Posts Tagged 'entertainment tech'

Using The Various Types of EQ

You can use EQ to do a lot of things. Some are very basic and some are kind of exotic. In this post, we will focus on the most typical uses for the different kinds of EQ in a Pro-Audio / Live Sound environment. Also keep in mind that as we progress into the digital age, these EQs may not be separate pieces of hardware in an equipment rack. They may be options in a menu in a system processor, digital console, effects unit, or computer plugin. But the function and purpose is exactly the same.

BANDPASS

SHELVING

  1. Crossover Filters and System Processor settings
  2. Channel Strip HPF
  3. Driver (speaker) protection
  1. Channel Strip EQ (ie: 3 or 4 band EQ)
  2. Equal Loudness Curve Correction see Fletcher-Munson wiki article
  3. Tone correction on instrument
    amplifiers and preamps

GRAPHIC

PARAMETRIC

  1. Ringing Out Monitors (feedback control)
  2. System Toning see Tuning vs. Toning article by Bob McCarthy
  3. as a Channel Insert for more control
  4. in a compressor’s Sidechain for use as a De-esser
  1. System Tuning (a.k.a the Room EQ)
  2. Channel Strip EQ (on more advanced consoles)
  3. Feedback Control in monitors or as a channel insert

NOTCH FILTER

AUTO BUSTERS

  1. Tight Feedback control for monitors
  2. as a channel insert for precise control on a specific input
  3. as a Group Insert for precise control on a group of inputs (lavalier mics, for example)

  1. an extra level of feedback protection in a fast-paced, high stage turnover environment (such as a festival or open-mic night)
  2. as a channel insert on a specific
    input
  3. as a Group Insert for precise
    control on a group of inputs (lavalier mics, for example)

Caution should be exercised where it concerns auto feedback busters. There are several concerns:

  1. The more inexpensive models (Behringer) and some of the earlier versions of the technology (Sabine) can truly do some horrific things to the sound. Yes, they may actually kill some feedback, but what else does it kill? Your frequency response, good tone, and phase response for starters!
  2. Just because they are so-called “smart” devices, that doesn’t mean they are. Do they know the difference between feedback and certain legitimate musical sounds? NO. In fact, any source that has a pure, steady fundamental pitch without a lot of harmonics is going to get cut by the device.
  3. They can do a lot of things without you being aware of it. Because they auto-sense and auto-engage filters, they can do things when you’re not paying attention. And why would you pay attention? There’s probably a million other things going on at the stage that need your attention!

So because they can be fairly destructive, you should be cautious with them. I know a lot of the Pro Audio world just outright bans them from the premises. Seriously! If you do feel you need one, follow these couple of rules. First, stick to the really good ones. The Shure units and the Peavey Ferrets are particular standouts. Second, use them primarily on speaking mic inputs or groups – they seem to do a really good job there. Try to avoid using them on master monitor sends, and absolutely refuse to use them on the House Mix. That’s just the wrong tool for the job.

First Things First

(an excerpt from the SoundSessions training course)

WHAT IS IT THAT WE DO?
Being part of an audio team is a special privilege. We have the ability to affect everybody’s experience for the good or bad. We can really set up the people on the platform to win , or we can be an obstacle to their success. We have a high responsibility and the people on the platform are putting their trust in us that their artistic endeavors will arrive at the audience’s ears with a true representation – without us imposing our own preferences and biases.

We have two tasks that are equal in priority:
Provide a H O U S E  M I X that is representative of what’s happening on stage.
S E R V E the people on the platform so that they can do their best.

Pleasing other people can be important, but it cannot take precedence over the above goals. You have to know who it is you work for. Making the lead singer’s mother happy is not a consideration. Taking volume advice from the loud drunk at the festival or the cranky church Deacon is not recommended. But neither should we go to the other extreme and be rude to patrons. Just simply say “Thanks for your input, I’ll discuss it with the appropriate people.” B E   N I C E. There’s no need to escalate.

KNOW WHO IT IS YOU’RE WORKING FOR
In any performing arts situation, there is bound to be a lot of cooks in the kitchen. It is important to know who is in charge and what the chain of command is. It may be as simple as you working for the band. But it is also possible that there will be several levels of management over you, so make a point of trying to understand those subtleties and distinctions. If possible, try to get a grasp of that before you arrive. Here are some common scenarios:

BAR: Venue Owner > Sound Tech

CONCERT: Promoter > Band Leader > Sound Tech > Event Volunteers

MUSICAL: Theater Company > Auditorium Director > Tech Director > Sound Tech

CHURCH: Pastor > Create Arts Director > Music Director > Sound Tech

FESTIVAL: Festival Coordinator > Sound Company Rep > Sound Tech

Or, if you’re working directly for the band and in a festival type of situation, then your job would include some diplomacy and political skills so that you can provide what your band needs while also cooperating with others who may or may not have compatible agendas!

WHAT DOES IT REQUIRE?
Being a great audio engineer requires a few different skills, including:
– an understanding and P A S S I O N for the arts
– a K N O W L E D G E of the gear, how it works & interconnects
– a knowledge of the F R E Q U E N C Y spectrum and how it applies
– a basic understanding of E L E C T R I C A L needs and processes
– an organized mind that can track S I G N A L   F L O W and troubleshooting
– the ability to think like a M U S I C I A N and anticipate changes

DO YOU PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
If not, it might be a good idea to take a few lessons. Having a foundational understanding of how music is performed and arranged could be a huge key to your success as a sound tech. Do you know what a verse, chorus, bridge, turnaround, build, half-time section, modulation, breakdown, second ending and coda are? If you want to work alongside musicians, then you better learn how to speak their language!


SoundSessions

Audio Training for Live Sound. All content ©2010 Jeremy Carter Consulting.

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