WPCC Audio Class 2/2010 Simple Set-Up 1. Sound Board 2. Power Amps 3. Speakers 4. Microphones and Instrumentation 5. Snakes/Cables/Plugs 6. Devices A. Sound Board 1. Soundboard – also known as a mixer, sound console, “console”, or “board” is the main machine in the “PA System” a. The board is used to mixes all the sound that is going to be amplified and sends it out to speakers for the audience to hear the sound. b. The board consists – from left to right i. Individual Channel Mixers – with inputs for mics or instruments – the amount of channels depends on the type of board. ii. The right part of the board affects all the channels – any adjustments to the faders/sliders or knobs in this area will affect all the channels equally. c. The top part of the right side of the board consists mainly of “Out”s including: i. Main Out ii. Monitor Out iii. Device Out iv. There are also a few “In”s for device playback or sound processor inputs d. The upper middle part of the right side of the board are for processing the sound that is to be heard with control knobs to help the audience as well as the performers namely: i. Equalizer bars ii. Effects processor iii. Control Knobs 2. Channels a. Individual Channels on a multiple “input” board – i.e. 12, 16, 24, etc b. Each channel correspond to a microphone or an instrument c. Each channel controls the volume, the tone, the output to the “mix” of that particular channel’s mic or instrument (input). d. What makes up an individual channel (from top – where the cable is coming into the board – to the bottom – where the individual volume is controlled) i. XLR female/ ¼ inch instrument or mic input – this is where the mic or instrument is plugged in to be amplified ii. Gain/Trim knob iii. Peak Light iv. Equalizer/Frequency knobs v. Send knobs vi. Auxiliary knobs vii. Panning knobs viii. Mute Button ix. Volume fader/slider x. (on the right side of the volume slider) – Solo Button, 1-2 button, 3-4 button, Main button 3. Volume Control a. There are three areas of volume control on a Sound/Mixing Board that controls the “house” volume. i. Individual channel volume slider – controls the overall volume of that channel alone. ii. Gain/Trim knob – (normally the top knob on a particular channel) – slight volume adjustment iii. Main mix fader/slider (with Left and Right Pan.) – This increases or decreases the volume of all channels including their particular mix. b. Faders/Sliders i. A miniature “finger cradle” or a raised bar on a channel or “MAIN” normally found on the bottom part of the board. ii. A fader’s/slider’s up or down corresponds to an increase or decrease in volume (not the quality of the sound, just the volume). 4. The Individual Channel Mix a. There are three areas (there can be variations on these three depending on the extensiveness of the board, but it normally breaks down to these three) where we can “tweak” the sound “quality” of a particular microphone or instrument that is “sent” to the “mix” that the “house” will hear. i. Highs or Treble – this knob (normally located below the “gain” knob) controls the “squeakiness” of the sound of a mic or instrument” – this knob can be described as “thinning” the sound. ii. “Mids” – this knob (normally located below the “highs” knob) can level the sound between the highs and the lows – this knob can be said to be “widening” the sound. iii. Lows or Bass – this knob (normally located below the “mids” knob) can deepen the sound – this knob can be said to “bottom” the sound. b. A knobs right or left turns corresponds to an increase or decrease in its quality or prominence in the individual mix. c. The best individual channel mix is one that has all three areas working together depending on the “engineer’s” “taste”. d. Channel Buttons i. A dedicated, square “MUTE” button, just above the channel slider, mutes the incoming sound of the mic or the instrument preventing that channel from being heard through the house or the monitors. As long as this button is depressed, the channel will not be heard no matter how high the volume slider is set. ii. The Solo button – knocks out all the other channels and primarily accentuates the channel with the solo button pressed. This can also be done by muting the other channels. iii. Two numbered (1-2; 2-4) buttons of the same type as the “Solo” button are below the Solo buttons– these buttons send the sound to the corresponding slider that is adjacent to the Main Volume slider.) If the corresponding number button is pressed, the channel mix will be “sent” to whatever is plugged into to that slider. iv. A dedicated, small, thin, rectangular “MAIN” button to the right of the slider sends that channel’s mix to the house volume (which is controlled by the Main Volume controls – see below.) If this button is NOT down/pressed, the channel will not go to the Main mix – in essence, muting it from the house. v. Example: Current set up: Channel one is the cordless mic. Pressing the MUTE button will mute the sound of that mic. The “Main” button is pressed – the mic will be heard by the congregation once the “MUTE” button is depressed or up. Button 1-2 is pressed this sends the sound to the sliders 1 and 2 which is connected to the CD recorder. The volume level of the recording depends on the “height” of the slider (along with other considerations.) 