Frequencies and your mixer

So. . .Since we've been on the lines of audio information sharing I thought I would post one that has helped me a lot.

So, understanding the frequency ranges of your instruments helps when you are cleaning your mix of unwanted sounds and making the instrument speak more clearly through amplification. Even more so when you are out doors and there are many environmental things  going. (I.E. frame noise, wind noise, and other various other unwanted sounds) So checking out the frequency ranges of your instruments is a start.

I've attached a picture that gives you an idea of where these ranges start between the octaves. These numbers correlate to the Mid low and high range settings on the various channels of your mixer.

I will not go into the full details of what you can do, but I am sure any smart person can figure out the ranges are of their own instruments.

One of the first and easiest things you can do is figure out what particular frequencies your instruments use and start by ELIMINATING the frequency ranges on that channel that the instrument DOES NOT use. This typically will help in eliminating frame noise and many other environmental elements that tend to find their way to your speakers.

The other possibility is either boosting or diminishing the certain frequencies of the instrument to create more bite, warmth, or body to the sound as you so desire. I do not recommend doing this a lot but it has helped me create the sound I am looking for in certain musical situations. It takes LOTS OF TIME and LISTENING to do this effectively. If you do not have a stadium like rehearsal facility or at least proper distance from the set-up to hear the end result you can really screw things up. (Trust me I know this from experience) :)

Hope this helps you guys out in some way.
Yamaha is good equip. However, you're not comparing apples to apples. The adat is an extra on yamaha hence more money, but the phonic can do 16 all together without the adat and you can dual them as well. You could probably dual two Yamahas..You have to find out how many streams the Yamaha can accept back to the mixer. I think the Yamaha is ugly aesthetically, and that yellow green screen is the pits and archaic for a new model.. you'd think they would improve it. It probably sounds good. Their equip is always very safe! And contained. Like the motif! Never got it because of that reason alone. As from what I read. I think there a lot of equip junkies out there not willing to change or try new equip or form opinions on stuff they have not tried.

And those that do take the step end up never regretting it. I am deciding between the Presonus and the Phonic actually. I want daw Integration to be easy. Presonus' customer service has been really slow on feedback if hardly at all. And short in the email. I'm a new customer...how can you swing me. I run my own business. I know how it goes. They won't compare the two. Just emailed Phonic. We'll see what happens there. I do like Presonus' Videos. They are intuitive. Phonic has been around forever too. But we shall see what happens. This is a higher end machine for them. Behringer is coming out with a 32 in a few months that is killer too. Similar pricing as well. I don't know if I'll need that many channels though. I use hardware synths for my recording.. have 7 of them.. all of them will do. The 12 inserts in the Yamaha are not what I need and I'm not going to have an adat pipe to extend channels to another box.. it's too much extra crap. I already have something similar that doesn't work somewhere along the line with the Digital Performer. And I don't like software synths.. I don't want to play with a mouse for hours. or have another keyboard to program. It's a waste of time.

If I were going to buy something I'd want to hear from the horses mouth(how they boast it or how they bash the other). I've talked to Behringer, Roland, Dave Smith Instruments, Emu, Alesis, and Access for their feedback for purchases I made. EMU is one sided and they never stand behind their product. I love some instruments I have from them, but eh.. what a pain in the ass. Roland haven't had too many issues and are decent replies. Dave smith is fast. A little non descriptive. Alesis is a mess. They never respond or stand behind their product. Took them one month to answer a firmware question several times I attempted, and nothing has been done to fix the issues. Ummm.. thanks but no. They send me emails saying buy this.. and ummm.. you can't even fix an issues with the ION firmware? No thanks. Access was easy fast and descriptive. Good company. Behringer in particular gets back to you and give you the bottom line and is never siding on their equip they even admit to using other equip in their studios. They make some very well done products. I've had several pieces of their equip as well with no issues and saved a ton of money.

I just wish. I could have a digital mixer, with FW DAW integration, that works both ways to the unit and back to screen, with all it's bells and whistles. Seems like they are always one or the other. Maybe that's why there has been a decline in sales of hardware instruments. No one wants to deal with the headache of the connection and communication between the two. At least for electronic music.

And again, thank you all for the quick response!  I am going to go along with what Tom endorses!  The Yamaha 10v96 has so much to offer.  I also thought about the presonus 16.4.2, but I LOVE the motorized faders that respond to scene or group specific settings.  Thanks so much for your help guys! 
I think you need to keep in mind that one of the most powerful things that a digital mixer offers over an analog is the ability to set and recall scenes.

Consistency is really important to all of the band directors I have worked with.  The digital mixer (I recommend the Yamaha 01V96) will offer this over an analog mixer.

Hope this helps in your discussion and plea for new gear!

Actually, most [i]Analog[/i] consoles have 3- or 4-band EQ. Digital consoles often have much finer EQ control, in terms of number of bands and the width of those bands.
I have been give the thumbs up by our admin to secure a quality sound reinforcement system to aid our marching program next year.  However, my head director would like to know the pro's and cons of digital vs. analog, to justify the couple extra $ it will take to get a digital console.  As it stands, he is for it, but like my self, lacks the depth of experience.  Would anyone mind sharing some personal insight, if you have experience with both digital and analog?

Here is what I have come up with so far:

Digital console pros:
-compressors
-gate
-4 band eq for carving frequencies
-limiter

Digital Console cons: (from the way the admin see it)
-the little extra $

Analog Pros:
-Cheap
-Simple

Analog Cons:
-EVERYTHING A DIGITAL CONSOLE CAN DO, THAT IT CAN'T
There just may be an app for that in the near future. . .  :-)
Thanks for the in depth, informative response!  There are just too many variables, acoustically and  environmentally, that would hinder such a quest.  I do however, think it would be interesting to see some sound isolating ";pit booths";! 

I think, or at least wish, the tapspace community could commission an instructional book/dvd combo, that specifically explores the sound reinforcement of the front ensemble instruments (all of them), and would cover everything from A-Z.  That'd be pretty sweet.
[quote author=RGreen link=topic=3813.msg20537#msg20537 date=1293809634]
my advice is based solely on my last 15 years of reading, personal failures, questioning of others and self discovery.
[/quote]

Ah, personal failures. The best teacher!

(seriously!)
[quote author=gots2drum link=topic=3813.msg20503#msg20503 date=1292798363]
Can any credit this research?  Or does having more than one instrument sharing the same frequency range, aid in the clarity of amplification (in the case of front ensemble amplification)? 
[/quote]

I understand the theory here and how one would apply it to the amplification of the front ensemble dependent upon your own personal concept of sound you wish to produce. I have experimented with separating each of the sounds as best I could in the mix however in amplified percussion environments there are TONS of other instruments in close range and while weeding out the noise and other various sounds it is practically chokes many of the timbrel characteristics of the instruments.

Many of the EQ and mastering manuals/guides will not give you a cut and dry answer to this situation because the environmental variables are far too vast. These manuals typically deal with instruments that are plugged directly into the board and can be manipulated to whatever end you wish. (I.E. covering up Kanye West's lack of singing skill or making a bass guitar sound like a lead guitar) We, however deal in multiple environments, implements, instrument stagings, textures and VARIOUS levels of background bleed. (I.E. 80 Brass Blowing their brains out behind you or a snare line inside of a gym) ALL of these factors will bleed into your amplified sound. The only true isolation would be to put your instruments in a sound proof box on the front sideline or if you had the Capitol to run 10-12 Xylo Synths. (I've always wanted to do this by the way it would be the most IDEAL arrangement for indoor groups, however it would take an incredible sound man, a very mature group to understand the instruments, and several MACS and sound modules, but it would be FREAKIN AWESOME and I would have hay day programming that bad boy!)

So..............Since the above factors are not practically at our disposal (or at least at mine) I would suggest you think of the FULL ENSEMBLE sound and work on mic positioning and mallet selection and mix from there. Isolate the individual sections and have them play for you at the high and low points in the music, add each group together after the isolation and listen for the QUALITY of the instruments. DO NOT HAVE A MARCHING BATTERY WITHIN 200 YARDS OF THIS SPACE! I recommend it be quite and in the environment you will be playing in most often. (I.E. indoor or outdoor) Set your master levels for each section based on CLARITY OF VOICES. I highly recommend routing the sections to separate speaker arrays (panned of course) if your equipment allows you to do so.
When you are doing all of this, You are listening for the BEST SOUND meaning the characteristic colors of each of the individual instruments of the ensemble speak effortlessly to the listener at the majority of the volume levels.

