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Ronnie Wibbley
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Stopping feedback from the monitors - how???
      #204859 - 01/11/05 10:31 PM
Hi there - I've recently been pressed into service doing occasional live sound for a group of friends in a covers band in pub/club type gigs (something I've actively been avoiding for the last 20 years) and despite my reservations I've actually been quite enjoying it... the sound out front isn't too bad and the band is okay as well...


... except that I can't get the bl**dy monitors loud enough for them without the bastards feeding back. Now bear in mind that this isn't Motorhead I'm talking about; just a regular group of middle-aged musicians with most of their hearing still intact. They're using decent-ish mikes and Mackie wedges, but the minute I turn up the monitor signal there's low-frequency howl. I've put the wedges directly in front of the mics etc etc, but they're still not loud enough for the singers.

What am I doing wrong here? Is it something as simple as putting a graphic between the desk (Yamaha MG16/6) and the monitors and rolling off the low frequencies?

"Studio-based" Ron


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DougR



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #204863 - 01/11/05 10:43 PM
a really simple thing that you see really regularly that can cause problems...... have you got the monitors far enough away from the musicians, musicians arent like crickets, they dont have ears in their knees.... get the driver pointing at their ears!! its a bit like the guitarist who keeps turning up their amp because they cant hear it, he's standing infront of it with it pointing directly at the audiences ears and no where near his.... he will carry on turning himself up (dispite the look and big hand gestures coming from the enraged engineer!!!) and leaving the audience rolling around in pain (this is a sight mainly seen at teenage gigs!)
also, the wedges arent music stands/set list holders/ beer stands/ places to put your foot in the middle of a heated moment!!
a couple of simple things!!


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Ultimate Fish
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #204994 - 02/11/05 09:36 AM
A few things to bear in mind.

As has been said, make sure the drivers are pointing at the head of the performer.

Consider the polar pattern of the mic. If it's hypercardioid the monitor doesn't want to be directly behind as there is pickup from there.

Avoid any eq boost in the monitors. A good rule of thumb with pa is to cut rather than boost.

Avoid compression in the monitors, a lot of performers don't like it and it's a recipe for feedback. Make sure the stage volume is sensible and the number of monitors is sensible. Also make sure you haven't got the guitarists monitor pointing at the lead singers mic or something like that.

Finally, how much noise is the singer making. A quiet gentle voice at a loud gig can be almost impossible to sort out when it comes to monitors. There just isn't enough gain before feedback to get them loud enough. The only answer is for them to sing louder or make everyone else quieter.

If you have a reasonable graphic eq (ie not Peavey) on the monitor sends try notching out troublesome frequencies, that should give you a bit more gain.


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Dave Gate
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #205057 - 02/11/05 11:12 AM
Graphics.

Put a graphic into the chain for each monitor feed, either by insert or in/out depending on whether your desk has auxilliary inserts.

Move a mic close to each monitor until it starts feeding back, then reduce the offending frequency until the feedback stops.

Continue this exercise until you have dealt with all the offending frequencies.

Then try a few other exercises like cupping your hand over the mic (which simulates a singer getting his/her mouth too close).

This may sound like a ballache, and it can take time (and it's certainly easier with two people to do it), but with practise it'll become second nature.

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Ronnie Wibbley
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #205102 - 02/11/05 12:14 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, chaps. I'm another one of those people who thought live sound was a piece of cake compared to studio work until I actually tried it!


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Dave Gate
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #205117 - 02/11/05 12:32 PM
The thing about live sound is that you don't get the chance to go back and do it again if you make a mistake . . .

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1030Tomorrow



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Dave Gate]
      #205306 - 02/11/05 05:10 PM
What mackie monitors are you using?

We use a couple of Mackie SRM450's and they have a low cut button and another one which cuts some mids.

We normally have both of these pressed in and are able to have things nice and loud and often get asked to turn stuff down! (which is nice!)

But when we use the 450's as a drum fill we leave the low frequencys intact so the drummer can have loads of kick.

If its low frequencys you should also bear in mind the monitors placement in relation to the kick drum. If it is the kick that is causing the problem you could try puting a gate on the kicks insert.

Hope this helps..

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Ronnie Wibbley
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #206123 - 04/11/05 08:38 AM
They're SRM350s, so it's pretty basic.

I think it's the mics that are the main offenders, as the instruments are pretty low in the monitors. I'll try the suggestions mentioned above and also bring a graphic along to see if that helps.


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JayH
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #206138 - 04/11/05 09:35 AM
It could indeed be the mics. Try to use mics with as tight a polar pattern as possible. You'll find that cardioids or, better still, hypercardioids are the only options on a loud stage.

The null of a cardioid polar pattern is 180 degrees off-axis; that being the case, the smart thing to do is to place the stage monitors directly behind the microphone. Hypercardioids, on the other hand, have two angles of minimum sensitivity: 110 degress to the left and right of the main axis. This therefore calls for a diagonal arrangement of the monitors.

The acoustics of the room also plays part in all this. Feedback can also be caused by excessive resonance due to room acoustics. Normally low frequencies with their long wavelengths are the catalysts. This type of feedback sounds more like a deep booming sound and is indirectly related to the proximity effect. In such cases, increasing the distance between the mic and the voice (minimizing the proximity effect) will usually help to eliminate this type of feedback.

Good luck!

JayH

--------------------
When I finally discovered the meaning of life, they changed it...


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Ronnie Wibbley
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #212684 - 17/11/05 10:18 PM
It's getting worse...

Last week they were playing at the end of a small, quite narrow, low ceiling room in a crowded pub - one side left open as a corridor and the 5 piece band packed in towards the corner. Tables and chairs literally touching the Mackies on the floor; no chance of moving them further back. Ensured all mics positioned sensibly in relation to the monitors, and the Mackies pointing as close as I could get in a head-type direction.

Soundcheck (of sorts): "More me, please" "Can't hear anything". Turn up the aux sends... instant howl and feedback. Connect up a couple of 31 band (?) Peavey graphics that someone has brought in... bass frequencies turned down. No better - every time a change is made the feedback light comes on at a different frequency.

In the end I bypassed the Peaveys as they seemed to be making things worse, if anything, and the band played barely able to hear anything. I'm standing there getting glared at feeling like a lemon. Of course the sound out front was reasonable, but the band didn't know that...

This weekend they're playing at another pub in a room likely to be just as small... Is there anything anyone can think of that hasn't been mentioned, especially for small rooms?

Incidentally the mics used are Sennheiser Evolution cardioids... optimistically at the soundcheck I tried out my Audio Technica AE5400 stage condensers, but they just sent the feedback off the scale.


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Garry S
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #212726 - 18/11/05 12:04 AM
I'd suggest a feedback destroyer. We use a Behringer one for the monitors, it's been perfectly reliable, does the job, costs less than £100. You just plug it in between the monitor send and the amp/active speaker, leave it on its default setting, crank the gain till the faintest squeal starts, wait a bit while it finds the frequency and dips it, crank a bit more, repeat a few times and you have a handful more gain to use. Only takes 5 minutes or less.

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Wonks
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #212767 - 18/11/05 07:37 AM
Any chance of trying out some diferent mics? You said "decent-ish" in your original description. What mics exactly are you using? Can you try out your mics singly? I recently did this and found one that started feeding back at a lot lower volume than the others even though it was a hyper-cardoid e855 mic angled away from the speaker by 30°.

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tims
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #213098 - 18/11/05 06:26 PM
Maybe cos it's obvious, but I don't think anyone's actually mentioned the monitor mix yet...

Remember that when a musician asks for "more of me" what they really mean is "I can't hear myself over the other sound on stage". Sure, one option is to turn them up, another is to try to reduce the rest of the sound (either coming from the monitors, or from stage 'amp' sound).

How are the monitor sends shared? Not everyone needs to hear the same stuff - remove anything that's not needed completely... Also, think about how the monitors mixes are shared. How to spread them out depends on how many wedges / mixes you have, but typically backing vocalists might share (with maybe a separate mix for lead vx), drums and bass are often on the same mix, etc.

Finally, you can sometimes enhances vocal 'clarity' without raising the volume by lifting the EQ around 3-6kHz. There's not much below 100Hz either, so can roll this off too...

