Need practical advice considering DLive system

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Bill in TN Bill in TN 1 week, 5 days ago.

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  • #68420
    Profile photo of Bill in TN
    Bill in TN
    Participant

    Hello, First Post. I’ve done a fair amount of reading here but would like to ask for some serious advice…

    Background… I guess I am the lead sound guy at my Church and we are considering a big upgrade and in the decision process now. Currently a GL4000 at both FOH and Monitors with two ‘other’ consoles in recording (but in all honesty we don’t focus on recording or broadcast of everything we do). Everything on stage goes into a 3 way splitter and then out to each console. We’ve run over the 48 board channels and use a small mixer for our extra brass. Most everything is on it’s own channel with the exception of drums that we bring down to 4 channels with external dynamics on those. We use Aviom (the original) for our players with 8 of those on it’s powered splitter so it is full. House is all EAW on a pair of old EAW DSP’s and we are using 14 of the 16 channels with the line array and various fills. Monitor desk feeds the Aviom and about 5 other stage mixes. Some of this gear is getting old enough to be obsolete or some minor repairs are needed. The GL4000 has been a workhorse and except for a channel strip replacement, a power supply repair once and a few lights now out I am a big fan of A&H.

    As I’ve studied things it is somewhat confusing as to the best course of action. Also excuse my lack of intimate knowledge on everything digital. I’ve read a lot and the single occasion I’ve had to observe DLive makes me want that. I’ve worked with some other digital boards and they do not do what I’m anticipating which is why the questions and we have a couple others on our short list to consider. I do also like the ME system and integration. So on to questions, please feel free to answer any or all with your thoughts…

    Given our current situation should we process in a single big DSP like the DLive or would we be better off to stay with processing at the separate consoles or consider doing some of both? I think we could learn to live without a hands on monitor desk but that might be a challenge. If we run a little brother to FOH S Class for example what could/should that be and what level of independent control over sends will it give us? OR does it mean we duplicate channels so that individual players can have control over ‘their’ channel. Or does the ME system have it’s own EQ and dynamics also. Does it get the processed channel as determine by FOH engineer or a raw signal that the user can control. Does having unique EQ and Dynamics mean one for FOH and one for monitors until we use up the 128 fully processed channels in DLive. Seems like enough until we start wishing to do some of the same unique things for recording.

    So if we expand our ability to record/produce I’m a little confused about what is the best way to do that. Is it possible to send a subset of the raw audio channels to another desk with it’s own DSP over Dante for example and or do something like we might for the monitor situation and duplicate some channels with unique control? Recording ‘everything’ and mixing later is probably not in our near future while doing something at the moment is how we currently run. To that point can DLive send a mixed subgroup (like a group of choir mics or brass) over the network so that those at monitors, ME or recording can just use what FOH is mixing for there needs and focus on smaller group of instruments and vocals. Does that make sense?

    Our first step into our upgrades hast just been all new ULXD wireless. Should we use Dante to bring the audio stream in when we make the upgrade or use analog. It would seem to me that with Dante we might not even need as big of stage box and suddenly we have more spares than the physical analog channel count. We are thinking the DM64 is where we start but with a Dante card we might get by with 48, however I don’t think I wouldn’t tell anyone that :).

    Where we currently process our roughly 14 channels to FOH would it be better to retain a separate speaker DSP or will DLive handle all the EQ, crossover, time delay, compression and limiting we need? The DM64 with 32 physical out seems like more than enough for speakers, stage monitors and then some. And while we have never used the Matrix capability of the GL we’ve considered it since our two speaker DSP’s could handle 4 output groups and I know DLive could easily do that. btw, speaker upgrades and acoustic treatments will be last phase of our efforts later on so we can keep our current stuff for now and consider new speaker DSP later if outside of best practice with DLive.

    There’s my first barrage of questions. I hope your experiences offer some guidance and I’ll be back with more things rolling around in my head.

