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Live mixing, do you compress everything?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by RicPlaya, Apr 13, 2004.


  1. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I hope this is the right place to post? We ran sound for a band last weekend in this bar that was about 30 feet wide, 150 feet deep and the walls and ceiling was a solid plastic looking material. We have a Lexicon processor we run looped in our board. We usually like a live verb type effect and a little compression. Well when we mixed this band we did not use compression only live verb. The mix is muddy anyway due to the accoustics in the room. My thinking is we should have used compression because the live verb effect along with the accoustics really made the mix muddier. Does compression smooth out muddiness like that? In that situation do you turn off the reverbs and start off with the compression since the room has crazy reverb anyway? I should mention our gear, we have 2 15's with horns, 2 18's with crossovers. Also our board is not the best it's a Carvin 12 channel board with only one effect return, so that will soon be upgraded but just overall any feedback would be appreciated with effects like that.
     
  2. WOOFMAN

    WOOFMAN

    Mar 12, 2003
    USA, PNW
    Try starting out with a Raw Mix and add just a little bit of post mix effect if needed thus allowing room to tweakk changes after doing sound check. Then make acoustic adjustments when the crown arrives.

    What kind of mixerboard are you using?7
     
  3. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    A Carvin 12 channel mixer, it has a little built in EQ with dunno 10 faders. My big thing is in order to get a clean mix it sounds thin even with the 18's, 15's w/ horns. I hear some mixes where the bass is booming and punchy, the guitars are smoking and the vocals sound sweet, nice and reverby. The drums sound huge too. I just can't seem to achieve that with our set up. I'm thinking it's the board, or we need some sort of compression to limited some things and still jack to volume and still have a good clean tone but have the fullness I'm looking for. I love our effects processor everything sounds great but even with it off it's still muddy. And like I said we can still get a good clean tone, but we have to reduce a lot of lows and mids and it sounds thin. Whatdoyathink?
     
  4. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    You mentioned "post" mix, we have ours looped and I know a lot of sound guys have it looped to on the bar's set ups. Just curious maybe that has something to do with it?
     
  5. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    My thinking is we should have used compression because the live verb effect along with the accoustics really made the mix muddier. Does compression smooth out muddiness like that?

    No. Good EQ or zoned delay speakers are your best bet. Delay stacks are probably not realistic, so concentrate on EQ.

    In that situation do you turn off the reverbs and start off with the compression since the room has crazy reverb anyway?

    First, figure out how to work with the room resonances and natural reverb returns. What EQ are you using? Do you have a good handle on how to use it?

    In a difficult room like that, you need to choose where the best sound's going to happen. You have a big low frequency resonance in that room, so if you must compress, try it on vocals only, not on the whole mix. Get the vocals above the mud, dig? As far as verb, try a slap delay or something like that instead; again, only on the vocals, or maybe also on the snare and hats. You can maybe get some increased intelligibility, although that seems counterintuitive. Play with the delay time until things come in phase. You need a mix position near or beyond the dance floor to be able to hear the sweet spot. Mixing is always about compromise. Try to make it sound good in the money spots.

    I mix a room like this occasionally. I'd put in at least one delay stack if I could. That works by delaying the sound to the speakers further away from the stage, so the sound coincides with the slower arriving sound from the front of house speakers. Churches frequently do this to improve intelligibility. Make sense?
     
  6. WOOFMAN

    WOOFMAN

    Mar 12, 2003
    USA, PNW
    I'd have to agree with Passingwind. Seems like an EQ problem combined with room contour is causing the muddyness. I'm no sound Guru but you might want to try elevating your speakers up as high as reasonably possible, then angle the center of the stack towards the middle of the room forming an X zone. I suggest moving the Sub to the center of the speakers(mains) on the floor, in front of the stage. Set your Sub crossover at 63hz, and use your main boxes for the higher frequency. Try not to add effect until you get a good raw sound that you're happy with then tweak with the parmetric Eq on the guitar, bass, drums, and vocal before touching the contour EQ(keep flat at first). I like to roll the tremble off on the parametric board Eq channel and boost the Bass level on the kick drum and Bass, increase the treble on the guitar and overheads if needed. All your instruments should be heard clearly, and then fiddle with the outboard effects and graphic EQ.
    There is nothing wrong with your Carvin board, I use very inexpensive boards with my set up and still get killer sound with little or no effects.
     
  7. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Generally speaking, use effects to improve your sound, not to fix it.

    I agree that EQ would have been a good place to start. Also, If the room is creating a "cabin gain" effect to the low frequencies, consider walking up to the sub power amps and turning them down to compensate.

    Now that I've said my piece, I'm moving this to Misc.
     
  8. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    EQ huh? So maybe a low cut on the EQ board and maybe that will allow me to boost the mids and bass on the individual channels? Or a room like that get a good clean sound and get on with your life? So what I'm getting from this is sometimes you can't get the sound you want, you have to settle on something that's clean an audible. The problem wasn't the highs, the vocals sounded the best in the mix. It was the mids and low end from the guitar and bass that was muddy. We had the EQ flat in the low end, scouped a lot of mids out and on the individual channels for guitar and bass we also had to reduce the mids and lows, when we did this the sound was clear but the low end was very non assuming in the mix, for a bassist that's non acceptable. I originally thought compression was the answer because it may limit the extreme low end of the bass and guitars and maybe stop some of that mud? We had the 15's high in the air on tripods, the subs in the middle of the stage. The 15's were pointed slightly outward, we found that pointing them straight or towards ther middle created more mud. Also I may add we had a buddy doing sound with us who has a lot of time under his belt doing this. He just likes the "80's" tone if you will, big drums and guitars, lots of highs in the vocals and a very non assuming low end from the bass. We like the Mo-town mix for the low end and a little more mid range punch overall. Based on the additional info is there anything else one could do in this situation to get those results in a tough room like that? Thanks again for your inputs!!!!!! :bassist: