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  1. #1
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    Default Long time, no see....

    Hey guys;

    I have been away for quite a while. I've revisited because I have a few audio questions. As I recall, this community was not only a great place for SAC advice and education, but the combined experience of this forum was a great place to post general audio questions.

    I've been gone for a while, but never moved away from my love for music....

    As I'm sure you're all well aware, I'm not just an audio engineer, but I'm a professional musician, as well. It's funny how these two jobs seem to ebb and flow. If the band thing declines, the audio engineering gigs come in, and vice versa. Lately, I've been doing more mixing than performing.

    Audio equipment has certainly changed....

    As I'm sure you're all well aware, there are many digital offerings on the market these days. Behringer seems to have the lion's share of the "budget conscious" music community. Though I still haven't purchased any of their digital offerings (and honestly don't plan to unless I can integrate it with SAC), I still have - and occasionally use - my ADA 8K's and 8.2K's. I don't mix on SAC as often as I used to, but I DO get to occasionally dust that rig off. It's always solid. I love it. That said....

    Because of the low price point, most of my band clients have purchased their own X32's (in varying permutations) and QSC speakers. Where I once used to provide an entire P.A. system for a price I'm ashamed to publish here, for the same fee, I now show up with a pair of iPads, which either allow me to mix virtually, or amend Behringer's X32 consoles. Regardless of the digital console I mix on (all Presonus and Berhringer offerings so far), nothing equals the power of SAC. I look forward to seeing what leaps SAC has made in the past couple years I have been absent.

    My questions...

    On occasion I do Public Address work for a pastor, who is one of my better clients. While running sound in his church is pretty easy, he also hires me for one of the most difficult gigs I have ever done in my life. He occasionally holds "church" at our state capital building. Aesthetically-speaking, the building is opulent and beautiful. Acoustically-speaking, this is a worst-case scenario. I don't think I could design a better reverb chamber with 360° of marble in all directions, and a 60' ceiling in a room which represents a large cylinder. This, combined with low-talkers who stand far from the microphone make this gig a nightmare. Like most of you, I can do dozens of gigs without so much as a squeak of feedback (Exception made when I ring out a room, which purposely generates very low levels of feedback). But this gig gets me every time. I never allow "runaway feedback," but the looming frequencies (which I dial out, but after pulling 5 or 6 frequencies, I can see I'm just chasing my own tail) are the bane of my existence.

    I know a large part of the problem is the SM58 I'm using, which simply is not designed for poor public speakers in a large reverb hall. I know no microphone out there is perfect, but can anybody in this forum recommend a better mic for this situation? Out of desperation, I've thought about building something with a parabola behind it to narrow its acoustic "field of view." I'm looking for something with a very narrow cardioid (30° perhaps?) that I can mount to a podium and literally aim at the speaker's mouth. I know such a rig is ridiculous, but there has to be either a microphone or a way of creating a very narrow acoustic "field of view" that's both practical, not over-the-top expensive, and aesthetically non-offensive.

    The fact that there was massive feedback at the new CIA Director's swearing in this morning makes me believe that there is no such solution. If THOSE audio engineers, with their vast experience and unlimited budgets, can't reel in feedback issues from low talkers in bad acoustic situations, how the heck can I?

    Keep in mind, the preacher is a great speaker with good mic technique (hand held). And his strong voice makes podium-mounted mic situations workable. It's his guest speakers, who often have very little public speaking experience, who are the bane of my engineering existence. Gaining them up to an audible level is a real challenge.

    I think starting with a better mic will help. I've avoided condenser mic's, but maybe that's the direction I should take????

    I'm purposely using K8's for their wide dispersion, (so everyone can hear). But maybe I should rethink this and use my K12's? I'm concerned front-row-center will not benefit from the amplification.

    Thanx a ton for any help you can give. It's good to be back.
    DF

    http://soundaddy.com

    Intel DG965OT Motherboard (11/17/08) - Intel P4 LGA-775 651 (Cedar Mill) 3.4GHz CPU
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Long time, no see....

    It might be easier to find condenser mics that are less "peaky" than to do the same with dynamic mics. You also want to look at off-axis response, or, put another way, is the pattern shape very different at one frequency than at another? Having response that does not change as you go off axis may help with feedback rejection.

    In a highly reverberant space, using speakers that are more directional can be a benefit. You want most of the energy going directly to the people, not to walls and ceiling. I was at an event once where they were using highly directive speakers, and the "dryness" of the sound was impressive.
    Cary B. Cornett
    aka "Puzzler"
    www.chinesepuzzlerecording.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Long time, no see....

