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Need help with setup. Efforts have been exhausted.

The Exhumed DjThe Exhumed Dj Posts: 19
edited August 2007 in PA Configuration Wizard
BACKGROUND INFO
I am part of a three piece band which will be playing live shows within the next month in small venues (clubs, bars, etc.) Our band consists of turntables, drums and electric bass. We are an instrumental experimental rock group.

SETUP
2 Peavey SP4X towers
2 Peavey 218 Subs
2 EV Q66 amps
2 CROWN Ultratech 2020 amps
Mackie CFX-16 mixer
and, last but not least, DriveRack PA (of course).

Now, it is a fairly simple setup. Each speaker is powered by its own amp. It's a fairly heavy duty system. We have the L and R low outputs of the DR going to the CROWN amps for the L and R subs and the L and R high outputs going to the Q66s for the L and R towers. I think this is right. The guy we bought the system from said we should be running one amp per speaker. We have one Q66 amp going to the left tower, 2nd Q66 amp going to the right tower, 1st Crown amp going bridged to L sub and 2nd Crown amp going bridged to right sub. Is this right? wrong? should we be bi-amping?

PROBLEM
My main knowledge lies within recording and producing music in a digital multi-track format. When it comes to live sound setup, I know the basics, but I do not trust my own acquired knowledge to assure myself that we are getting the full potential of sound out of this system. There is basically a staggering amount of uncertainty concerning certain elements of live sound setup. I've done an extensive amount of reading on this site and elsewhere (white pages, former forum, etc.), but when it comes to applying that info into the DriveRack, I'm utterly lost. We've tried doing the setup Wizard and auto EQ with the RTA mic which resulted in horrible sound. We obviously did something wrong, I just don't know where we went wrong.

I went to preset no. 13 and that was the only one I found that gave our system a relatively decent sound, but I just know that it could be so much better. I would much rather have our own built preset instead of using one of the factory presets. For the most part, I know what a crossover does and what it is used for, but I do not know exactly how to apply that info to the PA with the DR. Would our system be 2x4?, 2x6? I'm guessing 2x4, but when we did the Wizard and did all our stuff as CUSTOM, it gave us a 2x6 setup. Like I said, there is lots of confusion and uncertainty concerning the crossover and other elements. Optimization of sound is, by far, the most important to me.

If any of you guys would be so kind as to clarify some things for me and give me proper advice to point me in the right direction, it would be enormously appreciated. I would be happy to provide you with any info that I may have left out.

Thanks,
Paul C.
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Comments

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    you should have ended up with a 2 x 4 setup...assuming all your amps are bridged mono.

    I dont have my DR here so i cant walk you through it.

    Either Dra or Gadget should be able to help you work this out....
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    Thanks for acknowledging my problem.
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    DraDra Posts: 3,777
    Maybe I can help. I'll assume that you are not bi-amping the top cabs since you barely have enough power when bridging them. I could not fine the 2020 on Crowns site. So I have no idea if they are providing enough power. Having said that....


    Wizard
    System set-up
    Speaker: custom / passive
    Sub: custom / mono
    Hi amp: custom
    Lo amp: custom
    EQ: stereo / linked

    This gives you 2 x 3 setup.

    Auto EQ and Feeback : wait till later

    Crossover:
    Lo: Hi-pass 40-45hz (under 2000w go with 45hz, over go with 40) BW18
    Lo-pass 90hz LR24
    X-over gain -0- for now
    Hi: Hi-pass 90hz LR24
    X-over gain -0- for now

    Down the gain structure as per the back of the book and as described all over the forum.

    Set your limiters for speaker protection per the maual. Common settings uses OverEasy 4.

    Play music that you are very familiar with and balance the system by turnind DOWN the louder amps (hi's or low's). You may increase the x-over gain for either band if neccessary, but you will have to redo the gain structure and limiter settings over.

    If you are unable to get the volume you need from the subs without clipping, raise the Hi-pass filter you set. The lower this filter if set the more power you'll need. 50-55hz is very low actually and you'll probably never miss it. Better to sacrfice this area than the entire mix.

    Auto EQ:
    Assuming used indoors.... Try med to start and -0- (flat) curve.
    When done return all freq under 160 and over 700 back to -0- then tune these by ear. Mic can't hear phase problems and that is what will make your sound suck and potentially fry your speakers. Note: any freq's below the Hi-pass should be at -0- regardless. If Med takes too long or says not finished then try Low. If there is a cut at the x-over point then either lower the sub lo-pass or raise the tops Hi-pass to create a separation. The re-do.