5. Main/House/Master Mix – Normally the right side of the mixing board a. Furthest to the right of the sound board there are several sliders that “send” the channel mixes to the “house” or to a recording device (CD/Video) or internet streaming for live audio. i. Main Volume – two sliders – one left and one right – for “panning” of stereo sound ii. Mono – one slider – distributes all sound equally to 2 or more speakers iii. “Sends/Outs” Numbered 1-4 – these sliders (one or more) – used as either monitor volume or recording/streaming volume. As mentioned earlier, the dedicated “1-2” or “2-4” button on the individual channel mixers corresponds to these sliders. b. Sensitivity to the volume should be in mind i. The main singer normally is louder than the background singers ii. The music should be just below the volume of the background singers. iii. The preacher’s mic volume should be level where the fluctuation of his/her voice volume is considered. There are speakers that like it loud – adjusting the monitor volume should help him while maintaining or lowering the house volume should help the congregation/audience. The overall volume should be maintained at an easy-listening level. iv. Make sure the volume of sound that you hear is what the “house” hears. Walls can prevent volume recognition (diminishing the true volume of a mix) so be aware of the volume of the sound. If you are not sure about the volume, ask someone that has sensitive ears. c. Pressing the “MUTE” buttons on any given channel will “drop” that channel “feed” from the house/Main mix. Depressing the “Main” button of any given channel will also “drop” that channel “feed” from the house/Main mix. d. You can also change the sound of the mix by adding some effects to any channel through the “Aux” knob. i. With our particular board, there is an onboard effects processors that is digitally expressed through numbers (which is listed on top of the LED display) to the mid upper right hand part of the board.) ii. You must press the knob which will make the LED light blink in order for you to choose an effect. Once you are done choosing, press the knob again which locks it in. iii. The main “Aux” knob just below and to the left of the effects processor, determines the amount of effects you are sending to all the channels. The individual channel’s Aux knobs determine the extent of the effects on that channel alone. 6. Monitor Mix a. Just above and to the left of the Main Volume slider and above the “1-4” sliders are “Send” knobs and “Aux” knobs. Currently, the “SEND” knobs are being used as monitor volumes. i. These knobs correspond to the knobs with the same name and color on the individual channels. b. The monitor mixes help the singers/speakers/musician also hear the music/sound that is coming from the sound board through the floor monitor speakers. 7. “In”s and “Out”s a. The “In” is what is coming into the soundboard and the “Out” is what is coming from the soundboard into a speaker or a device. b. The “In”s are normally mics and/or instruments or playback devices such as CD player, IPOD, computer, etc. They can also be other devices that help the overall sound that will be coming out of the board. i. Whatever you want to come out of the speaker as a sound, has to be plugged in to one of the “In”s. c. The “Out”s are normally speakers, recording devices, streaming devices, other sound equipment that will enhance the sound then send that enhanced sound back into the board through an “In”. i. The main “Out” is connected to the house speakers – may pass through a power amp before going to the speaker – normally Left and Right for stereo sound or “A” and “B” ii. The secondary “Out” is connected to the monitor speakers – may pass through a power amp before going to the speaker – normally Left and Right or “A” and “B” for left and right monitoring of sound where “A” can be for singers and “B” can be for musicians iii. The third “Out” is connected to devices iv. Fourth “Out” can be an ear phone monitoring the mix v. There is also the “Auxiliary” “Out” that is plugged into sound processors via ¼ inch cable and then is “fed” back into the mix and out the main and/or monitor speakers via another ¼ inch cable B. Power Amps 1. If the soundboard does not have an internal powering system, amps are used to power speakers. 2. These consist of an on/off switch, an input jack (board’s speaker out cable comes in to this jack), an output jack (the speaker cable connects here), and some power controls (which amplifies the volume, thus can be used to also increase the volume going into the speakers whether house or monitors.) C. Speakers 1. There are several types of speakers, we only use (as of 2/2010) a two speaker type system a. House speakers b. Monitor speakers D. Microphones and Instrumentation 1. There are many types of mics – but all of them pick up a sound and helps to amplify it once connected to a soundboard that is connected to a speaker. a. Normally, a mic cannot be connected directly to a speaker for amplification because a mic must have a current passing through it to pick the sound. b. Normally a mic plugs into the mixer (or snake if being used) via an XLR cable – via the female end. c. Cordless mics don’t require cables to “plug” into the mixer; it uses frequency to pick up the sound. It is made out of two components: i. The mic itself which needs battery changes every so often – one can normally tell if the battery is dying with the loss of sound quality and the emergence of static/crackling or extraneous noise ii. The base – sets the frequency of the mic and is connected to the mixer via XLR cable (normally), as well as a DC adaptor for power. 