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Author Topic: What is the best way to set the master fader, effects fader, and EQ?  (Read 4361 times)

Skel

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Hi all - this is my first post, and I'm certain this is the "FAQ" kind of stuff everyone is sick of hearing about (sorry).

I'm definitely a newbee and I have a few questions.  Any help in getting the best sounding vocals (2 vocalists)possible would be greatly appreciated.

I'm the bass player in my 3 piece band (guitar, bass, drums), and the self-appointed "guy in charge of buying the sound gear and knowing how to set it up and run it".

I have recently acquired 2 JBL SRX15 mains, a Crown CE 4000 power amplifier, and a Yamaha MG16/6FX mixing console.  I'm using 2 XLR (left and right) cables from the mixer to the Crown, and 2 Speakon cables from the Crown to the JBLs.  I am trying to get this set up to sound as good and loud as possible (for vocals only) in an average size bedroom, which is our rehearsal spot.  I have both of the SRX15s directly opposite the 2 vocal mics (SM58's).  I know to set the mixer head amplifier gain to where the peak led flashes, then back it off to where it only flashes once in a while.  I was told by the Guitar Center guy where I bought the Crown to run it wide open.

What I don't understand is:

1.  How do I set the channel fader in relation to the master fader?

2.  I want to use the onboard effects processor for delay to thicken up the vocals, but I could use some advice on this.  The channel effect control knob is the effects send, and the effects processor has a slider which is the effects return.  The Yamaha manual says that the signal level will also vary according to the channel fader.  What would an engineer with a lot of experience do with these 3 controls?

3.  What would an experienced engineer do with the channel 3 band EQ, the main stereo 7 band EQ, and what does he or she do when feedback starts occurring?

I realize all of this may be subjective. Regardless of my personal taste (I'm not experienced enough to have personal taste yet) I am interested to know what very experienced sound engineers would start with, try, etc.

Thanks,

Skel
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Steve Oldridge

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Re: What is the best way to set the master fader, effects fader, and EQ?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2005, 01:57:31 pm »

skel,
try this... it should help..

http://www.soundcraft.com/download.asp?filename=pdf/palz/gui de_to_mixing_brochure.pdf

Steve
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Evan Kirkendall

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Re: What is the best way to set the master fader, effects fader, and EQ?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2005, 02:00:15 pm »

Quote:

1. How do I set the channel fader in relation to the master fader?


You should always try and run everything as close to 0 or "unity."

So, when you go about setting your levels: solo the channel, bring the gain up to the "0" point on the meters and then bring the fader up. Faders should be around the 0 mark, but I often run anywhere from -5 to +6.

Quote:


2. I want to use the onboard effects processor for delay to thicken up the vocals, but I could use some advice on this. The channel effect control knob is the effects send, and the effects processor has a slider which is the effects return. The Yamaha manual says that the signal level will also vary according to the channel fader. What would an engineer with a lot of experience do with these 3 controls?


Once again, unity is the key. bring the efx send up to the unity mark. Then bring the efx return up until you've got enough efx for your liking.

Quote:


3. What would an experienced engineer do with the channel 3 band EQ, the main stereo 7 band EQ, and what does he or she do when feedback starts occurring?


Use it and fix it. There is no pre set way to do things. It varies from room to room. Always start flat and go from there. You use the channel eq to fix little things and the graphic EQ to fix major things, and ring out the room. With vocals I normally dont use much EQ at all. Maybe roll off the lows a little if the voice has a lot of bass. Sometimes if the voice is muddy Ill sweep through the mids and try to fix it.

Leave your graphic EQ flat. If something is ringing, then mess with it. If you have a high squeel, find the freq thats ringing and pull it back.

IM sure others will be more detailed. I was pretty general.

Evan

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Skel

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Re: What is the best way to set the master fader, effects fader, and EQ?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2005, 02:57:07 pm »

Hey guys - thanks a lot for the pointers and advice.  This should be very helpful.

Skel

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Andy Peters

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Re: What is the best way to set the master fader, effects fader, and EQ?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2005, 03:45:53 pm »

Skel wrote on Fri, 16 September 2005 10:00

1.  How do I set the channel fader in relation to the master fader?


The master fader should be set for maximum volume.  Usually, this means "part it at 0 dB and leave it there."

