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XR18 Settings for Bass

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by SuperK, Apr 25, 2018.


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  1. SuperK

    SuperK Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    We've been using an XR18 for about a year now but I recently started using a laptop at gigs to tweak my own IEM mix. I started looking at how our sound guy has my bass channel configured for the mains and I was curious to see how some of you configure your bass channel.

    I play a Fender Jazz Bass Special > Zoom MS-60B (compressor and amp sim) > MXR M80 DI+ > XR18. I still currently have a GK 700RBII and Neo 212-II cab on stage but volume is minimal. The majority of my sound comes from the mains. I plan on going amp-less soon.

    My questions are:
    1. Are you using the XR18 for compression? Do I need it if I'm already running compression with the MS-60B?
    2. How is the EQ tuned on the XR18? Flat?
    3. Do you use the noise gate?
    4. How are your sends configured? Input? Pre or post EQ?
    5. Do you use any on-board effects on the XR18?

    I'm asking because our sound guy likes toys and gadgets and he has a tendency to play with the controls too much and I have a feeling he may be over complicating the whole system. I just wanted to see how the rest of you are using it.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    Normally you don't get control over much more than volume and panning for the monitor mix if your running off the boards auxes. The auxes are necessarily set pre so any changes you make are not reflected in the mains. If the auxes are set post EQ, usually the EQ settings are locked out of your app so can't effect changes. I believe there is a Behringer product that gives you access to more of the parameters for your IEMs. I'll try to find the thread.

    Regarding how the bass is set....that varies depending upon an infinite numbers of factors. I normally use 0 or light compression and EQ to taste with HPF as needed. I have never needed to gate bass.
     
  3. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    You might enjoy this thread EQing IEMs

    The device I hinted about in my last post that gives you control over individual channel EQ for your IEM mix is the P16-M . P16-M | In-Ear Monitoring | Signal Processors | Behringer | Categories | MUSIC Tribe
     
  4. SuperK

    SuperK Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    I'm not looking to EQ the IEM. I'm fine with how my monitor mix sounds. I'm more concerned with how our sound guy is tuning my bass in the mains and I want to compare his setup to others. He's the type of guy where if there's a bell or whistle to turn on, he will turn it on. He likes playing with the settings to the point where I think he's tweaking the sound too much. My biggest concern is how I sound out front.
     
  5. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    My advice is go out front and listen. There is no magic bullet as systems and acoustics vary significantly...as well as tonal goals. When I run sound, I tend to tweak the system constantly at most gigs (especially vocals). It's very rare when I can just sit back and listen. But I agree, it is possible to over process the sound and get bad results...however, the proof is in your ears not the settings.

    So you are running a GK rig at low volume. What type of mains and subs and how loud? It's common to dual assign the bass and kick to an aux for the subs and left right mains.

    Lot's of stuff that may look crazy actually make sense. For example, if your bass amp is loud enough to compete with the mains it can be necessary carve all the lows out of the bass channel, pull you out of the subs, or when things are really dire simply push the fader for your channel to zero.

    Also there is a technique called frequency slotting where EQ is used to carve out frequency bands to prevent instruments from competing and covering each other up. For example, kick drum has a lot of energy around 70 hz, so it might be useful to put a narrow band dip in the bass at 70 hz and a peak on the kick drum at the same frequency. Likewise, the kick drum may have a broad band dip at 400 hz to make room for the bass.
     
  6. I sometimes go ampless using a Zoom B3 into either an XR12 or X18. To answer your specific questions

    1) I use light compression on the XR as that saves one slot on the B3 (I can only get three effects at once on the B3). I wouldn’t use compressors on both the Zoom and the XR

    2) I have the EQ on the XR pretty much flat- just a little roll off at 30-40Hz. Providing there is time, I try to eq the mains for the room and ringing out mics first, and then use an amp and cab sim in the Zoom to get a FOH tone I am happy with. I can’t say it sounds quite as good as my amp, but it is Ok.

    3) I don’t use the noise gate, but I don’t play with much gain/dirt. If I was I might use a noise gate in either the Zoom or the XR

    4) the sends are post EQ to the mains

    5) Not using the effects in the XR on the bass, but never say never. I’ve used the on other instruments and they sound very good to me. For me it wouldn’t be practical unless the effect was always on
     
  7. SuperK

    SuperK Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Thanks for all the input. Maybe I'm just being overly cautious but I'm not 100% confident in our sound guy so I want to become familiar with our rig so I can help out if needed.

    In the mains right now he's running compression and noise gates on all channels along with some effects (delays, reverb). I am going to ask him to remove the compression and noise gate from my channel for now and let me use my pedals for that. I'll trust him to tune the EQs as needed. If I get a chance I'll step out front this weekend at our next show to see how it all sounds.

    I need to check to see if he is sending the channels to the monitors pre or post EQ. Just to clarify, should the monitor feed be pre-EQ (without compression, gates, effects)? What does the "Input" option do in the Sends tab? Does that just take the raw input from the mic/instrument and feed it to the monitor?
     
