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    #11
    Senior Member ReelWorksMedia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DNN View Post
    Thanks for the great feedback Alex and Bassman. The FS7 was rented so I'm not as experienced with it as I'd like to be with it. Especially the mkii. So maybe I'll experiment with my associate's camera. I feel like Bassman's explanation might have been what happened to me. Although I don't do many concerts, I've had issues with board guys before at other types of events which is why I bought the -20db pad. I've never gotten much help from them so have to find my own solutions. I noticed that Sescom sells a -40db pad that might work or maybe I'll check out the combiner. The tape out tip sounds foolproof.
    My advice for what its worth....

    Avoid reaching out in the 11th hour after everyone is there, setup, dialed in...and their crew is either on break...or working on their main job. Reach out in advance of the event. If audio is an important element of the production....don't wait until the last minute and take what they give you. Develop a communication plan in advance, contact them, introduce yourself, then give them and you plenty of time on location to make sure you get it right.

    Live sound engineers don't typically like to be asked to do extra things in the 11th hour without any warning. If you ask them to do something extra right before the event, they will not be too interested in helping you figure out how to fix any problems. If you develop a working relationship before the event, you will most likely get more assistance from them.
    Last edited by ReelWorksMedia; 06-13-2018 at 09:01 AM.


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    #12
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    Thanks, that's very sound advice. I'll keep that in mind in the future. But I work in news so, unfortunately, things are frequently 11th hour. This was for a story within the concert and not the concert itself. We didn't get much priority or time to make arrangements.


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    #13
    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    As Rick says - most festival type sound desks don't have anything other than line level outputs, on XLR. Some might have some line outs on ľ" jacks - but mic level? None of their audio kit needs mic level as an output, so it's not in the design. You need to equip yourself with a DI box, and some alternative cables so the line in cable you give them can have jack or XLR, whatever they need - and the DI box will provide your feed.

    Now a few festival truths.

    If you have arranged in advance for a feed in your contract or rider, they will be aware in advance. If you ask on the day, you might get a feed if you are nice. However, what do you want in it? A straight left and right? Sounds simple - but not every desk is set up that way - some will be hiving off the sub bass and sewndimng it out separately - so your feed has no bass. Some might have a L/R/C output with the vocals in the centre and music in the others. Once the act starts - the person mixing is NOT interested in your feed, it will probably be one meter, out of the way, and while red lights often might catch their attention - low or no signal won't. Unless arranged - it is NOT their job to mix for you. On top of this, instruments can be missing or very low. Some small to mid sized festival stages and events have volume constraints. It's quite possible that the guitar, or bass, or some of the drum kit is already too loud, so the fader stays on off, the audience hearing what they need direct. Sound checks are really just line checks - yelling into a mic produces the desired input on the desk on the right channel. The first song will then be a frantic eq and tweak, and sometimes the guesstimate as to gain setting was very wrong - so they'll grab a handful of gain and if some of that is going your way, you get it too.

    In our inventory we carry mic splitters - so we can provide somebody with a spare set of individual feeds, which they pop into their equipment and they get clean feeds of everything. other times, with proper planning, you can get a Sound 2 to pop on some headphones and do you an independent mix - if the pay is budgeted and the facility available.

    I've had people ask for a mic level feed from our theatre equipment at the last moment, and at best, they'll get a line level, turned down to 1 - and if in the quick check - often using the only active sound source at that moment - the background music - I have to guess what show level will be. If I see that ouput with real level on it, then it's too loud, probably, but what do I do? A tap on the shoulder from the video guy panicking means I have to stop doing my real job, and turn him down a chunk - but I do NOT have time to check what he is hearing - for distortion or noise. I really haven't got the time. The sensible video people take my feed, and also run a recorder for when things go wrong. When the organisers plan a video and ask us - we can provide a separate mixer, or even record individual mics as stems that can be mixed later. If the sound is important, it needs properly building in at the planning stage - not a last minute panic.


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    #14
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    Thanks for the straight forward advice. The board did have labeled mic level outputs. They deal with press regularly, though not sure what happened here. But we didn't want to push the mixer too much since he was pretty busy. That's why I was looking for some turnkey advice in cases where everything depended on us to fix the problem for those last minute jobs. What I was worried about was that I was getting distorted audio that nothing but the engineer could fix. I'll definitely go through all of your advice to make sure things are troubleshooted on my end.


