First Outing With Qu-16

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of GCumbee GCumbee 5 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #56812
    Profile photo of David
    David
    Participant

    I thought I would share my experiences as a first time Qu-16 user.

    The band I play in is a typical function/wedding/party band. We comprise of drums, bass, guitar, sax, and female vocal with the sax player and me (guitar) also adding extra vocal. We often add a trumpet into the mix and he also adds some vocals. Occasionally we add keys to take us up to 7 (all depends on the client’s budget). Speaker wise, we use a pair of QSC K10s only, no subs, and it is used for vocal and brass only, with just a hint of guitar to add a bit of spread to the sound. Everything else comes from the backline, which we can do as we are not a loud band.

    Up until now we have been using a Mackie DFX12 MKII mixer that we bought, as a band, about 10 or more years ago. It has served us well but has severe restrictions to it and we really have outgrown it. I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new mixer (to offset some of my tax liability for this year) and after much research settled on the Qu-16.

    So, Saturday night was the first outing. I had done as much prep at home as I could using the mic presets that are built in as a start point and setting gains based on my levels. I also set up a couple of reverbs and a delay and set the monitor mixes where I thought they would roughly be. As with most weddings, it ran late, so our set up time was reduced and I didn’t get much time to adjust things. Once the gains were adjusted, I did a couple of tweaks to the sax player’s vocal mic (a Shure SH55) and that was all I had time to do. I had my first experience of wireless mixing on the iPad for the sound check, which was great. It was good not having to run backwards and forwards adjusting things as I run the sound from on stage. I did pop out a couple of times just to check the balance once we started and then came back and adjusted things on the iPad that I had on a stand next to me on the stage.

    So what observations do I have. Firstly, the rest of the band all commented on how much clearer the sound was, which was very pleasing. Second, the signal from the desk to the mains seemed a lot ‘hotter’ than the Mackie, so much so that I had to turn the mains down from 2 o’clock to 12 o’clock and the main fader was still only about half way up. We have so much more headroom to play with!! Finally, I had been able to ring out the monitors (SRM 450s) at home so was able to get more punch out of those as well, and I still have more monitor mixes available (the old mixer only had 2 and no graphic to help!!).

    It is going be a learning curve but I am so pleased that I was pretty much able to use it out of the box, especially as a guitar player who runs sound, rather than a sound engineer :). I can only imagine how much better it is going to get as I get more used to it. I haven’t even looked at using the compressors and gates yet, deciding to start as simple as possible and build these things up over time. Now, if only I could persuade the rest of the band to invest in a sub or too, we would sound awesome!!

    #56824
    Profile photo of dpdan
    dpdan
    Participant

    Hi David,
    I share your enthusiasm!
    That is so cool that your first outing was good.

    There certainly is a lot to wrap your head around but always remember, …
    just because the mixer has lots of features doesn’t mean the sound would be better if you used them all. It wouldn’t.

    I suggest staying away from any gates and compressors, at least until you have done a half dozen or more gigs with the Qu. Once you are comfortable and want to experiment with the use of some slight vocal compression, use just one compressor on the person who sings the most leads.

    Then, I still suggest staying away from any of the presets that are built in.
    Set the gain with your eyes and ears leaving some headroom in case of excessive dynamics from various musicians.

    I use K12 speakers for mains for lots of wedding receptions and they sound very very similar to the K10 speakers, I suggest that you use only the parametric EQ on those mains, not the graphic EQ which is such a common thing to go to, the benefit of the parametric is that we can choose the “exact” problem frequency and set the bandwidth to be extremely narrow, allowing us to very accurately control the problem. The only problem area of the K series speakers to me is 6 KHz. or 6000 hertz. If you get some really high feedback, like when the father of the bride stands right in front of one of the K10s, it is 6 K not higher. NOTE: on your K10 speakers for mains, set the switch on the left side near the top to “external sub”. This will prohibit the K10 from wasting power on low frequencies that are normally handled by subwoofers. Even if you don’t have subs yet, your K10s will have considerably more headroom with this setting on both speakers. I apologize if I am preaching to the choir here 🙂

    That’s when you should already have the parametric mains EQ set with a pretty serious dip at 6K. You could have the EQ bypassed, but ready to make it active if this problem occurs.I run a dip at 6 K on mine all the time on every gig.

    Subs are a must for music such as your band produces, one Electro-Voice ETX-18SP is really nice, and you could always buy a second one down the road, another convenient thing to know is that your speakers stands won’t be needed with subs, just a couple of poles.
    Have fun!

    #56849
    Profile photo of David
    David
    Participant

    Hi Dan

    I totally agree with you. I am keeping things as simple as possible until I am more comfortable with the Qu. It is very easy to over complicate things and get to the point you can’t quickly get out of the mess you have made, especially when you are playing guitar and singing at the same time. I need to get a good sound at the start and leave it like that with only minor level changes.

