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Talk-back Ducking

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ThirdBird, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    In Sonar 8.5 (won from recording.org!), say I have 8 or so tracks open of the band.

    How would I incorporate a talkback track that ducks out the whole mix?

    I am guessing that it would incorporate a compressor on the whole mix that is triggered by the talk?

    Is there a generally more accepted method? Thanks!
     
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Mix the "band" to a stereo sub-master or a stereo aux. Apply a ducker as a side-chain and use the voiceover as its trigger.

    Welcome to the radio.

    You can also automate the fader rides for the time section that the voiceover is in business.
     
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I'm not quite clear here? You want the talkback microphone to lower your music mix so that you can incorporate your talkback microphone into your musical production? No? Or is it that you want to be able to press a talkback microphone and have your control room monitors duck down so that people can hear you instead of all the raucous nonsense coming out of your control room monitors, while you are trying to talk to them? Could you be more specific? Especially since you're talking about 2 completely different functions/requirements.

    What Dave was talking about is a technique that has been utilized much for the better part of more than 50 years. Such as when in a food store listening to that marvelous elevator music, the manager presses down a push to talk microphone to let " shoppers know that Dial antiperspirant is only 1 dollar..." (music goes back up). Yup, that's a ducking circuit. One can accomplish that utilizing a side chain input of a compressor across a stereo bus with the microphone added post-compressor.

    If you're talking about a talkback system/SA (studio address), so that you can talk to the band and they can hear you, that's part of your monitoring system. So for an example, Billy screws his guitar solo up and you push the button and interrupt them all to say..." let's try that again...". That doesn't require a compressor nor a side chain input of any kind. That's usually accomplished either with relays or FET transistors. Generally the talkback microphone button will not mute the control room monitors but reduce their gain by approximately 20 DB. This still allows you to hear them if they are speaking to you while you are speaking to them. Then it goes back to standard monitoring level when you pull your finger off the button. When done with a relay, there is frequently quite a click heard by everybody when the monitors are ducked and the microphone enabled. In other talkback systems that utilize FET transistors, they can be assisted by other parts to create a quick fade up and a quick fade down that is virtually inaudible in its operation. So what is it that you want to do? What is the application for? You want us to be on the recording or just so they can hear you?

    For control room monitoring functions and talkback purposes, numerous companies are now making standalone devices to make this an easily accomplished function. And many talkback systems have numerous operational features such as being able to talk back only to the studio speakers or only to the headphones or slating directly onto the recorder things such as " Dumb Bucks, My fingers are bleeding, take one... (click)". Then you know what you're listening to when you play everything back. And none of this is any kind of automation nonsense at all.

    Take 2, they're small
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  4. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    To clarify, I guess I want a talk-back option on a budget.

    I am a 7th grade music teacher. In our class we write and record songs. I have a full rehearsal setup space, including drums, pa system, keyboards, guitar, and bass. For the studio end, I have a destop with Sonar, run through an 8-input Presonus Firestudio. All musicians have access to a set of their own headphones too. Needless to say, I don't have a true talk-back feature available.

    I have all of the instruments and vocals adequately covered with 7 inputs, and have one mic left over for me behind the desk. I use this one for giving commands and counting off. As of now, I have been just mixing my mic louder than the others, but sometimes it becomes too loud in the headphones. I don't necessarily need the compression/ducking option, but it would be nice to automatically have my voice override the rest of their sound without having me sound like the chosen voice of god.

    Summarizing your ideas, my thought would be to have a compressor on their mix, but have it side-chain triggered by my voice track?

    Thanks for the help, it is greatly appreciated!
     
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Really what you need is one of those standalone desktop monitoring controller boxes by numerous companies out there such as Mackie, Pre-sonus and many others in varying price ranges. From your console, your Fold back/cue headphone feed is routed through this desktop box. When you press your talkback microphone on this box, it will automatically mute your control room monitors which also must be routed from your mixer output through this box to your speakers. The box allows queuing to headphones or outputs to a talkback amplifier/speaker. And then you get your eighth microphone back to use for recording purposes. Computer soundcard output is all routed through this box, as well.

    Back in the day, either the console had to have this feature built-in or we built our own out of relays & LEDs & light sensitive resistors. In the most elementary basic sense, a manually operated compressor of a fixed level controlled by a pushbutton. As opposed to the dynamic operation of a compressor as a ducker which would not work well. And you don't want that talkback microphone on all the time in their headphones. This pure fold back from your speakers into your microphone causes time delay phase cancellation of the signal they are listening to and otherwise contributes to a poor quality of sound in the headphones. So just get that sidechain compressor idea out of your head and graduate into the professional league. You may be a seventh grade teacher but you are now a professional engineer wearing your second hat. And you need to evaluate these discussions from your professors here. We are not here to debate we are here to guide and inform you with our wealth of experience. Not many folks get an opportunity to speak to Grammy, Emmy, Soul Train Music Award nominees, like myself, who are also friends, colleagues & acquaintances of all of the famous engineers, of all of your favorite hits you've ever heard. Specialized needs require specialized equipment as I mentioned.

    A secondary and perhaps lesser expensive possibility would be to utilize an old-fashioned desktop 2 way radio communication microphone with a push to talk button. The internal switch has multiple contact points. This allows the microphone to be shorted out and off, when the button is not depressed. While the additional contacts can be taken to a simple Radio Shaft 12 V relay. The switch connections on the relay would then be wired to your mixers monitor output before the amplifier/speaker and/or headphone amplifier input. This would allow you to disengage or duck the control room monitor signal with a simple stereo volume control wired into the relay, in the range of -20 DB by utilizing the stereo volume control wired into the relay as a dim adjustment. And you're use of the number eight microphone input would still be required if you don't construct a little integrated circuit chip operational amplifier with a simple already prepared IC chip circuit board from Radio Shaft. Remember your talkback microphone doesn't need to have a quality preamp on it and most don't. It's a utilitarian device not designed for recording except perhaps for hearing you say " stage band take one...". So head on over to the high school and get a couple of kids from the electronics class to build this project for extra credit. You'll be glad you did.

    "Copyright 2011 the Clara Barton seventh-grade jazz band take one... or, take two, since they're small."
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  6. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    Remy, it always seems like you speak at length to any topic I start. That means a great deal to me, so thank you.

    I know that they have talk back systems that I can just buy and hook up right out of the box, but I already have used up my budget for this school year. So I was just trying to think of a MacGuyver kind of way around the situation without too much of a hassle.

    I like your idea of stealing the manpower of the electronics class, but alas we don't have one of them. On a related note, I did have the woodshop teacher help me make the rack storage unit for free. So at least I got that going for me.

    Thanks again as always!
     
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Well there you go then. A push to talk communications microphone and a simple relay, is all that you need. And hey, that little 8 pin dip chip socket on a Radio Shaft already etched circuit board for 2 dollars and a cheap IC op amp chip. Then you'll be Captain of the talkback ship. In the wiring of the relay, it will be your choice to either completely mute your control room speakers or just dim them with a couple of fixed resistor L pads to drop your control room level by 10 or more DB. And voilĂ  after investing all of less than $10 on the op amp microphone chip & relay. It shouldn't cost too much to find a secondhand push to talk microphone and if not that, then a $.98 condenser capsule & a separate 2 DPDT momentary pushbutton.This is a completely inexpensive DIY project for you. It'll take you all of a couple of hours to complete. We've all had to do this through the years with custom consoles & radio station DJs.

    Good luck
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     

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