Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Behringer Mixer For Christmas 2013

This year I received a really cool gift from my mom with a suggestion to her from my wife Jenn. My mom bought me a new, compact mixer for Christmas. A very cool gift indeed! The mixer is a Behringer XENYX 1204 USB. It will be perfect for all those gigs I work where only a few inputs are required for the show. Fashion shows, school plays, and record store gigs will be easily accomplished with my new mixer.

The new mixer is my first piece of the sound system puzzle so, now I need to acquire all the other pieces of gear to build a small sound system with. Microphones, power amps, speakers, cables, etc. Just tonight I received a message from a sound tech buddy offering me two free vocal microphones to get me started. What am awesome jesture my friend!

My goal is to put together a compact sound system built around the new mixer that is easy to transport around in my minivan. It also needs to be easy to setup with just the right amount of gear.

Since the mixer is a passive type, I have to decide if I want to use a separate power amp with passive speakers or to use powered speakers instead. For portable systems, there are now many models of powered speakers available on the market. The main advantage of the powered speakers is not requiring a separate power amp rack to hookup to the speakers. Powered speakers have the amplification and crossovers already built-in. This make setup a breeze!

The other part of the system will be in the form of a signal processing rack. My new mixer has one-knob compressors on all the mono inputs but, it does not have a built-in EFX processor. Having a small, portable processing rack will be a great addition to my system. The rack will have a dual channel, 31 band, graphic EQ along with an EFX processor and maybe a rackmounted CD player and a power conditioner unit with rack lighting. All of this could easily be racked inside Gator Case or SKB Case for protection.
The mixer itself came supplied with a set of rack ears for mounting in a rack case or rolling rack unit.

I plan on continually checking the Kijiji Classified Ads online for my city and nearby places looking for great deals on quality used gear. With so many sound engineers going to digital mixing consoles, there seems to be a high levels of outboard rack gear that is being sold for real cheap prices. I am sure to find some excellent deals during my search.

Here is a picture of my new mixer for everyone to see. I am looking forward to using my new gear in the new year for upcoming gigs. For awhile I will be renting speakers, subs and power amps until I can save some money to begin buying more gear to complete my system. So, here is picture of my new console.



Wishing a Happy New Year to all my sound tech friends and musician friends out there. Cheers!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Powered Mixer Versus Rack full of gear

Working as a freelance sound tech, there are times when I work a gig where a full rack of sound gear and large mixer are just not necessary. These are the kind of gigs I would make use of a simple powered mixer.

A typical powered mixer is an all-in-one box that houses a mixer, power amplifier, graphic EQ(s), and effects processor. Most powered mixers have 2 pair of amplifier outputs on the back panel for hookup to passive speakers and stage monitors. Since everything is built into the box, all you need to do is connect the speakers, microphones and line level sources to the unit and you are ready to rock.

Most powered mixers have two channels of amplification built-in with a way to route the signals in different ways depending upon your setup. For example, you could setup the outputs of your powered mixer for standard left -right stereo setup with the main speakers. 

Or you could setup the outputs for split operation sending one amplifier output to the main speakers and one output to the monitor speakers. This will allow independant control of the main mix and monitor mixes separately. Power ratings for these powered mixers can be anything from 200 watts up to 1200 watts usually at a 4 ohm rating. For many gigs, there is plenty of power to spare onboard.

The input channels on a powered mixer usually consist of a selection of mono microphone inputs along with one of two stereo line level inputs. Each channel strip typically has controls for gain level, channel EQ, a monitor output, EFX send, and channel level all on rotary controls.

One or two graphic EQs are onboard which can be routed to feed the main and monitors outputs for basic EQ control. These EQs are typically the 5 - 10 band variety covering a number or standard frequencies for broad adjustments.

Most powered mixers these days are fitted with one EFX processor with a number standard effects like reverbs, delays, choruses, and such. For the most part, only one effect at a time can be routed to the mix via the effect send control on the input channels.

Another feature that most powered mixers have onboard are connectors to patch the main mix and monitor feeds to an external amplifier or powered loudspeakers. This feature allows you to use the powered mixer like a passive mixer bypassing the amplifier outputs.