    Feedback:
    With the masters down, open all mics that will be in use at the probable levels and positions, with emphasis on the vocals set they are nearest to the mains and most likely will be the hottest. Start at music hi with 6-9 fixed filters and follow the instructions on the screen. If this is not hot enough, then try music med, etc, until you are happy with the volume. Then set the remaining live filters to speech (I like speech because they react faster) and with an auto release of 5 - 20 seconds.

    Delay: Sweep through and listen for the tight spot.
    Compression: don't use
    Sub-Synth: If you don't have to, don't use. If the system is capable let it do what is can on is own. Why add content that is not there? Plus it will cost you amp power.
    PEQ's: Read up on the forum.
    Save when done and name it.

    Hope this helps. Report back.

    DRA
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    Thank you very much for the very detailed \"walk through\". I will report back later tomorrow night once we try this out.

    Thanks again!


    Paul C.
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    Thanks again DRA for your advice. I got a lot of elementary stuff worked out, (feedback suppressor & gain structure) but I still have some questions if you or someone else doesn't mind answering them.

    1. You suggested (during the setup wizard) to make our subs CUSTOM MONO. Now, our bass player goes through stereo channels with various effects on his bass (Bill Laswell/Painkiller type stuff) and he was questioning this. Can we make the subs stereo? I know we physically can set it up that way, I was just wondering why you suggested to make it mono. All in all, we would like to have the subs stereo. I don't know how this would affect the rest of our setup.

    2.--THE BIG ONE--After doing the auto EQ, (with success I guess) I did what you said and fixed the proper frequencies by ear how you suggested. After all was said and done, we were left with this sort of humming sound in our system. Almost sounds like if you were to hold your lips together while smiling and blow outward. It's that sound accompanied with a rumbling crackle-like sound somewhere in the mid to mid-low ranges. It's not a good sound at all. Should we try increasing the high-pass in the x-over? (meaning, slide it to the right more? It's at 90 Hz right now) We just can't figure out how to clean the sound up.

    3. I had read on a post in the past from gadget saying to only do the auto EQ with the cabs. Should I have done this? Or does it not matter since I went back and set the low frequencies (90Hz and below) to zero anyway?

    4. I haven't gotten to the PEQ yet. I'm not sure how much of a difference that will make in the sound (I predict a good bit). I'm still reading up on that.

    5. Finally, (if you're still reading) the Limiter. You said, \"set it per the manual.\" The cabinet speaker manual? If so, what info do I use to apply to the Limiter? You suggested a common setting of OverEasy 4. There is a couple of different places where this info can be selected. Do I select OverEasy 4 for every place where it is applicable?

    We are half way there. With just a little more reading on my part and some more help from you brilliant minds out there, we should have this gigantic task completed.



    THANKS FOR READING AND THANKS FOR YOUR HELP.

    Paul C.
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    DraDra Posts: 3,777
    1- Stereo is fine.
    2- What happens to the sound if the EQ is turned off? Are you playing a CD or instraments when this happens? Did you set the gains for each input to achieve Unity (-0-)? Do you have a pink noise generator or PN on a CD? If not, search there are link to a free download on both sites. Use this to set Unity for the CD. Setting the turntables will be difficult. Try a piece of music that is full banded and consistantly leveled in output. The sound that you described... is it present at all volumes? Is the sound present in the headphones? Both channels?

    If you didn't read it in a post... when auto EQ'ing only use 1 stack to prevent extra problems.
    3- Makes since to me. If you do AEQ outdoors to tune the system flat then it will help you check the x-over point. But for now, top cab is good.
    4- PEQ's help correct natural (permanent problems in the cabs / subs).
    5- See pg 42 of the DRPA manual. Remember use the limiters only and they are in the same menu as the compresoor. You will set a limiter for your highs and lows (2 limiters both with OverEasy 4 and Threashold TBD). The OverEasy 4 is not required, just common.

    Report back.

    DRA
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    Answering your questions:

    Not completely positive, but I'm pretty sure the sound gets worse when EQ is turned off. And yes, we were listening to music from an external cd player plugged into mixer.

    Yes, I have a pink noise disc that I used when setting up the gain structure.

    The sound I described, at first, was only decently audible at a very low volume. As we went through the EQ'ing, the sound couldn't be heard at a low volume anymore but could most definitely be heard at loud volumes (through both channels). When I listen to a piece of electronic music like Björk for example, the bass hit sounds metallic or something. It doesn't sound like the deep thud that it should be. It just sounds horribly messed up.

