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Mackie PA system setup!

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by jacobrownoly, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. jacobrownoly


    Jun 16, 2007
    Hello, my covers/wedding band has just bought 2 Mackie SRM450 and 1 Mackie 1801 subwoofer (all are powered). So far we have been running the system the way Mackie states by running the high pass to the mains and the inputs of the sub to the mixer. Mackie states that this setup has a build in crossover that sends the lower frequencies to the sub. This sounded OK but I felt that we didnt have much control over what was send to subs and mains. For example we dont really want the bass and bass kick coming out the mains, we just want them in the subs.

    SO....Is this really the best way to run this setup or should we be connecting the sub to a to a separate sub output on the desk so that we have more control over what EXACTLY is send to the subs and mains. :bassist:

    I hope this is clear :bag: we r all a bit confused on the best way to run the setup.

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated:help:
  2. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    The bass guitar will sound like crap if it is only coming out of the sub. You could try using an aux send for the sub. then only what is assigned to the aux will be in the subs.
  3. jacobrownoly


    Jun 16, 2007
    So if the bass will sound crap through just the sub, is it just best to run it how mackie states?
  4. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    If you have extra aux sends on your board then you could use one of them. What this does is keep vocals and guitars out of the subs which can clean up the mix.
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  6. pflash4001


    Dec 2, 2011
    By keeping the bass and kick out of the mains you're keeping half the sound of those instruments out of the system. While they are low freq heavy, they AREN'T low freq exclusives either. Take the kick, for example. Your low end is what you feel more than hear. That's the pulse in the music. Without running through the mains you miss out on the high-mid/high freq "snap"...the sound of the beater striking the head. That component of the sound is what you hear more than feel. It really helps to set the kick in the mix in relation to the bass. You need the sub, mid, and highs to get that sound. You won't get it through subs alone. Conversely, think of what a vocal through a speaker with a blown horn sounds like. Vocals get muddy and unintelligible because the sibilant consonants are high freq sounds. Their absence makes the sound incomplete and hard to distinguish. You need the low and mids along with the highs to get a complete reproduction of the sound. The best thing to do, I think, is run your mains into the system as Mackie explained it or use a separate xover, but if all your cabs are Mackies, they should be already tuned and set to their optimum settings. If you're not happy with the sound, judging from what I read in your post, I suspect you're not getting as much out of your system because it may not be eq'ed properly...have you really spent time ringing out the system?
  7. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    Your system is working as it was designed to do. The crossover frequency is designed so that each cab works on the frequencies that they handle best. Since it takes loads more power to achieve the same relative volume for each octave you go down, freeing up the 450's from handling the lows will mean their amps have loads more headroom without the lows sucking asll the available power and will work more efficiently.

    That's what a mains and sub system is all about, not routing specific instruments to different cabs. As has been pointed out, you can do that if you feed the sub from an Aux mix, but with all due respect, if you're confused by the standard operation, you will be even more confused by running the sub from an Aux mix.

    I would keep it simple, as you say it sounds OK, so if further improvements are required I would also look to working with channel EQ on the desk to optimise each individual source, working with global EQ using an outboard graphic or paramentric and learning to tune the system to the room and working on the mix before trying out alternative routing
  8. jacobrownoly


    Jun 16, 2007
    Thanks for the speedy replies and advice, i think that we will keep the setup how Mackie says to. A think we really need to upgrade our mixer, i have a feeling that the berhringer eurorack is no good :(

    If its best to keep the mackie set up with the sub and mains can someone explain to me what the sub channles and output are on the mixer?

    Many thanks!
  9. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    If you can spend the dough, the Presonus Studio Live 16.4.2 is a rockin' board! And yeah, bass & kick in the sub's exclusively is not really a great idea. There have been some recent proponents of it here as they have seen 'pro sound' folks do it. I'm guesing they have never been out front to actually hear it and probably missed that the kick & bass were also being set to the tops. Basically what they were seeing was the subs being driven off an Aux send to put a volume control for the subs on the board so they could manually override the gain on the crossover... Kinda primitive in my est... I mean really... a kick with no beater snap on top ? good for metal ? How can that be :D
  10. pflash4001


    Dec 2, 2011
    Judging from this question you're unclear about the difference between SUBwoofers (speakers) and SUBgroups (busses on a console.). They are totally different things. If I'm mistaken in this, I apologize...don't mean to sound like I'm telling you something you already know. SUBwoofers are low frequency speakers designed to reproduce the lowest frequencies of music. SUBgroups are busses that function as a level control for any signals you assign to it, for example, say you have channels 1-5set up with kick, snare, rack toms, floor toms, and channels 6-10 with horns, trumpet, alto sax, tenor sax, tbone...the rest of the console has the rest of the band going thru it as well, but we'll just use this for an example. Instead of running each individual level when adjustments need to be made to the group, you simply use the subgroup. Say you assign all the drums to subgroups (subs) 1-2, panned left/right stereo and assign the horns to subgroup 3. Say over the course of the night that you need more kick or snare drum. Simply slide the fader for that instrument channel up a bit. But say on the other hand, that all the horns need to come up in the mix, take up the SUBgroup fader and that one fader will turn all channels assigned to it (in this case the horn mics) up or down. This is really simplified, but a general concept of the difference between subs and subs. I hadn't ever thought of how confusing that could be to someone...
  11. jacobrownoly


    Jun 16, 2007
    Many thanks guys for the great advice!

