Run Out of Groups – How about Using a Compressor?

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of GrahamF GrahamF 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #98882
    Profile photo of GrahamF
    GrahamF
    Participant

    Hi All,

    I am setting up a layered structure on the GLD-80 in our church. Ideally, I would like to have three groups :

    1. Drums and bass.
    2. Other instruments: piano, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, cello, oboe…
    3. Vocals.

    I plan to use compression on each group to glue it together and also inserting group reverb. I am assuming that each group may need a different type and amount of reverb, but there are not enough FXs to apply to individual inputs. Band inputs will no longer go directly to Main LR or the live stream.

    Unfortunately, we have so many in-ear monitors and speaker outputs that I am struggling to make enough space for the third group. Therefore, at the moment I am limited to two groups – one for instruments and one for vocals. I am trying out the two group model for the first time tomorrow – no pressure! I am hoping that we can squeeze in another group, but I’m looking for other options as well.

    One possibility might be to use the MultiBD3 compressor. I could set the crossover frequencies to 20Hz and 18kHz and Slope 6dB/octave, effectively turning it into a normal compressor. I could set fairly gentle compression on it and then feed say the drums and bass through it, en route to Main LR and the live stream. I could use make-up gain as a rather crude volume control, or just raise/lower channel inputs up to drive it harder/softer. If I wanted drum reverb, I could send it from each drum input to the reverb unit and return it to the compressor.

    Do you think that would work from a functional and usability point of view?

    Thanks,

    Graham

    #98884
    Profile photo of SteffenR
    SteffenR
    Participant

    I don’t understand what you are doing with the reverb…

    What is your bus configuration?

    #98892
    Profile photo of Jeff
    Jeff
    Participant

    Agreed, we need to know what your current layout is to envision this. Are you using the 6 effects rack slots for individual channels? And separate groups for each set of speakers (and how many speakers are you running to?).

    Typically you would have an Effect that has its own mix, i.e. vocal reverb, instrument reverb, chorus, delay, etc and you can choose what channels to have affected by it by adding it to that effects “mix”. You can then send that mix to the house, group, DCA whatever. Personally I use a DCA so that raising and lowering the DCA also does the same for the effect.

    In Ear-wise, just throwing this out there, we got the ME-1’s with our GLD after having Avioms with our previous mixer, and as much as the Avioms were an improvement over wedges, the ME-1 was 1000% the improvement with its 40 channel capability and the fact that it uses up no groups on the GLD. It’s just like having a pre-mixer snake split for each musician, and they can be set to not be affected by Fader or Mute actions so they are completely independent. You can even have groups on the ME-1’s so they can have each of the 16 buttons control either an individual channel or a group of channels.

    Hope this helps,
    Jeff

    #99175
    Profile photo of GrahamF
    GrahamF
    Participant

    Hi Steffen,

    My apologies for taking so long to reply to your question. The editor is telling me that all the buses, mixes and FXs are used up with the configuration below.

    I am allocating separate reverb to each group. Taking the example of vocals, I send each vocal channel to the vocal reverb and return it from the reverb to the vocal group. Each group goes to both LR and the stream.

    We have a Main LR bus, stereo aux bus for the live stream, stereo matrix for a fill-in LR pair inset into the stage, 5 x mono in-ear mono aux buses, 2 x mono aux foldback buses (some performers and the church service leaders are not comfortable with in-ear monitors) and two other church zones with mono speakers. By combining the two zones, we may have just enough buses left for 3 x stereo groups.

    We plan to run 5x send/return stereo FX channels: reverb for each group (bass and drums, other instruments, and vocals), delay for vocals, and separate reverb for the live stream (it is needed, because the church has a lot of its own building reverb, so group reverbs need to be tailored conservatively to work in church). That leaves just 2 x mono effects available. We will probably insert them as Dynamic EQ or multi-band compressors in vocal channels – if they remain spare.

    If we decide we need to split the zones in two, to allow independent control, then I will have to sacrifice a group. In that scenario, maybe a stereo compressor would be an alternative. Obviously, it lacks the volume control of a group, so I am hoping I do not need to do it.

    I suggested buying ME-1s to free up the in-ear auxes, but the cost of five of those is too much for us at the moment.

    #99178
    Profile photo of GrahamF
    GrahamF
    Participant

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks very much for your helpful suggestions.

