Master Fader Position

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Aaronious Aaronious 1 week, 2 days ago.

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  • #81309
    Profile photo of Aaronious
    Aaronious
    Participant

    Hi, could someone tell me where the master fader should be when mixing live. I used up ALL inputs on QU16 and set gain structure levels so that the signals bounces into the yellow area on the meter. I usually go a bit higher for kick and snare, sometimes +3dB on master meter when PAFL.
    I mix with the master fader at unity and the only input faders around unity are kick,snare and bass with all other instruments in the -5 or below area. Sometimes vocals go as high as +3 max but when the band plays, the master meter lights up in the +12 zone very often. The sound is ok, not distorted but should I lower the master fader down so that it stays around zero. Tried doing that but lost almost half of the volume. Also, when using compression and make up gain, I always gain down so that the level is never out of control. Thanks for your help.

    #81366
    Profile photo of Bis-Repetita
    Bis-Repetita
    Participant

    Hi,
    here playing for 200~300 peoples in place almost all time, in various places.

    I usually put the

      gain

    for louder instruments around -6 like kick drum and the bass-guitar
    (they both go to an aux-mix then to 4×18″ subwoofers),
    rest of all around -3,-2 on vocals, depends on the singer(s) 🙂
    on 2 x 15″ speakers.

      Faders

    almost all to -3 to keep some reserve for solos or bring up congas ie
    and -2 or 0 for vocals, wich is in front of my mix.
    I play in small venues so electric guitars faders often are around -10
    because wa have the natural sound of amplifier.
    Same reason for over-heads on drum, just a smooth L/R to fill or raise the space.

    That’s it for me, a good starting point.
    And so when I sum all this, my master is in the yellow on the tempo -> kick and bass
    and stay just to 0 for the rest of time.

    #81373
    Profile photo of Aaronious
    Aaronious
    Participant

    I have 2×15 tops mounted on 2×18 subs, both cerwin vega 700RMS and all set at unity input. If I was to set gain at -6dB for kick, I’ll be hearing the actual kick more than it is in the PA. I usually aim for +3db when both kick and bass hit together, and that’s after eq and compression with their faders at unity. Only 2 vocals, both compressed at 0dB threshold at 3:1 with 4dB make up gain so that it could always sit on top of instruments, only because I have plenty of GBF thanks to 58Beta. So basically only 4 channels faders are at unity and the rest are around -5. I’m not surprised if the meter jumps to 12dB when the vocalist screams, but it seems to glow in that area most of the time. With that much console output and power on PA, I still struggle to get 95dB at front row 3m away from the speakers so not sure how loud your show is when setting Kicks and Bass at -6dB with only 2 15”. Anyhow, my actual question was is it better to run faders lower and LR at unity or lower LR and faders at higher resolution. Would there be any difference in sound quality on 1 vs other?

    #81379
    Profile photo of Dick Rees
    Dick Rees
    Participant

    I have 2Ă—15 tops mounted on 2Ă—18 subs, both cerwin vega 700RMS and all set at unity input.{snip} With that much console output and power on PA, I still struggle to get 95dB at front row 3m away from the speakers…

    Something is wrong here, and I suspect it’s simply that you’re not driving the speakers to their design potential.

    Exactly what model of CV tops and subs do you have?

    #81381
    Profile photo of Dick Rees
    Dick Rees
    Participant

    Ideally, your mixer output and your amp (or powered speaker) input should clip at the same time/voltage. So how do you set this up?
    How to set up your powered CV’s for optimum output:

    With your amp or powered speaker turned all the way “down” and powered off:

    1. Play a representative recording through your mixer, setting the channel input gain with peaks no higher than +6dBvu or the equivalent -12dBfs.
    2. Raise the channel fader to “0” (unity).
    3. Raise the master fader until the output meters flash red, then back off until only the highest peaks go red. If you can’t get this to happen, raise the channel fader 6dB above unity and try again.
    4. Now with the mixer passing signal at the maximum output voltage and the input sensitivity (volume/level) of your amp or powered speaker all the way down, power up and raise the input level until the amp/speaker clip lights begin to flash. With a power amp and passive speakers you can simply disconnect the speakers and do it quietly. With powered speakers you’ll probably want to wear ear protection.

    You now have set up your system for safe operation right up to its design max output…with the caveat that sizing an amp to passive speakers is critical. But that’s another discussion.

    This should give you at least twice the level you’re currently getting…if not more.

    #81384
    Profile photo of Aaronious
    Aaronious
    Participant

    Dick Rees, thank you for your tips. My tops are P1500X and subs are CVA118, should be capable of reaching at least 130dB according to specs. I tried setting speakers gain by running pink noise on the mixer but because they’re active, I can’t disconnect the amp when rasing the volume. The subs rumble so much that it almost shit me out even with the volume around 10 o’clock and unity gain is at 12 o’clock so I couldn’t test it any louder fearing the cones will blow up. After many attempts, I couldn’t get the PA to clip when the console output clips. Therefore I thought it would be safe to set PA input at unity. However, I noticed that the front clip lights of subs or tops lighting up during shows (only tops or subs but never together) so I had to quickly run and turn it down a bit. After a few shows and setting limits on the master BUS, I can conclude that the PA clip light flashes at 13dB output but safe at 12.5dB. I also tune PA with SMAART and its fairly flat with 6dB boost from 100Hz down and roll of 3db/octave at 4kHz (only cutting with PEQ and few cuts with GEQ for tonality. Since the PA starts to clip around 13dB, I freak out the master bus flashes at 12dB and hence the question….lower master or input faders.

    #81393
    Profile photo of Bis-Repetita
    Bis-Repetita
    Participant

    Aaronious, dick said it right
    but i’m not surprise your subs rumbled so much,
    i think your gain is to high on this.

    when I can’t play around -3 and keep something for the good moment
    when have to push an instrument…hard for you.
    Imagine trying mixing with all faders down, a small solo can’t get pushed up without scaring everyone
    because de difference is too important between your 2 levels (on faders and so on dB).

    #81404
    Profile photo of Aaronious
    Aaronious
    Participant

    Bis-Repetita,
    Faders are at least in the -8 position so shouldn’t have problems making minute adjustments, besides you’ll need at least 3dB change very quickly for the ears to tell difference.
    The subs rumbled so much because I was trying set input gain to clip at the amp when the console clipped. I was using pink noise 20Hz-400Hz. So its logical to that think the amp set at unity wouldn’t clip unless the mix output is at least above +16. However, I get front clip lights up when mixer peak at +13. I guess pink noise is even across the spectrum so no sudden spikes like live sound.
    I love to get tips on Mixing and PA system tuning but that wasn’t my question? Can’t anyone give me a quick answer to whether lower master fader or input faders and what are the disadvantages of each method. Reducing the channel input gain is not an option as it currently works extremely well for me with high S/N ratio and clean sound.

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