Powered mixers are available in two main types. A box mixer or a desktop mixer. 

The box mixers are compact enough to setup right on stage or on top of instrument amps. Some of the new box, powered mixers are designed with an angle back allowing them to be set on the stage floor and tilted back just like a stage wedge monitor speaker. This saves space on stage

A desktop, powered mixer is of similar design to a regular passive mixer just with the addition of the power amplifiers. This kind of mixer usually has a little bit more capability to it because, it has more space for more channel inputs and other controls but, does the same job as a box mixer.

Whatever type of powered mixer you choose, you will have an easy to use and setup centre piece to your portable sound system at your next gig.

Below are some pictures of a few typical powered mixers that are available on the sound market:

Yamaha EMX512 Powered Mixer: (box style)


Mackie PPM 1008 Powered Mixer: (box style)

Allen & Heath PA-12CP Powered Mixer: (desktop style)
Yorkville Sound m-810 Powered Mixer: (box style)


Here is a good example of how one powered mixer can replace a rack case of sound gear:



For part 2 of this post, I will discuss a number of ways you can use a powered mixer in live situations.
Coming soon!

UPDATE! Click here for the link to Part 2 of this article: The Many Uses Of Powered Mixers
http://ronbehro.blogspot.ca/2015/02/the-many-uses-of-powered-mixer.html




Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sound System Design For A School Gymnasium with Stage

Pictured below you will see a typical public school gymnasium that has a proscenium stage at one end. Currently, this venue has two speakers built into the proscenium walls but, they have not been in use for many years. There is no amplification hooked up to them. Instead the school uses a rolling rack, sound system with 2 speakers on tripods as a sound system for the space.

The school has expressed a desire to one day have a new sound system installed in the venue. The main audio requirements are for the sound reinforcement needs of the stage during school assemblies, school plays and other kind of events.

Sound requirements include, sound coverage for the entire length of the room, source audio playback from CD, DVD, and computer audio output. Microphone sources include, podium mic, vocal mic for performers onstage, instrument mic for acoustic guitar pickup for musical interludes during school plays. and DI box for signal from a digital piano.

Speaker gear considered for installation would be full range speakers providing front of house sound to audience, subwoofer(s) for low end support for music playback, speakers mounted above stage for sound effects/music playback for actors, and portable stage monitors for musicians and vocalists performing onstage and in front of stage on floor.

Here is a challenge for all of you sound engineers/technicians/installers. By looking at the pictures, I invite you to consider the design of a sound system for the venue using all the requirements listed above. I am very curious to see what other designers would use for gear in the venue.

For anyone who takes the challenge, I invite you to contact me by email to discuss your design. You may contact me at: rgbehro@hotmail.com

Here are the pictures of the venue:









Thursday, November 28, 2013

Common Purpose: Approaches To Effectively Working With Artists


Today, I was reading a great article on ProSoundWeb.com about how to effectively work with artists on shows and keep the peace. In my experiences, I have had some shows that were not stellar because, things went wrong and I lost my cool and got frustrated with the situation. Of course, I have learned from my mistakes and I have found ways to work better to accommodate the needs of the artists performing.

The article is entitled, "Common Purpose: Approaches to Effectively Working With Artists", written by Ken DeLoria. Here is Ken's bio:

Senior technical editor Ken DeLoria has mixed innumerable shows and tuned hundreds of sound systems with an emphasis on taming difficult acoustical environments, and he’s also the founder and former owner of Apogee Sound, which developed the world’s first intelligent power amplifier equipped with an embedded microcontroller (DA-800), as well as the TEC Award-winning AE-9 loudspeaker.

If you are a working sound tech on a regular basis or for one off shows, I invite you to read this as it gives great suggestions on how to make things work well on any kind of show. Check out the article at this link:

http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/common_purpose_approaches_to_effectively_working_with_artists1/live/P1/

Cheers!
Ron "Soundtechguy" Behro

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Yamaha M2500 40ch. For Sale

The world of digital mixing consoles has expanded so greatly over the years. Many professional sound production companies are now using digital mixers and selling off their older, analog counterparts. Right on Kijiji classifieds there are a growing number of large format, analog mixing consoles for sale. I just found for sale, a Yamaha M2500 - 40 channel, analog mixing console for sale for $3500.00. That is an excellent price!