    I have replied separately to Steffen and answered some of your questions there. I am working exactly along the lines you suggest with effects allocated to each group. This will enable me to configure them independently to suit the channels in each group.

    I would love to have ME-1s, but we can’t afford them at the moment. Some performers use iPads to control their own foldback.

    Graham

    #99180
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    Another option is to get a speaker DSP unit and basically replace your console matrixes with it. This way you can get rid of the front fill aux as well as the other two church mono channels from the console (and let the DSP handle it). You still need the LR output to send to it, but it will allow you to free up the other busses. We have the Driverack 260 and do similar things. I wouldn’t want to recommend a specific model without really looking into your system and what you needed, but this is an option that would cost perhaps $500-1000 to implement and it would free ups some busses.

    #99189
    Profile photo of GrahamF
    GrahamF
    Participant

    Brian,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I should have mentioned that our LR output goes to a Behringer DCX2496 UltraDrive Loudspeaker Management System, which seems to be similar to the Driverack w60. It is connected to two Electro-Voice (EV) CPS 4.5 500 watt per channel 4 channel amplifiers.

    The amplifiers drive two subwoofers (I am assuming they don’t have in-built amps, but I don’t know) and two pairs of main speakers. One pair is some way in front of the stage and the other pair is halfway to the back. The front fill speakers recessed into the front of the stage fill the gap for the rows at the very front, which have the main speakers behind them. It is far from ideal, but we are limited by the cross shape of the traditional church building.

    Unfortunately, the loudspeaker management system has only three stereo outputs, when we really need it to have four. Controlling the front fills separately doesn’t work very well, but again fixing the problem costs money that is not available at the moment.

    Graham

    #99190
    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C
    Participant

    Your DCX2496 has 6 outputs, maybe that need to streamlined a little in it’s
    configuration.

    I’m getting kind of lost on your reverb routing description.

    Instrument, vocal, ect. sub groups can have compression applied to the entire
    group. FX like reverb are better applied at the channel and then for instance
    assign the vocal FX return to the vocal sub groups.

    Keep in mind channels that you assign to a sub group and where that sub group
    is assigned to the main LR mix you need to un assign those channels from
    the main LR mix at the channel routing level.

    #99195
    Profile photo of SteffenR
    SteffenR
    Participant

    The question to me is, what you “need” the groups for?
    Just to sum the signals with the reverb?
    You can do that on the master as well and if you need to get control over similar instruments with one fader you can try out DCA’s
    and you can have a DCA for FX returns…
    and you can easily use DCA’s with the spill function to group your layouts together…

    #99244
    Profile photo of GrahamF
    GrahamF
    Participant

    Thanks Steffen,

    The primary purpose of the groups is to apply compression across sets of similar inputs. The idea is that this should help us to keep the vocals above the instruments, without having to ride the faders. I am also hoping that it will glue those sets of inputs together in the mix.

    We use DCAs mainly for muting, but your suggestion of using them for controlling volumes of many inputs is also interesting.

    I checked the GLD-80 Screen Reference Guide, but I could not find DCA spills. A Google search found a few requests for this feature to be added to the GLD-80, so I’m wondering whether it is implemented on the GLD-80? I have found references to it on other Allen & Heath digital mixing systems.

    Thanks,
    Graham

    #99257
    Profile photo of SteffenR
    SteffenR
    Participant

    Damn…. we talk about the GLD…. my fault. It has no DCA spill. I was at the SQ.

    #99299
    Profile photo of GrahamF
    GrahamF
    Participant

    Steffen,

    No worries, thanks for clarifying.

    Graham

    #99311
    Profile photo of SteffenR
    SteffenR
    Participant

    Any solution now?

    #99312
    Profile photo of GrahamF
    GrahamF
    Participant

    Hi Steffen,

    Thanks very much for asking. We have combined a few output mixes in less critical areas off the church, so we have managed to free up capacity for the third group.

    In case you are interested, the design is shown in the attached PDF.

    Thanks,

    Graham

    #99315
    Profile photo of GrahamF
    GrahamF
    Participant

    Show design attached. Unfortunately, I have just discovered that you can’t send from a group to an effect, which means I have to insert some reverb into the stream mix. This is far from ideal, as I don’t want reverb on backing tracks or when the service leader is speaking. Therefore, it will need to be turned off and on, or removed completely.

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