2. Musicians use an amp/speaker combo to amplify the sound of their instrument – personal taste is the grading system for volume and equalizer mix, but what the musician hears is normally just what comes out of their amps and is not truly heard by the audience unless the sound is “fed” into the mixing board. a. A “Direct Box” helps facilitate the connection of an instrument amp into the mixer by connecting the “out” of the instrument amp into the “in” of the direct box and then connecting the direct box (normally by an XLR cable) into a snake or directly to the mixing board. b. An instrument can also bypass the use of a dedicated amp and plug directly into the mixer via a direct box leaving the tonal quality of the instrument up to the sound engineer. The musician can then monitor his/her sound via monitor speakers. E. Snakes/Cables/Plugs 1. A “Snake” – is a long extension “cord” for inputting mics, speakers, direct boxes into the sound/mixing board. It consists of the head, the body, and the tail a. Head – normally rectangular that has multiple input (female) jacks for mics as well as output jacks for speakers (both house and monitors) b. The body – is the length of the extension “cord” – the further the mixing board is, the longer the body. There is sometimes quality loss in sound the longer the body is (depending on the quality of the snake) c. The tail – connects to the mixing board. The tail corresponds to the numbering that is found on the inputs in the head of the snake. The numbers can be found adjacent to the jack at the end of the tail. So that a mic that is plugged into #1 on the head of the snake is also #1 on the tail of the snake. 2. XLR cable – are normally used to connect a mic or direct box into the mixer or the snake a. The male end which has three prongs visible under a hub normally connects to the mixer or the snake (a snake will have the female on the head and the male on the tail) b. The female end which has 3 small openings flushed with the hub normally connects with the mic. 3. ¼ (quarter) inch cables – normally used for instruments. 4. RCA cables – normally used to connect devices into the mixing board for either playback or recording 5. ¾ cable – normally used for PC’s, MP3 players with an ¼ adapter into the mixing board. F. Devices 1. CD Player – connects via RCA cables into the mixer via an “In” or input (normally is designated on the mixing board) with a Left and Right for stereo play a. A knob with controls the volume of the player which can be amplified or lowered by the Main volume control of the mixer. b. This knob normally has “CD Player” written underneath it. (Found just above and to the left of the Main faders and just below the “Sends” 2. CD Recorder – connects via normally RCA (or ¼ inch adapters) into the mixing board through an “Out” jack. a. We are currently using the #1 and #2 faders/sliders (to the left of the Main faders) to increase or decrease the output level into the recording device) b. Make sure that all channels that are being used (including channels used for instruments) the “1-2” buttons are pressed to insure that the channel output is being recorded. If the “1-2” button is depressed, the sound will not be “fed” into the device for recording. c. The “earphone” jack of the CD recorder is currently being used to “send” the recorded sound into the 2 channel mixer of the video camera via direct box and XLR cable which is then fed into the Camera for live audio for the video tape recording. d. Our current CD recorder has a large control knob that governs the volume of the recording – which can be used to balance out the volume that is being sent from the mixer into the CD recorder. i. Use recording meter on the center of the CD recorder as a guide on how loud the recording is going to be. ii. Insure that a quietly spoken word is picked up (normally 2-4 bars) yet does not peak continuously when the speaker/singer is loud. iii. Occasional peaking that corresponds to voice volume chances is okay as long as the meter settles down. Continuous peaking hurts the final product of the recording. 3. PC/MP3 players – normally plugs into the mixing board via ¾ plug with adapter. Mute channel if not in use. G. Vocabulary 1. House Volume – what the congregation hears 2. Monitor Volume – what the singers/speakers/musicians hears 3. MAIN – corresponds to the house volume/mix 4. Monitors – corresponds to the monitor volume/mix 5. “The Mix” – the overall sound – tonally and volume-wise – that anyone hears 6. Tweak – to adjust the tonal quality of the sound of a microphone or instrument that will come through a speaker 7. Quality – is the mix of the highs, mids, and lows of a channel. 8. Send/Sent – the “live” sound or the mix that becomes live or is recorded unto a CD/Device. 9. Engineer/Soundman or woman – the person controlling the mix and volume of all the mics and instruments that are sent to the house. 10. Taste – one’s own likes and dislikes 11. Pan – to make the live volume higher or lower to the right or left of the audience for a balanced stereo mix. 12. Drop – to lose the sound/connection 13. Feed – what is being sent to any given outlet 14. Peak – reaching the highest point (or loudness) – normally distorts/damages the quality of sound that is heard.
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