Click on link to view the ad:

Here is a picture of the Yamaha M2500 mixing console:


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Fashion Palace Presents: Super Gala Fashion Show


Okay, here is my next sound gig coming up this Sunday, November 3, 2013. The group is called The Fashion Palace and this event will be there Fall Fashion Show at The Dante Club in Sarnia, Ontario. I will be mixing sound and running lights for the show. My two daughters are modeling in the show so, it is a family thing,

The sound and lights are being provided by my friend John of the band Borderline. The sound system consists of an Allen & Heath Mix Wizard mixer, Peavey power amps, Peavey speakers and subs, Peavey/dbx/Lexicon signal processing, and Shure/AKG mics. Previously, this same audio system was used for earlier fashion shows in the same venue and it worked very well.

The lighting gear is a mixture of static par can lighting bars on tripods along with new, LED lighting bars on tripods. Because, the venue has no way of rigging lighting from the ceiling, everything must be ground mounted. Working with a strict budget, John is providing basic front lighting for the runway stage and colour lighting for the backwashes. For this show we have redesigned the setup to achieve better light levels from out front to better highlight the models on the runway.

Also, a local filmmaker has been hired to shoot video of the fashion show this year. Lighting levels will have to be bright enough to achieve desired results. I spoke with Brian, the filmmaker, about how he will shoot the video. He plans on capturing the show from all areas in the venue using a roaming camera technique. This show promises to be the most professional to date and I look forward to seeing the finished product video.

After the show is completed, I will post pictures and video from the November 3rd show for everyone to view. Until then, cheers everyone!


Friday, October 18, 2013

The Mixbusters Bring Back the Competition to Battle Against the New VLZ4

Found a new video on the Mackie website about how their new VLZ4 series mixers stand up to abuse compared to the competition. I was surprised at the how the other competition mixers did not take the abuse as well as the Mackie VLZ4.

They invited mixers in competition from the likes of: Allen & Heath, Behringer, and Yamaha to compete against the Mackie VLZ4 mixer. Check out the video to see the results.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Micro Mixers Available at Long & McQuade Music

In my last post, I talked about using micro mixers for smaller gigs when only a few inputs are required in a mix. I highlighted mixers from Yamaha and Yorkville Sound. To be fair, I thought I would add some more suggestions to "the mix".

Allen and Heath ZED10FX USB:


Allen and Heath ZED60FX:


Mackie ProFX8:


Soundcraft EFX8:


Behringer XENYX X1204 USB:


Peavey PV10 USB:


Behringer Europower PMP1000 powered:


As you can see there are a number of manufacturers catering to the small mixer crowd. Even with all the digital mixers out there in the field, there are so many times when a small, analog mixer can do the job just as well.

For more information on the mixers listed above, please go to the Long & McQuade website at:

For Peavey products, go to the Peavey website at:


Small, But Mighty Sound Gear To The Rescue!

There are times when I mix sound for certain shows where there is only a few inputs required. So, that 32 channel you have is going to be overkill for the job! That is where a "micro" or "mini" mixer comes into play. When you only need to mix a few inputs grab a small mixer and go for it.

One of my upcoming gigs is mixing sound for a local fashion show at a banquet hall. Basically, I will be mixing 6 channels for the show. 1 input for a podium mic, 1 input for handheld vocal mic on stand, 2 inputs for CD player, and 2 inputs for an iPod Nano. For this setup I could use a small mixer with 6 inputs on it to accommodate the mix.

There are so many company now offering "mini" mixers in their product lines at very reasonable prices. Yamaha, Mackie, Behringer, Soundcraft, and Peavey for example. Some of these mixers have things like built-in EFX, one-knob compressors and built-in graphic EQs onboard. More that enough power onboard to handle the simple gigs.

