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feedback suppressors -- one in your PA rig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by millard, Jun 28, 2005.


  1. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    It seems like a great idea, but sometimes it's more marketing than fact. I'm the closest thing to a sound guy our band has and I don't/can't fix live problems because I'll be playing. :)

    First question is do folks use these to good effect?

    For those that do, to you run the mains through it or just the vocal mics? We're a rock band and I'm afraid that the unit might want to take some of the feedback out of the guitar signal (which would piss off my guitarist).

    Thanks...Millard
     
  2. Minger

    Minger

    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Just one thing...not sure if it applies to all of them or Behringer, but I'm not sure where I remember someone saying it...but it gave the bass hell, because it thought it was feedback.

    but I don't remember which had the problem, lol.
     
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I have a dbx Driverack 260 and an iEQ31, both of which have the feedback suppressors in them. They do a good job of killing most feedback in nightmare venues, but can't overcome some of it (like a ride cymbal feeding into the lead singer's mic). You can set the filter width to as tight as 1/80 of an octave, so it doesn't have to muff out your sound. I use them and like them but, like anything else, it takes some practice and a light touch to get the most out of them. I'd avoid the Behringer stuff.
     
  4. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    Thanks for the comments so far -- keep them coming.

    I'm not a Behringer fan either. Was probably going with either the dbx AFS 224 and a separate EQ box or the dbx ieQ15 (depending on experience with guitar amp feedback making it through safely). I guess he'll still have his direct feedback from his stack and most places we play will still be able to hear that. That driveRack unit sure is cool.

    Millard
     
  5. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    My feedback supressor is my quality soundman. I don't want anything sucking out all of a certain frequency from the mains just because one input is getting feedback. Just my personal opinion.

    BUT, if I had to use a small PA run from the stage with no soundman, on a regular basis, I might consider using one as insurance.
     
  6. I used to use the old Sabine one, seemed to work good. They're generally a very tight bandwidth, maybe 1/10 octave, so shouldn't affect the sound "too much". Aren't they tighter bandwidth than 32 band graphics? So what's the alternative? The graphic would do more damage to tone in that case. And requires you to pick the correct band and adjust while trying to play.

    Randy
     
  7. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    For you folks whats use them, do you run them against your main mixer signal or a sub for the vocal mics only? Do you run them against the monitor mix also?

    [steveksux] they claim down to 1/80 octave, which is why I think I can get away with a 15-band EQ for tone shaping and let the AFS handle the feedback.

    My general experience of sound guys is that they are chatting up someone while you play in lots of cases and the feedback has done its damage by the time they hear it and respond. And we have to run blind most of the time anyway with the "sound guy" doing little more than protecting the equipment.

    Thanks all...Millard
     
  8. Wow, much better now, mine is much older unit, mid-late 90's, the Sabine. I think it was only 1/10th....

    Absolutely. Like I said, even a 32 band graphic used to control the feedback would take a bigger chunk out of the signal than the feedback suppressor even at only 1/10 octave notch for AFS. And the AFS does it automatically, don't have to guess which band it is... There's really no comparison, AFS wins hands down. Its even more overwhelming when you substitute 1/80 oct for 1/10 and 15 band for 32 band graphic.

    Randy
     
  9. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    All the guys I've seen using them, have them on monitors.They usually lock 4-5 trouble frequencies, then leave a few "roving" to pick up unexpected problems. Properly EQ'd mains rarely feed back, in my experience. YMMV, of course.

    Stevesux: So what's the alternative?

    A good parametric EQ, I'd say. At least that's my tool of choice for monitors. As Munji mentioned, the newer digital controllers have lots of parametric capabilty built in, but I like having a few actual knobs to spin, personally.

    My general experience of sound guys is that they are chatting up someone while you play in lots of cases and the feedback has done its damage by the time they hear it and respond. And we have to run blind most of the time anyway with the "sound guy" doing little more than protecting the equipment.

    Hopefully you'll eventually have some experience with a good sound deWd then. :cool: When I set a decent system up, you should find it very difficult to cause any feedback, whether I'm near the board or not. I should be able to hear the system starting to ring well before substantial feedback happens, in most cases. If you change instruments a lot, especially to acoustic bass or guitars, I'd expect a heads-up so I could make sure it's cool.If you're a rapper and cup the mike, I need to deal with that too.

    Walking the room is actually very important at a lot of club gigs, IMHO. That's one of the main things I get paid for: to make sure the sound is good everywhere in the room as the night goes on, more people pack in, etc.

    luck,

    --------Charlie E
     
  10. What he said. If that isn't enough to fix it, you're mic/monitoring position is causing excessive feedback, or your stage volume is just TOO FREAKING LOUD! :D You can only turn the monitors up so far before feedback somewhere is inevitable...

