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Bad Habits

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Mike W.:
Here’s the problem my church has had the same sound system for 23 years it seats about 900. For the past 2 years those of us on the media staff have been saying the system is going out. Well the warnings went un addressed and the sys fell into disrepair. the system began having feedback issues and muting everything on the board) aux mains,sub groups,...) or at the FOH(Ashly x-over, eqs...) nothing would not stop it. someone would have to go and turn off the sub and mon amps down on stage to turn it off. this went on week after week for over a year once it started it wouldn't stop. Well we finally called the time of death a month ago after all the old tops were blown. So now we are using a 3 JBL Eon sys and have been for a month. after two weeks they asked us to hook up the monitors back up and the subs. well now I'm down on the floor trying to mix with a mackie 1604 after the 32VLZ was cooked with e-problems. well last week i was mixing and i unmuted the chior mics and i got the same low rumbling feedback sound we had been having for over a year. well first i dropped down the subgroups and the mains out of habit of course that didn't stop it,then i hit the mute buttons on the lit chans on the board but since i was not there durning the rehearsals the director set allot of the aux sends to prefade and negated that, so then thinking it was the subs i muted them on the Drive rack260. after this my mind had become jello and all that was running though my mind was memories for past problems and so then not stopping and thinking( the whole time in the middle of the service there is a load low rumble) I ran up onstage to turn of the amps but a i was heading there i passed the sticks and heard nothing but i was so focused on turning off the subs i didn't stop and realize that couldn't be the problem, but i continued and so did the feedback until the director realized it was his mons and unhooked it.
        Looking back I see I could have just turned down the mon sends amd that should have stopped it but the is no master gain for the last two on that board and I was running around like and idiot because i had got in the habit of not following the correct procedure because i remembered that it didn't work in the past.
Have you had any bad habits caused by??????

Stephen Askins:
Hi Mike,
       i've read your post a few times now and I'm still not sure what the question was !  I think the crux of the matter was that you were not there at rehearsal and as a result didnt have a full grasp of how the desk was configured.  If this is right the answer is simple; dont trust anyone if you are the person in the driving seat !  As you are the person mixing, you need to be there at soundcheck, rehearsal or whatever and be in full control; there are no excuses or exceptions to this rule !

If you are saying that you kinda panicked and didnt realise exactly what was happening when you got the low end rumble, well my friend welcome to the club !!  Sometimes that sort of feedback is very hard to trace and it has probably happened at some stage to everyone on this board.  All you can do is learn from the experience & move on.

I hope this helps (although I'm still not sure what the question was !!!)

Kind Regards

Mike Sveda:
Yur church really, really needs a system upgrade.  No excuse for not spending money when you have problems like that. We are getting ready to buy a $20k console to replace our 14 year old one.

Mike McNany:
Yes, it's a bad habit and easy to get so focused on previous problems that you fail to observe what's really the current problem. Everybody's guilty of that once & a while.

What you NEED to do is a complete shakedown of the entire system. Test everything the best you can. Find out what's working and what's not. Repair, replace, or simply just yank out of the system any problem gear.

Likely a lot of your probs are caused by old installed connections/wiring. Check that stuff THOROUGHLY! Make ample use of DeOxite and the like, CLEAN every connection.

I learned something early on from several teachers including my Father. "It's a poor craftsman that blames his tools". If you don't have the right tools, get them or make do with workarounds. A recent occurance of feedback problems where near none had been before? Appears to be operator error on somebody's part. New mics and/or monitors, different pickup patterns, repositioned monitors or mains, ect., something's been changed and not accounted for. Start from scratch on setting system gains and carefully assess the physical positions of the speakers and sound sources. Just cause the gear is old does not make it a POS. When was the last time the amps were pulled and blown out with compressed air and checked for fan operation. NEGLECT is a big prob with installs. WORSE, is the multitude of people who think because they can operate a CD player or have even been a musician for a long while, they KNOW how to control a multiple component PA system (reminds me of Airport Security trained mostly by movies & TV). After you sort the system out, some training will be needed and certain things placed OFF LIMITS to adjustments and changes of positioning.

THEN look at what NEEDS replaced and set priorities for the biggest improvements, likely newer speakers (paper cones DO age and heat takes it's toll on VC) and a new desk.


Mike W.:
Yeah I admit it was my fault on the feedback and not realizing the problem. The Situation just has finally worn me out. I work partime after college for a multimedia company and every waking hour it seems like I'm up there fixing or setting things up. I do this totally voluntary and the night before I was out at a show until 3 am. And since I'm not paid it seems to me i should have the right to sleep in a little. I am currently the only one there that runs sound on Sunday mornings. We use to have three teams of volunteers Who rotated weeks lightening the load. Now after all the hardships it's just me one guy who runs ppt/video and a light guy. Thats it and has been week after week for what seems like for ever and if I miss they drag someone on the maintenance staff out to run lights or  they just leave them all on.

But good news it looks like the just might have approved the budget to put in a new SS and replace the light sys(the source of the e-problems). The future is looking better but it just emotionally seems a little late. There is prob 3 months of work to install and thats a daunting task.


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