Basic Mixer advice

Discussion in 'Live Sound' started by Mark Allen, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. Mark Allen

    Mark Allen Guest

    Hello everyone, i am brand new to this site, and i am looking for some technical assistance.

    i am a complete novice with this kind of thing so please try not to use too much technical Jargan.

    i have recently purchaced the Yamaha Stagepass 300, i am in a duo and we sing cover songs using backing
    tracks via my laptop played through i tunes.

    we have 2 mics and the laptop pluged into the mixer.

    unfortunatly we have lost the user manual , and we have no idea how to create the best sound.

    i know its all about getting the levels right, but i just dont know where to start

    at the last gig i had the volume for the laptop on full , the mics on half , and the master volume about a quarter of the way up , and the limiter kept kicking in and the sound dips.

    i know i have it all set up wrong. so i would really benefit from some basic advice

    many thanks

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Hi Mark, and welcome to Recording.Org (RO)!

    Firstly, you can download what passes for a user manual from the Yamaha web site:

    It does not sound as though you have set it up all wrong, but that you have a reasonable set of positions for the controls on the Stagepas 300. I assume you are taking the output from your laptop from its headphone out jack and going into the phono (RCA) connectors on channels 5/6 or 7/8 on the Stagepas. You should set the laptop headphone volume to maximum and control the level of the laptop sound using the level control on that stereo channel on the Stagepas.

    I would reduce the individual channel levels a little and bring up the master level a bit more, but this will not affect the cutting out. The cut-out operates on the speaker outputs, irrespective of the settings used to get the signal there. The truth is that although the Stagepas systems produce a good quality sound, the power cut-out is unduly conservative, with the result that the acoustic output power available from the 300 is weedy, not feeling at all like a 300W system.

    I have both the Stagepas 300 and the 500 in my hire stock, and people invariably ask for the 500 after they have had the 300 once. Even the 500 struggles in a large hall, but at least it has separate limiting on two of the mic channels, and with care can be set so that a vocal pop or cough does not cause the main outputs to cut out.

    What type of acoustic material are you putting through the system? Is it cutting out on sudden large peaks in the microphone inputs or on the tracks from the laptop?
  3. Mark Allen

    Mark Allen Guest

    thanks for getting back to me , yes i am putting the laptop through the headphone jack, is this the best way to do it, i assumed it is the only way .

    i am running backing trax downloaded from a website, it would appear that the sound cutts out when we are singing , the limiter seems to go into the red when the master volume isnt even half way, i assumed his was because i have the volume on the laptop chanel (RCA ) connector channel 7/8 on full volume.

    the sound quality for the mics does sound a little kareoke as well , so i may need to play about with the reverb.

    thanks mate
  4. Live Sound Audio

    Live Sound Audio Active Member

    Apr 5, 2010
    Trial & Error

    One of the best things you can do is plug stuff and and just play with it. Bring levels up, down, make it feed back - see where it feeds back. Mess with the eq in radical ways to hear what's happening. Bring it up until it distort (a little!) - and just get a general feel of what's going on. Too often people are afraid of equipment. So they don't know what it's capable of, both good and bad, cause they've never tried it.
  5. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Moderator Resource Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    I couldn't agree more. I'm very much in favor of reading the manual and learning the best possible technical method, and I'm definitely in favor of seeking guidance from a highly-reputable mentor such as Boswell. But until you have fiddled with the knobs enough to truly understand what they all do, and how all of those adjustments interact - the machine will intimidate you.

    It's just a fancy appliance, show it who's boss. :smile:

    (but keep an eye on the toaster, it's up to no-good)
  6. I always thought that little bastard was a bad seed. Pissed off at the world because he never grew up to be a proper oven, that's what I'd wager. *g*
  7. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    I think I'd do it differently. Start with the computer on and connected, and the mixer on.

    Turn all the volumes on the mixer down, and the output on the computer down. Center all the tone controls.

    Turn the used mic channels volumes (switched to "mic"...apparently there are no input trims on that) to "optimal" (that mark about 2/3 way up). Slowly turn up the main volume, and see if you can get it to its "optimal" mark with vocals. May need to tweak some EQ a bit, or fudge a BIT on channel volume. Try not to go over the "optimal" mark on anything..

    If that is all good, with the computer volume down, turn up the mixer input channel for the computer just a bit. Then slowly turn up the computer a bit. When you hear something, try turning that mixer channel to the "optimal" mark. If you get it to that mark, and its not loud enough, then start turning the computer volume, itself, up. If you get to where you have the computer software volume at least half, the individual channels to "optimal", and the main mixer volume to optimal, and it sounds good, then you have a little room to tweak a bit further.

    You may well need the computer soundcard out to mixer in cranked...I don't know. I wouldn't think cranked ALL the way would be good, though. I'd try to stay within 1/2 to 3/4 up in the computer.

    Anyway, start with the mixer volumes at "optimal" if possible. If its too loud, turn the main down a BIT. If still to loud, smidge down the individual channels. The point is to get everything as near as possible to optimal. If a channel is too high with the main too low, it's not very well balanced out, and vice versa. If the main is way over the "optimal" mark, and any channels are below it...even things out. This all should give you room to play around, and possibly less noise and /or distortion.

    Try it and see if it helps.

  8. Live Sound Audio

    Live Sound Audio Active Member

    Apr 5, 2010
    What is "optimal" setting? Do you mean fader or input adjustment?
  9. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2003
    He means the point where you are getting maximal signal-to-noise ratio, before distortion. The "sweet spot" of each gain stage, if you will, and if I have understood correctly.
  10. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    You are likely trying to get more volume out of the system than it is capable of producing.
  11. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2003
    Excuse this post, just wondering why mixer isn't parsing to wiki. Apparently its related to when each article was made. Bummer for me, everyone else carry on.

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