    Thanks,

    #68421
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    Bill in TN:

    I am TN as well w/a dLive S7000 & DM64 stage box. We also use the ME system. I would be happy for you to view our system and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. Or at least the ones I can. Let me know if you want my personal contact info. I am in Cleveland, TN.

    #68422
    Profile photo of Jgrift
    Jgrift
    Participant

    You should probably consult a AV contractor. Who can consider all of the uses your system will need to perform. And future uses you may not even know yet.

    ps. absolutely use dante for the ULX-d

    Jason

    #68425
    Profile photo of Windsock
    Windsock
    Participant

    Bill in TN,

    we were in a similar situation to you; we upgraded our old ML3000 plus avoim system to a dlive S7000 with the MEs for monitor mixes. for us the change went very smoothly; all of our sound techs are volunteers, and no-one had any issues migrating from the old analogue system. we use exclusively in ear monitors during our service, but also send up t 6 mixes through wedges for practise, and various facility hires. the dlive handles this fine, i use either the iPad app or director software to remote control the holdback mixes from up on stage during sound checks. our band noticed the big jump in quality of the iems using het MEs; we simply send a post EQ send from each channel out to the band; not perfect as they get the FOH EQ settings, but no one has had any issues with it, and it saves a few channels; my only beef with this is that you are restricted to sending all channels using the same point in the signal chain (i.e. you can’t send some instruments post EQ and others post Compressor). there is no problem sending an aux out to the MEs though if you want to give a precanned mix to the band.

    we use dante to do some recordings; quite easy to setup, and comes in handy for training. just record a service in multi track, then you can playback to show new recruits how to operate the desk in a controlled setting.we use a simple stereo recording using Dante for all of our services; again once setup it just works.

    hope this helps

    #68432
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    Bill in TN,

    A bit more info on our install: We have been expecting to build a new facility for a number of years and was hoping our ML-4000/48 would get us through until the new place was up and running with digital consoles/Dante splits/etc. But, that was not to be. The ML began a slow death after approximately 17 years of hard use (no complaints from me. It was a good console that has now been repaired and living a second life in another facility.) We bit the bullet and purchased the dLive 7K with DM 64 knowing it will go with us to the new facility. With it, we went to ME-1s for ears (and we have four mixes on stage as well.) It was a very smooth transition for our rym section (prior to the MEs, everyone was using HotSpots and amps on stage), and we’ll be adding praise team and orchestra to the list of ME-1 users in the new building. We are currently on a copper split for broadcast, but will certainly go Dante in the new place. Not quite sure what console setup we will go with for broadcast/recording purposes, as they want to get into some serious multi-track (ProTools) recording.

    Again, let me know if you want to see the dLive in action. This is a console that grows on you in that the more you use and tweak it, the better it gets.

    #68435
    Profile photo of Jay
    Jay
    Participant

    Bill,

    An assortment of observations to consider:

    – An outside contractor is always good to have. Make sure they understand dLive well and are well versed in Dante networks. As easy as Dante is for a small system, it has to be well designed and configured for a larger campus.

    – Dante on the ULXD. You won’t get some of the tight integration that the CLx series has, but it will greatly simplify connections.

    – Monitors don’t have to be “all from FOH inputs” or “all from duplicate inputs”. Use what works and remember you can change it. I have a show that is 70 house, 40 monitor (ME-1 and wireless IEM).

    – Consider SoundWeb London or Q-SYS for a backend DSP to handle your array, fills, delay and hearing assist. It takes away the risk of someone doing something wrong on the console, and for most venues I’m in, it is required to be tied to fire alarm to shut the audio down on alarm.

    – Dante should very much be considered. In addition to the ULXD’s, you can also directly drive SoundWeb/Q-Sys. It also makes recording pretty easy as long as you stay in channel counts. Note that if you are mixing inputs and drive lines then the virtual soundcheck needs to be setup carefully otherwise you will lose your drive lines.

