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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Pendleton, OR USA

    So many volume controls....

    Hello all - I have been involved with live sound reinforcement for about 3 years as the media director of my church. Things are going well, but I have had one question...with so many volume controls in the signal path from source to output, where should they all be set?

    For example, our wireless mics have an onboard gain setting on the handset and/or belt pack, then another gain control in the receiver, then gain control at the input to the mixer, then the fader, then thru any outboard gear (EQ, effects processor, etc.) then out to the speakers, which have their own volume control.

    Where do I set all of these? So far I have put most in the middle of their range, and use one point (the fader) to control the volume...but is that the best way?

    Thanks for your input -

  2. #2
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Blog Entries
    There are previous threads (about feedback) which is in tangent to your situation and thread. Do a search for "unity gain". Come back with any questions or let us know if you need additional explanations.
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  3. #3
    I did the "unity gain" search and wound up re-reading a lot of my own posts. Lordy I'm verbose!

    A general comment to keep in mind. You probably know that, where levels are concerned, every piece of electronic equipment has a "floor" and a "ceiling." If you run your levels too high, you exceed the equipment's capability and the tops of the waveforms get clipped off. If you run them too low, the unavoidable "hiss" noise that's always present becomes significant enough to degrade the program. So you have to keep between those limits.

    The important thing to remember is that there are many points in the system where noise or clipping can crop up, and once the signal has been degraded, it can't be fixed downstream. The signal level should be adjusted at each point in the system to maintain its integrity.

    I know that doesn't tell you much, and you probably don't have the test equipment to gather complete information about the stuff you're using, but the most important tool when making adjustments is simply knowing what I just told you, and keeping it in mind.

    NSCA, The National System Contractors Association, has an online gain-structure tutorial. I haven't seen it, but it's supposed to be good.

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