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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => Wireless and Communications => Topic started by: Steve Moland on June 05, 2017, 05:14:22 pm

Title: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Steve Moland on June 05, 2017, 05:14:22 pm
I need a wireless [non IR] volume control to place between my mixer and my power amp rack. I've been unable to find what I need.

Here is the context of the venue when I need it. 

I provide all the sound reinforcement gear when I'm the announcer/emcee for outdoor events, mostly road races and triathlons. Except for a few events I have no one at my mixer controlling the music volume while I'm out roving the venue using a wireless headset and belt pack worm behind my head inside my shirt collar. I get plenty of range because I mount my wireless receiver on an 8 foot stand that is above everyone's head height. IE. No bodies to get in the way to eat the wireless signal.

Given the 200-300' range I get, running back to the mixer when I need the music turned down is visually non-professional, especially when I'm interviewing people.

Sometimes I need only the music turned down and I realize what I'm asking for would turn down both voice and music but I operate with my voice volume always turned higher and just move my little mouth boom mic away or back in to control the level. Worse case I could also just feed the controlled music volume into a 2nd mini mixer and add my mic input at that point

Steve in NH
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Don T. Williams on June 05, 2017, 05:25:02 pm
I need a wireless [non IR] volume control to place between my mixer and my power amp rack. I've been unable to find what I need.

Here is the context of the venue when I need it. 

I provide all the sound reinforcement gear when I'm the announcer/emcee for outdoor events, mostly road races and triathlons. Except for a few events I have no one at my mixer controlling the music volume while I'm out roving the venue using a wireless headset and belt pack worm behind my head inside my shirt collar. I get plenty of range because I mount my wireless receiver on an 8 foot stand that is above everyone's head height. IE. No bodies to get in the way to eat the wireless signal.

Given the 200-300' range I get, running back to the mixer when I need the music turned down is visually non-professional, especially when I'm interviewing people.

Sometimes I need only the music turned down and I realize what I'm asking for would turn down both voice and music but I operate with my voice volume always turned higher and just move my little mouth boom mic away or back in to control the level. Worse case I could also just feed the controlled music volume into a 2nd mini mixer and add my mic input at that point

Steve in NH


Steve, you might look at replacing your current mixer with a small digital mixer.  The Behringer XR12 ($300.00 "street" price) comes to mind, and there are probably other choices.  Controls with a phone or tablet, but you may find you will need an external wireless router to replace the internal unit for the range and reliability you need.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Scott Hofmann on June 05, 2017, 06:04:41 pm

Sounds like you need RDL's ST-VP2 ducking module:
The ST-VP2 can be wired into any line-level input of a paging amplifier. A line-level music source may be provided from a receiver, satellite decoder, tape or CD source. A line-level voice source may be provided from a telephone paging system at line level, or from a microphone which has been preamplified up to line level (See RDL STM-1, STM-2, STM-2X, STM-3, STM-LDA3 Microphone Preamplifiers). When a page is initiated, the module automatically senses the audio at the input, turns the music down to the desired level, and automatically fades the music back up after the page is completed. The VOICE input is completely turned off by the module until the next paging signal is received. Setup is made easy by two LED indicators at the front of the module. LEDs are provided to show correct operating level for each of the two inputs.

The music input provides an AGC/Compressor which transparently produces a consistent audio level for varying music sources and protects against excessive music levels which would otherwise mask the voice signal during voice-overs.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Steve Moland on June 05, 2017, 06:40:05 pm


The XR12 would probably be too modern technically to control when I'm out and about. Phones and tablets are cool, but they require too much picky detailed attention to operate and are mistakes just waiting to happen on bright days outdoors. I've often already got a clipboard in one hand.

Ideally the control would be a super easy boring old mixer style knob or thumb roller control in a little box I could mount on my belt. It's something I'd have to control without looking and almost use subconsciously like I do with the mute control for my head mic.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Steve Moland on June 05, 2017, 06:48:48 pm
Sounds like you need RDL's ST-VP2 ducking module:

While that AGC/Compressor feature of the RDL ST-VP2 is something I'd like to have for other reasons, I need to be able to choose the music level on the fly depending on the situation of the moment, a level from off to louder than normal.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Mike Caldwell on June 05, 2017, 08:28:54 pm
Short of going to a digital mixer of some form (some even have a built in ducking mode) and being what sounds like a one man operation the idea I have is that you carry the music source with you and transmit it wireless back to home base like you do with your wireless mic.

Your music would need to be on a portable source, phone, iPod, ect.

