The DJ Booth

On 'Gain Staging for the DJ' and Not Blowing Your Speakers

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deejaydee +

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Should have this thread stickied..
Thanks for the advice there. I completely agree with your distaste for shitty levels being slammed out to near empty rooms. Makes me sick!
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thread needs funkedub talking about collecting music
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^i lol'd

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Peakin Pecan

O rly? http://www.etonesound.com/ It's just 2 asian blokes running it, will definately go there next time i need speakers and whatnot

best place to get custom made quality speaker goodness.


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Thread discussion has died since being made sticky but may it live forever
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Matty_neal

KEEP THE FUCK OUT OF THE RED!

That should be the first rule of Dj'ing.

It actually applies to finances, too
Music is the best drug.

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Originally Posted by RunningWithScissors View Post

PM derelict for manual labour shit

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Derelict

It actually applies to finances, too

and traffic lights

and vaginas

There seems to be a pattern forming here
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Red belly black, Red Back.......
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I could never work out why at Empire here in Brisbane they always run into the over red gains and master(and people wonder why there ears are ringing for two days after i refuse to go there now for that reason) the only excuse i can see is that the gear they have isn't powerful enough does anyone here who has played there know the reason?
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It's so the dj can't push the system too hard.

Problem is, if you are playing with the gains around 0db, and the next dj comes on, hits red and sends too much power to the amps

So yeah, they set the system up so it is (somewhat) foolproof for the idiots that like red lights
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Quote:

Originally Posted by macc4

It's so the dj can't push the system too hard.

Problem is, if you are playing with the gains around 0db, and the next dj comes on, hits red and sends too much power to the amps

So yeah, they set the system up so it is (somewhat) foolproof for the idiots that like red lights

so it is limited? surely because the mixer signals are all +10 it can't be good for system and patrons ears. i have been there early in the night where the levels are at around 0 and the sound is perfect nice and crisp then as soon as it gets busy its cranked up and distorted and sounds terrible, ijust don't get it unless trying to achieve dirty distorted sound for the type of music being played..
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wait im confused, r u saying that they calibrate the systems to run completley peaking ?
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Originally Posted by borrisGLOWSTICK View Post

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that’s terrible spastic
also I would imagine a little disheartening that he has never attempted to drug rape you?

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DirtyFuzz

so it is limited? surely because the mixer signals are all +10 it can't be good for system and patrons ears. i have been there early in the night where the levels are at around 0 and the sound is perfect nice and crisp then as soon as it gets busy its cranked up and distorted and sounds terrible, ijust don't get it unless trying to achieve dirty distorted sound for the type of music being played..


that is part of the problem with most dj's - must go louder because louder is better

the amps could be turned up, but they don't do it because some idiots don't know about gain structure
DirtyFuzz +

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yeah i see the point, they are driving the mixer instead of the amps ( damage minimisation than damage avoidance)
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A lot of DJs are not happy til theres at least 3 reds showing eh!
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Great writeup!
It's times like this i'm glad i come from such a strong live recording background.
Getting a good clean audio level is my #1 concern when setting up before a set.
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Yeah I reckon, and tbh, I'v left dancefloors before because of distorted levels,
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Originally Posted by borrisGLOWSTICK View Post

Life trainwreck stories, bewbs, mod angering drug implicated posts and 2fast2furious only.

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Originally Posted by mliro View Post

that’s terrible spastic
also I would imagine a little disheartening that he has never attempted to drug rape you?

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I played a set recently where the speakers would make a "popping" sound as soon as I hit the orange! Was happening to the guy before me ( lot worse,though).

I just turned the gains down, and the master up - but there wasn't much headroom on it, so invariably I played a bit quieter than the guy before me.

Whats the best solution? - and why would it be popping when it barely hits the orange?
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Quote:

Originally Posted by mute

I played a set recently where the speakers would make a "popping" sound as soon as I hit the orange! Was happening to the guy before me ( lot worse,though).

I just turned the gains down, and the master up - but there wasn't much headroom on it, so invariably I played a bit quieter than the guy before me.

Whats the best solution? - and why would it be popping when it barely hits the orange?

Hitting the orange is just the vu meter on your mixer - the actual club amp must've been set too high if you were hearing clipping before reaching 0dB output.
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Man dont even get me started on DJ's and gain structure.

I've done over 1000 gigs in my career, and I have never ever come across stupidity like I have with DJ's.