One example of a "micro" mixer is the Yamaha MG82CX. It has 4 mono inputs, 2 one-knob compressors on first two inputs, 1 stereo input with both 1/4" and RCA inputs, built-in EFX processor, stereo outs, monitors outs, 48v phantom power, 2 track send and return RCA jacks, LED level meters and rotary controls for the inputs and outputs instead of faders.

Retailer Long & McQuade music has the Yamaha MG82CX listed on their website for $169.99 CDN. That is a whole bunch of features packed into a mini mixer at a really awesome price.



Recently, I discovered another example of a micro mixer made by Canadian sound manufacturer Yorkville Sound. It is the new, Yorkville pgm8 8 channel mic/line mixer. The pgm 8 is loaded with plenty of features for those smaller gigs. 6 XLR mic inputs, 2 stereo 1/4" inputs, 1 mono input that features a 1/4" line jack with a special switch to change the impedance of the input to accept instruments like guitar or bass directly without the need for a DI box, 7 band, graphic EQ, built-in EFX processor, 2 track send and return RCA jacks, master outs, monitor out, stereo returns, and channel inputs all on faders, and a really cool button that mutes all the channel inputs during intermission breaks.

Retailer Long and McQuade Music has this cool, micro mixer listed at $340.00 CDN on their website. Not a bad price for all the features packed inside. A perfect utility mixer for all those small gigs where only a few channel inputs are required to mix.


Both of these mini mixers would easily fit inside a laptop computer bag or an aluminum brief case for transport. Add a vocal mic with XLR cable, an ipod with cable, a pair of headphones, a few assorted audio adaptors and you will have a really compact Front of House mix setup that you could hookup to any speaker system at the venue. For those simple shows, you can leave the FOH rack at home and travel light.

For more information, you can check out the Yamaha MG82CX and Yorkville pgm 8 mixers on the Long and McQuade website. Here are the links:

Yamaha MG82CX mixer

Yorkville Sound pgm 8 mixer



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Can Digital and Analog Mixing Consoles Still Co-exist?

Recently, I worked a sound gig where I had the chance to mix on a Yamaha LS9-32 digital mixer. This is only the 2nd kind of digital mixer I have worked with. I was working for a local sound company, Great Big Sound and the gig was an evening of rap artists performing. The owner of the Great Big Sound, Steve, gave me a crash course on the operation of the console before the gig.

The setup was fairly simple consisting of just 3 - wireless vocal mics, 1 - wired mic, and a stereo feed from a DJ mix. The 32 channel console was overkill for the small amount of inputs but, it had all the processing built-in allowing for an easier setup and no separate FOH rack required.

During the evening, I was learning as I mixed the show. After a couple of sets, I was starting to get the hang of how the mixer worked within the different mixing layers. I was using the onboard buttons, dials, and faders to control the mix. Usually, Steve would use this mixer wirelessly with his laptop computer. That way he never has to run any kind of snake cabling.

I was definitely aware of the positive things a digital mixer has and can do. While doing the mix, I discovered some shortcuts to allow me to make changes to the mix quickly and without using the laptop computer. I liked having the main controls onboard the console with mostly direct selection to them when required.

During the show, I did have some technical difficulties that were addressed quickly so that the show would go on. The big one was when the AC outlet went down where the mixer, wireless mic units and one power amp were plugged into. I moved the AC cable to another AC outlet and problem solved. I turn on the digital mixer again, let it reboot, and then I was back in business. That is probably the only thing I don't like about digital mixers. With an analog console, the power would come back on and no reboot required.

I am still very much a big fan of analog mixing consoles. For some projects, a simple, effective analog mixer is perfect for the job. I don't think analog consoles will go away anytime soon. For some sound engineers, analog is still the preferred mixer type to use. Easy to hookup the other components to and all the controls are easily accessible on the console. No menus and no mixing layers to use.