Hope that helps


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tomas
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: JayH]
      #213854 - 20/11/05 10:30 PM
Quote JayH:

The null of a cardioid polar pattern is 180 degrees off-axis; that being the case, the smart thing to do is to place the stage monitors directly behind the microphone. Hypercardioids, on the other hand, have two angles of minimum sensitivity: 110 degress to the left and right of the main axis. This therefore calls for a diagonal arrangement of the monitors.





Furthermore to this reasoning, cardiods should be angled upwards, with the rear of the mic pointing directly at the monitor. Hypercardiods should be mounted roughly horizontally, so that the sound from the monitor(s) is at angles with the mic in two planes.

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Ronnie Wibbley
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Wonks]
      #214323 - 21/11/05 08:14 PM
Quote Wonkey Wabbit:

Any chance of trying out some diferent mics? You said "decent-ish" in your original description. What mics exactly are you using?




3 of them are Sennheiser e935s, the other one is another Sennheiser e - 300 series IIRC, but that one's nowhere near the monitors.

Friday night was a slightly less cramped area, and foldback volume was somewhat better but still ringing alarmingly if I turned it as high as the band wanted. 15 minutes with the black Peavey 31 band EQs (howl - find the red light - turn that band down - repeat ad infinitum) seemed to help a bit, but again it could have been a lot better.

Haven't tried tilting the mics upwards as last message suggests, but it seems to make perfect sense.

The other problem I'm coming up against as a new and very inexperienced grumpy live sound man is how to cut down on the cymbals coming through the vocal mics; obviously they're placed as far away as possible and not pointing directly at the kit as ar as I can manage, but with 5 musicians on a tiny stage you don't have much leeway. In the end I was resorting to muting the outputs of the BV mics as much as I could until they were used... this makes for a rather exhausting 2 hours though!


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Grim Audière



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: tims]
      #214330 - 21/11/05 08:35 PM
Quote tims:

Remember that when a musician asks for "more of me" what they really mean is "I can't hear myself over the other sound on stage". Sure, one option is to turn them up, another is to try to reduce the rest of the sound (either coming from the monitors, or from stage 'amp' sound).
...


YES YES YES!!!!

When the band is playing GO UP ON STAGE and listen to what they're hearing.

THis happened to me - the band kept on saying they couldn't hear, I'd turn it up and it would feedback.

In deep frustration, I walked up on stage to listen to what they could hear and realised they were loud enough - but the keyboard was even louder.

So I dug out a separate monotor for the keyboard player to hear themselves and turned it right down in the rest. Then everyone was happy.

SO before you buy more mics, get more equipment, etc - go up and listen on stage and try to hear what they hear.

The SRM350s are excellent speakers and will output 120 dB SPL - that's loud enough for the type of situation you have. So I really think it's the mix. An easy mistake to make (I know it's easy 'cos I've made it enough times) is when someone asks to hear themselves more, you turn them up. Often a better way is to turn enveryone else down!!!

--------------------
Andrew


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Grim Audière



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #214331 - 21/11/05 08:43 PM
Quote Ronnie Wibbley:

...

The other problem I'm coming up against as a new and very inexperienced grumpy live sound man is how to cut down on the cymbals coming through the vocal mics; obviously they're placed as far away as possible and not pointing directly at the kit as ar as I can manage, but with 5 musicians on a tiny stage you don't have much leeway. In the end I was resorting to muting the outputs of the BV mics as much as I could until they were used... this makes for a rather exhausting 2 hours though!



The e935s are excellent mics - no need to worry there. And as to muting mics until they're used - well welcome to the wonderful world of live sound. Pain isn't it!

Unfortunately, you only have a few tools to avoid cymbals in mics, and placement is the first and foremost. Remember to think of the angle as well as position. But at the end of the day, if the singers and quiet and cymbals are loud, you have a fundamental problem that's a pig to solve.

Are the singers trained? My wife once called me in as an emergency because they couldn't get the PA to pick up a small vocal group. So I rushed over and the first thing I did was turn every mic off so I could hear the source. I then walked right up to the vocal group and still couldn't hear them. Rather annoyed, I turned ot my wife and said "When they sing, the PA song, but if they don't sing, no PA on earth will pick them up" and stormed out.

Still, got a curry out of it

At the other end of the scale, I used to work with a trained singer who did a lot of professional backing vocals, and she was a joy to work with. She could belt it out (or not - such control). Never any feedback problems there!

Sorry - that turned out to be a rather useless post.

--------------------
Andrew


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Wonks
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #214340 - 21/11/05 09:03 PM
Quote Ronnie Wibbley:

I think it's the mics that are the main offenders, as the instruments are pretty low in the monitors.



What instruments are in the monitors and how are they fed into the PA? Have you got any other mics used that could be feeding back rather than just the vocals? What is the band line up?

--------------------
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seablade



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Grim Audière]
      #214355 - 21/11/05 09:51 PM
>And as to muting mics until they're used - well welcome to the wonderful world of live sound. Pain isn't it!

Heh continuing on the line of useless posting...

Wait till you have to do it with 20-30 vocal mics... THAT sucks.

Seablade

Add the orchestra on top of it;)


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Ronnie Wibbley
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Wonks]
      #214384 - 21/11/05 11:00 PM
Quote Wonkey Wabbit:

What instruments are in the monitors and how are they fed into the PA? Have you got any other mics used that could be feeding back rather than just the vocals? What is the band line up?




Band line up is drums, bass, two guitars (either 2 electrics or an electric and an acoustic via soundhole pickup and DI). Main use of the PA is for vocals - 1 lead singer, 3 backing vocals. Usually the 2 guitar amps are mic'ed up but very little goes through the PA; in fact it's a job keeping one of them quiet enough in the average pub room. Bass doesn't go through PA and on drums just kick drum has a mic, but once again this is sometimes too much for a small room. 3 monitors are split one for lead singer and two the same for the main 2 backing vocalists, via the 2 aux sends.

I think given the very low level (if any) of the other instruments in the PA, and the fact they're all at the back of the stage, the culprits have to be the vocal mics (main one in particular), although the acoustic guitar can also howl with the best of them when the gain is turned up.

As you can see, the set up could hardly be simpler, which makes it even more annoying when they can't hear themselves.

One tip which does seem to be working is getting the guitarists to angle their amp cabs up behind them; the main offender certainly kept it lower this weekend (at least until the encore!).

As I've said before, this isn't Motorhead, just a pub band doing the usual Stones and Bryan Adams covers, struggling to get the level up to that of the drumkit.


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Ronnie Wibbley
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #214386 - 21/11/05 11:01 PM
Oh, and thanks once again for all of your suggestions.


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IvanSC



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #214515 - 22/11/05 10:36 AM
A thought: With a setup like this in pubs and small clubs, you should really only need AT MOST a little kick in the p.a. Other than that, vocals only. If the band are too loud, no amount of wicking up the monitors will help.

The most common mistake newbies to "serious" gigging make is expecting to hear themselves perfectly in monitors. Now this just isn`t going to happen, given the other constraints you have to work with. I agree with the suggestion that you go have a listen onstage yourself, since you at least will have an objective sense of the relative levels. Guarantee it is the musician`s onstage level that is giving the problem. BUT if the worst comes to the worst, do what I finally did. Buy a little headphone amp and have the singer`s monitoring run though a pair of iPod style headphones. Works for me in my duo. We can set our own mix and feedback is never ever a problem.

Unless you play some really big clubs/pubs, I cannot see any further problems if you use this method. We get a mix from the mono out on the desk and tweak it to suit each user by adding an extra feed for the "I want more of" channels from either the unused Aux feed or one of the direct outs. Oh - Behringer Powerplay 4700 the one with bass & treble controls on each headphone output, another useful feature.


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Guy Johnson



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #214580 - 22/11/05 12:27 PM
Ah, the "pleasures" of loud players in small spaces! I've come to a few conclusions over the years . . .

You can use all your skill and experience, and still have bad results in gigs, especially small ones.

The main reason is the band being too loud - usually down to guitar and drums. The (much) lesser reason is unsuitable venues, and poor engineering

Bands that regulate their sound always sound better. In your case, Ronnie, angling the guitar cab to aim at his ears is a good move, with the added benefit of a bit of 'bite' from the amp reaching the rear of the rooms from HF reflections off the ceiling.

The cymbals - ride cymbal and closed hat excepted. This is entirely down to the playing - loads of drummers bash away at the cymbals, too often and too loud, mashing the HF of the band to hell. And, incidentally, not laying down a really nice groove, as the cymbals smear the timing of hits, where toms, kick and snare do not . . . Also the drummer needs to realise there of loads of vox mics amplifying the highs off the cymbals (which messes the monitor sound as well).