But Like DjWaz said, I just now tell them "you push it and my friend Mr 166XL who is set to infinity-1 compression will own you and you lovely mastered music, so be my guest and give it your best shot to fuck up your own gig, Sir"

Small tip. If you see a DJ redding and you wanna turn him down, USE THE TRIM, not the master. If using a DJM-800 and the PA is running its own mixing desk (highly recommend, having a DJ mixer in charge of a PA is just plain stupid) leave the master at 3 o'clock. At this level, the master will mirror what the channel levels are doing. The master will only turn down the volume of a clipped signal, the most damage to signal is done with the trim control, not the master. A DJ should not be in control of the volume of a system by using the master on a mixer This should all be done from a separate audio mixer with an experienced engineer running it, using compression through the PA's mixing desk's inserts.

Clipping creates a dirty signal which in turn cause's amps and voice coils to over heat, this is what causes damage, and can be done at lower than unity levels.

Your gig, your set, and if im in charge, your set will come at a cost if you fuck with me.

Sime.
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so much could be said here, but it dont need to be.
learn to mix, save the PA
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There seems to be a lot of misinformation in this thread.or lack of information regarding gain and level problems. The DJ isn't solely to blame!

To start with, any nightclub sound reinforcement system has multiple points where the gain structure could be mismatched/incorrect through the audio signal chain from music source point to speaker.

There are numerous considerations

Music source recording - I have seen many clipped tracks. no matter what you do with gain, square wave signal in, square wave signal out. No device or amount of gain can correct this.

Insufficient Operator - The DJ can account for a lot of problems with a nightclub sound system, but definately not all. You have the music source as a potential issue (already mentioned), incorrect usage of input gain sensitivty (the main problem with DJ users) and incorrect usage of the master fader.

After the DJ mixer then you have multiple problems in terms of gain which can be derived from poor design, poor installation or poor configuration/commissioning of the installed sound system.

At each point of manipulation whether it be in a analogue dynamics processing device (such as an EQ, compressor/limiter, crossover etc) or an Audio DSP/Speaker Management Processor there are multiple points where there can be gain mismatch. There are many problem areas here beyond the DJ purely because of the multitude of adjustment. For the blind, stupid and unware involved in audio system installation, Rane have an idiots device to simplify the gain structure process called RANE GAIN (see their website).

Beyond the audio processing and DJ, the final place where you will have gain/headroom issues are with the speaker and amplifier combination. I have seen many underpowered audio systems and it's usually the lack of potential in the provided amplifiers. There's one rule with amplification, you can never have too much (when utlised correctly) but having too little is what will break a system or I should say, cook your speakers crispy.

As a general rule, amplification should be specified at double the continuous rated power of a speaker (look at a 20-20K spec for both the speaker and amplification and reasonable THD figures). There is a lot of dodgey equipment manufacturers that put up a lot of smoke and mirrors and overrate their amplification products (Hello Crown Audio?).

Example for matching speakers and amplifiers:

A JBL AM5215/95 8 ohm cabinet has long term full bandwidth IEC power handling capacity of 350w. In this case I would look at matching it with an amplifier that can deliver a minimum of 700W RMS (20-20KHz) into 8 ohms per channel. This is the ideal approach.

Think of it driving a Bugatti Veyron (capable of 400kph) but you have to maintain 110kph being the freeway speed limit. An easily achievable objective. Now try doing that with a Fiat 500 with four passengers. What's gonna give? It's no different with sound reinforcement.

On a side subject relative to this discussion, I was recently looking for a remote SPL monitoring tool for a sound system I'm installing in the world's 4th largest mosque when I stumbled upon these DJ mixers which could be of use where imbecile DJ's are concened: http://www.dateq.nl/EN/products/disco_mixers/vibe.html

Last edited by TurntableTech: 17-Jun-10 at 04:54am

Reason: Typos. I'm not a wordsmith, I'm an audiologist and sound reinforcement consultant.

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^Formula sound also do some mixers with limiter cards, I think Hi-Level may too.
Then again, how often do you see non Pioneer/A&H in Australia?
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Nice read TurntableTech...I'll look you up when I open a club...which will happen after I win lotto!
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Thanks buddy you explained that really well I nearly stopped reading but im so glad i didnt. ( realized why I have been doing my head in every now and then.
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great read
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excellent sticky! Well worth the read
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Great article and associated comments, really helpful. There's just one thing I don't get though.

