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new PA2 output levels low

ScaleCraftScaleCraft Posts: 15
edited August 2015 in PA General Discussion
Our old, trusty PA died. I found the issue and fixed it, lasted six months, during which time we obtained and mounted a new PA2.

I did all the wizard stuff.
I even obtained an RTA mic...what a mes that was.
Probably the system configuration after the PA2, but we have zero idea what speaker manufacturer to select, as all but two are custom built for the application.
Hanging array, side fill columns on top of reflex subs.

I finally got the installed CAT5e connected to out both router switch, and to the back of the PA2, but my output levels are still way down.

Mackie 32/8, feeding the amp rack into the PA2, then to five Crown amps, which feed out speaker groups.
RTA wants me to raise one side amp level of one group...and not only is it now maxed, a walkaround shows all speakers functional, no discernible difference left to right.

But the levels.

We could draw blood with the PA. All Mackie levels set to unity was all we ever needed.
Now we need trims cranked, channel faders way up, subs up, mains up.
I have so much input on the trim I can get clipping, which I have never had before.

I set up the computer to monitor the PA2, crossovers, check output levels, factory seems to be 0 db. I raised all three to +10, still not enough, and I am reluctant to bury the levels at the PA2 max of +20db.

I don't even want to try to tweak the EQ until I have usable gain levels.
I cannot find any other place to set levels.

I have a half dozen operators, and they are all complaining about the levels.
I've been through the manual, some stuff I do not understand, quite, but most is fine, and I don't see what I have missed.

I am about ready to build a splitter and hook up all my old Rane graphic EQ's and eliminate the PA2 until I get this sorted. (note: not permanent, just temporary)

Lastly, when we light off the computer in the booth, and open the PA2 program, and try to search for the component, it never finds it. I have to manually enter the IP address, then it opens right up. I haven't found a place (yet) to store and save in the program that IP address so we don't have to have a note taped to the side of the mixer with the IP address written down.



  • DraDra Posts: 3,777
    Speaker groups? That doesn't help much. Are you running full range and subs? Highs, mids, & lows (subs)? What?
    How is the PA2 set up?

    I assume that you set up the speakers as custom and the selected the crown amps?

  • High, mid and low.
    The array in the ceiling....no idea how it's wired. Four boxes, allegedly three way, but the biggest speakers are maybe 10's, from my vantage point.
    Set for "crown" amps.
    I know they've done some creative wiring in the ceiling array, as if we kill one amp to said array, odd speakers drop out.
    The side fills were an after addition, as I took one look at the array and knew in this venue they would not work well (and they didn't), but we were stuck with "experts", so later added side fills.
    And that configuration, with a PA, worked perfectly for at least 10 years.
    Select profile ST6, 13 if I recall (not even close to the building right now), but I hate to try to re-set this thing as the system need to be 100% functional for the weekend.
    I've had so much trouble with learning curve on the new PA2 versus the old PA it isn't even funny.
    In was looking for simplicity. This isn't (and that's not a criticism, just not simple for me).
    I'm an old graphic EQ guy and this isn't making sense.
    The input levels on the program seem low. I don't know how to get more input to the PA2 when the Mackie is maxed out.
    Of course, if we have folks tweaking things when I am not there...
  • DraDra Posts: 3,777
    When the Mackie is at unity output, where is the PA2 on the input meters?

  • Less than 1/4 on the input
  • I am guessing someone may have reset the input level pushbutton on the back ("Input Switch")
    I get button pushers and plug pullers all the time.
    Reports of "dead" channels when someone has pressed one line/mic pushbutton on the Mackie, Aviom send on Mackie all pressed fully in instead of first notch, that kind of stuff.
  • DraDra Posts: 3,777
    With the Mackie outputting -0-, the PA2 input should be barely bumping -10. Make sure that the +4 / -10 button is on +4.

  • Okay, tomorrow I shall.
    I have the manual open...just for reference, as this is in the dark, in a rack, with limited access....+4 is in or out?
    My bifocals and a flashlight are had to discern in that space.
  • DraDra Posts: 3,777
    Manual pg 7, section 6 says +4 is out. I am not sure id "out" is "out, or if it is "out" is "flush". Either way, the position that is most out.


    PS - I should disclose that I don't own, nor use a PA2. My experience is with the PA, 260, ZonePro, and recently purchased Venu360 (played with, but not actively used).
  • Okay. When I put this unit in, I set it up as per the manual.
    Today I went on-site and checked. Button out, +4db, level not good (VU meters pegged on Mackie) using my test music.
    Went to the amp room, decided what the heck, pushed it in to the -10db setting, an ohmygawd.
    On purpose I had zero open mics.
    Went back to the Mackie and set the levels way down, and we are out of the red on the VU meters, apparently back to normal.

    So, attenuation button needs to be -10db, not +4db.

    I shall make a note!

  • DraDra Posts: 3,777
    No, it should be on +4. Something else is going on. Do you have the PA2's compressors on by chance?

    Have you tried going from the mixer straight to the amps? How is the volume compared to the PA2 being in line?

  • Before today, going straight to one set of amps gave me normal volume in that set of amps.
    I checked today, compressors and limiters are "off" in the program.

    I know the book says to match the input attenuation to the output of your device (mixed, deck, whatever).

    I'm tellin' ya, we know most folks can discern a 3db change...but if -4 to +10 is a 14db change, that was at least 14db.

    I checked with a flashlight the notation on the back, and sure enough, +4 is "out", shows the button "high", -10 is "in" and shows the button "low".

    Now, one more thing. The PA unit..we have 1/4" plugs coming from the mixer to the amp rack. The PA had XLR inputs. So, there is an impedance matching transformer plugged into the XLR inputs, with a 1/4" adaptor, and the 1/4" feed plugged into that, one left, one right.
    We just swapped it straight over from PA to PA2.
    Since there ar no 1/4" ports on the back of either, it appears this is the way to go.

  • DraDra Posts: 3,777
    OK. Now we are getting somewhere. Impedance matching transformers are ONLY to be used for mic level to line level (lo-Z to High-Z) or visa-versa. XLR connectors do not imply either. They can be either. In this case from a mixer to the processor to amps are all line (high-Z) level. Whether 1/4" or XLR does not matter, except that XLR will be balanced (good) while 1/4" could be either balanced or unbalanced, depending on the actual output and the type (mono / TS or stereo / TRS). If going from 1/4" to XLR, you need an adapter cable, not an impedance changer. The transformer cut the signal and the PA2 -10 switch boosted it back up. Use a standard mic cable between the mixer and the PA2.

  • Except...it worked that way for 10 years + with the old PA.

    I have one XLR-1/4" straight through, no impedance matching. Maybe I can find another.

    I did NOT set the original system up. I do know the PA used to be in a short rack next to the Mackie, but loose lips sink ships...and fiddling fingers mess up settings, so at some point it got moved to the locked amp room.

    For now, -10db works as before (go figure...the old PA has the setting at +4db...it's still mounted in the amp rack, and I looked today).
    WHOLE lot of differences in the two units.

  • DraDra Posts: 3,777
    What I am saying is, that if the old PA was connected with the transformer, it must have been set to -10. At least from here, that is what I see. Can you confirm or deny?

  • Old DBX PA set at +4db. Still.
    New DBX PA2 now set to +10db and works, level-wise, as the old PA did set to -4db.
  • DraDra Posts: 3,777
    Call tech support.

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