    I'd go for the parametric as the next best option, too, beats graphic by a mile. Still hard to get many bands in the feedback range as the auto units. I'd vote AFS #1,Param #2, Graphic a pooooor #3.

    Randy
     
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Both of my AFS units are stereo. I run one side (12 filters) on the whole main mix and the other 12 on the monitors. I set them up at sound check, then clear them all right before the first song (they reset quickly when the feedback occurs). The reason I do this is that the audience will change the characteristics of the room, and I want suppression on the performance rather than the sound check.

    Of the 12 channels, I set nine fixed (they find the feedback and stay on that frequency all night) and let three of them roam (they stay on the frequency for whatever amount of time you set; 10 seconds, 3 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever), then let go and seek something else. I use the 1/20 octave setting rather than the 1/80 so if I get two frequencies that are real close together, one filter can handle it.
     
  12. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    So do you come "mono" out of your mixer mains? Do you split the signal to left/right at the amp? Or do you run in series to your house speakers?

    There are so many ways to configure this stuff and I've yet to find a resource that says "If you are a gigging band, here are two sound reinforcement plans and why you might pick one over the other". I realize it is (or can be made) more complicated than that, but when you have a small pile of money and are trying to figure out how to allocate it, it sure would help. Ten points to whoever wants to start that thread...

    Thanks...Millard
     
  13. I am using 2 Behringer Feedback Destroyers, which is a fairly cheap unit. I run L-R channels thru one of them and monitors thru the other one. I don't have any experience with other brands but this unit has fixed our feedback problems. We do not have a soundman and I have to take care of the sound on stage. We have a pretty loud stage volume even though we run everything thru the mixer which causes us to bring the volume up in the monitors. I am sure there are better settings than what I am using, but I just have mine to auto detect all the feedback frequencies. Now about every 4th or 5th song I will reach over and reset it because it is starting to cut too many freqs. In my case this has been a good investment and maybe a better one would do a better job than what I have, but I am satisfied with how this has helped me although it would be nice not having to reset it all the time, but this could be that I need to use a differant setting in the Behringer unit. Hope this helps
     
  14. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    You may also want to look at the Peavey Feedback Ferret. I know the "Peavey" name has taken a beating in the past, but they make some pretty good stuff at a decent price.
     
  15. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    I had seen the Peavey unit, but the name is mud around my band right now. Our lead player's 3-month old JSX head (the really expensive Joe Satriani designed one), died a few weeks ago and they still won't have it back in time for the 3 gigs we have this weekend. We have to go rent a head -- no loaner from the shop that can't seem to get it fixed. Once it comes back, if it blows again he's going to have to get rid of it (thank goodness it just blew at practice last time).

    Millard
     
  16. jondog

    jondog

    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I use the Behringer. It works, but it's not a cure-all. My settings are very similar to Munjibunga's. Yes our PA is mono, IMO everyone's should be -- no listener will be occupying the stereo sweet spot for very long. 1 side for mains, 1 side for monitors. The manual says it's best if you put it on a vocal subgroup though . . . Spend some time with it, if you don't know how to set it, and you're trying to play at the same time so you can't really tweak it, it can screw you by suppressing everything. I did this at 2 different shows before I figured out I had the sensitivity set too high. Those gigs sucked. One of them was my first time taking over PA duties for the band, they were not happy and I know we didn't sound good. At least we still got paid . . .
     
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I run a mono mix to FOH, and only one monitor mix. Stereo mixes can sound OK in some applications, but usually it's not a good idea to put too much separation between the channels. If you do, people on one side of the house near a main speaker will only hear one side of the stereo mix = suXor. You can set most amps to take one input signal into channel one, and put the same signal out of both sides. That way you can run one cable from each output. You don't have to, though; you also can run bridged mono to one output and daisy-chain the speakers, as long as you don't go below the recommended minimum impedance for the amp. Most decent power amps will let you bridge into 4 ohms, or run in stereo at 2 ohms per side.

    The monitor mix carries mostly vocals, since we use stage amps for the instruments.

    I have a Midas Venice 240 that we use outdoors and in bigger venues where everything gets miked. For little parties and stuff I might only use a Mackie 1402 VLZ Pro, which has enough XLR inputs for five vocals and an acoustic guitar. It also has four stereo channels for electric drums and keys. If I need more channels but don't feel like lugging the Midas, I also have a Mackie 1604 VLZ with 16 XLR inputs.

    In my rack, I've really thinned it out. I used to have a 10-space rack, but I saved a lot of space with a dbx Driverack 260, which has EQ, crossovers, compressors, limiters, feedback suppressors and filters all in one rack space. For effects, I've got a Lexicon MX-550 and an MX-1, at one space each. For vocal compression, I use a dbx 1046 which has four compressors in one space. The top space has the Furman PL8+ and the last space either has a dbx 1066 compressor if I want to compress some drums, or an Aphex 204 enhancer just for kicks.