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnie Frank View Post
    Hey guys;

    I have been away for quite a while. I've revisited because I have a few audio questions. As I recall, this community was not only a great place for SAC advice and education, but the combined experience of this forum was a great place to post general audio questions.

    I've been gone for a while, but never moved away from my love for music....

    As I'm sure you're all well aware, I'm not just an audio engineer, but I'm a professional musician, as well. It's funny how these two jobs seem to ebb and flow. If the band thing declines, the audio engineering gigs come in, and vice versa. Lately, I've been doing more mixing than performing.

    Audio equipment has certainly changed....

    As I'm sure you're all well aware, there are many digital offerings on the market these days. Behringer seems to have the lion's share of the "budget conscious" music community. Though I still haven't purchased any of their digital offerings (and honestly don't plan to unless I can integrate it with SAC), I still have - and occasionally use - my ADA 8K's and 8.2K's. I don't mix on SAC as often as I used to, but I DO get to occasionally dust that rig off. It's always solid. I love it. That said....

    Because of the low price point, most of my band clients have purchased their own X32's (in varying permutations) and QSC speakers. Where I once used to provide an entire P.A. system for a price I'm ashamed to publish here, for the same fee, I now show up with a pair of iPads, which either allow me to mix virtually, or amend Behringer's X32 consoles. Regardless of the digital console I mix on (all Presonus and Berhringer offerings so far), nothing equals the power of SAC. I look forward to seeing what leaps SAC has made in the past couple years I have been absent.

    My questions...

    On occasion I do Public Address work for a pastor, who is one of my better clients. While running sound in his church is pretty easy, he also hires me for one of the most difficult gigs I have ever done in my life. He occasionally holds "church" at our state capital building. Aesthetically-speaking, the building is opulent and beautiful. Acoustically-speaking, this is a worst-case scenario. I don't think I could design a better reverb chamber with 360° of marble in all directions, and a 60' ceiling in a room which represents a large cylinder. This, combined with low-talkers who stand far from the microphone make this gig a nightmare. Like most of you, I can do dozens of gigs without so much as a squeak of feedback (Exception made when I ring out a room, which purposely generates very low levels of feedback). But this gig gets me every time. I never allow "runaway feedback," but the looming frequencies (which I dial out, but after pulling 5 or 6 frequencies, I can see I'm just chasing my own tail) are the bane of my existence.

    I know a large part of the problem is the SM58 I'm using, which simply is not designed for poor public speakers in a large reverb hall. I know no microphone out there is perfect, but can anybody in this forum recommend a better mic for this situation? Out of desperation, I've thought about building something with a parabola behind it to narrow its acoustic "field of view." I'm looking for something with a very narrow cardioid (30° perhaps?) that I can mount to a podium and literally aim at the speaker's mouth. I know such a rig is ridiculous, but there has to be either a microphone or a way of creating a very narrow acoustic "field of view" that's both practical, not over-the-top expensive, and aesthetically non-offensive.

    The fact that there was massive feedback at the new CIA Director's swearing in this morning makes me believe that there is no such solution. If THOSE audio engineers, with their vast experience and unlimited budgets, can't reel in feedback issues from low talkers in bad acoustic situations, how the heck can I?

    Keep in mind, the preacher is a great speaker with good mic technique (hand held). And his strong voice makes podium-mounted mic situations workable. It's his guest speakers, who often have very little public speaking experience, who are the bane of my engineering existence. Gaining them up to an audible level is a real challenge.

    I think starting with a better mic will help. I've avoided condenser mic's, but maybe that's the direction I should take????

    I'm purposely using K8's for their wide dispersion, (so everyone can hear). But maybe I should rethink this and use my K12's? I'm concerned front-row-center will not benefit from the amplification.

    Thanx a ton for any help you can give. It's good to be back.

    Hi Donnie,

    there are many mics that are better suited for this application than the SM58.

    • EV ND86 (hypercardiod, very low handling noise and great gain before feedback)
    • Shotgun mics - something like an Audio Technica AT8035 as an example (lots to choose from - all are designed to have very good side rejection. The longer the length of the tube the more side rejection you will get and the narrower the front angle of acceptance will be.) If you can keep people from moving around a lot this will likely be your best option (look at most news press conferences and they all will have shotgun mics)
    • Lav mic (either head worn or clipped to clothes). Head is better than clipped on and placement will make a lot of difference. Can be your friend or your foe. Has the advantage of letting the person move around but won't have the same sound or response as a shotgun or handheld mic.