You would need a body pack wireless system, an XLR to the input connector style that your body pac uses adaptor cable.

To interface between the music source and the body pacs input cable get one of these http://www.rapcohorizon.com/p-377-ltiblox.aspx (http://www.rapcohorizon.com/p-377-ltiblox.aspx) it sums the stereo music source output to mono and it has an old fashioned volume knob on it for fast easy control.

I have used that exact set up for a couple of sound jobs that needed a remote location for the music source playback. My wireless body pac system is an Audio Technica 3000 series.
It works great and sounds good, not quite like a hard wired connection but still perfectly good for what it sounds like your doing.

What wireless mic system do you have now? Adding another wireless system to the set up I would split the incoming antenna lines to feed both receivers from your remote antennas. Audio Technica makes an amplified two way splitter.



Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Erik Jerde on June 05, 2017, 10:32:32 pm
If you want it simple and reliable then get a DSP that has the ability to do a custom interface on a smart phone.  Give yourself one big button that toggles for you.  Just need reliable wifi then.

Thinking about it more, if you really wanted to go for it you could actually get a dsp that can take commands over the network.  Build a little IoT box with a physical control on it that connects with the dsp via wifi and relays the control to the dsp.

Not sure if BSS can do this but QSC Q-SYS sure could.  Just gotta decide how much money you want to spend.


You're not going to find a way to do this with the audio actually passing to you and then back out.  Not any good reliable way.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Steve Moland on June 05, 2017, 10:40:54 pm
Short of going to a digital mixer of some form (some even have a built in ducking mode) and being what sounds like a one man operation the idea I have is that you carry the music source with you and transmit it wireless back to home base like you do with your wireless mic.

Your music would need to be on a portable source, phone, iPod, ect.

You are correct, most often I am a one man show. Quite often that's a good thing because I have to go with the flow of a changing timeline and script.

I currently have 2 SLX wireless setups with belt packs so that when I do interviews or work with a co-announcer we both have a mic. I have adapters for belt packs to receive 1/4 TRS, 1/8th inch ipod/phone feeds and even an XLR feed. I have used ipods through my 2nd unit but I prefer to be feeding my music from a laptop running off the same power source as the amps.

You mention carrying my own music source so as to control the volume. I tried that but to utilize it means I have to mess with an extremely unfriendly music device that I don't want to have to hold and seldom it has battery life long enough.

I'm often out there for many hours for half marathon and full marathons. My Shure stuff works for 4 to 5 hours and then a battery change takes 30 seconds. Once the phones and ipods run out of juice charging them becomes a logistical problem of use. Playing music on them sucks the batter down very fast.



 

Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Steve Moland on June 05, 2017, 11:27:06 pm
If you want it simple and reliable then get a DSP that has the ability to do a custom interface on a smart phone.  Give yourself one big button that toggles for you.  Just need reliable wifi then.

Thinking about it more, if you really wanted to go for it you could actually get a dsp that can take commands over the network.  Build a little IoT box with a physical control on it that connects with the dsp via wifi and relays the control to the dsp.

I do appreciate these suggestions because the mention of devices I've never heard let's me get exposed to things I might find useful at some other time.

I may just have to build both ends of this and fortunately I've a friend that builds wireless into a number of devices he markets for a different industry.

Like I mentioned in some other responses, handling anything overtly in your hands like the smartest phone or tablet on the planet when you are standing from of 3000 people just has you looking silly, especially on a bright day when you just can't see the screen because of the glare and you twist and turn the device and you to attempt to see.

This needs to so simple to operate.

Nobody notices a quick thumb bump I do now to mute unmute my belt pack transmitter  because I'm often approached and asked things we don't want live over the PA system.

Likewise nobody would notice a quick thumb roll at my belt line of a simply mostly buried-in-a-slot-in-a-little-box volume wheel like on Walkmans.

To be honest I don't even like having to hold a mic in my hand whether wired or wireless.

Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Mike Caldwell on June 06, 2017, 07:08:15 am
At this point you may need to look at hiring someone to operate the system when your out in the crowd doing the roving interviews,
someone qualified who will be paying attention.

I would set it up so the operator is listening to your mic via PFL with head phones while both of the mics are turned down in the system, you give them the heads up of an upcoming interview, then do a count down 5 4 3 2 1, they fade the music and bring up the wireless mics. That kind of thing is done in broadcast all the time.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Daniel Levi on June 06, 2017, 10:11:39 am
The only thing I can think of is using either wireless MIDI with a single knob controller (if it exists) or a knob connected so some sort of microcontroller with a zigbee or similar radio interface and a receiver with a VCA for level control.
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Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Steve Moland on June 06, 2017, 10:26:23 am
At this point you may need to look at hiring someone to operate the system when your out in the crowd doing the roving interviews,
someone qualified who will be paying attention.