    I'd strongly suggest you take a look at Mackie's new Onyx mixer series, perhaps the 1620 (about $750), which has 8 XLR inputs and four stereo line inputs. The new four-band EQ with 2 sweepable mids sounds pretty danged good, and it's feature laden. If I didn't already have the Midas, I'd get the 1640 (16 XLRs), but it's kind of big. I recommend the Lexicon MX-550 for its reasonable price, sound quality and ease of use. Some people really like the TC Electronics M-OneXL at the same price as the Lexicon. With that and a Driverack (get the 260, not the PA) you'd be pretty much set.

    As far as speakers, I went to a benefit dinner the other night with about 1,000 people attending. The band was 11 pieces, with additional singers, dancers, and other performers and, remarkably, they used only four Mackie SRM-450s to cover the whole room, and it sounded surprisingly good and loud. I didn't get a chance to see what subs they were using. I'd suggest the SRM-450, so you don't have to buy and lug separate amps. I have a pair of Mackie SR-1530 powered 3-ways at 500 watts each, and they sound fantastic, but now Mackie has come out with a new model of them that does 1,100 watts each. They're about $1K apiece, but worth it in my opinion.

    My A rig has two EAW JFX-590 15-inch, two-way mains, and two EAW SBX-220 dual 12-inch subs. I drive the mains with a single QSC PLX 3402 in linked stereo (same signal both sides), and each sub gets its own PLX 2402 in bridged mono. They like power. I run four 8-ohm Cerwin Vega 12-inch monitors off a PLX 1602, for 4 ohms a side. That rig is a bit spensy.

    My outdoor rig includes two JBL MR-935 15-inch 3-way cabs and two JBL MR-918 18-inch subs. Plenty loud. I use the PLX amps to drive them.

    If you want to keep the costs down, Mackie's box mixers like the 808m are a good thing. They have built-in effects and graphic EQ with a total of 1,200 watts of power. You can run mains and monitors off the same box. Get unpowered speakers if you go this route. If you like powered speakers, Mackie's CFX series mixers also have effects and EQ built in, but no power.

    If money is a serious problem, Carvin is acceptable, but doesn't sound that great. I can tell it's Carvin from a mile away. You might want to consider Peavey, and I hear Yorkville actually makes some pretty decent PA cabs. Some people like the Yamaha boxes, but I don't. If you have a little more money, some of the Allen and Heath mixers are favored. Drop over to ProSoundWeb.com and read up a little.

    Finally, do not even dream of getting any Behringer gear, the prices are low and the temptaion is great, but you'll be replacing them soon, and they are unethical people, to boot.

    Good luck.
     
  18. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    Thanks, Munjibunga, for another detailed reply!

    I've been sneaking up on this, and have been buying pieces at as advantageous prices as possible via eBay, TB, used gear shops, etc. Just picked up a decent snake from a fellow TBer.

    I have an old SKB rolling case with a Mackie 1604 VLZ PRO on top and a Furman power conditioner (PL-PLUS II, I think), dbx 166 compressor, TC-m300, ATR AutoTune, and a QSC RMX 1450 underneath. Planning on adding a dbx ieQ15 and maybe another compressor. Did I miss anything I'll be sorry not to have?

    I have serious GAS for the Mackie SRM-450s, except that they are pretty heavy. I keep looking for the 350, but fear it won't do the job nearly as well. Since I have an amp, I'll probably go with unpowered mains, and cheaper powered subs, some used JBLs or Carvins. I like that each band member could control their own monitor volume that way. If the guys in the band want to bitch about their monitor sound, they can go buy their own powered monitor.

    We've only been playing together 3 months, but it has come together fantastically and a system I thought I could take up to a year go put together suddenly needs to be done yesterday. Thanks again for everyone's help.

    Millard
    www.takingfiremusic.com
     
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It looks to me like you're well on your way. You've chosen some good equipment so far. That TC M300 is a very popular and respected effects unit. The iEQ15 has the feedback suppressors and peak limiters in it, an excellent unit. The setup is a little arcane on it, but it works as well as the ones in the DR 260. Another compressor wouldn't hurt. Be careful not to overcompress your vocals or full FOH mix (whichever you're going to do) because it can lead to some serious, almost incurable feedback issues. If you find yourself getting a lot of feedback, turn up the threshold control until it goes away. Sometimes this may mean going up to +10, and you won't be getting much compression. A lot of folks don't even use compression on FOH, and very few use it at all on monitors. Remember, "a little dab'll do ya."
     
  20. Diggler

    Diggler

    Mar 3, 2005
    Western PA
    Buy an EQ with feedback detection. I have a Behringer, Peavey and others make them too. They have LED's on each frequency that lights up according to the signal. Feedback will really make a slider glow, and the soundman just has to reduce that particular frequency to kill the feedback. We love ours, and not as much "behind the scenes" stuff like feedback destroyers.