You set each channel fader to the level appropriate for the mix.  This means that you start with each fader down at the bottom, and push it up until it's at the right level.  Usually you want the vocals to be the loudest signal, so push up the vocal until it's "loud enough."  Then if you want guitars in the mix, push up the guitars until the balance between the vocals and guitars is what you want.  That's it, in a nutshell.

Quote:

2.  I want to use the onboard effects processor for delay to thicken up the vocals, but I could use some advice on this.  The channel effect control knob is the effects send, and the effects processor has a slider which is the effects return.  The Yamaha manual says that the signal level will also vary according to the channel fader.  What would an engineer with a lot of experience do with these 3 controls?


The effect is "sent" to each channel on a post-fader effects send.  This means that the fader level affects how much that channel gets fed to the effect.  So, the first thing is to set the channel fader so the regular level is in the main mix at the appropriate level.  Then you dial in the how much to send to the effect.  Ideally, you'd get as much sent to the effect, without overloading its input, as possible, and then you use the effect return fader to control how much of the effect is present ni the mix.  (Make sure that you set the effect "wet/dry" or "balance" to 100% effect.  Otherwise, you'd just be mixing in more of the dry signal on the effect return channel.)

Quote:

3.  What would an experienced engineer do with the channel 3 band EQ


Tweaking the individual channel until it "sounds good."

Quote:

the main stereo 7 band EQ


Use it to fix speaker weirdness.  Or just leave it flat; it paints with too broad a brush.

Quote:

and what does he or she do when feedback starts occurring?


turn down what's feeding back.

-a
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"This isn't some upside down inverted Socratic method where you throw out your best guess answers and I correct your work." -- JR


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Jim Duyck

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Re: What is the best way to set the master fader, effects fader, and EQ?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2005, 04:34:35 pm »

Skel wrote on Fri, 16 September 2005 12:00

I am trying to get this set up to sound as good and loud as possible (for vocals only) in an average size bedroom, which is our rehearsal spot.


With that power, I imagine you'll be able to get enough volume to clue the rest of the house in on what's being sung in the bedroom... Laughing

have fun and don't ruin your hearing!!!
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~jim~

Skel

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Re: What is the best way to set the master fader, effects fader, and EQ?
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2005, 02:42:58 pm »

Once again, thanks to those who have responded - this is really quite helpful.  I can see now that, like everything else, this is going to take some effort to get fairly good mixes.  My last PA (I still have it) was more of a "PA for dummies" (perfect for me) - a Carvin "Club Series" with a 1000 watt powered mixer, two 3 way mains, and two 12" wedge monitors, but noooooo, I had to have something more complicated Smile

Now I need to read up on things like "unity gain", and how setting something to "zero" for max volume makes sense. Just since yesterday, I learned about this "ringing out" technique that I like the sound of. Anything that makes setting up the mix a systematic, repeatable process will be a great help and I'm living proof that you can make a pretty good system like mine sound like crap.

Skel
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Skel

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Re: What is the best way to set the master fader, effects fader, and EQ?
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2005, 05:53:18 pm »

Hey guys, so the channel and master faders on my mixer have numbers starting from all the down: 00(in a very small font), then 40,30,20,15,10,0,5,and 10 at the highest, or top of the slider.  Is this fader simply another gain control that is cutting or boosting the signal and optimally I would want it at 0 - no cut or boost to the first head amplifier gain stage?  And same with the master fader?

Next, I assume I want the stereo switch on for each vocal (mono) channel so that the signal gets sent to both the left and right buses, which then get sent to the left and right outputs of the mixer to the left and right inputs of the power amp?  I realize now that I could run just one channel out of the mixer and "parallel" the inputs on the power amp, but this seems more or less like 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.

Last, on my power amp I have ch1 & ch2 high pass, and low pass filters, which I have set to "flat", the mode set to "stereo" since I'm not bridging.  For the "sensitivity" switch, my choices are .775V, .4V, and 3.46V.  The manual doesn't explain in a way that I can understand what I should have this set to.  I assume since all the other "flat" settings are leftmost, and .775V is leftmost, I should use this setting?

