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Stage monitor feedback

Rosenfelder

I am trying to use two or three Galaxy PA6S monitors as stage monitors, for small venues.
I have not had time to learn how to set them up before actual gigs, so I have been trying to de-bug my technique, by setting them up in my living room. The room is about 12' by 19', with wood floor, a large area rug, and several windows. I have tried SM58s, SM57s, or 55SH mics. I positioned the PA6Ss directly behind the mics. I can barely turn up the volume (to the second mark on the volume dial) before I get feedback. I've tried adding in an ART 231 EQ, which lets me get slightly more volume before feedback. I get a lot of hot frequencies, and basically end up turning five or six adjoining sliders down, in two or three areas of the EQ. By low volume, I mean that the direct sound of voice or guitar is louder than the sound coming out of the monitor, and therefore not useful.
Question: Is this relatively small room (with reflections) what is making the speakers so sensitive to feedback?
I am using a Yamaha mixer with two Aux sends. There are several points where the signal chain can be turned up (or down), including the first gain pot on the mixer, the aux send pot, the EQ controls, and the monitor volume control.
Am I wasting my time trying to set this up, and teach myself how to do it, in a 'small' room, and should I just experiment out doors, or in church, function hall etc?
Or am I missing something, in the gain structure, etc.?
I have searched the web, reference books, and manuals, but they make it sound too simple.
Any help would be appreciated.
J.R.
September 5, 2012 @01:07pm
ShLUbY

ok so here's some basic things i would pay attention to when running a seperate monitor mix.
1) if your yamaha has "pre fader" option. please select it. this will separate your FOH mix from the MON mix.
2) roll back your MID EQ on the three band the board supplys for each channel. i find that most vocals and acoustic instruments need this around the 9-11 oclock position, rarely do i run individual channel mids past 11oclock. often too much mid and mid low can be a cause for feedback.
3) you probably have a frequency knob for each channel as well. play around with this function to adjust the "sound" of your instrument. it highlights a specific frequency for that channel. setting different frequencies on different channels can take away a "muddiness" of sound overlapping a specific frequency too much.
4) i probably should have made this #1, get rid of that ART EQ, yes it's nice to see the frequency band lights, but in reality its a chinese piece of junk. i had one for a week and it broke down, but i noticed that the short faders don't offer as much accuracy. and the second thing i would mention is to buy single channel 31 band EQs for your MON mixes. what happens when one channel on your dual channel goes bad?? now your out both channels of EQ if you have to send in for repair. so buy single channel eq's, and save yourself the headache. I recommend the DBX 2031 or the ASHLY GQX 3101. they have larger more accurate faders and they're tougher better units
5) there are frequency analyzer programs that are a free download for your smartphone. get on your store and download one. they're quite accurate really and can help ring out those monitors!
hope this lends a hand. i "try" to run the sound for my 3 piece acoustic band and have been getting more into it lately
September 5, 2012 @05:49pm
Rosenfelder

ShLUbY,
Thanks for the advice and suggestions.
Now I have some new things to try tonight.
Am I wrong to be testing this out in such an enclosed space, or should I wait till I have a setting more like where we actually play.
Our little band may consist of one, two, or none of the following: accordion, guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, accoustic bass, vocals. If we get spread out on a stage, or other space, sometimes we can't hear each other.
Thanks again. I'll keep experimenting.
J.R.
Yesterday a dbx Driverack PX arrived. After setting up and running the wizards, I had sucess in getting fairly clean signals to two monitors at usable volume levels. It was kind of interesting to hear and watch the feedback wizard tracking down and killing the feedback frequencies one by one. Something that I was not able to do with the 231 EQ. (some 'hot' signals persisted even with its 1/3 octave fader bottomed out).
I'm looking forward to more experimenting in a larger space to see how big a factor the 'small' room is. If I can get feedback free sound without the added component, that would be best. In the meantime, this seems like an acceptable bandaid. I still would prefer three stage monitors, and a two channel device can't help there.
September 5, 2012 @06:50pm
Rosenfelder

I did another experiment. This time outdoors, with mikes, PA speakers, and stage monitor spacing duplicating a typical gig. I had hardly any feedback problems, and could turn the monitors up to a useful volume and beyond.
What I learned was that it seems to be the close proximity of walls, ceiling and windows that greatly agravated the feedback problem. This could still be a problem at venues in close quarters, although now I have the Driverack as a tool for those situations.
J.R.
September 17, 2012 @12:30pm
SMMcD

I did another experiment. This time outdoors, with mikes, PA speakers, and stage monitor spacing duplicating a typical gig. I had hardly any feedback problems, and could turn the monitors up to a useful volume and beyond.
What I learned was that it seems to be the close proximity of walls, ceiling and windows that greatly agravated the feedback problem. This could still be a problem at venues in close quarters, although now I have the Driverack as a tool for those situations.
J.R.

I like that you've tried different 'venues' for your runthroughs. You weren't 'wrong' in any way, practice makes perfect and giving yourself that variety gives you the experience to troubleshoot in the future as I imagine you'll be using your new system in many different places. The Driverack is an invaluable tool but knowing how your gear is going to react to the environment beats showing up to the gig and not being able to depend on your monitors! And if all else fails, don't dip your mids, try changing the angle/distance of the monitor, you'd be surprised what 2 inches and 4 degrees will do! Kudos!
October 19, 2012 @04:39am