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Active cabs sound compressed

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Active cabs sound compressed

Postby morat » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:03 am

Hello all,
Hope you can help - I'm a newbie who has inherited responsibility for our live sound: we're a four piece covers band playing clubs and pubs, audiences up to 300. We run three vocals, guitar and the kick through the system, everything else is backline. We don't produce a massive volume.
Just bought a pair of Mackie SRM 450s (V1) and used them for the first time on Saturday with our Peavey pv10 mixer. Asked some of our regular fans for their thoughts on the new gear and their comments were that while the sound was loud and clear the lead vocal sounded lifeless and dull. Previously we were using a pair of Electrovoice Sx500s driven by a Europower 1500. We love the sound from the EVs but they are just too big and having actives for both FOH and on stage makes for less gear to store and carry.
Other bands we know swear by the Mackies so perhaps we're not EQing them correctly: any thoughts on what we can do to make the sound better?
I haven't sold the EVs yet and may well go back to them this Saturday.
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Re: Active cabs sound compressed

Postby Guy Johnson » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:16 am

Sound-check or rehearsal: Point the Mackies at yourself, no monitors, and adjust to taste?

Don't see where the compression comes in, on your post. Not a massive volume could mean anything! I bet I'd say it was loud ... it'd be a good idea to actually measure the sound levels on the old and new system: If you are on the limit of the Mackie's power, they will limit.
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Re: Active cabs sound compressed

Postby morat » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:09 pm

Hi Guy,
Re volume, the control on the cabs were set at 2 o'clock, so plenty of headroom left (max being at 6 o'clock). "Compressed" is my interpretation of people calling the vocals lifeless.
We had already tried the Mackies as monitors at rehearsal and our vocalist said they sounded a bit "flat" then.
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Re: Active cabs sound compressed

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:21 pm

My experience with passive speakers would suggest that the EV sx series are brighter and crisper than the Mackies with better definition in the midrange. I would expect the active versions would have a similar response which might account for the perceived lack of presence.
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Re: Active cabs sound compressed

Postby BOD2 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:23 pm

The usual crtiticism from sound professionals about SRM450s is that they are "harsh" rather than flat.

I use a pair myself and have been perfectly happy to date. I always set the volume controls to 12 o' clock and then control the overall level from the mixer. I don't tend to add much EQ, just some minor tweaks here and there according to the room.
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Re: Active cabs sound compressed

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:09 pm

morat wrote:Hi Guy,
Re volume, the control on the cabs were set at 2 o'clock, so plenty of headroom left (max being at 6 o'clock). "Compressed" is my interpretation of people calling the vocals lifeless.
We had already tried the Mackies as monitors at rehearsal and our vocalist said they sounded a bit "flat" then.

Setting the power amps to full would give headroom in the mixer, where it would probabably be more use!
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Re: Active cabs sound compressed

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:33 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:
morat wrote:Hi Guy,
Re volume, the control on the cabs were set at 2 o'clock, so plenty of headroom left (max being at 6 o'clock). "Compressed" is my interpretation of people calling the vocals lifeless.
We had already tried the Mackies as monitors at rehearsal and our vocalist said they sounded a bit "flat" then.

Setting the power amps to full would give headroom in the mixer, where it would probabably be more use!
Some of us would beg to differ... gain structure?
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Re: Active cabs sound compressed

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:59 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:
morat wrote:Hi Guy,
Re volume, the control on the cabs were set at 2 o'clock, so plenty of headroom left (max being at 6 o'clock). "Compressed" is my interpretation of people calling the vocals lifeless.
We had already tried the Mackies as monitors at rehearsal and our vocalist said they sounded a bit "flat" then.

Setting the power amps to full would give headroom in the mixer, where it would probabably be more use!
Some of us would beg to differ... gain structure?

I'm all for gain staging until the power amp. Then turn it up! Much more chance of choking in the mixer, particularly when the "just a BIT more" game starts in performance.
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Re: Active cabs sound compressed

Postby morat » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:04 pm

We have previously turned our power amps to max but with the Mackies we found that produced quite a lot of noise: as we weren't showing many greens on the level meters on the mixer we backed off at the power amp stage and increased gain on individual channels. That gave us the correct volume with less noise.
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Re: Active cabs sound compressed

Postby seablade » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:45 pm

morat wrote:We have previously turned our power amps to max but with the Mackies we found that produced quite a lot of noise: as we weren't showing many greens on the level meters on the mixer we backed off at the power amp stage and increased gain on individual channels. That gave us the correct volume with less noise.

That is much closer to proper gain structure then.

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Re: Active cabs sound compressed

Postby seablade » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:45 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:
I'm all for gain staging until the power amp. Then turn it up! Much more chance of choking in the mixer, particularly when the "just a BIT more" game starts in performance.

And once again the thread that will come up...

http://www.soundonsound.com/forum/showf ... 536&fpart=

The short version is you will get two different viewpoints in that thread, but I don't think either of us would turn an amp all the way up without a processor in front of it at least(Correct me if I am wrong Nathan).

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