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mute controller for Theatre

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Re: mute controller for Theatre

Postby seablade » Tue May 17, 2011 3:08 pm

kapaw wrote:hello all

I am looking for a system that can mute individual Microphones simultaneously and witch can save "scene ". just like for example a light mixer.
I've seen that Miporo has a software management systems to their ATC-series. but I can not find any descriptions of what it really can.
I hope there are someone has some experience with this or other systems?

We are a tearter who face, having to buy 24 wireless microphones. So that all actors can get one. We are therefore looking for a simple system to control what is on and what is of. so we do not get sound from backstage: o)


Wrong answer to your problem. The correct answer is to mix it. Muting and unmuting mics in bulk like this will cause a very noticeable jump or cut in background levels and become a distraction. Your MUCH better bet is to actually MIX the show, bringing faders out manually before muting, and restoring them in reverse order. Yes this is a LOT of work in theater, but every theater engineer worth his salt should be able to do this.

In as far as the technicalities for your specific solution, how to do this kind of depends on what you ARE using to mix these mics together. What is your FOH console for instance, is it capable of remote control, or are you trying to mix everything in a computer(Not recommended in most cases). Much more very basic information would be needed to even begin to answer this.

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Re: mute controller for Theatre

Postby kapaw » Tue May 17, 2011 3:38 pm

yes .... the right way to do this is by using the faders. I'm just looking for an easier and more manageable way to do it.

we are using an 32 channel Soundcraft GB8 mixer. It has 8 groups we try to use as efficiently as possible. but there is still much work to keep track of who goes in and out.
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Re: mute controller for Theatre

Postby seablade » Tue May 17, 2011 4:07 pm

kapaw wrote:yes .... the right way to do this is by using the faders. I'm just looking for an easier and more manageable way to do it.

we are using an 32 channel Soundcraft GB8 mixer. It has 8 groups we try to use as efficiently as possible. but there is still much work to keep track of who goes in and out.

The GB8 does not seem to have any programmable mute functionality at all. So with your current equipment the answer ranges from, no, to not recommended(Aka using a computer to do mixing).

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Re: mute controller for Theatre

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue May 17, 2011 5:14 pm

You need a mixer with full automation. And a disciplined company of performers. Otherwise (or rather, additionally) a skilled operator. You're talking about a quite complex mic system. It is potentially very powerful, and an operator who firstly has aptitude and secondly is prepared to put some work in will learn a useful set of skills. But if you try to set up an idiot-proof system you'll harm the show.

WIth 24 radio mics, don't forget to keep a few in reserve as spares, along with spare microphone heads. And you'll need a 2-man sound crew, one on the board, one back-stage.
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Re: mute controller for Theatre

Postby kapaw » Tue May 17, 2011 8:48 pm

thanks for the indputs. it doesn´t look too good with my plans. it is a shame, but also a little strange. in a world where there is a DMX controller box for everything. no one has thought of doing what I'm looking for ..... how hard can it be.

it seems that my only choice is to "love the hard work" or buy a big ass digital mixing: 0)

but if someone thinks of something, pleas do tell..
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Re: mute controller for Theatre

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue May 17, 2011 9:01 pm

Doesn't have to be THAT big-ass. Digital boards with plenty of memories are quite mainstream and affordable.

I don't think they're the answer for school productions though. These tend not to be meticulously rehearsed and accurately performed :-) You'll want to be rather more hands-on.

I've been involved with a few school/college productions where they've somehow found the budget to over-equip technically. Sometimes it all comes fairly right by the last night. Sometimes.

I've also fought to have things set up in a fail-safe way - in particular having musicians in front of the proceedings where they aren't reliant on audio and video links. It's saved disaster several times.
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Re: mute controller for Theatre

Postby seablade » Tue May 17, 2011 9:16 pm

kapaw wrote:thanks for the indputs. it doesn´t look too good with my plans. it is a shame, but also a little strange. in a world where there is a DMX controller box for everything. no one has thought of doing what I'm looking for ..... how hard can it be.

it seems that my only choice is to "love the hard work" or buy a big ass digital mixing: 0)

but if someone thinks of something, pleas do tell..

Actually the boards the support this tend to do so over MIDI, the problem is yours just doesn't support this. Otherwise I could make suggestions as I have done similar things in the past with consoles that do. So the programming mute scenes etc. isn't difficult, the hardware to support this however is expensive, and yes is typically expensive because it typically eneds ot do much more than simple mute and unmute.

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Re: mute controller for Theatre

Postby kapaw » Tue May 17, 2011 9:34 pm

seablade wrote:

Actually the boards the support this tend to do so over MIDI, the problem is yours just doesn't support this. Otherwise I could make suggestions as I have done similar things in the past with consoles that do. So the programming mute scenes etc. isn't difficult, the hardware to support this however is expensive, and yes is typically expensive because it typically eneds ot do much more than simple mute and unmute.

Seablade

pleas do come up with a suggestions. It would be nice if I could give the Board a kind of answer to how this can be done. Then they can decide how much money they whant to spend on it. Maybe it can be put into the next year's budget
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Re: mute controller for Theatre

Postby seablade » Tue May 17, 2011 11:43 pm

kapaw wrote:
pleas do come up with a suggestions. It would be nice if I could give the Board a kind of answer to how this can be done. Then they can decide how much money they whant to spend on it. Maybe it can be put into the next year's budget

Ok first and foremost, let me repeat, do not depend on this, get yourself a skilled operator or if you are teaching this, teach them how to do this manually and not to depend on this. I say this as someone that does teach this topic at the moment.

If you however absolutely want to do this route, the first thing you will need is a console that is capable of being remote controlled. On the analog side of things, this tends to happen on the mid to upper end of the range, starting at a few thousand USD and going up from there, so you are probably looking at an analog console that will cost a few thousand Euro if not more is my guess, but I am not to familiar with the going prices on that side of the pond.

If you go digital, most, if not all, digital consoles that are sold today have this functionality, even the cheap ones. However I would caution you strongly against going to cheap on this, specifically stay away from the Presonus StudioLive or cheaper consoles. I know some people that do mix on an O1V, personally I detest doing live mixes on that console. It can work in a pinch though.

The cheapest digital console I would recommend for live theater is the LS9. The LS9-16 has 16 mic preamps built in, so you would at the very least need some additional preamps(The LS9-16 can handle up to 32 channels). Alternatively, and typically a better bet for live mix, is the LS9-32 which has 32 mic preamps on it.

All this being said, personally I am not a huge fan of the LS9 either, and typically will recommend going larger. The M7CL for instance is a staple digital console in many theaters around the world, personally I feel it is getting a bit long in the tooth, but should still be considered for this reason. The PM5D is typical for larger shows. You can also look at offerings from Digico etc. but typically for theater uses you would want to make sure the scene recall and storage is robust enough, not all are.

At any rate given the above information, you can do what you want in one of two ways, or a combination of both. You can either use whatever built in scene storage and recall exists on the board to mute and unmute channels, or you can use a computer to control the console via MIDI. A good program to look at for this is Palladium on Windows, which is written by a theatrical sound designer specifically to control consoles in this fashion, and for digital consoles is often much more robust as well.

Alternatively I have done similar things with much more work in a variety of programs, most that can generate MIDI will work, so QLab and Live both I have done similar with, and there are many other options out there as well.

But just in case I wasn't clear enough yet, you should always depend on your board op to ride fader levels, and fade channels in and out rather than depending on mute scenes, and if mute scenes are used, they are only ever used as a backup AFTER the fader is brought down, or before it is brought up. Can you tell I am very adamant about this yet?

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