You WILL need Flash Player version 8 or higher for this website.
   
 

Go Back   StudioAuditions.com > The Gig > Remote Recording & Live Sound
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Remote Recording & Live Sound Location, Location, Location! Club, Theatre, and Church Sound Topics



Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-23-2011, 09:27 AM   #1
thebrokencord
I'm Here, Now What?
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: London
Posts: 6
Gating and Compressing

Obviously it depends on the artist and the gig but does anyone have any basic settings they could share with me on both?

Doing my first gig next week and still new to gates and compressors although i know what they both do and what i want to achieve.

Also any vocal, guitar, bass EQ settings would help.

Cheers
thebrokencord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2011, 03:14 PM   #2
Alan Moon
Registered Member
 
Alan Moon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Columbia, SC
Posts: 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebrokencord View Post
Obviously it depends on the artist and the gig but does anyone have any basic settings they could share with me on both?

Doing my first gig next week and still new to gates and compressors although i know what they both do and what i want to achieve.

Also any vocal, guitar, bass EQ settings would help.

Cheers
This is a tough one for someone to give you the specific magical answers that you are seeking. Honestly, there are no magical settings that work 100% of the time, or frankly, even 50% or even 20% of the time. Even in the recording realm where there are great sounding plugins that come with a myriad of presets - even designed by the likes of Chris Lord-Alge, or whoever - I find that they are useful to a point and then you'll need to adjust from there; often times abandoning the preset entirely and opting for another approach.

My recommendation is to use the best microphones that you can - period. This is my key to getting great sound on stage. This is why I, for the most part, bring all of my own microphones and my own DIs. Heck, I'd bring my own stands and cables if it were easier. Sometimes, I even bring my own mixer when it is practical or I am doing a recording. But my point is, get the sound right at the source. Diplomatically (that is key) work with the band to achieve this if you can - meaning, help them to adjust their levels before you start running things through the PA and monitors. They need to be able to already be "mixed" on the stage so you can simply fill in the cracks with the monitors. But you also don't want to be trying to compete with the volume of amps and a drummer who hits the cymbals too hard (sometimes this depends on the venue and the type of reflective surfaces around where the drums are (a big, heavy curtain behind the drums is going to be your friend).

The bottom line with this is that experienced live sound engineers have the gigs (and hopefully are getting paid more) for a reason - . Make sure that you have a great knowledge of signal flow. This isn't just for trouble shooting when you can't get signal, but also to keep from frying the PA. A local guy destroyed the drivers in a PA system the other night because he wasn't paying attention. In fact, from what I understand, he fried some ears as well. The next night something similar occurred with him in another club. So, he's not getting the opportunity to work now - and this reputation will likely follow him for some time to come. So, make sure that you truly know what you are doing before you get behind the wheel - for the sake of your reputation.

I really recommend studying books that are written about this subject. The Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook is a classic and is pretty much the live sound bible. There is a LOT of stuff in there that you might find unnecessary - and it might be for the knowledge that you need right off the bat. But, this information can become invaluable at a later date. It's truly a book that you can consult over the course of your time mixing live sound. I would especially pay a lot of attention to proper microphone placement. This can cut down on the need to do a lot of processing at the board and in the rack.

Now, in an attempt to answer your question (now that the Forward Warning has been put forth), Gates/Expanders can be valuable tools that can often be over-used or misused/abused. The first instinct is to put them on each of the drums. This is a bad assumption to go by. Often, the only drum that I find that consistently benefits from hard-gating is the kick drum since the microphone is inside and the drum usually vibrates sympathetically from guitars, the bass, the PA system (subwoofer0 and other drums being struck. So, there is a lot of trash that accumulates in a kick drum - especially if other band members stuff their empty Doritos bags in there - which can cause other problems.

You're just going to have to look at the basic functions of the gate unit in question (some have different ways of doing stuff) and go from there against the signal that you have coming in. I recommend having a GREAT pair of sealed (closed-back) around the ear headphones (I use Audio Technica ATH-M50) to check via PFL on the board. This way I can really dig in on what is actually happening with the gate. Here is a general idea of what you'll want to adjust for:

GATE/EXPANDER
ATTACK: For drums, set as quickly as possible. You want it to open fast! Too slow and you lose the actual bite of the stick/beater hitting the drum. Too fast and depending on the model of gate, you could get an unnatural pop or click - though some guys use this to their advantage.
RELEASE: This varies from drum to drum. Depending on what you are hearing you may have it set from a little faster than halfway to a little slower than halfway. The key is to get as much of the tone out of the drum's decay while also avoiding any trashy bleed of cymbals, etc from being able to sneak in while the gate is open.
RATIO: This is the SLOPE of the gate - basically how quickly it adjusts from the most open point to the most closed point of the range. Not all gates have this - typically only the more expensive units or advanced types of plug-ins or digital gates.
REDUCTION (RANGE): This is the actual amount of closing of the gate. First thought logic will tell you that you want this as closed as possible. However, there is a balance within gates that must be struck. The more closed the gate is, the less able it is to quickly respond to a new transient crossing the THRESHOLD. It will be trying to open as it is still trying to close. So, you'll need to find the point of balance that accomplishes what you need while also being able to open fast enough.
THRESHOLD: This is where you really dial it in. This setting determines the point at which the gate begins to work. It's a volume thing that will be affected by the channel input/microphone preamp gain.