    – For Monitors, as was mentioned above – iPad, Director or you can add a C-series console later if it is really needed.

    – Consider if a DM48 + DX168 makes sense to better locate some of the inputs.

    – The Soundgrid card, even if you don’t need Waves, makes a great Virtual Soundcheck interface (128×128@96) and works great with Wavetool.

    Good luck and please keep us posted.

    Jay

    #68564
    Profile photo of Bill in TN
    Bill in TN
    Participant

    Hello,

    Thanks for the replies. I checked the box to get email updates and thought no one was getting back but now realize it was in spam folder. Sorry I wasn’t back sooner but really appreciate all the good advice.

    Barry, I’m in Cookeville TN and one of our crew has family in Cleveland so a trip there would be perfect since he knows the way:) If I can message you or you message me to exchange phone numbers maybe we can set that up. Our worship leader, myself and the other guy would all be interested in spending some time to see what you are doing.

    I’m not against the idea of a contractor. But we’ve had some previous poor experiences with their work and have had to essentially redo and learn most of what they didn’t bother to do or tell us. As such we’ve become pretty self sufficient but open to the idea. One reason I’m against some is they push a particular product, probably the one they make the most $ on. I would like to determine on our own what we think is the best for us. Now if anyone suggests a group that would help us settle on the right system we would be willing to talk to them and not against professional install and set-up.

    I have been looking for suggestions on the DSP to replace our EAW processor and will handle a speaker upgrade when we get to that. I sort of thought DLive could do that but will head the advice as most sources suggest dedicated. Thanks.

    We are an all volunteer crew with no pros or formal training. But like I said we’ve learned to do anything everything on our own and I think we could handle it. One thought I’ve had is that we run to DLive from our splitter to replace monitor world before we even change over the house. I’m thinking we could get all the ME up in the first step, learn to use pads for monitors, make sure we get everyone on stage happy then transition over to include FOH a few weeks later. FOH is actually easier than the stage in our environment.

    I have never personally used Dante or set anything up. However, I’ve done far more complicated with industrial control networks and local/remote I/O and all that stuff for PLC’s so the Dante Networks look incredibly easy to me. I am planning to buy a new dedicated PC to begin looking at some of this and replace my ancient Dell laptop I used with the EAW processors and a few other things. Everything newer is better and more intuitive and I’m anxious to learn.

    I wanted to hear others agree Dante is the way to send wireless mics in and send channels out for record or broadcast to our little studio. I was wondering if it made sense then to split our I/O and it may. From my research the only potential issue I see is the 64 limit which is why I was asking if you can make a FOH subgroup an output channel in the Dante network. It would significantly reduce the number of channels to pay attention to when recording and to be honest our guys who record are not that serious about mixing. So fewer is better there and a decent live mix for broadcast to other parts of the building with ability to record and mix later makes the most sense I think. We will probably need a new computer there or consider a control surface again. Anything that accepts Dante should be the right approach.

    So I am also a little confused about the Dante signal. I assume something like wireless is a dry (gain only) source in to DLive but what are the options for channels out of DLive. Is it just post gain or post other dsp or you chose where?

    Also I hesitate to ask what computer or surface people prefer for stage use. It’s like asking the Ford or Chevy Truck question, the answer might be Dodge 🙂

    Thanks again everyone, you are all very helpful.

    o another Dante question I asked the question

    that I also ran a

    So one other piece of advice if you will

    #68582
    Profile photo of matthewsteward
    matthewsteward
    Participant

    Bill,
    We are approx 6 months into using our new dLive system at thechurch.at in Tulsa, OK. We have a S7000 paired with DM64 and DX32 for FOH/Monitors. We use all wireless IEM’s that sit in a rack on stage with the DM64 and DX32 expander. We went with a Waves Soundgrid One Server which allows 128 channels at 96 KHz to and from any computer connected to either the mix rack or console. We also added a Dante card so we could send signal anywhere in the facility or eventually over IP to our other campuses if we need to. This has given us effectively 96 analog inputs + 64 Dante from stage, and 32 analog + 64 Dante outputs to stage. With the newest firmware update you are now able to connect two console/surfaces to one mix rack so we have already looked at renting or eventually purchasing a smaller interface for monitors for big events. The consoles share the 64 busses of the dLive system but you can setup users to only see certain portions of the available I/O and Channel setup.