Also, the amount of analog mixing consoles for sale on the online classifieds is staggering. Right now, people are selling great analog consoles for a small fraction of their original purchase price. A number of the sound production companies are selling off their older inventory of analog consoles since most have changed over to digital mixers.With all the great deals out there online, you could put together an awesome, analog mix system for an inexpensive price compared to 10 or more years ago.

I know that the analog consoles always weigh more than the digital ones however, the larger analog consoles would make great additions to certain venues as installed mixers. Venues like bars, clubs, theatres, churches, home studio, rehearsal spaces, community centres, etc. Analog consoles are not dead yet!

Recently, I researched a new digital mixer, the Allen and Heath Qu-16. I watched some product videos about it, and I was quite impressed with the design, the operations, and the ease of use shown in the video segment. This particular mixer is a 19" rackmountable console with all the features built-in that would handle many different mixing scenarios effectively. Check out the video below for an overview of the new Allen and Heath Qu-16 Digital Mixer:



The Qu-16 has some optional gear that can work in tandem with the mixer itself. There is the mic input stage box that can connect to the Qu-16 via CAT5E cabling. No more need for a copper, snake cable. The Qu-16 is also compatible with the Allen and Heath ME personal monitor mixing system allowing performers to craft their own monitor mixes using a controller onstage. There are some really great features on the console. The cost of this mixer will be more than an equivalent analog console but, with all the processing built-in, you can leave the FOH rack at home.

In my opinion, I believe that both analog and digital mixers will co-exist together for a long time to come. Each type has its benefits and faults but, both accomplish the same results.

If you are not familiar with the Yamaha LS9-32 digital mixing console, here it is:



Here is an example of an analog console for sale at such a great price and it makes it harder to resist buying one of the older boards. This is the Yamaha MC2404II 24 channel, 4 buss, analog mixing console. The seller is asking only $250.00 (including the road case)! Not a bad deal consider the original sell price would have been likely $10000.00 or more when it was new.

Livewire Remote Recorders, Toronto, ON. Canada



What you are looking at here is a view from the inside of the mobile recording studio owned and operated by Doug McClement of LiveWire Remote Recorders, Toronto, ON. Canada. LiveWire Remote Recorders is a company that offers professional, mobile recording services across North America.

The first time I heard of the company, I was reading a profile of Doug McClement, professional recording engineer in "Professional Sound" magazine. I was fascinated with the mobile, recording truck and the company that Doug McClement has built.

Yesterday, I revisited the official website for LiveWire Remote Recorders at http://www.livewireremote.com/  I was checking the updated site and found some new additions highlighting the great work of Doug McClement. There is a list of all the DVDs and CDs that were recorded live by LiveWire and a demo reel of highlights of recorded shows.
http://www.livewireremote.com/media/dvds-and-cds-2/


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

When "Things Happen" On A Gig....


Recently, I worked a gig at a local bar on a night when there were 4 bands scheduled to play. It was not one of my better gigs that I have ever worked before! Let me tell you about it.

I was mixing sound for one solo guitarist/vocalist and three other rock bands at a local bar/club. I was using the in-house sound system for the show. Unfortunately, I had technical glitches during each set that night. Problems arose during the evening but, I tried to fix them to keep the show going. Most of the problems were centred on bad microphone cables and some questionable gear in the sound system.

During my time mixing the bands, I was also having a bad night. Some songs during the sets sounded okay, and others did not work for me, the audience or the band. Needless to say I was having some issues and was trying to fix things on the fly and keep the show going during the night.

Eventually, I got thing under control by the last band set and got through the gig. After the show was over, I went to each and every band member that I could find and apologized for less than stellar performance with the sound mix during the evening. Almost everyone from the bands said not to worry, that I had done a good job with what I had to work with. It was not a perfect night but, I did make it through it.

Once I was finished with tear down and cleanup of the stage gear, that was when the show's organizer decided to talk to me about my performance that night. At first he made some comments about how the night turned out and then started on with 20 questions about my abilities as a sound technician. I felt like I I was getting lectured by this guy about every little mistake that happened that night. He asked me why I was having so many problems during the night and I answered, "sometimes things just happen". Well, he DID NOT like my answer and that is when he started grilling me on my performance as sound tech.