    So it seems that the setup with the subs and mains was correct, i think the problem is mainly an EQ issue, i will do more reading on EQing a live band and experiment a bit more. I also think that we should purchase a quality Mackie mixer as i think the behringer mixer is no good.

    Many thanks

    Any more advice would be great!
  12. two things i will suggest...buy a crossover to give you more control over the frequencies going to you speaker, this will also help to clear up the sound a little. also a buy a 31band EQ. this will definitely help. BUT at this price on buying these 2 units you are almost at the price of a driverack pa+. itsa full PA management system.

    if you are also looking at replacing your mixer. but a Mackie DL1608 iPad mixer. to give you FULL digital console features at a great price, this is it.
  13. gareth dunster

    gareth dunster

    Dec 8, 2009
    I don't think I've ever read anyone here proposing that the kick and bass should be run through the sub only. What has been discussed if the sub should only play the lows of the bass and kick rather than putting the board mix into it. Using an aux send as a sub feed isolates what goes into the subwoofer.
  14. joelb79

    joelb79 Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    I'm scratching my head at some of the advise here. Use the setup as the manual states, including the gain levels they give you for the 1 sub 2 tops setup. A bump in the EQ can keep the kick and bass out of the tops, especially if you engage the low-cut on the SRM-450's. Your going to want some of the highs from everything. Take some time and tweak the EQ and you should be able to achieve what you want.

    I dunno tho.. I really wouldn't want just a sub for FOH setup on my bass guitar. Unless the sound guy absolutely thinks my rig is carrying the highs just fine and only need some more fundamental. Then its his call..
  15. jacobrownoly


    Jun 16, 2007
    Ok so should I use the low cut switch on the mains if we have a sub?

    Could someone also give me basic mixer eq starting setting for say bass, bass kick, guitar, vocals and keyboard.

    P.S could someone one help me on where i should put our dbx compressor, we want to add a little compression to the WHOLE mix so where is the best place to put it?

  16. pflash4001


    Dec 2, 2011
    Start with your EQs flat, meaning centered and making no change. Play around with them and LISTEN. When you start hearing feedback look for it and cut that frequency using eq until the ringing is gone. AVOID THE DISCO SMILE OF DEATH EQ AON YOUR OUTBOARD GRAPHIC EQ!!!!. Remember you don't necessarily want to be adding a lot with the eq, but rather, cutting where necessary. There is no other starting point because this will probably change from room to room. Your system needs to be tuned to the room to get the most out of it. Your PA system is going to interact with the room, so you need to spend a bit of time listening and tweaking it during sound check. You also need to be sure your gain structure is set up well. If your gains are all over the place (including individual channels, outboard f/x processors, master/aux busses, etc) you won't have proper headroom and are asking for noise, feedback, or worse, dangerous damaging clipping. As far as outboard f/x, if they go on an individual channel (like a comp/ltr on a kick drum) you would use the channel insert. If its several signals will use it (like reverb) use an aux send/return and use the aux send on the channel (post fader) to regulate levels of effect per channel. If its something an entire subgroup or the whole mix will use (like overall compression) use the subgroup inserts or the master inserts. I really recommend you go to Mackie's website and download a few of their manuals. They do a great job of explaining this and other concepts in a way that a novice can understand and not make you feel stupid doing it. Plus, some of their manuals are actually pretty funny. When was the last time a manual made you laugh? The things they're explaining are obviously centered on their products, but the concepts apply regardless who made your gear. I hope this helps.
  17. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    The Mackie system he has already has a built in crossover that is designed to work with the system. A 31 band is a good idea. The driverack isn't IMO since most of the features are already designed into his PA cabinets.
  18. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Until you learn how to use your system correctly I would by-pass the compressor. It might cause more problems.
  19. F-Clef-Jef


    Nov 13, 2006
    Neenah, WI
    ^ this ^ (mostly!)
    The Driverack EQ's the system to THE ROOM, and that isn't (and can't be) built into the Mackies. We have a really good soundguy, and sometimes he doesn't use the Driverack. But in some rooms, he'll go stand in the middle of the room (before we even start setting up) clap his hands a couple of times and listen to the room, and decide if he wants to run the Driverack first.

    The crossover in the Mackies works really well, although the driverack usually is a little skimpy on low end for us, so we EQ a little low-end back into the system after the Driverack flattens it out for us.
  20. pflash4001


    Dec 2, 2011
    All of this assumes you understand the concepts behind tuning the system to the room. I still think its a good idea to really grasp the basics of gain structure, eq, and mic/spkr placement before going any further. Introducing compression now may end up overwhelming the op, especially if he or she is unclear on how to properly set gain structure and USE THE METERS on the gear.
  21. jacobrownoly


    Jun 16, 2007
    Could someone help me link up my dbx comprssor, i know how to use the compressor i just need to know thw best plce to put it so that the whole mix is getting a little compressed

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