    Two things to remember with Dante is: One, it is a auto setup network so you don’t have to create network ranges and manually assign IP’s like a computer environment. In fact it works best letting each device assign its own IP. Two, you get a max of 64 ins / 64 outs with Dante through the dLive system.

    Our Broadcast room has a DM32* paired with a C3500. This allows us to use the digital Tie Lines over A&H Giga Ace Network (96 KHz) to send all the FOH stage inputs directly to Broadcast with no additional splitting hardware. FOH sets the initial preamp gain and then Broadcast uses a -24dB to +24 dB trim to adjust as needed. Broadcast also has Waves and will be adding its own Dante card soon so all I/O will be available to each console/mix rack with zero cabling or analog hardware.

    * This was for two reasons. First because at the time of our install you could only pair one console with one mixrack. Second was so we could eventually convert a large meeting room adjacent to our broadcast mix room into a recording studio for both post-production projects and controlled live inputs during a worship service like strings or group vocals. FOH has access to all 32 Ins in broadcast using the Tie Lines from Broadast to FOH.

    For Multitrack/Virtual Soundcheck we have iMacs in each location that use a single ethernet connection to multi-track 64 channels of audio and channel process with Waves plugins an additional 64 channels of audio simultaneously.

    We use iPads to self-mix the IEM’s because we had terrible luck with the original Aviom system and prefer to not invest in the ME-1 system versus a third console eventually.

    If you have any questions feel free msg me or reach out to Josh Stephens (Technical Director) at thechurch.at.
    If you have any questions or are looking for an AV contractor to help you through your transition I highly recommend Amplio Audio ampliosystems.com. They are our install contractor and they are World Class!!

    #68584
    Profile photo of Bill in TN
    Bill in TN
    Participant

    Matthew… It sounds like you are few steps beyond where we are or will likely be in next few years. However it is good to know what it takes to go to the next level. I see you run a second DM in broadcast so you can have full control over DSP I guess but the Giga Ace network sends everything from stage so you could have used a DM0 I guess? Or do you have other reasons to need some physical I/O there.

    Also, I was just on the phone with a company in Tulsa we work with but haven’t been there in a few years. If only I needed to be there I would ask to visit you. I am trying to put together a couple field trips for our team but OK is a long way from home.

    Windsock… I think we really want to replace our old Aviom with ME if we settle on A&H… probably. Thanks for some clarity on how you can choose the where that comes from in the signal chain. I think it would be rare we really need a duplicate channel with unique DSP but it is possible I guess. Post EQ is probably the right spot for our players either way.

    Jay… Also very helpful stuff and I had never heard that speaker output should be tied into fire system. We maybe should consider that? Seems you confirmed a couple other things for me too.

    We are considering a contractor and still have time to talk to others. We are still some time out but the good news is that it’s looking like we might move the project up a little.

    Also… Sorry for the meaningless stuff I started to type and didn’t erase there at the end of last post.

    #68585
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    Bill,

    Did you receive my contact information?

    #68635
    Profile photo of Bill in TN
    Bill in TN
    Participant

    Barry, I did finally get to the PM and I will be giving you a call.

    Everyone, researching some of the various suggestions and it’s all making some more sense with the pieces coming together. If we do our own install I will NEED to know the system really well and if we use a contractor I want to know we are NOT getting sold something we really don’t NEED.