After about 20 mins, I was starting to get frustrated with this guy because, I had already admitted that I messed up during the night and I apologized to him for poor performance. Finally after getting a lengthy lecture for the guy, he mention that he was reluctant to pay my money for the show but, he had to. Then he tossed an envelope at my on the table and then walks away.

I picked up the money, grabbed my toolkit and left the bar. Now I was feeling like a crapbag and pissed at the same time. For a quick minute, I thought about just giving the guy his money back and trying to forget about the gig. I reconsidered when I thought about all the time I spent that day getting the stage ready for the bands, time spent mixing the bands, and waitng until after the bar closed to get my money. I ended up keeping the money because, I was there for the whole show, and I did the best I could with the house system and the gear that I had available.

The other part of the story is the house system in the bar. Over the time I have mixed shows in the place, the owners have fixed/replaced a few things with the system but, it is still not the best it could be. The problem I have had working at this venue is the equipment problems that I deal with whenever I work a gig there.

Everytime I had mixed a show at this bar, there is always something that is broken, non-operational, unplugged or missing. It is very frustrating when you go to use a stage monitor and find out that the input jacks are broken and the monitor cannot be used. Or when you go to use the house mixer and find out that a bunch of gear has been unplugged from the system. It is the problem of "too many cooks in the kitchen" scenario working with the house system.

Talking with other local sound techs who have worked at the gig, they have told me that they choose not to work gigs there anymore. They just didn't want the hassle of having to work with a house sound system that is always broken down. I don't know if I will ever work there again but, if I do, I am going to ask for more money for my time.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Do You Want To Get Paid For All Of This?


Recently, I found a great article on Prosoundweb all about the art of getting paid for work as a sound engineer.

http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/do_you_want_to_get_paid_for_all_of_this/

I had a couple of bad experiences recently when it came to getting paid for the work I did on a show. This article has opened my eyes with great ideas and suggestions on how to get paid for the business of sound work and not get burned!

Up until this year, I have worked as a freelance sound engineer and never had any problems when it came to collecting my money on show day. For one show, I worked for a local sound company covering a show date and after the gig was done, the owner of the club did not pay me. This began a month long of calling the club owner and leaving messages about my money.

Nothing worked and since I didn't have any kind of contract on paper I figured that I was screwed. I contacted the owner of the local sound company and he offered to pay me my fee after the club owner would not. I was grateful to get my money however, I likely will not work again for the club owner.

Another gig I worked, there was a lack of audience in attendance. Without any money coming from ticket sales at the door, there was no money available to pay anyone involved with the show. I remember standing outside the venue after the load-out and the organizers telling me "sorry, we can't pay you any money for your work." That was an eye-opener for me!" This was the first time I did not receive the money I was promised for working the show. I thought the show was a write-off until the guy who organized the gig decided to come around and give me a little less than half of the money I was supposed to receive. At that point, I was thankful to get the smaller amount. It was better than nothing at all!

After reading the article, I realized that I SHOULD be using some sort of contract when booking shows in the future. Another thing I learned is that I SHOULD ask for a deposit for the gig. The deposit protects me against problems with the gig. Like cancellation of the show, lack of ticket sales, etc. A fellow sound tech company owner suggested that I SHOULD ask for my money up front BEFORE I start unloading and setting up gear. If the client, does not have the money before the show, then I do not work the show.

With one band, I work gigs for them on a regular basis and I have always gotten paid for those shows either on the show day or within the week. Luckily, I have worked for the band for many years now and they are always good about getting me the money.

Here is the weblink to the article:
http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/do_you_want_to_get_paid_for_all_of_this/

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Allen & Heath QU-16 Rackmountable, Digital Mixer

Okay, here is the new Allen & Heath QU-16 Rackmountable, Digital Mixer!

I was checking out some new products on the Allen & Heath website and I discovered the QU-16 digital console.
Currently, I work with local band "Borderline" using their own sound system which contains an Allen & Heath Mix Wizard WZ316:2 analog mix console.The new QU-16 digital mixer would make a perfect upgrade from the current mixer in the system. I like the idea of having everything you would need all packed inside this mixer.

