Hey guys, new to the board here as well as new to the Studio Live Ai boards as well. Just got a new one about a month ago and have been having some issues with getting vocals set up properly. Inputs set properly, no one goes over 50% on the input meters when they are at their loudest. Yet I hell a hell of a time hearing the f/m singer even though her fader is almost all the way up and she makes the PA cabs clip too.
Just to start off with, I loaded one of the F/M vocal presets for her channel. I have played around with all kind of combinations of input vs. fader levels and nothing seems to make it better, only worse. So is this an EQ thing? What could be making her clip the speakers but still not allow her to cut through the mix as she should?
Nope, sure didn't. Looks like that was set to half which, if I'm reading the numbers correctly, would mean it was cutting it by -20db. So I should always have that knob turned up completely?
So that's going to give me a helluvalot more headroom so I can turn her up louder but it still doesn't answer the question about why her channel is clipping the speakers when she's not even getting close to hit 50% on the input meter. That's what's really got me scratching my head.
We will have to search for the reason... The level knob should be turned up fully UNLESS there are reasons to keep the main volume low(er). Anything "too loud" will clip speakers, or better said: the amplifiers. You will need to check how much volume your "speakers" can handle and if there is anything wrong with cables and connectors and any external gear you are using. Clipping should be clearly indicated via red LED's. If you HEAR clipping without a visual indication, the problem is somewhere else.
As a next step I would recommend to recall the "Zero Out"-scene and get rid of any sound processing made. "Clipping" can also be caused by a limiter working too hard and an activated phase button can also cause funny acoustical results. To find this out it makes sense to bring back the console to the status you got it in, hence zeroing out your board.
It is recommended to recall the Zero Out-scene any time you start a new project. You can also write and save your own Zero Out-scene.
You need to select "LINE" level input on your DM 112 instead of "MIC". Also check the "Multiple Factory Preset EQ settings for the DSP crossover system".
They are set to line level and I've gone thru the different EQ settings and chose what seems to be the flattest response curve. There's very little documentation on what each preset on these speakers actually does. But I do have control over boosting or cutting certain frequencies and I've made sure that they are all at 0.
Ok, so I tried all that you suggested and still had the same exact issues with my f/m vocalist using an sm58 beta. But I finally noticed something I hadn't before at this last week's practice, she's a very loud singer and she was also singing with the mic damn near on her lips. So yesterday without anyone else around I had the opportunity to test out singing in that manner with both an SM58 and 57.
No matter what I did, there was almost no setting that I could come up with that would stop an SM58 from distorting and clipping the speaker when sung into loudly with it that close to my mouth. Which is fine cuz I know the 57s are meant to have a really hot signal right up on them, so I switched to the 57 and noticed a massive improvement. I'm still seeing the red clip lights come on but not ALL the time, now it's only happening when a really strong accentuated signal hits it.
So I am beginning to conclude that the majority of the issue is the wrong mic for this particular vocalist. Now the question remains, how can I completely eliminate the clipping? I'm sooo close to having this finally setup the way I need it to be.
SM 58 and SM 57 are basically the same microphones; the only difference is the screen... It looks like you are using a Beta 58A, which is described as "a dynamic, high-output vocals microphone". It delivers more input gain than a SM 58, hence you will see more clipping. A Beta 58A doesn't necessarily meet the needs of your singer's voice, because if its "contoured frequency response". A normal SM58 might be a better choice - or any new(er) vocal microphone. Try several microphones. I bet you will find the "right" microphone for here voice.
When you see the red LED clipping on your board, you URGENTLY NEED to turn gain down until clipping disappears reliably. "Digital clipping" sounds terrible and can not be compared to "analog clipping" (which also should be prevented, but does not affect the sound too bad). Additionally you should use the on board limiter to prevent occasional clipping. Not too much, but enough to "cut" the last remaining peaks. Also the singer can help you by a more balanced singing and/or moving the microphone away a little bit in the very loud passages.
The singers voice is the measure for everything else. Get this gain right and adjust all other gain levels according to it, in order to keep the faders in a constellation that makes sense. Many people prefer to keep all channel faders at "U", which should NEVER include the mains fader, because after all processing there will be much too much level going to the amplifiers and loudspeakers. Keep the mains fader at -20 dB or -10 dB. That should be loud enough...
Thanks for reporting back. It always takes some time to understand things and find reasons. I think you're on a good way. Remember that all levels will be higher in a concert. If you set gain levels, keep this inevitable coming "more input" in mind.
I have a different feeling on what is wrong with your situation.
This sounds more like an issue with power.
First thing to try:
Sound check the female vocalist and get her to the level you desire.
Next, bring up band instruments to the level that just fills in around her.
Lastly, bring up the rhythm section, bass and drums, to blend with the rest.
If this clips your speakers, you don’t have enough speaker. Either get another pair of tops, or replace them with larger, more powerful speakers. A good choice would be ULT12 or ULT15 with a ULT18 under each side. Not sure on what size room you are trying to fill, but if you are clipping a speaker, it usually means not enough rig for the gig.
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