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    #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DNN View Post
    The board did have labeled mic level outputs.
    Was it from their actual console? Makes me wonder what board they were using. Or was it from a press box?

    Quote Originally Posted by DNN View Post
    What I was worried about was that I was getting distorted audio that nothing but the engineer could fix. I'll definitely go through all of your advice to make sure things are troubleshooted on my end.
    It’s certainly possible that the signal was distorted on the console end, but yes... know the audio settings, physical and menu, of your camera and eliminate any possibility there.

    I have an audio first aid kit I keep with me that can adapt, impedence adapt, and convert just about anything I run across. A good starting point for you, especially since you’re in news and are often thrown into these things at the last minute:

    - PCDI, allows you to take one or two channels of -10dB (unbalanced) or +4dB (balanced) line-level signal and send it down one (mono combined) or two (stereo) mic-level XLR runs. It also has -20dB pad as well as a ground lift in case of hum.
    - 1/8” TRS to dual RCA cable, connect iPod, iPad, laptop, etc. to the PCDI from headphone out to the RCA ins on the box. Or if it’s your only option, take the RCA tape out from a mixer and feed it to the 1/8” stereo in on a small recorder.
    - 1/8” TRS to dual 1/4” TS, also connects mobile devices and laptops to the PCDI.
    - Inline (XLR barrel) line-to-mic pad (-50dB), drops a balanced +4dB line signal down to mic level.
    - Inline (XLR barrel) switchable pad, drops the signal by selectable -10dB, -20dB, and -30dB or similar options.
    - Inline (XLR) ground lift. If you’re in a press pool and taking signal from a press box feed with lots of buzz, this may help. Depends on where the hum is coming from, but always good to have the option.

    That’ll cover your basics. Grab a couple of each cable, just so you have a backup.
    Nobody notices audio... until it's not there.

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    #16
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    No, it was from the mixing board. But there's a press box next to it. The mic level output is closest to the press box side of the mixer. Thanks for the equipment list. I have some of those items such as a barrel lift and the cables but I'll look into the others. I ordered the Whirlwind DI box. Looks useful and not too terribly expensive.


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    #17
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    I have never seen a 'Pro' level desk with mic level out....... Yes most location mixers have it but not mixing 'consoles'
    And its not just a case of lowering the level by the operator as the console 'noise floor' will not change, by lowering the output level the signal will be almost the same as the noise floor... giving you a VERY poor signal.

    The only way to get to mic level is a PAD or DI box..... both are external to the mixer and suited to 'your' needs..... so its your responsibility to provide it.

    When you go to a function and want a split of a PRO level mixer it will be XLR out and at line level.
    Last edited by OzGizmo; 06-19-2018 at 01:44 AM.


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    #18
    Senior Member cpreston's Avatar
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    I think this has been mentioned, but I will reiterate- the only way to do a band or event right is to split all of the mics before they hit the board and then record all of the ISO's along with a stereo room mic and mix in post. Otherwise, I just tell the client that the sound is likely going to be junk. The backup is to take a mono mix of the board feed to the PA through an A/V DI box along with a stereo mic of the room and mix that in post.

    Often, the board feed is junk but it sounds perfectly fine through the PA. It could be a hissy, distorted mess through headphones, but as long as it sound good to the audience then FOH has done their job.


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    #19
    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    I've had a run through of all the popular digital and analogue mixers you see on these events and none have mic level outputs. In fact, thinking about it - what would be the point? Any audio recorder would have a much better s/n using line ins, so what would anyone design in a gain reduction that then needs more gain to get it back up. Are you positive it wasn't just a row of XLRs? Many of the current mixers don't even have ľ" jacks any more on channels, groups and masters.


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    #20
    Sound Ninja Noiz2's Avatar
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    I have seen mic outs on PA boards, but the "press box" part makes sense. There is often, at events where there is a press section, a big breakout box and those are usually mic level.

    The problem you are describing though implies that you were getting a line level signal.
    Cheers
    SK


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