Here is a picture of the new Allen & Heath QU-16 digital mixer:


There is also a introduction video of the mixer with a quick run through of the mix console fixtures:


Saturday, July 20, 2013

First Time Mix on a Yamaha 03D Digital Mixer

Coming up on August 1st, I will be mixing sound for a two band gig using an older Yamaha 03D Digital Mixer. The bassist in the feature band owns this console and a QSC powered speaker system to go along with it. The owner Dave told me that he will give me a crash course through the operations of the console before the show. He said most everything is already saved in memory as scenes making my job a little bit easier.

Just wanted to ask which of your sound engineers out there either own or have mixed on the Yamaha 03D digital consoles. If you have, I would surely appreciate and tips or hints or shortcuts into the operation of the mixer. Personally, I am just starting to mix on the occasion digital mixer but, the majority of my gigs are still mixed on an analog console. To help myself out, I downloaded the user manual for the Yamaha 03D console so that I read up on it and get a head start into mixing on that console.

In case you are not familiar, here is picture of the Yamaha 03D from a product brochure that I downloaded from the Yamaha website.

DPA d:facto Vocal Microphone A Hit With London Clubs

So here we have a new condenser, vocal microphone on the scene proving very popular with the vocalists and engineers in the London clubs. With the regular industry standard vocal mics in use daily, it probably is hard for vocalists to try using new gear. Of course, the sound quality is the number one thing that they should be concerned with during their performances.

Here in Canada, I have not yet worked with any musicians, or artists that are currently using the DPA d:facto microphones. It is the usual suspects like Shure, AKG and Sennheiser in regular use. Maybe these DPA microphones with gather some attention "on our side of the pond.", once engineers here get a chance to try them out on a show.

I remember the first time I mixed show using Audix microphones instead of Shure, I did noticed a difference kind of vocal sound in my mix. Now Audix mics are becoming just a popular as the industry standard Shure mics on shows. Maybe DPA d:facto microphones could be the next popular standard vocal mic of choice.

Here is a link to an article that I found on the Prosoundweb site talking a bit about the DPA d:facto microphones in use in the London clubs.
http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/dpa_dfacto_vocal_microphone_a_hit_with_london_clubs/studyhall

Monday, July 15, 2013

Stage Power Cable Assembly Idea

This past weekend I worked as a sound technician at a local club mixing sound with 4 separate acts. During the setup of the band gear onstage, I was asked a few times if I had an AC extension cord for their equipment. The venue only has a few cables to use but, has a couple of wall-mounted power strip bars on the upstage wall. This setup is great for the backline musicians but, for the front line performers there is nothing permanent. So, usually you have to run separate AC cables across the front of stage to where each performer requires the power. Sometimes musicians will just use power bars joined together by plugging in one to the next. Obviously, this is not the best way to hookup power.

I was thinking about a solution for power that allow every performer to have an AC Drop near their location using just two specially designed power cables. It is simple. Take the standard design of a regular power bar with 8 AC outlets on it and stretch it out into a 50ft AC drop cable. Run one of these cables to the front line musicians and one to the backline musicians and you are set. Now, I used 50ft cables as an average length cable with 10ft spacing between each duplex outlet box. (see my diagram below) Of course you could make the cable assemblies either longer or shorted depending upon your application and use.


 The cable design would use a standard 15 amp rated u-ground plug on one end and standard 15 amp duplex outlet receptacles in each metal box. The limitations would be the total available current from the AC source outlet. With gear like EFX pedalboards and standard instrument amplifiers, you should have more than enough current to run it all with these cable assemblies. This cable setup would reduce the amount of cabling "clutter" onstage for a neat and clean stage appearance.

