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Monitor Individual Mic Channels

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John Livings
Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 13, 2009 at 9:57:46 pm

Hi All,
Is there a rack mount piece of equipment that will monitor individual Mics for EQ ?

The piece of equipment would not have any controls just a series of LEDs showing each channels status (VU).

The LEDs would look like the Mains LEDs (5 or 10 vertical LEDs going from -40db to +6 db or clip , But for 8,10 or 12 channels).

I am guessing the set-up would be XLR in and XLR out with No controls, Just monitoring the signal.

I do have LEDs on my mixer, However there are only 2 lights on each channel, One Green and One Red, The problem is I have no way of knowing when the Green is going to turn Red until after it happens.

Also if this piece if equipment does not exist, Is there a rack mount mixer that would have a vertical row of LEDs (5-10 Lights) per channel?

Thanks, John


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Greg Curda
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 14, 2009 at 9:08:22 am

Hi John,

In my experience, if you're dealing with dialogue, and its unpredictable, then all the meters in the world wont help you predict when one voice will peak. Your mixer LEDs should vary in brightness with signal strength, so you do, in effect, have a multi-segment meter. A little peak here and there is not a bad thing, either, just don't make a habit of it.

A 10-12 channel meter bridge could cost you up to $1000. Do you have limiters on your mixer? What are you recording to?


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John Livings
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 14, 2009 at 8:27:17 pm

Hi Greg,

Thanks for responding, The venues I am having issues with are Amateur events, With 25-50 performers,Singing,Dancing, And moving all over the stage, The Floor in front of the stage, And up and down aisles, And it is unpredictable.

We use 16 mics, (10 Wireless and 6 Wired) I do use the Shark DP-110 on 5 of the wireless channels, And this works out well as they have a row of LEDs that that I can monitor.

I do not have a limiters on either of the 2 mixers, Only on the 5 Shark DP-110s.

My main objective is to capture the best quality AUDIO and VIDEO I can. (As I must Edit and Produce a DVD)

The Show Directors objective is to "Put On The Best Live Performance He Can", This is usually in conflict with my objectives, But I stay focused on my objectives.

I run the sound and video (3 or 4 Cameras with mics and 1 Digital Recorder) And the Sound Board) With the objective of Editing and creating a DVD.
I know, I know,

I just want something that "Helps".

I did find a "Stand alone VU Meter"
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?ci=0&shs=SM+Pro+Audio+SMVU8...


Part of the setup


Any suggestions will be Welcome.

John





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Greg Curda
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 16, 2009 at 9:59:31 am

Are you recording to multi-track? What's your recorder?

I don't think the VU will help as it does not show peaks, only avarage level. Sounds like you could use a pair of 8-channel dynamics processors.


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John Livings
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 16, 2009 at 8:22:53 pm

Hi Greg,

Thanks for the information, As you might be able to tell from the image I posted, Most of my gear is consumer quality, (It's all we can afford right now). And we are upgrading as our budget permits.

For right now I am going to consider 5 more of the Shark DSP 110s as they have the LED ladder and a Gain Pot next to the LEDs, And $60 dollars each.

I am recording to a Tascam HD-P2 that is comes off my Main Mixer. I also use the Tascam HD-P2 to monitor the mix as the main mixer does Not have a Headphone Jack.
The Recorder is set to "Mono Summed".

3 of the 4 cameras are recording in duel mono and the fourth is recording in stereo.

During editing I Sync the 4 cameras and recorder up (The TC is not Jam Synced) I just sync them to a "clap board" and that is a good starting point. I then choose from the best video and audio that I have.

Again Thanks for your input.

John




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Greg Curda
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 18, 2009 at 12:19:47 am

Good solution... Hope it all goes well. At least we know you're not afraid of doing the work! Good luck.


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Sam Mallery
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 18, 2009 at 9:53:27 pm

The name of the piece of gear you're looking for is called a "meter bridge." They're not very common because every manufactuer is trying to make gear as inexpensive as possible, and having accurate metering on every channel is expensive and eats up a lot of real estate on the gear itself.

This isn't a cheap suggestion, but if you ever get a budget to play with you should take a look at the PreSonus Studiolive digital mixer:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/583206-REG/PreSonus_STUDIOLIVE_STUDIO...

It has the meters you seek, it's around the right size, and a digital mixer like this will allow you to eliminate a lot of the equipment you are currently passing your signals through. The Shark is cheap but it's likely degrading your overall audio quality more than you think.



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John Livings
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 18, 2009 at 11:54:07 pm

Hi Sam,

Thanks for the information on the PreSonus Studio Live. I have been looking at that for about a month and read the reviews from Musician's Friend. They are all 5 star ratings. I was hoping one of the COW contributers might review that mixer.

How would that work with FCP-Studio 2 on a Mac Pro? Would it be as simple as just plugging in a firewire cable?

The PreSonus would rack up nicely, however, my mains and monitors are passive (2-JBLs JRX115 Mains and 2- JBLs JRX112 Monitors) What type of power amp would you recommend?

Thank You for the heads up on the Shark-110s.

Again, Thanks

John


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 19, 2009 at 4:58:50 am

Okay, first off, before anyone can give you any good advice, we need to know more information.

You never told us what mixer you are using - is it a field mixer or a rackmount/desktop mixer/console? What are you attempting to do with your gear? All that you have said is that there is a lack of metering and you would like more. We need any pertinent information about your problem and the gear involved.

