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Mono Vs. Stereo? What's the real deal?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by armyadarkness, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. Got it! I've had those speakers for 10 years, and when I bought them, they were for a Yamaha EMX512, so not doubt they're dinosaurs. They sound great, but after having spent well over $10k on music gear, I'm not going to come to a halt over them.

    I'm not trying to buy champagne with beer money here, which I see a lot of TB doing. I merely want to know what's best to do, so that I don't waste money unnecessarily, or go in the wrong direction.

    JBL is selling 3 way, powered dual 15's, with Crown (of course) designed amps for under $1k each. So if redoing the setup is the right way to go, then I will.
  2. Ok at I'll look into that. The Driverack does have a vast digital interface through the laptop, so I'll see what I can do. I've never really spent time in the program, because the brunt of my attention goes to the x32
  3. Well that's a bit tough to say. We play outside mostly with this setup, and I think to say that in a park/ pig roast/ car show environment it works fine, would be accurate.

    As I mentioned earlier, we've been plagued with unreliable guitarists pretty much since I built this PA, so it doesn't have a lot of real world testing... Mostly in the studio and at a few outdoor shows. Now, we're gearing up to change that though.
  4. So the more I read, it seems clear that the two best routes are;
    1. Getting better speakers and switching to mono, which with some attention to better settings, will make what I have work.
    2. Ditching the amps and getting powered speakers.
  5. Phil508


    Feb 19, 2012
    Central MASS
    1st ditch all outboard gear, the X32 does not need any help and you will get rid of any signal degrading/ point of failures.
    2nd check out this video and setup the BU24 filter on your matrix for subs/crossover, I run L/R on mains and mono on subs.(Drew does a great job on any video for teaching about the X32).

    3rd run that X32 flat and adjust EQ sparingly. Run all speakers at 0db and you also can adjust sub level from the board this way.

    4th look for powered subs and mains (even monitors) I run EV ekx15sp subs (add a couple ELX18SP if I need more) and ZLX15Ps for the main, couple of QSC K12s and more ZLX 12ps for monitors.
    I can get the singer of an Aerosmith Tribute above the 16-12"s that the (loud) guitars use. if you need more power , just add more speakers to the mains. But I have run 10k watts for 8 bands in one day , outside and it did fine.(above setup)
  6. My band is using QSC K12.2's and Cardiod KS212C subs. Before we switched this system we had all kinds of issues getting the vocals over the band. Not anymore. Cardiod subs are great, but IMHO they are better if you are running the bass direct into the board, and using IEM's (because at the end of the day cardiod subs are all about directing the bass into the crowd, and not onto stage).

    I can't speak highly enough of QSC gear, it really delivers.
    mobdirt and armyadarkness like this.
  7. Awesome. I never ran the X32 rack without the Driverack, but I do know my way around the X32 quite well now, so I'll give it a try. Yes there is a lot of great info out there for the x32... sometimes, too much!
    Phil508 likes this.
  8. Also... The rehearsal space is on the smaller side, so when we practice, we tend to be all over the room. I've always been afraid to try the X32 without the Driverack, because I'm sure that it helps tremendously with feedback... but I think it's time to put on the big boy pants. I wonder if anyone wrote a Sub Harmonic synth X32 effect?
    Phil508 likes this.
  9. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member

    You know the X32 is a great cornerstone to an excellent IEM system, right? :)
    armyadarkness likes this.
  10. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    I vote #2, Yamaha or QSC powered speakers with your X32, and eliminate all the other stuff. The built in amps and DSP eliminate a bunch of gear and technical balancing issues and mesh well with a digital board. And if it's not loud enough, you can add more. We use a pair of Yammie 12's for mains with a pair of 10's for monitors with a single sub. The system never gets pushed, even outside. It sounds like you guys are a bit louder, but we aren't quiet by any means. I've never been happier with a PA setup. It also speeds up setup, and allows us to only all xlr cables for the pa and DMX for the light rig, which streamlines cable management. #2 for the win.
    armyadarkness likes this.
  11. Just a thought (and I've read a lot, but not all, of this thread), but have you thought about getting another experienced sound person in to cast an eye over your setup while playing? The fact that you've posted this - and are obviously taking suggestions seriously - shows that you're not above learning from others and it may well be (as others have suggested) that some clever tweaking of eq, compression, etc. could bring your vocals front and centre without spending a dime. I'm an audio professional but not a live engineer and I've seen people come up with all sorts of tricks that I wouldn't have thought of. And nothing beats being right there, listening, to spot the problem.
    armyadarkness and Omega Monkey like this.
  12. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    The only things I have running stereo are effects, and overheads. SOMETIMES, I will reverse pan a channel ie: If the guitarist is so loud I can hear his stage volume coming from the left, I will pan right a bit to balance it.
    armyadarkness likes this.
  13. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Every single sound should occupy it's own space, in the room and in the audio spectrum. Stereo is great, but you need to be aware of how to do it. No hard pans; stereo is more about placing sounds. Obviously, if the vocals aren't getting through INSTRUMENTS NEED TO COME DOWN PERIOD.
  14. bearfoot

    bearfoot Inactive

    Jan 27, 2005
    Chittenango, NY
    more speakers, more clarity, less volume.
    armyadarkness likes this.
  15. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    If you can't hear the vocals and you can't turn them up then you are playing too loud. It aint rocket science.
    armyadarkness and JRA like this.
  16. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    Mono is great... if everyone in your audience has a single ear that's on their foreheads.