  8. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    IMHO, there is no right or wrong answers on this. IEMs and mains often require different EQ and extreme carving may be required to get an instrument to sit in the main mix when venue acoustics are really bad. Under these circumstances it would be advantageous for the auxes to be taken pre EQ so the IEM signals are left unprocessed. Although not ideal, better for the IEM channel EQs to be flat than extremely carved. That's where a device like P16-M would be really helpful.

    My recommendation would be to set the IEM auxes pre EQ and have everyone dial in a good sound with there rigs. According to the manual, Aux buses also have some output EQ that can be applied globally to each person's IEM mix. Unfortunately if any sound sources are mic'ed, sometimes a little EQ is required to get all the way there...audio involves a lot of compromises. First off, everyone must decide: Should the priority be the best possible sound for the musicians or the best possible sound for the audience? If there is not an agreement on this point the band will fight constantly. Regarding mics...sound can be varied significantly with with mic placement (distance) and aiming.
    XR18 manual link for quick reference. https://media.music-group.com/media/PLM/data/docs/P0BI7/X-AIR-Series_M_EN.pdf
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
  9. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    It may be necessary to run vocal mics post EQ unless they are really well matched to the individual voices. Most mics have a pretty significant proximity effect which makes this unlikely. Usually an HPF and some significant carving of the low end is required to offset the proximity effect so the sound it not muddy. An exception might be if your running something special like a Shure KSM8.

    The vocal channel auxes should be set pre compression for IEM and monitor mixes. Vocalist generally are very sensitive to compression and will tend to have trouble hearing themself if their signal has any significant amount of compression applied (anything over about 3-6db of total gain reduction). If their voice is compressed they will tend to over sing and may blow their voice out...I would apply this logic to all channels unless someone specifically asks for a bit of compression on their channel.
     
    musicman7722 likes this.
  10. SuperK

    SuperK Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Thanks. A lot of what I have read from various sources agrees with what you said - vocal compression in the monitors can be a bad thing and lead to singers blowing out their voices. I'll bring this up to everyone at rehearsal tonight.

    Thanks for the link to the manual. I've browsed through it to give me a brief overview of how the XR18 works. I've got a pretty good handle on it but the manual just gives you the basics. Unfortunately the iPod, Android, and PC interfaces are all different so the manual has to repeat everything three times - once for each platform. It doesn't leave a lot of room for detail.
     
    Wasnex likes this.
  11. thekyle55

    thekyle55

    Mar 14, 2012
    I run all of my channels pretty flat, with only a high pass. I'm off the opinion that, in a bar band at least, it's a lot easier to fix problems at the source than to EQ then out in the PA. If it sounds good, he shouldn't be messing with it.

    Of course, I'm much more sour about sound guys in bar bands than some might be. The singer's buddy that read enough of the manual to change the scribble strips should not ever be touching anything, but hey, what can you do?
     
  12. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    As a Sound guy, I don’t do the bass in isolation. The room, other low end instruments all come into play...
     
    musicman7722 likes this.
  13. mrufino1

    mrufino1 Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2005
    Nutley, NJ
    Have you listened to the mix in the house to hear how it sounds? That's probably where this should all start, and then if you like it, you have an answer, if you're not as thrilled, then a conversation with the soundman is in order. The conversation shpuld probably take the form of questions from each side to understand each person's point of view.

    As a sound person and a bassist, I'm there to serve and I value the artists' input, and I value suggestions that help me learn new things. I'm even willing to try things that someone read about in a magazine or on the internet, as that can also help learn new things. Especially considering that I often ask someone if it's ok to try something I read our heard about! But at some point, I have my job to do and they have theirs, and after the conversation then we have to have the space for that to happen , otherwise it can be....difficult.

    John Pattituci asked ME if the sound he was sending me was ok or if there were any changes that he should make to ensure things were working. And he asked me if it was ok to use the mic he brought, which was a neumann. And the crazy part? If I had said no, he would have said ok. However, there were no changes that I asked him to make or that were needed, and the neumann was fine by me (there's no brainers that are way harder decisions that answer!!). This was for a Sunday church service by the way, and if that wasn't a lesson in how to carry yourself when no one is looking, then I don't know what is.
     
  14. mrufino1

    mrufino1 Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2005
    Nutley, NJ
    Sorry for the name drop! But I thought it made the point that if a guy like that acts like that, it's a model to go by. I felt very very lucky to have worked with him in that situation a few times and hopefully again.
     
    s0c9 and TedH like this.
  15. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Agreed.. people like that KNOW what they are doing and KNOW how FOH works. :D

    FWIW - Last weekend I ran sound for a couple of well known "touring" Texas Country acts at a local "Festival".. plus the band that bills themselves as "the greatest disco band in the world".
    Most were very accomodating, except for one that didn't understand the complexity of mapping OUR mic inputs into THEIR IEM snake - that has some BAD channels - back into OUR digital snake !!
    The disco band "guy" comes up to us saying "Hey, the easiest way to do this is... blah, blah, blah"... giving us a long-winded explanation TELLING us that they had their own IEM rig (like FOUR other band we already put on), but were going to mix themselves (X32R with remote mix) and send us a L/R feed!
    TELLING FOH "what to do" never goes over well.
    Had he walked up and said "Hey.. OK with you if we run our own mix and just send you a stereo feed?", they'd have shortcut the proceedings and we'd have gone "Sure.. knock yourselves out guys!"..
    FAR LESS work for us! We DO have some idea of what we are doing !!

