Reply To: NEWBIE ALERT: Hooking up a Signal Processor

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Thus you will understand my problem, I need to know if I can start an evening program without “needing to ride the guitar fader as much” if the PA2 and Mixing EQ on the ZED-10 is setup to a position, giving that I will use many backing tracks that have different levels, noise and type of mastering.

This is what your sound check is for. However before you start it might be a good idea to normalize your backing tracks against each other so that despite their different dynamic ranges, at least they start at a similar base line throughout the gig. This will allow you to set up your guitar gain and fader to be at a sensible level, and if you leave yourself enough headroom with your preamp, you’ll be able to control the guitar dynamics through your playing style, rather than having to reach over and mess with faders all the time, which I think is a better way to go for a soloist who is also mixing.

Could you give me more details on how to compress both guitar and backing tracks with seperate compressors, to “allow the guitar to naturally sit on top of the backing track” ?

When you set up the compressor on the backing tracks, you set it with a threshold low enough such that it kicks in before the compressor on your guitar\mains kicks in (you need to experiment with levels with backing tracks and guitar being played at the same time to get it right.) That way, when things start to get loud, the backing track gets compressed first before the guitar/mains do, which allows the guitar track to sit on top and have some “breathing room.” You should be able to get compressors in your DAW to do this. This should mean that if the backing track gets loud, and for whatever reason the guitar doesn’t (perhaps you’re finger-picking) your guitar would still be audible without you having to turn the guitar fader up/the tracks fader down. It really depends on the style of music.

Do you flat out the EQ on the ZED-10 once you have the DBX PA2 between the PA and the FOH speakers?

IMO the FOH eq (PA2) should be used to make the speakers sound good in the room, eg flattening them if that helps, and dealing with room resonances, perhaps knocking out feedback if that can’t be done on the channel eq etc. The individual channel eqs should be used to “fix” individual channels, eg use the channel eq on the backing tracks channel to take out a some of the freqs that your guitar is likely to stomp on, and use the guitar channel’s eq to take out a few of the problem freqs of the guitar (eg sound hole resonance) or enhance brightness/presence. Remember it’s usually better to cut rather than boost.

Do you also manage the stage monitor in the DBX PA2 system?

It would be ideal if your monitor also had some processing on it too, however the PA2 only has 2 inputs. If you were running FOH with a mono source you could use one side of the PA2 for FOH, and the other side for your stage monitor. If you want stereo FOH, then you’ve run out of inputs on the PA2. For speaker management on stereo FOH + monitors, you’d need either a speaker processor with more inputs, or another PA2 unit.