    If they aren't going to hold the mic than the shotgun would probably be your better choice. There is a point of diminishing returns with the length of the shotgun so longer is not always better. you might actually put up two (a shorter one and a longer one and balance between them, or see which gives you better response)
    ---------------------------------------
    Philip G.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Long time, no see....

    Quote Originally Posted by Cary B. Cornett View Post
    It might be easier to find condenser mics that are less "peaky" than to do the same with dynamic mics. You also want to look at off-axis response, or, put another way, is the pattern shape very different at one frequency than at another? Having response that does not change as you go off axis may help with feedback rejection.

    In a highly reverberant space, using speakers that are more directional can be a benefit. You want most of the energy going directly to the people, not to walls and ceiling. I was at an event once where they were using highly directive speakers, and the "dryness" of the sound was impressive.
    If you have the gear to do it, you may also want to look at many small speakers at low volume distributed through the room instead of just a pair at the front.
    ---------------------------------------
    Philip G.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Long time, no see....

    As others have said, use a better mic more suited to the purpose. For the very best result a tie clip mic, taped to the face of the presenter is by far the best. Headset second best, then you're looking at directional mics with a tight pattern. The worst thing you can do is probably what you have done and use an SM58 or similar on a podium so it's a metre or more from face of whoever's talking.

    Trying to fill a room like this with a pair of speakers is a disaster waiting to happen. It just won't work. The fall off from point source speakers mean to make it audible at the back, it'll be too loud at the front, and you'll get feedback. You'll also just excite the room.

    As has been suggested, lots of delay speakers are your friend. Beg, borrow, hire, steal a load more. They don't have to be big or powerful, in fact the smaller and neater the better. I have done a lot of events in the local cathedral. For the full nave I use approx 24 speakers, a pair on each pillar, with delays. It's a pig of a setup, a lot of cables to run (although I've come up with plenty of ways to make this easier over a few years). I use cheap active speakers, they do the job very nicely.

    Lots of cheap speakers will be better than fewer high quality speakers. You want to have people as close as possible to a speaker, for the most direct sound vs reflected mess. Lots of speakers at a low level is the only way to achieve this.

    Now... You can also start to look at column speakers rather than traditional point source. You'll get better horizontal dispersion with less vertical. This will help. They also tend to be less prone to feedback.

    There are techniques to working in buildings like this. I tend to roll off everything below about 250Hz. There's no low end at all. The top end might need rolling off too. Bear in mind what you're trying to achieve is speech clarity. Clear and understandable speech first, making it sound nice second. I have come across very experienced live sound people completely failing to mix appropriately for the space on a few occasions. The result is a muddy mess, feedback and general awfulness. Someone once put a load of subs in the cathedral, hopeless. My 24 cheap 8" speaker cabs will put out more bass than you want in the room.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Long time, no see....

    Quote Originally Posted by Cary B. Cornett View Post
    It might be easier to find condenser mics that are less "peaky" than to do the same with dynamic mics. You also want to look at off-axis response, or, put another way, is the pattern shape very different at one frequency than at another? Having response that does not change as you go off axis may help with feedback rejection.

    In a highly reverberant space, using speakers that are more directional can be a benefit. You want most of the energy going directly to the people, not to walls and ceiling. I was at an event once where they were using highly directive speakers, and the "dryness" of the sound was impressive.
    Hey Cary. Thanx for the response. Your speaker comment really hit home. The K12's have 30° less coverage than the K8's, which may be advantageous. I believe "aiming" the K12's away from walls, thus biasing the audience, may help with my problem. Perhaps a 3rd, K8 in the center, just in front of the podium, padded a couple dB might help to fill out those center seats (assuming that that is even an issue).

    Thanx again, Cary.
    Last edited by Donnie Frank; 05-26-2018 at 09:51 AM.
    DF

    http://soundaddy.com

    Intel DG965OT Motherboard (11/17/08) - Intel P4 LGA-775 651 (Cedar Mill) 3.4GHz CPU
    2.0GB 800Mhz RAM - 40GB Intel X25-V SSD - 500GB SATA "Spinner"

    RME HDSP 9652 (x2 - 1 spare) - Behringer ADA8000 (x5 - 2 spares)
    CM MotorMix (x3 - Host system) - Behringer BCF-2000 (Remote system)


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Long time, no see....

    Quote Originally Posted by cgrafx View Post

    Hi Donnie,

    there are many mics that are better suited for this application than the SM58.

