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Author Topic: How to keep DJ levels out of the red  (Read 16210 times)

brian maddox

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Re: How to keep DJ levels out of the red
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2011, 01:13:37 pm »

At the end of the day - it is not really the audio providers place to get involved in the quality of the music. I once caught a monitor engineer messing around with limiters on our L'acoustic DV dosc DJ headphones.. that engineer almost lost his job over it - and that company will never provide for that artist again. They did 30+ shows a year with him in 5 figure/show fees.

I have yet to see a proper rig damaged from DJ abuse. If your system configuration and protection devices can handle a heavy metal band - you can probably do a big name DJ.

+1

our job is to take what we are given, and make it louder.  obviously we want to do that while simultaneously not blowing up our rig.  that's where proper system setup comes into play.  but it's not really our place to dictate what we're given, any more than it's our place to tell the guitar player what notes to play.

i've never had a problem doing dj gigs.  i mean, i hated it when they managed to make my pristine d&b rig sound like [insert bad/cheap/nasty rig of your choice here].  but i never had any concerns they were gonna hurt my system.  and yes, i always gave them lots and lots of monitor.  that does help.
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brian maddox
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duane massey

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Re: How to keep DJ levels out of the red
« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2012, 02:25:41 am »

It's more of a problem for me with installs. When the budget is limited you can't put enough gear in place to allow for 40% or more headroom, so you have to have some form of protection that may affect the quality of the sound at extreme levels just to keep it alive. Most of my clients are smaller bars with less than professional dj's, so the challenge is a bit different.
If your gigs are shows with "name" dj's you really have to be more diplomatic, or you won't do the next show.
I really do miss the old days when MP24's were the top choice, much simpler and less chance of a knob junky over-driving an input.
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Duane Massey
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Brad Weber

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Re: How to keep DJ levels out of the red
« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2012, 01:26:02 pm »

This is simple-

A) If you adjust your system Limiters to Brick wall, and your amps are sized correctly, and have proper long term thermal protection in your rig, then you should be able to interface any Mixer.  I just turn the attenuation knob on the DJM stuff almost down, so the Max volume can't clip- The Clip indicators on that console are pre-master attenuator, but the actual clipping occurs in the output stage.  I tell em, one yellow, but find 'em in the red all the time.

On Rane Mixers, the headroom is expansive, so its tougher.  There can be serious level being sent, so again, I setup a brick wall limiter at about +10dBu.
I just noted this and typically you would set limiter levels based on the specifics of the associated speakers and amplifier rather than just picking a number.  Since +10dBu is 6dB or more above the input sensitivity of many amplifiers, is this assuming some amount of attenuation after the limiter?

Is the 'brick wall' limiter noted addressing peak limiting or RMS/average limiting?  If peak limiting, is the limiter really fast enough to catch impulsive peaks or are you somehow accounting for overshoot?
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Pascal.Pincosy

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Re: How to keep DJ levels out of the red
« Reply #33 on: January 20, 2012, 01:00:51 pm »

Here is the primer. I've used this system with thousands of acts and it never fails:

Step 1) Purchase and install 1 Formula Sound AVC-2. Mount the AVC-2 somewhere that the DJ can see the pretty lights.

Step 2) Explain to the DJ how the box works: "This box is an automatic volume control that will automatically turn down the volume if you turn it up too much. So if you see any red lights on this box, it means that the system is actually 3 dB quieter than it could be. In order to make the system as loud as possible, you will need to turn your mixer down until the red lights disappear." Make sure they understand what you are saying to them.

Step 3) Spend the rest of the DJ's set: at the bar/having a safety meeting/meeting cute new friends/scarfing the buffet/reading a book/looking busy for the client/making cables/reading sound system forums/organizing your music library.

Occasionally you will have some especially thick individual who just doesn't listen, who will proceed to plow his DJ mixer into the red. Go ahead and remind him about the red lights a couple of times. If he still refuses to keep his levels in check, take a moment to talk to the client, apologize for the sound quality and explain why it sounds distorted. Since this sort of thing is now a unusual occurrence, the client will be more willing to focus the blame on the DJ, and less likely to focus it on you.

It's as simple as that.

I recently was introduced to the Drawmer SP2120, which has a much better volume control algorithm than the Formula Sound AVC2. And it's only $800. I am now recommending this box over the AVC2 for those who want to protect their sound systems from DJ's without compression/limiting artifacts.
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Richard Stringer

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Re: How to keep DJ levels out of the red
« Reply #34 on: May 13, 2012, 05:07:22 am »

I've been a dj since 1993, and never pushed levels into the red lights myself personally. I do run small dance events with my own sound system and I always make sure that the dj monitor is absoloutely loud as hell so the dj doesn't want to run my system into red lights. I only do small events in a pub's little function room but I have two JBL MRX515 cabs, (one either side because some dj's like monitors on the right and some on the left) powered by a bridged QSC RMX1450 running full blast and the dj's always say the dj monitor is extremely loud, some dj's say it's a bit too loud, and you know what, there's never a red light on the mixer.

I've owned my own system for about 12 years now and never once blown a single driver, ever.
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