Get to know your venue and make good decisions about mix position.
Arriving At The Venue
Jon and Justin, as visiting engineers at The Plug in Sheffield, explore their territory and assess the tools at their disposal.In this, the introductory video in the series filmed in The Plug in Sheffield, John Burton and Justin Grealy introduce themselves. In the series, Jon and Justin will be going through the PA system from the viewpoint of a visiting sound engineer, from walking in to the venue for the first time to being show ready. In this first episode, the boys discuss the PA system, stage and venue. They meet Adam the “house guy” and investigate his audio cupboard and have a little chat about amplifiers.
Deciding On A Mix Position
Jon and Justin set up the front of house console in The Plug. There are many things that need to be considered when choosing a mix position.In this video Jon and Justin get the mixing desk out and have a little chat about where best to position it. There are many things that need to be considered when choosing a mix position. Bass traps, reflective surfaces, risers, DJ booths and festival mix towers are all discussed as the likely lads get to work setting the desk up.
Testing The System
Jon & Justin investigate the house system in the Plug, Sheffield.Jon and Justin discuss the procedure for testing a house PA system. Firstly, listening tests are carried out using a mono pink noise source and testing one speaker system at a time. Having found some differences in sound between the left and right, Jon and Justin start the logical process of detection, diagnosis and correction, describing the processes they use as they go. After adjusting several components in the system, further listening is required followed by further adjustment until the boys are reasonably happy.
Patch in the outboard rack and understand the desk.
Introducing The Desk
Jon gives us a comprehensive tour of the Soundcraft series 5.Jon introduces the Series 5, Soundcraft’s flagship analogue console and the console we will be using for this demonstration. He explains in some detail “what all the knobs do”. Yes, we do know what they are all for, every last one of ‘em. Jon explains the functions and the labelling on the Series 5 as well as giving us an introduction to the board overall.
The Master Section
Jon gives a comprehensive tour of the Soundcraft Series 5’s master section.He describes the different functions of the console’s many outputs and defines auxiliary sends, sub groups, VCAs,matrix outputs, master inserts and the main L/R buss.
Jon gives us a unit by unit breakdown of the various pieces of outboard in the effects rack.There are several different devices here but generally they will fulfil one of three different roles. The inserts or signal processors such as graphic equalisers, noise gates and compressors, the effects like reverbs and delays and media or playback devices like CD players.
Jon explains how to patch the back of the console. Being a versatile large format console, the patching facilities are comprehensive. You’ve really got to know what you are doing here. Jon describes how to plug up balanced XLR inputs, how the insert send and returns work, and how to send to and return from effects.
Work with all the individual drum channels and mix them in with the overheads.
The Kick Drum
Jon talks us through his approach to the Kick drum, his choice of microphone,how to approach gain, how to set the parameters of an external noise gate,and how to equalise the channel.
The Snare Drum
Jon describes how to use two microphones on the snare drum, one on the top, or batter, head and one on the bottom, or resonant, head to enable the engineer to mix in the direct sound of the snares, which are metal wires stretched across the resonant head with varying degrees of tension. There are phase issues to address here as well as the usual gain, eq, insert and routing decisions to be made.