I would set it up so the operator is listening to your mic via PFL with head phones while both of the mics are turned down in the system, you give them the heads up of an upcoming interview, then do a count down 5 4 3 2 1, they fade the music and bring up the wireless mics. That kind of thing is done in broadcast all the time.

I do have events where I hire some set up help, one in particular who is a great operator who has worked events with me and others for almost 20 years. He is generally ahead of my needs and those of the situation because he doesn't have to be distracted by a speaking role as as I do.

Since we are almost always dealing with amateurs on the mics he is real good at tweaking the squeakiness out of female or timid voices who are not projecting without yelling. 

However, most of the time, I'm on my own.

This thread has already gotten me to realize how I would design a device. The little control unit I would wear would not only have a rolling volume control for the music, but also 3 little click [for tactile feedback] on/off buttons for
1) the music.
2) my head mic
3) the handheld wireless mic in my pocket to hand to someone.

This way I wouldn't have move my hand to my belt pack to mute my mic or scramble so quickly to grab and mute the handheld mic before the one holding it forgets it's still live. Having a Mayor who just spoke turn to his aid and say "OK, let's get the hell out of here." doesn't play well. :)   I can't always be available to grab the live mic from a user because I'm often at the start line starting to speak myself immediately after the last of the VIPs speak.

All sorts of anxious moments will go away with what I'm looking for.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Mike Caldwell on June 06, 2017, 10:42:14 am


This thread has already gotten me to realize how I would design a device. The little control unit I would wear would not only have a rolling volume control for the music, but also 3 little click [for tactile feedback] on/off buttons for
1) the music.
2) my head mic
3) the handheld wireless mic in my pocket to hand to someone.

This way I wouldn't have move my hand to my belt pack to mute my mic or scramble so quickly to grab and mute the handheld mic before the one holding it forgets it's still live. Having a Mayor who just spoke turn to his aid and say "OK, let's get the hell out of here." doesn't play well. :)   I can't always be available to grab the live mic from a user because I'm often at the start line starting to speak myself immediately after the last of the VIPs speak.

All sorts of anxious moments will go away with what I'm looking for.

With that idea your back to a digital mixer or a DSP  and re-calling presets remotely.

 
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Steve Moland on June 06, 2017, 10:43:45 am
The only thing I can think of is using either wireless MIDI with a single knob controller (if it exists) or a knob connected so some sort of microcontroller with a zigbee or similar radio interface and a receiver with a VCA for level control.

Never heard of zigbee but after some quick checking just now I see lots of potential. Searching on zigbee brings in references to all sorts of slick "control" devices, parts and ideas.

Fortunately, the way I'd be mixing my music it will already be boosted for the feed into my power amps. A simple VCA would be perfect for the attenuation function I need to turn down or stop the music volume feed.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Don T. Williams on June 06, 2017, 11:09:53 am


This thread has already gotten me to realize how I would design a device. The little control unit I would wear would not only have a rolling volume control for the music, but also 3 little click [for tactile feedback] on/off buttons for
1) the music.
2) my head mic
3) the handheld wireless mic in my pocket to hand to someone.

This way I wouldn't have move my hand to my belt pack to mute my mic or scramble so quickly to grab and mute the handheld mic before the one holding it forgets it's still live. Having a Mayor who just spoke turn to his aid and say "OK, let's get the hell out of here." doesn't play well. :)   I can't always be available to grab the live mic from a user because I'm often at the start line starting to speak myself immediately after the last of the VIPs speak.

All sorts of anxious moments will go away with what I'm looking for.

Steve, you might be able to modify some of the Rapco "Blox" that have already be mentioned to do what you need.  Some models have a volume pot and a switch already installed.  It might require some gutting and rebuilding, but they could be small and rugged starting points for a passive personal control system.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Steve Moland on June 06, 2017, 11:14:35 am
With that idea your back to a digital mixer or a DSP  and re-calling presets remotely.

You may be correct in what you say, but I'm dealing with a totally amateur cast of script writers and time line choreographers at road races who change up things on the fly because they have to. A "preset" that works during those "I'll know what to do ONLY when presented with the situation" is by definition not something I could live with.