    • EV ND86 (hypercardiod, very low handling noise and great gain before feedback)

    This looks like a good possibility. I've not had good luck with super-cardioid mic's in the rock-n-roll realm, but we all know that that's a different animal. I haven't considered the super-cardioid for low noise floor, non-monitor wedge situations. Food for thought....


    Quote Originally Posted by cgrafx View Post



    • Shotgun mics - something like an Audio Technica AT8035 as an example (lots to choose from - all are designed to have very good side rejection. The longer the length of the tube the more side rejection you will get and the narrower the front angle of acceptance will be.) If you can keep people from moving around a lot this will likely be your best option (look at most news press conferences and they all will have shotgun mics)

    So far my experience has been that the speakers have been very sedentary while they speak. So the longer shotgun *might* be a good solution. I have a couple shotgun condensers of varying lengths. Perhaps mounting two on a stand and A/B'ing them might be the answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by cgrafx View Post



    • Lav mic (either head worn or clipped to clothes). Head is better than clipped on and placement will make a lot of difference. Can be your friend or your foe. Has the advantage of letting the person move around but won't have the same sound or response as a shotgun or handheld mic.

    For many reasons, not an option.


    Quote Originally Posted by cgrafx View Post

    If they aren't going to hold the mic than the shotgun would probably be your better choice.
    The mic will be statically mounted on a podium. So, while there will be no handling of the mic, there are always those who like to adjust the mic. Don't you love gooseneck noise??...LOL.... I'll be quick on the fader for those guys.


    Quote Originally Posted by cgrafx View Post

    There is a point of diminishing returns with the length of the shotgun so longer is not always better. you might actually put up two (a shorter one and a longer one and balance between them, or see which gives you better response)
    Great minds...hehe... Yeah...I'm thinking for the next sermon, dual mount a pair of varying-length shotguns.

    Thanx for advice.
    DF

    http://soundaddy.com

    Intel DG965OT Motherboard (11/17/08) - Intel P4 LGA-775 651 (Cedar Mill) 3.4GHz CPU
    2.0GB 800Mhz RAM - 40GB Intel X25-V SSD - 500GB SATA "Spinner"

    RME HDSP 9652 (x2 - 1 spare) - Behringer ADA8000 (x5 - 2 spares)
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Long time, no see....

    Quote Originally Posted by cgrafx View Post
    If you have the gear to do it, you may also want to look at many small speakers at low volume distributed through the room instead of just a pair at the front.
    I had considered this, but considered that I might just shoot myself in the foot with this one. I suppose I could put the back speakers on a different bus and mix them accordingly.

    In my "active speaker arsenal," I have a pair of K12's and a pair of K8's. For logistical reasons, I don't think I want to use passive speakers. Definitely food for thought. Thanx for the suggestion.
    DF

    http://soundaddy.com

    Intel DG965OT Motherboard (11/17/08) - Intel P4 LGA-775 651 (Cedar Mill) 3.4GHz CPU
    2.0GB 800Mhz RAM - 40GB Intel X25-V SSD - 500GB SATA "Spinner"

    RME HDSP 9652 (x2 - 1 spare) - Behringer ADA8000 (x5 - 2 spares)
    CM MotorMix (x3 - Host system) - Behringer BCF-2000 (Remote system)


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Long time, no see....

    Quote Originally Posted by Mattseymour View Post

    As others have said, use a better mic more suited to the purpose. For the very best result a tie clip mic, taped to the face of the presenter is by far the best. Headset second best, then you're looking at directional mics with a tight pattern.
    It's looking like the latter is the best bet. For many reasons, the tie clip or "face taped" mic's won't work.



    Quote Originally Posted by Mattseymour View Post

    The worst thing you can do is probably what you have done and use an SM58 or similar on a podium so it's a metre or more from face of whoever's talking.
    Yessir. I definitely concur.



    Quote Originally Posted by Mattseymour View Post

    Trying to fill a room like this with a pair of speakers is a disaster waiting to happen. It just won't work. The fall off from point source speakers mean to make it audible at the back, it'll be too loud at the front, and you'll get feedback. You'll also just excite the room.
    I assume you mean if all the speakers are gained equally and on the same bus. Assuming the back speakers are on their own bus, and gained down, do you still envision the same problems?