    Stereo gives you another dimension to work with in placing different instruments. Without it, you need to be pretty vicious with EQ to make things sit together. My main sound gig is a mid sized outdoor place (can hold about 2000 altogether, but usually there are more like 300-1000 there). 25 foot stage with arrays hung on either side just outside of that (35-40 ft wide). And maybe 150 ft from the stage to the back of the main listening area. I will usually pan the guitars as much as 75% to one side, and even walking around the whole place, you barely notice that. It just gives some separation and a more 3D soundfield. In the first 30-50 ft, you're still probably getting tons of guitar and drums from the stage anyway.

    If you go see Steey Dan, you can bet your ass they are using a stereo system and panning stuff to one side or the other for just about everything. That should tell you all you need to know on the topic.

    You don't want to use too much of these, but compression especially can help a vocal sit in a mix. It sounds like you're just yelling so you may not have a lot of dynamics to deal with, but even so compression can keep things at a certain level. The key is to start with mild settings (high threshold, low ratio, slow attack and fast release), and increase as necessary. Effects can be useful to. Even in a big outdoor space, I'm using a good amount of reverb to make things like vocals sit in the space, and it also softens the rough edges a bit. With the X32, you have a good amount of control, so you can do things like highpass the reverb up pretty high so things don't get muddy, and low pass it so you don't get too much sibilance. And then I usually add a slapback to the vocals, but that might be hard to do self mixing because I use tap tempo to sync it to each song.

    What a concept. Yeah, people don't understand that a proper PA will probably sound bigger than their "small" instrument amp.

    Well why aren't you using those in the first place? Those have to be better than the bottom of the line Yamahas.

    But, you DO understand that 3 way means 3 speakers doing 3 different things, right? If you're talking about "2 15s and a horn" those are 2 way speakers. I would still expect them to do a bit better than the Yamahas in that case just based on size/power handling if nothing else.

    See above. Panning makes the space sound "bigger".

    These are 2 different specs. Powered speakers they wont usually give you the sensitivity because you don't need it. The speakers are already mated to an appropriate amp (theoretically). So they give you the max SPL, which tells you how much volume you can get out of the SYSTEM. For passive speakers they give you the sensitivity and sometimes the max SPL, so you can figure out what amp to pair it with and if it will do what you need it to (or really just to compare to other options).

    Anyway, I'm not sure what functionality you'd hope to get from dual/parallel mono vs stereo. Because there isn't any performance benefit to that. All that means is that you can't pan the things that you already weren't panning anyway (and now even your between sets house music is going to be summed to mono and sound awful).

    You're already beyond the safe amp power limits for your speakers, so putting them both on the same channel to get 4 ohms (which would yield about the same amount of power ANYWAY) won't get you anywhere. And bridging would give you WAY too much power.

    So your best first option is probably to swap out the yamahas for the JBLs. That should get you better sound quality with less system EQ and/or just more volume.

    If you try that and it doesn't really help, upgrading your mains would probably be the next step, especially after trying all the various setting/EQ/etc... advice in the thread. But yeah, going mono will make things worse if anything.
    Wasnex likes this.
  17. LowFactor


    Jul 6, 2018
    Stereo is great for about 1/3 of your audience. For those standing off center they are pretty much hearing only one side of the PA.
    I would start by ditching the auto setup function on the driverack. Most of those setups overly limit the signal. And they force it to conform to a preset eq trace rather than what works for the room. So you are probably also losing headroom in some frequencies that you need. Try manually setting up a preset for your gear and tuning it yourself. The x32 has an rta built in if you have trouble identifying the frequencies that are feeding back.
    Next use the channel EQs to help separate the instruments. Cut some of the vocal frequencies out of other instruments so the vocals can poke through. By dipping between 500-2k on the instruments the vocals have a space to breathe in that bandwidth.
    For maximum gain before feedback try a vocal mic with a tighter pickup pattern like a telefunken m80. Or an m81 if you want a little more top end.
    If the guitarists won't turn down see if the will point their amps across the stage or upstage so the PA isn't competing with them as much.
    If all else fails, fire the drummer. Lol.
  18. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    The DriveRack should have configured limiters automatically to the speakers and amps you inputted during setup. If the limiters are not engaged, since the amps are so well suited to the power ratings of your speakers, use the procedure to align the output LEDs on your mixer with the clip light on the amps...IMHO better if the limiters are engaged though as nasty clipping can take out the horn drivers.

    I have uploaded the manual for the original DriveRack PA. See page 41 for an explanation and procedure. This is a general practice not something specific to the DriverRack PA.

    You can also use an online tone generator and feed a signal to the mixer from our computer. I use this one: Online Tone Generator - Free, Simple and Easy to Use.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
    armyadarkness likes this.
  19. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I don't think we have completely ruled out adjusting your current rig's gain structure and limiting so it is louder. Running mono is less complex, but not necessarily superior for many reasons. I believe the sole reason you are interested is so you can bridge yours amps for more power. If you stay with passive speakers, perhaps you should consider buying 1 additional large amp that can bridged to 2 ohms for the subs (it won't be cheap). Then you can bridge two of the XLS 2500s for two channels of 1550W at 8 ohms or 2400W at 4 ohms.

    The decision on powered speakers comes down to how much you want to spend and the convenience factor. Overall, a rig with powered speakers is typically lighter, takes up less room, and goes up quicker, but you lose the value of the gear you already have. Powered speakers tend to be just a few pounds heavier than passive equivalents.

    The X32 does have some built in speaker processing. I am not convinced it's superior to what you have with the Harmon system you are using (Crown amps and DriveRack). I would definitely figure out how to use the computer interface on the DriveRack. Way easier and more intuitive than twisting knobs on the front panel and it's likely that the computer display will provide some metering as well.
    armyadarkness likes this.
  20. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    00 images2b3.png

    and then there's this:
    i think you need nothing more than a conversation. good luck! :thumbsup:

    Attached Files:

    Downunderwonder likes this.
  21. Primary

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