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Discussion Starter #1
OK you are one of the many sound guys (volunteers) in a permanent installation, i.e. House of Worship, lecture hall, theater, etc and you come in to find the board is a mess!:rofl:

The mic gains are all over the place, some padded beyond detection, the eq's are whacked ([email protected]):rubeyes:, the compressor gates won't even open due to the padding, and of course, sound check is in one hour. Who's responsible for this??

In a volunteer setting such as H of W or theater, what's the proper course to take to get the board/system back to balance in an hour's time? What about a log book at the board for malfunction reporting and just plain usage log.

let's see how you people handle this!:bigsmile:

Pep
 

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The facility could issue an operational procedures schedule to all operators, requesting that everything be 'zeroed-out' when they've completed their production.
 

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Personally I would note all the settings as they stood (in case someone insisted it was returned to its previous state and to cover my backside) and then start again. digital cameras, phone cameras, etc are very good for quick setting documenting.

In the scenario you mention, it sounds like a flat board is an easier, less "messed-up" starting point for a soundcheck anyway. If you have to do the job, then that is the best way to proceed in my opinion, unless there is a known "political" situation. I tend to consider getting the job done more important than worrying too much about about who's toes I might tread on, but recording all previous settings is reasonably diplomatic.

Once an engineer has a reasonable degree of experience, flattening a console and setting rough gains based on instrument and mic choice isn't that difficult or time-consuming. Starting the FOH graphic from flat might be a different matter, especially in a problem room (and more likely to upset someone if it had been previously "set to be left alone", but board, dynamic and effect settings have knobs on so they can be tweaked, in my book ;o) Remeber 20-30dB of mic gain for close vocals on an SM58 as your starting point and use your head and ears from there...

You've peaked my curiosity, is this a completely hypothetical scenario is there more to tell? What action did you take?

Nathan.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You've peaked my curiosity, is this a completely hypothetical scenario is there more to tell? What action did you take?

Nathan.
yea this was hypothetical but it does happen to people.

My kingdom for a DiGiCo console!:rofl2:

Keep it comin'.... anyone.

Pep
 

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Not sure I understand the question....

I would zero the desk before setting up anyway, so it doesn't matter if it's messed up.

Or are you talking about a place where the same gear is always used the same way and plugged into the same channels every time?

In that case, there ought to be document that outlines how things should be set on the console...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Johnathan,

Yea... I was talkin' about permanent installs like theaters, HofW's, etc. where the board, efx/proc's are established and permanent.

Let's also say that the room has a "house curve" processor... i.e. Omnicurve, Protea, etc for phase and level tweaks via FFT/Transfer function...so the room is out of the picture. It's nominally flat w/maybe a slight bump for the subs and the high end.

In a H of W, you've got the band's stage setup locked down..pretty much from week to week. You also have "wanna be" sound engrs who claim to know what they're doing gracing the FOH board.

This can also happen in clubs, theater/concert halls.

I like the idea of pictures of the board. I've had a camera cellphone for years and never used it for that purpose!:doh: Great idea.. of course assuming your gonna print them and maybe post them at the board. Can you do this with blue tooth... I don't want to carry a USB cable in my pocket all the time:foottap:

How 'bout that log book for bugs and malfunctioning devices and .... as Cmdr Data would put it "strange anomalies".

Pep
 

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Ok, gotcha. Nightclubs with a lot of guest DJs have similar issues with people coming in and messing everything up...

I've been in a lot of clubs where kit that shouldn't be touched (room correction, amps, crossovers etc) was either in a locked rack or in the office or another location away from the DJ booth..

I've even seen one place that had a perspex cover padlocked over the top of a small console, with holes in the perspex to allow access to a couple of spare channels - basically just enough for you to plug in another mixer.

In other places, threats of physical harm were posted next to equipment you shouldn't mess with :D
 

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I've always been one to "zero" the board prior to shutting it down. Our company also utilizes log books as it's a quick way to get the skinny on the previous night and saves on wasted time trying to get hold of the previous night's engineer. Strange how people are conveniently unavailable when something's broken!

Dealing with new engineers is a lot like dealing with kids. Setting and explaining the ground rules at the beginning establishes your expectations of them. It's not the most effective way to get what you want accomplished, but it sure as hell serves as a reference when you're having that "I told you so" conversation.
 

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I think here that there is some misunderstanding over the use of consoles (maybe from bad experience). If I was using an installed system:

1) I would ask before touching the main output GEQ in case it had been set-up specifically for the room and any known acoustic and PA cab response issues, however if this was the case but it was clearly not set-up ideally, I would want to bypass it and place my own EQ in the system to do the job.

2) I would ask if there was a specific layout for dynamics (gates and comps) for the regular use, but would expect that I would be able to use them the way I needed for the job, even if this required I record settings and locations and returned the layout to its previous state after the event. The same would apply to FX.

3) I would expect that I would be able to do as I please with any and all inputs and outputs on the console (with the possible exception of foyer mixes on matrix, house music of fire alarm feeds on certain channels), although in a church installation I would out of courtesy ask if the previous settings would want recording.

4) I would expect to be able to reset or adjust monitor GEQ settings in case of feedback, ideally to be able to flatten them and "ring-out" from scratch.
>

I would normally reset a console after I used it (preamp gains to min, mute all channels, all aux sends to -inf, etc...), but I would reset it to previous settings if specifically requested.

I would be very unappy if I was asked to run an event in an installed system and was discouraged from using the tools in the way I felt I needed to, but this is why I carry my own EQ/dynamics/Effects to these kinds of jobs.

-all this said, I always consider live sound engineering to be half musical or audio appreciation, half technical ability and half communication. Listening to a clients requirements and wishes, and acting on them appropriately is paramount, whatever your other skills!