When the present works I almost don't need it. I'm sure this sounds strange but you'd have to be there with me.


Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Steve Moland on June 06, 2017, 11:18:38 am
Steve, you might be able to modify some of the Rapco "Blox" that have already be mentioned to do what you need.  Some models have a volume pot and a switch already installed.  It might require some gutting and rebuilding, but they could be small and rugged starting points for a passive personal control system.

Thanks Don. I looked at the Blox specs quickly last night before I arrived at the "I may have to do my own wiring." place I am now. I'll revisit the Blox.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Rick Earl on June 06, 2017, 12:06:31 pm
I need a wireless [non IR] volume control to place between my mixer and my power amp rack. I've been unable to find what I need.

Here is the context of the venue when I need it. 

I provide all the sound reinforcement gear when I'm the announcer/emcee for outdoor events, mostly road races and triathlons. Except for a few events I have no one at my mixer controlling the music volume while I'm out roving the venue using a wireless headset and belt pack worm behind my head inside my shirt collar. I get plenty of range because I mount my wireless receiver on an 8 foot stand that is above everyone's head height. IE. No bodies to get in the way to eat the wireless signal.

Given the 200-300' range I get, running back to the mixer when I need the music turned down is visually non-professional, especially when I'm interviewing people.

Sometimes I need only the music turned down and I realize what I'm asking for would turn down both voice and music but I operate with my voice volume always turned higher and just move my little mouth boom mic away or back in to control the level. Worse case I could also just feed the controlled music volume into a 2nd mini mixer and add my mic input at that point

Steve in NH

What if you look for a mechanical solution instead of an audio solution?  Maybe look on a RC Hobby Forum and find someone that could wire up a servo to a volume pot.  You then could carry a remote RC controller as a volume control.   Wired correctly you could add some laptop control too.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Andrew Broughton on June 06, 2017, 12:10:54 pm
Why not just use a Ducker which automatically lowers the music volume when you speak?
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Steve Moland on June 06, 2017, 12:57:39 pm
Why not just use a Ducker which automatically lowers the music volume when you speak?

I've used a ducking system and it's not really conducive to an outdoor endurance sport environment.  Read "Not really conducive" as it's very annoying for both me and the crowd.

Duckers make me the slave to how they work and but when i'm involved in being engaging and interactive with the crowd, I need to set the rules and I may decide to break them at will or necessity.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Andrew Broughton on June 06, 2017, 01:00:02 pm
I've used a ducking system and it's not really conducive to an outdoor endurance sport environment.  Read "Not really conducive" as it's very annoying for both me and the crowd.

Duckers make me the slave to how they work and but when i'm involved in being engaging and interactive with the crowd, I need to set the rules and I may decide to break them at will or necessity.
Care to elaborate specifically?
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Steve Moland on June 06, 2017, 02:02:04 pm
Care to elaborate specifically?

Except for opening ceremonies, the start and the post race award ceremonies, there is always music at a comfortable level. Since my voice projects well, I don't need the music lowered a good portion of the time when I'm conveying progress to the start time lines, sponsor shout outs, so I don't touch the music. When I'm dealing with telling course logistics or safety type info I want to briefly lower the music. I also use a heavy dose of "shut up" so as to not have everyone's ears glaze over.

When I am doing the obligatory reminders of basic stuff every 10 to 20 minutes because runners arrive over a 90 minute window, I talk for variable lengths of time, pause and jump back in X number seconds later. The last thing I need to think of is how long is the ducker going to take to stop the music, or how soon will it kick back in so that I can't add an "and lastly blah blah."  But that's only before the race.

Later after the runners start to finish for 45 minutes to 3 - 5 hours the music is at a higher level and I'm calling out information about runners and doing so in a comfortable flow that does NOT sound like a metronome. That means I have to speak, pause, think, repeat and the silence can't be long but mostly is long enough for the ducker to bring back the music just as start to speak.

A ducker is often like working with a co-announcer who doesn't quickly learn how to not step on his/her lead announcing partner over the mic. Whenever I have to stay out of the way of a co-announcer I don't enjoy my day because the audience can tell one of us has terrible timing. 

Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Mike Caldwell on June 06, 2017, 06:56:25 pm
You may be correct in what you say, but I'm dealing with a totally amateur cast of script writers and time line choreographers at road races who change up things on the fly because they have to. A "preset" that works during those "I'll know what to do ONLY when presented with the situation" is by definition not something I could live with.

When the present works I almost don't need it. I'm sure this sounds strange but you'd have to be there with me.