Typically, most rackmount mixers only have a "signal present" LED and an "OL" or "CLIP" LED on the channels. You can usually PFL the signal to ensure enough headroom and then AFL the signal to hear what the EQ has done to it. Large-format consoles usually meter each input and output or just the outputs until you PFL/AFL a particular channel or set of channels.

Here is my recommendation based on the information already given: buy a Radio Designs Labs Peak/Program Meter. It ain't no Dorrough Meter, but it'll do you fine. You can adjust and calibrate it for program/average levels and/or peak level metering.

Wolf
<><


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John Livings
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 19, 2009 at 6:23:49 am

Hi Jordan,

Thanks for responding to my post.

I am using 2 mixers, A Behringer Europower PMH2000 which is being fed by a Behringer Eurorack Pro RX1202FX.

I use 6 corded and 2 cordless Mics going into the RX1202FX and coming out of the "Mains Out" and then going into the #9 Channel of the Main Mixer (the PMH2000).

The first 8 channels of the PMH2000 (1-8) are used for 8 wireless mics.

Channel #10 is used to input Music (Tape In) . It is also used as an output to my HD-P2 recorder, I also come off the HD-P2 with my headphones.

All 16 mics are used for vocals and dialogue (No live instruments) The 6 wired mics are locked down, and the 10 wireless are used by the lead Performers (Singing, Dancing, moving around a lot).

My question had to do with Running Sound and capturing Video and Audio to be Edited and made into a DVD

The Live Musical Performances take place in 500 seat Auditoriums (over flow crowds and lots of Noise)

My original question had to do with better monitoring of the separate mic channels, But now has evolved into thinking about upgrading some of my consumer gear to equipment with more features.

I try to rack everything I can, as we do 4 shows in one day and break everything down and load up in less than 1 hour. I like to be able to set up in less than 1 hour also.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have

John


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Greg Curda
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 19, 2009 at 8:02:28 am

Hey John,

Are you telling us that you run FOH live sound, record audio, and run cameras all by yourself?


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John Livings
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 19, 2009 at 9:37:49 am

Hi Greg,

Of Course (Just Kidding) I have Lots of help.

I teach a Multi Media Production Class for our local school district, an enrichment class, And I ask for student volunteers. The multi Media Classes and the Theater Classes are held at the same Schools.

All 4 cameras are hooked up to a rack mounted 19" focus monitor(LCD TV) and I monitor them from the audio table along with the audio. 3 of the cameras are on tripods operated by students or parents. Camera #1(also on a tripod) I operate from my work station, It has a remote pan/tilt and focus/zoom . As I can monitor all of the cameras I send a "runner" to the problem camera with instructions to fix the issue( We tried walkie talkies but they were to disruptive.

I give the signal to roll the cameras and I start the HD-P2 recorder and Camera #1 a couple of minutes before the production starts, After about 1 minute of rolling (we need handles for editing) I have one of the Crew go to the front of the stage and use the clap board to get a spike in the waveform for syncing everything up in post (FCP)

The lighting is handled by the students (we use Mole Richardson Movie lights, they look cool and do the job)

There are a lot of things the students do, they love it, we all have a great time and I always include the Crew (Volunteers) in the slow moving,Rolling, large type, Credits. (along with a FREE Crew T-Shirt)

I always show the Multi Media Class the closing scene from Meryl Streep's Postcards from the Edge singing Heartbreak Hotel. The second time thru the cameras pull back and show the many extras and crew the studios use. Our class promotes doing anything you can do, You will start as a 1 person production crew. This way when you do have the budget to hire Professionals, You will know whom to choose.

Anyway that is kind of how we Roll

John




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Jordan Wolf
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 19, 2009 at 2:34:33 pm

Ah, that's better! Okay...let's see what we can do for ya:

My first recommendation is to look into a different mixer. I understand the need to set up quickly and load-in/-out efficiently, but there are better (and similarly-priced options) out there.

I would look into an Allen & Heath PA series mixer. Full Compass has some good pricing and details if you are interested.

If you were to move to something like this, you would open up rackspaces in the rack you currently use, but would want to look into a road case for the mixer (not a huge one). You could set the mixer on top of the rack you had the old one in. Two racks would be better and more stable, but one can work for a smaller mixer like that.

I'm sure you have concerns about purchasing new gear (budget, etc.), but I really feel like you are limiting the quality of your shows - live AND recorded - by not having gear that is up to the standards you NEED (not just want) it to be and has the features you require.

Hope that helps a little. I just woke up like 20min. ago, so if something isn't clear, I'll probably find it later or be reminded by one of you.


Wolf
<><


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John Livings
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 20, 2009 at 4:24:04 am

Hi Jordan,

Thanks for the reply, All the responses have been very helpful.

I have used some of that equipment for several years now, and have concentrated on getting the most out of it.

I am now leaning towards a new mixer with some features that improve the sound for Live Shows while allowing me to record more than 1 channel and keep the setup Simple. Maybe even the ProSonus Mixer:)

That would be something I could use for the shows and also back in the studio. (And I could rack it)

Thanks for your thoughts,

John


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Monitor Individual Mic Channels
on May 20, 2009 at 4:32:49 am

John,

Here is a link to another forum that had a good thread on that board. There's a good bit of opinion but also a lot of insight and thought from the responses. As always, take with salt:

PSW SR Forums: Presonus StudioLive Mixer

Wolf
<><


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