    I'm not a pro (meaning I don't make a living from it) but I've been doing sound [on and off] for 30 yrs - local, regional and a few national acts who came thru sans FOH engineers (who does that?)
    I'm not going to name drop (shameless plug), but - The Byrds, Melba Moore, Freddy Jackson, Grover Washington Jr, Jerry Jeff Walker, Bugs Henderson, SOS Band and others I can't recall over the years. More recently - Steve Story, Pat Waters, George Navarro (managed by Demi Lovato's father) and Dalton Domino.
    I decided way back that it was NOT something I wanted as a career.

    Here's a clip [from my iPhone] of Pat Waters (prestigious 2018 Las Vegas FAME Awards Male Country Music Performer of the Year.)
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
  16. SuperK

    SuperK Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    This is my plan moving forward. I understand that there is no magic formula for EQ'ing live music and sound changes dramatically from venue to venue. Now that I have a better understanding of what the XR18 does and how to navigate through its various menus I can have an intelligent conversation with the sound techs. I can keep an eye on the bass channel settings via my laptop and walk out front occasionally to hear the FOH mix. If I don't like what I hear I'll voice my concerns during our next break.

    My biggest concern is that our band has a keyboard player with a heavy left hand and my bass can get lost in the mix at times and I'm not sure our sound guy knows how to properly create space for the both of us. Make sense?
     
  17. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011

    I would start with a fairly aggressive HPF and some low cut EQ on the key's left channel ;).

    If you want a more traditional bass sound you might consider a DI with a built in speaker emulator. I generally use a good quality full range DI like a Radial J48 or Countryman Type 85 and just twist the EQ knobs till I think it sounds nice. I often listen to the bassist's amp before bringing up the system so I have some idea of their sound. Digital boards have plenty of EQ and most can be configured with HPF and LPF functionality.

    With experience you learn which frequencies to boost/cut to make the mix work and get the type of sound you want. I have learned a lot about masking and frequency slotting by playing around with my guitar and bass with a looper pedal and a KFK 10 band graphic EQ. IMHO, it's a good idea to create such experiments for learning, rather than wasting everyone's time during soundcheck...I have done a fair amount of that as well.

    IMHO, the tone many musicians go for is poorly suited for ensemble work...a common problem is unnecessary bass boost of higher instruments masking the overtones of lower instruments. The big lows sound great when the guitar plays by itself, but create a lot of mud in an ensemble. Dial back some bass on the guitar, and it is amazing how much better it pops out of a mix, and how much clearer and articulate the bass and vocals sound....course this varies by genre. In some genres, it's entirely expected for the guitar to cover up everything :smug:. Good luck convincing anyone that the tone they love is causing problems....maybe a demo with the looper and EQ would help; probably not.

    When I use a digital board, I run a variable HPF an every channel. I usually set each channel by ear, running the HPF up until the sound starts thinning out too much, then dropping the frequency a bit...IMHO a little thinning is good...the actual settings are often somewhat of a compromise...slightly too high for some songs, slightly to low for others. As an audio tech, there are rare occasions where I will change HPF settings for one song to let the full low end through...for example if a vocalist, sings one song an octave lower than everything else.
     
    LiquidMidnight and s0c9 like this.
  18. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    you'll need to address that with them, and educate them to where bass sits in the mix. Too many keys layers think they are concert pianists and need both hands playing all the time. Worst you can do is convince them to move the left hand up an octave !
     
  19. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I like Ray Brown’s approach... See the S in Steinway ? Everything south of that belongs to me!

    Not that it works for me but one can dream ;-)
     
    LiquidMidnight and joppo like this.
  20. Jack

    Jack

    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    Bass player and soundman in the band here, aside from changes when we're actually playing when that duty goes to the drummer's dad.

    I'm a modeller, so all being well the channel has very little done on it. There's a HPF set at 30Hz, a LPF set at 8kHz and the 'bass' preset on the compressor. Sure, I have all of those being modelled on the helix anyway, but aggressive filtering can't hurt and most of my patches aren't that compressed on the helix. The EQ get's adjusted to combat the room, not for any tonal enhancements.

    Here's a tip though, set up a saved channel and a saved effects unit to save your bum in case everything goes down. For me, thats a medium compressor, 'my' eq which is pretty much a frowny face except for a dip at 500Hz and the guitar amp simulator set slightly hairy. So if everything goes to pot you can either find a DI or steal one of the high impedance channels and do a show with just your bass and a 1/4" cable.
     

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