Compressors... wow. Again, difficult to give you a fixed thing for. However, I'll say that Bass Guitar is something that you may want to slap one on. Depending if the band is good with vocal mic technique (not a given - a lot of folks try to back up from the mic by 2 feet when singing "back up") a compressor can be a great friend or a horrible enemy. Try something like a 3:1 ratio for vocals and maybe a 4:1 for bass. Go slow attack and fast release, but usually some lesser extreme of both. Adjust threshold so it isn't crushing constantly and the meter shows about -3dB to -6dB of gain reduction. Use the makeup gain to taste, but try to keep the level the same as if you didn't have it engaged. Bad vocal technique and bad implementation of a compressor will increase the chances of feedback and exacerbate the problem, respectively.

Remember - use the best mics you possibly can. I like the Audix DP-7 as a quick solution for drums. Have your own set that you take with you. It will help you more than you can imagine.
Don't forget to have a great set of headphones that can cut out a substantial portion of the background/ambient noise in the room. Though I use the AT cans, the Direct Sound EX-29 Isolation Headphones do a great job.

Hope this helps.
__________________
Alan Moon
Sales Manager
Email: alan (at) frontendaudio (dot) com
Front End Audio Sells Gear
Tuesday Testers: Hear the Gear Shootouts
Product Videos on YouTube: Overviews of Gear
Sign up for the FEA e-newsletter: Exclusive Deals

"Look out honey, 'cause I'm usin' technology!" - IGGY
Alan Moon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2011, 08:35 AM   #3
thebrokencord
I'm Here, Now What?
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: London
Posts: 6
Thanks very much for this Alan, i know was asking a lot but you've certainly given me some good pointers. Thanks for your time.
thebrokencord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2011, 09:56 AM   #4
Alan Moon
Registered Member
 
Alan Moon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Columbia, SC
Posts: 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebrokencord View Post
Thanks very much for this Alan, i know was asking a lot but you've certainly given me some good pointers. Thanks for your time.
Sure thing. Be sure to let us know how the gig goes.
__________________
Alan Moon
Sales Manager
Email: alan (at) frontendaudio (dot) com
Front End Audio Sells Gear
Tuesday Testers: Hear the Gear Shootouts
Product Videos on YouTube: Overviews of Gear
Sign up for the FEA e-newsletter: Exclusive Deals

"Look out honey, 'cause I'm usin' technology!" - IGGY
Alan Moon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2011, 12:23 PM   #5
thebrokencord
I'm Here, Now What?
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: London
Posts: 6
Gig went well in fact i did 4 shows with the band.
All gigs were support and without soundcheck just line check.

My main thing was just to get the band set up as quickly as possible and get the gain structures correct then think about mixing. The band I'm mixing have quite a lot going on, 3 synths, 2 guitars, 1 bass, Full drum kit, 2 drum pads and 2 vocals.

Quite a lot for my first band but great training. I have a few more gigs coming up with them. Hopefully i'll have more confidence and time to play around with compression and gates.

Ha is it normal to be so nervous at my stage?
thebrokencord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2011, 05:01 PM   #6
Alan Moon
Registered Member
 
Alan Moon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Columbia, SC
Posts: 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebrokencord View Post
Gig went well in fact i did 4 shows with the band.
All gigs were support and without soundcheck just line check.

My main thing was just to get the band set up as quickly as possible and get the gain structures correct then think about mixing. The band I'm mixing have quite a lot going on, 3 synths, 2 guitars, 1 bass, Full drum kit, 2 drum pads and 2 vocals.

Quite a lot for my first band but great training. I have a few more gigs coming up with them. Hopefully i'll have more confidence and time to play around with compression and gates.

Ha is it normal to be so nervous at my stage?
It's sometimes difficult to strike the right balance with compression. Often if you are just compressing the stereo bus, you'll want to help glue all the music together, but then you find that it's missing too many dynamics (excitement). Then when you back off on the threshold, you find that you lose intelligibility in the vocals. So, I say - the more compressors you have, the better. You can really get down to controlling things in layers of sound as opposed to making everything fit inside a single dimension.
__________________
Alan Moon
Sales Manager
Email: alan (at) frontendaudio (dot) com
Front End Audio Sells Gear
Tuesday Testers: Hear the Gear Shootouts
Product Videos on YouTube: Overviews of Gear
Sign up for the FEA e-newsletter: Exclusive Deals

"Look out honey, 'cause I'm usin' technology!" - IGGY
Alan Moon is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump




 
 Home  |   Industry News   |  Pro Audio Articles  |  Gear Reviews   |  Studio Space   |  Jam Room Sessions  |  Audio Forums
 Manufacturers  |   FAQ   |  Troubleshoot  |  Quick Start   |  Contact Us   |  Advertise Here
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 StudioAuditions.com

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.