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  1. #1
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    The best way to compress and equalize mics sperately from the main no subgroup

    I've been testing ways to get a better sound from my microphones being able to compress and equalize them seperately from the main mix. But I'm lacking knowledge on how to best do this. Is my only option to do this, is going through the subgroups. I've tried this but still don't like the sound I'm getting from doing it this way. I have the dbx driverack on the main outs, and am getting a pretty good sound. But I want to compress an equalize my mics seperately from the main mix. I also wanted to know what is main inserts used for on my behringer mixer. I have never used main inserts on my mixer before. What I'm trying to accomplish is getting my mics to be very loud, compressed and equalized seprately from the main mix, without feedback, ring or noise. I want a clean, clear,sharp sound from my mics, they never seem to be loud enough or clean enough like the pro's in live concerts. What are they doing that I'm not. I'm also on a budget, with limited funds. What's the most economical thing I can buy to help accomplish this without sacrificing qaulity. Dj Tony

  2. #2
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    It's all no good if you don't understand the fundamentals, so read and understand this first:

    Concert sound: think of it as a Formula1 team. The outcome of the sound system is only as good as it's driver (FOH engineer), his system techs, and the system components. You don't have the luxury but you must learn to take into account these roles if you want good results from your sound system. A properly setup system is called linear.

    Starting with the system techs (racing crew): Their role is to make sure that the right equipment is going to be setup for the right job. And they are going to fine tune the system to make sure it performs optimal in any acoustic scenario. For you, are your speakers splayed correctly - keeping reflections off hard surfaces? Are your subs aligned with your full range cabs – if not physically, with your DriveRack? Is your gain structure setup right between your mixers, processors, and amplifiers for optimal headroom?

    FOH Engineer - the guy on the mixer: His job is to listen from an audience perspective and use his good taste to ask himself "Is this sound desirable?" At get-go, it is probably not due to certain circumstances, mainly being room acoustics. He has to use his tools (like eq) to balance out the sound and to take out any harshness or muddiness. You see, most of the time you're gonna be battling the rooms effect on your system because most places don't take acoustics into account and what happens when a room is excited with sound. You may know by now that when you walk into a room where your going to be spinning and you see that is square or rectangular (bass problems) or it has a domed ceiling and a granite floor ( really bad reflection = harsh sound). This is why you want to keep your speakers pointed at your audience and away from smooth, hard surfaces as much as possible.

    Remedy:
    You have to tune your system with your EQ.
    Step 1 - Stand in front of the speakers to eq your system - not behind them where you spin from.
    (Side note: I see a lot of DJ's over compensating the system eq because they want to be able to hear the mids and the highs from where there are working from, which is usually behind the speakers. So they boost the mids and highs like crazy and what this does is give their audience EAR DAMAGE! If this is you get some powered JBLS and use them as your monitors) Is it muddy? Try to pinpoint those low frequencies on the EQ and pull them down without sacrificing all your music's rhythm. It's a fine balance. Is the sound too harsh? Then pull out those mids and any excessive highs.
    Step 2 - The sound changes considerably when the room fills up with bodies. So repeat step 1.
    Step 3 - repeat steps 1 and 2 every time your in a new environment.
    Last note on this, if the room you are playing in just sucks acoustically you won't ever get it to sound as good as you wish. You just have to use your good judgment and your tools to make it as good as possible.

    The sound system: Are your speakers Gemini or are they EV, JBL, NEXO, EAW, etc? I don't know. Lower end speakers won't be crisp due to crappy drivers and won't be tight do to cheap cabinet construction. Amps - $350 dollars brand new will get you some nice sheet metal. But be careful, the really expensive ones are high powered and indeed better quality, but they can be gas guzzlers and if the place you are playing in at has 1 15amp circuit, they will basically be deprived of their lifeline. So use amps that are efficient on power consumption. Last note on your components, the more you add, the more there is to fine tune.

    Now, your issue:
    Basically what I just explained to you is the first step, or steps to achieve your goal, which is a clean and crisp, linear sound system.
    Now you have two main issues to deal with. The sound of your music and the sound of your mics. These are two different beasts - one is recorded and the other is live. The frequency ranges of the two are very different in that dance music will have to reach below 80Hz whereas vocals will not. At the same time there is a portion of the frequency spectrum where they will be competing vigorously, mainly low mids, mids and highs. This is where fine engineering skills come to play - your job is to "cut a hole" in the music that will allow the vocals to shine through. (Forget about the compression for good. It is not the right tool for your job because most DJ's emcee at a loud and consistent level.) You have to use your main system eq to pull out a little bit of mids, a little bit of highs all without putting too much compromise on the music. Then like a puzzle piece, fit the vocals in there. Where you cut out the mids and the highs in the main eq, add a little bit of those exact frequencies to the vocal eq, of course, all in the realm of good taste and safe from feedback. (Use the vocal eq to take out frequencies causing feedback too!) If the music is too loud you may have to just duck the sound a little bit on your mixer when you are emceeing. Take your time, it's about give-and-take. You will be happy with the results. Most of all, you will learn the art of sound mixing.

    For your mic channels, most DJ mixers have a basic tone control on the mic channels which won't cut it. You are right about using the subgroup if you have more then one mic. I'm assuming you are using the group inserts for a decent 1/3octave eq? Also, if you are using different models of mics, you will have to use additional subgroups because no two models sound the same.

    The most economical thing you can buy to help accomplish this without sacrificing quality is buying the Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook.
    Last edited by WishIwasOnTheRoad; 19th Nov 2008 at 15:17.

  3. #3
    I second that motion. If it's possible to learn this stuff out of a book, the Yamaha book is the one to learn it out of. The other one usually cited, Sound System Engineering from the SynAydCom folks, is oriented more toward commercial/industrial sound. It also costs a lot more.

    Anyone who thoroughly digests the Yamaha material will be ahead of 90% of the people in this business.

  4. #4
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    Thanks a whole bunch, especially for taking time out of your busy schedule to help me. I truly appreciate it, a lot. Dj Tony

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