    I haven't tried listening to the sound through the mixer on headphones. I'm guessing it would sound fine since the problem lies within the DR and PA.

    Thanks again! I will be messing with it again later today and I'll probably be reporting back with more questions.

    Paul C.

    p.s. do you think the sound problem could lie within the x-over settings?
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    DraDra Posts: 3,777
    Don't be offended. Are you sure that the subs and tops are not switched somehow so that the 218's are trying to produce 90 & up?
    Leaving everything as is, turn off the sub amps and unplug the subs at the speaker. This should have the SP4's by themselves. Considering there are no subs, how do they sound? Is that \"sound\" still there? If so, connect the mixer directly to the SP4 amps. How does that sound? If it sound good, then go to these screens and write down all the info shown.
    X-over: all pages
    compressor / limiter: all pages
    GEQ: list all freqs that are boosted or cut more than 6db
    Sub synth: all settings
    Amp attenuators: 10 o'clock, 3 o'clock, etc...

    Cable connections:
    Output High R/L to SP4 amps
    Output Mid R/L not used
    Output Low R/L to 218 amps

    +4/-10 button out for +4

    Change cables if nessessary.

    If sound persists, only plug in 1 speaker at a time and see if it is 1, 2, 3 or all 4.

    DRA
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    The speakers are setup properly.
    (subs: 40Hz-90Hz, cabs: 90Hz-all the way across)

    I will try what you suggested. I won't be able to get you that info until later tonight. Although, I don't understand what you mean by:

    \"+4/10 button out for +4\"
    What is this?

    Thanks,

    Paul C.
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    DraDra Posts: 3,777
    On the back of the unit there is a push button. +4 (out) for pro level balanced gear and -10 (in) for instraments, etc. Regardless of where it is it should sound bad.

    DRA
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    kpippenkpippen Posts: 551
    Not completely positive, but I'm pretty sure the sound gets worse when EQ is turned off. And yes, we were listening to music from an external cd player plugged into mixer.

    Hello Paul,

    The hum you described almost sounds like electrical noise to me... This can be from RF interferance or possibly a ground loop... Is the mixer, DriveRack, amps, and CD changer all powered by the same electrical source i.e. breaker panel?... Do you only have this hum when using the CD changer?... Are you using any DI boxes when the hum is present?... Do you have the hum any time the PA and mixer are turned-on?... Please give as much detail as possible...

    Try this: Without any input devices such as microphones, CD changer, etc., plugged into the mixer and bring your master faders up and see if you have the hum... If so note the position of the faders... If not one by one start plugging-in devices starting with the CD changer (without playing music or instruments) and repeat the process... Post your results...

    Kevin
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    kpippenkpippen Posts: 551
    Paul,

    After reading this thread once again I have another suggestion: if this sound only appears while playing music disable the limiters and see if it goes away... If it does...re-enable the limiters but disable the PkStop+on and AutoOn artifacts...

    I'm almost willing to bet that this will cure your problem if your other limiter parameters are set properly...:)

    Kevin
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    DraDra Posts: 3,777
    Paul, don't let Kevin confuse you with the Auto limiter. He has a 260. The DRPA doesn't have that function. Do the other things he suggested through, he is an electrical wiz.

    DRA

    PS - Thanks Kevin for taking a look.
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    Thanks for your concern guys. But I think we have a bigger problem on our hands. I did what DRA suggested and totally bypassed the DR.

    I went straight out of the mixer into the cabinet amps (EV Q66s). We had a mic plugged into a channel on the mixer; we talked into it and...low and behold...the sound I heard was still there!

    The sound was only present in the top woofer. So, since we were going straight into the amps and nothing else and the noise is still there, and considering it's only coming out of one woofer on each cab...it leads me to believe that we have a blown speaker. I've heard a blown speaker before and it's very similar to that sound (crackling, incapable of properly responding to frequencies).

    We checked to see if it was the mixer--we did the same hook up with just the subs and everything sounded fine. I don't know how we could have blown the speakers, but who knows...I'm new to live sound setup.

    We're going to have a professional come look at it, just in case. If you have any comments about this, feel free to share.

    Paul C. :cry:
  • Options
    it's only coming out of one woofer on each cab


    everything set for flat response on the mixer?

    seems too coincidental for two cabs to have the exact same problem....

    did you double check the polarity of all your cabling?

    if your amps are bridged, did you use the proper outputs?

    on my Crown amps I have to rewire the amp end of each speakon +1 & +2 vs. -1 & +1 >>>>>>>>>>>check the owners manual for the amps in question....

    just taking wild guesses.........
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    I'll check it out.