Too many people think they can play what they bloody well want, and the engineer will fix it. Well, that's complete and utter bollox, of course: We can make the best of a bad job, and if we are sensible, talk to the band, see if the band will trust us, and then work out playing-styles that suit the various venues and punters . If the band won't adjust, them leave the band - you don't want to get an undeserved reputation. You really don't.

I'm sure we have all noted great sounds in all sorts of venues, and how pro the band and mixer are. And in all sorts of styles, too. As punters want good mixes more and more, they will (thank God) shun the badly balanced bands, and want to see the better ones. With high quality PAs the norm now, this difference between sounds is more apparent.

--------------------
Next on with Pembrokeshire Intimate Gigs


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rikvee



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #215224 - 23/11/05 02:46 PM
Haha, funny thread this one!
You stop feedback by tuning (and positioning) speakers with your voice and a graphic equalizer.
It took me perhaps 6 years of 200+ shows a year to feel I could do this well ...
Training your own perception is the answer, good luck .....

Rik at the Fly in Fremantle, Western Australia.


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LawrenceH
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #225972 - 17/12/05 02:07 PM
Hey Ronnie,
Some thoughts that perhaps no-one has mentioned:
Suggestions here and the solutions people use are of two types - correction electronically, with EQs/gates/destroyers in the signal chain affecting the monitor, and acoustic correction affecting what gets into the mics in the first place. The second is the most important, you don't need to start worrying about 31-band graphics until you have sorted the acoustics as much as possible. Following is what works for me in a variety of situations similar to yours, I rarely even use my 31-band graphic except in really dire circumstances!

Low frequency feedback in a small space may come from direct coupling of the monitor output through the microphone stand so ensure they aren't too close. I have used foam padding under monitors, and felt/rubber under mic stands to reduce this and/or you can get get special suspension mic clips consisting of a rubber cradle.

It doesn't matter where the mic/monitor are positioned in direct relation to each other if monitor sound just bounces off the back wall/ceiling straight down the mic. Position bearing this is mind as much as possible where you get a choice, and consider buying smoe stage cloth and a stand to hang it from behind the band. This I promise will benefit the sound more than any EQ unit as it will reduce bouncing of sound into the monitors. It will also clean up the drums helping to solve your other problem! Further it will tighten up the stage sound in general making it easier for the players to hear themselves and each other clearly so the monitors/amps will not have to be as loud.

Thi stage cloth solution really is worth pursuing, it will cost no more than buying a feedback destroyer/EQ and will have a MUCH greater benefit on the overall sound! I know it's not as fun as getting a new toy but it does do what those toys promise but can't. You could also incorporate it into a lighting goalpost.

Try and get monitors pointing as directly at people's ears as possible, they don't then have to be so loud - someone else has said this above and they're right.

Make sure all the guitar amps are on stands, preferably tilt-back, so the players can use them as monitors. They hear themselves easier then and don't have to be so damn loud because the sound isn't going under their legs any more!

Good live sound generally is not something you can come and impose upon a band afterwards if the stage sound is bad, if the band are co-operative and recognise their role you will find it much easier. I hope this is useful, please do consider the drapes option as I really can't stress enough how much it has transformed live sound for me. Good luck!


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Ronnie Wibbley
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #226194 - 18/12/05 12:51 PM
Thanks very much for your comments!

These are two points I hadn't considered before (drapes and acoustic decoupling mic stands/monitors) - they sound eminently sensible as well. I'm especially keen on the back of stage drapes idea, although as the band typically plays in very small pub rooms I don't know how it would look in practice. I'm sure there are ways and means though.

Cheers


Ron


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Goonster



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #232566 - 06/01/06 12:59 PM
invest in a good quality feedback exterminator and you wont get any feedback problems.i had one and it worked a treat.


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legitmik
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #232897 - 07/01/06 04:05 AM
if you're sending the monitor send from the foh try using the phase rev button on the channel. that can help. sometimes. or split the lead vocal into a spare channel and send the monitor feed from that. works well with lead vocals. you can eq it different to avoid feedback prone frequencies.

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Ronnie Wibbley
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #237945 - 17/01/06 11:19 AM
This is getting more interesting. Last night was another very, very small pub set up (6 piece band crammed into the end of a room, low ceiling) where the only things going through the PA were four vocal mics and a DI'd acoustic guitar. Again, I was trying to keep the levels as low as possible which meant in practical terms telling the drummer to lay off a bit and trying to get the vocals to come to the same level.

No real feedback problems this time, but lots of "can't hear any of me", "more me please" comments from the singers. Boost aux sends, boost aux sends, right to the limits of feedback. Then singer stage left starts complaining about the loud acoustic guitar in his monitor from singer stage right. I turn it down - he keeps complaining. I turn it off in his monitor but he's holding his ears like he's in pain. By this stage I'm seriously worried that I've wired the monitors up to the wrong sends or something.

At the break I check and sure enough, there's no acoustic guitar in that monitor at all. The other singer does't believe me until I get on stage, strum the guitar and get him to put his ear down by the monitor (incidentally providing another free source of entertainment to the pub clientele). All we can think is that somehow the sound of the acoustic is bouncing around the walls and ceiling of the pub like Steve Davis's cue ball trying to get out of a tricky snooker and coming back right on the other side of the stage.

In the second set the monitors are as loud as I can get them without feedback. At the start of one of the songs with all 4 singers going, I turn down FOH for a second or two and can hear them all loud and clear - the monitor output is loud enough on its own to fill the room. I mention this to them afterwards and they still say they're having trouble hearing themselves.

Hearing tests all round, I think.


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legitmik
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #237985 - 17/01/06 12:13 PM
as was mentioned before, make sure the monitors aren't firing at their knees. Strangely enough, moving them further away or getting the singer to back off the mike a bit can help. Seems contrary to physics, but...

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Ronnie Wibbley
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #241832 - 24/01/06 09:40 AM
I've been watching the DVD reissue of "Born to Boogie" with Marc Bolan and T.Rex, especially the footage of the two shows he did at Wembley. He's standing a few feet in front of guitar stacks literally taller than he is, knobs up to 11, and throughout both shows he's complaining "more guitar - more guitar in monitors - can't hear the guitar".

Not just my band, then!


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IvanSC



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #242357 - 24/01/06 10:22 PM
Quote Ronnie Wibbley:

This is getting more interesting. Last night was another very, very small pub set up (6 piece band crammed into the end of a room, low ceiling) where the only things going through the PA were four vocal mics and a DI'd acoustic guitar. Again, I was trying to keep the levels as low as possible which meant in practical terms telling the drummer to lay off a bit and trying to get the vocals to come to the same level.

No real feedback problems this time, but lots of "can't hear any of me", "more me please" comments from the singers. Boost aux sends, boost aux sends, right to the limits of feedback. Then singer stage left starts complaining about the loud acoustic guitar in his monitor from singer stage right. I turn it down - he keeps complaining. I turn it off in his monitor but he's holding his ears like he's in pain. By this stage I'm seriously worried that I've wired the monitors up to the wrong sends or something.

At the break I check and sure enough, there's no acoustic guitar in that monitor at all. The other singer does't believe me until I get on stage, strum the guitar and get him to put his ear down by the monitor (incidentally providing another free source of entertainment to the pub clientele). All we can think is that somehow the sound of the acoustic is bouncing around the walls and ceiling of the pub like Steve Davis's cue ball trying to get out of a tricky snooker and coming back right on the other side of the stage.

In the second set the monitors are as loud as I can get them without feedback. At the start of one of the songs with all 4 singers going, I turn down FOH for a second or two and can hear them all loud and clear - the monitor output is loud enough on its own to fill the room. I mention this to them afterwards and they still say they're having trouble hearing themselves.

Hearing tests all round, I think.




No - sounds to me like you are working with really inexperienced people with little or no stagecraft, but who imagine they are going to get the equivalent of their home hifi right in their ears onstage.
I would point you back to my original suggestion, that you get them to use something like the Behringer Headphone amp with earbuds (cheap!) and then they can adjust the level, bass AND treble to their heart`s content. I would also suggest you get them to try listening to th eout front mix through the phones rather than a "just for you duckie" mix for each of them, although this too is possible using this system.

