Reply To: Setting active speaker levels

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Hi Keef,
Most” name brand active speakers these days are pretty darn clean (noise wise).
Unless you are doing jazz in a very small intimate club, I suggest running the input levels on the speakers
all the way up (full). This will allow you to use a much lower master volume setting and your
audience members up close will enjoy significantly less “HISS” coming from the speakers during soft passages of music and talking. Also, you will not likely ever push the mixer’s output level into clipping. If you do, then you need a much larger, more powerful speaker system 🙂

If the gain position on your active speakers is let’s say Twelve O’Clock, you are going to have to push the master fader on the QU much harder in order to obtain the desired volume from your system. Starting out with the master fader at “0” Db. is going to make your system far more noisey than having the master fader set to around -10 Db. and the input gain on the speakers set to full. This is pretty common experiencer with an analog sound console, so even though we are using a “digital” board, it’s outputs are still analog, and anything that is analog is going to produce some noise.

To each his own, but if you suddenly need more volume, and your speakers are only half way up, you will likely get distortion from the mixer’s output being driven too hard.

So many claimed “experienced professional” audio engineers will tell you that the first thing you do is set your master fader to zero Db, HOLY CRAP! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? If I did that with any of my systems, heads would blow off. If these guys get away with that, and their input faders are hovering anywhere near zero Db, this tells me at least one thing… the gain on the individual inputs of the console are set far too low and or the decibel level in the room is approaching 120 plus DB.

Now I’m rambling 🙂
Sorry some of that was redundant.