Questions & Answers

IEM's mixes not consistent using Aux outs on Studio Live RML32AI Mixer

0 votes
asked Jun 18, 2019 in StudioLive Series III by wesleyboas (350 points)
edited Jun 18, 2019 by wesleyboas
We use a RML32AI (Ver. 9244) mixer with our 5 piece band. When completely setup for a show we have 18 inputs and use 5 Aux outs.  All of the Aux outs are for individual monitoring. Four of them are feeding either a Rolls PM55 or the Berhinger PM1 personal in ear headphone pack.  Our drummer, although using Vdrums, uses a traditional wedge, so he can get some thump. Personally, I will start the show where I like every input to be on my mix. All of us do this at sound check. Then about 3 songs in it seems some channels start going way up, or way down in our individual Aux mix. We have a sound engineer taking care of FOH. All of our Aux mix channels are set to Pre fader. Our sound engineer does not get into the Aux mixes unless a member specifically ask him to make an adjustment. So since I know the sound engineer is not making adjustments to the Aux, and everything set to Pre, why does everyone struggle with instrument dropout? I have made sure everyone's "patches" with their instrument processors are as close to unity as we can get them. So we rarely clip a channel on sound check. Our FOH guy does not gain stage to unity. He likes all of our inputs to average out around -8 db so he has plenty of headroom. At a show, we will have 5 wireless devices hooked up to the mixer. FOH has 2 ipads with global control. 3 ipads in the band with Aux control only. I mix for my IEM, the wedge, and the other guitarists IEM.

I am nowhere near an experienced FOH guy, so I haven't done anything with the mixes I control other than levels and a little EQ. Should I be compressing these mixes? Setting the limiter. I am not looking for a perfect reproduction of the main mix, I just a consistent mix, because I am not getting that now. I will preface this with, the levels from one patch to the next are checked on a regular basis, so we don't have the big volume spikes. But in my personal mix one song will be fine, next song I can't hear the keys, I make the adjustment, I hear keys but the bass drops out, make the adjustment, ooh the Rhythm guitarist vocals are way to hot.  

I feel like I am chasing my tail all night long.    

Any tips or tricks or go to articles for IEM monitoring settings?

3 Answers

+1 vote
answered Jun 18, 2019 by wahlerstudios (105,310 points)
selected Jun 18, 2019 by wesleyboas
Best answer
It seems you're doing everything right and all settings are perfect. So what can be the reason? The first question, which comes onto my mind is if you are using mono auxes. I ask this because mono in ear monitoring makes differences in loudness much more recognizable, which can be one reason for your problems. You have enough aux outputs on your mixer, so use them! This will balance the sound you're hearing.

The second question goes into the direction of how you play live. Have you ever made recordings of your music and analyzed them? We all know that in a live situation things look quite different to the situation in a rehearsal room. You play louder and faster, you sing louder, things can be not as tight as they should. The only way to "understand" what happens is to listen to a live recording and if there is a multi-track recording, it's even better, because you can follow each individual sound event in the flow of each song. A look on the tracks in Capture also tells a lot. You see loudness differences of instruments or voices just by watching the recorded signal.

Another question goes into the direction of the sounds of instruments. Keyboards can be quite tricky. If you compare a piano sound, an organ and a synth layer sound, there will be differences not only in volume, but also in loudness. This is first of all a musical question, not a technical one, but it's worth to think about.

You should try to figure out your problems in your rehearsal room. I don't think that the RM32AI is the problem, but you should always check if the option card is fully plugged in and if all connections (including router) are ok. The router should always boot first (if you are using dynamic IP addresses). Corrupt scenes can be another source of problems or faulty firmware updates. Something  to try is also the "Zero Out" function and to rebuild your scene. And: The versions of UC Surface used should be the same. Not to forget: The router should be dual band.

Hope this helps.
+1 vote
answered Jun 18, 2019 by wesleyboas (350 points)

wahlerstudios  great point about the stereo outs.

Yes we have video and audio of live performance.  I understand your thoughts here, but this seems more than instrument dynamics. Maybe my FOH guy is adjusting them by mistake. He owns an Allen & Heath board similar to this board, so he might be mixing up the two interfaces. I will lock him out of Auxes next time.

I didn't know about the router boot sequence,  thanks for that tip.  I am not certain if my router is dual band. I will look into it. I know I bought the TP link router that was "tested and approved" when I got the mixer. But I am not near it right now to give any specifics

What would you consider to be typical channel settings for compressor and limiter? 

Thanks for you input!

+1 vote
answered Jun 18, 2019 by wahlerstudios (105,310 points)
FOH permission always includes auxes, I think. Tweaking of gains might be a problem here, indeed. But that's easy to check AFTER a show, because the mixer keeps the last settings. When you know how gains were set after soundcheck (it's always good to store the scene after soundcheck), you can see if they got changed during the concert. A good FOH engineer knows about this problem and will not change gains. That's the same on any board. The problem is not PreSonus specific.

I do a lot of in-ear jobs (concerts) and I never use limiters, because they are simply not needed. My strategy is to use a combination of a "gentle" input and output compressing, allowing the music to "breathe". Something like a 2:1 ratio setting on input and output channels is normally enough to balance peaks. Then a limiter hardly gets anything to do.

Always make sure that the musicians can control the final volume themselves.