Just for grins, what have you got in the way of amplification on the back line? Surely the electro acoustic chappie is not using an amp onstage as well as the DI, is he?

One other thing: I had assumed earlier you only had one main vocalist. Do you really have FOUR lead vocalists?
If not, worry about your main vocalist hearing him/herself and just flannel the other three on backing vox.
If on the other hand you have people taking turns at singing, you might wat to tweak the level up on whoever is in the driving seat for each track. A pain, but it sounds like you are lumbered with an unenviable task. Would love to check the band out....

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Shatcore



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #244419 - 29/01/06 12:51 AM
Ive got a bit of novice question here, is it possible to ring out the monitors on your own (without the aid of someone shouting down the mic)??


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IvanSC



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #244527 - 29/01/06 11:13 AM
We seem to be going down two separate routes here: Rik and the most recent poster looking to solve monitoring problems in macro and the rest of us discussing tiny pub venues.

Now *real* monitoring situations in larger venues obviously require a slightly different approach, although I suppose one could call what is generally done at grass roots level as ringing out monitors.
I have never been a fan of just winding the onstage sound till it starts ringing and then pulling it back a notch, since the FOH can always have such a major effect on what happens onstage that this method has always seemed like a huge compromise to me. It really does come down to how your monitors are mixed and if you are using a discrete onstage monitor mixer this should NEVER be a problem. Like Rik says, ears and eq.
Where I start having problems is with the "remote controle a55hole" nethod of getting a monitor balance. Some monkey either screaming or whispering into the mics is not really going to come close to simulating what will actually be happening, so it all seems a bit of a waste of time to me.
I worked with Clare Brothers way back when and it was interesting to see their approach: Pink noise used at a couple of stages in the build, then finished off in the soundcheck. Mind you, that was a pretty darn large system.
Plus it helps when most of the FOH is flown.

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James PerrettModerator



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #245562 - 31/01/06 11:47 AM
Like Ivan, I've never been a fan of ringing out monitors. Unlike many people, I've never found feedback a particular problem provided you use all the little tricks mentioned here to keep stage levels sensible and provided you know what you are doing with eq and processing. When I see a PA set up with vocal compressors running with -20dB gain reduction with normal vocals I know that there will be a problem with feedback.

Cheers

James.

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Nathan



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: James Perrett]
      #246194 - 01/02/06 11:40 AM
feedback is going to be a problem on any stage where the stage sound level is too loud to allow easy vocal monitor gains. this becomes more of a problem on smaller stages because the paths are reduced and the reflected sound is intrusive. it depends on a lot of factors including the cleaness of your monitor boxes, the type and number of vocal mics and their positioning and the expectations and loudness of your vocal artiste.

with a small stage, extremely loud backline and a high expectation from three or four vocalists, feedback is going to be a problem and ringing out is a must to anticipate local frequency resonances and give you a good starting point. remember most vocal mics are not flat response, and ringing out should be perfomed with the vocal mics to be used in their respective positions.

with larger stage spaces, more professional stage levels and a good clean monitor system then monitor checking without ringing out is entirely feasable, and problems beyond the odd as-you-go cut probably non-existent.

monitors is not a simple business, there are a lot of factors which experience will help anticipate and solve.

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John G
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Nathan]
      #246254 - 01/02/06 01:43 PM
The age old question is arising again. Good advice from Ivan, James and gang as always. Yes, feedback destroyers do a job, but an experienced engineer wouldn't go down that route these days.

A 31-band graphic EQ is definately the best route in the long run. Lots has been mentioned here with regards to room treatment for refelections, etc. and these things will help, but realistically when travelling from venue to venue the key is to definately lower stage noise wherever possible, and use a graphic EQ to pull out offending frequencies.

Now, make shure you are doing the standard things. What microphone are you using for vocals? A shure SM58 is always a good starting point for live sound - good cardoid response and decent feedback rejection. I reviewed a cheap cardoid 'live' vocal condensor the other day and had huge problems with it due to the poor rear feedback rejection. One thing to keep in mind.

The hypercardoid route is a good suggestion, but realistically you require singers with decent mic technique (if they sing off axis you will have trouble,)and two wedges set off axis to make the best out of the situation. In a small venue with inexperienced muso's it's not always the best option.

For vocals, generally most engineers roll of the low end on the channel strip. Depending on the desk, a high pass of say 120hz or even higher for a female and can help no end in stopping the low end taking off.

There is no standard EQ setting for wedges. Each wedges sound different, and can not always be well setup when bi-amped, which never helps. But a graphic EQ allows you to identify and pull out (and put back in) offending frequencies, where the feedback destroyer takes away your control. The suggestion of boosting at 3k no something I'd do without hearing the box and identifying the need for it - it will most likely create further problems.

I'm probably not helping a great deal. There has been lots of good advice already. Avoiding compression on the vocal channel (especially where monitors is sent from FOH) is deifnately key to reducing feedback problems.

Cheers..

John G


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seablade



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: John G]
      #246285 - 01/02/06 02:25 PM
Quote:



A 31-band graphic EQ is definately the best route in the long run. Lots has been mentioned here with regards to room treatment for refelections, etc. and these things will help, but realistically when travelling from venue to venue the key is to definately lower stage noise wherever possible, and use a graphic EQ to pull out offending frequencies.





Just wanted to add one thing to John's post here, a good parametric will do a better job if you can afford and know how to use it.

Seablade


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James PerrettModerator



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: seablade]
      #246782 - 02/02/06 11:35 AM
Quote seablade:

Just wanted to add one thing to John's post here, a good parametric will do a better job if you can afford and know how to use it.

Seablade




You would be looking for something fairly specialised here with a good notch filter(s) - very few parametrics are going to be better than a good graphic eq in my opinion.

Cheers

James.

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IvanSC



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #247101 - 02/02/06 07:10 PM
(grin) I have a TEN band para languishing in my mate`s studio gathering dust. I used to use it a lot waaay back when but I have to agree with J. here - if your setup is really flaky, a decent 31 band graphic will be a lot quicker and easier to set up, unless of course you are working in the same venue all the time and know the room and the kit inside out.

Trouble is, this thread has gone on so long I have forgotten the original question!
To paraphrase Dennis Locorrier, "what kinda goddamn thread is this? Ben Hur?"

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Wonks
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: IvanSC]
      #247106 - 02/02/06 07:22 PM
It's about time we had that chariot race then!

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Ronnie Wibbley
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #247247 - 02/02/06 10:36 PM
(Holds hand up guiltily as original poster.)

But tons of interesting info in the postings - thanks to all. I'm settled in now with a couple of 31 band graphics, a set of headphones and that "simple feedback tester" programme someone mentioned in another thread.

Could be a long night...


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Wonks
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #247384 - 03/02/06 07:13 AM
Must say that the feedback tester was a bit of a revelation to me. I kept thinking that the tones were a lot higher frequency than they were. Some more time to be spent there! Just waiting for some 31-band EQs to be delivered myself. These will replace my feedback destroyer so I'll let you know how I get on with them.

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Nathan



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Wonks]
      #247452 - 03/02/06 10:28 AM
if i'm dropdead tired, i sometimes go for the octave above the frequency i need, ie the 1.6 when i need the 800. i guess you get used to the note, but lost on where it is...



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Ronnie Wibbley
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #247507 - 03/02/06 11:57 AM
How long did it take to train your ears to recognise those pitches?


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John G
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #247750 - 03/02/06 05:27 PM
Just like to add that I do agree with Seablade re: parametric EQ. Good use of a parametric EQ can yield excellent results, and many engineers when EQ'ing their systems go down this route, (normally in the form of a PEQ or a management system such as soundweb / omnidrive with noth filters). In fact the PEQ offers better phase coherence than a GEQ if you were to analyse it.

That said, GEQ are the preferred route for monitoring as they do the job and are quick to use. If there is a feed on the system it is easier to grab a knob in the right bandwidth and pull it down than to have to dial in on a PEQ. Yes, the bandwidth might be wider than required, but this is something that can be lived with in the scheme of things. Either are useable options, but if you really know what you're doing the PEQ 'cleanest' option (can't think of a better way of describing).

My most common use of the external PEQ is generally on lapels and lecturns. When it comes to music, notch filters on the FOH and in ears (IEM) but GEQ on wedges. Everyone differs though on how they do things.