Now, it's time to go out and price the parts required to make these cable assemblies. Once I get the pricing, I will report back to you with an update. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Peavey :: EU™ 112M

Recently, I had a chance to use the Peavey EU 112M stage monitors on a gig. The band Borderline that I work for was trying a couple of the new monitors to see if they really liked them. The Peavey EU 112M is a great sounding stage monitor with a low profile design. The enclosure features a rounded grill cover giving the cabinet a streamlined appearance.
For the gig, I actually daisy-chained two EU 112M's together and the signals were fed from channel A of a Peavey CS1200 power amp. It was a single monitor mix fed to both EU 112M's.
After some adjustments to levels on the monitor mix graphic EQ for output level, I had the EU 112's singin' pretty well.
After the gig, the guys in the band decided that they would trade in there older Peavey monitor speakers for the newer Peavey EU 112M's.
If you are interested in finding out more info about the stage monitors, please click on link below to view cut sheet for the product.

Peavey :: EU™ 112M


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Presonus StudioLive 24-4-2 Digital Mix Console

One week ago, I was finally able to mix a concert on a Presonus StudioLive 24-4-2 digital mixing console. I had heard great things about the StudioLive consoles and their ease of use. After a quick crash course with my friend Adam Miner, I was off a running for the gig. After some trial and error, I starting understanding all the routing, and some of the functions of the console. There is some much mixing power packed inside of this compact console! I grew up working on analog mixers but, now I would be willing to begin my venture using digital mixers. Here is a link to find out more about these awesome mixers:

http://www.presonus.com/products/StudioLive-24.4.2

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mixing Monitors From Front of House with a Cue Wedge

The other day I was reading an article on ProSoundWeb.com about mixing stage monitors from the Front of House console. The article pertained to church sound but, could also be used for standard mixing in bars, clubs, and other venues.

The process involves using a stage monitor speaker as a "cue wedge" so that you can hear each monitor mix at the FOH mix location. This is a great idea for every sound tech that mixes monitors from the front of house console.

To figure out the hookup for this setup at the Front of House mix console, I consult a couple of professional sound techs for some tips. Both guys gave me ways to achieve the setup. Thanks guys!

The way you setup the cue wedge monitors will vary with each different mix console. The basics of the setup is to allow you to take a feed from a solo buss for the console and patch it into a power amplifier plus stage monitor speaker. So, then you would solo the monitor mix and send the feed to the local power amp/speaker setup. This would be similar to the idea of using the PFL solo button on each channel to send a feed to a pair of headphones.

I am hoping to try out the cue wedge setup on my next gig and see how it works. Of course, it will mean that I will have get the extra power amp and speaker setup and cabling for the setup. I will post the results in a later enty.

Click on the following link for the article on the ProSoundWeb.com website.
http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/church_sound_the_oft-forgotton_cue_wedge/church

Cheers!

Monday, February 11, 2013

White Fire Reed Live at the Trinity Lounge


Alright, here is a local band from Sarnia, ON. called "White Fire Reed". They will be playing a live concert at The Trinity Lounge in downtown Sarnia on Saturday, March 16, 2013. Yours truly will be mixing sound for this band at the show. If you would like to check out the band's sound, then go to their new page on ReverbNation to listen to the songs from their debut CD entitled "Positive Change".

http://www.reverbnation.com/whitefirereed

Cheers everybody!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sound Gear Made In the USA!

Today I was introduced some great speakers by Peavey Electronics which are "Made In USA". It is so nice to see that some things are still made in North America. The Peavey EU series speakers and subwoofers are design for portable PA and installation PA systems. The specs and the price are really good for all this gear.
Here is a weblink to the product page for the Peavey EU speakers:

http://www.peavey.com/products/index.cfm/series/680/EU%E2%84%A2%20Series




Currently, I am workng on a sound system design proposal for the public school that my kids attend. The school gymnasium/auditorium is in need of a new, installed sound system. I am going to help them work on that project for 2013.

I already helped out with the Dec 2013 Christmas play at the school by borrowing a small sound system  and offering to mix sound for the assembly. It was worth my effort as I was told how great everything sounded by a few teachers after the show. I am looking forward to working on this project.

Anyone out there have any suggestions for a gymnasium sound system design? I will appreciate all the help from anyone who has had the experience of installing gymnasium sound systems. Thanks!

Cheers!
Ron