Nathan

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Edit: If I was part of regular staff at this kind of venue, I would probable just get on with it anyway, and if there was a "set way" of setting up a standard event, I would probably be the one deciding and documenting it ;o)

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Yamaha LS9-32 and recall "Standard SetUp" from the scene memory!!!:rofl:

But seriously on analogue desks I agree totally with Nathan, ask the boss if you need to leave the desk 'as is' after your gig and if not then set everything back to 'nominal' before you leave

One of the main benefits of digital desks is the memory recall facility

I know a lot of engoneers hate them but you can't 'un-invent' the wheel so to speak!

Cheers
Anton
 

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I used to hate digital consoles, but with the introduction of the LS9 and M7, I think they're good enough, ergonomics-wise to be useable. The M7 is very good with multi-band events, although the familiarity-curve back to LS9-32 is fraught with screen-stabbing (M7 is touchscreen, LS9 is not).

Nathan.

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Discussion Starter #13
Very nice.. Planetnine.. true professional!

Now I need to post this at the board and hope that the young-uns will read it.

Very nice comments about "using the tools", as well as the artistic side.

I think it was Les Paul who said; " If you don't play a musical instrument, your not gonna make it in the audio world". I originally thought that as bogus, but I do see problems from some mixmen who are not musicians. I know this may open a can of worms... but I really struggle with this lately.

Your right too about what the customer wants! What does the event require? Is it a rock concert, praise and worship, drama. All require different settings and tastes. There is no one setting for all.

Tanks for your input:T

Pep
 

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The local public high schools here rent out their nicely-equipped auditoriums for various events and to fledging churches. The consoles are several-year-old Soundcraft analog models, if memory serves. I was told by the facilitator that the renters are required to return all settings to the documented “primary” settings before leaving.

We had the same problem at our church, which also has a school. The school uses the auditorium even more than the church does, for assemblies, chapel services, theater, etc. We’d have torturous sound checks every Sunday morning with our Mackie 32-8 console. This was largely alleviated by going with a separate monitor mixer, and even further by going with a digital Soundcraft Sprit 324 FOH mixer several years ago. Having memories for say, “Sunday AM” etc. didn’t eliminate all problems though, as the individual channel gains, HPFs etc. had to be set.

We recently got a Yamaha LS9-32, which should take care of even those problems, as even the gain settings are committed to memory. As long as they remember to plug the right mic into the right channel, they’re good to go. :T

The moral of the story is, as digital consoles proliferate, this problem should diminish. This will take time, of course.

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Install situation are all very different. In a church situation the week to week stuff can often be the same old, same old. Very little veriation from a standard line up. These boards are often NEVER "zeroed out". A theater hosting one-off shows would be much like a reginal sound company with one-offs, you always zero the board. I guess the question is:

What are the rules of the particular board you are using?

Was it out of whack when it should have been zeroed? If so you could whine about it or get started zeroing the board.

Was it out of whack when it should have been set up for a repetitive performance? Digital cameras are a great way to document the proper settings.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yea, Fellas, I was really trying to drum up some practices as to how do you run a permanent installation like those mentioned. I do like the zeroing the board principle.

Some churches have this "set it and forget it" mentality and they have live music every Sunday. They then ask why does the music sound so different from Sunday to Sunday? If they don't zero the board, then I'm assuming they are just hoping that nothing has changed since last Sunday and they use whatever the board has set. That's assuming way too much in today's world.:nono:

At least if the board we're zeroed, the mixman would be forced to check levels and feedback, sweeten the instruments, etc. Some places don't have qualified people... they prefer to just ride the faders and EQ and gain adjustments are taboo for them.

What about those log books? Do you find many boards that use them for problem reporting and general maintenance.... "had problems with orange wireless losing RF, battery new, ??" that kind of stuff.

Pep
 

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if you're running any venue with installed sound gear and multiple users, then some kind of issue reporting system has to be in place, whether its log-book, or a very keen facilitator in charge. You need to encourage a regime of reporting issues as soon as they happen, with this being more important than appropriating blame if something breaks -finding out something is broken during soundcheck or the gig is a terrible situation, especially if the last users then say "-oh yes, that was broken last week when we used it"

I'm all for resetting a desk to prevent accidents (mutes on, gains down, faders down, auxes down, etc), but I do worry when it is strictly required that a certain set-up is re-set on the desk -that suggests the people using it next don't know how to use the desk -their soundcheck is probably used just to check all the mics are plugged-in, and they daren't touch any other settings bar the odd fader...

Nathan.

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At our church for many years we used a Kelsy ProTour 48 channel board, upgraded to a Allan & Heath GL4000 in the late 90s and recently we went all digital with a Yamaha M7CL console . I did sound almost every other Sunday for years and when the board was messed up by the youth or another group they would be given a warning and if it happened again the next event they needed to use the main Sanctuary and needed sound they would have to pay one of us ($50 at the time) to run sound for them.
I ran FOH sound so often that even if the board was messed up I have most of the levels memorized including EQs and subs.
We implemented a log book that we had to sign in and out including what the event was for. It was the only way to keep track and to report any problems.
 

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...by "messed-up" I'm guessing you mean changed and not returned to the previous settings?

It's so much better with the M7, I carry a 2GB pen drive in my pocket with start-up settings for it!

Nathan.

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...by "messed-up" I'm guessing you mean changed and not returned to the previous settings?
Yes

It's so much better with the M7, I carry a 2GB pen drive in my pocket with start-up settings for it!

Nathan.

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Yes, The USB drive is great we have 8 of us on rotation running sound and this makes it very easy to load up my personal settings.
 
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