Another thing to mention is that all GEQ sound different depending on the manufacturer. And so never stop using your ears. When I first made the move from anaolgue to digital, I thought there was somethign wrong with the EQ on the digital board - I needed what seemed like more to get the same results. On a quiet day in the wharehouse, we checked the response of the board with an analyser and it turned out to be 100% accurate. Perhaps the boards EQ sounds 'cleaner' than the anolgue becuase it has a better phase response. Either way, always trust your ears!

Cheers..

John G


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seablade



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: John G]
      #247929 - 03/02/06 11:12 PM
Heh I think others have covered it, some requirements, a good parametric and knowledge of how to use it. A 1/3 octave is still useful, but if you know how to use it a parametric can be better. That being said it probably could be considered slightly slower, and MUCH worse if you dont know how to use it.

Seablade


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IvanSC



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: seablade]
      #248023 - 04/02/06 09:52 AM
Quote seablade:

That being said it probably could be considered slightly slower, and MUCH worse if you dont know how to use it.

Seablade




Absolutely right!!!
Mind you, that applies to just about anything in a rig - I have heard some horrendous clangers being dropped by so-called engineers.
Remember seenign a band at the Hammersmith Odeon in the seventies where the FOH guy lost the plot totally. Coud`nt find his mic`s, feedback everywhere./.. I think he must have been a newbie and just simply bottled it, as the main act had a great sound from the same system.
"Well ya gotta start somewhere" has a nasty taste at a gig with that high a profile.

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DaveSheps
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Wonks]
      #254285 - 15/02/06 06:29 PM
Just dropped in on theis thread - and noticed that you were replcing a feedback destoyer with some graphics.

I know graphics are the "grown up" way to solve this but has anyone had any specific issues with feedback destroyers - I use them all the time to squeak the room and they work fine - but then again I'm deaf so finding the squeaks by ear is not my strong suit


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seablade



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: DaveSheps]
      #254335 - 15/02/06 08:14 PM
I have issues with them once a performance is going on. That being said I still tend to use them if I dont have money for parametrics and I can get a tighter notch with them than I can with a 1/3 octave. But I always set them up with fixed frequencies that I ring out before the show, and then I dont let them do anything during the show. If I let them sit in their 'live' mode they tend to notch out the wrong frequencies. I also have a 1/3 octave on hand(And wired in) in case I need it, and to tweak the frequency response of the system.

Seablade


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amitbarde



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #254510 - 16/02/06 05:45 AM
Hi there!
Well the problem you seem to be encountering is the most common "live sound demon"
You could do a couple of things to reduce or even completely get rid of feedback.
1. Always do your own soundcheck (by that i mean an engineers soundcheck, before the damned musicians get to the venue). Check how the whole set up is and how the venue acoustics are.

2. Always make it a habbit to do some sweeping (not the floor!.....hahhaha.....leave that for the musicains) before checking with instruments. For this you will have to place a mic on stage and then boost a particular frequency with the output of the p.a at maximum volume. Begin increasing the gain, and there'll be a point where you begin to get feedback. This will let you know what frequencies are causing a problem at what levels. You can "sweep" these out by cutting them.

3. Always know the polar pattern of the mics the performers are using and place monitors accordingly. Wrong placement of monitors is more often than not the primary cause for feedback.

4. And lastly if you see the guitarist increasing his guitar levels throw something at his head. Guitarist are known to be self indulgent pricks.

.....One more thing....your feedback problem could be arising from the fact that the stage is too small and there's too much equipment crammed into a small space along with the monitors which just makes it worse for the engineer.
And remember......as far as live sound goes if the sound is good....everyone says the band is good.....and if the sound is bad bottles come sailing at your head....cruel rules of live sound an engineer has to live with........so it's better for you to stay unknown!......hahahahha
have fun!



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Jon Con



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: DaveSheps]
      #255301 - 17/02/06 12:43 PM
Quote DaveSheps:

I know graphics are the "grown up" way to solve this but has anyone had any specific issues with feedback destroyers - I use them all the time to squeak the room and they work fine - but then again I'm deaf so finding the squeaks by ear is not my strong suit




The thing I noticed about feedback destroyers is that you can often hear a scooping effect when they cut the frequencies out that are causing the feedback. An eq will stay consistent in that sense and as long as you spend some time setting it up you shouldn't have a problem. Obviously with smaller venues as discussed in this topic, sometimes it would probably be easier to completely avoid moniters at all.


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Rajpin



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #258266 - 23/02/06 08:35 AM
I was told by some one that if you have 2 Vocal monitors and u swapped the polarity within the link cable you would have less chance of feedback true or not? Has anybody tried that method?


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IvanSC



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #258288 - 23/02/06 09:28 AM
Rajpin: Running two adjacent monitors out of phase will result in some super cancellation. Usual result is that all the bottom end disappears.
You might not get feedback but you sure as heck won`t get much of a monitor signal...

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Nathan



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Jon Con]
      #258357 - 23/02/06 11:08 AM
Jon Con, what do you mean by a scooping effect? automatic feedback eliminators cut such narrow notches that they will be less noticeable than the 1/3 octave furrows of a 31-band graphic.

i wouldn't like to use one without setting up the mix on a graphic first tho, there's almost certainly colouration and hot spots to get rid of.

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seablade



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Nathan]
      #258428 - 23/02/06 01:18 PM
Quote:



Jon Con, what do you mean by a scooping effect? automatic feedback eliminators cut such narrow notches that they will be less noticeable than the 1/3 octave furrows of a 31-band graphic.

i wouldn't like to use one without setting up the mix on a graphic first tho, there's almost certainly colouration and hot spots to get rid of





Agree completly with Nathan, and just to illustrate his point on this, the eliminators I use have a 1/80th(I believe) of an octave notch(Compared to the 1/3 octave)

That is a HECK of a difference. I cant say I have ever noticed a scooping effect, however what i HAVE noticed, which I posted in an earlier post, is that they tend to get confused on what frequencies are feedback and what are music if you leave them fishing for frequencies in a show in live mode or whatever. I always set the frequencies, ringing out the system, before the show, and then lock it down so it cant get any others.

I would think if you left it running for it to remove frequencies of music during the show that might cause that 'scooping' effect described possibly?

Seablade


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Rajpin



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #259196 - 24/02/06 06:58 PM
Ok thanks for the help. Would reversing the phase of the microphone help reduce feedback?


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seablade



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Rajpin]
      #260527 - 28/02/06 12:16 AM
Quote Rajpin:

Ok thanks for the help. Would reversing the phase of the microphone help reduce feedback?




In some instances it can, but in others it would hurt. Cant say I have a general rule of thumb for this that would apply in even most instances.

Seablade


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Jon Con



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: seablade]
      #261786 - 02/03/06 11:27 AM
Quote seablade:


Agree completly with Nathan, and just to illustrate his point on this, the eliminators I use have a 1/80th(I believe) of an octave notch(Compared to the 1/3 octave)

That is a HECK of a difference. I cant say I have ever noticed a scooping effect, however what i HAVE noticed, which I posted in an earlier post, is that they tend to get confused on what frequencies are feedback and what are music if you leave them fishing for frequencies in a show in live mode or whatever. I always set the frequencies, ringing out the system, before the show, and then lock it down so it cant get any others.

I would think if you left it running for it to remove frequencies of music during the show that might cause that 'scooping' effect described possibly?

Seablade



i was helping out at a venue I didn't do that much work for and they had one in place. I was just told to leave it on automatic as it got rid of any feedback problems, i guess as you said it was removing frequencies that didn't need to be which was causing the scooping effect


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legitmik
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Jon Con]
      #262828 - 04/03/06 03:56 PM
the scooping effect happens as the feedback destroyer widens the Q of the filter to try and get rid of more and more feedback, usually after it runs out of filters to use. A problem with the Behringer one but solved by setting the filter to PA after it has identified the offending frequency.

--------------------
"Your ideas are bigger than your budget..."


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seablade



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Jon Con]
      #263748 - 06/03/06 07:11 PM
Quote Jon Con:

i was helping out at a venue I didn't do that much work for and they had one in place. I was just told to leave it on automatic as it got rid of any feedback problems, i guess as you said it was removing frequencies that didn't need to be which was causing the scooping effect




Yea I wouldnt do that myself. Find the frequencies and set them by ringing out the system like normal before a show, and then fix in the eq(Take it off live mode) and use a Parametric or Graphic while the show is going on. I dont trust the frequency finder in ANY that I have used to do a good job when the show is going on.