    I was thinking the same thing about the coincidence. It does seem very strange that both speakers have the same problem, which makes me think that they might not be blown.




    Paul C.
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    a quick check without messing with wires would be to just switch it(the bridged amps) back to stereo and plug the speakon into the appropriate channel....just to verify the speakers are ok.
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    If your suggesting to have both speakers coming out a single amp, I'm not sure I can do that. I don't think a single EV Q66 is powerful enough to power both of our Peavey SP4Xs.

    I'm just going by what DRA told me. In the first reply from DRA, he said that we barely had enough power when bridging them. So, I'm assuming that running two cabs off of one amp is out of the question.



    Paul C.
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    After reading your post again...do you mean to just have cabinet A (for instance) coming out of the channel A output instead of BRIDGED, and doing that for both amps? I'm not trying to sound stupid-just trying to clarify your advice.



    Paul C.
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    After reading your post again...do you mean to just have cabinet A (for instance) coming out of the channel A output instead of BRIDGED, and doing that for both amps? I'm not trying to sound stupid-just trying to clarify your advice.



    Paul C.

    yes....it wont get as loud but you should be able to do this without rewiring the speakons, and verify whether the offending noise is still present.....if its gone, then you need to rewire the speakon for bridged operation per users manual....ONLY the end thats plugged into the amp!!

    it would be a good idea to mark the end as BRIDGED so it doesnt get used elsewhere....
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    I will try it out.

    What do you mean by \"rewiring the speakon\"?
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    Nevermind the last post. I found a visual diagram from CROWN on how to do it. This was something I knew nothing about!




    Paul C.
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    I will try it out.

    What do you mean by "rewiring the speakon"?

    the typical speakon has 4 terminals, -1, +1, -2, and +2.

    Brand new off the shelf both ends are wired -1 (negative) and +1 (positive) this is for a single channel(stereo operation)

    on my Crown amps bridged I have to wire (just one end) the negative to +1, and the positive to +2. This is typical of Bridged where both channels drive the speaker using only the + side of each channel.

    your users manual should have a diagram showing proper connections via speakon for normal and bridged operation.
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    Nevermind the last post. I found a visual diagram from CROWN on how to do it. This was something I knew nothing about!




    Paul C.

    The amps driving the tops are made by EV.

    Make sure you check that particular manual, just because Crown does it that way doesnt mean theyre all that way.......
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    OK.
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    never mind......the bridge output is already set up for -1 & +1 (i looked it up in the manual)my crown doesnt have a separate bridged speakon connector, but the EV does..........

    you shouldnt have to mess with the speaker cables.....

    dunno what else to tell ya........
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    Yeah, I just got done looking at the manual myself. I was hoping that that's what the problem was...guess not.
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    have you tried swapping out the xlr cables? and/or speaker cables?

    maybe even trying out the Crown amps on the tops instead of the EV's?
    Got another mixer handy?

    Ya know what Im gettin at, right?

    try every available combination of what you have on hand to verify that theres really something wrong with just the tops.......
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    Sadly, we've actually tried all of that stuff, and then some. We got this guy coming over to verify whether or not they are actually blown. I still don't think that they are. We've gotten great sound out of these before, until recently.

    I originally made a post to relieve my DR problems. Now, I have another big hurdle to get over before I can even continue working on the DR.

    What started out as a simple DriveRack post, turned into me searching for answers regarding my (possibly) blown speakers. Sad.




    Paul C.
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    DraDra Posts: 3,777
    Many years ago I had SP4's. The top 15 is full range up to the horn and the bottom 15 is cut at 300hz (I think) to avoid phase cancelling in the mid ranges. I wonder if the crossover is the problem. Pull the top 15 out and run it straight to the amp. That will tell you if it is the speaker or the crossover. Good news is if it is the speaker, you can buy baskets and replace them yourself for under $200 for the pair. A reconing would cost that much or more for each speaker. If it is the x-over, it depends on if the damage is obvious, but you may can fix it by ordering parts and replacing them. Most Peavey dealers have somone on staff that can repair the x-overs. If it is the speakers and you are going to replace the baskets yourself, let me know and I'll give you a few tips.

    Speaker failure happens. I've had an amp go DC and had to replace 8 horn diaphrams in the middle of a weekend bluegrass festival.

    By chance have you turned off the DRPA with the amps powered up? You need to invest $20-$30 for a UPS batery backup. Read up on this subject.

    DRA
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