    #78401
    Profile photo of Topher
    Topher
    Participant

    Just curious as to how this install went

    #78430
    Profile photo of Bill in TN
    Bill in TN
    Participant

    Hi,

    Where to start… It has been more work than I imagined but more or less fun stuff. More work not because dLive is too complicated but because I cleaned up or changed almost everything in the process. The actual dLive part was not much more than 2 sets of Cat6 between the Surface and Mixrack and 2 sets to each side of the stage from Mixrack plus two small switches for redundant Dante at the surface. Some of those long runs were a challenge because of the building and one of the other team helped me with it. I also moved our processors from FOH to the amp room next to mix rack. The new Mix rack sets right underneath our old splitter.

    Our FOH went from console plus two 4′ outboard racks nearly full to dLive with a 4 space rack having 3 ULXD quads and a media player next to it then a PS, Intercom and a couple broadcast devices under the bench. So clean by comparison. I removed several snakes and converted a few for other uses so that we could eliminate many of the old wires running all around and behind the old racks.

    About the time I thought I was nearly done we then replaced our drum enclosure and flipped our rhythm and orchestra to opposite sides of the stage from where they started. So there’s more work unrelated to dLive with cleaning up all the stuff going to the input rack and sending it all into dLive but we basically kept all the copper from our stage. Extra Cat6 is there for future and we only NEED it for ME right now.

    Monitor world is gone. Nothing there but an Aviom switch and an IP8. We used our old Avioms for orchestra players and matched the 16 channels in the ME. ME hub feeds 8 ME-1’s on the other side of the stage. Many ME channels are grouped inputs so you can mix things within a group while Aviom just gets a group or individual feed. All easy to configure from Surface now. I’d still like a remote power up and down for the ME-U and a couple other things on the stage but everything else starts with one switch on two small sequencers and the big 100 AMP sequencer for the amps. We used to have two separate sequences for FOH and Monitors.

    The details is where you can get hung up and I don’t think any contractor would have done all the little things I did. Not knocking them when you can’t do it yourself but if you can you can really do it to your likely and make it clean as possible. I’ve even made basic drawings for the networks and sequencing and all new notes for patches and so on. This way we understand it all in case we need to troubleshoot.

    We are incredibly happy with the sound and capabilities. I can’t explain it but everything sounds better and we haven’t touched our processor settings or speakers. Our house send is also completely flat right now. We get more sound from things that used to be our perennial feedback problems and it’s just cleaner. The GL’s were good consoles but maybe all the long runs of wire and splitters and such contributed to degradation in sound and just cannot compare to digital at 96 kHz. I think the longest copper is from far side of stage and 100′. Some of our old conduits for snake ran underground and I imagine that by the time it went from stage to splitter to FOH and back again we were pushing 500′. I also suspect some of those underground conduits have filled with water. I know the old network conduit had because I pulled it a long time ago and lined it with plastic water pipe to protect the Cat5. I will run nothing new in the old underground conduits.

    We are still working out how we will do all our production but have temp Dante to a Mac and aux send through our old splitter (the only thing we are using it for) so we can record the basics either way. Future we will try to record everything and be able to re-mix later. I’ve really only run sound a couple times myself and have focused on making sure everything is working right and been mobile with Director.

    I’ll recommend dLive to anyone if it fits their needs and think it was possibly the best choice for us. Anyone passing through Cookeville TN welcome to see what we’ve done.

    Did I mention I also put an new SQ5 in our Fellowship Hall and SQ6 in Youth Center. All of this over the past 6 weeks I guess. My wife says she’ll be glad to have me back again and we are headed out for vacation next weekend.

    Maybe that covers most of it 🙂

    #78431
    Profile photo of Bill in TN
    Bill in TN
    Participant

    Forgot to mention I started a new post once we had it up and running with a few new questions and sorry if I should have kept it all in one thread. But I’ve had so much ‘fun’ with this project I don’t mind recapping it again 🙂

    #78477
    Profile photo of Steffen R
    Steffen R
    Participant

    Bill, keep going… ask your questions
    we are happy to help, if we can 🙂

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