Seablade


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Ronnie Wibbley
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #268098 - 15/03/06 04:33 PM
As the one who started this jumbo thread off (jumbo threads; remember them? My wardrobe was full of 'em) I seem to have sorted things out with the covers band. I don't know how, but the last few shows I've done with them (and the same equipment) have been fine.

All I can think of is that the first couple of places I did the sound for them in were the back corners of the tiniest pubs you could imagine, and that so much sound was bouncing around off the walls and low ceiling that signal was getting back into the mics no matter what. Since then the venues have been marginally bigger, and problems far fewer. Also, my constant pleas to the guitarists to turn down have at last been heeded (to a degree), which helps a lot too.

There's tons of cracking information in these postings - thanks a lot to everyone.

Cheers


Ron

--------------------
Produced by Fred Quimby


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Mr_Si
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Goonster]
      #268582 - 16/03/06 03:36 PM
Quote Goonster:

invest in a good quality feedback exterminator and you wont get any feedback problems.




Incorrect.

Acoustic issues are main problems to solve. I often have a problem with the band I engineer for where they're on a small stage, I can't get vox to cut through over the sibilant noise from the drummer's cymbals. Without a Clearsonics (or equivalent) drum screen it is not easy. Placement of musicians on stage - drummers don't need to be in the centre.

Also, as for electronic means, have you considered an alternative measure of using a tiny bit of delay in the wedges? just a tiny bit. It's something that will possibly help.
I also remember, now thinking back, that feedback occurs in the time domain, not the frequency domain.

Using Graphics and/or feedback destroyers may seem to work, but you can get times where there'll be lots of problem frequencies in terms of feedback, but reducing their respective levels in the graphic or in a destroyer can ruin the frequency spectrum and you can get huge chunks that are important, missing or unnaturally quiet. Therefore they don't always help.

my £0.02

Si

--------------------
Simon Barrett info@fatheredsounds.co.uk


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James Lawford



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #268630 - 16/03/06 05:38 PM
Quote:
"invest in a good quality feedback exterminator and you wont get any feedback problems."

When you ring out a speaker system within a room you're flattening non-linearities in the frequency response of the mics and speakers. As soon as you've flattened those out you will get many frequencies ringing at once, not just one. Hopefully you'll have acres of headroom by this time so back the system gain to a sensible level and you'll be fine.

Cheers,

James Lawford


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Statick



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #268906 - 17/03/06 11:24 AM
here's my 10p worth. i'm a live engineer by trade (i do this for a living) so i guess my opinion counts somewhat.

i dont use feedback destroyers as they tend to work too hard, and before you know you got sod all monitors (ive seen them kill entire octaves without any regard whatsoever!)

a 31-band placed across each monitor send is all i need. turn up the monitor until its close to ringing, then go thru each band on the eq. turn it up, if it rings, kill it. and i mean kill it - all the way down.

i find that on monitors, (i wont be this heavy handed to the FOH!) you can afford to completely kill one band per octave without affecting the onstage sound too badly. if you find you have problems in many adjacent bands (say 3 in a row, a whole octave) then curve them - so the centre one is close to dead, say at -10, and the ones either side at say -6 or -4.

you do have to think about what's passing thru the EQ, as well as what you're killing - when there's many problem fequencies, you do have to find that compromise between killing the feedback and letting signal pass. generally, the more adjacent bands you have to reduce, the gentler you have to be. a single band in an octave can be killed dead, no problem.

i do this separately for each monitor channel - you will have different frequencies ringing in different areas of the room

yes i know this sounds like it would be horrible sounding - honestly it isnt. i think one thing that helps is that different bands get killed in different channels, so by and large the overall stage sound isnt too affected.

in any case, i've been using the above technique for a long time, and i can instantly get at least another 12db out of the wedges - and thats a lot. and bands always thank me for a wonderful stage sound.

its also important that your monitors are powerful enough - if your monitor send is frequently in the yellow part of the meter, its being compressed. turning it up will only turn up the quieter part of the signal (background noise), the louder part (the vox) won't get any louder. keeping monitor sends in the green (below 0db as much as poss) is crucial to a good monitor sound.

if there's still a problem with getting the vox up on stage, then its time to separate whats going to the wedges (if you have enough of them, of course, people with only one monitor send will be stuck at this point). putting guitars and vocals through separate monitors really helps - my theory is that because the vocal sound comes from a different point on stage, its easier for the singer to focus on it. whatever it is, it works wonders. i've found many times, that if i've got vocal and guitar going to a single wedge and the singer can't hear themselves, then i take the vocal out of that wedge and put the same level into a different one (so technically, there's no change in the levels at all, all ive done is physically move it) he or she is instantly much happier !

the litmus test for me, is the fact that after every show i do, the bands always thank me for a fantastic on-stage sound. i'm not trying to blow my trumpet here, i'm just stating it how it is - this technique really works for me.

--------------------
Statick Audio


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Statick



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Mr_Si]
      #268911 - 17/03/06 11:28 AM
Quote Mr_Si:

Using Graphics and/or feedback destroyers may seem to work, but you can get times where there'll be lots of problem frequencies in terms of feedback, but reducing their respective levels in the graphic or in a destroyer can ruin the frequency spectrum and you can get huge chunks that are important, missing or unnaturally quiet. Therefore they don't always help.




as i mention in my above post, killing whole octaves is never good (and behringer destroyers arent averse to doing this, i wont use them if i can avoid it), so if there's more than one problem band per octave you do have to give thought to whats passing thru as well as what you're killing.

every touring rig in the country has 31 band EQs on the monitors - they can't all be wrong

--------------------
Statick Audio


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Mr_Si
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #269009 - 17/03/06 01:52 PM
Yeah I know.

I think my main thoughts were more to do with the auto search and destroy types.

I run 31 band graphics on my monitors.

*thinks of his turbosound TMW210 monitors and drools *

--------------------
Simon Barrett info@fatheredsounds.co.uk


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Statick



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #269756 - 19/03/06 01:11 PM
one engineer i work with often, summed up the search-and-destroy types quite nicely

'every time you give more level to the wedges, the destroyer takes it away. this keeps happening until the entire monitor mix is inaudible'

--------------------
Statick Audio


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seablade



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Statick]
      #269889 - 19/03/06 05:47 PM
Quote:



one engineer i work with often, summed up the search-and-destroy types quite nicely

'every time you give more level to the wedges, the destroyer takes it away. this keeps happening until the entire monitor mix is inaudible'






See my above posts about how to USE them best and you wont have this problem;)

Graphics are nice, but many of the destroyers have a much tighter notch filter and if used correctly can do a better job of killing feedback without damaging your mix than a graphic, at least to an extent. But as I said before, dont leave them searching past the point where you are ringing out the system.

Seablade


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Frog



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #269972 - 19/03/06 08:43 PM
I am not sure weather i am qualified to answer this but here goes anyway. I did our third ever gig last night with 6 young loud bands. Last time out I killed the monitors totally because of the feedback. This time the only thing that went through the monitors were vocal and a bit of snare, i also had a crack at putting the behringer feedback destroyer in the line. (We don't have a graphic so that was put of the question)
It wasn't perfect but it worked, the guys on stage could hear themselves and the only feedback was intentional from the lead guitar.

sean

Ps
Once again thanks for all the advice given on here and elseware. Whoever said to DI the Bass guitar, you sir are a star!


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IvanSC



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Frog]
      #270105 - 20/03/06 09:03 AM
Once again thanks for all the advice given on here and elseware. Whoever said to DI the Bass guitar, you sir are a star!




Several of us - it really IS the only sensible way to do it. Also try getting the bass player to point his cab ACROSS the stage, so the rest of the band hear him well but you don`t get quite so much cabinet sound in the front messing with your FOH mix.
Usually the answer is `no` but it really does improve things.

--------------------
Me? But I`m such a loveable old bugger!


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Nathan



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #270116 - 20/03/06 09:17 AM
monitors without equalisation is like a ship without a rudder! get a cheap third octave graphic equaliser and in most cases you get at least 12dB more out of the things!!

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


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Statick



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: seablade]
      #276635 - 31/03/06 05:31 PM
Quote seablade:

Quote:



one engineer i work with often, summed up the search-and-destroy types quite nicely

'every time you give more level to the wedges, the destroyer takes it away. this keeps happening until the entire monitor mix is inaudible'






See my above posts about how to USE them best and you wont have this problem;)

Graphics are nice, but many of the destroyers have a much tighter notch filter and if used correctly can do a better job of killing feedback without damaging your mix than a graphic, at least to an extent. But as I said before, dont leave them searching past the point where you are ringing out the system.

