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Thread: Mic Level

  1. #1

    Mic Level

    Using a standard dynamic mic (SM58) I'm noticing that for live vocals the HA gain needs to be at approx 5 O'Clock setting. Then, if a singer gives it large into the microphone it clips almost instantly, creating distortion. Anything less than 5 O'clock on the HA doesn't seem to have the volume necessary to bring the vox out enough from the faders.

    I know I could compress the vox up but that also makes it clip.

    Any advice?

    thanks

    Carl.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I run most vocal mics around 10 to 2 o'clock on the gain and the faders around zero.

    Are all other settings at default?
    Is it being sent to the stereo bus, or somewhere else? Is the Main fader near zero?
    Is the amp turned up?
    Is the vocalist very quiet most of the time?
    Do you have the same problem with all vocalists? Do instruments or CD player come through all right?

    Compression will not stop it from clipping, it will only lower the volume after the HA.

  3. #3
    Carl,

    Unfortunately its pretty difficult to solve your problem without knowing a lot more information. JoelMac asked some very important questions that would need to be addressed before anyone could accurately present a solution. For me, I have never had to set the gain beyond the 2-3 o'clock position and that would be for a pretty light vocalist. My guess would be that there are other factors contributing to your lack of volume. Could the mic be bad, bad cables, speaker volumes too low if powered speakers are being used, faders not at Unity, routing not setup correctly? Without knowing the answers to these questions, it will be tough to help solve your problem.

    It seems odd that if you lower the gain below the 5 o'clock position, you couldn't get enough volume seeing how easy it is to clip when in the 5 o'clock position. If your meter shows a strong level in the 3 or 4 o'clock position but safely under the clipping stage, then it would make sense that it is the output levels that are the problem. If the 3 or 4 o'clock position shows a significantly lower meter level than the 5 o'clock position, then there is something wrong at the gain stage level, possibly an issue with the board. These are all just guesses without knowing any more. Hope this helps!
    If it can't be heard, it can't be Good!

  4. #4
    I've never had a vocal gain above 12:00 on any analog mixer. Something is very wrong with the gear or your gain structure (one or more things are turned down far too low).

  5. #5
    Here in Europe, 5pm is about as a late as knob can be, it's close to number 11 on a marshal stack, agree there is a definately a problem here.

    Let's work backwards, what levels are the master faders on, and what amp and speakers are you using?

    Kev

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Padrick View Post
    I've never had a vocal gain above 12:00 on any analog mixer. Something is very wrong with the gear or your gain structure (one or more things are turned down far too low).
    With our wireless mics, I usually have the gain at around 12-3 o' clock. Sometimes, the transmitting gain on the vocal mics can be set too low, or there is interference which causes you to require more gain on the desk. This being said, anything more than the 3 o' clock position means that something needs to be looked at!
    Last edited by Ryan Hammond; 08-15-2014 at 09:27 AM.

  7. #7
    As everyone else has already eluded to, there are a number of things that need to be addressed--everything to bad mics or cables to improper system gain structure. Assuming that all cabling & mics are good and that your system gain is setup correctly (what Kev & JoelMac are eluding to), there are only a few other things to check out.

    Is there any chance that you have selected "HA Gain Split" on the Setup/Preamps page and what you are actually adjusting is gain trim instead of preamp gain? Off-hand, I can think of a few possible scenarios where, with the console in "HA Gain Split" mode, the preamp gain is set either exceptionally low or exceptionally high in conjunction with an improperly set a noise gate, where you might experience the clipping you are getting. Those are just "shots in the dark!"

  8. #8
    I didn't realise he was on a digital desk

    I am only using analogue but I work backwards, I do big outdoor gigs and my pa is well too small, so I put my mixer master faders on close to full, the mic fader at 0 and i sing at full belt while adjusting the mic gain, this is the way I have always worked, gain is as low as possible and less chance of clip, incredible how many guys work with the masters below half and turn, the mic gain up and wonder why everything is in the red when more people roll up and they continue to crank the gain rather than let more out on the main. I am not suggesting my way is right by the way, but it works for me.

    Kev
    Last edited by kev tyler; 08-16-2014 at 06:45 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by kev tyler View Post
    I didn't realise he was on a digital desk

    I am only using analogue but I work backwards, I do big outdoor gigs and my pa is well too small, so I put my mixer master faders on close to full, the mic fader at 0 and i sing at full belt while adjusting the mic gain, this is the way I have always worked, gain is as low as possible and less chance of clip, incredible how many guys work with the masters below half and turn, the mic gain up and wonder why everything is in the red when more people roll up and they continue to crank the gain rather than let more out on the main. I am not suggesting my way is right by the way, but it works for me.

    Kev

    Well, if it works, it works! For best gain structure, I've always been taught to keep the master at unity and mix so that everything is near unity. Obviously, you won't have everything at perfect unity, but when I have everything dialed in, I never have a fader all the way at +10dB or down at -40dB lol.

  10. #10
    I didn't think he was on digital either. If it's an analog controlled gain stage (Presonus, old Yamaha), I think 12:00 should still be about right. Not sure if I've seen a digital stage that had what I'd call "o'clocks".

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