    Quote Originally Posted by Mattseymour View Post

    As has been suggested, lots of delay speakers are your friend. Beg, borrow, hire, steal a load more. They don't have to be big or powerful, in fact the smaller and neater the better. I have done a lot of events in the local cathedral. For the full nave I use approx 24 speakers, a pair on each pillar, with delays. It's a pig of a setup, a lot of cables to run (although I've come up with plenty of ways to make this easier over a few years). I use cheap active speakers, they do the job very nicely.
    Touché. The room in question is a smallish cylinder, probably 50-60' in diameter(?) with a 60' ceiling with large entry points middle stage left and middle stage right. So I can't install speakers there. But maybe adding a pair to the *back* of the room facing center may be the winning ticket. In this scenario, I don't think I would benefit from any time delay.




    Quote Originally Posted by Mattseymour View Post

    Lots of cheap speakers will be better than fewer high quality speakers. You want to have people as close as possible to a speaker, for the most direct sound vs reflected mess. Lots of speakers at a low level is the only way to achieve this.
    Yep...I'm thinking more speakers gained down may be the way to go.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mattseymour View Post

    Now... You can also start to look at column speakers rather than traditional point source. You'll get better horizontal dispersion with less vertical. This will help. They also tend to be less prone to feedback.
    Good point. The K-series boast conical dispersion. There's not much that can be done about the lower drivers, but maybe my old-school JBL's (SRX-712m) - with more horizontal compression driver dispersion - might be the answer. Again, I don't wish to go with a passive setup, but I will if I have to.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mattseymour View Post

    There are techniques to working in buildings like this. I tend to roll off everything below about 250Hz. There's no low end at all.
    I did the same thing. But because of the horridly thin proximity effect of the 58, I tried lowering the high-pass a bit at a time, which was a mitigated disaster. At one point I had a looming 120, which I quickly dialed out, and then a looming 220ish, which I also dialed out. The vocals were so thin, it was hard for me to listen to. I could only imagine what the audience was thinking.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mattseymour View Post

    The top end might need rolling off too. Bear in mind what you're trying to achieve is speech clarity. Clear and understandable speech first, making it sound nice second.
    Absolutely. This was/is exactly my line of thinking for events like this. That said, I believe I DID start low-passing mix, but I don't remember. I usually only cut highs to mitigate feedback. But in this case, perhaps cutting the highs and boosting gain a bit might help achieve some warmth. That said, I have a feeling moving away from the 58 and smarter speaker choice and placement may solve a lot of my issues.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mattseymour View Post

    I have come across very experienced live sound people completely failing to mix appropriately for the space on a few occasions. The result is a muddy mess, feedback and general awfulness. Someone once put a load of subs in the cathedral, hopeless.
    Subs? LOL....that's funny.




    Quote Originally Posted by Mattseymour View Post

    My 24 cheap 8" speaker cabs will put out more bass than you want in the room.
    I should add that there's always a band, which is a horrid mess in that room. Even the bone-dry board recordings pick up the ambience of the room (which is actually one of the best reverbs I have ever heard, if I could only control it...). The K12's drop off around 70Hz, but I'm honestly not concerned with reproducing a lot of bottom end. Thank the heavens above that none of the acts bring a drummer....LOL....

    And, of course, I mute all band channels during the public speaking part. And mute the podium mic during the band's performance.

    Thanx for the awesome advice. I really appreciate it.
    DF

    http://soundaddy.com

    Intel DG965OT Motherboard (11/17/08) - Intel P4 LGA-775 651 (Cedar Mill) 3.4GHz CPU
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    RME HDSP 9652 (x2 - 1 spare) - Behringer ADA8000 (x5 - 2 spares)
    CM MotorMix (x3 - Host system) - Behringer BCF-2000 (Remote system)


  10. Default Re: Long time, no see....

    Distributed speakers is definitely the way to go. Get an app on your phone for calculating delay times, pull out your tape measure, measure the distance between the mains and delay speakers and set your delay times for those speakers. It will clean up a lot of the mud.
    As for your lectern mic, I think it's time for you to make a few purchases.
    Put the Pastor on a wireless handheld or a headworn wireless. That gives him the ability to walk around a bit and puts the mic element very close, giving you great gain before feedback. All the megachurches are doing this. For everyone else, purchase (or rent) a pair of mics specifically made for lecterns (such as the Shure MX418D - they come in cardioid and/or super cardioid). You can purchase one cardioid and one supercardioid. Tape them together just below the elements, putting the cardioid mic head on the bottom and the super cardioid mic head on the top. Then you can choose which mic to use based on the height of the person speaking and their distance to the microphone.
    Also, compression and make-up gain can be very helpful in this situation - a little can go a long way on those lectern mics and will help out folks who are off mic a bit or who have lousy mic technique.

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