Seablade




thats a good point, however all the installed systems i've worked on that have one in have it set on automatic and then tucked away well out of reach so you can't play with it. i didnt even know it was possible to stop them searching for new bands - having never been able to get closer than about 6 feet away from on !

--------------------
Statick Audio


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Arondite



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1020296 - 25/11/12 11:43 PM
I've been trying out the method of ringing out the monitors, albeit without success. So, I'd like to clarify if I am doing things correctly here, since my method of doing it is kinda improvised.

My stage is about 2m by 3m, and I set my monitors at the edge of the stage, in the middle. My condenser mic is about 50cm away from my monitor, with the mic tilted upwards and the head facing away from the monitors. Then, I turn the volume up till it feeds (There is no one speaking into the mic, it just feeds at a very loud volume, which I suppose might come from the surrounding sounds). I use my computer's DAW Presonus Studio One to record the feeding sound, then run it through a Spectrum analyzer, also in the DAW, to locate the frequencies that are ringing. I then tune down the frequencies, but the mic still seems to feed at about the same gain and fader settings as before. There might be a slight increase in gain, though I think I am just imagining things.

So, yeah. Am I doing it wrongly? Thanks.


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turbodave



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1020310 - 26/11/12 08:07 AM
Hi, What's yer microphone and do you really mean 50 cms? Dave

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My head hurts!


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BJG145



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1020314 - 26/11/12 08:58 AM
This thread is seven years old.



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Sam Spoons
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: BJG145]
      #1020323 - 26/11/12 10:08 AM
Quote BJG145:

This thread is seven years old.






True but it still contains useful info for a newb, if Arondite has read it all, that is?

Arondite, how loud is it when it feeds back (it'll always feedback if you turn it up enough, many monitor problems stem from a too loud backline)? Also what is the nature of the music, rock band monitor levels are usually a trade off between 'loud enough' and 'feedback', if you don't have live drums then just set the monitors for reasonable level and if you can't hear the vocals, turn everything else down.


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Trev Wilkins



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1020325 - 26/11/12 10:14 AM
Just a thought but check that you are using 'Pre' not 'Post' sends.

Cheers

--------------------
Trev Wilkins
Author of 'Access All Areas' a real-world guide to gigging and touring http://www.scadge.com/


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Arondite



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1020875 - 26/11/12 01:41 PM
Erm... Which thread is 7 years old? Sorry, but the only link I see is http://www.pintsizedpa.co.uk/Equipment.aspx, and it looks like a audio service website, and I can't seem to find anything related to my question, sorry.
I don't have any music/sound going into the system when I try to ring out the frequencies. I need to do this beforehand, as I do not have the opportunity to do it during the actual/rehearsal. So, I just up the volume till it feeds, which I suppose is the problem, based on what Sam said "it'll always feedback if you turn it up enough".
With regards to the music involved, it is metal, with 40 15 year old's singing/playing instruments, with a drum at the back. Since I can only spare 3 condensers and a couple of dynamic mics for the show, the condensers are placed further away from the singers than usual to capture the sound more uniformly. Thus, the likelyhood of a feedback is high (I get about 3-4 feeds on good days).
As for the 50 cm thing, it is the distance between the monitor and the condenser, when I am trying to ring out the frequencies (not the actual placements).
My mixer has a port called "monitor output", and my monitors are plugged through it. I suppose it is pre-sends, seeing as to how it is supposed to be for monitors.
Sorry, I have been quite confusing with my previous post, and I hope this clears things up.


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Guy Johnson



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1020895 - 26/11/12 02:40 PM
Don't know about 7 year old Behringer feedback 'destroyers', but the ones I have are useful for ringing (if there's time!) especially those frequencies in between the graphic's centre frequencies. Then use a 32-band graphic, but not too many cuts.

Another even better use for feedback 'destroyers' (IMHO) is to use up some of the parametric EQ bands to sort out the response peaks inherent with most monitors (such as the 160Hz-ish bump due to floor interaction) and any inconsistencies such as 650Hz, 3k and a wide 8k I had on some old monitors back in the time.

With better monitors it is still worthwhile EQ-ing the monitors flat(er) and to better match the PA—if using the same desk for FOH and monitors.

And don't forget to point those monitors correctly! At ears, not chests. Suss where the reflective surfaces onstage are. Don't crowd monitors too closely, making them badly interact by combing and lobing ... nasty, especially with moving talent.

--------------------
Next on with Pembrokeshire Intimate Gigs


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Sam Spoons
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1020937 - 26/11/12 07:14 PM
Arondite, first go and read this thread from the beginning. You'll probably find this site usefull too http://www.astralsound.com/basics.htm he speaks a lot of sense.

In the live music world 'monitor' and 'foldback' are used to describe the same thing, but 'monitor' also means studio control room speakers which may be leading to confusion (your 'monitor' send may be a separately controlled mix output intended for studio monitors which is no use for foldback). If your desk is like most you should be sending to your monitor/foldback speakers from a pre-fade 'aux' send.

Let us know what your system is, desk, mics, FOH amps/speakers and foldback (monitor) amps/speakers. I assume you are not milking drums, guitar amps etc but tell us what backline is in use.

Finally (for now)..... 40 x 15 year olds playing and singing metal together, that sounds like an impossible task for a sound engineer


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zenguitarAdministrator
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Sam Spoons]
      #1020944 - 26/11/12 08:23 PM
Quote Sam Spoons:


Finally (for now)..... 40 x 15 year olds playing and singing metal together, that sounds like an impossible task for a sound engineer




Up there with 15 x 40 year olds jamming blues at an open mic night

Andy

--------------------
When the going gets weird, the Weird turn Pro.


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Sam Spoons
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: zenguitar]
      #1020947 - 26/11/12 08:35 PM
Yup


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Guy Johnson



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1021031 - 27/11/12 11:44 AM
EEK!!!!

--------------------
Next on with Pembrokeshire Intimate Gigs


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Zan Man



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1021923 - 02/12/12 06:47 PM
Do you get a chance to soundcheck, or is it - as most pub bands - walk in, dump stuff into relative positions, plug in and play? Is it definately "monitor induced" feedback? Have you tried turning the front of house off, and have the band play with just their backline and what they would hear in their monitors? I have had the "low end howl" as you stated in the original post on more than one occasion and when the F.O.H. is muted it has dissapered. A quick play with a F.O.H. graphic can solve this, sometimes room acoustics will induce a howl from mics via F.O.H. then to monitors. What is the singer(s) mic technique? Can they get closer to the mic? This should give you more "juice", so you can back the gain off.
Also if its just vocals in the monitors, press in the low pass filter on the channel strip (I believe someone has already mentioned this). If still persistant, mute each channel at a time until you find the culprit. Hopefully you can EQ it out.

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It's my most vivid memory - and you're telling me it never happened?


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IvanSC



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1024143 - 13/12/12 04:56 PM
Is it just me, or have we all become a trifle spoilt?

Monitors of any sort in the average pub gig would have been unheard of back in the day.

Never had them at the Hope and Anchor, etc.

And since they are apparently causing feedback, dare I suggest that w are all plying too loud for the room?


nah - thought not....

Level is never a substitute for powerful playing (NOT loud playing, to labour the point here)

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Me? But I`m such a loveable old bugger!


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Sam Spoons
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1024197 - 13/12/12 10:32 PM
+1, it's about the music, we did manage without foldback once upon a time and coped fine, maybe we didn't sound as polished as we do now but it was (and is) live music and the performance Is what counts. The tech should support the art not the other way around.

OTOH, with both my SE and guitarist hats on when the tech works it's brill


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byacey



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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: IvanSC]
      #1047055 - 08/05/13 03:52 AM
Quote IvanSC:



No - sounds to me like you are working with really inexperienced people with little or no stagecraft, but who imagine they are going to get the equivalent of their home hifi right in their ears onstage.



Many amateur musicians think they have to be playing flat-out to be effective. The truth be known, if they could arrive at a good sounding mix playing acoustically on the stage without any sound reinforcement, they would be way ahead of the game. Experienced musicians can do this, and it makes life easy for the sound man - throw the faders up and let them go; the band mixes themselves. Big bands do this all the time, and the individual musicians listen to how they relate volume-wise to the others around them. In the old days, all that was needed was a single microphone for the vocalist, and it also picked up and reinforced the acoustic stage mix just fine.