I've seen a couple of videos of Roger Sanchez playing, and completely red-lining the mixer. Also seen it to a lesser extent with Laidback Luke. Whats up there? Is it a lack of knowledge, or a "I don't give a fuck" attitude? Surely you'd expect better from the big professionals...
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^Some guys choose to remain ignorant, most people just think that they as the headliner, deserve to be louder than anyone else.

Last edited by ferretrock: 19-Oct-10 at 06:05pm

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jink121 View Post

Great article and associated comments, really helpful. There's just one thing I don't get though.

I've seen a couple of videos of Roger Sanchez playing, and completely red-lining the mixer. Also seen it to a lesser extent with Laidback Luke. Whats up there? Is it a lack of knowledge, or a "I don't give a fuck" attitude? Surely you'd expect better from the big professionals...

I'd say a combination of both from my experience.

If anyone wants to expand on sound reinforcement, understanding gain, processing etc and also participate in a lot of interesting discussions by international industry experts, look at joining Synergetic Audio Concepts http://synaudcon.com/

The membership fee is quite reasonable and is a good information resource. As part of your initial membership fee, you get to do one of their acclaimed certificate training courses online (at your own pace) "Core Principles of Audio". Well worth it and it will open your eyes to the world of audio and demonstrate the correct method, calculations etc in designing and installing sound reinforcement systems. http://synaudcon.com/level100.php

Infocomm International is another good resource and their certification exams are the only ANSI and ISO accredited and internationally recognised qualifications for the audiovisual industry. http://www.infocomm.org/

The Audio Engineering Society is another good resource http://www.aes.org/

I'm a member of all three and the training and certifications I have got from all three has really broaden my skills and knowledge not to mention opened many career doors.
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Want some more light reading regarding speakers then try this one

http://spraci.trebleclefdj.com.au/speakers.html


have a great day all
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Quote:

Originally Posted by DjDennis View Post

Want some more light reading regarding speakers then try this one

http://spraci.trebleclefdj.com.au/speakers.html


have a great day all

the first one is false, you can't blow a system with too little power or distortion, if it is blown there was too much power, either thermally (melting the wire) or mechanically (exceeding X-max) there are no other options,
yes I'm aware that this is an incredibly popular myth.
http://www.gmtruckhq.com/sound-secur...s-did-959.html

If you are in charge of a sound system large enough to destroy itself, then you must have a limiter, if you don't know what a limiter is, does, or how it works then you shouldn't be in charge of a large sound system.

the other ones about being neat and tidy and good to your mother I can agree with.
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What a great post, so much good info. Most venues (installed or temp) I have worked or heard of will be processed (Most common is a DriveRack) to the hilt. Often hidden so no one can fuck with them either.
DjDennis +

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then horst how long have you been djing for 2mins or 34+ years ?

have a nice day!
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Quote:

Originally Posted by DjDennis View Post

then horst how long have you been djing for 2mins or 34+ years ?

have a nice day!

Djing doesnt equal knowledge on sound systems....
Playing at;


Gigs & stuff - Dave Stuart - DJ Page


SHRUG
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Quote:

Originally Posted by DjDennis View Post

then horst how long have you been djing for 2mins or 34+ years ?

Dear DjDennis if you put up a list of handy tips that are wrong expect to be called upon.
That you have been believing things that are wrong for 34 plus years is just bad luck, but here is your chance to learn something. Not even slightly curious?
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Quote:

Originally Posted by pomrocks View Post

Djing doesnt equal knowledge on sound systems....

+1
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Hahaha... on the topic of setting your limiters right, the moron doing the Forum for Space Ibiza first blew one box worth of speakers, then the whole amp worth. Was a bit special (and the smell of that much ozone!)
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then horst - have a nice day
DjDennis

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(In this crazy business for over 38+ years)

new updated urls
http://www.trebleclefdj.com.au Main Site!
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Quote:

Originally Posted by horst View Post

...if you don't know what a limiter is, does, or how it works then you shouldn't be in charge of a large sound system.

amen to that
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This is a good guide for pioneer mixers, for the individual channels, i set the gain to around 7db, anything over that and it will go into the red and sound distorted and for the stay around 4 or 7db because when your in the mix it might just go into the red, so keep it at 4db and it will sound perfect in my opinion. Cheers
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Thumbs UP xoxo
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