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Drummer PA Rack

Discussion in 'Drums' started by jamsz, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. jamsz

    jamsz Guest

    Hey everybody,

    I'm a drummer in 2 major rock bands in my area, and we're beginning to play more big shows (last night to thousands). After visiting with touring drummers and those in the business, I've decided to start working on my own rack, where I will control my drum's main mix. I've decided to go this route so far:

    1. Mackie DFX12 Mixer

    2. DBX 166XL Dual Compressor/Limiter (this will tighten drum attack and lose overtones and ring, correct?)

    3. I haven't decided on a reverb unit yet, but I'm open for suggestions.

    4. Is a BBE sonic maximizer necessary if our Front of house guy already has one running for our main mix?

    Let me know if there's anything else necessary that I'm missing! I appreciate the help!
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Why are you so convinced that a rack of knobs will really help you?
    What microphones are you using? How many? And how big is your kit?
    The mixer you have listed is Mackie's budget line. Not very good headroom. Their Onyx line has much better preamps, better build quality, better output headroom. Maybe less input channels for the same price. That usually isn't bad with drum kits, where too many mics end up causing massive phase issues (bad sound). Headroom is real important on drum kits to retain that punch. The house mixer you're using probably has better pre's than the DFX.
    Speaking of the DFX mixer, that box has reverb algorithms that don't sound any worse than most of the cheap seperate boxes out there, so...
    why add another cheap box?
    The dbx. GATING can help tighten a drum's overtones and ringing, sometimes. Compression can augment that issue. The 166 is not a very good gate, but is a decent compressor. Setting up the unit to operate as 2 independent "peak limiters" (1 on the snare, the other on kick) will help "tighten" your sound. DON'T even think of putting it across the stereo mix!! Every time you stomp the kick, it will modulate the rest of the drums' levels!
    No, you don't need a BBE Sonic Minimizer. If you tune your drums and play them in the manner you want them to sound, you won't need to worry about hyping the extremes in the way that device does it. All you will be doing is throwing MORE phasing issues into the foray. That NEVER helps your sound!
    Most drummers that I work with live have invested in their own mic set. There are tons of variables here, everyone has his/her opinions. Maybe a Shure Beta 52 on kick, SM57 on snare, a couple of ATM25s on toms (good on kick, too), a couple of Audix i5 on overheads. Remember:garbage in, garbage out. Good mics really go a long way to get your sound right!
  3. jamsz

    jamsz Guest

    My current mics I am using are Shure Beta 56a on snare, Beta 52 on kick, and PG56s on toms. I am running a 4 piece kit. I have read many reviews saying that the DFX12 has great headroom and preamps as well. I figured since it's "budget" it still bears a Mackie name, which has been nothing short of great from these guys. I've done my research and talked with people who have used it and the reviews are all positive.

    I totally agree with having good mics as well. But along the lines of effects, what would you recommend for a gate/compressor since the dbx is only "decent" ?
  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    For drums, the Presonus ACP22 is a 2-channel comp/gate that has some "key filtering" for the gating section thrown in. I use one on the snare/kick mics and the filters let me shape the response of the gates so that the kick doesn't "key-on" the snare mic and vice-versa. You can find the ACP on e-Bay. I am not a big fan of the latter stuff from Presonus, but the ACP22 is from their earlier days, when all they mainly made was compressors and gates, some pre's. I would also recommend Valley Audio and Drawmer products, but these are more expensive, even used on e-Bay. And there is nothing inherently WRONG with the dbx, it's just that the gate sections are an afterthought and not up to snuff.
    As far as the mixer is concerned, the DFX line is not a professional audio product. It may be fine for you, but their Onyx line is the cheapest series they make with halfway-decent mic pre's. I have owned sooooo many Mackies, they have good traits, they have bad ones. HEADROOM is something that they like to tout, but I have never been blown away by theirs. Their SR and VLZ models barely do +22dBm, which is borderline. I believe that I read that the DFX only push +18dBm max. This is nada. A 1402VLZ may not have all the bells-and-whistles that the DFX has, but a 1402VLZ will give you better audio performance than that. I'm sure that many of them have been used as you want to-as a drum submix. But, to each his own. Good luck!
  5. jamsz

    jamsz Guest

    Right on, thanks for the clarification!
  6. Jeremy

    Jeremy Active Member

    The PG56's on your toms are your weakest link right now with the gear you listed. Please get some tom mics. You can even go with some Audix D2's,D3's D4's, amd smoke those PG's. Start by picking up a better sound, and it will leave you a better output. I dont know how much you use toms, but I would throw a couple bucks at tom mics.

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