Unfortunately it's more common for everyone to be fighting for the top of the volume heap because they don't know their place and function in the mix.

Edited by byacey (08/05/13 03:53 AM)


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Mike Stranks
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: byacey]
      #1047084 - 08/05/13 09:41 AM
Quote byacey:

Quote IvanSC:



No - sounds to me like you are working with really inexperienced people with little or no stagecraft, but who imagine they are going to get the equivalent of their home hifi right in their ears onstage.



Many amateur musicians think they have to be playing flat-out to be effective. The truth be known, if they could arrive at a good sounding mix playing acoustically on the stage without any sound reinforcement, they would be way ahead of the game. Experienced musicians can do this, and it makes life easy for the sound man - throw the faders up and let them go; the band mixes themselves. Big bands do this all the time, and the individual musicians listen to how they relate volume-wise to the others around them. In the old days, all that was needed was a single microphone for the vocalist, and it also picked up and reinforced the acoustic stage mix just fine.

Unfortunately it's more common for everyone to be fighting for the top of the volume heap because they don't know their place and function in the mix.



As someone whose clientele are a high percentage of amateurs I think it's somewhat more nuanced than just the issue of "playing flat-out". Although that is often the problem it can also be an unfamilarity of playing on a band/group and lack of confidence in their own abilities.

One of the key differences that I notice when working with very experienced musos is the relative speed with which the monitor mixes are created. A quick, no-nonsense, "I want this, this and this and nothing else", followed by a few initial tweaks and then a final adjustment when the the full band/group is playing ensemble - that's job done.

Contrast that with the less-experienced who will agonise and fret over the monitor mix, constantly wanting to revist it and almost invariably get into louder and louder and louder unless I tactfully try and restore some order. The big problem is that because they've got used to working this way it ends up as the ONLY way they feel they can work.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Arondite]
      #1047096 - 08/05/13 10:57 AM
Quote Arondite:

My condenser mic is about 50cm away from my monitor, with the mic tilted upwards and the head facing away from the monitors.




Why only 50cm? You'll certainly get the system to how-round more easily if the mic is close to the monitor wedges, but it's not very practical. Probably easier and more representative if the mics are where they would normally be for the vocalists etc... unless you're expecting to work with very short vocalists!

Quote:

I use my computer's DAW Presonus Studio One to record the feeding sound, then run it through a Spectrum analyzer, also in the DAW, to locate the frequencies that are ringing.




This kind of technique is okay as a learning aid but, again, not very practical in the grand scheme of things. It is worthwhile training your ear to recognise different pitches of how-round instinctively, rather than relying entirely on an off-line process which takes far too long in the heat of a real gig. It takes a while, but it is a skill well worth mastering.

Quote:

I then tune down the frequencies, but the mic still seems to feed at about the same gain and fader settings as before.




Then you're not doing what you think you're doing, or you're using the wrong tools!

Are you sending the mic output to just one monitor or all of them at the same time?

What kind of equaliser are you using to turn down the first howl-round frequency?

Where is it connected in the signal path?

Most people would use a 31-band graphic on the aux output feeding the monitor -- but are you using one EQ for all the monitors, or does each monitor (or group of monitors) have it's own?

In general, as you use the appropriate filter band on the graphic to reduce the system gain at out the first howl-round frequency, you should then find you can increase the mic gain slightly until a second how-round starts, normally at a different frequency. You can then use the relevant filter band to reduce that problem frequency and increase the gain again until a third starts... The amount of attenuation at each how-round frequency should be sufficient to control it, but no more, and be aware that adjacent filter bands will interact to some extent. Usually, after dealing with the dominant first three howl-round frequencies you will then have a pretty stable system with 6-10dB more gain than was initially available before howl-rounds, and hopefully it wont sound too coloured.

H

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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Arondite]
      #1047098 - 08/05/13 11:08 AM
Quote Arondite:

With regards to the music involved, it is metal, with 40 15 year old's singing/playing instruments, with a drum at the back. Since I can only spare 3 condensers and a couple of dynamic mics for the show, the condensers are placed further away from the singers than usual to capture the sound more uniformly. Thus, the likelyhood of a feedback is high (I get about 3-4 feeds on good days).




Do you really need monitors when there are 40 kids on stage all hitting things? And even if you do, (so they can hear a backing track, perhaps), do you really need to feed them with the outputs of what are, essentially, ambient mics?

The likelihood of feedback is directly depending on the overall gain from mic, through the monitors, through the air and back into the mic again. You need to minimise that 'loop gain' which you can do by: 1. minimising the mic gain (perhaps by moving mics closer to the source), 2. minimising the monitor level (turn down the monitor amps and/or move the monitos closer to the people that need them!, or 3. minimising the amount of sound getting from the monitors to the mics by careful positioning of both and choice of polar patterns of both.

Quote:

As for the 50 cm thing, it is the distance between the monitor and the condenser, when I am trying to ring out the frequencies (not the actual placements).




The important thing is how the system howls-round when the mics and monitors are in their working positions, with their working gains... not some artificially contrived arrangement that bears no relationship to the working conditions!

Quote:

My mixer has a port called "monitor output", and my monitors are plugged through it.




This could well be your major 'oops' moment. In most cases, the 'monitor outputs' of a desk are designed for control-room monitor speakers, not stage foldback wedges! Understanding the signal path of your mixer is fundamental to using it effectively... But we've covered that ground several times before, haven't we?

In most cases, stage foldback monitor wedges should be driven from the desk's pre-fader aux sends, and the front-of-house PA speakers from the desk's main stereo mix output. In a PA application, the desk's monitor section main outputs wouldn't be used, and instead the monitor section would simply be used to select sources to check on headphones -- eg, channel PFLs etc.

H

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Mike Stranks
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1047180 - 08/05/13 03:30 PM
Hugh: as always your advice is on the money and will be useful to all who read it.

But I just wanted to observe that Arondite's last post in the thread was almost 6 months ago; from this and other threads it appears that he's now left the building.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Mike Stranks]
      #1047185 - 08/05/13 03:43 PM
Quote Mike Stranks:

But I just wanted to observe that Arondite's last post in the thread was almost 6 months ago; from this and other threads it appears that he's now left the building.




Good spot! Perhaps he's graduated from school now...

Hugh

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OneEng



Joined: 28/04/13
Posts: 180
Loc: MI
Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: Ronnie Wibbley]
      #1047196 - 08/05/13 06:01 PM
Start by moving to IEM's ..... and super-gluing them to the guitar players ears so he can't take them out.

Once everyone can hear the monitor mix, then you can start getting them to turn down their instruments to get the stage volume lower and get rid of the mush coming out of the FOH from all the stage noise getting picked up by the vocal mics.

Furman makes a fairly in-expensive IEM system that uses CAT5 cable. Two people can share a single receiver and you need a single send unit. This will give you multiple mixes that the band members can control. Sell off the wedges and the amps to pay for the Furman system.


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Mike Stranks
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Posts: 3967
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Re: Stopping feedback from the monitors - how??? new [Re: OneEng]
      #1047197 - 08/05/13 06:31 PM
Quote OneEng:

Start by moving to IEM's ..... and super-gluing them to the guitar players ears so he can't take them out.

Once everyone can hear the monitor mix, then you can start getting them to turn down their instruments to get the stage volume lower and get rid of the mush coming out of the FOH from all the stage noise getting picked up by the vocal mics.

Furman makes a fairly in-expensive IEM system that uses CAT5 cable. Two people can share a single receiver and you need a single send unit. This will give you multiple mixes that the band members can control. Sell off the wedges and the amps to pay for the Furman system.



In theory, yes...

... but some people either take a very long time to get used to IEMs or never do...

And if you're a jobbing sound-man (like me) working with all sorts of different people and groups and varying levels of expertise and experience you can't simple give them an IEM pack and say "That's your monitors". Well you could, but if they've never used them before then the gig would probably be very rough indeed and they wouldn't work with you again!

At the shallow-end where I mostly work, IEMs are a totally alien concept and are viewed as only used by 'names'. And very few amateur bands would contemplate paying for their own system - decent ones cost. They 'hire' me - using the word in it's loosest sense - to provide the complete solution - often assuming that even the mains extension cables needed for their set-up will be available.


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