what the system was intended to do and how it was intended to operate including what the console presets were and why.  My personal view is that this document should be prepared by whomever is programming the console as it should document their intent as well as what they did.

I can see console programming code becoming an issue much like it is for control system programming code.  When the console is part of a system being provided by a contractor, define upfront who is doing what in regards to the console.  The contractor will have to have the console operational to verify and test the system installation, but are they to provide all of the programming based on the user's input, is the user handling programming the console themselves or is the contractor to provide some base program that the user will later tweak?  This has to be coordinated in both scope and timing.  Remember that if the user performs the programming or makes adjustments to the programming that was done by the contractor, then if the contractor ever has to service the console they must have access to a copy of that programming or they will not be able to reload it or use it as a template.

So while the capabilities of digital consoles can be extremely beneficial, this is not without it's own set of problems and concerns also being introduced.
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Brad Weber
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Ira White

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Re: LR, LCR or other ?
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2006, 11:47:57 am »

Brad-
I do a few things to avoid the problems you speak of:

First, any basic scenes I create with all the crucial channel and system setups are copied and protected in the highest scene locations such as 90-99. It is unlikely for a user to be inadvertantly traveling into these regions, unprotecting them, and making changes. In my applications, they have always been there even 10 years later (we're talking even Promix and 02Rs here) to quickly grab and restore to the lower scene regions.

Secondly, I always save a copy in my own computer files (or MIDI data files for older units) for safekeeping. My associates or I can always walk in and restore settings ourselves if need be. It also allows me to provide a loaner fully loaded if a digital has to go in for repair (though I've never had a Yamaha fail).

Finally, I provide a lot of custom labeling on the board to guide users on functions, and I have also created condensed sets of instructions for the particular application and configuration as you suggest so that users won't have to hunt for the most important operational directions in those "comprehensive" manuals. Though this applies to analog and digital, the digital definitely gives me more options for consistency.

I'm surprised you would have someone threaten you for personnel changes or mistakes. (I would likely take up that issue with the pastor as a scriptural accountability concern.) I often get a cordial call to just come in and do a quick training and update for new people, and the support is always appreciated. I can also see mistakes that people might have made and go over some new do's and dont's. I haven't had the major problems you suggest or anticipate. I guess it's luck or prayer. (I'll assume the latter.)

[Recent postings here on "Mixing Consistency" have gotten off the original subject of this thread, and it might be good to have them moved to a new thread so people can take advantage of the specific opinions offered. I'm not sure who could do that.]
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Ira White
Sanctuary Sound, Inc.

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Brad Weber

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Re: LR, LCR or other ?
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2006, 11:50:29 pm »

Ira,

Glad to hear you do such things, it is something easily overlooked.  As with many devices, increases in flexibility and functionality usually relate to increases in complexity and potential problems, the two sort of go hand in hand.  Getting one simply means learning to deal with the others.

Unfortunately the threats I had actually came from a pastor.  This pastor, since removed from his position, quite literally called me at the office and demanded that I do what he want.  He started with the "do you know who I am, what power I have and the people I know" type comments, eventually going to that he would see to it that I never worked in any churches again if I didn't do what he wanted NOW.  Of course he was too busy to actually meet with me himself so I met with his staff, who readily admitted to me that not a single one of them had been involved in the initial training and that none of them had any real training on or knowledge of the audio system.  So I walked them through the system and showed them where the original documentation was located, what the various pieces did and so forth.

We also found numerous poorly done modifications that had apparently been made starting the minute the system was initially accepted.  From what I could determine they had several ancillary systems and that were to tie into the Sanctuary system but rather than give all the work to one group or have us work together they decided to award each subsystem to a different group and not have us talk to each other.  So these other systems were simply tied in to the main system however was expedient for each system installer.  For example, at some point they decided they needed the mics split for a separate video mix but instead of asking anyone involved in the house system how to best accomplish this somebody simply "Y'd" off the original mic lines at the rack directly to the audio-for-video console, double terminating the lines and sending phantom power right into the mic inputs on their board which fried a number of inputs.  So it made perfect sense that it would be the design of the initial system that they considered to be the cause of all their problems.

Ironically, a little later when I was with another firm I was part of the team hired to come in the church and correct some of the changes and modifications made.  As an example of the problems we found, several of the buttons on the front panels of the digital delays were broken inside the units.  Apparently somebody thought the delays needed to be adjusted and although the manuals with the process to get into the delay units were right there in the equipment room, it appeared that they instead tried to force the changes, thinking that pushing the buttons harder would make it work.  At some point they actually succeeded in accessing the delays as several had been reset to times that made absolutely no sense.  Amazingly the original system documents were still right there in the equipment room so we pretty much returned the system to the original settings, removed some added wiring that was no longer doing anything and some other small fixes.  In general what we did was to undo many of the interim "fixes" and return the system closer to the original configuration and settings.  The comments received afterwards were aboput how much better the system sounded with the "improvements" we made!

Sorry to get so far off topic and to rant, but this is a very good example of how systems can become a problem down the line if there is not some continuity in the knowledge and training of the operators and some documentation of how the system was supposed to work.
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Brad Weber
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Ira White

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Re: LR, LCR or other ?
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2006, 05:06:41 pm »

Sounds like one of those nightmare situations that might have us up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, but has never actually happened. I would trust (and as evidenced from my experience), such situations are rare. Most church leaders are pretty diplomatic and organized in their projects, so I love the work and the relationships.

I just didn't want to see people scared to pursue creative improvements based on the sole anticipation that somebody's going to mess something up at some point in time. If that were the case, I'd go acoustic. But then I'd have to sell insurance to make a living. Shoot me now.  Smile  
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Ira White
Sanctuary Sound, Inc.

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Brad Weber

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Re: LR, LCR or other ?
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2006, 10:26:15 pm »

Certainly not my intent to scare anybody off either and want to be clear that this was not a typical scenario.  Just sort of "scared straight" by this into why one has to think of, and plan for, what happens if all the people there on day one were suddenly not there.  A little time and planning initially can avoid a great deal of problems later on.
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Brad Weber
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Ira White

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Re: LR, LCR or other ?
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2006, 10:01:06 am »

"...what happens if all the people there on day one were suddenly not there"

Hey, that sounds like the rapture! Now we have to cover for that too?
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Ira White
Sanctuary Sound, Inc.

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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: LR, LCR or other ?
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2006, 10:01:06 am »


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