Sound Reinforcement (PA) - A Guide to Making Live Sound Work For You

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by simoncroft, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. simoncroft

    simoncroft Tele-Meister

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    449
    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Worthing, SE England
    Routing Made Simple

    A-ha! The lightbulb above my head finally went on, and I now 'get' the routing and assignment on the Si Impact. Well, most of it, anyway. This system is an absolute beast in terms of its capabilities. If this was an analog desk, it would be so big you'd need some sort of robot arm to get to all the controls. As it is, the Si brings the controls to you. Let's see some examples.

    Aux Mixes

    There are 14 Aux mixes on the Si Impact, and that's before we get to the four internal digital effects mixes. Here's a nice confusing diagram to prove the point:

    Screen Shot 2019-09-07 at 17.54.13.png
     
  2. simoncroft

    simoncroft Tele-Meister

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    449
    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Worthing, SE England
    Fortunately, the interface on the Si Impact is a lot simpler than the diagram. See the highlighted buttons, where I've turned the panel a lighter gray? They are where you select the Mix you want the faders to control. At that point, all the motorized faders (hey, I didn't mention those did I?) jump to attention, showing you the current mix.

    Selector Buttons Highlighted.png
     
  3. simoncroft

    simoncroft Tele-Meister

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    449
    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Worthing, SE England
    The section top left, with all the pretty dials on is a channel strip. It's as fully-featured as a top-flight recording studio console. Just imagine how long each channel strip would have to be if they all had this many physical controls, plus another 14 knobs just for the aux mixes. This is a vastly more intelligent way to manage things.

    But how does the channel strip 'know' which channel it's currently supposed to be? Easy enough. If you look just above the first fader, you'll see an orange light on. That's the Select button. Push the Select button and you get the fader strip for that button.

    See those 'skirts' of orange lights round each knob on the fader strip? They are there to indicate the position of the knob for that channel (it is actually a rotary encoder, the physical position of which doesn't matter – it just goes round and round).

    Screen Shot 2019-09-07 at 18.10.45.png
     
  4. simoncroft

    simoncroft Tele-Meister

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    449
    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Worthing, SE England
    When you adjust a control, it 'focuses', in Soundcraft speak. What that means is the LCD on the right changes to show its level precisely. (For a while, I thought all the LCD did was display that Lexicon processor. Then the penny dropped...) . Let's take a look at what the channel strip actually offers. It's pretty mind-blowing.

    Screen Shot 2019-09-07 at 18.24.54.png
     
  5. simoncroft

    simoncroft Tele-Meister

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    449
    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Worthing, SE England
    On the left hand side, you've got your input, with 8-segment level meter, +48V phantom power, phase reverse, and adjustable HPF (High Pass Filter), which is basically an advanced bass rolloff, to clear out any unwanted low end rumble for a cleaner mix.

    Next up, there's a fully featured Gate, with attack, release, depth and threshold, plus super-useful side-chain LPF and HPF. In combination, these can be used to ensure that – for instance – if the snare us used to gate a reverb, it's only the snare that will trigger it, rather than half the drums around it. The two filters allow you to tune out anything else. A display shows: open, hold and closed.

    The compressor is a genuine dbx. Soundcraft is part of the Harman group, so it turns to other companies in the group, such as dbx, Lexicon and BSS when it wants a particular circuit that manufacturer specializes in. Controls are: ratio, attack, release, gain and threshold, with a meter to show the compressor in action. That's a lot of dynamic control for a channel strip.
     
  6. simoncroft

    simoncroft Tele-Meister

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    449
    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Worthing, SE England
    The equalizer section is worthy of a post in its own right, because it's as versatile as you'll find on any console, regardless of price. Believe it or not, all four bands are fully parametric, meaning you can define: cut/boost; frequency and Q (or 'contour'). In addition, the HF can be Bell or Shelving, both of which can be useful, depending on context.

    To give you an idea of just how advanced the Soundcraft Si channel strip is, here's a screen-shot of the famed SSL G Series channel strip, a software version of arguably the most successful studio mix console of all time. Although the controls are slightly different, the big deal is the Si matches it pretty much feature-for-feature.

    Screen Shot 2019-09-07 at 18.55.31.png
     
  7. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,107
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    I have a folk duo appearing at my festival in a couple of weeks. When they last played a few years ago they were just two acoustic guitars and vocals. I DI'd the guitars into the PA, gave them a vocal mike and a spot monitor each.

    This time things have changed a little, they sent me their details a couple of weeks ago. I immediately e-mailed back asking how they normally mike things, but they have not replied. How in heavens name do you amplify a Didgeridoo?

    upload_2019-9-12_20-27-43.png

    The Bodhran would probably work with a condensor or tom mike from my drum mike set, but I'm not sure about moving it in and out when he changes between guitar and Bodhran/perecussion. I do have a broadcast quality tie clip mike. In the past I have clipped it to the soundhole of a Cajon with quite good results. My father in law's Bodhran is in the loft I can give it a try over the weekend. i do have a couple of shotgun mikes, maybe I just need a shotgun! Any other ideas?
     
  8. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    11,311
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    The Far-Flung Isles of Langerhans
    When a performer showed up with an unfamiliar instrument, I'd ask them "what usually works for you?"
     
    simoncroft likes this.
  9. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,107
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    That's why I e-mailed that very same question the day they told me what instruments they would be playing. Two weeks on I have had no reply. On the day I will have myself plus three others with even less idea than I have, and 15 minutes between each act. I provide PA, backline and drum kit to remove most of the variables. I just need to have as many questions as possible answered before the day, so I can give detailed instructions to my team for each changeover, and have a preprepared digital mixer "scene" for each act, with eq already in the right ballpark. My headline act has already spent time trying out the backline with their pedalboards, deciding what mikes to use, and discussing what they need in their monitors. But this duo and a community choir are being less than forthcoming.
     
  10. simoncroft

    simoncroft Tele-Meister

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    449
    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Worthing, SE England
    I wouldn't sweat it too much. Folk musicians are generally fairly easy to work with. I'd just give them two extra vocal mics, one set at about the right height for the bodhran, and the other positioned down low for the didgeridoo. Providing you give them a monitor mix that's reasonably like the relative volume levels FOH, they'll work round it.

    There is every possibility they work in clubs where all you get on stage is a few general purpose mics, and are not sure how to answer your question.

    Ditto with the community choir. Just give them some vocal mics, as high on the stands as you can for general coverage, and keep the stage monitoring lowish. Tell them one mic is for soloists (leave it closer to head height) and let them do their thing.

    These acts are acoustic, and they hone their skills without amplification, so the best way to work with them is to do your job as simply and unobtrusively as possible. Unless something is horribly wrong, you should be able to leave the levels static through both sets.

    I'm sure it will all be great on the day. :):):)
     
    AAT65 likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.