When you add the add the battery to your mix DO NOT ADJUST THE INDIVIDUAL INSTRUMENTS! (just yet) Listen to full ensemble statements and find the FULL ENSEMBLE SOUND first , both the soft and loud! Once that is defined you should be able to set your individual instruments as needed throughout the show and set your scenes based on this spectrum. SYNTHS. . . That is a completely different chapter and will not even go there right now.

On a side note. . .I personally feel that I am a novice with the amplification of electronic and acoustic percussion instruments and my advice is based solely on my last 15 years of reading, personal failures, questioning of others and self discovery. Hope that was helpful! :)
I was recently reading an article on eq and I came across something that I thought would be useful, or at least debatable, here at tapspace.  

Basically, this article on eq stated that 2 or more instruments consuming the same eq frequencies, will ";muddy"; up the sound.  The ultimate fix would be splitting the eq's frequency range of the instruments that share the same eq, would eliminate any ";mud"; in the amplification process.....  ex.  A solution to this problem is to have one of them occupy the extremely low frequencies, say, below 80 Hz, and the other to occupy a slightly higher range, say from 100 to 220 Hz. This gives each instrument a distinct ";space"; for it to be heard in, and results in a much more pleasing overall sound than trying to get the instruments to mesh by trying to balance the volumes.

This could probably come in handy for instruments that share a lot of the same frequency range...especially those instruments that cover such a broad range of frequency's.

Can any credit this research?  Or does having more than one instrument sharing the same frequency range, aid in the clarity of amplification (in the case of front ensemble amplification)?  
[quote author=gots2drum link=topic=3813.msg20452#msg20452 date=1291499163]
Thanks Joe,

That makes perfect sense!  So, a digital mixer would be the way to go, in terms of versatility, and features....but are there any cons to having a digital mixer, that an analog has going for it?  All I can think of, is simplicity!
[/quote]Simplicity is the main thing. Most people can grasp the basic concepts of an analogue mixer quite quickly - channel level controls and main level controls being the most important. They are just volume controls for microphones and other inputs, and there is a direct physical connection.

Once you get into digital mixers with re-assignable channel strips, that direct physical connection disappears. Any channel strip can control any channel on most digital mixers, which can make them confusing and can create trouble when a mic feeds back and the operator doesn't know what channel to pull down. In a rehearsal situation the solution is to yank the main level controls down, but in a live performance situation that may not be a good option.

Since feedback is rare outdoors except with extreme levels, this isn't that big of a concern for marching band performances. It can hamper indoor rehearsals, though, and if one plans to use a digital mixer for an indoor percussion program as well, then it can require a more experience operator to use a digital mixer.
Thanks Joe,

That makes perfect sense!  So, a digital mixer would be the way to go, in terms of versatility, and features....but are there any cons to having a digital mixer, that an analog has going for it?  All I can think of, is simplicity!
The only true and complete cut that an analogue board typically offers is a 100-Hz high-pass filter. This is usually activated by a switch located at or near the top of each channel strip. This lets everything above 100 Hz pass through and rolls off anything below that frequency at a steep rate (usually 18 or 24 dB per octave).

The 100 Hz high-pass filter is designed for use with tripod-mounted stage microphones; it prevents boomy footfall noises from being picked up by these mics. 100 Hz is about equal to G2, which means a 100 Hz high-pass filter can be safely used on vibraphone, xylophone, 4-octave marimba, and 4.3-octave marimba. It should be avoided with anything lower than that (4.5-octave marimba, piano, electric bass, timpani, etc.).
Hello all,

I'll ask for your forgiveness in advance, as I am just now getting into the craft of mic'ing, mixing, and mastering the pit...so please have patients.....

Side note:  I am still learning analog, but plan on making the move to digital this coming  year....but until then, here is a quick question....and hopefully I have clarified my thoughts enough to make my question coherent. 


is it possible to cut, or eliminate the frequencies of pit equipment with an analog board?  Heres what I have:  Yamaha 12 input, with compression on the first four mono ins, and digital effects.  I know you can completely boost or cut off an entire frequency range (low, mids, and highs), by just turning the knob the desired way....but is it possible to completely cut out all the frequencies in each instrument that is not needed...on an analog board?
Wow - thanks guys! Totally getting schooled here by the pros :)
Login or Signup to post a comment