BTW - so far what I am planning to do, is set the head amplifier gain while testing vocals to where the peak led flashes, then back it off to where it only flashes every once in while.  The channel 3 band eq will be set to flat, and the 7 band eq off, set the master fader to "0", slowly bring up the channel fader to the desired vocal volume, then since the channel effect send is a rotary knob numbered 1-10 with a little arrow on 6 (as if this is the desired or max setting without overdriving the processor), set this effects send to "6" (no led to know whether I'm overdriving the internal effects processor), then slowly bring up the effects return fader until I can hear the delay mixed in with the dry signal.  For the power amp, I'm just going to keep my eye on the "clip" and "fault" leds as a guide for power amp channel attenuation.  Finally I'll turn on the 7 band EQ set to flat, then learn how to remove any feedback by reducing whatever band is feeding back.  

Please let me know if there is anything wrong with this approach.

Thanks,

Skel

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Andy Peters

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Re: What is the best way to set the master fader, effects fader, and EQ?
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2005, 12:12:10 am »

Skel wrote on Sat, 17 September 2005 14:53

Hey guys, so the channel and master faders on my mixer have numbers starting from all the down: 00(in a very small font),


That's actually a "lazy eight," the symbol for infinity.  Actually, it's minus infinity, or maximum attenuation.


Quote:

 then 40,30,20,15,10,0,5,and 10 at the highest, or top of the slider.


The markings are in decibels.  The numbers below the zero are negative, meaning attenuation.  The numbers above zero are gain.  Zero is called "unity" meaning neither gain nor attenuation.

Quote:

Is this fader simply another gain control that is cutting or boosting the signal


Yes.

Quote:

and optimally I would want it at 0 - no cut or boost to the first head amplifier gain stage?  And same with the master fader?


No -- otherwise, what's the point of having a fader if you set it to zero?  Anyways, I think the description of the setup in the manual is pretty stupid.

Quote:

BTW - so far what I am planning to do, is set the head amplifier gain while testing vocals to where the peak led flashes, then back it off to where it only flashes every once in while.  The channel 3 band eq will be set to flat


Each channel has a switch near the fader labelled "PFL" ("pre-fader listen").  You press that button, and the meter changes mode, so that it monitors the input level.  As the musician plays, turn the gain knob until the meter reads 0.

You then mix on the faders.

-a
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Skel

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Re: What is the best way to set the master fader, effects fader, and EQ?
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2005, 08:13:10 am »

Andy - so that's what that PFL is for!  I'm physically not where the PA is, so I can't try things out as I learn them until rehearsals (Wednesdays), but it will give me time to absorb all this information.  This all probably seems pretty easy to most of you guys, but I can see now that being proficient at mixing sound obviously takes some time, effort, and knowledge.  

BTW - was I right about the "sensativity" switch on the power amp? leaving it set to .775V?

My intention is to sell my Carvin "club series" PA as a complete system just like I bought it.  Therefore I need monitors, and I was thinking of JBL EON G2's (either the 10" or 15"'s).  The pro-audio guy at Guitar Center told me he likes the powered speakers because the built in amps are matched to the cabinets.  When I look at the 15" G2's, it makes me wonder why I didn't get these for the mains as well - I guess there's a fine line between what is a stage monitor vs a main these days.  I'll take any advice I can get on the monitors, especially from people who have been there - done that on so many different configurations.

I might as well say that I'm also thinking of getting a single JBL SRX718S and placing it (I guess) on the floor, directly between the 2 SRX715s's - powered by a CE-1000 or 2000.  I don't know if I could still run everything in "stereo" mode, or whether I would then need to start biamping/bridging.  What is the difference between "continuous" and "program" when you read power ratings?
 
Last, I mentioned earlier about getting the vocals "loud", but I really meant just loud enough to be over the instruments in our tiny rehearsal space, which is a challenge, but I think it can be done now that I understand more about the mixing console EQing, mic placement, speaker placement, reflections, etc.  I am never interested in "loud", just good sound quality.  For the last couple of gigs we've done, I did run my bass head direct into the mixer, and used an SM57 for the guitar (Marshall 4X12 cab).  I just made sure they were below the vocals - no effects or anything,  and I think it sounded quite good.  The gigs were outdoors (why does everything sound SO good outside?).  I recently got a Shure drum mic kit, which consists of 3 SM57's and a Beta-52 bass drum mic.  I'm leaving it to the drummer to figure out the best mic placement, and again, my intention will be to start out with just a flat signal, keeping it all below the vocals.  I guess a wireless unit for my bass is going to be a "must have" in order to walk around and hear what the audience hears.

Thanks,

Skel
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