For presets I was thinking you needed some quick way to turn mics on and off, dim the playback music levels to muting playback music all together. To be able to quickly adapt to various audio needs as they happen by yourself and remotely you will end up with various control devices on you or a phone/tablet app control of some sort.

You could always go with something like the rig in this picture, battery powered mixer,  battery powered wireless receivers, audio playback, going wireless back to home base. All the controls would right at your finger tips, yes you would get hot wearing that in the middle of summer!
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Steve Moland on June 06, 2017, 07:12:00 pm

You could always go with something like the rig in this picture, battery powered mixer,  battery powered wireless receivers, audio playback, going wireless back to home base. All the controls would right at your finger tips, yes you would get hot wearing that in the middle of summer!

Oh Mike, your post is a hoot. I guess given the progression of my request and reasons for it I had it coming. The solution to the "hot" issue in the summer is merely just the addition of an insulted pouch for 2 cans of beer. Cover it all with an oversize Hawaiian shirt no one would be the wiser.
 
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Mike Caldwell on June 06, 2017, 07:19:39 pm
Oh Mike, your post is a hoot. I guess given the progression of my request and reasons for it I had it coming. The solution to the "hot" issue in the summer is merely just the addition of an insulted pouch for 2 cans of beer. Cover it all with an oversize Hawaiian shirt no one would be the wiser.

To be honest I was only about half joking, guy and gals wear a rig like that everyday working with TV and movie productions around the world. You can get versions with more storage space, perfect for a cool beverage.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Andrew Broughton on June 07, 2017, 02:12:55 am
If you used a computer for your music playback, you could use an RF presenter mouse to control the volume on the computer. easy-peasy.
http://www.dinofire.com/product-detail/dinofire-d05-wireless-presenter-with-red-laser-pointer/
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Dave Scarlett on June 07, 2017, 07:32:03 am
How about this:

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/x-air-fmp-remote/id1112931654?mt=8

Tiny and strait forward for the X-Air series
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Andrew Henderson on June 08, 2017, 11:49:51 pm
You are correct, most often I am a one man show. Quite often that's a good thing because I have to go with the flow of a changing timeline and script.

I currently have 2 SLX wireless setups with belt packs so that when I do interviews or work with a co-announcer we both have a mic. I have adapters for belt packs to receive 1/4 TRS, 1/8th inch ipod/phone feeds and even an XLR feed. I have used ipods through my 2nd unit but I prefer to be feeding my music from a laptop running off the same power source as the amps.

You mention carrying my own music source so as to control the volume. I tried that but to utilize it means I have to mess with an extremely unfriendly music device that I don't want to have to hold and seldom it has battery life long enough.

I'm often out there for many hours for half marathon and full marathons. My Shure stuff works for 4 to 5 hours and then a battery change takes 30 seconds. Once the phones and ipods run out of juice charging them becomes a logistical problem of use. Playing music on them sucks the batter down very fast.
Another vote here for just using a mobile music device on your person, attached to a wireless pack. I think a phone on airplane mode with a long enough playlist would be perfect. Put it in a belt clip and use the volume buttons on the side of the phone to control the volume. If using your phone's volume buttons is too cumbersome, just use an inline volume control like this Koss VC20 on the way to the wireless pack: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00001P4XH/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_dKHozb5QQQ1XZ (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00001P4XH/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_dKHozb5QQQ1XZ). That's a cheap one. There may be better options.

As for your phone dying, you can bring a couple of portable USB device chargers if you're worried about your device dying. You can buy them at any corner store now.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: craig russ on June 15, 2017, 07:53:20 pm
We had a magician at my church's fair last Friday.
He had a wireless device to control his audio tracks.
The transmitter stayed in his pocket.
The receiver controlled a playback device which fed
a DI which fed our snake.  It worked perfectly.

Looking online, I think it was one of these:
   http://audioaperemote.com/

Disclaimers:
 - I don't know range.  The magician was no more than 30 feet from the receiver.
 - I don't know if 433 MHz is an appropriate frequency for this use.

Here's a place where magicians discuss wireless control of playback:
   http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=608922
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Mark Rombouts on June 16, 2017, 03:08:04 pm
I think Yamaha MTX mixers can do these things. You can control al kinds off parameters via GPI in/outputs.
Title: Re: Wireless Volume Control
Post by: Jordan Wolf on June 18, 2017, 01:47:24 pm
For audio cues, I use GoButton by (now) Figure53. I don't know that it's the best choice for this application, though...


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