Author Topic: DL32R - Live performance plus recording -- monitoring problems  (Read 214 times)

Bhrighde

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Hello, everyone.  I'm hoping someone will be able to help with this. I apologize in advance for the long post...

We have a group of musicians that have been coming over to one of their homes for jam sessions for several years.  We started out using an analog Mackie 16 track mixer.  Over the last couple years we switched to the Mackie DL32R and record our efforts via Logic. We also have evolved to using personal monitoring for the key players and singers using the aux sends from the DL32R out to small individual mixers that gives each of them a bit of control.  Finally we started to live stream our major jam sessions to YouTube. And we usually have a small audience so we set up one or two house speakers for them.  (Oh yeah, we have several cameras set up recording as well.)

I've been the sad and hapless 'sound engineer' for these events. Coming from a mainly video background but with a number of years of stage tech experience, it's been a challenging shift to go from simple analog audio mixing to digital wireless 32 channel mixing.

We use almost all the 32 inputs for vocals, instruments and drums.  The recording is not a problem; I'm able to get reasonable clean signals recorded on all the channels. We also send feeds to another smaller mixer to provide a decent mix for streaming; again this isn't too big of a problem.

The major headache is setting up the monitor feeds for the musicians. 

We set everything up a few days prior to the big jam sessions, and test every input and each of the monitor feeds to make sure the signals are getting to them (eg. send singer 1 channel to bass player aux feed and test that the bass player's personal mixer gets the singer 1 channel).  Works great.  Same with the instrument inputs.

The nightmare arises on the day of the jam when all the musicians show up, all the channels they want to hear are directed to their appropriate auxs, and they ALL complain that they can't hear anything at all, they hear one channel but not another, or it's way too strong.

One thing I'm wondering is whether there is a rule of thumb about how many channels can be sent to each aux before it causes issues (if it would cause issues?) Are we overloading the DL32R?  Or when one person says they can't hear so and so, we should actually lower the send levels of the other channels they get rather than raising the one they can't hear to the max?

Please, any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
I've been pulling my hair out with this and I'm going bald fast! :'(

Wynnd

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Re: DL32R - Live performance plus recording -- monitoring problems
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2019, 03:30:02 AM »
Haven't worked with that exact mixer, but every input is available on every aux out.  I would suggest that all auxes be "pre-fader" as this takes them away from being affected by the main mix.  Also, every Aux user should run their own Aux mix with either an iPhone or an iPad.  Think the DL32R will handle 10 total devices WiFi.  When Master Fader 5.1 comes out later this summer that should increase to 20 devices.  (That's Mackie's plan) Lock the Aux users out of everything they don't personally need to control.  (Available for each MF app device separately.)   Consider this at this point.  Get back to us if this doesn't work for your needs.  I used the DL1608 since 2013 and in January bought a DL16S.  Love these mixers and I know there are some differences in the DL32R.  Outside of the matrix, they are very similar.

pytchley

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Re: DL32R - Live performance plus recording -- monitoring problems
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2019, 11:07:05 AM »

The major headache is setting up the monitor feeds for the musicians. 

We set everything up a few days prior to the big jam sessions, and test every input and each of the monitor feeds to make sure the signals are getting to them (eg. send singer 1 channel to bass player aux feed and test that the bass player's personal mixer gets the singer 1 channel).  Works great.  Same with the instrument inputs.

The nightmare arises on the day of the jam when all the musicians show up, all the channels they want to hear are directed to their appropriate auxs, and they ALL complain that they can't hear anything at all, they hear one channel but not another, or it's way too strong.


The clue is in the word "musicians". How often do you souncheck for hours until everyone's happy, change nothing and then they all go frantic on the first song of the gig? This is normal, keep your hair on and try to be patient.

Wynnd

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Re: DL32R - Live performance plus recording -- monitoring problems
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2019, 12:44:07 PM »
He's right about that.  If this is a loud group, that would be volumes over 100 DB, no monitors will ever be adequate.  And you put a big group in a very small place, the problems grow exponentially.  Get everyone to back off and things usually improve, but I know, that a lot of musicians hate to be told to back off, even when it is the right thing to do. 

Good luck and take a DB meter with you.  (There are apps for that. some aren't free.)

Bhrighde

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Re: DL32R - Live performance plus recording -- monitoring problems
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2019, 03:35:33 PM »
Haven't worked with that exact mixer, but every input is available on every aux out.  I would suggest that all auxes be "pre-fader" as this takes them away from being affected by the main mix.  Also, every Aux user should run their own Aux mix with either an iPhone or an iPad.  Think the DL32R will handle 10 total devices WiFi.  When Master Fader 5.1 comes out later this summer that should increase to 20 devices.  (That's Mackie's plan) Lock the Aux users out of everything they don't personally need to control.  (Available for each MF app device separately.)   Consider this at this point.  Get back to us if this doesn't work for your needs.  I used the DL1608 since 2013 and in January bought a DL16S.  Love these mixers and I know there are some differences in the DL32R.  Outside of the matrix, they are very similar.

Thanks, Wynnd.  All the auxes are pre-fader.  We tried to introduce personal monitoring control with iPhone or iPad, and it went over like a lead balloon.  The only musician willing, able and interested in doing that has an Android phone so we're waiting for Master Fader 5.1 to come out before we try it again.  Our drummer and our keyboard player are blind, so the iPad /iPhone interface doesn't work so well with Master Fader and screen reading programs.


Wynnd

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Re: DL32R - Live performance plus recording -- monitoring problems
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2019, 05:35:36 PM »
I've only worked with one totally blind musician and one partially blind musician.  Amazing people, great to work with but the problems of virtual faders is obvious.  I hate virtual faders for theater groups.  They are OK for musical groups.  Sounds like you have the right approach.  How is the volume at the jam sessions?

Bhrighde

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Re: DL32R - Live performance plus recording -- monitoring problems
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2019, 06:29:34 PM »
Generally painful when everyone gets going.  The drums have actually been relocated to a different floor, so the overall level of the room is improved a bit, however, it now makes the monitoring much more important, as the drummer needs to hear the musicians and vice versa.

Wynnd

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Re: DL32R - Live performance plus recording -- monitoring problems
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2019, 01:45:33 AM »
Got to ask what should be a stupid question.  (My Wife is used to those.)   Are you using powered monitors?  or are you talking about in the ears with an amplifier or headphones with an amplifier?  While I've heard of the aux being able to drive headphones, it surely wouldn't be enough without some kind of EXTERNAL amp.  (Powered speakers of a good model should be just fine.)   

My own thought is to get the musicians to back the volume down and you might have to do a little of the same with the monitors.  Loud monitors get musicians playing loud too.  You want a mix of the music, not one or two people drowning everyone else out.  Lastly, if the musicians NEVER BACK DOWN after being asked to, the problem is no longer yours.  No sound engineer can cure all problems and louder isn't better.


dpdan

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Re: DL32R - Live performance plus recording -- monitoring problems
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2019, 02:33:30 AM »
Lastly, if the musicians NEVER BACK DOWN after being asked to, the problem is no longer yours.  No sound engineer can cure all problems and louder isn't better.

well said!