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Thread: Does This Portable Mixer Sound Familiar to Anyone?

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    Does This Portable Mixer Sound Familiar to Anyone?

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    I'm hoping someone can tell me what kind of mixer I saw this past week as I was acting as "the sound guy" for a medieval festival. I had to leave before this band was done, so I couldn't ask them. Plus, they are from Belarus, so communicating tech stuff was hard. Anyway...

    A band called Stary Olsa was playing in our small medieval tavern. They play medieval instruments - bagpipe, cittern, large (like kick-drum size) 2-sided drum, hand drum, penny whistle and 2 vocalists. When setting up for sound check, they pulled out a portable mixer the size and shape of a shoe box. The put clip-on mics on all their instruments and used our 2 SM8s for the vocalists and penny whistle player. They plugged our mics into their mixer, along with their other mics, and then sent the output of their mixer into a single channel strip of our powered mixer - a Nady SPM-6300 with 150 watts/4 ohms per side. Our speakers were 8 ohm Peavey's with 400 watt program nominal.

    What was most fascinating about the whole thing was that their setup was wireless (wi-fi)! They spent about 30 minutes taking level checks for each instrument. They had a guy in the audience with his smart phone, adjusting levels and other parameters (EQ, and probably other stuff). When they were all done, they sounded astoundingly tight and well mixed and LOUD (in a good way).

    the most confusing thing about it was that about half the instruments didn't need any amplification (bag pipe massive drum). In fact it seemed to me to be kind of silly to put a mic on a drum that massive and loud. But that's what they did. In the end, the sound was so tight and well mixed that it seemed to defy logic. How could a bag pipe and massive loud drum be perfectly mixed with a vocalist and penny whistle? In theory it seems like they would have had to turn up those quieter sound sources by a LOT to allow them to be heard alongside the loudest instruments. But when we tried (on other artists in the week) to just get the vocals and guitars to be audible, we could only turn it up so much before we got feedback problems. I just am left scratching my head at how they managed to get so much volume with zero feedback.

    Anyway, does what I describe sound familiar to anyone? the shoe box sized and shaped portable mixer with wireless control capability from a smart phone? I'd love to do something like that for next year's festival.

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    There are quite a few out there, I have a QSC touchmix 16 which is the size of a small laptop. the QSC touchmix 8 is even smaller. There are a few that don't even have a display and sit in a rack space.

    TouchMix Mixers - Products - Live Sound - QSC

    Alan.

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    Something along these lines..

    Ui16 | Soundcraft - Professional Audio Mixers

    and

    Soundcraft Ui16 Digital Mixer with Wi-Fi Router | Musician's Friend

    Also has automatic feedback suppression, so this kinda fits the bill. Not a bad price, either.
    Failure - - the path of least persistence
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    Thanks for the thread guys!

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    Thanks for those replies! When checking on what you posted above, I saw (in the "people who looked at this also looked at this" section) exactly what they were using. It was the Behringer X AIR XR18 Digital Rackmount Mixer.

    Now to learn more about it and see if it would work for our setup at the venue. Our biggest problem was probably feedback. The Nady powered mixer they have at the venue did not allow me to do much about that even though I had a 31-band outboard EQ. The Effects connection didn't seem to allow the effective (sorry) use of the EQ. My only choice was to reduce frequencies on the wide band of one of the built-in sliders at 250 Hz. Not enough surgical control of frequencies.

    The AIR XR18 seems to have amazing effects built right in - tons of dynamics and frequency control. That would explain how Stary Olsa was able to get such a full sound with no feedback.

    Anyway, thanks for the tips!! I think I have the answer I was looking for.

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    The effects send/return is for parallel effects like reverb. Eq needs to be in series, between the output of the mixer and the input of the power amp. I don't think that Nady has the required connections.

    That said, what you need to do is start with acoustics. Mic choice and placement are critical. Mics on quiet instruments/voices need to be as close to the intended target and as far from other sources of sound as possible. Use directional mics and aim them to your advantage (toward the target and away from other things). The acoustic space is also key. Hard surfaces are like sound mirrors, and corners (especially wall/wall/ceiling corners) reflect sound directly back along a parallel path. Whatever you do with processing is secondary to direct, physical solutions.

    Compressors can make feedback worse and cause problems for singers. Be careful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Teasnob View Post
    Thanks for those replies! When checking on what you posted above, I saw (in the "people who looked at this also looked at this" section) exactly what they were using. It was the Behringer X AIR XR18 Digital Rackmount Mixer...

    Anyway, thanks for the tips!! I think I have the answer I was looking for.
    We have a winner!
    Failure - - the path of least persistence
    And, uh, oh - hire a decorator to come in here quick, 'cause... DAMN.

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