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Old 10-12-2005, 13:28   #1
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PA quality for gigs

Much as I would like to make a fortune out of an idea, I know that its not going to happen so I may as well post a bit of an idea I had the other day.

After the Mastodon gig I was really wondering how you can get better sound quality than most standard set ups and then I had a bit of a thought.

How about using a low powered DAB broadcast for localised distribution. The feed could be taken directly from the mixing desk and broadcast in the building. All that anyone would need would be a cheap portable DAB radio, these could be on a special frequency and handed out at the door or maybe bought over the internet before the gig, you could have whatever headphones you liked. Maybe they could boost the lower frequencies by the use of sub bass bins so that you got the feeling of an impact, but not the sound.

Its just a thought, but would really help at stadium events and reduces the dependence on room acoustics and PA set up.

I could pick loads of holes in the idea, but thats why Im not going to get rich, but maybe someone else could get over the issues that are fairly obvious.

What do you think ??
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Old 10-12-2005, 15:08   #2
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It's one of the things that really bugs me about gigs. Typically, it's FAR too loud and the bass is 10-15dB above where it should be.

When your ears are starting to hurt it's very difficult to assess quality, maybe that is the idea.

I'm afraid I don't think your idea will take off but I welcome any attempts to improve the situation, they could start by turning it down overall and turning down the subs even more.
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Old 11-12-2005, 17:34   #3
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I think the delay between sound and vision might be a bit odd?
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Old 11-12-2005, 18:14   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ji
I think the delay between sound and vision might be a bit odd?
How much of a delay would there be compared to a traditional set up ? Im also thinking they are probably of the same order as the delays that occurs further back in a big venue, theres also a point in some gigs where you hear the reflected sound wave which causes a natural delay. Also, many of the performers are already using radio monitoring directly from the mixing desk, so if they can cope with the delay surely the audience can ?

I'm not a specialist in this area, but I just think its time to look at alternatives to the big rig pa systems, massive amplification and the various bits of electronics that take care of audio problems. A radio system could be more manageable in this respect and provide a higher quality of sound.
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Old 11-12-2005, 18:25   #5
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i wear earplugs to kill the frequencies that great, and it sounds fine to me. wouldn't want to wear a pair of headphones at a show tho.

you're talking a lot of work to get an even 2 channel mix at a standard size venue, remember the backline at a gig is kicking out a fair amount of the work and this is different for each band, also the mix will come in really dry without any air, so you'd need a lot of processing to get over that. i take a big digital multitracker to gigs just to get the feeds, then it takes a lot of work in post to make them sound good. its not just a case of having a stereo out and thinking that'll do the trick, it wont.

anyway, i lost my ticket to see mastodon so i couldn't go and that £15 odd would've been useful about now, so not that happy!
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Old 11-12-2005, 18:56   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PockyMonster
i wear earplugs to kill the frequencies that great, and it sounds fine to me. wouldn't want to wear a pair of headphones at a show tho.

you're talking a lot of work to get an even 2 channel mix at a standard size venue, remember the backline at a gig is kicking out a fair amount of the work and this is different for each band, also the mix will come in really dry without any air, so you'd need a lot of processing to get over that. i take a big digital multitracker to gigs just to get the feeds, then it takes a lot of work in post to make them sound good. its not just a case of having a stereo out and thinking that'll do the trick, it wont.

anyway, i lost my ticket to see mastodon so i couldn't go and that £15 odd would've been useful about now, so not that happy!
I wore a pair of entymotic plugs for the Mastodon gig, but although it cut down the noise level the actual sound was pretty bad (not the plugs fault, just the sound at the gig).

Your mentioning air in the mix and various other bits of technical information which dont mean a lot to me, but is it actually possible to make this work ? Forget for a moment the hurdles unless they are really insumountable and consider if its actually possible ? I see amplifiers and microphones on stage, then a mixing desk which I imagine controls the PA as well as providing a monitoring level for each artist. That desk must feed a couple of meaty amplifiers and after a bit of digital/analogue trickery at the pre amplifier stage will feed the PA speakers through a set of active cross overs ? Why cant the feed just be taken to a radio tx instead of the main amplifiers ??

I know the backline is producing a fair amount of the volume, but, not being in the performance business I will have to take a bit of a stab at this and wonder if the volume could be reduced from the on stage amplification ?

I was happy to wear a pair of ear plugs for the Mastodon gig, so having something in a similar style for listening through wouldn't be a problem for me at least. You would still hear the sound from the backline and the drums with the headphones removed, just not very loud.
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Old 11-12-2005, 19:06   #7
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i'm not a soundbod myself unfortunately, so i generally let the techies fight over how stuff works for me hehe yeah some rigs just plain out suck, our mastodon gig was in the barfly and if there's one venue in town that doesn't understand how to get good sound its them. i heard the swindon show sound was crap too, so maybe it was just mastodons gear ? unless that was the show you went to.

depending on the venue, you might have two desks, one for the overall PA and one for the monitors on stage. the problem with getting them to turn the backline down is, drums are generally very loud and there's nothing you can do about that, whereas vocals are very quiet. so you've got some work to do to bring the vocals up to the loudness of the drums, and if thye're using kit triggers.. even more so. then you've got the bass, and whether you DI or mic it, and thats always a pain. then you'll have the guitarists refusing to turn their amps down because they're generally gonna kick out a better sound at a higher volume. and guitarists are a bit like that

its not impossible, it just sounds like a very ambitious idea.. could work well for specific acts tho i'm sure.. be a nice gimmick
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Old 11-12-2005, 19:24   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PockyMonster
i'm not a soundbod myself unfortunately, so i generally let the techies fight over how stuff works for me hehe yeah some rigs just plain out suck, our mastodon gig was in the barfly and if there's one venue in town that doesn't understand how to get good sound its them. i heard the swindon show sound was crap too, so maybe it was just mastodons gear ? unless that was the show you went to.

depending on the venue, you might have two desks, one for the overall PA and one for the monitors on stage. the problem with getting them to turn the backline down is, drums are generally very loud and there's nothing you can do about that, whereas vocals are very quiet. so you've got some work to do to bring the vocals up to the loudness of the drums, and if thye're using kit triggers.. even more so. then you've got the bass, and whether you DI or mic it, and thats always a pain. then you'll have the guitarists refusing to turn their amps down because they're generally gonna kick out a better sound at a higher volume. and guitarists are a bit like that

its not impossible, it just sounds like a very ambitious idea.. could work well for specific acts tho i'm sure.. be a nice gimmick
It was at Rock City in Nottingham. Its not a bad place for acoustics as I heard A Perfect Circle perform there and the sound was.........urrr, perfect

I understand the point about the drums as I play them. Its nice to have an acoustic sound, but during a performance maybe its possible for the drummer to swap to sampled sounds and triggers which would be fed to an onstage amp. The point about guitarists is also well understood, but at the end of the day its about entertaining people and showcasing your talents to increase sales (not that anyone wants to actually admit that point as they all just play for the good of humanity ), so surely it makes sense.

Your right about the novelty value !
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