    Also, thanks for the heads up on the K series speakers. I wasn’t aware of the trick with the switching. I have the vocal boost switch on but not the sub one. I also wasn’t aware of the 6Khz thing either. Although I have been mixing the band for a long time I am new to actually learning how to do it properly, so this type is advice is invaluable, so again, thank you.

    I agree that a sub is a must, but it is persuading the others. I have bought the Qu so I can’t afford to spend on a sub as well at the moment. The only thing we have to consider is transport as we all go in our own cars and space is limited so we can’t go too big or it won’t fit. Anyway, that will probably be the next thing to look at.

    Cheers

    David

    #56850
    Profile photo of GCumbee
    GCumbee
    Participant

    If you have K10’s then get KSubs to match. Works great as a matched set and not too big to transport.

    #56862
    Profile photo of dpdan
    dpdan
    Participant

    I would also suggest not using the vocal switch,
    I too have heard the QSC K subs and they aren’t bad, but can’t keep up with the ETX-18SP for about the same price,
    although since you don’t have a large vehicle, the K sub wins as GCumbee has suggested because of it’s smaller size.

    #56878
    Profile photo of David
    David
    Participant

    It is the K sub that I had looked at from a size perspective, but even that may be too big as ll the cars are pretty full already. I need to win the lottery so I can afford a van as well as the car!

    Dan – Why do you suggest not using the Vocal Boost switch?

    #56890
    Profile photo of jhb1982
    jhb1982
    Participant

    Great write-up and resonates a lot with my experience. My only advice is to go easy on compressing vocals and other mics/sources susceptible to feedback. It’s easy to get carried away when you have all that processing power available on every channel and you can quickly run into issues!

    That’s nothing new, you probably already knew it and it’s just good mixing practice for live engineers especially in certain venues, but it’s an easy trap to fall into when going from a more basic setup like I did.

    Anyway, enjoy your QU it’s an awesome bit of kit!

    #56893
    Profile photo of dpdan
    dpdan
    Participant

    The vocal boost switch is “here again” the manufacturer’s opinion of what they think your vocals should sound like.
    It is a nasty sound when compared to being flat.
    Have two people help you listen to the difference.
    Play some NICE stereo music through the K10 speakers with nothing else… no monitors or anything else.
    By nice I mean something that involves real musicians, not today’s typical crap “music”. Sorry about that 🙂

    Start with the switch in the flat position. Listen to the music for about a minute, then wave your arm to instruct the two people standing behind the speakers to simultaneously switch to the “Vocal Boost” position. NOT Good,

    #56900
    Profile photo of David
    David
    Participant

    Cheers Dan. That sounds like a plan. As you say, being inexperienced, we may well have just fallen into the trap of thinking the manufacturer must know best instead of using our ears. Mind you, with the old Mackie mixer it may well have made positive difference. We saw a huge leap up when we moved from SRM450 to the QSC K10s and the ‘Vocal Boost’ may have given us a further perceived improvement in sound. The more I get into this though, the more I am learning to trust my ears more.

    #56924
    Profile photo of dpdan
    dpdan
    Participant

    David,
    you just discovered the very best tip for phenominal sound…

    ALWAYS TRUST YOUR EARS 🙂

    I am so proud of you when I read that

    #56967
    Profile photo of David
    David
    Participant

    Here is an update.

    We did a marquee gig on Saturday but we didn’t have time to do any A/B checks with the ‘Vocal Boost’ but I did turn it off and it still sounded good to my ears.

    Second, we were working with a DJ friend of ours who just happened to have a QSC KW181 sub with him, which he uses with a pair of QSC K12s. He allowed us to link one of our K10s in to the sub and we mic’d the bass drum. Wow, just wow! What a difference. Our friend, as well as being a DJ, also plays piano in a band, so was interested in the result. Whilst we were playing, he experimented by turning the sub off and on to hear the difference and he couldn’t stop telling us at the end what a huge difference it was and that we really, really, really, need to get a sub as the difference was that good!.

    Whilst chatting with the DJ, I said that we just couldn’t get anything as big as the KW181 as we don’t have room in the cars, so we were thinking about the QSC KSub. “Oh” he says, “the school that I work at has one of those, you may be able to borrow it or hire it from them to try it out”. Result!!

    I thought it might be a bit of an uphill struggle to get the rest of the band on board with the idea of a sub, but now the search is on!

    #56968
    Profile photo of GCumbee
    GCumbee
    Participant

    In my installs I typically use a crossover like a dbx PA2 or Venue 360 to do the chores of xover. It just gives me more control and security. This puts everything subject to being part of the sub channels so may require HPF on vocal and other mics.

    On shows I do I usually do an AUX fed sub. Usually off MIX 9 or sometimes a group mix on a QU32. Then just feed subs LF instruments like kick and bass. Maybe keys etc. that helps keep other high freq signals out of the mud.

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